Arctic dwarves, also known as Inugaakalikurit (EE-nu-GA-ka-LEE-ku-rit), are a race of dwarves located in the isolated reaches of the Great Glacier in Faerûn's northernmost reaches. Arctic dwarves have a different origin than most of the other dwarves in Faerûn as well as the duergar, and are significantly different physiologically and culturally from other members of the Stout Folk, so much that they might be considered their own race. Arctic dwarves were almost entirely unheard of until relatively recent, when a group of them began settling the edges of Luruar a century ago.
Arctic dwarves are a very small race, not only in general but in comparison with dwarves as well. The average arctic dwarf is even shorter than a gnome or halfling, standing at just over half the height of a shield dwarf. Physically, arctic dwarves are squat, with pinched faces and stubby legs, being nearly as wide as they are tall with their fingers and toes thick and blunt and their feet flat and wide. Their skin is typically quite pale, ranging from a pale shade of blue to white, except for their cheeks which are a ruddy red, although their frequent exposure to the sun means many are frequently sunburned. Arctic dwarf eyes are bright blue and their curly hair, which they usually let flow freely long to their waists, is white. Unlike most dwarves, arctic dwarf females can't grow beard, though men can, often growing short beards with twisting mustaches. Arctic dwarf dress is typically simple, most often little more than tunics of polar bear fur.
While ostensibly dwarves, arctic dwarves have many significant physical and ability differences between themselves and other dwarves. For instance, while arctic dwarves are frequently sunburned due to their constant exposure to the sun, this causes them no harm, suggesting a resistance to radioactivity. Arctic dwarves are also significantly stronger than most dwarves, while being, in spite of their size, less dexterous. Arctic dwarves are also completely immune to the effects of extreme cold.
In general, arctic dwarves are a gregarious people, open to the company of others. Unlike other dwarves they care little from what bloodline another dwarf comes from and have next to no materialistic drive, believing instead in living life to the fullest. In part, this is derived from the primitive nature of arctic dwarven society, which relies on hunting and foraging to sustain itself, restricting the accumulation of private property but at the same time allowing for a greater amount of free time than civilized cultures do.
While individualistic and open-minded, arctic dwarves rarely venture beyond their own homelands to adventure. Those that do are usually driven by a spirit of curiosity, falling into the life of an adventurer more by default than by conscious decision. These individuals often become rangers or barbarians, which the self-sufficient lifestyle of an arctic dwarf is well-suited for and which draw upon the long history of their people's fight against the frost giants of the north.
Given the scattered nature of their population it is remarkable that arctic dwarf society is as homogeneous as it is, most likely the result of millennia spent in isolation from other races. Unlike most dwarves, the arctic dwarves do not divide themselves by clan lineage but neither is individualism highly valued among the illiterate race, who do not frequently remember individual deeds for more than a generation. Nor do arctic dwarves value hard work or craftsmanship to the same degree as other dwarves or indeed as most other races.
Instead, arctic dwarves focus themselves on contributing to the greater communal good, which itself demands very little from them, meaning that most of the race are content to live in ease without concern for the future. Young children receive a great deal of attention and raised by most of the community as a whole. Elders are largely devoid of any responsibility at all in arctic dwarf society, which sees it as their right to live without worries for the remainder of their days before being buried beneath the snow and ice when they finally leave the mortal world.
Arctic dwarves are few in number as it is and only very rarely have they migrated from their northern homes to more temperate regions. As a result, they integrate poorly with outside cultures and often exert a great deal of effort looking for others of similar mind to replicate the casual lifestyle of their culture.
Arctic dwarves almost exclusively speak Kurit, a rare dialect of Dwarvish that is significantly influenced by Uluik, though a few also speak the Sossal dialect of Common. Other arctic dwarves learn Uluik, Giant, Damaran, or Draconic. Although nearly all arctic dwarves are illiterate, Kurit does use a version of the Dethek alphabet and many arctic dwarves who become adventurers are literate.
Art and leisureEdit
Because of their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, arctic dwarves have a great degree of free time on their hands and as a result value leisure to an extent equal to and beyond that of hard work and few spend more than the minimal amount of effort necessary to accomplish survival. Among the activities enjoyed is dog riding and the arctic dwarves employ a large number of riding dogs as pets, mounts, hunting companions, and beasts of burden.
Arctic dwarf crafts are largely limited to practical items, such as hunting weapons or survival tools. Many arctic dwarfs wear hide armor, the pelts of polar bears being the most valued. Most arctic dwarfs go barefoot, in spite of the cold. For hunting tools, arctic dwarfs prefer the use of arctic harpoons, even though their size is awkward, driven on by myths about arctic dwarfs felling improbably large quarries with similar harpoons.
Magic and ReligionEdit
For the most part, arctic dwarves lack any significant magical traditions and largely view the Art as impractical. The magical items found among the race are mostly created by druids or the race's small number of arcane spellcasters, among the most common of which are amulets of natural armor and snowshoes of speed. One of the few magic items unique to arctic dwarves are kerrenderit or magically shaped ice crystals often used as arrowheads.
In addition to lacking an arcane spellcasting tradition, the arctic dwarves are not particularly religious and venerate neither the Morndinsamman nor any other gods. Instead, the arctic dwarves venerate the natural world, sometimes honoring Talos or Ulutiu in the process. Those few dwarves who practice any magic of any kind are most frequently druids, adepts, or rangers. Arctic dwarf druids are somewhat notable for their reliance on fire-based magic, which they employ against frost giants, frost worms, and other foes to great effectiveness.
Relations with other racesEdit
Arctic dwarves have very little contact with anyone besides themselves, frost giants, with whom they are deadly foes, and Ulutiun humans, with whom they have friendly relations. However, because arctic dwarves are a friendly and open-minded race they are usually very tolerant of outsiders. Gnomes and other dwarves are often considered amusing to arctic dwarves due to their mix of familiar and alien, an attitude that also applies to a lesser extent to humans other than the Ulutuiuns. The most familiar of the Tel-quessir to arctic dwarves are flying avariel and as a consequence arctic dwarves typically treat elves and eladrin with a degree of awe. Most other humanoid races only rarely encounter the arctic dwarves and are considered quite exotic.
Unlike most dwarves, arctic dwarves do not claim descent from the ancient kingdom of Bhaerynden. Instead they seem to be an artifact from an even more ancient lineage, the origins of which little is known save that they came from one branch of the first dwarves in Faerûn that migrated from beneath modern day Semphar.
The Innugaakalikurit have dwelt upon the Great Glacier since about -2275 DR, but contact with the outside world has been almost entirely absent until relatively recently, when small groups began to settle the shores of the Great Ice Sea and parts of Luruar's northern reaches.
Most scholars believe their initial migration to the north occurred about the same time as the founding of Bhaerynden. Others claim that the arctic dwarves once ruled a mighty empire of their own. Other than the fact that the arctic dwarves, prior to the coming of the Ulutiuns, once covered most of the Great Glacier living in small villages, but are now limited to the peaks of Novularond, almost all theories about the race's origins and history are poorly supported speculation.
- ↑ Rick Swan (1992). The Great Glacier. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-324-8.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ Rick Swan (1992). The Great Glacier. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-324-8.