A playable race, dwarves are the children of Brell Serilis, the god of underfoot. They are one of the most ancient civilized races on Norrath, on par with the Tunare's Elddar elves and Prexus' Kedge. Dwarves were, along with these other two races, the result of the Duke of Below's pact with the Mother of All and the Oceanlord to suppress the draconic children of Veeshan, a pact which marked the beginning of Norrath's Elder Age.
Dwarves are cousins to the gnomes, later creations of Brell, and share a similar relationship with kobolds, gnolls, and minotaurs, though one would be hard-pressed to find a dwarf willing to acknowledge any kinship to such beings. They are native to the Butcherblock Mountains in the western region of the continent of Faydwer, and it is in the heart of those mountains that one can find Kaladim, the subterranean capitol city of the dwarven kingdom. A subrace of the dwarves, the Coldain, have also established a kingdom of their own on the frozen continent of Velious.
Dwarves are a short, stubby race, generally only a few inches taller than gnomes or halflings. Unlike the wiry gnomes and portly halflings, however, dwarves are strong and thick with muscle. They have very broad frames and facial features to match. Their skin tone is usually similar to a human's, but with a somewhat ruddier complexion. Their hair is a shade of brown in the vast majority of cases, as are their eyes, though various other colors can also be found in smaller amounts among their population. The most notable physical feature of the dwarves, however, is their facial hair; dwarven men take great pride in their thick, extravagant beards, and tie them into complex braids or other styles which are sometimes used as an indicator of an individual dwarf's clan. Dwarven women, on the other hand, tend to be clean-shaven, but even they have been known to grow short, neatly-trimmed beards on occasion.
Dwarves are a stoic, hard-working people, (in)famous for their stubborn, often-humorless natures. This reputation is not entirely undeserved, as dwarves have an extremely strong sense of honor and duty, and tend to become anxious and irritable when they lack a specific task to apply themselves to. It may be this quality that is ultimately responsible for what may be the dwarves' most widely recognized feature: their love of alcohol. Dwarves have an incredible affinity for strong drink, and have even been known to carry steins of mead or ale with them onto raging battlefields. Moreover, they are as skilled at brewing alcoholic beverages as they are at consuming them; some of Norrath's most prized drinks originated in dwarven taverns, and innovative new drinks emerge from the tunnels of Kaladim regularly. Dwarves are not just respected for their skill at brewing, however. They have also produced some of Norrath's greatest jewelers and blacksmiths, crafts which come naturally to them due to their affinity for living underground and working with the earth and stone around them.
The racial and cultural similarities between dwarves and Barbarians are prominent and numerous. The two races have similar senses of honor, similar mannerisms, and roughly equal affection for combat and drinking, among other things. One area in which the two races differ drastically, however, is in their attitude toward religion and philosophy. Where even the most devout Barbarian would most likely rather wrestle or fish than discuss spirituality, dwarves have naturally deep minds, especially where the gods are concerned. Few races are as devoted to their patron deity on the whole as dwarves are to Brell (only the Iksar and Drakkin can be said to surpass them in this regard), and this is supported by and reflected in the relative lack of dwarven worshippers of gods besides the Duke of Below. Only two other deities, Rallos Zek and Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane, have significant numbers of dwarven followers, and both of these gods are openly disdained by the majority of dwarven society. The Warlord is shunned for his relation to the ogres, perennial nemeses of the dwarves, while the King of Thieves is (rightly) seen as lackadaisical and irreverent.
Classes supported by dwarven culture at large include warrior, berserker, rogue, cleric, and paladin. Dwarven rogues are notable for wielding daggers forged out of a remarkably light and sturdy metal alloy known as Velixite.