Faith in the Maker is nigh universal amongst Dwarfkind. However, among the Stone Clans he is especially revered for as the ultimate paragon of Craftsmanship, of Perfection and of Relentless Strength.
Among the Stone Clans of the Dwarves, the Creeds of the Maker tell of the coming of the first God. Among his Pantheon…
“He was the first and the greatest; among Gods and Totems, He was lesser to no one and rival to none.
In the darkness of the beginning, it was the Maker that struck down the darkness. He who Shaped the Worlds brought radiant light unto the heavens and burning stone amidst the stony depths. With flame and strength unparalleled, he wrought a world of perfection for he and his ilk to reside; of brightness and warmth that stretched across all of creation. “
Even the dross, the dregs and the waste of his work was nigh perfection as well; thus was the shadowed, chaotic plane of Underworld wrought: a fell reflection of all that was good and true within the Overworld that the Maker had made. The Underworld drew darksome powers and shadowy spirits that desired no part of the Overworld’s radiance. And then Wyrm and her Totemic ilk crept into the Underworld and made it their own. They did not toil, they did not create; they merely stole and made mock of the Maker’s labor.
The war between the Maker and Wyrm thundered and quaked both worlds until the very end: the treacherous Wyrm was slain and her children were bound within the mighty Vaults of the Underworld.
When the Maker saw the destruction that Wyrm’s war had wrought, the vast stretches of wretched desolation and the Gods devoured by the insatiable Dragon-Empress, He mourned the loss of so much and set his tools to work. He used the brightness of the Overworld, the shadows of the Underworld and the aether between worlds to fashion a new land, one wholly different from the chaotic realms of the Underworld and the perfect order of the Overworld. It would have form, unlike the shapeless Aether. And from the titanic body of the fallen Wyrm, it would have life.
Some life would be as simple as the elements, such as the trees of the surface and the mushrooms of the deeps. Other forms of life were little better, possessed of cunning and movement; bears and gryphons, fish and eagles. Some of these creatures were more intelligent than others, but they were all lesser creatures: they could not dream, nor think, nor fathom a Maker. They could not create as their creator had done.
From shattered shards of Wyrm’s bones, which he also used to create mountains, the Maker shaped the “Dugh aurun reften”. He gifted his Favored Children with an aspect of his form, a portion of his strength and a splinter of his brilliance. And no other creation that he made then or thereafter became their rival.
Even when the Sundering Sin had wiped the Maker’s True Name from the minds of all the First-born, the resilience, the strength and the wisdom that He imbued them with won through and through.
The Stone Clans believe that the Race of Dwarves are possessed of a body (a physical component) and a soul (a spiritual component). When a Dwarf dies, his or her soul leaves the body behind to rot and returns to the Maker in the Overworld. However, only those with souls and wills worthy of His divine presence are able to survive the journey. The unworthy are sinners whose spirits are cracked and sundered, their pieces falling and dissipating in the oblivion beyond life to be feasted upon by Demons and other fell powers.
To harden one’s soul against the ravages of the Maker’s Crucible, a Dwarf must be a creature as implacable and as mighty as the stones and the bones they were forged from. The Creeds of the Maker proclaim that only the true of flesh and spirit may take their rest beside the Maker.
According to the Creedsongs of the Bladebreakers and the Thundershields, the Final Reckoning will occur in the end of days. When the five elder portents are fulfilled and cold reigns upon a lifeless land, Wyrm, her children and the Daemon will rise up once more from their remains and destroy the world in their rampage.
Only the faithful will be saved by the Maker, who will smite his enemies and take up the worthy to live in Overworld for the remainder of eternity.
View of Magic:
Among the Stone Clans, all magic is viewed as both might and weakness, save the pure spellcraft of Faith. Those who depend too much on magic without knowledge of physical skill and strength are doomed to failure, claim the Stone Dwarves. Yet, the First-born are far from blind from the miracles that one can achieve through the arts arcane; the power gained from elemental or fell entities is too great to ignore. Thus, many Stone Kings tend toward pragmatism when faced with the utility of exceptionally practiced and loyal magic-users.
Amongst the Clans however, all magic, whether Witchery, Sorcery or Totemry, must bend the knee to the power of True Faith. While Priests among the Stone Dwarves are revered, they are merely mortal instruments of the true divinity that all Dwarves hail from.
Especially venerated are the holy relics created by Dwarven Priests of the Maker. While a Priest of an opposing Clan is given more respect than non-Priests, it is to their relics that the Dwarves truly grant their reverence. Each miraculous object is a reflection of the Maker’s own prowess — therefore, a treacherous Dwarf Seeker may be maimed and gutted for her crimes, but her items are treated with the utmost esteem.
The Creed of the Maker
Note: Priests of these Creeds are considered to be the Chosen of the Maker.
While the Church of the Iron Kingdom favors strictures and draconian laws, the Creeds of the Stone Clans are far more open — relying on ancient oral traditions instead scripture and canon. Just as many Priests of this faith follow the trade of the Smith but just as many follow the Bardic professions — bearing the words of their forebears and ancestors into each new era and Kingdom of Midworld.
And in their oral traditions, three distinct Creeds have surfaced amongst the Stone Clans. An individual Stone Clan may subscribe to all of these or some, but they are all representative of various aspects of the Dwarven deity.
The most common Creed amidst the Stone Dwarves is the Wyrm-breaker. The followers of this Creed are laughing, tattooed warriors who revel in the glories of combat and conflict. They are Dwarves who lead warbands and clanholds against the evils beneath the Stoneclaw mountains, the intrusion of outsiders and against enemy clanholds.
The less war-like Stone Clans esteem the Creed of the World-Shaper above all others. The Priests of this Creed esteem craft and artifice as the highest and most sacred of works. In Clanholds, they are guides and mentors to craftsmen, as well as being capable artisans themselves.
Wyrm-breaker — A Warhammer with a head made of a Dragon’s skull
World-shaper — An anvil with a Hammer inscribed upon its side.
- Know thy Maker- Remember He that made you from Flame, from Bone and from Stone; always keep him in your thoughts.
- Keep His Virtues– beware the Sundering Sin, Greed! It is not in the keeping of relics but in the making that the Maker considers holy.
- Follow His Aspect – as the Maker did labor and create, so must you engage in industry and build objects and projects of beauty and utility. Similarly, you must not shirk against the evils of the world or against those that would assail you — the Maker is courage and the First-born are in his image.
- Love thine Blood – love and respect your companions and your Clan, for the Maker loves not a traitor nor an oath-breaker. If these should come to conflict, then your God should go before your King, your King before your family, etc.
- Remember the First-born – Within each day and each night that passes lies the opportunity to advance the cause of the Dwarven Race and regain the glory that was lost.
Spells: The Spells of this Creeds’ Priests inflict Fire damage, channeling through their faith the flame of the forge and the fury of the sun.
Wyrm-breaker: The Wyrm-breaker exults in the fog of war and the clangor of battle. The Priests of this Creed gain access to the Spheres of Battle and Creation.
World-shaper: The World-shaper seeks to bring structure to the world and create objects of power and wonder. Priests of this Creed gain access to the Spheres of Creation and Knowledge
Depending on the Stone Clan in question, the Creeds of the Maker vary wildly in the ordering of their clergy. Some Clans follow a rigid structure of authority while others follow a looser apprentice-journeyman-master hierarchy. Each of these ranks may have sub-ranks within them (e.g. Greater vs. Lesser Flame Priest)
Flame-Priests are the rank and file of a Creed. Most Maker-Priests within the Clans will belong to this rank, although not necessarily of the same sub-rank. They command respect within communities but they are tasked to the maintenance of the Temples as well as to any missions that their superiors deem of them.
Hearth-Priests occupy the next rung of a Creed’s hierarchy. They are Priests of authority and wisdom, usually sought for their advice or their Priestly powers. They are the royal advisors, the greatest healers and the ceremonial overseers of a Clanhold.
Forge-Priests are not found in every Clanhold, only with those within whom the Creed of the Maker burns the brightest. Forge-Priests are either Stone-Kings themselves or at least, the heart of a Clan.
Grog “Headcleaver” Rumbletum is a Greater Hearth-Priest of the Rumbletum Clan. He is feared for his bouts of divine frenzy where he claims to be possessed by the Maker himself and he goes “a-smiting” against foemen and allies alike. Unstable on and off the field, he is revered for his skill in battle… although his Creed often sends him and his war-band against neighboring clans instead of allowing them their destructive carousing within the Rumbletum encampments.
Kragdi Bladebreaker III is the Greater Forge-Priest of the Bladebreaker Clan as well as its Stone Queen. A devoted follower of the World-Shaper Creed and one of the few Stone Queens of the Stone Clans, she commands the respect of her Clanhold for her presence and her skill. While she is not the strongest of fighters, her wares are said to be only of the finest quality — the web of allied Clans that stand alongside the Bladebreakers are said to be recipients of these wondrous relics.
Rogtar is a Clanless Dwarf who still finds doors and gates open for him and his retinue as he travels the breadth of the Stoneclaw Mountains. Whatever the differences that each Clan or Creed has with the other, Rogtar’s presence is the rivet that binds the Clans to each other. He has his share of detractors — some claim him to be a Travaki sympathizer while others have darker whispers: that he belongs to a secretive Creed known as the Endbringers, who seek to engineer the Day of Reckoning upon Midworld.