All Dwarves are descendants of the Seven Fathers, the original lords crafted from the earth by the Vala Aulë. Born of Aulë’s thoughts, they forever carry much of the Smith’s own loves and hates. Elves and Men attribute their nature to Eru’s grand scheme and are shaped to conform with the “Balance of Things.” Dwarves, on the other hand, only liken their ways to the Smith of the Valar, for Eru let the thoughts of his servant stand when he allowed them a life and a will. Thus, the Naugrim call Aulë Mahal (Kh. “Maker”): the giver of life, sculptor of mountains, and master of crafts.
Aulë conceived the Khazad at a time when Morgoth was in rebellion, declaring himself Lord of Middle-earth. With fear in his mind, the Smith crafted his Children to resist the Evil of the Black Enemy. The Dwarves awoke a strong and vigorous race. They are vulnerable to greed and yet rock-hard, stubborn and yet practical, slow to love and yet fast in friendship. No other race is as rugged, nor as resistant to hunger, hurt, or toil. Naugrim can endure the longest of journeys without words, and withstand fire and cold without flinching.
Dwarves are also dear in heart to one another. Although the Seven Tribes sundered soon after their awakening and have long since spread across Middle-earth, they have remained close. A Dwarf treats his kind as brothers and non-Dwarves as lesser beings who, one way or another, are a constant threat. Their blood is thick and their bonds are deep. They enter into agreements with extreme care but, once made, honor them to the letter. The old adage is true: “No friend ever did a Dwarf a favor, no enemy a wrong, without being repaid in full.” While the Naugrim are quick to quarrel —even among their own Houses — and suffer from jealousy like other Speaking Peoples, they will protect their brethren from outside enemies with unswerving fury. They will answer any call to war on behalf of their race.
The Khazâd enjoy a universal reputation for ruggedness, practicality, brutal frankness, and honor. Outwardly cold, they love things and devices crafted under hand much more than things that breathe with life. Most groups favor the rocky highlands and deep caverns of the mountains, for the Dwarves, perhaps more than any race, recollect and invoke their origins and heritage.
Dwarves are generally short, stocky, and strong. They are four to five feet tall and have sturdy, thick arms and legs. Their build enables them to carry great burdens and withstand tremendous hardships and punishment; it is not unusual for Dwarves to travel vast distances over short periods with little or no rest. Only Orcs rival their ability to endure work and remain steadfast in the face of an ordeal.
Like Orcs, they fear open water and the Vala Ulmo, and normally do not swim. Yet, Aulë saw to it that they are virtually immune to flame and ice, for from the time of their coming they have been subject to the fierce mountain weather and to the fires deep in the earth. Although this resistance has diminished over time, it remains a part of the Dwarven character. Dwarves are also renowned for their 200 – 400-year lifespans and their remarkable resistance to pain and disease.
The Naugrim have dark hair, deep-set eyes, and ruddy complexions. Because of their myriad enemies and constant exposure to the elements, they favor heavy clothing and make frequent use of stout metal armor. Dwarf-men nearly always sport long beards, unlike the slightly smaller Dwarf-women. Any apparent lack of variety is a contrivance. Dwarves quickly adopted a uniform, fierce, and grim outward appearance as a useful, protective facade, and still maintain a strong distinction between their public and private styles. When traveling, Dwarves wear hooded cloaks, often with scarves or masks, thereby creating confusion among other races. Even on the road, however, each House has a subtly unique look. Their colorful garb varies considerably from tribe to tribe, and even their hoods are tinted to indicate an individual’s origin and allegiance.
Dwarves are sober, quiet, possessive, suspicious, pugnacious, introspective, and greedy. This character has led them to seclude themselves in strongholds centered around rich veins of iron and precious metals. There they mine and create works of ‘superb craftsmanship, while guarding their hoards with a wariness that approaches paranoia. Like their Maker, they are fabulous smiths and unsurpassed workers of stone. Dwarven items are often stunningly beautiful, but practicality underlies all their artifice. This attitude also affects their views on magic: Dwarves know of spells and enchantments, but scoff at the ways of Elves or other conjurers, preferring instead to use such power in the making of permanent physical-items. Dwarven mages are unheard of.
The Khazâd are also known for their military prowess Superbly equipped and unyielding in purpose, they fight without thought of retreat or quarter. They favor overpowering weapons as rugged and brutal as the Dwarves themselves: heavy crossbows, axes, hammers, and war mattocks. Wearing heavy armor and cruel-looking helms with cowls (face visors or masks) resembling terrifying horned beasts, a force of Dwarven warriors presents a formidable and disturbing profile_
Relatively unfertile and lacking women, Dwarves rarely sire children — or even take wives. Barely a third of the race is composed of Dwarf-women and many of them desire mates they cannot have. Fewer than one in three Dwarf-men marry, for the Naugrim mate for life and will not join with one they do not desire above all others. Like most rare jewels, female Dwarves are coveted and obsessively protected in ways unlike those of my other race,
Fortunately, the Naugrim are enamored of crafts. Many never crave to love another, so they need no marital union. This introspective fascination with the arts and creation encourages stability among a race easily torn by envy and umbrage.
Dwarf-women are a proud lot. Fiercely protective of their rights, they stand as equals in all affairs but those of war. Dwarves place no restrictions on their status or their mobility, although they travel less than Dwarf-men. They require secure dwellings for the birthing of their offspring, so most remain sheltered from the rest of the world. In fact, Dwarf-women are so remote and rarely recognized, that some believe they do not exist. Since their voice and visage are akin to those of the males, these false legends are strengthened. Even now, many Men presume that Dwarves “grow from stone.”
The Khuzdul language
When in public or about in the wild, Dwarves speak Westron, the “Common Tongue.” In this they are fluent, for it is their second language and serves as their principal means of communication with others. Need forces them to absorb the speech of others and has made the Naugrim superb linguists. Some are accomplished speakers of Mannish dialects, while others are proficient users of Elvish.
Among themselves, Dwarves speak Khuzdul, a cloistered tongue known to virtually no one but themselves. This language is well suited to the throaty Dwarven voice, since it has a deep tonal quality. It is marked by harsh consonants and uses two- or three-consonant patterns to denote common concepts. For example, “K(h)-Z-D” structures refer to word roots equivalent that describe Dwarves or things essential to the Dwarven identity (e.g. “Khazâd” = “Dwarves”; “Kbazâd = “Dwarf”; “Khuzdul” = Dwarvish”).
The Naugrim inscribe using the Angerthas Moria, an unsystematic variant of the angular runic script Cirth. Because runes persevere and are by nature public, the Dwarves adopt written influences much more frequently than spoken alterations. Khuzdul changes little with time, being a sacred, spoken language of lore and not a cradle-speech.
Worship and ritual
This emphasis on conserving old ways also affects Dwarven religion. Generally superstitious, their rituals remain the same as those set down just after their awakening. The dead are always buried in stone, be it in crypt or under a cairn. They are never put to rest beside dirt or anything other than the substance from which the race was founded. When time or circumstance prevents proper interment, fallen Naugrim are placed on a pyre and burned.
Dwarves worship Aulë (Mahal) and turn to him when troubled or in need. Every fundamental belief they hold revolves around his character and his creation of the Seven Fathers. Accordingly, Dwarves revere the number “7” as essential and even sacrosanct.
Their origin-tale holds that Aulë wrought seven Lords and, in turn, seven Houses comprise the race.
This concept breeds the tenet that each House is a lineage with a common spirit which permeates the kindred and ties them together. In a sense, the Naugrim look upon themselves as parts of seven greater souls. They venerate their ancestors above all other things except Aulë their maker, and believe that the living core of their kindred spirit resides in each Dwarf-king.
The Age of the Hammer
The Age of the Hammer was Ruuriik’s most glorious day. It began with the rise of Naug Zigildûm I in T.A. 100 and lasted nearly 1000 years. During this era the Dwarves of the realm were able to expand their control of the mountains surrounding the fertile valley of old, and the great mines of their forefathers were reopened. The city of Ahulë, retaken in S.A. 3201 from Morclax of Anglclax, flourished, and enjoyed a population gifted in the arts of stone and metalcraft. The lowland “open city” and port Fullagrod was rebuilt under the design of Núis and became a never-to-be-forgotten model of Khazâd culture. Dwarven armies under Airrand Balli (the second and third sons of Naug and Núis) crushed the forces of Dwar of Waw in the Seven Campaigns of the Mortal Mirror and freed the region of Ralian from the Jendiar and Horl invaders. Throughout Naug’s reign, a fine library of lore and craft was founded and secreted deep in the halls of Mahal’s City. k was a time to grow and be merry; it was a time to hoard riches.
Naug’s exalted wife, was responsible for much of the legacy attributed to her husband. Her grace was legendary and was passed to her seven offspring. She became a symbol of cultural strength and ordered the rebuilding of seven cities, each dedicated to the temples of stone. Nulls’ concern with ritual and rites caused a blossoming of piety among both the Sixth and Seventh Tribes (Drúin’s and Barin’s Folk) and lent strength to the warriors of Naug throughout the wars that sparked the realm. Núis also uncovered and translated the seven texts of Balli Stonehand and resumed the search for the semi-mythical “Firststone,” a monolith that was said to have provided Aulë with the blood of the Khazâd. Under her guidance, seven great warrior-rangers were given the stone hammers “spawned by the mirror” and were told to go forth seeking the “Pits of Utumno.”
Naug began the training of an army that was skilled in a wide variety of weapons, tongues, and maneuvers, and cleared the vales of the Orocami of Morclax’s vermin. His interest in education provided the realm with an open-minded record of diplomacy and trade and made Ruuriik the strongest Dwarven hold outside of Khazad-dim.
The Quest for the Hammer
Naug was born of the union between Orí and the Dwarf Lord Galin (known as Galin Drúinakh) — the old bastard who was called “Druhr” by his wife’s people. Since the marriage crossed the lines of the two houses of Ruuriik, young Naug had a special place in the hearts (if Dwarves really have any) and minds of his kind.
Galin was the seventh in the Second Line of the Lords of Ahulë, and acted as council to the King of the Two Houses of Ruuriik — Fulla XIV. His was the position that others envied, bat few actually aspired to; only the Lord of Fullagrod stood above him on the Council of the House of Drúin the Proud. He was strong and very old. Even in the days of the New-king (Fulla XIII), he was grey and weathered, leading many to call him Galin the Wizened. He may well have passed Death’s Call, and the ending of his third century, by the time he sired the youngest of his sons in S.A. 3400. He named this last son Naug. The young Dwarf would later be known as Naug of the Mirror-hall.
King Fulla XIV took the throne of Ruud& in T.A. I, and replaced the murdered son of Fulla New-king — the unfortunate Balin. He took a throne of power and might, but lacked the trappings of authority necessary to sit among the other houses at Thisulë. His dominion was oft-times questioned, and he had difficulty in retiring the Lords of his cities when the proper time came. Bralin of Ruurumakh challenged his position, for he was not of direct line to Fulla VII and could not prove that the North Hammer would truly sing in his hands. (In fact, since the North Hammer was lost, no Lord could fully lay claim to the throne.)
When Fulla XIV selected Galin as Lord of Tumunamahal, them was discontent. The lordship of Ahulë meant a place in the royal crypts of the Old Deeps and a seat in the exalted Khalarazûm and enabled a Lord to secure the key to the “Lower Roads,” those underground trails that connected the entirety of Ruuriik. Galin was old and wise, to be sure, but lacked the experience of outright power and vast authority. He was but a novice in the world of politics. Nonetheless, he was chosen, and moved to Ahulë in the year T.A. 7. Thus began the friendship between the two old lords of Drúin’s house.
While in Ahulë, Galin was secure and had no trouble reinforcing the strength of its hegemony over the nearby mountain vales. He strove to tighten the security of his great city and placed a special watch over the Rear Gate. By the year T.A. 10, he felt safe enough to begin the service of the King and to attempt to secure the seven tools needed by his House. Each was to involve careful consideration and was to be a guarded secret until such a time as it could be completely safe and in the hands of the Dwarves. Each defined authority, and all meant power.
Galin had seven sons. The first six: Zigum, Balin, Furin, Gurin, Orin, and Druhar, were all of his marriage to Bori. Since she was killed, however, he wed again, and gave the world Naug. Naug’s mother was Orí, a Dwarf of the House of Barin, and was said to be the wisest of her kind, the great-granddaughter of Drús, daughter of Balli Wildtongue. She was of a rare breed whose spirits often looked to Aulë. Naug proved to be no exception and quickly embarked on certain studies into the arts of detection and stonelore. His friends said that he shied away from combat because of his small size (only 4 feet in height), but others knew better. (A cruel writer would now say he was really a coward.) In reality, Naug secluded himself in order to learn how to rise above the constrictions of his Dwarven mind. He mastered the various dialects of Khuzdul and became adept at perceiving things in the manner of the Avari.
Each of Galin’s sons was given a quest by their father and none of the youths knew of his brothers’ goals. They were only told of the great importance of their missions, and the fact that the King himself had wished that they find success in time. All were sent out and told that they should not return empty-handed. “Fate rests upon the seven sides of the stone,” said Galin, “and you should all be proud to serve the cause of your race.” Unwavering, each followed his bidding.
Naug’s seeking was to be great. Since he was the youngest, his quest came last and may well have been the most dangerous in its potential difficulty and possible consequences. He was to find the North Hammer. The Hammer’s return would bring power to the realm and would enable the King to gather secrets that had long been gone from Ruuriik. It would give Fulla XIV the authority necessary to complete the wishes of his dying grandfather. Nothing would please the old Dwarf more than the stability of a King who he felt would make Ruuriik strong once again. So, he sent his seventh son out into the world to seek the greatest weapon of his people.
No House of the Khazad stands above that of Durin’s Folk. They are the oldest and noblest lineage, for they trace their line back to the first of the Seven Fathers. Their ancient spirit, coupled with the Kindred’s role in history, makes Durin’s House the most experienced tribe, the first among jealous equals.
Physically, Durin’s Folk are no different than other Dwarves. Slanted tales citing their superior stature and strength are confined to the blazed Libraries of Erebor and Khazad-dam. It is true that they carry themselves with assurance and beating, but this is not function of greater size.
Instead, the Naugrim of the First House differ from their brethren in less obvious ways. Those of Durin’s Tribe allow their beards to grow freely throughout their lives, and wear them forked and braided. Then they tuck the whiskers into their belts, allowing slack for sudden movement. Many plait their flowing hair as well and, in each case, they utilize elaborate knot patterns particular to their family.
Durin’s Folk also employ a distinctive colored hood, in lieu of a cowled cloak. Most lack adornment; rather, they rely on bright, solid hues to embellish otherwise graceless lines. Flaps or a mask are often sewn into the hood, so that the face can be covered or protected. (Dwarf-women make widespread use of these coverings.) Durin’s Dwarves wear their hoods over traditional Dwarven garb; a leather jerkin or wool tunic, a wool or linen shirt, tight-fitting trousers, and one-piece shoes or inner- boots. When active or about in the world, these Naugrim don heavy leather boots and a cloak or shawl fastened with a decorated brooch. Given their fondness for crafts, all of their clothing is well made and generously accented with refined borders and crenelated trim work. Dwarf-lords wear even finer garments, and often add gold or silver tassels to the peaks of their hoods.
Durin’s Line is also famous for vibrant music. While all Dwarves love a tune and relate their secret stories only through lyrical abandon, Durin’s Folk embrace their songs with unusual fervor. This emphasis comes from long exposure to the Elves, particularly the Sindar of Beleriand, the Noldor of Eregion, and the varied inhabitants of Lórien. Rarely do Durin’s Folk work or march without spilling a yarn set to tune. Since the words are often in Westron or an Elvish tongue, their music frequently carries a cadence that is peculiar to others, but the message is almost always Dwarvish.
It is scarcely surprising that the Naugrim of the First House are also makers of fine musical instruments. They favor flutes and horns, for their short fingers do not adapt well to stringed contrivances. Drums and other percussion pieces provide some variety, but the Khazâd are not concerned with such diversity. Instead, they rejoice in variations of simple, economical tones, be they voices or notes wafting from heart of a noble musical device.
Just as they quick to take to song, Durin’s Folk are always active in other ways. Even when they relax, they eat, or drink, or smoke a pipe. When they are not crafting objects, they play with them. It is this passion that gave birth to the awesome reaches of Moria, the same impatient drive that makes the Naugrim wander when they have no more halls to hew. Thus, one rarely encounters one of the First House on the trail without a walking stick in hand, a Dwarf eager for a test of strength or skill or lore.
Nonetheless, Durin’s Folk are occasionally lost in thought and sit back to reflect on the trials and wounds of their Kindred. Tales of Moria are often the focal point of these ponderings, but most dwell on the spirit of the Tribe. No Dwarf-lord is as respected or as feared as Durin I, “The Deathless.” The First Father, maker of the Kindred, founder of Khazad-dûm, Durin is a venerated symbol whose blood flows through both the veins and the thoughts of his ancient brood.
Durin I lived many years past the span allotted other Dwarves and, after a time, his folk claimed he was immortal; thus his name, The truth, however, rests in another account. This tale speaks of Durin’s spirit. A version drawn from the “Dunland Tablet”’ follows:
“To You it is told that Durin shall live seven times, and each Time shall rule His Line in his own Name. And with each Coming of the King, a great Event will transpire, so that the History of the Folk will never again be the same. And each such Event shall cause a Trial to happen, and an always greater Doom will follow. But the Kindred will prevail, and make Its Way above all Darkness. Until the Last Coming, when the Lastking shall Rule the House in a Glory beyond the Height of all before It, in the shining Mansions of Khazad-dam,”
So, it is written that there will be seven Durins, and that Durin VII will be the “Lastking.” It is a story as old as Durin’s Folk, and has always colored their outlook. In many ways, it explains the strange sense of destiny that has allowed the Kindred to prevail against incredible adversity. No tribe of the Khazâd has faced so many obstacles, nor overwhelmed as many barriers. Unlike many of their brethren, Durin’s Line has steadfastly clung to their future —despite the Ring-curse and the Dwarven weakness for wealth and possessions. Farsighted sacrifice has often marked their choice of paths, and seems to linger in their bones. Of all the Naugrim, then, those of the First House are most special.
With the aid of the Valar, the Elven society of the Undying Lands (Aman) created the greatest works ever achieved by the Children of Eru. Within Middle-earth, however, only the Dwarves can claim supremacy as pure builders. Dwarven construction, particularly underground, is unrivalled in its strength and scale; and of all the legacies of the Naugrim, none surpass Moria.
The Dwarven fascination for inanimate things born of craft-work permeates every level of their thought and their society. Ever active, they are always laboring, either improving or repairing an old work, or building something new. Their unique devotion to toil traditionally channels most of their physical and mental energies into material tasks, thus creating the Dwarves’ utter preoccupation with technology. Dwarf culture embraces its engineers, masons, smiths, scientists, workers, and warriors with a vigor found nowhere else. It is hardly surprising, then, that the Naugrim are the most technologically advanced race in Middle-earth.
Dwarf-smiths are the most prominent Dwarven craftsmen, for the products of their labor are circulated throughout Middle-earth. Dwarven tools, armor, and weaponry command high value and are prized by artisans, warriors, and noblemen alike.
Implements produced in Moria bring the highest prices, for the Dwarf-smiths of Khazad-dûm are considered the best of their race. The legacy of those descended from the Line of Nogrod, combined with long years of cultural exchange with the Noldor Elves of Eregion, provide the smiths of Moria with a wealth of experience and knowledge concerning both metallurgy and magic. Continuously secure dwellings add an important atmosphere of stability and continuity, since the Naugrim require protected confines for their painstaking yield. Among the Dwarves, time and temperament are critical ingredients, as important as ore and fire.
Elaborate and extensive Smith-halls chum out tools and parts required for the production of clever machines. With a host of high-quality steels and specialty metals, and a fondness for mechanical things, Dwarven engineers assemble phenomenal devices which lessen toil and accomplish feats undreamed of elsewhere. Simple whines like pulleys, levers, counterbalances, coiled tension-springs, wheeled carts, sledges, gears, and screws are commonplace. Combinations of these mechanisms, often very complex and sophisticated engines, are deployed where required. Most are located in the Mines, Smithies, Craft-halls, and Lords-halls, or in areas critical to military defense.
Even without the wealth of mechanical marvels, Dwarf-holds are graced with a legion of enchanted or magical works, things of Power. The Naugrim produce few pure Mages, but many are endowed with a command of spells and incantations. Masters of Alchemy or the Power of manipulating inanimate things, these Dwarves are often engineers or smiths who are capable of crafting prized objects with peculiar or mystical properties. Such items perform miraculous chores or have exalted qualities. They are therefore revered, and their makers are accorded high status in Dwarven craft-oriented society. Some of the most prevalent or preeminent works follow.
Light-stones are magical, transparent jewels which have an enchanted inner “fire.” This “burning glow” lies in the core the gem and is colored by the hue of its receptacle. Crossed rays of differing colors mix to form other shades, so that, by choosing the proper light-stone combinations and arranging them carefully, the Dwarves can achieve virtually any effect desired. In addition, larger jewels generally give off stronger light and can offset or dominate their smaller companions. The life of a light- stone is keyed to the skills and power of its maker. Some Craft- lords are able to enchant gems that glow for decades, even lifetimes, although most dim and gradually expire after a few years.
Another, much smaller collection of magic rocks is affixed in select sites throughout most Dwarf-holds, particularly at special entryways or stairways, or within restricted tunnels. Called “Watchers-in-stone” (or simply “Watchers”), these are beautifully carved statues with inlaid glassine eyes. Each is an individualized creation based on a terrible or hideous beast drawn from history or lore. As such, they possess a startling, and often frightening, countenance, yet they remain pieces of exquisite artistry, legacies of deft and gentle Dwarf-chisels.
Most Watchers are sculpted of alabaster, marble, porphyry, or onyx, but a few are cut from heavier stone, such as granite or basalt. Sometimes their size or shape determines the medium used by the gone-carver, since they vary between a handful of pounds and a number of Ions and may involve very delicate protrusions. Generally, all are of a uniform material; only their eyes are the exception. Laen, or smooth, polished gems, compose the eye inlays.
Of course, it is the eyes that perceive things, and those set in the Watchers have exactly that purpose. Wherever they sit, they heed all who cross their gaze. Then they act according to their purpose. Some have eyes that glow brightly to warn Moria’s garrison or blind transgressors; others gather air and emit sounds like deep horns or wicked flute-calls; still others move to bar passage or ward away the unwary. Even the movable Watchers, however, are limited to a precise function. They do not resemble the truly animate stone Pûkel-men of the Woses.
Rune-keys are almost always metal slabs made of mithril alloys or fine steel. Key-makers usually design them as flat-faced forger rings or plates fitted with knobs or handles, but a few resemble branding irons. Magic symbols — spell-laden runes from the Angerthas Moria —grace the face of the Rune-key, as a bas relief or sculpted brand. The symbol is a reverse version of its counterpart, which is a carving in some wall or Dwarf-gate. When the Rune relief or brand fits snugly into the carved cut, it unmakes or unravels the magical lock that holds the Dwarf-gate against intrusion.
The Naugrim’s fondness for physical things is deeper than a simple predisposition for machines and enchanted objects. Dwarves like activity, which is root of their commitment to toil, and of all their pastimes, fighting is one of their favorites.
This is not to say that the Naugrim like killing; rather, they enjoy the contest or sport of battle. A mock combat or wrestling match suits their needs, so such tests are frequent, particularly at feasts and fests. In addition, military training requires rigorous pseudo-melees and exhausting brawls. Dwarves take challenges, even playful ones, very seriously.
With the advent of a war, then, the Khazad simply change the rules of the contest and resolutely face their foes. Coolly, efficiently, they withhold nothing and settle the dispute quickly and methodically, without sorrow, pity, or quarter. Although Dwarves are emotional, in the heat of battle they channel their passions. Every ounce of energy is directed at their enemy, until no opposition is ‘eft. The Naugrim mourn only after the struggle.
While a Dwarf prepares himself mentally and physically for combat, the smiths labor to assure he is well-equipped. In this they excel, for the Dwarven armories are usually superbly stocked, and trade in the tools of war adds considerable wealth to the coffers of the Dwarf-kings. More importantly, the smiths produce high-grade steel and mithril alloy armaments which are fitted to the warrior’s size and needs.
Dwarves favor three principal forms of armor. Mail, scale, and lamellar varieties predominate in Moria. Each of these types is used to make loose corselets, hauberks, fitted shirts, and leggings. What a warrior chooses or receives is often a matter of preference; however, his accoutrement depends on his status and responsibility. This is particularly true when availability becomes a function of commercial need, a common occurrence in Moria.
The Dwarven propensity for extensive battle-dress translates into a love for full helms and strong greaves. They hardly have a choice; in light of their love for close combat, these trappings are an absolute necessity. Nearly every warrior wears a true helm, and most use some form of greaves. As a result, a collection of Naugrim is almost completely covered when embroiled in an engagement.
This unbroken protection obscures the individual Dwarf and presents a problem for the fiercely independent and prideful Naugrim. In order to identify themselves, then, they rely on meaningful decor, particularly on the prominent surfaces of their shields, greaves, and helms. Dwarves make frequent use of brightly colored leather dyes and crest plumes and adorn themselves with engraved greave plates. The Khazâd also wear sculpted helmets which arc shaped like the heads of cruel and fantastic beasts. With coiled horns and exaggerated features, these helms present a disturbing, almost frightening presence. In fact, a host of helmeted Dwarves can be a terrifying sight.
To supplement their armor, Dwarves frequently carry shields. A few involve square, rectangular, septangular, oval, or kite shapes, but the vast majority are round. Whatever their shape, they are sturdy and comparatively large. Moria’s shields perform well in the hands of an Elf or Man because they are two and a half to three feet in diameter. A four to five-foot Dwarf bears one like a mobile wall.
As a means of providing beauty and reinforcement, metal plates or designs are placed on the shield face. Weird animal depictions and runic friezes are Dwarven favorites. Regardless of the pattern, though, the work surrounds or intersects a metal shield boss, which juts from the center and covers a hole for the principal handle. The circular boss is sometimes sculpted into an animate form, but most are simply spikes or enruned domes.
Due to their fine armor and overall lack of subtlety, Dwarves utilize “belligerent” rather than defensive weaponry. In a melee, Naugrim rely on heavy coverings and shields to deflect strikes or allay the impact of blows. A Dwarf rarely parries with his weapon; instead, he likes to bull through and carry, the offensive. Their assortment of heavy crossbows and shafted weapons — axes, mattocks, hammers, and maces — reflects this prejudice and emphasizes their aggressive posture. Many of these arms are two handers which betray the Dwarven boldness and suggest the dual-purpose and the mining origins of their war roots.
The Dwarves’ size, straightforward manner, and magnificent battle-trappings dictate a fondness for melee and a reluctance to retreat. Given the absence of Dwarf — cavalry and the weight of their armor, they cannot rely on quickness. Thus, they depend on compact formations, steady movement, unwavering determination, and outright force of arms.
Some rather sophisticated military organization belies the Naugrim’s rather simple tactical philosophy. Basically, the Dwarves believe in concentrating their strong heavy infantry in tight units. Then, unless the odds are overwhelmingly unfavorable, they attack with furious frontal assault.
Crossbowmen open fire and protect the rear with spears or long battle-axes. The elite Battle Guard silently advances with shields up and weapons readied, their maces, hammers, and mattocks gleaming with vengeful fire. Axemen bearing one- and two-hand war-axes move alongside them. Protecting the flanks and warding off troublesome cavalry or encircling infantry with short countercharges or barrages of throwing axes. As the Dwarven throng closes with the opposing line, they break into song or let out a cry, and then charge with unmatched ferocity. Fighting in open order, and swinging with an eerie, precise abandon, they tear through their foe until he drops or flees. Any opening is exploited, every obstacle is crushed, until the battlefield is theirs.
This methodical charge is traditionally directed at the heart of the enemy force, be it the Lord and his guard or some peculiar prize. In this way, the Khazâd quickly break the opposition’s morale, regardless of the situation. Such a tactic usually succeeds because the superbly armored, well-trained Naugrim are capable of hacking through nearly any battle formation. Unparalleled in melee and resistant to missiles, they slaughter the best of opponents when the odds arc even. This, of course, is also due to the unflinching Dwarven commitment to combat. Should the Naugrim engage in a struggle, they neither retreat nor give quarter. Either they die, or their enemy is vanquished.
Despite their pugnacity, the Naugrim prefer to deal on more civil terms. Dwarven from Moria envoys travel to the courts of Fornost in Arthedain and Minas Anor in Condor, and couriers frequently pass between the East-gate and Lórien. Emissaries to the other Dwarf-halls assert the needs of the First House.
Most of this diplomacy revolves around trade, for Dwarves sign no treaties and war only on behalf of their tribe or their race. Dwarf-holds are both self-sufficient and jealously guarded. With their hunger for still-greater wealth and their many unique resources. However, the Khazad enjoy healthy exchange. They are hard bargainers who revel in any debate that involves money or precious goods, and their steady flow of craftwork requires strong markets.
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