For all of the peace, prosperity and true sense of community between the citizens of Stardew Valley, it can be easy to forget that many dark events have happened in the past — and that are still happening to this day. Players have been fortunate not to experience it themselves, but throughout the history of this land, wars between entire nations and peoples have been raging. Stardew Valley, and Pelican Town therein, are located within the borders of a nation called the Ferngill Republic, which is currently at war with a rival nation known as the Gotoro Empire.
Much about the Republic is still unknown, but there’s almost no information on the Empire either. However, while these human conflicts continue to engulf the land, there was once a great war between two ancient races known as the Dwarves, and the Shadow People.
Known as the Elemental Wars, this is said to have lasted for roughly 1000 years and has only recently ended. You can learn of this conflict’s existence by speaking to the only interactable members of each species: the Dwarf (who is found in the Mines) and Krobus the Shadow Person (who is found in the Sewers).
The Dwarves, who also call themselves the “Smoluanu” or “Sky People,” are an ancient race that prefers to live underground. They also possessed advanced technology millennia ago. To find Stardew Valley’s only Dwarf, players will have to go to the Mines and break a boulder blocking the way, either with a steel pickaxe or a cherry bomb. Of course, the Dwarf only speaks in Dwarvish, so first you’ll need to collect four Dwarvish Scrolls from the Mines and trade them at the Museum for a Dwarvish Translation Guide. The Dwarf can be befriended, and you can access their shop. However, they remain suspicious of visitors, thinking they’re spies sent by the Shadow People.
Despite being described as an advanced and powerful race ages ago, the Dwarves have since fallen into mere remnants. If you dig up a lost book called Mysteries of the Dwarves, author M. Jasper theorizes that they are an alien civilization that came to this planet long ago. He also suggests that they prefer the underground environment due to their original planet having a thicker atmosphere that protected them from stellar radiation, and that they wouldn’t be able to live in the sunlight.
Shadow People, also called Void Spirits, are beings that inhabit tunnels and caverns deep underground, away from the sunlight. Not much is known about the history of these creatures, but it is said that below the earth is their ancestral home. Unlike the Dwarf, there are multiple Shadow People inhabiting the Mines, Sewers and caves throughout the Valley — and all but one of them are hostile to players.
Krobus is the only named Void Spirit in the Valley, offering players a variety of rare goods to sell. Players can find him after obtaining the Rusty Key. Like the Dwarf, he is also suspicious of visitors, fearing that, if the Dwarves knew where he was, they would send an assassin after him.
If you’ve earned up to 50 friendship points with the Dwarf and also purchased a Stardrop from Krobus, the Dwarf will enter the Sewers to confront Krobus. They will start fighting, with Krobus blaming the Dwarves for driving them from their homeland, while the Dwarf blames the Shadow People for the death of their family. Then, out of nowhere, the Wizard will appear to put a stop to the fight, reminding them both that “The Elemental Wars have long been finished.” The Wizard secures peace between the two beings by casting a Seal of Promise to make it official.
Putting together all this in-game info, we can see that there was indeed a cause for conflict between these two races. If the extraterrestrial theory about the Dwarves is true, then they likely sought refuge unground on this planet. Unfortunately, this space was already occupied by the Shadow People, leading to conflict between the groups.
It’s not said who — if anyone — actually won the war or if a truce was made instead. However, considering that there are far more Shadow People within the Valley than Dwarves, it’s possible that they won, and the Dwarves were either exiled or mostly wiped out. It’s also possible that the Wizard himself played a role in ending the war, perhaps as an intermediary.
It’s unknown whether or not any updates or expansions will give further info on the history of these mysterious races and their continued hatred towards each other. But, like all other residents of Stardew Valley, there is hope that they can one day put aside their differences and form true friendship and community with one another.
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