On Wyr Karag: Dwarven God of the Soul Forge
Here is a bit of background lore pertaining to Dwarves and their favored deity in our campaign. This will likely pertain to the plot pretty heavily in some portions.
LEGEND: Long ago, the deity known as Wyr Karag (Soul Forge) was a mortal being named Agruman Hammerhand. Resembling a giant dwarf, he was a miner and smith who spent long years exploring the lands of Argaria. Seeking knowledge, plunder and glory, he dwelled into the great southern range of Valedelon and never returned.
What he discovered was a great, ancient forge — naturally formed — deep within a dormant volcano, covered in unintelligible runes. It is said that Agruman spent years dwelling in the old caverns trying to learn the mountain’s hidden secrets and decipher the mysterious runes carved into the forge.
Eventually, he discovered the Heart of the Forge (Nien rak’az Karag), a huge organ encased in solid obsidian. Using the last of his strength, Agruman took his great hammer and dealt the mineral a mighty blow, sending a massive crack across its surface. It was then that the volcano burst forth and rekindled the fires of the Forge, bringing life and warmth to all the kingdoms of Argaria. Agruman’s physical form was consumed by the magma that burst from the heart, but his soul at once became bonded with the mountain, becoming Wyr Karag, the great smith of the mountain.
Wyr Karag used the soul fires to forge the first of what would become the dwarven people out of stone and metal. These beings, called the Longbeards, emerged from the pools of the Soul Forge; created in the likeness of Agruman himself, their sole purpose being to watch and guard the realms of all mortal creatures who lived under the sun.
FOLLOWERS | Practitioners of the faith of Wyr Karag are known among each other as Karag’ar (or the Forged), while commoners and nonfollowers tend to call them the "Enkindled Ones", or simply "Enkindled". Karag’ar nowadays are few and far between among the dwarves, most of whom take up whatever deity is worshipped in the lands they now call home.
CORE BELIEFS | Karag’ar worship the mountain deity who is believed to have been their creator, and that they themselves were descended from living constructs of fire, stone and steel. Many worship the mountain itself, claiming that is where the god’s true power resides, while others have claimed that Wyr Karag appears to them with the likeness of Agruman, who built the dwarven race in his image.
Since the inception of their religion, Karag’ar scribes created tenets that followers of the faith should all adhere to, lest their spirit be cursed to eternal restlessness in the plane of the damned. These tenets are listed as follows:
Courage: Even in seemingly insurmountable odds, it is the Dwarf’s purpose to face the danger head on. Many lesser beings have not the strength to protect themselves and cower at such threats, but the dwarves are made of stronger mettle. Dwarves who display fear and cowardice in battle are either permanently marked as craven at best, or are more likely banished outright from their communities. There is nary a more reprehensible slight to Agruman himself than a dwarf too afraid to fight with death and glory riding upon his shoulders. Karag’ar respect bravery and courage in battle. Many warriors of all walks of life had called the deity’s name in battle, or asked for a blessing to their weapons and armor to steel themselves for victory.
Duty: Karag’ar are servants to Wyr Karag’s will. They’re responsible for upholding his ideals, and protecting the weak from danger. Hard work is essential for everyday life of the dwarf. Diligence, stoicism, and the pursuit of bettering themselves is crucial to everyday life. Dwarven communities thrive when everyone lends a helping hand and contributes equally to their kin. Laziness is seen as weakness and ungodly.
Honor: Respect for one’s self and others is central to all Karag’ar. This means that they treat all dwarves as they would be treated themselves. Karag’ar vow to never steal, kill, or soil the clan of another dwarf, and to welcome all their people as kin.
Craftsmanship: A great source of pride among Karag’ar is their devotion to artisan crafting. Whether it be, metalsmithing, masonry, carpentry, mining or otherwise, you are truly no kind of dwarf if you lack the ability to work with your hands. Dwarven craftworks are of the highest quality in all of Argaria (at least to the dwarves), and master artisans bring glory to their clan by showing this work off to others. Every item made by a Karag’ar is made in honor to the great smith himself, and their belief is that their deity blesses them and their creations in kind.
PRACTITIONERS OF THE FAITH: Karag’ar fall into two categories, with subcategories of each. Martial warriors can fall under both categories, but only a select few are chosen by Wyr Karag himself to be selected among the first group.
PARUN’OTH (Protector of the Faith) — Warriors of justice; protectors of commonfolk. In the common tongues of Argaria, Parun’oth of any type are known simply as "Paragons".
Paladins (Dun’oth): Roughly translated as “Warrior of the faith”.
Clerics (Arun’oth): Roughly translated as “Healer of the faith”.
BELGUN’OTH (Follower of the Faith) — Non-martial believers of the faith. Typically focusing on spreading the word of Wyr Karag as opposed to fighting for the cause itself.
Priests (Rothan’oth): Roughly translated as “Speaker of the faith”. Priests typically travel the lands or create holy shrines to their deity where they can speak to followers and grant blessings.
Devout (Watun’oth): Roughly translated as “Listener of the faith”. These are your basic run-of-the-mill dwarves. They sit in on sermons, pray to their god, and build/serve in his name.
BIRTH, LIFE & THE AFTERLIFE: Karag’ar have typical ceremonies and practices that they observe throughout their lives.
Birthing Ceremony (Karth’udan): When a new child (Karthen) is born from a Karag’ar family, they are branded with Wyr Karag’s holy symbol. It is believed that all dwarves must endure the flame of the forge, as to better understand Agruman’s great sacrifice to become one with the mountain. The pain is extreme but very brief, as Arun’oth are typically on hand to calm the wounds and stave off infection.
Adulthood Ceremony (Dem’udan): When a child becomes an adult (Knurlath), they face many trials. First, they must pray for three days and nights in front of a brazier and stare into the flames without food or rest. Then they are branded with their clan name across their chest to signify their changing into adulthood. They are then made to read from the Wyr’brad, or the holy writings of Agruman and the story of the mountain.
Marriage Ceremony (Dorz’udan): When dwarves become husband and wife, a Rothan’oth oversees the wedding ceremony. Husband and Wife paint ashen runes on each other’s foreheads as they recite scripture and pledge eternal faith to their god and clan. Depending on the parents with the most renown, either husband or wife may be granted the clan name of the other. Whoever takes the other’s name will once again be branded with their new name.
Funeral (Vol’menwyr): When a dwarf of old died, they used to be given to the fires of the forge as an offering to the Allfather himself. The hope would be that their essence would bring more power to the hope fire, and that the dwarf spirit would eternally reside in Vol’grim, the Hall of Champions for all eternity alongside their hero ancestors of old. Since the cataclysm, dwarfs typically have a funeral pyre ceremony. Ashes are either scattered in places dear to them, or saved for future clan Dorz’udan of their descendants.
Well, there you have it, for now! A collection of lore about Wyr Karag and Dwarven culture. Now, you may at least know what the hell we're talking about when we bring it up on the podcast. Stay tuned for more background lore and histories. Thanks for reading!