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+ Also add the 2nd reply from Mary Kirby: http://forum.bioware.com/topic/132525-varric-tethras-chest-hair-dwarven-goodness-20-finest-dwarven-craft/page-2?bioware=1&bwp=1

On the surface dwarves page use the following too:



Surface dwarf

As the name implies, Surface dwarves are dwarves who do not live underground but on the surface. Considered part of the casteless by their underground kin, almost all of them originate from the great thaig of Orzammar.

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.[1]

Surface dwarves can be diversified between those who are born on the surface and those who abandoned their underground life. It is quite common among those who moved to the surface to be nostalgic about their former life and perhaps even still have feelings of loyalty towards Orzammar. Dwarves who were born underground also possess the "stone sense", a talent for subterranean navigation derived from the race's progenitor, the Stone. However, they lose this ability after some time on the surface.

Some of the dwarves who leave for the surface, they do it in order to join expeditions funded by dwarven houses or guilds,[2] or for their own personal reasons such as the casteless dwarves who seemingly have nothing to lose. Other dwarves have been forced to leave for the surface after being exiled by the Assembly, usually after committing heinous crimes. In ancient times, the punishment of exile was very uncommon and was considered to be one of the fiercest.[3] Many of the casteless who move to the surface will often go through sometimes extreme measures to remove their tattoos, simply because of the constant reminder they provide of what they left behind.[4]

Unlike the casteless dwarves who live underground, the lack of caste for the surface dwarves is unimportant since 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 sell their goods (grains and wood are especially valuable in Orzammar), but they have no rights and are considered to be no more dwarven than a human or an elf. 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.


"sun-touched," "lost to the Stone," , Cloudgazer, stone-blind, skyer


Also called as "Surface caste", this is a more polite term that the dwarves use, typically when referring to family who have gone to the surface.[2][5] There is still debate amongst some 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.

they are not devout, rarely join the Chantry

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).[6]

Other dwarves Edit

Amongst the surface dwarves Edit

As far as surface dwarves are concerned, all the business of caste is left behind in Orzammar, although there is some room for old habits to remain (such as an exiled noble who still has a hard time getting along with those who used to be casteless).

Notable surface dwarves Edit

For a complete list, see Category:Surface dwarves.

Notes Edit

  • Dwarven scholars have made some estimations on the number of surface dwarves. According to Brother Genitivi's book "Stone Halls of the Dwarves" on the third chapter named "The Endless War", the scholars estimate that the surface dwarves will soon be as many as their underground brethen. However other sources estimate the number of surface dwarves to be around five hundred.[10]
  • 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, as House Aeducan has been around for centuries.[4]

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. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 16
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mentioned by Ronus Dace during The Nobles' Feast in Dragon Age: Origins.
  3. Codex entry: Beregrand the Bold
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gaider, David (May 14, 2009). "A few short questions about Dwarfs". BioWare Forums. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  5. BSN Mary Kirby (September 13, 2010). "Varric Tethras: Chest Hair & Dwarven Goodness 2.0 **Finest Dwarven Craft**" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on March 10, 2014.
  6. Even Shianni in the Denerim Alienage assumes a dwarven Warden to be a merchant of some kind in Dragon Age: Origins.
  7. Codex entry: Topsider's Honor
  8. Codex entry: Adventures of the Black Fox
  9. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 27
  10. Mentioned by Gorim Saelac while conversing with the Silk Merchant.

External links Edit

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