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.
Many dwarves have moved on the surface, either as members of expeditions funded by dwarven Houses or guilds, or for their own personal reasons, but usually as a punishment. In ancient times, the punishment of exile was very uncommon and was considered to be one of the fiercest. According to dwarven scholars, surface dwarves may soon outnumber their underground-living peers.
The Shaperate considers 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. Despite that there is still debate amongst noble dwarves about whether or not those who have left Orzammar for the surface should be considered permanent exiles or not, usually fueled by personal and financial interests.
A surface dwarf's life often leads them to become merchants or craftsmen, parleying the skills they may once have held underground 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 below the surface.
As seen by outsiders Edit
Other dwarves Edit
Dwarves on the surface are also considered casteless once they leave their underground thaig, 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. Slurs such as "Cloudgazer", "Sun-touched" or "Lost to the Stone" are commonly used to refer to their surface kin. Even the casteless dwarves of Orzammar look down on their surface kin.
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.
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. 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.
Notable surface dwarves Edit
- Bern: He lived in the late Steel Age and early Storm Age. He is a cousin of Trovid Oreson, a corporal in the Legion of the Dead.
- Bolek: A companion of the Black Fox who was considered to be wise.
- Inquisitor Cadash (conditional)
- Bianca Davri
- Dougal Gavorn
- Hardal: A surface merchant dwarf.
- Scout Harding
- Dernal Harrick: A dwarven merchant hailing from Ostwick.
- Kaloch: A famous and gifted artisan in Orlais. He is known for crafting a set of Empress Celene Valmont I's personal masks.
- The Purveyor of Teas
- Varric Tethras
- Loknar Weem: A nug farmer who tried to raise nugs on the surface and wrote a book on this named "Raising Nugs: A How-To Guide".
- 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.
- 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.
See also EditCodex entry: Surfacer Dwarves Codex entry: The Casteless Codex entry: Surface Dwarves