Many ages have passed since the dwarven kingdoms commanded the world. Their mightiest strongholds, delved into misty mountains, have long since fallen into shadow’s hands. The magnificent walls now lie in rubble, shattered by giants’ boulders and invaders’ siege engines. Where once dwarf miners tunneled through rock and toiled at the forges, now orcs and goblins roam. The fabulous riches for which they are famed have been plundered by enemies from below. And yet, the dwarves remain. They remember their ancient glories. And they crave vengeance against the enemies who brought them low.
Slow to Trust
Dwarves are slow to laugh or jest and suspicious of strangers, but they are generous to those few who earn their trust. They like to say, “The difference between an acquaintance and a friend is about a hundred years.” Humans, with their short life spans, have a hard time forging truly strong bonds with dwarves: The best such friendship is often between a dwarf and a human whose parents and grandparents he or she liked.
In the lands that border The Savage North however, there is much prejudice, distain and mistrust between the dwarves and Északi. After the Great Cataclysm a colony of Elders that survived sought refuge in the ruins of the great Dwarven halls of the north. The dwarves welcomed them in proud Elders however still saw the Dwarves as a servant race. This set in motion a rebellion and multi-generational war. The war now reduced to border skirmishes and family feuds and barroom brawls.
Dwarves get along fine with gnomes, and passably with halflings. They generally distrust Elves, regarding such folk as arrogant, unpredictable, fickle, unscrupulous, fraudulent, and deceptive. All the same, through the ages the two peoples have found common cause against orcs, goblins, and gnolls. Through many such joint campaigns, the elves have earned the dwarves’ grudging respect. Dwarves mistrust half-orcs in general, and the feeling is mutual. Still, dwarves are fair-minded, and they grant individuals the opportunity to prove themselves.
Clans and Kingdoms
Although their mightiest and most glorious kingdoms have fallen, smaller dwarven kingdoms survive deep beneath the stony mountain peaks. There, the dwarves mine gems and precious metals and forge items of wonder. Whatever wealth the dwarves can’t find in their mountains, they gain through trade. They dislike boats, so enterprising humans and halflings frequently handle trade in dwarven goods along water routes. Trustworthy members of other races are welcome in dwarf settlements, though some areas are off limits even to them.
The chief unit of dwarven society is the clan, and dwarves highly value social standing. Even dwarves who live far from their own kingdoms cherish their clan identities and affiliations, and recognize related dwarves. To be clanless is the worst fate that can befall a dwarf.
Dwarves in other lands are typically weaponsmiths, armorers, jewelers, and artisans; some are mercenaries. Dwarf bodyguards are sought out for their courage and loyalty, and they are well rewarded for their service.
Alignment: Dwarves are usually lawful, and they tend toward good. Adventurers and dwarves in other lands often break that mold, however, since they often do not fit well into their society.
Religion: The chief deity of the dwarves is Moradin, the Soul Forger. He is the creator of the race, and he expects his followers to work for the betterment of his people.
Language: Dwarves speak Dwarvish, which has its own runic script. The Dwarvish alphabet is also used (with minor variations) for the Gnome, Giant, Goblin, and Orc languages. Dwarvish literature includes comprehensive histories of kingdoms and wars through the millennia.
Many dwarves also speak the languages of their friends (such as humans and gnomes) and their enemies (including goblins and orcs). Some also learn Primordial, the strange tongue of elemental creatures.
Names: A dwarf’s name is granted by a clan elder, in accordance with tradition. Every proper dwarven name has been used and reused down through the generations. A dwarf ’s name belongs to the clan, not to the individual. If he or misuses or brings shame to it, the clan will strip that dwarf of the name. Anyone whose name is so stripped is forbidden by law to use any dwarven name in its place.
Male Names: Adrik, Alberich, Baer, Barendd,
Brottor, Dain, Darrak, Eberk, Einkil, Fargrim, Gardain, Harbek, Kildrak, Morgran, Orsik, Oskar, Rangrim, Rurik, Taklinn, Thoradin, Thorin, Tordek, Traubon, Travok, Ulfgar, Veit, Vondal.
Female Names: Artin, Audhild, Bardryn, Dagnal, Diesa, Eldeth, Falkrunn, Gunnloda, Gurdis, Helja, Hlin, Kathra, Kristryd, Ilde, Liftrasa, Mardred, RTiswynn, Sannl, Torbera, Torgga, Vistra.
Clan Names: Balderk, Dankil, Gorunn, Holderhek, Loderr, Lutgehr, Rumnaheim, Strakeln, Torunn, Ungart.
Dwarves who take up the adventuring life might be motivated by religious zeal, a love of excitement, or simple greed. As long as their accomplishments bring honor to the clan, their deeds earn them respect and status. Defeating giants and claiming powerful magic weapons are sure ways to win the admiration of other dwarves.
As a dwarf, you have the following racial traits.
Speed: 25 feet. Your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor with which you have proficiency.
Low-Light Vision: If there is no light within 30 feet of you, you treat dim light in that radius as normal light, and you treat darkness in that radius as dim light.
Dwarven Resilience: You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
Weapon Training: When you attack with a battleaxe, double axe, greataxe, hand axe, light hammer, maul, urgrosh, or warhammer with which you are proficient, the damage die for that weapon increases by one step: from d4 to d6, d6 to d8, d8 to d10, d10 to d12, and d12 to 2d6.
Stonecunning: You are trained in the Knowledge (dungeoneering) skill. While underground, you know your approximate depth and how to retrace your path.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Dwarvish.
Subrace: Choose a subrace. Two subraces are described here: hill dwarf and mountain dwarf.
Hill dwarves claim the foothills, low mountains, and other rugged lands, bordering The Savage North. They avoided much of the destruction and warfare responsible for the collapse of the old dwarven kingdoms and thus exist in the greatest numbers.
Ability Score Adjustment: Your starting Constitution score increases by 1.
Dwarven Toughness: All your Hit Dice increase by one step: from d4 to d6, d6 to d8, d8 to d10, d10 to d12, and d12 to 2d6. At 1st level, you gain 1 extra hit point. Whenever you gain a level, you similarly increase the die rolled to determine how many hit points you gain (or simply gain 1 extra hit point per level).
The mountain dwarves found in the world today descend from those who ruled from their mighty citadels. Those ancient dwarves studied and mastered runic magic, taught proper praise for the dwarf-father Moradin, and first learned to forge steel. The few who remain cling to the strongholds still left to them and guard their realms with a ferocious tenacity.
Ability Score Adjustment: Your starting Wisdom score increases by 1.
Armor Mastery: You are proficient with light and medium armor. While wearing medium or heavy armor, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.