A shield dwarf as tough as an ox and as stalwart as a stone wall, Jarhild straps on armor and shield to fight for the ones she considers friends. As a member of the Order of the Burning Dawn, she has the opportunity to protect the innocent and bring justice to the evil… and make a little coin doing it. She’s wise, powerful, and experienced in battle tactics, and when the people she loves are threatened, there is little in this world that can withstand her fury.
As a trained soldier, Jarhild is always prepared to do battle, be it on the front lines of a skirmish or the back room of a tavern. When not on the ready for imminent combat, however, she’s ready to kick back and blow off steam with the rest of the hard-bitten warriors. She fights hard, and she plays hard, and woe be unto the poor soul who comments on the way she holds herself, the way she dresses, or the way she hefts her sword. As a dwarf who has faced down orc hordes, repelled incursions of giants, and even held fast against a dragon ambush, Jarhild doesn’t feel a need to explain herself to anyone. She is who she is: a force to be reckoned with.
Shield Dwarf: Shield dwarves are a people whose numbers in the North have dwindled with the passing years. As the centuries passed, traditional shield dwarf holds fell one by one until now there are few in the North or the Heartlands. Shield dwarves remain secretive about their homelands, and the small kingdoms of the dwarves are known about only in a general fashion. For example, the shield dwarves of the Far Hills travel to Easting for trade, yet no one knows if they are one community or several, and how they are ruled. More common are those dwarves who identify their home as some long-abandoned or enemy-occupied hold, such as the shield dwarves that were of Hammer Hall, or the Iron House, who had been driven out of the Mines of Tethyamar.
Appearance: Shield dwarves generally have skin that ranges from pale to ruddy. Their hair is predominantly brown and black, but there are many shield dwarves with red or blond hair. Dwarf hair tends to go gray and then white early in their long lives, but few go bald. Males grow long beards, and many braid thick locks in parts of the beard and decorate the locks simply with bangles or rings. Both males and females grow their thick hair long, and females often braid and decorate their hair in a similar manner to how males decorate their beards.
Found Among Humans: Shield dwarves often live in human settlements. Small villages might have just one shield dwarf family acting as smiths or they might not see a shield dwarf pass through for a few years, but large cities attract many shield dwarf settlers. Often as much as a quarter of a “human” city’s population will actually be shield dwarves.
Attitudes: Shield dwarves are slow to trust and quick to recall slights. They are generally dour and cynical, but can be boisterous when in good humor (particularly if there is good drink to be had or a fight they are winning). They are practical and self-reliant folk of action.
Great Craftsmen: Shield dwarves are recognized to be the best masons, miners, and metalworkers in the world, rivaled only by their cousins the gold dwarves and the crafting feats that some races of giants achieved long ago, before losing the skills. Elves might craft more graceful shapes, but for durability, effectiveness, and ease of use, few can surpass the dwarves. Like their gold dwarf cousins, shield dwarves possess and innate empathy for stone and metal: They can feel things in rock that others do not and detect special timbres in the sound of metal being struck. In addition, dwarves have a great store of knowledge and traditions about stone and metal crafts, passing many secrets from one generation to the next. Some dwarf smiths and masons can even weave magic into their works, despite not being spellcasters of any kind.
Long Lived: A shield dwarf can live to be 325 years old and even older, but a tough life often shortens their lifespans.