Path to The North
Dwarves ruled vast kingdoms beneath hill and mountain long before humans wandered into Faerun. Many sages suspect that the first dwarves came to Faerun millennia ago in a great migration from another plane. However, it occurred so long ago that evidence of it is almost nonexistent, and meanwhile the dwarves are now as natural a part of Faerun as the mountains themselves. The gray dwarves, or duergar, are an Underdark race less common than their surface kindred. The gray dwarves are generally evil, although a few exiles defy this rule.
Male dwarves of any type take pride in their beards, the most remarkable of any race. Some female dwarves of Faerun can grow beards, too, often passing as males among the nondwarves of the surface lands. Dwarven women may choose to shave their beards to match human-style expectations of beauty, while others glory in luxurious plaited beards that match their hair or wear sharply cut goatees.
For many generations the dwarven race declined in numbers from endless wars with ores and their kin. However, in the Year of Thunder (1306 DR), the great god Moradin bestowed a new- blessing
upon his people. The dwarves tell different stories about the source of this blessing, which they refer to as the Forge or the Thunder Blessing. Some say that it was the result of a mighty quest by a dwarven heroine. Others say that Moradin had planned to reforge his peoples’ souls all along. Whatever the source of the blessing, the birthrate among dwarves has soared until it is now fully half as high as that of a young and vigorous human land.
The new dwarven generation is commonly referred to as the thunder children. Nearly a fifth of dwarven births after the Thunder Blessing have resulted in identical or fraternal twins. The thunder children share little of the fear and distrust of arcane magic possessed by their ancestors. Most dwarves still feel more comfortable wielding an axe instead of a wand, but many thunder children, particularly the twins, study wizardry or the sorcerer’s arts.
In the past few years, these thunder children have come of age, and dwarves are once again a common sight in Faerun, Many young stout folk leave their homes in groups of a hundred or more to found new clans in hills unclaimed by other dwarves. Others have chosen to wander the world, seeking glory and wealth.