Maladorian (Culture)

When driven from the Deeplands, the dwarves were forced to make the surface world their new home. This displacement, combined with the dwarven rejection of the Enaros, shaped modern dwarven culture into one that values independence, hard work, and cooperation above all else.

Like many dwarves, Helgen Threnn Hethkett was born in Malador (Art by Mitchell Malloy)

If you're unfamiliar with the rules for Aetaltan Cultures, you can read about them here.


  • Geographic Origin Malador
  • Dominant Race Dwarf
  • Secondary Race Atlan, halfling
  • Preferred Government Socialist
  • Language (Dialect) Tsvergic (Maladorian)
  • Patron Enaros None
  • Secondary Enaros None
  • Values Hard work, equality, cooperation
  • Aversions Laziness, religion
  • Favored Races Atlan, dwarf, halfling
  • Favored Cultures Agthorian, maladorian
  • Unacceptable Races None
  • Unacceptable Cultures None
  • Public Opinion Industrious but gruff and opinionated


The maladorian culture is the culture embraced by most modern dwarves. When driven from the Deeplands, the dwarves were forced to make the surface world their new home. This displacement, combined with the dwarven rejection of the Enaros, shaped modern dwarven culture into one that values independence, hard work, and cooperation with the members of one's community above all else.


Maladorians are proud and opinionated. Once they’ve made up their minds on a subject they stick doggedly to that decision and will see it through to the bitter end. This makes them quite industrious and leads to many great accomplishments. It also makes them difficult to deal with in situations that require compromise.


Maladorians wear plain cut clothing dyed in deep earth tones. They decorate their clothing and hair with steel ornaments forged into dramatic patterns of geometric angles and curves. Hair is grown long among both men and women and then braided. Men all wear long beards and often braid them.


The highest forms of maladorian art are stone cutting and metalworking. Metal objects from malodor, whether weapons and armor or decorative ornaments, are sought after throughout the Amethyst Sea basin due to their fine workmanship and beauty. Maladorian stonework is precise and pleasing. At times the carving is so elegant that one might think the stone took its shape naturally.


Maladorians enjoy the rich, sonorous tones of male choruses singing traditional dwarven hymns. In less formal settings they enjoy the heavy, chant-like drinking songs that originated with dwarven miners during the Dwarven Age.

Food and Drink

Maladorians see eating as a necessity and not a pleasure. Food is meant to provide nutrition and maladorian cuisine is about as romantic as a good pair of work boots. Drink on the other hand is taken very seriously as the maladorians are passionate about ale. There are some taverns in the maladorian capital of Dor Falen Mal that boast over one hundred varieties of ale from around the Amethyst Sea.


Maladorian homes are plain and functional. They provide comfort only as needed with the goal of returning the maladorian to work fully rested the next day. Cleanliness is expected, and an untidy home is considered a sign of an unstable mind and unresolved spirit.


Working hard for the good of the community is a major part of maladorian life. Labor brings joy for maladorians, particularly when he sees results that bring a benefit to his family, his clan, and his neighbors.


Slothfulness is unacceptable in maladorian culture. In Malador, failure to reliably perform one’s assigned work duties is punishable by public humiliation and forced work.



Just before a maladorian child is born, all the friends and relatives work together to improve the couple’s home in preparation for the impending arrival.


Until a maladorian person reaches maturity, their hair is not braided. A child’s first braiding is a solemn ceremony that marks their passage into adulthood.


When a maladorian couple is married the event is celebrated with the construction of a new house or improvement of an existing vacant home for the newlyweds.


Maladorians bury their dead in catacombs. They do this so that the dead may return to their ancestral Deepland homes. Digging catacombs brings with it the danger of breaching a Deepland hall, but the dwarves see it as a worthwhile risk.


Maladorians view magic as a tool and nothing more. Some individuals are more adept with its use and others are less so. This doesn't make the person more or less important. Dwarven opinions on who should use magic are the same as their thoughts about tools: if a person doesn’t know how to use the tool, they shouldn’t meddle. Enchanted objects are not uncommon, but a maladorian won’t use magic to do something that can be done just as easily by mundane means.


Maladorians do not worship the Enaros. To do so is seen as a sign of weakness. They do, however, participate in ancestor worship. Small shrines near the home's central hearth hold statues of important or recently deceased ancestors whose spirits are believed to watch over the tribe.

Unusual Customs, Traditions, and Taboos

If a hammerhead cracks during the construction of a house, maladorians believe that the first person to sleep there will die. When this happens, the entire project is often scrapped, and the building is torn down no matter how far along the construction is.

Maladorian Traits for 5E

Maladorians receive the following benefits and disadvantages.

  • Language Tsvergic (Maladorian)
  • Social Reaction1 Advantage Agthorians, dwarves, freemen, maladorians
  • Social Reaction1 Disadvantage None

Cultural Features

You may also select two of the cultural features described below.

Feature: Clan Hammer

Although clan loyalty is waning in Malador, there are still those who hold to the old ways. Among these maladorians, a young dwarf is bequeathed a hammer on their day of majority. This hammer will either be a new one forged using traditional techniques and in her clan's unique design, or the hammer of a recently deceased relative passed down to the young person. This hammer is a fully functional tool, although in most cases it's reserved for ceremonial use. Examples include nailing the first nail during the construction of a new home, by a couple to drive a spike or nail during a marriage ceremony, or by two parties who drive a spike or nail as a means of sealing a business deal. You are the recipient of a clan hammer.

  • Equipment Clan Hammer (1d4 bludgeoning, 1.5 lbs, light, thrown (range 20/60))

Features: Cliff Climber

Young maladorians are avid climbers. They particularly enjoy climbing the craggy cliffs of their homeland, especially those along the sea. Young adults often challenge one another to dangerous climbs to prove their skill and earn respect among their peers. As a result, you are skilled at climbing natural cliff faces and gain advantage when attempting to climb this type of surface.

Feature: Stonefaced

Dramatic, emotional outbursts are seen as an embarassing loss of control among the more conservative members of maladorian society. Among these maladorians, emotions in general are treated as a gift you share only with those closest to you. With all this practice at avoiding emotional outbursts, you are an expert at hiding your feelings. If the you concentrate, you can make it almost impossible to discern what you're thinking or feeling. Any person trying to read you using Wisdom (Insight) while you are concentrating on hiding your thoughts rolls at disadvantage.

Suggested Characteristics

d6 Personality Trait
1 My primary means of emotional expression is an annoyed "harumph."
2 I never apologize. I just acknowledge the mistake and work to fix it.
3 Every night before bed I need a nice mug of ale or else I become cranky.
4 I'm eager to have children, so I can help to keep my clan strong.
5 I love beautiful stonework and will often stop to admire fine work when I see it.
6 Properly braiding my hair and beard is exceptionally important to me.


d6 Ideal
1 Promises: Promises are unbreakable—there are no exceptions. (Lawful)
2 Cooperation: Your work is mine and mine is yours. (Good)
3 Stoicism: Emotions are personal things not to be shared with the rest of the world. (Any)
4 Pride: Maladorians are the inheritors of a proud ancient culture that will be great again. (Any)
5 Determination: If you've failed, it means you haven't tried hard enough. (Lawful)
6 Self-Reliance: Looking to the Enaros for aid is weakness. (Any)


d6 Bond
1 Clan, tribe, family, self—in that order.
2 Someday I will return to the deeplands and retake my homeland
3 My tribe's honor is stained after it failed our community, and I seek to restore that honor.
4 My tribe's clan name is forgotten, but I've sworn to rediscover it.
5 I will never leave a friend behind as long as they still draw breath.
6 I will prove that my people don't need the Enaros.


d6 Flaw
1 I like to help others by explaining to them the way a maladorian would do it (which, of course, is always better).
2 It's possible that I enjoy ale a little too much.
3 There isn't anything I won't place a bet on.
4 Gold. Gems. Jewels. A good maladorian shouldn't want them, but I do!
5 I don't mean to insult other people's religious beliefs, but it always comes out that way.
6 I find it difficult to forgive others for their flaws.



Particularly as we get started posting new material, there will be topics we haven't covered yet. In most cases you an easily read between the lines to understand the meaning, but we wanted to note some areas where we have expanded material that we'll be sharing.

(1) Expanded Aetaltis rules for social reactions will be shared in an upcoming article.

Discover Aetaltis...

To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!

All game rules published under Open Game License v 1.0a.

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