Dwarves… not dwarfs… are the stout, muscular, long lived (350 years or so), miners who dig out entire caverns in search of precious gems and metals. They were the race who first refined iron, then steel. They were the ones who, through the sheer act of creating a weapon or a piece of armor, imbue it with magical energies bestowed on them by Tharmekhûl the forge tender. Their compulsion for these metals and gems is mistaken for greed by many other races, Their vast treasure halls are seen as pure indulgence by others. Their enormous halls and underground complexes are viewed as fortresses. To the Dwarves, it’s just how things are done…. you dig a hole, you fill it with grandeur. You find a vein, you mine it out. If you have ore, you refine it. That’s the way of things.
It is commonly held that Dwarves are hard workers, maybe a bit gruff at times, and prefer the dark of their tunnels to the bright sky above. In truth, while Dwarves do tend to spend much of their time underground, the sky is a welcomed sight. If a dwarf digs too deep for too long, they can become agoraphobic. Many Dwarves in their old age will face their fears of the wide expanse of the sky and open land by becoming farmers and directly addressing the fear of the open. To avoid this fear, many Dwarves will work some time in the mines or the forges and then roam. The idea that Dwarves are gruff, comes from those Dwarves who are addressing their fears by forcing themselves to spend time in the over-world. Obviously, they’re going to feel a bit overwhelmed and this can come off as attitude.
It is a common belief that female Dwarves grow beards. This is not common among Dwarves, though it does happen. Dwarves are generally harrier than other species. Not all Dwarven females can grow a beard and if they do, it’s not usually a full beard. Many choose to shave off anything that does pop up. This is a style they got from human females. In purely Dwarven communities, mountain strongholds, and the like, Dwarven women don’t really care one way or the other for a stray hair here or there. This being said, the myth started in ancient times when mankind was new to Dalshmier. It was Dwarven custom in those days to keep the women folk safe from marauders by keeping them in the mountain strongholds so all anyone ever saw of Dwarven kind were men. This gave rise to the myth that Dwarven men and women are identical.
Dwarves control much of the wealth of the world in its raw form and so the common thought is that they are in control of banks and the value of a coin. This is not the case. The banking houses are responsible for driving up or down the value of coin or commodities. While it is true that every piece of gold in coin form was probably mined by a dwarf, it is not the case they they have anything to do with the value of that individual coin. On the other hand, it is widely know that the shipbuilders of the Ironhand clan control vast wealth because of their ships and loans to other groups and kingdoms and that trade lives and dies on the waves.
Finally, it is known that Dwarves are a religious lot, but not all follow the same religion. There are Dwarves who tend the gardens of the wild mother, Dwarves who create works in the service of Sala, there are, sadly, Dwarves who worship the darker things in the deep but all Dwarves believe in a power higher than themselves. The most common god worshiped is the lord of the forge, Tharmekhûl and within that religion, there are “fundamentalists” who believe that because Tharmekhûl is depicted as male, then it’s a man’s work to tend the fires of the forge and to dig the mines while the women folk remain in the halls with the children and the elderly. The Ziethian Mountain Hold is one of the last bastions of this antiquated ideology.