The Dwemer (also referred to as the Dwarves, Deep-Elves, Deep Folk, Deep Ones, People of the Deep, or the under-Elves) were an ancient "Lost Race" of Mer who were remnants of the early Aldmer, and lived primarily in the region of Dwemereth.
Mer used the term "Dwemer," roughly translated as "People of the Deep." The term also connoted "deep-delving," "profound," and "close-counseled." Men commonly refer to them as "Dwarves," in reference to the fables of the Giants seeing them as small.
The Dwemer were an advanced race and civilization, in many respects far ahead of the other races and civilizations of their time. They are well known for their skill and revolutionary developments in technology, engineering, crafting methods, metalwork, stonework, architecture, city-planning, science, mathematics, magic, and the academic arts.
The Dwemer are known for being the subjects of one of the greatest mysteries in all of Tamriel. In 1E 700, during the Battle of Red Mountain, for reasons still debated and under circumstances still under investigation, the Dwemer seemingly disappeared. It is still being debated who or what caused the Dwemer to disappear, as well as whether they disappeared all at once or over a long period of time.
- 1 Physical appearance
- 2 History
- 3 Society
- 4 Culture
- 4.1 Architecture
- 4.2 Language
- 4.3 Philosophy and religion
- 4.4 Innovations and crafting
- 5 Economy
- 6 Government
- 7 Notable Dwemer
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Appearances
- 10 External links
- 11 References
Essays, stories, legends, and tales have generally described the appearance and personality of the Dwemer race in general, but not of individuals. In appearance, the Dwemer were believed to be sized similarly to the average elf or human, though occasionally likened to large children with beards. Other supporting evidence includes visual sculptures and Dwarven Spectres that roam the halls within their ruined dwellings, which indicate that the Dwemer preferred heavy metal armors and robes, most of which are made out of either armored shells of ancient mechanical men or mismatched pieces from various devices.
As the Dwemer were a race of Mer, their blood was closely related to that of the other Mer races. In the Fourth Era, when the Last Dragonborn helped Septimus Signus in a quest to open a Dwemer lockbox using Dwemer blood, Septimus Signus revealed that the blood of five Mer races could be collected and mixed by using an Essence Extractor to produce a close enough approximation to open the lockbox. Similarly to the members of the Psijic Order, the Dwemer race also possessed the ability known as "The Calling," to telepathically communicate with each other.
Little is known of the history of the Dwemer and the origins of their civilization. Conflicts with other races were frequent, as was infighting. As such, the timeline is not entirely accurate for many of these events.
Recorded history dates the beginning of the Dwemer to the Merethic Era, though it could be said that the earliest known history of the Dwemer was when the Aedra created Mundus, the mortal realm, and with it, all of the mortal races.
During the Dawn Era, Lorkhan convinced some of the Et'Ada to create a mortal realm, which would be called Mundus. As Mundus was forming, it was revealed that many of the Et'Ada would be forced to give up much of their power. Due to this, the Et'Ada met at the Adamantine Tower during an event known as the Convention, and ultimately decided that Lorkhan had to be punished for his trickery, which was eventually carried out. With the creation of Mundus, some of the Et'Ada went to Nirn to live there. Magnus tore a hole into Aetherius, which became Nirn's sun. Many other Et'Ada followed and became the Magna Ge, tearing smaller holes into Aetherius, which became the stars.
The Aedra who walked on Mundus, specifically Nirn, created the Ehlnofey. The Ehlnofey of Tamriel became the Mer, and many different races of Mer came about. The Dwemer were one of the descendants of the Ehlnofey.
At some time after their creation, the Tonal Architects started to research the divine powers of the Ehlnofey, or the Earth Bones. The Dwemer were devising a plan to attempt to re-create the divine power of immortality. Most of the Dwemer wished to ascend to the same level of divine power that the Gods had, including the capability of being immortal.[UL 1]
By the Late Middle Merethic Era, the Dwemer had established themselves on Morrowind and within the Velothi Mountains, a Mountain range located between Morrowind and Skyrim. The Chimer had established themselves on Morrowind, then known as Resdayn. The two civilizations had very different societies and cultures. These differences, as well as disputes over territory and resources, caused conflicts between the two civilizations.
The earliest Dwemer Freehold colonies date from the Late Merethic Era.
Sometime after 1E 221, the Dwemer discovered a new raw mineral while mining in FahlZhardum Din, more commonly known as Blackreach. They named this new mineral Aetherium. An alliance was formed between Blackreach, Arkngthamz, Raldbthar, Mzulft, and Bthar-zel, now known as Deep Folk Crossing. The responsibilities of this project were spread between the cities; Arkngthamz served as the main command center and the primary research facility, while Raldbthar, which was the primary source of Aetherium, was given the role of dealing with mining operations. Mzulft was used as a storage site, and it is unknown what role Bthar-zel was assigned. The Aetherium Forge was constructed deep beneath the city of Bthalft, where the Aetherial artifacts would be constructed under precisely controlled conditions.
In a short amount of time, each of the four city-states that were a part of the project eventually attempted to take control of the forge themselves, which evidently led to a civil war erupting at the core of the Dwemer civilization, known as the Aetherium Wars. Decades passed as the war raged throughout Skyrim, and over time the war had begun to weaken the Dwemer city-states in Skyrim and was enough to cripple their empire. Eventually, High King Gellir of Skyrim decided that it was time to crush the weakened Dwemer city-states and led his armies across Skyrim in a campaign of rapid dominance. He and his armies spread across Skyrim, conquering the land and taking over many Dwemer cities in only three years.
A century later, around 1E 324, the Dwemer regained their foothold in Skyrim, and would eventually reclaim and reunite most of the cities and territory they had previously lost during the war. With no evidence to support otherwise, it is assumed that the project itself was abandoned, the risks being far too great.
During the War of the Crag in the early First Era, the Snow Elves, cousins to the Dwemer, were being beaten by the Atmorans, who had by that time launched a war against them after the Night of Tears. The Battle of the Moesring was the turning point for the Nords during that war, who began to achieve more victories against them. The remaining Snow Elves were forced into hiding, many seeking help and refuge among the Dwemer. The Dwemer would agree to their request, but only if the Snow Elves complied in consuming a toxic fungus. Eventually, the Dwemer betrayed and enslaved the Snow Elves, indirectly causing the devolution of the Falmer over many decades. However, at some point, the Falmer rose up against the Dwemer in revolt, resulting in the "War of the Crag," which ended when the entire Dwemer race mysteriously vanished.
The founding of the First Council and the Skyrim Conquests
There was constant feuding and conflict between the Chimer and Dwemer, mostly over issues of religion, magic and enchantment practices, and other cultural differences. This continued until the creation of the First Council in 1E 416. The First Council was the "first pan-Dunmer governing body," and was created when the Dwemer and Chimer united to expel the Nords from Morrowind. However, the Rourken Clan refused to make peace with the Chimer. Their patriarch instead threw his ceremonial warhammer, Volendrung, across Tamriel, proclaiming that his clan would settle where it landed. They eventually settled in modern-day Hammerfell, later the home of the Redguards. On the journey to modern-day Hammerfell, they encountered a powerful mage known as Shalidor, who fought against them. This would come to be known as the Battle of Rourken-Shalidor. King Rourken was said to have used his shield, Spell Breaker, during the battle.
The First Council was hugely successful, and both civilizations benefited from the alliance. The combined military strength of the Chimer and the Dwemer successfully removed the Nords from Morrowind. The Chimer and Dwemer armies annihilated the Nordic forces, leaving them "humbled" as they left Morrowind.
At an unknown time, Dwemer miners discovered a powerful artifact deep beneath Red Mountain. Kagrenac, Chief Tonal Architect and High Priest of the Dwemer, identified the artifact as the Heart of Lorkhan. He forged three artifacts, Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard, to allow him and the other Tonal Architects to tap into the Heart of the Lorkhan and use it to power the Numidium, a massive artificial god. News of the Dwemer plan reached the Chimer Great Houses of Morrowind. The leaders of the Great Houses were baffled and called for war against the Dwemer. Nerevar rallied the Great Houses and prepared their armies for war. In 1E 668, the War of the First Council erupted. When the First Council collapsed, the alliance between the Chimer and the Dwemer shut down.
According to legend, after Lorkhan tricked or convinced the Aedra to create the mortal realm, they tore out his divine heart and threw it down to Nirn, to be hidden forever. Tensions had begun to flare between the Chimer and Dwemer once again when Kagrenac—the Chief Tonal Architect of the Dwemer—prompted the discovery of a mythological artifact known as the Heart of Lorkhan, deep within the mountain. When the Chimer heard of this, they believed the Dwemer were mocking their cultural beliefs; as a result, the second Battle of Red Mountain erupted in 1E 700. Kagrenac devised a set of tools, Sunder, Keening, and Wraithguard, to manipulate the Heart to instill divinity in his people, in order to make them immortal. However, the spell seems to have backfired, causing all known Dwemer to vanish in a manner similar to a Dragon Break.
Since 1E 700, no word has been heard of the Dwemer, with the notable exception of Yagrum Bagarn, who resided in the Corprusarium of Tel Fyr. Apparently, he was absent from the Mortal Plane at the time of the disappearance, visiting an alternate dimension. His three thousand years of exploration and five hundred years of investigation have yielded no indication of the presence of his people on Mundus or any other plane of existence currently known.
During Tiber Septim's conquest in 2E 864, the Emperor took an interest in Dwemer artifacts. In an attempt to understand the inner workings of the remains of the race's work, Septim ordered Amiel Richton to commence research on the Dwemer machinery at Stros M'kai. Richton appointed Erasmo, an elderly Bosmer, to research the observatory and animatronics within.
When Richton attempted to escape the island from the Restless League uprising, he used a working Dwemer airship to fly off. However, Cyrus managed to climb onto the airship and destroyed it, cutting the fragile cloth keeping it afloat. During this time, some people were convinced that the secrets of the Dwemer would soon be mastered and that their technology would be integrated into modern day use. Predictions included inventions of personal flying machines and new steam-powered appliances.
In 3E 427, the Nerevarine met with Yagrum Bagarn, the last known living Dwemer. Bagarn was visiting an Outer Realm during the activation of the Numidium and had contracted Corprus years later, which caused his body to deform and bloat. During this time, Dagoth Ur had his plan set in motion for the future of Morrowind and Vvardenfell and began his work on the Akulakhan, the second Numidium.
The Nerevarine also managed to obtain all three of Kagrenac's tools: Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard. They used these tools to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan. This stopped Dagoth Ur's plans, killing him in the process, and destroyed the Akulakhan as well.
Soon after, the Nerevarine was tasked with reforging Indoril Nerevar's sword, Trueflame. After finding all the pieces, they sought the help of Radac Stungnthumz, a Dwemer ghost. Radac enchanted and modified Trueflame for the Nerevarine.
In 4E 201, Arniel Gane, a mage of the College of Winterhold, was working on a project to reenact a scenario of Kagrenac's workings on the Heart of Lorkhan by using Keening on a Warped Soul Gem. With the help of the Dragonborn, who was unaware of his intentions, Arniel collected the necessary ten Dwemer Cogs. Next, Arniel requested that the Dragonborn talk to Enthir about finding a warped soul gem. After a discussion with Enthir, the Dragonborn went in search of the Staff of Tandil, returning it to Enthir as payment for the warped soul gem. The next phase of the project involved a Dwemer Convector. Since Arniel's own model had been destroyed, he sent the Dragonborn to find a Dwemer Convector to heat up the warped soul gem, using a novice destruction spell created by Arniel. The Dragonborn heated the warped soul gem at a Dwemer Convector site and returned it to Arniel.
When sent to inquire of Enthir as to the whereabouts of a package, the Dragonborn was advised to search for the courier, and directed to the location of the package. The Dragonborn returned to Arniel with the package, which contained a unique dagger. Arniel then explained the project to the Dragonborn: he was going to use Keening on the warped soul gem to recreate the scenario in which Kagrenac tapped into the Heart of Lorkhan. As Arniel was using Keening on the warped soul gem, he disappeared instantly; this strengthens the much-disputed theory that the Dwemer race disappeared instantly.
Some time during the Fourth Era, Taron Dreth published a book called The Aetherium Wars. Searching for the famed and legendary Aetherium Forge, he stole his former teacher Katria's research and published it under his own name. Katria took her remaining research and went to Arkngthamz, but was killed when an earthquake destroyed the ruin. Her ghost remained, however, and met with the Last Dragonborn, who helped her find the four Aetherium Shards and the Aetherium Forge deep within the Ruins of Bthalft, unlocking the mystery of the Aetherium Forge itself.
Many expeditions have been made to various Dwemer Ruins in Tamriel. During the Fourth Era, the Synod made an expedition to Mzulft in Skyrim, where they researched and studied Dwemer technology, hoping to use the knowledge to consolidate Imperial political power. An expedition was made to Avanchnzel by four adventurers (Watches-The-Roots, Drennen, Breya, and From-Deepest-Fathoms), who were attempting to steal a Dwarven Lexicon.
During the Fourth Era, Sulla Trebatius led an expedition to Alftand, accompanied by Umana, Endrast, Valie, Yag gra-Gortwog, J'darr, and J'zhar. When the group arrived at Alftand, they set up a small camp outside and a catwalk leading into the glacier. At some point, a storm came in and the group was forced to take refuge inside the ruined Dwemer city. Valie, Endrast, and Yag gra-Gortwog were taken captive by the Falmer, who were living inside the ruin, while they were asleep. Valie was taken to the torture room and killed, while Endrast and Yag were taken into prison cells. Endrast and Yagak were able to escape using lockpicks, but the Falmer noticed their escape. Yagak attempted unsuccessfully to buy time for Endrast to get away, but both were killed during their escape.
The Dwemer were a free-thinking and reclusive Elven race who lived in Tamriel, mostly in Morrowind during the Merethic Era and the First Era. They were, in general, a very advanced and powerful civilization. Dwemer society did not encourage the use of technology over magic, but the general view of their society was that magic was unimportant and pointless; so much so that most other races thought them "mockers and profaners of the divine."
The Dwemer have been called an evil race, as according to many First Era scholars, the Dwemer were feared by the Dunmer, Nords, Redguards, and perhaps even by the gods themselves.[UL 2] On the other hand, the Dwemer people have also been called a noble and honorable race, with legends that tell of their heroic deeds of honor and glory.
Few written works have described the appearance, personality, or achievements of individual Dwemer; most knowledge of the Dwemer regards the race as a whole. In addition, it is unclear whether the Dwemer were a single united empire or a group of related clans.
The Dwemer seem to have revered the pursuits of logic and science, in contrast to other Mer races. An individual whose career was in philosophy, mathematics, science, metallurgy, or architecture would likely have been elevated to the highest, most respected, and most prestigious of positions in Dwemer society. Those who studied and reasoned would have reached a position that would have equaled "clergy in a more mystically-inclined culture." This idea is supported by a fragment of Dwemeris text recovered from Irkngthand and translated by Dwemer scholar Thenwe Ghelein, who believes it to be associated with the Rourken Clan. While some scholars interpret those words as evidence to support that the Dwemer may have worshiped Mundus, Thelwe Ghelein hypothesizes that the Dwemeris quotes are related to society and civil matters.
There are several known ranks in Dwemer society, including High Priest, General, Lord, Councillor, and Protector. A major rank in Dwemer society was that of Tonal Architect, or Magecrafter. Usually crafters and mage-engineers, Tonal Architects specialized in magic technologies and devices, and were led in their studies by a Chief Tonal Architect.
The Dwemer empire existed throughout several parts of Tamriel; their cities were found throughout Morrowind, High Rock, Hammerfell, and Skyrim. It was theorized that the Dwemer prominently lived in the Vvardenfell region of Morrowind,, though it was also theorized that the Dwemer capital was Blackreach.
Dwemer cities were vast and expansive, containing living spaces, dwellings, study rooms, areas for scientific, academic, engineering, and arcane study, animunculories and animuncultories (areas for the production of Automatons), workshops, pumping stations and pump-houses, and boileries. Other sections included aedromes and sky-domes (which contained Oculories), debate halls, war quarters, cathedrals, marketplaces, treasuries, armories, storage areas, storerooms, and gatehouses. These areas were interconnected with great halls and long passageways running throughout the Dwemer's underground cities. Some sections of Dwemer cities were sectioned and named for a specific role. The Arcanex was a section of a city used for arcane study, and observational studies have shown that the Arcanex in Bthardamz contains a surprising collection of soul-gems, alchemical concoctions, and magical text. This evidence supports a possible theory that Dwemer scientists and engineers may have also invested some of their time in magical study. The Animonculory section of a city was the section used for the role of industrial production and producing Automatons. Although Nchardak did not contain an Animunculory, one of the city's main roles was to act as a major military production center, capable of constructing a single Animunculi within a day. Orrery were elaborate, massive constructs designed for astronomical observation and study.
People who were coming and going through the capital city known as Blackreach and the other cities connecting to Blackreach, which were Alftand, Raldbthar, and Mzinchaleft, used two devices, one simply known as a Dwarven Mechanism, and an Attunement Sphere, to open the entrance to Blackreach. These two devices were interconnected; they were used in conjunction to open the entrance to Blackreach. For outsiders, the first point of entry when heading to Blackreach had to be Alftand. After that, one could enter Blackreach through a number of other locations, including the cities Raldbthar and Mzinchaleft, as well as three "Great Lifts," which included the Great Lift at Alftand, Great Lift at Raldbthar, and the Great Lift at Mzinchaleft.
Since the Dwemer had a significant mastery over metalwork, construction of massive machines and interest in the sciences, notably astronomy, the Orrery were trademark developments of the Dwemer in their metalwork and scientific studies. One notable Orrery was located in Stros M'kai, constructed by the Rourken Clan sometime during 1E 420. The Oculory was a massive construct located in Mzulft and inside the Tower of Mzark in Blackreach. The Oculory were also trademark developments of the Dwemer. The Oculory in Mzulft was designed and built to collect starlight, then transmute it and split it. When calibrated correctly with a Focusing Crystal, it can then be used to project this energy into a map of Tamriel, and can then harness the energies to reveal locations of great sources of magical power. The Focusing Crystal was yet another device created by the Dwemer to power the Oculory. The Dwemer scientists, mages, engineers, and Tonal Architects who were working on this machine were attempting to steal the power of it. The Oculory located in the Tower of Mzark, however, was designed and built to store artifacts of great importance, notably an Elder Scroll. Oculories were housed in aedromes, or sky-domes. According to Paratus Decimius, the Orrery at the Arcane University was the inspiration for the Oculory. The Dwemer did not actually refer to this machine as an Oculory, but rather another, unknown name.
In comparison with the rest of the Dwemer's creations and constructions, their architecture was mainly composed of stone. On the other hand, their methods of stonework and architectural construction were just as unique and grand as their metalwork. Their civilization's cities contained structures that were built with stone that was designed and constructed as sharp, straight, angular forms that were based on angled lines, which were also intensely mathematical in nature. Architects favored "trusted, well-calculated designs based on angled lines rather than riskier, more imprecise calculations based on arcs and curves." Dwemer architecture is unique in that they favored stone over other materials. Their mastery of stonework is a shining example of their civilization, and a notable one at that. As opposed to metal, which is found in their Animunculi, Dwarven artisans favored stone, at least as far as their buildings were concerned. However, as the Dwemer began to advance and achieve mastery over metalwork and more complex tools, metal was added to their architectural designs for buildings. Nevertheless, "the foundation of all known Dwemer ruins is built on stonework, and the structure of dwarven stonework is sharp, angular and intensely mathematical in nature." As a direct result, the traditions and knowledge that Dwemer architects and city planners had has allowed Dwemer buildings to stay structurally sound long after their race disappeared.
Northern clans may have had a unique feature to their cities called Deep Venues. Deep Venues were often characterized as being made up of one or more expansive natural caverns in which several other structures will occur. Structures built within the Venue may be carved from the stone itself, or freely built upon the cavern floor. The largest and most impressive Venue, seen by scholar Thelwe Ghelein, was in Bthardamz, which may have even featured roads wide enough for ten men to walk “shoulder-meets-shoulder” along it.
As Dwarven sites located west of Vvardenfell appeared to be built at a much greater depth than their Vvardenfell counterparts, it was theorized by Thelwe Ghelein that there was a specific threshold as to where Dwarven excavators and miners would dig before the construction of vital structures would begin. This threshold was referred to as "the Geocline." The Geocline may have had nothing to do with the Deep Venue. However, there was some variations in the depth of a Deep Venue, while the Geocline was where the city begins to be seen. Tunnels, passageways, and chambers at more shallow depths closer to the surface, while quite grand in their design, build, and appearance, served little use in the civic purposes. Infrastructure such as surplus stores of food and supplies, warehouse chambers, trading posts, and barracks for topside patrols were common above the Geocline. These structures may have been built to meander in a more random pattern than the other structures beneath. It was hypothesized by scholar Thelwe Ghelein that this was due to the unpredictable nature of an excavation, even with the powerful magics and superior technology the Dwemer possessed. It was possible that these tunnels were the result of the search for more suitable substratum to build within.
Hoagen Keltorra was the name of a possible type of building style. Some scholars interpreted this term as the Dwemer philosophy and religion that focused on the worship of Mundus. Thelwe Ghelein hypothesized that a term―Hoagen Keltorra was related to civic matters. She believes that the first part of a fragment of a text that mentions Hoagen Keltorra, found during an expedition to Irkngthand, is related to the Rourken Clan, and describes how a respected Dwemer, Cuolec, was promoted to a civic position, most likely Tonal Architect. The second fragment of the text suggested that Cuolec’s position required him to build in a specific style. Thelwe Ghelein believed that Hoagen Keltorra was the name of a certain, specific style, or referred to a group of styles, differing in construction principles and typical structures.
With Dwemer architecture and infrastructure, there were four tests used by Dwemer architects in city planning and construction: The Test of Pattern required the observer to observe and analyze for patterns before planning. The Test of Disorder required the observer to proceed methodically when no pattern was observed. When the observer recognized that many tasks had to be accomplished in no specific order, the plan was to order all tasks to be completed, and they should be able to recall how, why and when the task was completed. The Test of Evasion had the observer to study an obstacle, and review their resources and abilities. If the obstacle was too difficult, then the observer had to find a way around the problem. The Test of Confrontation had the observer to inspect the obstacle and review their resources and abilities. If the obstacle was too difficult, then the observer had to look for a way around the obstacle, but if there was no possibility of going around the obstacle, then the issue had to be confronted directly.
Variations of style
It has been thoroughly researched and debated on the topic of variations of style among different groups, locations, and time periods of the Dwemer civilization. Like any civilization, the Dwemer culture could, and did, change over time and across lands and between people and groups of people.
The architecture of Dwemer cities and sites in Vvardenfell was noticeably different from other Dwemer sites throughout Morrowind, as well as the other zones of territory the Dwemer civilization was found. The actual construction of the sites and the internal structure of the ruins was also unique; the more significant locations of the city were found closer to the surface. In Dwemer ruins on the mainland, the more important parts of a city were found much deeper underground. These findings have led some scholars to believe that sites and cities outside of Vvardenfell and Morrowind were mere outposts, but some scholars state that differences between excavation and construction styles were because clan architects simply had their own styles and preferences when it came to civic planning. Some scholars state that in Dwemer society, techniques, and architectural design, development, and construction were based on empirical study, so room for creativity and openness was small. One theory that supports the last hypothesis is that geological makeup most likely played a significant role for Dwemer colonies who had just begun to excavate out a mountain where they had prepared to build a new city. It was tougher for Dwemer excavators of colonies excavating in northern Skyrim, where the lands were cold and windy and the ground was rocky and frozen solid, versus Dwemer excavators working in Vvardenfell, where the volcanic substratum was soft and easy to dig through, or the "ubiquitous aquifers found in Hammerfell." It is possible that Dwarven excavators in the northern areas were "not even able to excavate larger structures until reaching more pliable stratum."
The Dwemer were excellent miners and predominant in that art, and excavated deep beneath the surface and deep into the mountains to build their cities. Most of their cities were located underground, with one exception being part of Markarth. Markarth was a major city and the capital city of the Reach after the Dwemer disappeared, as humans started to settle the city. When the Dwemer civilization still existed on Tamriel, the city was known as Nchuand-Zel. Part of the city was in the open air and jutted out from the crag in the mountain which the city was built upon. Understone Keep was located towards the far end of the city near the mountainside, and within Understone Keep was where the government of the Reach resided. The city reached even deeper into and under the mountains, but nobody who came to settle Markarth after the Dwemer disappeared went to settle this section of the city. By the Fourth Era, Markarth was now the capital city of the Reach, and Nchuand-Zel, the underground section of the city, was still unsettled and with Animunculi and Falmer still around.
Both the Dwemer's language and writing system is referred to as Dwemeris; the language utilized many z's and d's in its form. The writing system was composed of and written as the Dwemer's own form of runes and glyphs, aesthetically similar to that of the Daedric Alphabet, yet it was heavily based on the Aldmeri Language.
Some forms of Dwemeris have been seen in the form of prefixes and suffixes of notable Dwemer names of various historical terms, such as "Volen-," meaning "hammer," and "-Fell," meaning "city," giving Volenfell; "City of the Hammer." The warhammer Volendrung has had its name translated into "Hammer of Might" by Dwemer scholars and translators. The nation of Hammerfell attributed its name to the warhammer Volendrung, as Dwemer and Hammerfell lore-history held that the Chieftain of the Rourken Clan decided to move his people to a new location, so he threw that very warhammer from Morrowind and would move to wherever it ended up. This was at the site of the city of Volenfell in Hammerfell, hence the two locations' names. The name FalZhardum Din, based on observations of Dwemeris texts and inscriptions on tablets and walls in an unknown Dwemer city, has been revealed to be the Dwemer name for Blackreach.
The five books, Divine Metaphysics, The Egg of Time, Hanging Gardens, Nchunak's Fire and Faith, and Chronicles of Nchuleft, were all possible to be translated by Dwemer scholars. Divine Metaphysics explained how the Dwemer created the Numidium and used Kagrenac's Tools on the Heart of Lorkhan. The Egg of Time was written by Bthuand Mzahnch, who refuted the theories of Kagrenac. Hanging Gardens was a travel guide, Nchunak's Fire and Faith was the tale of Nchunak, and Chronicles of Nchuleft was a story detailing the assassination plot against a Dwemer conference in Nchuleft.
|Dwemeris Name||Tamrielic Translation|
|Volenfell||City of the Hammer|
|Volendrung||Hammer of Might|
|Nchardak||City of a Hundred Towers|
|FalZhardum Din||Blackreach/Blackest Kingdom Reaches|
Philosophy and religion
There is no known story behind the Dwemer's disassociation with the Aldmer and other Mer races, as their society contained very few similarities with the other Mer races, other than some political and legal principles, and aspects of their language and writing system. The Dwemer were also far different from any other race on Tamriel. Some scholars have stated that the Dwemer preferred the use of machines and tools to the use of magic, while there is some evidence to suggest that the Dwemer also used magic. Some non-scholarly sources suggest that "the Dwarves didn't believe in magic" at all.
The precise nature of Dwemer religion and worship is unknown, but one could name their religion "negalithic refusatronic world-navel-gazinism."[UL 3] However, it is recorded that they scorned the Daedra, the Nine Divines, and essentially all of the gods, and attempted to defy them with their values of "reason and logic." The Dwemer people apparently believed that their power rivaled the gods', a claim which many scholars agree may have led to their demise,[UL 2] some even going so far as to call them blasphemous. The Dwemer challenged the power and superiority of the et'Ada, the Aedra, and Daedra, questioned their authority, and traveled from Mundus into the Outer Realms of Aetherius and Oblivion. In their underground sanctuaries, the Dwemer studied powerful, magical relics and researched powers that they believed "could rival the gods themselves." The Dwemer religion, if there was one at all, has been said to be one of the most complex and difficult puzzles of Dwemer culture.
During the Dawn Era, the Dwemer attempted to reach the state of immortality up to the point of their disappearance. They researched the fall of the Earth Bones and were essentially trying to reverse the effects for themselves—to create immortality from the deaths of the Earth Bones. The Dwemer were trying to defy the gods, while also attempting to recreate their powers. The book Divine Metaphysics explained how the Dwemer tried to forge a new god, Anumidium, using Kagrenac's Tools and the sacred tones on the Heart of Lorkhan.  It was "unfashionable among the Dwemer to view their spirits as synthetic constructs three, four, or forty creational gradients below the divine." The Dwemer were, however, not unified in their thinking; some opposed the research on the Ehlnofey/Earth Bones and the idea that the Dwemer race should be immortal. The ones who opposed this believed that "using the power Lorkhan's Heart was an unjustifiable risk." Later, during the Battle of Red Mountain, Chief Tonal Architect Kagrenac made one last shot at succeeding in bringing immortality to his people, and in doing so, caused their entire people to disappear. It is unknown whether he succeeded or failed.[UL 1]
Though the Ancient Tales of the Dwemer book series is fictional and regarded by many scholars as mislabeling the Dwemer, the story Azura and the Box tells of a Dwemer scholar who did not believe in the gods and religion. In Azura and the Box, Nchylbar met with his old friend Athynic. During their visit together, Nchylbar told Athynic that he intended to discover the nature of divine power. Athynic protested, but from the ties of a great friendship, he reluctantly agreed to help his friend. Athynic summoned Azura, and when Azura appeared, she spoke to him. Azura, Athynic, and Nchylbar discussed what might have been in the closed box that Athynics' students brought in. Azura said that there was a red-petaled flower in the box, but when Nchylbar opened the box, he revealed to everybody in the room that the box was empty. When Azura was about to leave, she made a look that only Athynic saw, and then she left. For Athynic, he could not speak and was trembling. That night, Nchylbar, who did not believe that the existence and power of the Gods was legitimate, was found dead.
It is possible that the Dwemer worshiped Mundus itself, theorized by some scholars from primary source text found by scholar and archaeologist Thelwe Ghelein in Irkngthand. There were mixed ideas on the text; some scholars believed that the text supported the idea that the Dwemer worshiped Mundus, while Ghelein did not believe that the text supported the theory that the Dwemer worshiped Mundus, but rather that the text was related to civic and political matters.
Innovations and crafting
Dwarves were known to have created—and manufactured on a vast scale—thousands of mechanical apparatuses of varying complexity, most of which were constructed within the city of Nchardak, a large military production center.. These constructs are referred to as Animunculi, or simply "automatons," who were known to cause havoc when unleashed against enemies on the battlefield, completely obliterating enemy forces.. Several types were found within ancient Dwemer ruins, the most simple being that of an arachnid designed to ward off trespassers. Most automatons contained a soul gem, sometimes more than one. According to research done by famed scholar Calcelmo and Sulla Trebatius, which were still theories, the soul gem(s) were believed to be what powered these machines. It may have also acted as a source of power for the boiler, due to the extreme energy held within it. In some automatons, such as the Dwarven Spider Guardian, the soul gem(s) may have acted as a source of Destruction magic, being able to attack intruders with lightning bolts. They appeared to allow the Spiders to function besides their internal steam power systems, electrical systems, and working gears and cogs.
The other types of Animunculi that were encountered included ballistas, centurions, and spheres. They were capable of receiving, interpreting, and responding to the actions of people around them, due to the excellent work produced by Dwemer engineers. Animunculi were somehow linked to their place of origin, and would immediately lose power and shut down if removed from the vicinity. It was possible that animunculi were capable of reconstructing and repowering themselves to go back to protecting their former master's denizens.
Dwarven military equipment was effective and resilient to the effects of time. Their weapons were powerful and their armors strong. Dwarven Swords were effective at breaking through light armors; this was due to the venerability and sharpness of tempered Dwarven metal and owed less to the double-edged design. Dwarven Armors were capable of withstanding incredibly heavy blows and taking on the most powerful of arrows. This was due to the fact that the Dwarves were an empire, civilization, and culture built almost exclusively underground, so the Dwemer race itself was naturally accustomed to the aspects of living underground. Just like Dwarven swords and other weapons, the effectiveness of Dwarven armor was more of a testament to great metallurgy skills rather than armorsmithing skills. When a Dwarven Dagger was compared to an Elven dagger, it was clear that most Dwemer weaponsmiths relied almost exclusively on creating quality crafting materials first, and allowed the final forms of those materials to stem from the concept that the weapon was intended to kill people. Dwemer armies also experimented with the use of crossbows. Though bows were additionally used, crossbows were technologically advanced. Various Dwemer engineers drew up several schematics for crossbows, including a standard and enhanced version. Schematics were also drawn up for explosive bolts to be used alongside the standard bolt, of which three known variants have been identified: an exploding fire bolt, exploding ice bolt, and an exploding shock bolt.
During their existence, the Dwemer constructed many devices and machines. One of the creations they built was a monstrous golem, called Numidium, also known as the "Brass God." Numidium was designed to help them gain the divine power of immortality and transcend Nirn, also known as the Mortal Realm. Three powerful tools were designed to help the Tonal Architects tap into and draw power directly from the Heart. These three tools included Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard. Wraithguard was designed to protect the wearer from the potentially dangerous effects when experimenting with the Heart of Lorkhan. Sunder was designed to extract the specific amount and quality of divine power when working on the Heart. Keening was designed to focus and attune the divine power being extracted from the Heart.[UL 1] Other machines created were the Dwemer Convectors, highly advanced machines that were developed and used to alter any soul gem and transform it into a Warped Soul Gem. One such device they created was a Control Cube, which was designed and used to control specific constructs and maintain them. The Dwemer of Nchardak notably used many of these cubes to maintain their city, by controlling the various power systems that kept the city stable and to control the power system which supplied power to the Reading Room, as they would no doubt want to keep their massive, expansive library safe from outsiders. Another piece of technology the Dwemer constructed were Tonal Resonators. They were used as openers of doors and checkpoint markers between passageways, and still function in modern days. Two devices the Dwemer created were Attunement Spheres and Dwarven Mechanisms, which were devices designed and used to open the entrance to Blackreach. The two devices directly interacted with one another; by placing an Attunement Sphere into a Dwarven Mechanism, the entrance to Blackreach would be unlocked. However, the pinnacle of their genius was the creation of a device called a Lexicon, which allowed them to read an Elder Scroll without going mad or blind, as well as acting as a portable information repository, being able to store vast amounts of knowledge within the device, as such combinations of machinery and magic were trademarks of the Dwemer. Dwemer crafters also made various "toys" similar to the Coo.[UL 4] An example of the Dwemer's cultural characteristic for the arcane arts were the Aetherial artifacts: the Aetherial Staff, Aetherial Shield, and the Aetherial Crown, whose powerful enchantments come from Aetherium.
The Dwemer were masters of crafting and smith-work, and made many innovations in the art as well. The Dwemer people of this trade forged weapons, armor, tools, and other materials in their day before the disappearance of their race.  A unique ability, known only as Ancient Knowledge, was an ability that granted a wearer of Dwarven armor a 25% bonus and Smithing increases 15% faster. This knowledge was contained within the Lexicon.
The Dwemer had their own weapons and armor. These weapons and armors were referred to as Dwarven weapons and armor. After the Dwemer race disappeared in 1E 700, it became difficult for anyone to obtain or forge these artifacts. However, it was possible to craft Dwarven weapons and armor, with the proper knowledge and materials. If one wished to craft Dwarven weapons and armor, Dwemer artifacts had to be obtained, and then melted down into Dwarven Metal, and then molded into a Dwarven metal ingot. A variety of materials were required to craft Dwarven weapons, which, depending upon the item(s) intended to be crafted, included Dwarven Metal Ingots, quicksilver, steel, and iron ingots, as well as leather strips and even firewood. As for the materials required for crafting Dwarven Armor, the materials included Dwarven Metal Ingots, steel ingots, iron ingots, and leather strips, depending upon which item was to be crafted.
They were the creators of the Aetherium Forge, a massive, magma-fueled forge that was constructed to handle Aetherium and craft materials made from the luminescent crystal. Three items were known to be produced by the Aetherium Forge: the Aetherial Crown, the Aetherial Staff, and the Aetherial Shield. All three items required one Aetherium Crest, one for each item. The Aetherial Crown required one Aetherial Crest, two Dwarven Metal Ingots, two gold ingots, and two flawless sapphires. The Aetherial Staff required one Aetherium Crest, two Dwarven Metal Ingots, two ebony ingots, and one gold ingot. The Aetherial Shield required one Aetherium Crest, four Dwarven Metal Ingots and two refined malachite.
The Dwemer mainly focused on metallurgy, the study of the physical and chemical elements of metal. It is distinguished from the craft of metalworking in that with metalwork, the craftsman is working with the actual components of metal, a process to "create individual parts, assemblies or large scale structures." The overall concept of Dwarven construction and craftsmanship appeared to have been designed and built to be long-lasting, rather than fragile and easily destructible, which was a possible explanation for their preference of metal. However, other materials such as clay, paper, and glass, though more easily weaker and destructible, cannot be completely eliminated from the known materials that Dwemer crafters may have used to construct their creations. The Dwemer people also studied the principals of engineering, metalwork, and crafting.
Mining and smelting
The Dwemer also had extensive knowledge of mining, extracting, and smelting the ore they found, as well as incorporating the smelted metal into their weapons, armor, tools, devices, and other crafts. Because of this, they were able to create their own distinctive form of metal, which was easily mistaken for bronze. Since their disappearance, no other race had been able to successfully replicate the process that was used to create dwarven metal. The only known method that had been successful so far was to melt down existing dwarven metallic scraps and start over from there. They were also the creators of an elusive concept known as the "Seven Natures of Metal."
One other natural resource the Dwemer used was Aetherium. Aetherium was a rare natural material with a blue luminescent hue, strong magical properties, alchemically inert, and harmonically volatile. No known process could enchant, smelt, mold, bind, or break it. To the Dwemer, that was far from complicated; the Aetherium Forge was set up beneath Bthalft. Four Aetherium Shards could be combined to form an Aetherium Crest. Aetherium was the primary material in creating the Aetherial Artifacts.
Dwemer boots are described by Raynor Vanos as being "mainly constructed of a flexible material that resembles leather... or the Dwemer had beasts with incredibly smooth and homogenous hide". This may imply that the Dwemer had developed an artificial leather.
Science and mathematics
Besides mastering in the other arts and professions of their civilization, the Dwemer also mastered the use of mathematics and science in itself and as an asset to their other professions. Science was an important aspect of the Dwemer academic society, especially the science of astronomy. They studied constellations, stars, and planets in order to grasp a better understanding of the outside world. Because of this, the Dwemer constructed large stationary machines—known as an Orrery—which were scaled models of a solar system that depicts planetary motions. The Dwemer had made incredible observations of the night sky during their existence. As is known throughout all of Tamriel, Aurbis encompasses Mundus, which includes Nirn, its moons, the stars and Aetherius, the realm of the Aedra; Nirn is the only planet in the mortal plane, also known as Nirn. The two moons that encompass Nirn are Secunda and Masser, in which Masser is the larger of the two. There is also the Void and Oblivion, which are also immortal realms of the Daedra.
Very little is known about the Dwemer economy. One form of currency they used is known as the Dwemer Coin.
Almost nothing is known about the government of the Dwemer. One policy is known in Dwemer judicial systems: if one was killed by an Animunculi, the associates of the fallen have the authority to disassemble the Animunculi and take its parts within thirty days.
During the First Era, the Dwemer made an alliance with the Chimer to expel the Nords from Morrowind. This governing alliance between the two peoples is known as the First Council. The First Council allied the two civilizations and allowed the two peoples and their cultures to interact with each other.
- Dumac – King of the clans in Morrowind, formerly known as Resdayn. Dumac helped formed the First Council with Indoril Nerevar.
- Kagrenac – High Priest and Chief Tonal Architect who oversaw the project to research and experiment on the Heart of Lorkhan. He ordered the construction of the Numidium and three tools, Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard, to be used when the divine power was extracted from the Heart of Lorkhan.[UL 1]
- Yagrum Bagarn – One of the Tonal Architects who worked under Kagrenac. Bagarn was not present in the mortal realm when his race disappeared, so he was unaffected by Kagrenac's tapping into the Heart of Lorkhan. After he returned to the mortal realm and found out how his race disappeared, he spent many long years searching for any signs of his people, to no avail.
- Radac Stungnthumz – A Dwemer ghost who helped the Nerevarine enchant Trueflame.
- Nchunak – A notable traveler who went to many cities and kingdoms to teach the theories of Kagrenac.
- Bthuand Mzahnch – One of the Tonal Architects who worked under Kagrenac. Bthuand was one of the few who argued that tapping into the Heart of Lorkhan was too dangerous. He wrote his theories in The Egg of Time.
- Nchylbar – A Dwemer professor who discovered many theorems.
- Mzunchend – Invented the first pin lock system.
- Like the Aldmeri, Ayleids, Snow Elves, and Chimer, the Dwemer are one of the five "ancient Elven civilizations" of Tamriel.
- The Dwemer writing system may be analogous to the real-life traditional Gaelic.
- The last known Dwemer to have been seen alive was met by the Nerevarine.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Falion of Morthal claims to have met dwemer, saying, "I have traveled the Oblivion planes. I have met Daedra, and Dwemer, and everything in between."
- It is possible that the Harmonic Auditor, judging by his dialogue and appearance, was a Dwemer.
- The term "Deep-Elf" appears in other fantasy universes, most notably those of J.R.R. Tolkien (as another name for the high elves, and refers to their 'knowledge'), but not usually connected to 'dwarves'. However, in Norse mythology, scholars do believe the Svartálfar (Old Norse 'black elves') are the same as 'dwarves'.
- In The Egg of Time, the Dwemer seems to be burning when the Heart is struck. Additionally, ash piles can be found on dwemer weaponry, armor, benches, potions, and books. This could mean that the Dwemer burned to death in an instant upon the Heart being struck.
- Many of the Dwemer ruins in Skyrim have wall carvings which may depict the sun, with the portal to Aetherius at its center.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (mentioned only)
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls: Legends
- Dwemer Inquiries Vol I: Their Architecture and Civilization — Thelwe Ghelein, Scholar
- Infernium Dwarven Spider's description
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 5 — Vivec
- The Annotated Anuad
- Dwarves, v1 — Calcelmo
- Netherroot Notes
- Dwarves, v2 — Calcelmo
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind — Imperial Geographic Society
- Dialogue with Hasphat AntabolisThe Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Ales Julalanie's dialogue in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Dwemer Inquiries Vol II: Their Architecture and Civilization — Thelwe Ghelein, Scholar
- Dwarves, v3 — Calcelmo
- The Battle of Red Mountain — Vivec
- Herbane's Bestiary: Automatons — Herbane
- The Ruins of Kemel-Ze — Rolard Nordssen
- Septimus Signus's dialogue in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Doors of Oblivion — Seif-ij Hidja
- Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part VI: Chimarvamidium — Marobar Sul
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Mikhael Karkuxor
- The Monomyth — Temple Zero Society
- Before the Ages of Man — Aicantar of Shimerene
- The Aetherium Wars
- Katria's Journal — Katria
- The Falmer: A Study — Ursa Uthrax
- Journal of Mirtil Angoth — Mirtil Angoth, translated by Calcelmo
- Dialogue with Knight-Paladin Gelebor The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard
- War of the First Council
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Hammerfell — Imperial Geographic Society
- Tamrielic Lore — Yagrum Bagarn
- The Seven Thousand Steps Etchings
- Kagrenac's Tools — Gilvas Barelo
- The Battle of Red Mountain — Vivec
- Nerevar at Red Mountain — Alandro Sul
- Kagrenac's Tools — Gilvas Barelo
- Nerevar at Red Mountain — Alandro Sul
- Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Events of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- Dialogue with Lakene
- Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal
- Events of "Arniel's Endeavor"
- Katria's dialogue in The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard
- Events of "Lost to the Ages"
- Events of "Revealing the Unseen"
- Events of "Unfathomable Depths"
- Expedition Manifest — Sulla Trebatius
- Sulla's Journal
- Umana's Journal
- Endrast's Journal
- The Seven Curses — Gilvas Barelo
- Journal of Mirtil Angoth — Mirtil Angoth, translated by Calcelmo
- Chronicles of Nchuleft — an anonymous Altmer
- November 8, 2012. The Elder Scrolls Online An Introduction to The Elder Scrolls Online
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Game Guide
- Staubin's Diary — Staubin
- Neloth's dialogue in The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
- Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- Paratus Decimius' dialogue in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Events during "Elder Knowledge"
- Dwemer Inquiries Vol III — Thelwe Ghelein
- Guylaine's Architecture ― Guylaine Marilie
- The City of Stone: A Sellsword's Guide to Markarth ― Amanda Alleia
- Kibell's dialogue in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Nchunak's Fire and Faith — Nchunak
- Dialogue with Baladas Demnevanni in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Dialogue with Yagrum Bagarn in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Divine Metaphysics
- The Egg of Time — Bthuand Mzahnch
- Hanging Gardens — Wasten Coridale
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Summerset Isles — Imperial Geographic Society
- Antecedents of Dwemer Law
- Dialogue with Erasmo
- Ancient Tales of the Dwemer: Azura and the Box — Marobar Sul
- Research Notes — Sulla Trebatius
- Aicantar's Lab Journal — Aicantar
- Senilius' Report — Senilias Cadiusus
- Events of "Ancient Technology"
- Anumidium Plans
- The Book of the Dragonborn — Emelene Madrine
- Arniel Gane's dialogue during "Arniel's Endeavor"
- Events during "Unfathomable Depths"
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City pg 166
- "Metallurgy" on Wikipedia
- Ahzidal's Descent — Halund Greycloak
- Crafting Motif 15: Dwemer Style
- Dwarves, v3 — Calcelmo, Scholar of Markarth
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Arena Supermundus — Imperial Geographic Society
- History of Lock Picking
|Common||Altmer (High Elves) • Bosmer (Wood Elves) • Dunmer (Dark Elves) • Falmer • Maormer • Orsimer (Orcs)|
|Extinct/Endangered||Aldmer • Ayleids • Chimer • Dwemer • Sinistral Elves (Lefthanded Elves) • Snow Elves (Ancient Falmer)|
|Humans||Akaviri • Atmorans • Bretons • Imperials • Keptu|
Kothringi • Nedes • Nords • Orma • Redguards
|Mer||Aldmer • Altmer • Ayleids • Bosmer • Chimer • Dunmer|
Dwemer • Falmer • Maormer • Orsimer • Sinistral Elves • Snow Elves
|Beast||Argonians • Imga • Khajiit • Lilmothiit • Sload • Giants|
|Akaviri||Ka Po' Tun • Kamal • Tang Mo • Tsaesci • Dragons|
|Et'Ada||Aedra • Daedra|