Within the lofty mountain peaks, mountain dwarves, also known as shield dwarves, dwell. Living close to the surface brings new challenges and adversaries endured by no other dwarven subrace. Greenskins and giants are of particular threat, though mountain dwarves have learned how to deal with their rivals well. Still, encounters with these creatures are numerous and mountain dwarves are starting to see their once abundant numbers dwindle.
Mountain dwarves are more open to dealing with surface dwelling races. This is a new school of thought among these dwarves, and not one taken to heart by everyone. There are some who feel fortifying their defenses and closing their gates may be the best course of survival.
The less self-interested among them become adventurers seeking to reclaim ancient strongholds and treasures once lost. The loss of Mystara’s oldest clan halls struck a significant blow to these thrill seekers. Now, they search the abandoned depths of Eyr and Aradia for answers as to their forgotten history.
Mountain dwarves, on average, stand about a foot taller than other dwarves. Females stand shorter and are not as heavy set than males. They have light skin that is fair or lightly tanned. Their eyes are green or blue. Hair tends to be brown or red and will fade to grey with age. Most males, and even some females, have beards and mustaches; though, they are less fanciful than hill dwarves.
As mountain dwarves begin to see their decline, clan allegiance and caste placement become less important. Family life however is of particular concern. Elders play less of a role in childrearing, and the responsibility falls upon parents and siblings. Most mountain dwarves are literate and taught to read at an early age, before being handed off to an apprenticeship. Though some are taught to be fine craftsmen, most are trained for the art of war. Regardless of their profession, all learn not to work only for themselves, but for the greater good of their community. When a dwarf becomes too old and feeble to physically work, they still remain a valued part of their society for their experience and wisdom.
Though a dwarf’s bloodline is a mark of pride for many, individual accomplishments and relationships hold more significance. Still, they may be proud of their work, mountain dwarves are fairly humble, and will avoid ostentatious displays of their feats. Unlike other dwarves, they are the most tolerant of other races; and are especially fond of gnomes, for the two hold a long tradition of friendship. They hold good relations with other dwarven subraces, with exception of duergar. The duergar blame mountain dwarves for their troubles with underground monstrosities, thus there is nothing but open hostility between them.