Forest Dwarves are a sub-race of the Dwarves. They are often considered to be the most unique of the Dwarves.
The emergence of the Forest Dwarves is not entirely clear, but one story is commonly accepted. The Forest Dwarves came to be over many centuries in the time of Aegis through evolution and life apart from their Dwarven kin.
Long ago, the seventh son of Urguan, Gloin as his father had named him, decided it was time to take on a proper a name for him and his clan. Unlike his Dwarven brethren, this son was particularly interested in nature - fascinated with the outside world and life of other beings and animals. Gloin had thought of how his brethren had named their clans, for example the Ironguts for being excellent drinkers, or the Grandaxes for being a phenomenal axe-wielders. It was then when one named popped into his head - Treebeard.
Over the years, Gloin's brothers noticed his general lack of interest in life in the mountain. They were worried when he spent more time outside then in, when he chose to study an animal that was new to him rather than feast and drink with his family. His brothers mistook this for him being disinterested in the betterment of their race as a whole. Deeply angered, his brothers decided that exile was the only fitting punishment for his disloyalty.
The Treebeards were distraught with their punishment. They had nothing, and nowhere to go. Under their determined leader, they took to the forests. They learned that bows were the proper tools for hunting game. They learned that with a little effort, a wooden hut could easily be built with a few trees-worth of lumber. They learned that plants and berries are edible too, and that meat wasn't necessary for each and every meal. They learned they could survive on fresh spring water, and ale wasn't a necessary thing in their lives...
Gloin then decided on one more thing - the Treebeards were no longer Mountain or Cave Dwarves. They were to be proud of what they became - of what they are. They proved that not all Dwarves need a mountain to live in. They became the first Forest Dwarves.
The Forest Dwarves, in the beginning at least, resembled regular Cave and Mountain Dwarves. It wasn't until later on that they noticed their skin tanned from the sun. Over the centuries, their skin's pigments changed greatly and became darker. The new diet heavy in fish and berries and low in meat, combined with exercise from living in the forests, resulted in changes. Forest Dwarves became slimmer and the lack of protein resulted in stunted beard growth, although hair is often long and thick.
Throughout the years, many Forest Dwarf families have popped up, but only two Forest Dwarf families seem to actually be regarded as Forest Dwarven 'clans', these being the pure Treebeards who are direct descendants from the first Forest Dwarves, and the Dawnsworn, rumored to be created by the mingling of one Forest Dwarf and a Dwarf of the Ironguts.
Beliefs and Ideals
Forest Dwarves often follow a variant of the Brathmordakin, accepting the Druidic deities known as the Aspects as the two silver rings of Anbella. When the first Forest Dwarves were exiled, they made a set of rules to live by that helped them prosper and survive. Over the years, these rules still seem to be known in most Forest Dwarf societies. Honour is important to Forest Dwarves, including helping those in need. Failing to do so can result in a lifelong grudge. Forest Dwarves are cursed with greed like all sons of Urguan, but often focus their greed into the betterment of their communities. Respect is also a common trait, as Forest Dwarves were often mocked by other Dwarves and modern Forest Dwarves wish to be inclusive to all.
Less talented in traditional Dwarven pastimes such as mining and crafting, Forest Dwarves have nonetheless developed their own set of skills. Farming, especially potatoes and wheat, is frequently encountered among Forest Dwarves. Some Forest Dwarves are regarded as being as good at farming as Halflings. Brewing is also common and many excellent ales have come from Forest Dwarves. Fishing serves as another way to find meals. Lumberjacking has always been critical to their economic survival. Woodworking is also practiced, making fine furniture and other goods for personal use or to be sold across the lands. Drumming was developed by Forest Dwarves, and their musical talents have resulted in many becoming traveling bards.
It is no secret that Forest Dwarves are the most unique of all Dwarves. While Forest Dwarves tend to live together quite peacefully in their communities, they may be mocked by other Dwarves. Insults such as No-Beard, Treehugger and Tall-Ears are sometimes heard by Dwarves who consider Forest Dwarves traitors to their race. Because of this, many Forest Dwarves dislike other Dwarves, and vice versa. Some Forest Dwarves get along with Mountain Dwarves, who also do not always live underground. Many Forest Dwarves have strong ties to Elves, who they often live and work alongside. Halflings, too, have become a common friend of the Forest Dwarves, as the Halfling culture is somewhat similar to that of Gloin's disciples.