"The Surface Clan" - a Dwarven Subculture

The “Banished” Dwarves - the Surface Clan

There have always been occasional dwarves who prefer a life upon the surface much like their ancient ancestors once lived, and some dwarves have always lived closer to the horizon for various reasons - be it guardsmen wanting to stay close to their post, or those who gathered the materials closer to the surface to have exported further down. But sometime in the days when the dwarves lived close to the mana core, there was a strange event where many like-minded dwarves came together to request that they move back to the mountains and surface out of preference. Considered an act of heresy by the king or local leader or whatever forgotten name was in charge, the dwarves were banished from their people’s lands, though that did not matter to them- they were surface-bound anyway.

There were enough dwarves to survive their initial encounters up top, and soon they formed their own society. While they moved away from the initial mountain they fled from, they remained close to other mountains and areas with an overcover, such as dense forests. They declared themselves a new clan, the Surface Clan, though their encounters with others of their kind would be limited to traders and diplomats, those who had a purpose to live upon the overworld.

Their culture slowly grew apart from that of the population at large. While they still practiced stone-masonry and metalsmithing, woodworking and other surface occupations became just as important to them, and in their aesthetic choices many of their angular designs developed into more rounded ones, and their architecture could be considered more modest and understated than those well-known grand dwarven halls… These dwarves still put honor at the forefront of their society, and they’re still famous for getting drunk, though now since they farm their own lands they have a much wider variety of alcoholic drinks that their palates acclimated to. They also began worshiping certain gods more that most dwarves didn’t - Gaela and Naphia, for instance, the moon and the forest goddesses - for what purpose would a deity of the moon serve to a race who never saw the blue moon glow?

Eventually, as the larger dwarven populations returned to their mountain homes, the surface clan found themselves at an excellent opportunity - they could be the go-between for the dwarves and the various other races. They had much more experience and interactions with other surface dwellers, but deep down still held a kinsmanship with their underground brothers and sisters, even if the feelings weren’t always mutual.

The “Surface Clan” is the only portion of the dwarven population whose skin tones can become darker in complexion, but even the darkest of the clan hasn’t reached anywhere near the darkest complexions of humans or even elves. Physically, they’re much the same as their underground counterparts, however, having done little interbreeding with humans or other races (not for lack of trying, though.) The surface clan readily accepts individuals of other races in for companionship or intermarriage, one of the other reasons they were expelled.

Today, outsiders can never really put a pin on “surface dwarves.” They are still red-blooded dwarves through and through, but they’re so much more “similar” to the other races of the overworld. They’re more friendly and less greedy than fellow dwarves, but will still drink all other races to death in a contest. Their beards are still bushy and their hair often wild, but they don’t mind taking fashion advice from other peoples. To many scholars and philosophers of the overworld, their existence has prompted in them a burning question - what does it mean to be your own race?

[Optional, possible RP mechanic?] - As these dwarves have lived on or near the surface for far longer than their counterparts, dwelling away from the mana core for so long some innate magical abilities may start to spring in these dwarves once again, allowing for minor to modest magical abilities. However, this is a double-edged sword, and the famed dwarven resistance to magic has practically vanished, putting the surface clan on par with humans for magical resistance, if not worse.

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