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Surface dwarf

Called "sun-touched," "lost to the Stone," among other things, surface dwarves are a fact of life for both Orzammar and the surface lands. Such dwarves have left the underground city of Orzammar for the surface, either as members of expeditions funded by dwarven houses or guilds[1], or for their own personal reasons[2], and even as punishment. In ancient times, the punishment of exile was very uncommon and was considered to be one of the fiercest.[3]

Background Edit

Most of the first surface dwarves were members of the Merchant caste which served as ambassadors from Orzammar to the surface, but the wealth this trade produced caused these merchants and their families to break ties with Orzammar and dwarves as a whole in order to keep the profits for themselves. This exodus was viewed as a bitter betrayal by the rest of the dwarves and the reputation of the Merchant caste had never managed to regain ever since.[4]

There is still deep debate amongst dwarves about whether or not those who have left Orzammar for the surface should be considered permanent exiles or not, and many members of the Shaperate still consider surface dwarves to rank amongst the casteless, having given up their rights to any titles or claims they may have held--and worst of all, no longer being recognized as a dwarf after having left the embrace of the dwarven progenitor, the Stone. In spite of this, according to dwarven scholars, surface dwarves may soon outnumber their underground-living peers.

A surface dwarf's life often leads them to become merchants or craftsmen, parleying the skills they may once have held in Orzammar into a new life on the surface. Ironically, despite leaving for the surface, a large number of them act as merchants supplying goods to Orzammar, and selling dwarven products to the human world.

After time on the surface, a dwarf also begins to lose their "stone sense," a sensitivity to the stone that allows a dwarf to navigate the Deep Roads.

As seen by Outsiders Edit

Humans Edit

If the average human, or even elf, were to encounter a dwarf they would most likely assume them to be a merchant or a smith (at best).[5]

Other dwarves Edit

Dwarves on the surface are also considered casteless once they leave Orzammar, though it is only relevant to those who return--if they are allowed to return at all. Dwarven traders from the surface are allowed to enter and to sell their goods (grains and wood are especially valuable in the dwarven kingdom), but they have no rights and are considered to be no more dwarven than those few humans and elves who do the same. Dwarves who choose to live on the surface lose their connection to the Stone and the favor of the Ancestors, and thus are worthy of little more than pity to an Orzammar dwarf, for upon dying they are said to be lost to the Stone forever.

Sometimes, either for political reasons or to escape the social rank forced upon one by the caste system, dwarves will flee from Orzammar to the surface. Many of the casteless who do so will often go through sometimes extreme measures to remove their tattoos, simply because of the constant reminder they provide of what they left behind.[6]

Amongst the surface dwarves Edit

Theoretically, all the business of caste is left behind in Orzammar and under the open sky every dwarf is equal. The truth is, though, that thousands of years of tradition are not easily discarded. A hierarchy still remains among the surface dwarves with members of formerly-noble houses being accorded more respect.[7]. Formerly upper-class surface dwarves are either a kalna (typically those from the noble or merchant caste who insist on maintaining rank) or an ascendant, who desire to begin anew.[8].

Notable surface dwarves Edit

For a complete list, see Category:Surface dwarves.

Notes Edit

  • During the Fourth Blight, Garahel gathered exiled casteless dwarves in order to fight against the darkspawn. They called themselves 'Stone's Bastards' and fought for the chance that their bones might be returned to Orzammar and restored to the Stone after their deaths.[13]
  • A dwarf noble Warden may not be recognized by surface dwarves, unless their ascent was very recent. If the Warden gives their name, the surface dwarves may recognize the noble dwarf, since House Aeducan is an ancient royal house.[6]

Heraldry Edit

See also Edit

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Surfacer Dwarves
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Casteless
Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Surface Dwarves

References Edit

  1. Such as the failed expedition mentioned by Lord Ronus Dace in the Dwarf Noble Origin in Dragon Age: Origins.
  2. Such as the dwarven barmaid Felsi who left for the surface to care for her mother in Dragon Age: Origins.
  3. Codex entry: Beregrand the Bold
  4. Dragon Age RPG Player's Guide, set 2, p. 16.
  5. Even Shianni in the Denerim Alienage assumes a dwarven Warden to be a merchant of some kind in Dragon Age: Origins.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gaider, David (May 14, 2009). "A few short questions about Dwarfs". BioWare Forums. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  7. The Dowager's Field Guide to Good Society
  8. World of Thedas vol2. pg 144
  9. Codex entry: Topsider's Honor
  10. Codex entry: Adventures of the Black Fox
  11. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 27
  12. The Orlesian Civil War. Dragon Age.
  13. Dragon Age: Last Flight, p. 222

External links Edit

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