The dwarfs are an often underestimated and underrepresented Elder Race. In Sartar, they arguably played a bigger role than any other major Elder Race. They built the walls of Sartar’s cities, the Pockets of Boldhome, and built the initial King’s Road between Boldhome and Jonstown (in particular the incredible path through the Quivin Mountains).
Dwarfs might look more like humans than aldryami or trolls do, but they are more distinctly alien. Only the dragonewts are considered more mysterious and enigmatic. Unaging, secretive, and possessing incredible skills and lore unknown to the rest of Glorantha, the dwarves view trolls and aldryami as implacable enemies and humans as fast-breeding pests. A few notes on dwarf history in the Third Age:
The danger from the human empires was largely broken in 1120, but the dwarfs were incredibly weak. Greatway was the most important stronghold in central Genertela, and the dwarfs were extremely risk adverse, needing to rebuild. So things start off with the elves trying to reclaim the Pass from 1120 to 1150. Reinforced by Brown Elves from the Old Woods, the Stinking Forest expands to the Indigo Mountains (as well as down the Dragonspine).
Around 1150 the trolls, aided by the half-trolls, defeat the Marching Forest with beetles, poison gas, and spirits. The angry ghosts of the elves still haunt the Deadwoods. And around 1180 the trolls and half-trolls fought.After that came the dark troll period of supremacy, which was broken in 1222 by the dragonewts. Also around 1240 the trolls distract themselves by defeating the Praxians and conquering Pavis. After that the Grazers and Beast People have their period of importance. Which lasts until about 1320 when the Orlanthi return to reclaim Dragon Pass.The dwarfs did not stir until after 1240 or so, until the trolls sacked Pavis, with its dwarf secrets. Sometime before 1490, the trolls made an assault on the Door That Goes Nowhere in the Three Little Giant Mountains. The Dwarfs were forced to temporarily withdraw from Door Mountain, sealing it off from the rest of the Greatway.
Meanwhile The Dwarf decides to ally with the Orlanthi and lends his aid to Sartar. Dwarfs build Sartar’s cities and roads. This is the typical dwarf response – use the humans as a counterweight to the trolls.
But to the dwarfs’ surprise, Saronil stole dwarf secrets and used them to build the Orlanth Temple. The dwarfs withdraw from direct aid of Sartar, but the damage has already been done. The Sartarites took the secrets of stonemasonry and other crafts. And although they certainly fought with the trolls, they tended to fight the wrong ones.
And so the dwarfs make contact with other humans as well. Other humans who will fight trolls and keep the Sartarites from exploiting the dwarf secrets they stole. But it is important to remember that the dwarfs really don’t give a damn about human theologies and politics, and probably have great difficulty telling them apart.
The Elder Race can’t help but fight each other and waste their resources. The humans are viewed by all the Elder Races as untrustworthy bit players. The other Elder Races are the real foes. Thousands of years of hatred and conflict, between species with some very long lived rulers.
In Boldhome, the dwarfs have a sealed-up complex, called the Inviolate Dwarf Palace. Dwarf constructs are sometimes seen deep in the Pockets.
The most commonly encountered dwarfs are rock and copper dwarfs, especially in Boldhome and New Pavis (dwarfs are not an uncommon sight in either city). Most humans think of dwarfs as small miners, bronze workers, and stoneworkers, capable of amazing craftsmanship.
Dwarfs nearest the Lunar Empire are not Openhandist and far less friendly than The Dwarf. So Sartar has likely gotten far more dwarf gifts than the Lunar Empire has in its entire history.
Remember, Dwarf Mine and Greatway are the center of Openhandism in Glorantha.