Dwarves, Hobbits, and Gnomes, oh my!

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Dwarves, Hobbits, and Gnomes, oh my!

Post by Truthful Nomad on Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:01 pm

Dwarves, Hobbits, and Gnomes Culture comparison

Government and law


Dwarves: Dwarves are ruled by a king or queen and an elder council. Each kingdom has its royalty, and its own elder council. The elders are responsible for overseeing the religious and ritualistic aspect of dwarf society and the king and queen are responsible for leading the people. In addition to the council, dwarf rulers have a host of noblemen and women to help guide their rule. The elders and monarchy are generally not permitted to interfere in one another’s realms, but if the council believes the monarchy has created a great offense, they may overthrow the monarchy, and the monarchy can do the same to the council if they have become corrupt.

Gnomes: Gnomes don’t have mighty kingdoms, they are ruled by smaller clans. Each clan is autonomous and ruled by one female chieftain and her all female advisors. Some clans can become very large and very powerful, but it is rare that gnomes engage in warfare, although they will do so in defense of their clans.

Halflings: Halflings have no kingdoms, they are ruled similar to gnomes, at a smaller, local level. Halflings have an egalitarian type of government, where there aren’t really any upper or lower classes. There are certain halflings that are descendants of ancient kings and thus, many have retained prestige from their names, but the people usually chooses who is in charge within communities. First Harvest festival, leadership is usually granted to the halfling who was nominated by the community. This is the Harvest King. That halfling leads the community for a year and then can be re elected the following year. Sometimes a Harvest King is elected so many times that the community simply decides they can have the title for life. There is also a small council of older men who make sure everyone behaves in society.

Economy


Dwarves: Dwarves are skilled in warfare and in trades. On Tendakor, they are responsible for all the planet’s mining ventures. They control precious metals which are used as currency in their kingdoms. Gold is the most coveted, but even iron and stone have their values. From diamonds to emeralds to silver to lead to marble, it’s all mined and traded for by dwarves. Dwarf stones and metals are considered of value even on other worlds. Dwarves are miners, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, stonemasons, and bankers. No other profession holds as much prestige as that which involves metal. Even kings and queens are judged by how well they are at their trades. Dwarves acquire trade deals with halflings for food and gnomes for clothing so very little of these things are produced within dwarf kingdoms.

Gnomes; Gnomes center their economy on three things. The sea, the migrating herds, and textiles. The first two are the main livelihood of gnome clans. Gnomes have domesticated certain species of whales and they use these whales for meat, milk, and oil. The oil makes lamps, candles, cooking oil, and the like. The whale bones make plateware. The migrating herds such as caribou and elk provide meat, hide, and bone for gnome spears and harpoons. Each gnome clan has a claim on parts of the ocean and on the tundra surrounding the village. Gnome sailing crews care for the whale herds, and go crabbing and deep sea fishing. The other major export for gnomes are textiles. Gnome men do raise sheep and goats and they are talented weavers, knitters, sewers, and leather makers. Since there are only two oceans on Tendakor and both of them are polar, they both fall in gnome lands so any seafood sought after by other races much come from gnome lands.

Halflings: Halflings rely on agriculture. They provide all the food they need for themselves and for most of the planet. Agriculture is really their only industry. Halfling communities live on communal farms. All halfling have small family gardens, but care of the livestock and crops are a community effort. Men take care of the animals and women take care of the crops.

Military

Dwarves: Besides the stone and the sickle, the one other profession of a dwarf is warfare. Dwarves are warriors and are taught from an early age to swing a blade. Dwarves are charged with the complete defense of Tendakor, and dwarf kingdoms often select halfling lands or gnome clans to protect in exchange for food and clothing trades. Dwarves often war with one another, as the society is divided based on beard color. Kingdoms populations are either dark beard majorities or red beard majorities and they are always competing with one another, although cultural differences between red beards and dark beards are unrecognizable. Blonde beards have a history of being persecuted. Long ago, dwarves warred with gnomes and halflings in attempt to conquer their less warlike neighbors, but they never succeeded. Halflings and gnomes may not be war like but offending them can mean starvation for dwarf kingdoms.

Gnomes: Gnomes have no military, they are not a warlike people. They are hearty and can defend themselves as needed, as such, gnome women are trained on how to use daggers and blades, but formal combat training is unlikely. Gnomes sometimes have conflict over land but it rarely comes to violence. The main form of punishment for gnomes is exile. On the harsh tundra, unless the gnome can get to the safety of dwarf lands, exile means certain death.

Halflings: Halflings have no military and most halflings have never even held a blade. They haven’t needed to fight in centuries. Halflings control the food market and for this reason, few would pick a fight with them. Some dwarves have lured halflings into their kingdoms and then enslaved them, halfling trafficking is a growing problem on Tendakor, but halfling communities as a whole are left alone. Dwarf kingdoms will usually come to the aid of halfling communities if threatened by off world forces.

Towns


Dwarves: dwarves live either underground or on or near a mountain. Their homes are made of stone, sometimes built directly into mountains. Most communities have their own mine, whether its a silver mine, a diamond mine, or any other mine. And many larger communities and kingdoms have their own central mountain peak. The mine provides income for the community at large and it is their main source of livelihood. At the center of town are pubs and feasting halls. Dwarf towns also feature many blacksmithing shops, mason shops, and craft markets. An auction for dwarf and traded goods is usually held in the town square.

Gnomes: gnome clans have dominion over their own lands and seas. All the animals in the land and the sea belong to that particular community. Gnome houses are simple wooden structures. At the center of gnome settlements is the main hall where community celebrations are held. THe clan chieftain usually resides in a larger home near the hall. Textile shops and mills are in abundance. Gnomes also usually have an opened air fish and meat market in town.

Halflings: halflings build their towns in rolling hills. Their homes are made of earth and stone and are fairly simple. A lot of the homes are two stories to encompass barns and storage for food on the first story. All homes have a garden. There are also community barns and stables, and all the land surrounding the community is owned by the community at large, not by any individual. Food markets are common as are simple taverns. There is usually a central area in the middle of town which is used for community festivals.

Environment and physical abilities

Dwarves: Dwarves live in mountainous regions. Tendakor is a mountainous planet. The mountains are dominated by pine forests that generally grow unkempt since dwarves place little value on them. A few dwarves do engage in lumber mills and wood trades, one such kingdom, Ourem, a kingdom isolated between the south vale and the south gnomelands, have developed a culture of lumber mills and wood workers. Dwarves are short and stocky with large round ears. They range in height from about 4’5 to about 5 feet. Both sexes have beards. Dwarves may be either dark bearded, red bearded, or blonde bearded. Elders become elders when their entire beard and hair has become grey, usually that happens around the age of 350. Dwarves can breathe in smoke and most toxic fumes. They can even survive the environment on Mars, Tendakor’s Earth dimension equivalent, although only for a few days. They can breathe carbon dioxide for up to a week, as well as sulphur, methane, and other toxic gasses. They can survive in extreme cold and low gravity and can even withstand radiation, though not for long. They are vulnerable to bacterial toxins, however. They can’t handle heat for very long.

Gnome: Gnomes live on the icy tundras near Tendakor’s north and south poles. Gnome lands begin north of the tree line and south of the tree line on both poles. They control the only two oceans on Tendakor. Gnome generally hover just under four feet even, they are slender and have large round ears. They have wavy hair that comes in many shades of color. They generally have ice blue or ice green eyes. Gnomes have the same physical abilities and vulnerabilities as dwarves.

Halflings: Halflings live in three separate bands that criss cross the face of Tendakor, all called the Vale. There is the North Vale, the mid Vale and the South Vale, all separated by rugged mountainous terrain. These fertile valleys and rolling hills are grasslands with excellent soil for farming. The mid vale is a tropical region that straddles the equator. Halflings hover around 4’2 in height and have curly hair. They have round pointed oval shaped ears. They have the same ability to breathe toxic fumes, but they are less adapted to cold than gnomes and dwarves because they live in warmer, lower altitude climates.

Magic and education

Dwarves: Magic is not widely used on Tendakor, except for in healing practices. Shamanism is the prefered class of magic among dwarf healers and most villages have at least one healer. There are not many magic schools on Tendakor, usually only in capital cities, so many dwarf healers receive their training off world. Dwarflings receive an education from their parents or from village elders. At the age of 70, they are formally accepted into combat schools and trade schools. Poorer dwarflings, or dwarflings who live off world, usually don’t get into trade or combat schools and are trained by their parents.

Gnomes: gnomes don’t have any kind of formal education and don’t utilize magic. Gnome women learn the trade of their mothers and gnome men marry and learn textiles and how to be a homemaker. Gnomes have attended off world magic schools and then returned with their magical abilities, a favorite form of magic among gnomes is wizardry. But usually, in a gnome settlement there is perhaps one or two magick practitioners. They usually become priestesses in temples to Duwenya.

Halflings: Halflings have little in the way of formal education either. Farming techniques are passed down from generation to generation. Halfling men sometimes attend off world magick schools but women aren’t permitted to have any kind of formal education.

Religious beliefs


Dwarf: Dwarves, halflings, and gnomes believe in the dimensional ribon, a central belief in all the Terra dimension. The Dimension Ribbon is said to be the place where gods, goddesses, and the spirits of the dead are said to reside. It is the unseen barrier between the Earth dimension and the Terra dimension. For dwarves, halflings, and gnomes, four gods and goddesses dominate Tendakor. Bruinnhair and Arunthair, two dwarf brothers who are said to have created the dwarf race. It is said that Arunthair forged the first dwarves out of solid gold. Then, Bruinnhair, breathed life into the dwarves and so began the race of dwarves. There are four ancient dwarf lines: Mulmur, Stunnar, Grastra, and Aurexena. The eight dwarf kingdoms and their royal houses are said to have descended from two of these dwarves. What is sacred: stones and gems are all sacred to dwarves, as are beards and hair. Certain stones also signify certain meaning. Give rose quartz to one you love, give moonstone to promote fertility, give aventurine to promote good fortune. Holy days: The dwarves celebrate the coming of the seasons just as do others in the Terra Dimension. The four main feasts honoring the solstices and equinoxes are: Yaust (fall), Vinturden (winter), Varsted (spring), and Kommar (summer). These are honored with feasts and gatherings. There are also four minor holidays. These are days that honor groups of society. Lady’s day (Kondath), which falls in between winter and spring, is a day to honor the young women in society. Lord’s day (Herdath), in between spring and summer which honors men,  Bairn’s feast (elskdath): which is considered the dwarf’s new year, and honors the birth of any dwarflings that were born since the last Life’s day. And day of death (andldath): a day to honor ancestors and those who died. All of these are feasting days. A sheep or hog is roasted over an open spit and ale is consumed in large quantities.

Gnomes: Gnomes believe in the Dimensional ribbon. Their goddess Duwenya is the wife of the dwarf god Arunthair. She is the goddess of the sea and the herds. The gnomes believe that Duwenya gave them the seas and the tundra to reign over and everything that dwells there is under their protection. Gnomes build temples of ice to Duwenya and magickally proficient priestesses oversee religious ceremonies. These priestesses are also healers. What is sacred: The ocean is sacred, seashells and sand dollars are treasures that are washed ashore. They are considered good luck. Also, the antlers of elk and reindeer often adorn gnome homes and halls. Holly is considered a sacred plant. Auroras are considered good omens. Holy days: The two main holidays are the summer solstice (Somen) and winter solstice (Runtir). These are the two biggest feasts on the calendar, honoring the longest day or the longest night. Gnomes celebrate in their halls. Huge bonfires are lit out on the fire for Midsummer and on midwinter, the gnomes honor auroras which are said to be symbols of Duwenya. Two more solemn fasting days are the two equinoxes, Maiti (spring) and Erlfest (Autumn) are spent in solitude. The other festivals revolve around the migration patterns of the caribou herds, and the whale herds, in spring. The caribou gather to calf at the same time each year, as do the whales (kealfesta). The peak of the deep sea fishing harvest is in the summer (zeogst). Toward s autumn, there is a celebration involving mating that centers around the mating patterns of the herds (sturfesta).

Halflings: The halfling goddess Thessara is goddess of the fields. She’s the wife of the dwarf god Bruinnhair. She reigns of the Halfing’s lives, table blessings are given to her at the main meal. Halflings have no temples or temple workers, they have no organized worship, they believe tending their crops and their animals is all that’s required of them in Thessara’s eyes.  What is sacred: Plants, flowers, worms. Halflings have a form of communication involving flowers, in much the same way that dwarves use gems and precious minerals. Halfings give certain flowers as gifts, and they display them in their windows to communicate certain things. Gardenias are given by secret admirers, marigold is displayed on windows during times of grief. Trees are planted over graves and for marriages, and worms are considered good omens when discovered in the soil.  Holy Days: Halflings love a celebration. Their celebrations revolve around their crops and animals. There is Midwinter (gwenith) and Midsummer (Amhraidh). After Amhraidh come the three harvest festivals. The Bread harvest (the Baradydd), the harvest of the fruits (froothdydd), and the harvest of the animals (bwydydd). After Gwenith come three fertility festivals. The Festival of the first milk (Laethdydd), the festival of new life (Bewnadydd), and the festival of the ram and the bull (Tarowdydd).  

Cuisine


Dwarves: Dwarves live in a mountain climate. They aren’t typically farmers although some keep pigs and chickens. They require a lot of meat and fat due to their cold mountain climate. Also, bread and carbs are very important. Their favorite meats are pork, rabbit, and mutton. They enjoy whole pig roasted on a spit, and hearty stews. They like carrots, garlic, and onions. Dwarves generally aren’t fond of seafood. They eat a lot of barley. Their favorite alcohol is beer and ales.

Gnomes: Gnomes have similar dietary requirements to dwarves due to their arctic climate. But their proximity to the sea makes seafood a big aspect to their cuisine. In addition to fishing, crabbing, and deep sea fishing, gnomes raise a species of domesticated whale in large aquatic farms where they raise the whales for meat, milk, and oil. They also heard elk, reindeer, and caribou. Whale meat, elk meat, fish, shellfish, shark, and snow geese are all main parts of the gnome diet. Very little vegetation grows on the tundra, although mushrooms are common, and tubers and roots such as potatoes and turnips are grown. Mosses and lichens can be used in teas. Arctic berries are also common. As far as alcohol, gnomes like mead and mulled wine. Bread wise, there is a species of oats that grow in the gnomelands and gnomes make all of their bread staples with it.

Halflings: Halflings are an agricultural people. On Tendakor, they produce up to 80% of all the food on the planet. Dwarf and gnome kingdoms consider trade agreements with halflings to be necessary to their survival. Halfling diets are extremely varied, they can eat just about anything. They have a well balanced diet, but they are extremely fond of fresh fruits. They are well known for their pies- savory meat pies or sweet fruit pies. They are especially fond of bird meats, such as chicken, duck, and goose. Pheasant is a favorite. For alcohol, halflings like fruit wine, and fruit brandy, especially apple brandy. Halflings have an unusually high metabolism for their size and require a lot of calories, as a result, starvation and famine can set in relatively quickly.

Costume, hair, etc.

Dwarves: dwarves dress typical of much of the rest of the Terra dimension, with lots of cotton, wool, and leather. Men wear trousers and tunics, women wear gowns. Clothing and hair is usually seen as social status. Lower class dwarves aren’t allowed to braid their hair. Upper class and royalty have ornate braided hair and beards, often decorated with beads of fine jewels. Much of the dwarves clothing comes from trade from gnomes and richer dwarves can afford better clothes. Royalty often wear their house crests on themselves, often as sheth or hilt decor for their swords, or on their clothing somewhere. When a dwarf turns 70, they are presented with two jewels. One for themselves to keep and one for a potential mate. Unmarried, unengaged dwarves keep their gems secret. Engaged dwarves wear their gems on chains and married dwarves wear rings made of blended metals made from their gem and their spouses gem.

Gnomes: Gnomes dress in thick furs and wool to keep the bitter cold at bay. They make leather out of caribou hide. Women dress in brilliant colored gowns and wear trousers underneath their gowns. The colors of the gowns represent their clan and come in many different patterns (similar to Scottish tartans). The bright colors of their gowns also serve the purpose of being seen when out on the tundra or out at sea to avoid becoming lost in a snow storm. They are usually adorned with whale or fish bone jewellry or seashells. The favored hair style among women is two braids coiled up above their ears, representing a rams horns. These two braids can be as simple or as elaborate as the individual gnome chooses. Men wear bland colors since they don’t usually journey beyond the settlement. They wear a lot of white in winter and browns in summer. They keep their hair long and simple. Gnomes have thick hair and keeping it long helps protect against the cold.

Halflings: Halflings wear simple clothing. By most other races, they are often considered of low class. They wear cotton, mostly, which they grow, spin, and sew themselves. Men wear trousers, vests, coats, and cloaks. Women wear a simple skirt of one color or sometimes, of floral patterns, usually a white under chemise, and a colorful bodice vest. Or they wear one piece dresses over their chemise. Girls wear their hair up, sometimes in hair bands, snoods, or bonnets. Flower head wreaths are common, especially for weddings and celebrations. If they wear jewelry, it’s usually made out of wood.

Arts and music

Dwarves: drinking and merry making is a big deal at feasts. Dwarves love to break into song during a feast, or when drunk. They make music with whatever they can find. Their table manners are often considered to be a bit uncivilized. Their art is represented in their trade crafts and architecture. Dwarves are master sculptures from ornate buildings to jewelry. Even something as mundane as a garden tool is decorated if it came out of a dwarven iron forge.

Gnomes: Gnome art is represented in their textiles. Colorful clothes, carpets for their homes, furs, and leather goods all woven, spun, knitted, mostly by men. Scrimshaw carvings out of whale and fishbone, and art out of caribou bone.

Halfling: Halflings make art with food. Artisan cheeses, cured meats, fresh baked breads, canned produce, expertly brewed and distilled wines and ales, pipe weed, all of these are highly sought after. During the harvest festivals, halflings compete in contests showcasing their best creations. Halflings can also knit and sew, though they don’t usually export these things to other races.

Language and names


Dwarves: Dwarves speak dwarfish, a language that is dominant on Tendakor, halflings and gnomes are generally expected to speak it if they plan on doing any kind of trade outside their realms. The most related Earth languages are Norweigan, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, and Icelandic. Dwarves have three names. They have a given name, which is chosen at birth, although the name isn’t proclaimed until the baby’s name day. They have a surname, which like everyone in the inner worlds, is based on the town their are born in, and they have a third name given to them when they complete their first rite. It involves the gem they’ve received. Their middle name is not readily given to outsiders.

Gnomes; Gnomes speak gnomish. The most related Earth languages are dutch, german, and frisian. Gnomes take the name of their clans as surnames. Girls are given names representing courage, the sea, the tundra, and the herds (Zrengin is a girl’s name meaning the sea). Boys are given names representing textiles and domestic things. (Breien is a males name meaning to knit).

Halflings: The halfling language closely resembles Cornish, Welsh, irish, or Scottish. Halfling boys are often named after their fathers, or sometimes after plants or animals, or sometimes, after their profession or their father’s profession. Girls are named after flowers.

Gender differences
Dwarf: In dwarf society, women and men enjoy the responsibilities and pleasures of society. Dwarves are a warrior race and women and men are both expected to fight in the event of a war. The only time a woman would be exempt from this is during pregnancy and nursing. Mining and crafting are other major dwarf industries and women are expected to labor in the mines alongside their men. Physically, dwarf men and women are roughly about the same size and strength as one another. Both grow beards. To other races, all too often, dwarf women are mistaken for dwarf men. In domestic responsibilities, the men are expected to share in that as well. Men are taught to cook, clean, and care for their wives during childbirth and pregnancy. There are no real gender divisions in dwarf society.

Gnome: Gnomes are a female based society. Gnome females are physically slightly larger than males. Males are taught to be meek and obedient, though they are treated with respect. Males are not permitted to hold high positions on the chieftain councils. They are not permitted to attend the annual reindeer hunt or to be part of gnome fishing crews. They are permitted to own their own businesses and quite often, it is up to them to maintain gnome towns since the women are often away with their herds or at sea. Gnome textiles are highly sought after and gnome males generally dominate the textile industry, as they are taught how to weave, sew, knit, and do leatherworks. Gnome men are expected to take care of the home while the women generally work outside the home.

Halflings: halflings are a very patriarchal society. Marriages are usually arranged by the fathers, or by matchmakers. Girls generally have little say in who they marry and are often married off young. Halfling men are typically in charge of the animal husbandry of the agricultural sphere. They are ranchers, shepherd, goatherds, and the like. They devote themselves to the care of their animals. Halfling males are often encouraged to travel, as roaming with their herds is common. Halfling girls stay close to home and are responsible for the care of the crops. They labor in the fields from the time they are very young until they are elderly. They raise grains, orchards, and vegetables. Halfling girls are expected to be obedient to their husbands and to produce children for him.

Rites of passage: Courting, marriage, pregnancy, coming of age, and death


Dwarves: Coming of age: Dwarflings grow slowly and generally have three coming of age rites. One at 70, one ad 80, and one at 90. The first one, at 70, is when the dwarfling is roughly about the age of 14 in human years. This marks the beginning of adolescence for young dwarflings. This is the time that dwarves begin to decide on their place in dwarf society. A mock battle with other dwarflings and blunted blades is played out while potential instructors bid on the students they want. Some instructors focus on dual wielding, some on axes, others on single blades. Few on archery, though there are some. It’s very important for a young dwarfling to be prepared enough to receive training. After being sorted into training, the dwarf, who probably has already received instruction under their fathers, is introduced to the various trades a dwarf can pursue. Among them are blacksmithing, stone working, and gem smithing. Once the dwarflings have been sorted into combat groups and chosen apprenticeships, there is a feast held for them and this is the time when many dwarflings are introduced to other single dwarves. During this training, the dwarf will also learn certain ancient stories, the dwarf language, and survival and hunting skills. At the age of 80, the dwarfling endures their second rites. They are another test to see how far they’ve come in their combat skills. It’s also a darker meaning. At this point in their lives, dwarves have no religious allegiance, they are not permitted to enter the sacred temples to Bruinnhair, the god of the battle, or to Arunnhair, the god of stone and metal. But at this ceremony, Arunnhair welcomes the dwarfling into his temples and the dwarfling must now begin mining duties in addition to training. They are introduced to the reality of pain for the first time by being ‘branded’ given a tattoo under the base of their neck which signifies Arunnhair’s acceptance of them. The tattoo die is mixed with a special mineral that is supposed to signify that the young dwarfling is being claimed by the stone. After receiving this mark, the dwarflings are told the sacred stories of how Arunnhair forged the dwarves of stone and how stone, gems, gold, and the earth itself unites all dwarves. Two pieces of gemstones are given to the dwarfling. One to be kept for the rest of their lives, the other to be given to their future mate. Certain lines receive certain stone. Anything from sapphire to lead may be given. The dwarf must hold that stone sacred above all others. The third and last rite comes when the dwarf reaches the age of 90, the true age of adulthood. This is the rite that means life or death for the dwarf. To graduate from their training, they must endure fasting for a week, another branding ceremony, and a battle to the death with some kind of beast. This is meant to make sure the dwarf is fully aware of the concept of death as he goes into adulthood. If he has not experienced a death in his family at this point, this is the time he will truly face it, as not all of his classmates will survive. Dwarves don’t mean for this lesson to be cruel, just a dose of reality. The dwarf’s parents, but also acknowledge at this point, that the dwarf has become an adult. After the battle, the dwarf is received by Bruinnhair, the god of battle. This means from here on out, the dwarf may be called upon by their king or queen for battle. These three rites forfill the obtainment of three awarenesses: mind, pain, and death. Courting and sexuality: A dwarf reaches sexual maturity around the age of 65. Most dwarves may lose their virginity around the time of their first rite. Sexuality, like death and life, is seen simply as something a young dwarf must address. Virginity is not typically valued and it is considered a good thing to be rid of it, as it marks the dwarflings first awareness of the world. Dwarves believe in obtaining many awarenesses: flesh, mind, heart, life, pain, death. The awareness of flesh is the one that concerns sexuality. It is not considered proper for a dwarfling to obtain this awareness before they go through their first rite, but it is generally expected that they encounter it before their last rite. Heart and Life are the two awarenesses many dwarves never obtain and they are considered minor awarenesses. If there is love between the couple, it is very importantly pursued. A dwarf doesn’t give away his heart lightly and dwarves generally chose a partner for life, though divorce is not unheard of in instances of abuse or infidelity. The first stage of courtship usually happens at the feast of the first rite when the young couple usually first meet. Later, a dwarf may ask their intended lover to brush their hair or braid their hair. This signifies intimacy and trust, because hair is considered very important. It’s considered a covenant between the dwarves and their two gods and only family members and lovers can brush a dwarf’s hair. Brushing a partner's hair means that the two are a couple, though not married or engaged. Dwarves do have the tendency to become pretty possessive of their partners and jealousy is common. Because of this and because dwarves are so choosy about their mates, it is unlikely that an individual dwarf would have multiple sexual partners, although it’s known to happen and it's not considered a taboo. Although too many partners signifies the dwarfling has a indecisive mind and that is not encouraged. Prostitution in dwarf society is rare. Rape is also rare, but has been known to happen to both genders. Marriage: Marriage holds different meanings among dwarves of different status. Dwarves are generally not permitted to marry outside their social status, outside their race, or outside their beard color. It’s especially taboo to marry a dwarf who is blonde. Marriages are often seen as a political move, especially among royals, but once in awhile, it is for true love. As an act of engagement, after declaring their engagement to their families, the couple exchange sacred stones. For this reason, it is important that the couple have both completed their second Rites which means they must both be at least 80. The exchanged gems must be kept until the day of the wedding. Also, at the engagement feast, a mock battle is performed. The bride must defeat both the grooms parents, and the groom must defeat both the brides. The battle is not to the death and so it is performed with blunted blades. During the duration of the engagement, which may be for up to a year or more, the bride and groom switch lives. The groom is ‘given’ to the brides family and the bride is ‘given’ to the grooms family. If the engagement happens before the third rite, then the future in-laws must fully care for their new charge until the day of the wedding. If the wedding is truly for love, it will be declared as such on the day of the wedding, before those assembled, and inside a temple containing a sacred pool of Arunthair. Arunthair is considered the keeper of flesh, heart, and mind while Bruinnhair is the keeper of life, death, and pain. The pool of molten lava is considered a sacred symbol because lava is said to be how dwarves first originated. The couple declare whether their marriage is for ‘heart’ or not. If for heart, both must give some kind of declaration of love for one another. If not for love, a simpler ceremony is acceptable. Then, both couples cut their wrists and molten lava is dropped into the wound. THen, the temple priest binds the coupled wrists to one another and they must stay bound to one another until the wedding night. After the ceremony, there is a feast and after that, the new couple may live together. If they are under 90, their parents and in-laws will ‘share custody’ of them. Pregnancy and childbirth: Childbirth is of course, the other attainment, ‘life.’ but it is a drawn out ordeal. Dwarves are not particularly fertile in their long lives, so a pregnancy is a cause for celebration, regardless of whether the couple are married or not. But from conception until the infant is completely weaned, the child itself is considered a ‘half life.’ Dwarf infants develop slowly, the gestation period is 10 months and the infant is a baby for nearly 5 years. Half-breeds develop much faster. Pregnant women are allowed to refrain from their duties after about 8 months of pregnancy. When it’s time to deliver, the woman gives birth in a temple to Bruinnhair, tended to by only her mate and the temple workers.  Naming ceremony: Around the age of 5, the infant is still about the same physical and mental development of a human the age of one. But this is the time when the infant is fully accepted as a life and is accepted into dwarf society. In the past, infant mortality among dwarves has been very high, and at this point, the child is weaned and no longer physically dependant on their mother. The child is given a name in a special ceremony and Bruinnhair is given tribute for the life. Death:  Dwarves live to be about 500 years old. They are considered elderly at about 350. At this point in age, elders are permitted to sit on kingdom’s Elder Councils. When a dwarf dies, the body must be returned to the lava. Dwarves are laid into the sacred pool of lava where they are said to descend into the pools and become one with the god brothers.

Gnomes: Coming of age: At the age of 55, gnome women reach the age of consent and reason. As part of their initiation into adult society, they must prove their ability to be resourceful and survive by either spending three days out on the tundra with the caribou herds or three days out at sea, alone. Many young gnome girls don’t survive this test. Gnome men aren’t required to go through this test of endurance and survival. After the girl survives, she may join her first crew. A gnome girl’s ‘crew’ is with her for life. They are a team of about six to a dozen women who operate a fishing boat or lead expeditions out onto the tundra. The girls on a Gnome Crew must trust one another with their lives. These girls will be like a gnome’s second family. Gnome men are usually married by the age of 55 (which is about 16 in human years). Courting and Sexuality: Gnomes have a casual outlook of sex. Gnome women are usually the ones who initiate courtship. When a girl sees a man she might be interested in, she might ask him to weave her something or knit her something. If she likes what he’s made, she’ll ask introduce him to her Crew. Approval from the crew is very important. Then, if things are getting serious, she will seek some kind of settlement with the man’s mother. Things usually intensify from there. Unmarried men might be asked to live in a gnome woman’s home for a time so the woman can decide whether he can measure up or if he meets her needs. This is where sexuality becomes important, a male who can’t please his woman won’t last too long. Cooking and knitting are also important, as well as the ability to care for the children the woman might bare. Men do get a say in whether they wish to proceed at any time during the courtship. Also, gnomes sometimes have multiple husbands or partners, but only with the approval of the first husband. Gnomes give their men gifts of holly and art as courtship gifts. Prostitution and rape are both extremely rare in gnome society, but just like any culture, such things do occur. Marriage: When a couple have decided to take the next step, the man moves in with the woman for a time. This is the engagement period. The woman takes care of the man and the man demonstrates his ability to provide for her home. Marriages are performed out on the tundra, the most popular time is Midsummer or Midwinter. Midwinter, especially if there are auroras. Gnome priestesses perform the ceremonies in the presence of the entire community. The woman vows to take care of the man, the man must vow to care for any children that enter the marriage. Gifts include seashells, scrimshaw carvings, and  textile gifts. After the vows, the couple will strip and bathe in the icy waters of the polar oceans. Then, at the community hall, they drink the first mead of the evening out of a special goblet shared between the two of them. After the marriage, the man is in charge of the woman’s household and affairs when she is away at sea or tending the herds. He sees to her textile businesses and any other community affairs. He isn’t allowed to sit on a chieftain counsel but he can bring his demands to them. Gnomes are sometimes polyamorous, but it is relatively rare and this is one situation where the husband gets final say. If the first husband disapproves, no other husbands may enter the marriage. Pregnancy and childbirth: Gnome gestation lasts about 7 months. Gnome women celebrate pregnancy and the first months of motherhood with their all female crew. After all, the woman will continue working right up until labor, and then will give birth surrounded by her crew. Her husband is not permitted to be present for the actual birth, but he can be around afterwards. While the woman is nursing, she is attended to by her husband, he sees to her and the baby’s every need. After the baby is fully weaned, it becomes the husband’s responsibility to care for it while the woman returns to work. Name day: babies are initiated into the world on their 10th day of life. They are presented under the aurora and taken to a temple of Duwenya for blessings. They are given a name. At this point in life, gender is irrelevant as it's the husband’s job to bring the child up. Once the child is old enough, a girl child may begin learning the ways of her community with her mother. Death: Death is all too familiar for a people who live in such harsh conditions. When someone dies, it is said that their souls have been claimed by the seas. Gnomes cremate their dead, then spread them over the ocean, then dedicate a special antler carving to them. Elder women are honored as matriarchs of society.

Halflings: Coming of age: Halflings come of age at age 50 (about 15 in human years). Gnome men are ready to become masters of their goat herds or their cow herds. Gnome girls are old enough to be married off. They most likely have already been working in the fields with their mothers or with the herds with their fathers since they were old enough to walk. During Laethdydd, the milk festival, halfling girls who have turned 50 during the year are honored for their innocence, sort of like a sweet 16 party. Courtship and sexuality: where gnome courtships lean heavily towards the women, halflings are just the opposite. If a halfling girl hasn’t already been promised to someone by the time they are 50, they will be compelled to advertise their availability at special affairs called ‘courting dances’. Usually held during one of the eight yearly festivals, these dances showcase all the available girls. They dance and make merry before men who are sorting them out. They also demonstrate their skills in bread baking contests, pie contests, pickling and other such events. Men also demonstrate their skill at these contests, but they are mainly competing against other men for the privilege to take their pick of the fairest maidens. Marriage and engagement: after a successful courtship dance, the man takes the maiden he has chosen and makes negotiations with her father. He gives her gifts of flowers and plants, it is considered bad luck for the marriage if she lets the plants die. If he’s really interested in her and wants her to see that sincerity, he might designate an animal in his sheep flock or cow herd in her honor. Usually a breeding animal to signify fertility. If the father agrees, they will be wed out in fields. After taking a vow to obey her husband, the girl will be invited to live with her husband. At the ceremony, a tree will be planted to signify the longevity of their marriage. It is usually a fruit or nut tree so that the family can enjoy the fruit of their relationship. Pregnancy and childbirth: halflings are unusually fertile. They evolved this way because they have many natural predators. Gestation lasts five months and halfling women almost always have multiple births or twins or triplets. Single births are relatively rare. Male babies, of course, are more preferred. Infanticide is a bit of a problem in society, though officially, it is frowned on. When it comes time to give birth, a woman goes into a specialized hut prepared for her by her female friends and family. A second hut is built beside hers for the husband. Both are pampered by their friends and family. The woman is treated to a relaxing water birth, incense, her female friends serenading and massaging her. Meanwhile, the soon to be father is being pampered by his male friends in the hut next door. He’s being treated to a feast and celebration, most likely to distract him from his wife’s cries. Once the babies are born, they are taken from the mother and brought to the husband’s hut for approval. It can be a stressful time for the new mother because in less tolerable times, the husband may be permitted to kill the infants if they had any flaws. In more corrupt societies, this still continues. Nameday: The mother names her twins or triplets as soon as they are born. At the next bewnadydd festival, the infants are presented to the community at large. Death: when a halfling dies, they are burried out in a special field every community has. Instead of a tombstone, a tree is planted. The orchards that spring up in burial fields can be quite impressive. Each family in the community has their own plot in the burial field dedicated to their lineage.
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