[Ebunorun] Arara, the Dwarves of Ebunorun

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[Ebunorun] Arara, the Dwarves of Ebunorun

Post by JamesMishler »

Requirements: STR 9+, CON 12+
XP Cost: 10% levels 1 to 6, 25% levels 7 to 12, 50% level 13+

Sturdy and strong, arara (dwarves) are tireless workers and fearsome opponents in battle. They were created in ancient days by Ogun, the god of Iron and Smith-Craft. When Ogun first taught the mortal race of men to use iron, he found that there were too many peoples in the world to teach in a timely fashion. Thus, he created the Irinrin, the “Iron-Men” or “Sons of Ogun,” out of iron ore and his own blood, and in his own image. They went out into the wide world and taught the people the use of iron.

However, over time, the Irinrin grew haughty and full of pride, for they were made special by their god, and had knowledge and power far above that of mortal men. They began to take power over the very peoples they were created to serve, taught their people to turn ploughshares into swords, and brought strife and war among the races of men, to increase their own power. Ogun saw what his children had wrought, and the suffering they caused, and brought them low for their pride and sins.

He quite literally brought them low, by cutting them down in size; once giants like their creator, they were cut down to less than the size of shortest of adult human men. Their power was also greatly reduced, they lost their immortality, and became true flesh as were the men they sought to rule. While most of the Irinrin found humility when they were thus chastened, some did not; these fled from the sight of the gods into the depths of the earth. The majority of the Irinrin remained on the surface, there to serve their mortal brethren as smiths and craftsmen.

There are no female Irinrin, as Ogun created his sons in his own image (though they are still very individual). Irinrin reproduce through creating their own children by using their metallurgical talents and crafting skills. Over a period of several months or years (no less than nine months), the Irinrin sculpts a son, full-grown, out of iron ore, smelted iron, and finished iron, all of it of the highest quality. He then gives the child life during a ritual that lasts from sunup to sundown; he grants the child a measure of his own semi-divine blood, and his life energy (one or more levels), and at the end of the ritual, Ogun willing, his child comes to life, and transforms into living flesh and blood.

Millennia ago, the Irinrin discovered that they could also give life to stone; for while they were puissant smiths, they were only passing miners, and sought a way to find good, reliable miners. Thus, after some experimentation, they discovered they could bring life to Stone Dwarves, the Okutarin, who are unsurpassed miners as the Irinrin are superlative smiths. The Okutarin can create their own stone children, and thus have their own separate culture and society, though the Iron Dwarves and Stone Dwarves remain on good terms.

• Due to their short height, dwarves cannot use two-handed swords or long bows. However, they can use any other weapons or armor allowed by their class.
• Stone Dwarves have a 4 in 6 chance of detecting traps, false walls, hidden construction, or noticing if passages are sloped. Iron Dwarves have a 2 in 6 chance of detecting traps, false walls, hidden construction, or noticing if passages are sloped. Dwarves must be actively searching for these abilities to function.
• Iron Dwarves have a 4 in 6 chance of detecting flaws in metalwork; being able to evaluate or repair a metal weapon, tool, or other item; and manufacturing a new metal weapon, tool, or other item in half the normal time, or a master-quality item in double the normal time. Stone Dwarves have a 2 in 6 chance of detecting flaws in metalwork; being able to evaluate or repair a metal weapon, tool, or other item; and manufacturing a new metal weapon, tool, or other item in half the normal time, or a master-quality item in double the normal time. Dwarves must be actively searching or smithing for these abilities to function.
• Dwarves are particularly hardy people, and have a strong resistance to magic and poison. In addition, their small size grants them a bonus to finding cover and avoiding breath attacks. Dwarves receive the following saving throw bonuses:
o +2 save versus breath attacks
o +4 save versus poison
o +4 save versus petrify or paralyze
o +3 save versus wands
o +4 save versus spells or spell-like devices
o A dwarf who takes a spell-casting class loses their bonuses versus wands, spells, and spell-like devices.
• Iron Dwarves are susceptible to rusting effects, such as the touch of the rust monster. Each such hit causes the dwarf to suffer 1d8 points of damage. If the dwarf “rusts to death,” he cannot be raised or resurrected short of the use of a wish spell.
• Iron and Stone Dwarves are immune to natural heat and fire (though their clothing may not be); have a +3 bonus to save against magical heat and fire; and suffer 1 less point of damage from magical heat or fire per die of damage.
• Large-sized creatures are all at a -4 penalty when trying to hit a dwarf.
• Dwarven thieves receive the following bonuses and penalties to thief abilities: Pick Locks +10%, Find and Remove Traps +15%, Climb Walls -10%.
• A dwarf character begins play knowing Obakoja (the common tongue, literally "Haggle"), and either Irinede (Iron-Tongue) or Okutede (Stone-Speech), depending on sub-race. They may choose from languages local to their area if they gain bonus languages.

Irinrin Iron Dwarves: Skin of dark grey, bright yellow, deep purple, or rusty red; rusty red hair (usually spiked beard only), smoldering-coal red, yellow, or blue eyes, 4'5", 180#, stocky build, life span 350+2d100 years, typically Lawful.

Okutarin Stone Dwarves: Virtually any combination of skin, hair, and eye color appropriate to igneous or metamorphic rocks and crystals, 4'2", 180#, stocky build, life span 250+2d100 years, typically Neutral.

As mentioned, dwarves are not born, they are made. Upon awakening, the newly-formed dwarf has a basic knowledge in the language, skills, and society of his parent, though it is at the equivalent of that of a properly enculturated 10-year old human.

Depending on the effort put in and value of the materials used in making the child, the dwarf parent has the right to keep him as an apprentice for 30+1d20 (Irinrin) or 15+1d10 (Okutarin) years. During this time, it is the parent’s duty to fully train the child in the ways of society, fill him in on history and duties, and prepare him for life as an adult.

Strictly speaking, though they are flesh and bone, as with other mortals, dwarves do not need to eat food to survive; they are powered by the divine spirit of Ogun, an infinitesimal part of which passes from parent to child. A dwarf could sit and meditate for years without eating so much as a bean.

However, as their bodies need raw materials to replace that which is lost through activity, wear, and tear, most dwarves eat on a regular basis. Dwarves tend to eat mostly roots and tubers, legumes, and squash; they eschew grains and any form of meat. Dwarf food it spiced with metal flakes (Irinrin) and stone and crystal flakes (Okutarin), for additional needed materials. Similarly, their drinks are usually made from roots, such as ginger beer and cassava beer, as well as a cassava spirit, Oti Oyin, “Fire-Beer,” brewed exclusively by the Irinrin.

THE IRINRIN, the Iron Dwarves, are directly descended from the original Sons of Ogun. The original Irinrin were immortal, and even when they had fallen from the grace of Ogun, lived lives many times that of their own children. This longevity, combined with the chaos caused by the pride of the Sons, led the Irinrin to develop a very hierarchal, structured society among themselves. Each Iron Dwarf knows his place in the hierarchy, his duties, and the requirements expected of him by his fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, sons, and nephews.

Like many of the humans of Nyumbani, the Irinrin are organized in a series of ascending lineage-kingdoms based on the original 26 Irinrin created by Ogun. Of those, two were destroyed in the wars they fomented, ere they created sons. Two fled Nyumbani before being reduced in power, to avoid the wrath of Ogun, and have not been seen or heard of since. Eight fled into the Underworld, after Ogun’s justice, to escape the wrath of men and further punishment for their greater sins. Thus, there are 14 lineages, seven “Western” and seven “Eastern,” though the dwarves have long since settled amongst one another.

Eastern Iron Dwarves are known as Hammer Dwarves, as their symbol is the hammer, and their king is known as the Hammer King. Western Iron Dwarves are known as Anvil Dwarves, as their symbol is the anvil, and their king is known as the Anvil King. Hammer dwarves tend to be more aggressive; anvil dwarves more passive, but this is merely a generality, and there are some very aggressive Anvil dwarves and positively sedentary Hammer dwarves.

Being imperfect creations, dwarves still suffer from the sins of their forefathers – pride, greed, wrath, gluttony, and envy. In the Irinrin, their pride is in their works, their greed is for power and precious metals, their wrath is against those who think they are better than them, their gluttony is for food (“An Iron-Dwarf hungers like the fires that burn in his belly,” is an old Nyumbani saying), and they can be envious of anyone who surpasses them in skill, wealth, or power.

THE OKUTARIN, the Stone Dwarves, are a coarse, earthy people, and consider their Iron Dwarf cousins to be high-falutin snobs. Whereas their cousins work in brass and bronze, iron and gold, the Stone Dwarves work with rock and stone, most favorably with crystal and gems. While there are still some Okutarin who cleave to their Irinrin parents, and thus live in a mixed society, most Okutarin today live in isolated and insular Stone-Dwarf communities, centered on mines of stone and gems, and less commonly, gold, silver, iron, and various base metals.

Okutarin society, while not chaotic, is certainly not remotely as structured as that of their Irinrin forebears. It much resembles the rough-and-tumble society of individual miners that spring up among humans. There is no overarching Okutarin kingdoms, though lineages are still important, often when founding a new mine or masonry business. But many Okutarin leave their families in their later youth, to strike out on their own and find the “mother lode.” Older settlements are lineage-based, with a local king, while the settlements founded by far-flung youth are rule dover by an Oga-oke, “boss mountain,” who keeps the young dwarves in line with equal parts charm, bribes, and head-cracking.

Iron Dwarves favor hammers and maces as weapons, in both one and two-handed varieties. They wield cunning crossbows for ranged weapon use. Stone Dwarves prefer picks and swords, and use short-bows and slings. Most dwarves wear a skirt of brass, bronze, or iron scales as day wear; as they are immune to heat, they wear chain mail, plate-mail, or even full plate into battle.

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