The Call of Afeon
Dwarves are stocky creatures, usually significantly shorter than most humans and elves, but just as wide. Most dwarves are fairly perceptive, with vision adapted to the darkness of the caverns and underground cities that they make their homes.
Dwarves are fairly short, with adults ranging from 3'6" to 4'6". They are fairly dense as well, with adults weighing north of 200 lbs. This isn't to say all dwarves are fat, but rather that they are simply dense. Most dwarves are very muscular and have very dense bones, making them fairly resistant to injury.
Dwarves typically live underground or in caves. As such, instead of expanding horizontally, they typically expand downwards, adding more floors onto their cities when the upper levels become too crowded. Because most dwarf settlements are underground, they are all linked with an extensive network of tunnels through which supplies and people can be moved quickly and efficiently. A surface trip over rough terrain is much more time consuming and dangerous than a subterranean trek or a ride on one of the many flat bottomed barges that traverse the flooded Thoroughfare tunnels.
Excellent engineers, Dwarves typically prefer smoothly finished walls and tunnels for their homes and other structures, since it would be easy to accidentally bump into outcroppings of rock in the often cramped environment. In addition, the dwarves typically use wells and pumps driven into underground aquifers to get their drinking water.
Dwarves tend to be very friendly and jovial with their own kind, with huge families and very close knit communities. Whenever a dwarf marries, it is customary for the couple to purchase a new home to live in together or to dig one out for themselves if none are available. The larger extended families tend to stay very close, however, with large family gatherings taking place quite often for holidays, birthdays, or other celebrations. It is believed several dwarf holidays were created as an excuse for large families to get together and have a big party.
Dwarf food is hardy and dense, much like dwarves themselves. The bread tends to be thin and heavy, made from heavily compressed flour. Root vegetables and mushrooms are also common, as they can be grown underground. Meat is a huge staple of the typical dwarf diet, as animals can be easily raised in or around caves next to large mountain meadows.
Dwarves typically do not have a favorable relationship with magic. They tend to be distrustful of anything that comes about in a magical fashion. Very few dwarves become magicians. Even fewer stay in the dwarf cities and practice their art there.
Art in dwarf culture is usually very practical in nature. A weapon may have gild filigree or other decoration as art, but also must be usable as a legitimate weapon for it to be considered a dwarfish work of art. The only art made for art's sake is usually in the form of sculpture. Dwarfish leaders and kings are often carved life sized from solid blocks of rock to be put on display in public spaces in the dwarf cities or to be held in the collections of nobles.
Oral tradition is strong in dwarf culture, as stories are often traded at social functions or in bars. Bards are typically not common, since every dwarf can remember their own family's history easily. In Black Rock Mountain, however, there is a society of dwarfish historians who attempt to collect as many family histories as they can and record them for future generations.
Most other civilized races do not get along too well with the dwarves. Dwarves are considered to be stingy in trade and overly proud of their own works, as well as incredibly stubborn. They trade freely with anyone who comes to their markets, especially the one at the top floor of Black Rock Mountain, but rarely let any outsider down into the deeper levels of their cities.