Society/ Organizations

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August 20, 2013, 10:52 am

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The Rosomakha


Those of the bare chin, the clan of the wolverine, they who walked away from the mountain.

The Rosomakhan Clan

The Rosomakhan Clan are a small and insular clan of dwarves who long ago descended from the mountains and into the hills. Unlike their kin who make up the Hill Dwarves, the Rosomakha were not yet content and left the hills as they left the mountains a generation before. The clan eventually settled in a valley river plain and were content to stay there and continue their lives and generations, apart from the bulk of Dwarven society.

They are self imposed exiles, as they do not follow the God of the Mountains, stone, and the anvil, the Allfather of the dwarves. Instead, they have come to worship the Human Solar Deity.

The Will of the Wolverine

The Rosomakhan were not initially a clan, but were rather a scattered group of theologically minded dwarves. These dwarves came from lineages that had truck outside of the mountain holds, and often traveled among the lands of the world. They were mercenaries and adventurers, explorers and pioneers and more often than not held secondary or lower stations in the society of the dwarves. As these open minded dwarves explored the world they encountered the faiths and deities of the other races, and found that the Allfather was among the powerful gods, but was by far and large not the only one. And the other gods were not as stern or demanding as the Allfather, and were not as miserly with their benefices.

The Clan of the Wolverine grew as a other dwarves came to offer praise to the Solar Deity as well as the Allfather. Their clan grew and was forced to become internally strong and self reliant as the other Dwarven clans were offended by the sacrilegious worship of anything but the Allfather and the Forge. The clerics of the Allfather withdrew from the Rosomakha and left them without the divine guidance of the Allfather, or the prowess in battle of his clerics and stone brothers.

The Way of the Solar Deity and the Wolverine

Forced to cleave to a harder line than other clans, the Rosomakha fled the mountain holds for the more worldly and open holds of the Hill Dwarves. The Hill Dwarves did not offer them a warm reception, as the Mountain Dwarves had spread the word of the heretic Rosomakha. The Hill Dwarf clans did not drive the Wolverines out, but they were not made welcome in the Hills. Those were trying times for the Wolverines and it was during this period that they slowly abandoned completely the Allfather to embrace the faith of the Sun God. The first dwarven clerics of the Solar Deity soon appeared as they sought the boons of a god, as they were effectively shunned by dwarf and the Allfather alike.

The Rosomakha divested themselves of many of the longstanding cultural traditions of their mountainous kin. They no longer kept beards, instead either wearing them short in the human fashion or shaving them completely bare. No longer guided by the physical demands of mining and forging and making war, the dwarves found themselves aching for discipline and strong guidance. Rather than adopting artificially hard labor, they gained a greater spiritual discipline. The Clan of the Wolverine sought after physical and spiritual purity, and in such they ended the brewing of Dwarven spirits and beer. They ended the drinking of alcohol as it clouded the mind and the spirit. They also forsook the smoking of various pipe weeds as these had often the same effects.

When emissaries and traveling mountain and hill dwarves again found the Rosomakha they were horrified by what they found. Instead of the beer swilling axe swinging pipe smoking hairy bastards they expected, they found clean shaven teetotaling farmers.

Garland Hammerick

The current leader of the Rosomakha Clan is the now greatly aged but still mentally agile Garland Hammerick. Old enough to remember leaving the Hill Dwarves, Garland is among the few Wolverines to have had a name given to him by a priest of the Allfather. Hammerick has fully embraced the faith of the Solar Deity, and runs the Clan under the advice of not just the traditional circle of elders, but the guidance of the priesthood that has grown since they settled in the Kjarja Valley.

Garland is currently grooming his successor, an adopted son named Bardon Ironwick, to be the first Clan Thane as well as priest of the Solar Deity. Already an accomplished cleric and protector of the Valley, Ironwick promises to be an excellent thane and is expected to bring great things to the Wolverines.

The First to Walk in the Light of the Sun

Born to the Three Peaked Mountain Darrowdelve, Tunglan Ironmantle was expected to become a worthy member of the Ironmantle Clan and possibly become one of the King's Guard under King Khroal the Bristlebearded. While on contract beyond the shadow of the mountain Tunglan was almost slain and was saved from mortal death by a cleric of the Solar Deity. There is no record of this individual among the charters and documents of the Guild of Adventurers Upon Return, or the rolls of the Temple of the Solar Deity. Many consider this proof that Tunglan was approached and healed by a messenger of the God if not the Deity himself. Tunglan was converted to Solar Worship, but did so in private after his return the Three Peaks.

He would later begin speaking of the Gospels of Light to those dwarves he knew would listen. This gained him a small circle of like minded warriors who later blooded themselves as the Mountain Wolverines, a name that would continue on in the later clan. It would be nearly a decade later when the solar worship was discovered by the priests of the Allfather. The Mountain Wolverines were to be cast out of Three Peaks for their transgressions. This was expected to chastise the circle of warriors and by sending them from the mountain, create a longing for the mountain and the Allfather in their foolish hearts.

Freed of the presence of the Allfather's clerics who are much more influential among the mountain clans, Tunglan renewed his faith, and took into the open. He helped build the first temple to venerate the Sun and the Mountain, and after it was destroyed by Yzak Stonemonger, Iron Priest of the Allfather, he helped rebuild it. While Tunglan never took up the clerics mantle, he was a prolific writer, and spent his time when not speaking or organizing in the community, writing several tomes on the nature of the Solar God and the Folly of Those Who Delve in Darkness and let covetousness into their hearts.

Tunglan eventually passed away, but his son Evard, continued in his father's path and changed his name to Sunmantle. The Sunmantles remain an honored and respected family within the Rosomakha Clan, and many of its finest warriors and builders still hail from their ranks.

The Clan of the Wolverine

The Clan of the Wolverine is currently a small clan, but it is growing at a rapid pace. This is an average pace for a human settlement, but among the dwarves, those of the bare chin are increasing their numbers at a mountain high rate. There are several reasons for their explosive growth. The biggest reason is that the societal demand for warriors to prove themselves in constant combat and minors wars (demanded by the martially aspected Allfather) has largely ended. There are still contests to be won and borders to be defended, but the tradition of constantly starting fights with goblinoids and other races has been quelled. This means there are more men and martially inclined women staying in the Rosomakha communities, and they are marrying and having children. They are starting to function in the human mode. Instead of having a single child once a decade until 2-3 have been born, these families are having that number in a single decade. And most of them are surviving.

The agrarian families form the core of the Rosomakha clan, and have fairly quickly learned the tilling of the land. They turned axes into plowshares, and very quickly were able to raise crops. This was with the assistance of the human clergy of the Solar Deity, who brought the knowledge needed for farming to the Rosomakha. In exchange for their invaluable support, Rosomakha provide their metalworking skill, skill as warriors, and the devotion and piety that only a dwarf can give. Many of the agrarian Wolverines can trace their lineages back to tunnel borers, miners, and the other dwarves who vanish into the Earth. Farming is innately less dangerous than mining, so this is also a reason for the steady increase in their numbers. This increase is easily supported by the industrious farming of the dwarves, tied to the fact that none of their grain grown is being used to make alcohol.

Next to the farmers, the Artisans and Craftsmen families are the second largest group. These are rather self explanatory, the buildings and the tool and weapon makers. In dwarven society, these hard working dwarves are sold the Dwarven dream, work hard at the forge, praise the Allfather and you will be blessed. The truth works out more along the lines that those who labor hard at the forge watch their hard work benefit the warriors, who in turn garner the praise of the community and the blessings of the Allfather.

The clerical families have been slow to form, many having been warrior families to begin with. The fewest in number, the clerics have tied their martial prowess to the Solar Deity, and those who are called by the God have laid down arms to take up the priest's garments. Many who bear arms now do so with the blessing of the deity. Detractors of the Rosomakha point out that nothing has changed, and that the warriors still lead the clan, just like in the mountains before. This ignores the facts that the Wolverine warriors have no greater lot among the clan. Their homes are the same size, and they are judged on their merits to the community. There is a high percentage of leaders who are chosen from the clerical families, but these groups have done the hard work of self education, religious pilgrimages, and physical training to be the leaders. That being said, the number of non-warrior leaders among the Rosomakha are incredibly high compared to the other dwarven sects. Among the mountain kin, there are none who hold the reigns of leadership who did not first hold a bloodied weapon, and non warrior leaders are rare among the hill kin.

The Blessings of the Solar Deity and Kjarja.

The Kjarja Valley is broad and the soil is well suited for farming, and this is one of the greatest resources of the Wolverines. The land is rich and fertile, and the land surrounding the valley is rich in game. The Wolverines have espoused a strong creed of temperance and have a good deal of domesticated livestock. Much to the mockery of the other clans, the Wolverines eat a good deal of poultry, fish, and small game. This is a far cry from the common dwarven theme of wild hunted beasts, brought down in combat and hacked to pieces to be roasted over an open flame to boisterous songs and drinking.

The Valley has been fallow for many years, and is relatively remote. The Wolverines have made inroads with their neighbors, asserting their claim over the valley but extending cordial invitations for friendship and trade. Those who have dealt honorably and diplomatically with the Wolverines have enjoyed the trade that comes from them, a steady stream of grain and hearty dwarven finished goods. These aren't the typical dwarven goods, weapons and ale, but they are nonetheless valuable. The dwarves have flourished with this trade as well, quality cloth (which is inspiring a weaving craft in the clan) spices, and of course, gold and valuable goods have flowed in.

The Solar Deity has been a great boon to the Clan, offering blessings on the crops grown by the faithful. He has also ensured that many wounded warriors have been made whole again through the healing gifts of his clerics. The Solar Deity has also drawn the Wolverines into the fold of his existing faith. The Wolverines have been regularly visited by traveling priests and missionaries from the greater temples. This has seen the Wolverines build their own temple, as well as training priests of their own. Many of these priests, and a good number of warriors have gone on pilgrimages to holy places around the continent and come back much more wise and worldly.

Weaknesses and Failings

The weaknesses of the Wolverines are few. They have abandoned the Allfather, and as such the Allfather no longer offers his blessings to the Dwarven warriors, so the dwarven berzerker, fearless and unstoppable in battle, a paragon of single combat no longer exists among them. War is a gift from the Allfather to the dwarves and they are very good at it. While still very capable in battle, the Rosomakha are divorced from the Dwarven Warrior Spirit. They know fear in battle and lack the heroic and sometimes idiotic stoicism of their mountainous kin.

The Rosomakha are also very stubborn in their faith and devotion to the Solar Deity. They are very conservative in the faith, and hold to the hard line laid out in the texts.

The details of the Solar Deity are intentionally left vague since the Wolverines are intended to be a small group of plug and play dwarves. But the priests and holy men of the sect are the hellfire and brimstone sort, traveling barefoot in hairshirts, and when they find the enemies of the Solar God, their axes and spears and ready and unquestioning. This combines the worst aspects of intolerance and zealotry. At the current time in the Wolverine progression, they are not large or numerous enough for this to matter, but if the path is projected long enough, the Wolverines are the ones who would become the core of Arms Militant, crusaders, the sort to enter a holy city to claim it for their god, and leaving the streets running with rivers of blood.

The Tenets of the Rosomakha

Physical Purity: avoid things that contaminate the body such as intoxicating beverages and herbs that muddle the mind.

Physical Temperance: avoid things that inflame the body, such as eating to excess, excesses of lust or celebration.

Physical Fortitude: hard work rewards the worker and gives praise to the God/s

Spiritual Purity: avoid things that contaminate the spirit, the gifts of magic and the fruits of other spiritual beings may look sweet but everything has a hidden cost. (The Wolverines are not opposed to magic, and there are a small number of magi among them. They are not dependent on it, and are distrustful of it. Necromancy is anathema to the Solar God so there are no Wolverine Necromancers.)

Forbidden things: Necromancy, Illusions and phantasms, shadow magic, fraternizing with the undead, having dealings with those who live underground (drow, duergar, and those other generally evil bastards with the black gray white color pallet)

Sacrifices: The Solar Deity likes sacrifices, typically offerings of the first cuttings and the first and best animal of the herd. This is seen as an honor, and those who are granted the honor of the first offered livestock are given the blessings of the Solar deity.


The Rosomakha use two common symbols, the emblazoned solar disc emblem of the Solar Deity and the Wolverine as a heraldic creature. The Rosomakhan wolverine stands on two legs and more resembles a lion with wolverine markings and claws. The various Rosomakhan families have individual crests and devices that mix their family trade or craft with the wolverine, the solar disc, or other specific symbols associated with the family. This is a major change, as all have since dropped the runic script of the dwarves in favor of the common human script favored by the majority of the Solar Deity's followers. The sun has replaced the common motif of mountains or stone, and gold has replaced iron and black metal in the iconography.

Plot Hooks

This Old Darrowdelve - The Rosomakha are an up and coming clan of dwarves and they are becoming well known for the quality of their... woodworking? The Wolverines have more wood than stone and are using this material for making quality things, furniture and houses, rather than chopping it down to feed the forges. Rosomakhan becomes the go to for quality woodwork, it is very well made, and costs half as much as anything the Elves make. There is no finer crossbow than a Rosomakhan crossbow.

Wolverine Boots - The wolverines have started working a good deal more in leather, with a boon of cattle. Mountain dwarves use the skin of the things they kill to make their leather (don't ask about goblin leather, its there, no one talks about it). The Rosomakhan crafters have applied their skills to making leather goods, and the Wolverine made leather boots are some of the best you can find. The same applies to the boiled leather armor they make.

The Chaplain - There are many wandering Wolverine Clerics, looking to explore the world and learn more of it, and they have learned to offer their services to traveling bands of Adventurers Upon Return. These traveling holy men have skill at arms, education, and the spells of the Solar God at their beck and call. They take well to fire and healing.

A Religious Schism - eventually the success of the Wolverines is going to call down a response from the mountains. The Allfather and the mountain clans are not going to sit idly by while dwarves worshipping another god become fruitful and multiply out of proportion. The children of the Allfather will eventually come to answer the Wolverine's blasphemy. This will likely turn into an all out religious war, and will be very costly for whichever side wins through the conflict. This can be shown in smaller scale if a group of PCs happens to have a traditional dwarf and a Rosomakhan dwarf, the hostility would easily mirror the tension between Israel and Palestine.

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Comments ( 7 )
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Voted Shadoweagle
August 20, 2013, 18:44
Dwarves that are not dwarves! I like that they have forsaken their beard-growing, goblin-bashing, ale-swilling ways; it's good to see some diversity in the dwarven race, as it should be.

Due to the Rokomakha's similarities to human living, a myth may even come up that humans were once dwarves who forsook their ways, came to live on the surface and over generations grew taller and taller!
I'm sure that eventually the mountain dwarves will refuse to admit their connection with these blasphemous dwarves, saying they are a different race altogether!
Voted Gossamer
August 21, 2013, 11:47
These don't seem dwarven at all to me. This is your second submission regarding dwarfs who are not dwarven, the other one being the sappers, if I'm not mistaken. All personal taste aside, lots of content and very comprehensive.
August 21, 2013, 12:03
Are they stereotypical dwarves, not at all. But I am exploring a different take on the dwarves, and there is more to being a dwarf than alcoholism, facial hair, and basically being short squat vikings without ships.
August 21, 2013, 12:48
It is indeed more than that, but dwarves who admit to feeling fear and who aren't stubborn, is another thing imo.
Voted MysticMoon
August 24, 2013, 22:11
A truly creative alternative take on Dwarves that rings true for me. If I ever run a traditional fantasy game I will most surely use this settlement. It would make the players second guess everything they think they know about the race and make it easier for me to surprise them.

In addition to being creative, the tale and setup of the Wolverine Clan is nicely internally consistent. It is obvious that a fair amount of thought went into this. Kudos for that.

Truly, this takes the typical answer to the question "What is a Dwarf"" and turns it squarely on its head. I have long lost my interest in fantasy races portrayed as a single stereotype repeated ad nauseam.

There's also so much potential for conflict here. Aside from the looming religious war there is the smaller struggle for identity in a culture that has only recently made such a change. How do the young feel when they become old enough to learn what their fathers left behind? Do they rebel and threaten to go back to the worship of Allfather and the mountains? Do they willingly take up the plow? Maybe they wonder what else lies out there and make their way into the wider world.

I can even see the residents of the Kjarja valley receiving derision from other races. It is common for many people to become uncomfortable and strike out (verbally or physically) when someone or something does not fit their previous experience or preconceived notions.
Voted valadaar
August 26, 2013, 11:26
These feel like a sort of Amish Dwarf - with some things reversed, like the beards of course.

They add needed diversity to the culture of the dwarves, who being a smart and adaptive race like others really should not be tied to specific geographies. I'd like to see a fantasy world where the borders are more in line with those in our world. I.e. generally where they are easiest to defend. Dwarves,Elves, orcs would have realms that potentially include hills,mountains, plains - whatever their numbers and power allow them to hold.
Voted Murometz
February 20, 2016, 22:15
Their name translates to a single wolverine, which actually works for me here. And anything that un-dwarves the dwarves, is a pleasure to read.

Possum dwarves upcoming...




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