You, Whom I Have Always Hated: Dwarves and the Divine

I more or less made a solemn promise to always make gameable posts. Then I was challenged by my good friend Beloch Shrike over at to post some pointless GM wank. Something useless, but fun for me.

I wrote recently that dwarves are atheistic, scientific, and opposed to the idea of magic. Why? They live in a world of magic. Even if the principles of science oppose those of magic and the gods, to doubt them would itself be unscientific, as they can be observed.

No, dwarves know it exists.

Dwarves originated from magic. In the times when ice covered the earth, the first intelligent, manlike creatures emerged, the giantfolk. From the giants came the gods, formed somehow in the layers of the impenetrable glaciers. From the gods came man, crafted from the wood of the first tree. From the bodies of  giants came the land, the oceans, the sky. From their blood  came dwarves, the maggots that came to feast upon the corpse the gods had left.

The dwarves know that they have purpose.

The gods gave them thoughts, but bore no love for them. Maggots once, maggots always. They were given important tasks: dwarves held the sky aloft upon their shoulders as their brethren toiled over generations to hew the pillars which now bear it. They crafted thunder for the gods to sound their call to battle and strike fear into their enemies. The furthest depths of dwarven caves lay atop the entrances to the dark realms in which the enemies of gods and men reside. Despite all that they do and have done, the dwarves were given no souls.

This, above all things, the dwarves know:

No hereafter awaits them. They are granted no divine favor. Never loved by the gods, for who can love a maggot? Their suffering, their servitude, their loyalty unrewarded, while they knew that a dwarf’s only rest was oblivion, their only honor in the memory and records of their fellows. As the millennia wore on, as dwarves were born, lived, and died, always honoring their duties, it ceased to be enough. This existence is all they had ever had, all they could expect, all they may ever know until the universe itself dies. And they refused to accept it.

The dwarves, and through them all living things, shall be free.

Some unknown thousands of years ago, the dwarves spurned the gods. Magic and the divine, which bore no love for the dwarves, would have no further hold on them, even if it may take until the end of time. One by one, they undid their greatest works. The gates of the underworld were sealed, tipping the delicate balance of the planes. The thunder, the tides, and all the natural forces the dwarves had tamed and crafted for the gods were set free to their own ways. The dome of the sky was pierced by their looking glasses, seeking what lies beyond.

And so it is that science is not merely the dwarves’ belief system, it is their weapon. It is a means of existence, of bettering their lives, without the gods. It is through knowledge, empiricism, patience, determination, invention, and unification of purpose that dwarves will lift themselves up above mortality and suffering.

This, you see, is why the dwarves have no use for gods and magic.

So apparently viking metal, pirate metal and Japanese schoolgirl metal were not enough. We have now been blessed with dwarf metal.


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