Dwarf

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Playable races in World of Warcraft
TBC Draenei · Dwarf · Gnome · Human · Night elf · Icon Cataclysm 18x18.gif Worgen MoP Pandaren
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Dwarves
Kurdran Fire and Iron.jpg
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This article is about the race in general. For the playable race, see Dwarf (playable). For the language, see Dwarven.

Dwarves are short and stout creatures mostly inhabiting Khaz Modan in the Eastern Kingdoms. They are shorter than humans but taller than gnomes, taking advantage of their size when possible and relying on their robustness and strength when not. The average dwarf is steady, observant and composed both during work and combat, yet able to rage with fierce zeal and persistence when the situation calls for it. While a dwarf prefers to plan forward to overcome challenges, many of them easily lose their temperament and self-restraint when exposed to conditions stirring their feelings and concerns.

In past ages, the dwarves rarely left the safety of their mountain fortresses, spending their time on refining metal and stone into powerful weapons and beautiful jewelry. However, when the call to battle sounded, they rose up to defend their friends and allies with unmatched courage and valor.

History

Origin and evolution

Main article: Earthen
The dwarves derive from the earthen, titan-made creatures.

The dwarves derive from the earthen, a prototype race of humanoid creatures consisting of living stone. The earthen were one of the races created by the titans in order to help shape Azeroth after the titans were gone, from a so-called "Subterranean being matrix". As creations by the Vanir-titans (probably Khaz'goroth), the part of Azeroth the earthen were to shape was the earth and underground. Although the earthen was a successful creation at first, things would soon change. The Curse of Flesh created by the Old Gods affected the earthen, causing them to mutate into the vicious troggs. As the troggs had a very reduced cognitive ability compared to the original earthen (and other unfortunate aspects the titans didn't find pleasing, such as cannibalism) the troggs were sealed away, primarily within the ancient Titan city of Uldaman.

Although the earthen were susceptible to the Curse of Flesh, the Titans chose to modify the prototype rather than begin all over again. This modification created earthen referred to as "Series Two". These earthen did not transform into troggs, but into dwarves. While the transformation turned their physical bodies mirroring the stone found on Azeroth into weaker flesh, they still maintained their mental affinity for it, along with their cognitive abilities. The dwarves were actually akin to a return to the default subterranean being that the Titans typically created. This had not been the titan's intentions and they would continue to modify the earthen, but they were satisfied with this outcome, seeing the dwarves acceptable to carry out their task in their own right.[1][2][3]

When the Well of Eternity imploded at the end of the War of the Ancients 10,000 years ago, causing the Sundering, the transforming Series Two-earthen were deeply affected, feeling the pain of the earth as if it were their own. They retreated to the places of their origin — the Titan cities of Uldum, Uldaman, and Ulduar — and hibernated for almost eight thousand years. When they awoke, many of them found that their powers over stone and earth had waned and that their rocky hide had softened to smooth skin. Emerging from their Titan-homes, the dwarves from Uldaman made their way out of the Titan city and eventually built Ironforge in Dun Morogh.[4]

This transformation along with other factors have created several different kinds of dwarves. Sometimes the differences derive from different ways of living and philosophy, but often they manifest themselves in the amount of change a dwarf has evolved from the earthen. Some dwarves, like the ones living in Ironforge, has undergone a rather complete transformation (with the exception of [Stoneform], see The Explorer's League below), becoming fully fleshy creatures. Others seems to have undergone a semi-change, having aspects of both a fleshy creature and the traits of the earthen, like the Frostborn. The Titans eventually found a way to make earthen that were immune to the Curse of Flesh, which became newly produced by the Forge of Wills and other systems. These earthen never experienced being affected by the Curse of Flesh, still consisting of soil and stone, such as the few remaining Eastern Kingdoms earthen found in Uldaman and the earthen of Ulduar found in Northrend.

Although the titans marked their presence all over Azeroth, dwarves evolving from earthen are limited to the Eastern Kingdoms. Over there, the original earthen from Uldaman evolved into Ironforge dwarves (which later split into the Wildhammer-, Dark Iron- and Bronzebeard-clans, see War of the Three Hammers below ; whereas a faction migrated to the Storm Peaks and evolved into Frost dwarves).

The Alliance

Mountain, Hill, and Dark dwarves

The dwarves and their progenitors' (the Earthen) interaction with other races and factions (except from with the titans) has been mostly related to the Alliance. Albeit the dwarves are the major actors in this event, earthen were also called upon to join an Alliance of various races during the War of the Ancients.[5] While the Alliance did not actually exist during this time (the name is probably referring to the gathering of various leaders whose races later would join the future Alliance, some of the leaders were actually sent from the future when the Alliance did exist, such as Rhonin) this event was probably the first time the earthen encountered races like humans and dragons.

As said, the now-flesh dwarves have played a much greater role in the Alliance. While the dwarves in Northrend have stayed rather inactive and never ventured far away from Ulduar, the dwarves emerging from Uldaman have traveled across much of the world and interacted with many other races. They encountered the humans, perhaps their most important allies, ca. 1800 years before the First War and at the same time the high elves as the elves and humans were already allies.[6] Gilneas and Alterac, strong supporters of Strom and the Arathor Empire, had developed mighty armies that explored the mountainous southern lands of Khaz Modan. It was during this period that humans first met the ancient race of dwarves and traveled to their cavernous subterranean city of Ironforge. The humans and dwarves shared many secrets of metalsmithing and engineering and discovered a common love for battle and storytelling.[7] Interaction between the dwarves and the humans increased, and the two races soon became allies. For instance, it was the humans who taught the dwarves how to write in common.[8] The humans also introduced the dwarves to the Holy Light.[9] The dwarves on their side used their knowledge to craft powerful weapons for the humans (such as the Ashbringer). Apparently, it was also humans who came up with the name "dwarf", although the night elves had already used it as a derogatory term for earthen before the War of the Ancients.[10]

200 years ago the dwarves also met the gnomes, whom the dwarves shared a flair for technology and engineering with. The dwarves were impressed with the ingenuity and quickness of their smaller “kin” (for they had (correctly) assumed that the gnomes had a similar origin as themselves). Since this union began, the gnomes and dwarves have often been treated as one faction instead of two.[11] Their frequent collaborations resulted in the creation of some of the Alliance's most amazing devices and weapons. Thus, the union has served the Alliance well; supplying Alliance armies with heavy artillery mortars, submarines, mechanical contraptions, siege engines, and flying machines.[12] One of the most important events that strengthened this friendship was the building of Gnomeregan, which both races contributed to the city's construction.[13] When Gnomeregan later was overtaken by troggs after the Third War, the gnome refugees moved to Ironforge in order to plan a counterattack.

These four races were further joined together during the Second War (which occurred after the War of the Three Hammers, see next section below), when the humans sought the aid of the various kingdoms inhabiting Lordaeron in the battle against the Horde.[14][15] Originally only the humans were invited, but races such as the dwarves (with the gnomes) and the high elves applied as well when they saw their lands being ravaged. Political leaders like King Terenas Menethil and Anduin Lothar gathered the dwarves (of the Ironforge- and Wildhammer-clans), gnomes, high elves and humans into the Alliance of Lordaeron which ultimately defeated the Horde and laid ground for the present-day Alliance. Although this organization has changed much since then, with the departure of some members like most of the high elves (now blood elves) and the gaining of new members like the draenei and the night elves, dwarves still stand as one of the core parts of the Alliance.[16]

War of the Three Hammers

Dark Factions
Main article: War of the Three Hammers

The dwarves of Ironforge were originally a part of the Ironforge clan. They later were divided into three factions: the Bronzebeard clan who controlled the city, the Wildhammer clan who controlled the foothills of the mountain, and the Dark Iron clan who lived in the shadows of the mountain. When the high king of all the dwarves, Modimus Anvilmar, died, violence broke out into a civil war which resulted with the victorious Bronzebeard clan keeping Dun Morogh, the Wildhammers settling in Grim Batol in the Wetlands, and the Dark Irons settling in the Redridge Mountains and founding the city of Thaurissan — named after their leader.

The Dark Irons were bitter about their loss and attacked both kingdoms all at once to prevent one to come to the other's aid. Thaurissan led his army to Ironforge and was ultimately defeated. Thaurissan's wife, Modgud, invaded Grim Batol and used her magic to break through the gates and lay siege to the Wildhammers. Khardros Wildhammer, ruler of Grim Batol, slew the dark queen and was victorious. The clan of Ironforge then went on the offensive and marched onto the Dark Iron clan's capital. But the Dark Irons had accidentally summoned Ragnaros, the Elemental Firelord. Ragnaros ravaged the Redridge Mountains and enslaved the Dark Iron clan. Seeing this terror those of Ironforge turned back to their homes. Unfortunately, Modgud's magic had made the Wildhammer homeland uninhabitable, so they left and migrated north and settled in the Hinterlands and founded the city of Aerie Peak. There, the Wildhammers became more bonded with nature and learned to ride the mighty gryphons.

The Explorer's League

Main article: Explorers' Guild
Magni Bronzebeard, leader of the Explorer's League.

Recently the dwarves unearthed a series of ruins that held the key to the secrets of their lost heritage. Driven to discover the truth about his people’s fabled origins, King Magni Bronzebeard ordered that the dwarves shift their industry from mining and engineering to that of archaeology. Magni helped to create the famed Explorers' Guild of Ironforge, a group utterly devoted to plumbing the secrets of the ancient world and delving out the truth of the dwarves’ fabled existence.[17] The Explorer's League, or Explorer's Guild as it is also called, is a recent organization founded by dwarves seeking to uncover their past and relation to the titans. Searching for titan (and all other kinds as well, for that matter) artifacts and ruins, their dig sites and camps can be found all over Azeroth - some are even stationed in Outland. Information recovered is carefully analyzed and stored in the Hall of Explorers in Ironforge. The shared duties of either being out on adventure, digging in the ground for lost treasures, or sitting home in Ironforge while filing reports and schedules have given the Explorer's League a effective system with a rapid development. Information recovered increases all the time, and so does the league's members.

The Explorer's League was founded shortly after the Third War. The dwarves had followed the humans to Kalimdor as soldiers against the Burning Legion, and in the aftermath of this war the dwarves discovered they might had been created by powerful beings to shape the earth.[18] Ruins in Kalimdor[19] suggested that the dwarves' past may have been connected to of the titans, and teams of prospectors, excavators and archaeologists were quickly assembled and dispatched to all corners of the world in order to investigate. Additionally, a new area of Ironforge was financed in order to house the league's work. As much of the information about the titans was lost during the earthen's slumber after the Great Sundering, the information has to be gathered all over again from relics and data the titans left behind.

Becoming a member of the league is not an easy task. It requires the applicant (which nearly always is a dwarf) to possess supreme skills in everything from the recognition of mines and herbs to map-making and geography. The league's most profound member is Brann Bronzebeard, a Dwarven explorer who has seen nearly all corners of the world, which has granted him quite the insight in the dwarves' past.

While the dwarves' allies (such as the humans and the gnomes) do not share as much motivation for this project as the dwarves do, they still support and aid the organization. Not only does the league provide much information about distant areas and cultures, several goldmines have also been found during the league's excavations. The humans have also found a greater interest in the league's activity as result from encounters with the vrykul in Northrend, which are the progenitors of humans. Apparently, humans seem to (although somewhat indirectly) derive from the titans as well.

The league's struggle to gain knowledge of the titans has not only resulted in a better understanding of the world, it has also unlocked one of the dwarves' ancient abilities - [Stoneform]. This ability lets the dwarves turn their skin into stone, becoming similar to the earthen for a short period of time. While this ability is already useful against effects such as poison, the dwarves believe that this is only the first step in reclaiming their earthen-powers.

Current situation

The dwarves sharing their famous brew

The dwarves today are spread over all of Azeroth and Outland, helping their friends with everything from slaying monsters to seeking for treasures. Their talent of forging metals and ore have had a large impact on their culture and style of living - their cities consists of enormous forges and seething foundries accompanied by enchanted anvils and tools for handling molten ore.[20][21] Runes and various shapes creates intricate borders and ornaments adorning their constructs and architecture, possibly inspired by the runes passed down to them from the titans.[22][23]

Dwarves are aligned with all kinds of organizations and associations. One may divide them into two groups; those who serve the Alliance one way or the other, and those who do not.

The majority of dwarves serve the Alliance. This includes the Ironforge, Wildhammer and Frostborn dwarves. The Ironforge ones are those most populous, found as everything from guards within Ironforge to soldiers on the frontlines against whatever the Alliance is fighting. The wildhammer dwarves are also often found as soldiers for the Alliance, but many of them spend their time at their home in the Hinterlands. The frostborn dwarves are the least active kind of dwarf within the Alliance, only found at their home, Frosthold, in the Storm Peaks where they seem to be doing next to nothing. A large part of the Alliance's dwarves are also as mentioned dedicated to the Explorer's League, differing from many of the other dwarfs in the Alliance as the goals of the league (discover the secrets of the titans) and the Alliance (kill whatever threatens the nation of humans and their allies) are rather different. Still they work together, suppressing their enemies and aiding their allies while revealing the secrets of the world. The Alliance has been deeply affected by their dwarf-members since the humans began it - known for firing flaming gunshots and cannonballs at the enemy during war, while drinking ale and beer in surplus amounts during peace, dwarves have affected the Alliance's style of warfare and culture.

Dwarves not allied with the Alliance includes the Dark Iron dwarves and various dwarves working for different organizations such as the Venture Co, pirates, the Argent Dawn and the Twilight's Hammer. Of these, only the dark irons resemble a "true" faction of dwarves. In the other cases, the dwarf could be swapped out with any random creature also aligned with the said faction, such as a gnoll or a tauren, without any relevant change occurring. Their goals and desires differs from most other dwarves, making them freelancing individuals following whatever seemed more profitable.

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

When freak natural disasters began rocking much of Azeroth just prior to the Cataclysm, the dwarven lands were not spared from the calamitous upheavals. A series of violent quakes tore through areas surrounding Ironforge, reducing settlements to rubble and taking the lives of many innocent dwarves in the process. To glean answers as to the troubling state of the world, King Magni selflessly underwent a mystic ritual to commune with the earth. The archaic ceremony, however, had an unexpected effect: Magni was transformed into diamond and became fused to the depths of Ironforge itself.

In the power vacuum that followed, his estranged daughter, Moira, who had married into the much despised Dark Iron clan, briefly claimed Ironforge’s throne and effectively locked down the city. If not for the intervention of King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind and his son, Prince Anduin, her brash actions might have sparked another civil war. With Varian’s guidance, control of Ironforge has since been divided equally among the Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, and Dark Iron clans through the Council of Three Hammers. Yet as bitterness and prejudice fester among the clans, the council’s ability to govern as one remains uncertain.

The representatives of each dwarven clan in the council is:

Mists of Pandaria

MoP This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

Numbers of dwarves followed the Alliance and took part in their campaign against the Horde, attacking them in Domination Point.

After discovering the Zandalari had turned their focus on rallying the Frostmane tribe of Dun Morogh against Ironforge, Varian asked the Council to help repel the invaders. Both Muradin and Falstad declined, fearing if they left Ironforge to fight the trolls, the Dark Irons would take over the city. Only Moira Thaurissan offered aid, stating that the Dark Irons would prove their loyalty to the Council, Ironforge, and the Alliance in the defense of Ironforge. Together, they defeated their enemies and returned to Ironforge to announce Moira's victory to the Council. On their return, the other dwarven leaders were ashamed of their behavior and vowed never again to allow fear or distrust to cloud their judgment. Free to trust one another, all three dwarven leaders pledged their full strength to the Alliance cause.

During the Siege of Orgrimmar, Moira Thaurissan and a contingency of dwarven troops joined the Alliance on their march upon the city, where Garrosh was ultimately defeated.

Dwarven clans and races

Clans

Races

According to Brann Bronzebeard these are the following sub races of dwarves[25]

Hill dwarf is a term to describe dwarves living in the hills. Mountain dwarf is a term used to describe dwarves living in the mountains. Characters described as being hill dwarves include; Rom, Gimmel, Joj, Narn. Characters described as mountain dwarves include; Falstad Dragonreaver, Glodin, Molok, Tupan and Yorg Stormheart. The Bronzebeard clan and the Wildhammer clan have both been described as having hill dwarves and mountain dwarves[26][27].

Appearance

Female dwarf.

All types of Dwarves are 4-5 feet tall[28] and stout to varying degrees. The males always have beards, typically a long wild beard sometimes with hair to match. Female dwarves are also short as well as stout albeit to a lesser degree. They rarely have appear to have beards, although there are instances of bearded female dwarves typically among Wildhammer dwarves. Female dwarves who sported strong beards are considered a sign of beauty among members of the Wildhammer dwarves.[29]

Notable Dwarves

A mountain dwarf attacking a dark iron dwarf

Mountain Dwarves

Note: Also referred to as Ironforge dwarves.

Hill Dwarves

Note: Also referred to as wild dwarves, who mostly belong to the Wildhammer clan.

Dark Dwarves

Note: The Dark dwarves mostly belong to the Dark iron clan.

Earthen

Note: Earthen are often called "dwarves" by other races, and by Brann Bronzebeard when speaking of his ancestors.

Frost Dwarves

Note: The Frost dwarves mostly belong to the Frostborn faction.

Trivia

  • Apparently, dwarves were the ones who invented the gun. While members of any race can learn to use a firearm, the dwarves still possess a certain knack for it.[30][31]
  • With the recent discoveries of their past, it is now possible that the dwarves might be the eldest Titan-created race on Azeroth, alongside the Sea Giants, having been created (as Earthen) to develop the world before the titans' departure.
  • Since time before the War of the Three Hammers, the dwarves of the Eastern Kingdoms have had a love for the pipe, and they go nowhere without their personal pipes. They'll even smoke something else if they have to make do. Rom's scouting group inside Grim Batol in Night of the Dragon made a substance from ground brown mushrooms and a red weed found near water. Rom considered the stuff foul, but he smoked some anyway.[32]
  • Also long in use before the War of the Three Hammers is the ritual of Gwyarbrawden between the common warriors of the Eastern Kingdoms. It isn't spoken of publicly by the dwarves, let alone to their allies. As such, very few outsiders even know about this part of dwarven society.[33]
  • Apparently, dwarves will often hide things in their beards.[34]
  • As in most modern fantasy, the dwarves in the Warcraft universe draw parallels to those in Tolkien's legendarium as well as the original race in Norse mythology. Most notably, and common to both sources, are their facility with and affinity for mining and other crafts of earth and stone. Their short stature and general appearance are common throughout mythology as well as fiction. The Warcraft dwarves' descent from the earthen also mirrors both sources.
  • The Warcraft dwarven affinity for mechanical engineering may derive in part from the Warhammer games' depiction of dwarves as technologically apt or may itself simply be an extension of their affinity for mining and metalcraft. This also relates to Norse mythology where they are the creators of many of the gods' artifacts and weapons, such as Thor's hammer Mjollnir.
  • It's assumed that Dwarves have better eyesight in the dark than most races, due to living in the dark mountains ever since their awakening from the titan ruins.
  • Dwarves, have a connection to the earth. It is very highly assumed that they share this from their ancestors, the Earthen, who also have a connection with the earth. This could mean that they maybe can control the earth in some way, and use it to their advantage. (This is indicated in the pre-Cataclysm event when King Magni Bronzebeard says: "We dwarves have a connection to the earth. We can feel her pain. And right now the earth is crying out. These earthquakes... they are both natural and not. I wanted to gather you all together and discuss them.")

See also

References