Deep in the Southern lands of Saratta is a forbidden land, covered in ice and snow. Its is covered by mighty conifers that tower like monolithic guardians alongside glacial spires. Only the strongest survive in this frigid wasteland, and everything else perishes. This land is Icecap, home of the Dwarves of Frayr, loyal only to themselves and Lucetefacious, the Obsidian Scale; for it was the gods who chose to abandon them here so long ago.
Generation after generation has been forced to hunt and survive in a land of ice, cover with massive pines and glacial mountains. Survival is a way of life, forcing them above and below ground, working with ice and stone. Their crafts are as deadly and powerful, made not for beauty but efficiency. Their lives are a proving ground of endless trials and tribulations that have made them stronger than any would expect.
Frayr dwarves are very similar in mentality to their mountain dwelling kin. They are a very proud people, and as such have broken into clans that each stake a claim to the frozen wastes. Blood and clan are where their primary loyalties lie, but survival ranks higher still. Clans will merge or shatter when the difference is survival. Unlike their distant kin, Frayr tend not to hold long grudges as it does not serve the great purpose. Infighting is dealt with in the Court of Combatants, where two disagreeing parties must battle side by side against creatures captured from the wilds. If they are unable to work together, they die. Those who succeed rarely continue their squables.
Frayr dwarves have a fondness for the crafted arts, specializing in extracting ore dredged from the stone by the Glaciers. The ore, Frayrite (from which the dwarven offshoot name was derived) is a quicksilver like material. When flash frozen in solidifies into an extremely hard, lightweight metal (similar to titanium) capable of repelling the cold, and absorbing heat. It can take hundreds of years to master simple molds of the material, but dedicated artisans can create complex figurines and armor once they have mastered the craft.
They also are quite partial to alcohol, particularly Hachen Tree Root Beer. Hacken is a species of pine that manages to grow on the frozen terrain. It requires very little sunlight, and are very slow to sprout, growing from the root systems of already present trees. Once the have burst through the icecap and begin growing needles, the roots growth accelerates. The dwarves have learned to cultivate the root, cutting it during its early expansion period. This allows the roots to continue its rapid growth and serve as a renewable food source for the Dwarves. When cooked, the root releases a sap that the dwarves harvest, add in sugar and yeast; resulting in a potent alcoholic beverage.
Frayr dwarves have a pasty complexion with gray to white hues. It allows their skin to blend in with the snow. Their eyes are blue with varied depths of color. They are taller than the average dwarf (between 4 to 5 feet) and are have far more muscle bulk. In addition they are thinner, and usually have better muscle tone.
Frayr dwarves have gray or white hair, with black occurring in exceptionally rare cases. Dwarven superstitions among the Frayr claim that these dwarves are born with the spirit of Frost Revenants. They are fearless and brutal warriors, and in their legends are often unstoppable forces. None of the legends tell of what happens to such dwarves at the end of their life, and as such there are some who believe that a black haired dwarf is the reincarnation of such a mighty warlord. No matter which belief is correct, it still stands that all legends, new and old, portray such a dwarf as very powerful.
Their hair is kept trimmed, only long enough to maintain warmth. Keeping hair longer than necessary is not something typical of the Frayr. They have stories that speak of fool dwarves with such hair, and the result is always the same. The hair gets in their way at a critical moment and depending on the age group telling the story the ultimate outcome can vary from embarrassment to death.
The average Frayr dwarf lives only 150 year thanks to the hardships of living in Icecap. They still have their dwarven longevity, for several elder dwarves are reported to be nearly 700 years old. They do not remain as limber and youthful as their warmer weather kin, and often show signs of aging by the time they are 300 years old. As their aging progresses, they slowly become more frail until they die from time, or choose to take one final walk on the tundra.
The dwarves are cut off from the bulk of Saratta's society, short of the few expeditions that ran ashore on Glacial Cliffs off the Northern coast. Those adventurers who made it far enough to encounter the dwarves were met with a poor reception. Outsiders bearing weapons are typically considered hostiles. The Frayr dwarves have not been in the company of man or elf in a long time, and view both as enemies. Their stories of ages past still portray the Ephryn in a good light though, so it is believed that an Ephryn scout would be treated kindly (which they have been, but they were never able to tell anyone else for leaving Icecap is not an option).
Between their own people, the dwarves of Frayr do not look kindly upon their Isle dwelling brethren. They believe that they were abandoned by the majority of the gods because no all of the dwarves obeyed the vision imparted to them by Sploron. Mountain Dwarves are viewed with scorn, and they would likely be treated as hostiles as well.
Where the other clans of Frayr are concerned, tensions go back and forth. The Frayr have had thousands of years to fight between one another, but such feuds do not last for long as there are other threats to deal with in Icecap. One of the most prominent is the conflict between the Unbelievers. They are a faction of dwarves who believe that they are oppressed by their current “deity”. The Unbelievers have been trying to sew the seeds of malcontent and infighting since the dwarves turned their allegiances over to Luctefacious. Their campaign has been effective causing several clans to be wiped out be infighting or by turning their attacks against the many dragon kin present in Azuleikas, (the Black Throne).
Generally the clans try to maintain civil relations as each have made their homes in locations with valued resources (bountiful food, easy access to fresh water, mammoth herds, etc). Maintaining alliances means that they can ensure each others survival and provide proper sacrifices for the Obsidian Scale.
The dwarves have made their home in the frozen south of Saratta; a land known worldwide as Icecap. Expeditions to the Icecap are rare as none have managed to successfully enter the Veil of Mist and return. Sailors who have neared the Veil say they can hear the crackling of bones coming from the other side. Tyran worldshaper's contend that the crackling is caused by rapid freezing of water beyond the Veil, which would suggest that it holds supernatural properties. They consider the Veil to be a Supernatural Storm and have forbade Tyran vessels from sailing anywhere near to it.
With little knowledge to go off of, the rest of the world believes the lands to simply be a frozen land stirring with evil and sinister power. In reality, Icecap has a very diverse environment with plenty of Glacial Mountains and snow. At the same time there are patches, particularly along the shores where grasses grow during the short summer season, and mighty conifers have adapted to the region and grow despite Glacial movements.
Water can be found in pockets beneath the earth if you know where to drill. The dwarves have learned how to spot these pockets in the ice over their internment in the frost covered land. Creative use of stone and dragon scales have enabled unique methods for gathering water and heat as well. Icecap is a harsh environment, and the Frayr have learned to become strong in order to survive.
Unlike the other races of Saratta (with the exception of Gnomes), the Frayr do not worship the gods. Stories of their past say long ago the dwarves ventured from greener lands at the behest of the god Sploron. While many other clans parted ways on their journey, the Frayr remained faithful and traveled beyond the Veil of Mist. After gaining passage beyond the Veil, the Frayr discovered that their patron had become silent. For 3 years the dwarves struggled to survive, facing off with the dangerous beasts of Icecap, scavenging for food where they could and burrowing into the ice when possible. They hammered through the ice and finally reached stone, but burrowing a new home takes time, more than they had the resources for.
Many of the dwarves believed Sploron was still assisting them during the first years of their trial. They made progress over the tundra lands, slew mammoths for food and warm skins, but then their spirits began to flag and some began to succumb to the elements. They battled with predators that set in on them frequently, and then the dragon kin came. Black in color, they stalked into the dwarven lands. The dwarves perceived them as a threat and marched out armed and ready for combat. The fight was one sided, the dragon kin quickly dispatched the force, dragging them into the frozen wilds.
The remaining dwarves were taken to Black Throne and placed before a wall of ice. Those who had fallen to the dragon kin were lined up as well. The dwarves gazed into the wall of ice with amazed horror. A massive black scaled dragon lay frozen in the ice. Molten fire seemed to roil beneath its scales, preserving the life-force of the trapped Wyrm.
“I give you a choice children of stone” said a deep rumbling voice that buried itself in their minds, “serve me, and your tribulations shall be eased. No more will you toil to the merciless elements. No more will you watch your kin be felled by predatory beasts, nor feel the sting of an empty gut.”
The dwarves did not trust a dragon, and said as much aloud, fervently professing their faith to the gods. They would rather die than trade their freedom to a tyrant wyrm. The dragon could sense their conviction, but felt it waver as well. They had doubts, a few short years in the ice fields had been hard on them.
“I am a god, little dwarf. Trapped by others in a prison of stone. I am no tyrant, but I shall let you bear witness to my acts rather than my words.”
The Wyrm's scaled glowed with fierce power, magic pulsed from the walls. The fallen dwarves lived again, their wounds cleansed, blemishes wiped away, and frozen limbs cured. The healing power extended to the living as well, invigorating them.
The dwarves cried out with zeal, “We will not be turned so easily wyrm. Your kind is filled with deceit and lives to lie. We will leave this place and take as many of your minions with us when we go.”
“Go then Children of Stone. Leave my mountain and go back into hell. My children will not stop you, for you are their brothers and sisters. Siblings do not relish in slaying one another. Go.”
The dwarves departed, determined to survive the harsh climate and avoid the Wyrm's crafty lies, but there were several who stayed. The Wyrm Lucetefacious allowed them to remain and built up their strength. He let them tap into his mind and learn his machinations. They were enlightened in the knowledge and set out to bring the clans together beneath the Obsidian Scale. In the years to come the bulk of the dwarves would return to the mountain and accept the dragons claim.
For his part, Lucetefacious imparted knowledge of survival in the frozen lands, teaching them the proper was to fight the cold and live. When they had mastered this, he turned their attention to their desires and unveiled the presence of Frayrite, and the means to harness the ore. The dwarves worked with the material for ages, mastering an art even the Obsidian dragon kin could not. Exposure to the Frayrite began to transform them slowly, amplifying their resistance to cold and making them stronger.
As the years drew into decades and centuries, dwarven trust in the gods vanished. They had not spoken to the dwarves at all in that time, but the Wyrm had welcomed them into the fold, and treated them as trusted children. They hatched a plan to return the favor, turning their Frayrite tools upon the icy prison. In recent years (982 Lunidor), progress made toward freeing the dragon has grown, the ice became easier to cut, and soon their god shall be free once more.
Frayr dwarves view Lucetefacious as their savior. Without the assistance of the dragon, they never would have prospered. The Wyrm's tenants have become theirs. One day, they will inherit the duty of overseeing the world and maintaining order. All dragons are called to that task, and the dwarves of Frayr are no different. In the eyes of the Obsidian Scale they are all children, regardless of blood. Many Frayr believe that their blood has become infused with the Obsidian Scale (a claim that is not incorrect, and they take very seriously).
Frayr dwarves speak Saldaic (Sall-day-ic), a language comprised of both Draconic and Dwarven that has transformed over the years into its own unique language.
Notable Frayr Dwarves
+2 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma: Dwarves are strong and wise, but not always the best mannered.
- Medium: Frayr Dwarves are medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Slow and Steady: Frayr have a base speed of 20, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
- Low Light Vision: Frayr see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Cold Immunity: Years of hardship have made the Frayr immune to the effects of the cold.
- Frigid Craftsman: Frayr gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks to create objects made from Metal or Ice.
- Hardy: Frayr gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
- Stability: Frayr gain a +4 bonus to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting a bull rush of trip attempt while standing on the ground.
- Weapon Familiarity: Frayr Dwarves are proficient with Warhammers and treat any weapon with “Frayrite” and "Dwarven" in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Frayr begin play speaking Dwarven. Dwarves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Common, Draconic, Elven, Ephyrn, and Undercommon.