The Kindred of the Earth
Dworghs are an ancient people of great strength and stamina. Although they are shorter and heftier than most humans, Dworghs are not to be underestimated. They possess great physical strength and can see better in the dark than humans as a result of having adapted to living underground. As a people, Dworghs have traditionally structured their civilization, culture, and society around the occupations of mining, construction, smithing, and craftsmanship. In recent centuries they have taken to mechanics, engineering, clockworks, and merchant trades. Like humans, Dworghs also build great cities and empires. They are greatly renowned for their fine craftsmanship, their knowledge of metallurgy, and knack for all things mechanical. They can be found in human cities as well, engaged in every manner of occupation, but smithing, mechanics, and merchant trades are most common.
Dworghs stand an average of 42 inches tall, and adult males weigh between 120 and 160 pounds. Many of them suffer from obesity, but it must be remembered that Dworghen physiology favors a wider, heavy body size; what humans might perceive as obese may be a healthy weight for a Dworgh. Male Dworghs possess an extraordinary amount of facial hair and often make a considerable fuss about keeping their beards properly groomed. Many also decorate their beards with beads, rings, braids, and various other beard ornamentation. Their skin tone ranges from light tan to black, depending on the characteristics of their clan, and their hair color can be black, brown, red, blond, or any color in between. The average life span of a Dworgh is similar to that of humans, but their maximum life span can extend to around 140 years. Dworghs once had their own distinct languages, known as Dworghen, but for the past few hundred years, they have adopted human languages as a result of trade and cultural exchange. Only elder Dworghs and scholars still speak the old tongue. Knowledge of Dworghen runes is now almost entirely lost.
Female Dworghs are smaller and lighter than males and look remarkably similar to short, stocky human females. However, the ratio of female to male Dworghs is considerably unbalanced, with approximately five Dworgh males to every Dworgh female. This striking imbalance has caused thousands of years of bloody wars between clans. It has also exaggerated their fiercely competitive nature, crystallized their rigid caste system and the hierarchy of their society, and is believed to have been the catalyst for their obsession with discovering gold and gems deep underground. At various times in the past, female Dworghs have been treated as slaves, bartered as property, guarded like precious treasures, elevated to queenly status, and in all the ranges in-between. As one joke goes, “Dworghs don’t know what to do with their ladies.” In most places today, Dworgh females enjoy equal rights and privileges, but remain captive to their unique rarity, with all the boons and curses that entails.
Half-Dworghs are born of a mating between a human and a Dworgh, although only one in thirty such unions may produce an offspring. As a result, even in places where humans and Dworghs live side-by-side, half-Dworghs are very rare. Half-Dworghs are sterile and cannot produce offspring.
Half-Dworghs stand around 55 inches tall and look remarkably like short, stout humans. They retain some Dworghen characteristics, such as stubby fingers, broad shoulders, and significant facial hair in the case of males. They are strong and hardy and have a keen sense for metallurgy and mechanics.