posted Nov 8, 2010, 3:55 AM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Nov 8, 2010, 4:12 AM ]
What are the Dwarves like?

Obviously, in the context of the story I'm drawing on some established concepts from fantasy fiction.  But, of course, I also hope to to bring my own unique spin to the ideas.  So although I'm using some classic fantasy races, I want to bring a different approach to my stories.

So what about the Dwarves?  In my imagination the Dwarves are the industrial magnates of the continent.  Traditionally they were craftsmen, but now they are leading the industrial revolution.  Although they still have a proud heritage of being master craftsmen, when the story starts they are moving more and more from small family holdings and production to industrializing the process.  More and more the power is being centralized into a corps of powerful industrialists who are running factory-like operations.

This represents a huge cultural shift, and is being accompanied by conflict within Dwarf culture and with the other races.

Within Dwarf culture the conflict is between those who value the old ways of small family operations that value careful craftsmanship, and the new robber barons who are creating mass produced materials.  Not only is there a loss of craftmanship, tradition and production standards, the working conditions and standards of living for the average working dwarf are going down dramatically.

This represents a major economic and political shift.  Where Dwarf politics were once dominated by the craft guilds, power is increasingly shifting to the new business titans.

The business titans have recently taken a step which brings the issue to a head; they have started employing non-dwarfs into what were once "closed shops."  They have realized that the new industrialist process can be done by the many Orcs displaced by the war, who will work cheaper and accept lower working conditions then dwarfs.

In order to avoid the tremendous resistance to this move the industrialists are also moving production out of Dwarf territory into factories in other areas.

The use of low-paid, badly treated Orcs in sweat shop conditions has also added to the long-simmering conflicts between Orcs and Dwarfs.

All of which impacts the DH project, as Davis and his team try to negotiate the complex political, social and economic dynamics.