The Esgol Dwarves
The Esgol dwarves are one of two societies that make their homes in the mountainous, frozen region of Esgoloth. They are a short and stocky race, averaging four feet tall. Esgol dwarves have blue, green or grey eyes and the males sport long, bushy beards beards of Black or white, or a mottled mixture of the two, as well as copious amounts of body hair.
Due to the difficult survivability of the Esgoloth highlands, the Esgol Dwarves do not have any large cities; instead, they build small communities around Hot springs, geysers and steam vents where they are able to maintain a reliable source of warmth. Due to the size of these places, the communities are quite self-limiting, rarely reaching even a hundred members. This forces the Dwarves to take on a somewhat nomadic approach to life, wherein they constantly roam the land in seach of new vents and springs to create a living around.
It is not unknown for a hot spring to stop bubbling and freeze over or a steam vent to 'run dry', which causes those dwarves who made a life around it to suddenly have to uproot themselves, pack essentials and seek out another 'hot-spot'. This leaves behind the ghost towns of dwarven communities which are great scavenging hotspots. However the ready shelter and abandoned goods draw in many dangerous and fearsome native creatures of Esgoloth. Monsters of the snowlands: Everyone hears the rumors time and time again; unnatural beasts of tooth and claw have been seen in the snow, and vengeful revenants of ice are whispered to haunt the blizzards.
Esgol dwarves enjoy drinking fiery, potent spirits and smoking strong tabac; both of which they say brings fire to their core and warmth to their soul. Another activity they engage in is to sit in communal tents which capture the steam from vents in inhale the vapors deeply for warmth and relaxation. This has coined the term 'Steam-Eaters' when referring to an Esgol dwarf. The Dwarves themselves maintain that doing so not only warms their hearts, but helps them think deep thoughts - One reason for these 'deep thoughts' may be that it's speculated that the volcanic fumes which spew up from these vents may be poisonous and brain-addling. Nevertheless, the dwarves maintain their habits and live long, full lives spanning several centuries.
The Esgol dwarves are known as a highly philosophical and self-indulgent people, sitting in their tents with just underclothes on and discussing deep and meaningful things. In spite of this, they are deceptively sharp and quick to act when need be, which is just as well because their communities are at constant thread of raids from any manner of creature, included the Dwarves' old enemies, the White-Orcs.
The White-Orcs are a savage yet resourceful race of Large, muscular humanoids. They stand one to two feet taller than your average human and hold somewhat bestial features, uncluding sharp fangs and pointed ears. Their hair is always white and males and females both tend to wear it long and in braids. The White-Orcs have thick, almost fur-like body hair - also white - which is an adaptation to the cold weather and protects their core from the harsh climate. As such, they usually wear no upper garments, aids them in blending into the snow. White-Orcs are a dangerous, unpredictable race, but they can be interacted with. They hold most of their hostilities for the Esgol Dwarves.
The details behind the conflict between the White-Orcs and the Esgol Dwarves are uncertain, but the Dwarves tell tales of a time that they used to live inside the mountains where it was warm, digging precious minerals out of the rock and stoking great forges while the White-Orcs led a tribal life out in the Tundra. But then, centuries ago, the tribes banded together under one great, Orc leader and infiltrated the great Dwarven strongholds, slaying many of the Esgol Dwarves and forcing them out into the cold. It was a bloody war and the spoils were the carved cities of stone where living was not so harsh; the White-Orcs won, their savagery overcoming the Dwarves' hardiness and the tattered remnants of the race were cast out into the ice. Ever since, the White-Orcs have claimed ownership of these strongholds, taking over the mining and forging and selling the gold and gems the discover to the rest of Asydia.
The White-Orcs and Dwarves are hated enemies. The White-Orcs often send small raiding parties from their strongholds to attack the Dwarves, and in return, the Esgol Dwarves lay waste to any White-Orc parties that they spot traveling on the roads.