Among the eldest of the races today (they of course claim to be the absolute oldest), the dwarves of the world have declined in their prominence, along with the elves. Dwarves are a resolute people, having withstood generational slavery at the hands of giants. The dwarves are a very industrially-minded people, famously very skilled smiths and mechanics. They are also renowned for being recorders of prophecy. At birth, a priest reads a prophesy to the newborn and its parents. This is the dwarf’s personal prophecy. Dwarves see the fulfillment (or at times prevention) of their personal prophesy as a major goal for their lives. Dwarves worship Iomandra, though some of them have filtered her through their own racial lens, changing her gender most often to male (not that that sort of thing likely matters to a deity) and changing the name to “Moradin,” which translates more or less into “forger of fate” in Dwarvish. More recently, worship of Iomandra, under that name and a female dwarf guise, has been gaining popularity.
The two common subraces of dwarf, mountain and hill, tend to seem similar, at least to those who are not familiar with them. Mountain dwarves are less often seen by those not of their cities, or “Kaza” in dwarvish, as they tend to keep to themselves, devising new mechanical wonders and pouring over dusty tomes in search of new insights into ancient prophecies. Hill dwarves are more commonly encountered by non-dwarves. While they too live in mountain holdfasts, they don’t spend as much time cooped up inside of them. Many hill dwarves go out into the world, more so than their mountain-kin. In other parts of the world, “hill” dwarves also describes dwarves living in the plains, though they do not typically refer to themselves in this way.
The last of the three main dwarven subraces are the duergar, or gray dwarves. These dwarves live exclusively in the Underdark and possess psychic abilities as a testament to their enslavement by the mind flayers. Most all of them are evil in nature, their psyche’s twisted by the long exposure to the alien nature of the mind flayers.
In dwarvish society, military service is compulsory. Upon reaching adulthood, every dwarf is required to enlist in the military for a service span of 3 years. Once that time has been served, each dwarf is then able to re-enlist or pursue other career choices, though an annual retraining is mandatory save for in extenuating circumstances. As a result, while well-regarded, dwarvish military forces are often small, at a glance. This is due to the fact that at a given moment, virtually any physically able dwarf in a community can become a soldier, trained in the tactics and arms used in their fighting force.
Due in part to the strong martial traditions dwarves hold to, their towns and cities tend to be highly regimented and structured. Even when living among other races, neighborhoods or boroughs that hold predominantly dwarf citizens will resemble their subterranean holds. There are strict social hierarchies. These are determined in part by a dwarf’s occupation, but also by the overall standing of a given dwarf’s family or clan. The personal deeds of any given dwarf also influences where in the social order a dwarf falls: a dwarf that proves herself in battle against mighty foes and stands victorious will accrue higher favor even if her clan has been relegated to a lower status. The reverse is also true.
Family is an important aspect of dwarvish culture, and oftentimes clans will develop a reputation for certain crafts or occupations. Among dwarves, one of the most famous clans is the Lockstone clan who are renowned for their locksmithing capabilities (and, of course, the legendary Lockstone Vault). That isn’t to say that every dwarf of a clan dedicated to a craft must follow that same occupational path, but many do. Deviations are tolerated, but come under more scrutiny as going against established tradition is not a concept dwarves generally approve of.