Clan and caste serve as the cornerstone of dwarven society. Through clans, dwarven honor and traditions are held up and passed along to future generations. Caste is an infrastructure designed to note one’s place and purpose within a dwarven settlement. Clans are made up different castes: mostly laborers, some crafters, and few solely serve as aristocrats.
Dwarves highly revere the elders of their clan. Elders serve as the masters of their trade, keepers of lore, and leaders. Clans may be led by one elder or even a council. This respect for one’s elders even carries over to the oldest people of non-dwarven communities.
Dwarves value the stories of their ancestors, particularly of ancestral heroes and clan founders. Honoring those who have died, and come before them, holds great value among the dwarves. Most legends have their stories carved in stone, but there’s a great deal that are passed around solely by oral tradition. As the generations go on, some of these spoken stories change to fit the direction of the clan.
At the center of non-nomadic dwarven communities is the Meeting Hall. Every settlement has at least one, though large cities may have several. Meeting Halls are a gathering point for dwarves, and it is where they congregate when not working. Every dwarf from the lowliest laborer to the lofty aristocrat can be found here. Meeting Halls also serve food and drink, from at least sustainable rations to grand feasts. Celebrations like weddings, funerals, parties, and seasonal holidays are held within the Meeting Hall. Non-dwarves may only enter these places by invitation and though they are tolerated, are not necessarily welcome.
At times, dwarven Meeting Halls may become unruly. It’s not uncommon for a fight to break out, but when they do the other dwarves join in! Some will shout and cheer from the sidelines, though others will throw themselves into the brawl. These fights do not end until their is a clear champion. Usually though, they end in a stalemate with every dwarf laid unconscious against a wall or beneath a table.
Dwarven society mostly focuses on crafting, typically arms and armor. Though they tend to keep to blueprints and plans that are tried and true, few come up with anything novel. Those few enterprising dwarves are held to lofty esteem, though are found to be a bit peculiar. At times, these inventors may even find themselves rivaling gnomes, who are known for their innovative ways.
Dwarves love their hard alcohol, and dwarven brewers are among the best of their trade. Many of their recipes are kept secret, and brewery workers are sworn never to share the details. A successful dwarven brewer may be highly esteemed and serve as an unofficial member of a clan’s council.
Most dwarves hold a prejudice against arcane magic casters, and thus there are few. Those who practice the arcane arts generally do so to enchant weapons and armor. Usually, each clan has one or two enchanters among them. Rare is it for a dwarf to throw itself upon the arcane arts as a traditional mage. Well received however are a good number of dwarven bards. By their enchanting voices and retelling of valiant tales, bards raise the esteem of warriors or bring mirth to a Meeting Hall. Divine magic is well tolerated among dwarves. Dwarven clerics and paladins uphold their gods’ virtues with zealous fervor. Outside of wild and arctic dwarves, druids are practically unheard of.
At the pinnacle of dwarven society are the aristocrats. Many of these command armies, act as keepers of lore, or are paper pushers of trade and law. One would care not to upset a dwarven aristocrat, or else permissions to expand one’s home to include a cart port may be easily denied! Though they serve a great purpose to dwarven communities, few dwarves actually highly revere them. With that in mind, they are still respected for the purpose they serve.