Mountain dwarves, like most of the dwarven races, might have unlimited lifespans like elves; however, due to their society, most dwarves are often killed by wounds, poison, or disease, before they reach an ancient age. Most dwarves typically live a few hundred years, however, and there are a few cases of dwarves living over a thousand years.
Mountain dwarves average about four feet in height, and their hair comes in a wide variety of colors, such as red, blond, brown, or black; their hair begins to grey after several hundred years (the exact date varies widely). Those with entirely white beards may even be a millenium old. Their eyes are also usually light colors, such as blue, green, grey, or light golden-brown. Their skin is light, like that of Western humans, and its tone ranges from pale to ruddy depending on the amount of sun exposure.
The most important rule in mountain dwarf culture, although this applies to most all dwarven cultures, is to respect one’s elders. Since most dwarves highly value their beards and almost never trim them, and since they can live for hundreds of years and hardly change in appearance, age is usually determined by beard length and color. The very oldest dwarves have white beards that must be heavily braided and tucked into their belts to avoid dragging the floor. Although female dwarves are encouraged to be good homemakers and to raise the young (and thus are rarely seen by humans), they are more often found in the military than is the case with most human societies. Although dwarven clan leaders are usually male, their mates are often of equal importance, and a clan elder’s wife is just as respected as the elder himself.
The mountain dwarves worship the Aesir, the same gods as the humans of the North. However, the main god in their religion is not Odin, but Thor, god of warfare and craftsmanship, and thus their patron deity. They also worship many minor dwarf gods they call the Ancients, who typically go unrecognized by Northern humans. Most of the Ancients were once great dwarf elders who now sit at the side of Thor in his golden hall. Each great dwarven clan has one or more patron Ancient ancestors, the most renowned of their bloodline.
Although mountain dwarves greatly resemble the men of the North in most qualities, their military tactics are far more similar to the men of the Empire. It is even rumored that the Imperial legions are based on dwarven armies. They prefer to wear heavy armor and form large, slow-marching lines, making great mobile walls with their large tower shields, which are often as tall as the bearer himself. These legions are usually armed with long halberds as a primary weapon and smaller battleaxes or hammers for when the fighting gets more up-close. Some dwarves, however, lean more toward their Northern roots, going into a (sometimes drunken) berserker frenzy when in battle, wielding great axes or hammers and ignoring all battle wounds. These usually wear lighter armor, such as half-plate, often covered in spikes for maximum carnage and a more fearsome appearance. These berserkers are usually positioned behind a shield wall line in case the wall is breached, at which point they will either cut off any who come through, or come running out into the fray themselves. Contrary to popular human belief, dwarves do employ some units of archers, although most prefer crossbows to bows, and mountain dwarves can often be seen using swords in lieu of the more popular axes and hammers.