Dwarves are a race of stoic, sea-faring mountain people who prefer to keep to their own company. They are well known for their passion for metal- and stone-based craftsmanship and architecture, a love of alcohol and hatred of giants and orcs.

Personality: Dwarves are slow to laugh or jest and are suspicious of strangers, but they are generous to those few who earn their trust. Dwarves value gold, gems, jewelry and art objects made with these precious materials, and they have been known to succumb to greed. They fight neither recklessly nor timidly, but with careful courage and tenacity. Their sense of justice is strong, but at its worst it can turn into a thirst for vengeance. Among goblins, a mild oath is “If I’m lying, may I cross a dwarf.”

Physical Description: Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. A clean-shaven male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarf. Contrary to rumor, female dwarves do not grow beards.

Society: The great distances between their mountain citadels account for many of the cultural differences that exist within dwarven society. Despite the differences, most dwarven communities are located underground, preferring high mountains or steep cliffs. Their lives are centered around the family and the clan, and around their crafts. One’s family is more important than any individual, and the family lines exist to serve the clan and community as a whole.

Relations: Dwarves and orcs have long dwelt in proximity, theirs is a history of violence as old as both their races. Dwarves generally distrust and shun wulfen for their wild natures. They find goblins to be too frail or flighty to be worthy of proper respect. The elven sense of honor shares much in common with that of dwarves, and they are respected for it, but are otherwise viewed as lofty and vain creatures. It is with humans that dwarves share the strongest link, for humans’ industrious nature and hearty appetites come closest to matching those of the dwarven ideal.

Dwarven Lands: All dwarves are descended from the dwarves who sprang forth from the Dynthgarian Mountains eons ago. While a great nation of dwarves still calls these mountains home, many have migrated to other ranges, such as the Haith Mountains north of the Bantin Sea and the northern peaks of the Valdain Mountains to the east.

Alignment & Religion: Dwarves are driven by honor and tradition, and while they are often satirized as standoffish, they have a strong sense of friendship and justice, and those who win their trust understand that while they work hard, they play even harder—especially when good ale is involved. Most dwarves are lawful good or lawful neutral. All dwarves pay homage to Olim, their creator and patron. Olim and his family of gods oversee all aspects of dwarven life, and they have no need of any other deities. Some dwarves outside the Dynthgarian Mountains have places their faith on other deities, but such dwarves are typically far removed from traditional dwarven society.

Language: The traditional language of the dwarves is Dynthgarian, also known as “high dwarven”. This language is used almost exclusively in Dynthgar, but only as a language of nobles and clerics in other dwarven lands. A modern dialect of Dynthgarian, dubbed Haithian after the Haithian dwarves who brought it into common use, is spoken by most dwarves outside of Dynthgar. Both Dynthgarian and Haithian use a runic script. The Dynthgarian alphabet forms the basis of several other written languages, including Giant, Goblinese, and Undercommon.

Names: When a dwarven male is born, he is given the name of his father suffixed by –burr (signifying “son of”). Multiple sons who are not yet of age are referred to by their birth order, such as “eldest” or “second born.” Once the young dwarf comes to the age of maturity (around 50 years old), the clan elder gives him a name of his own. Female dwarves are not given a name at birth, and are officially referred to by birth order, though their family often give them nicknames that survive past maturity. (Some families even give such nicknames to young male dwarves, though these names are only ever used past adulthood by family and childhood friends, and are considered an extremely familiar form of address.) A mature male dwarf’s full name includes his own name, his father’s name and his clan name. A mature female only has her own name until she is married, when she takes her husband’s name and the name of his clan.

It should be here noted that while circumstance of birth is the usual determinant of a dwarf’s societal “gender” that this is not always the case. Many times, a female dwarf will choose to join the ranks of the warriors, or will be called in official service to Olim. In such cases, the dwarf is given a full name, and is treated as male in society. Likewise, a male dwarf who chooses to look after the well-being of home and family is stripped of his name (there is no dishonor in this) and is treated as female. In fact, when determining marriage among dwarves, this societal gender status is the important factor, regardless of birth. As long as a dwarven family consists of one dwarf contributing to the heavier workforce and the other contributing to familial duties, it is an honorable match. (Player character dwarves, having a class and skills of their own, may be either male or female, but will most often be “male” in the eyes of other dwarves, and will likely think of themselves in this way.)

A dwarf who commits a heinous crime or otherwise dishonors his clan may be cast out of their clan. These dwarves forfeit their father’s name and the name of the clan and are often regarded as little better than animals by other dwarves. It is possible to restore a dwarf to his clan, but only acts of great honor can do so.

Male Names (Given): Asmund, Erik, Erland, Harek, Ingolf, Kol, Njal, Onud, Sigurd, and Stein
Female Names (Nicknames): Alfgenor, Dalla, Fridja, Gulli, Gunnhild, Hilldotta, Katla, Olva, Signy, and Una
Clan Names: Asgrim, Gudmund, Hafdan, Hakon, Hauk, Olafur, Olimgeir, Skarf, Valgard, and Vestmar

Adventurers: Dwarves may wander from their homes out of a desire for wealth, a craving for excitement or simply to get away from his family for a few years (large extended families can cause even dwarves undue stress). A dwarf cast from his clan may leave his home out of shame or to avoid the ridicule of his people. In any case, most dwarves found away from home for long periods tend not to fit well into dwarven society and stay in the outside world because they find it more comfortable.

Dwarf Racial Traits

  • +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff.
  • Medium: Dwarves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Slow and Steady: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
  • Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
  • Defensive Training: Dwarves get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
  • Greed: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on Appraise skill checks made to determine the price of nonmagical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones.
  • Hatred: Dwarves receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the orc and goblinoid subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.
  • Hardy: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
  • Stability: Dwarves receive a +4 racial bonus to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting a bull rush or trip attempt while standing on the ground.
  • Stonecunning: Dwarves receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to potentially notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. They receive a check to notice such features whenever they pass within 10 feet of them, whether or not they are actively looking.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word “dwarven” in its name as a martial weapon.
  • Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Common and a Regional Language (usually Dynthgarian or Hathian). Dwarves with high Intelligence scores can choose bonus languages from the following: Giant, Goblin, Orc, Terran, Undercommon and all Regional Languages.
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!