Kingdoms rich in ancient grandeur, halls carved into the roots of mountains, the echoing of picks and hammers in deep mines and blazing forges, a commitment to clan and tradition, and a burning hatred of goblins and orcs—these common threads unite all dwarves.
Dwarves are strong and hardy, accustomed to a difficult life in rugged terrain. They have keen senses, deep intuition, and remarkable resilience.
Short and Stout
Bold and hardy, dwarves are known as skilled warriors, miners, and workers of stone and metal. Though they are shorter than other humanoids, dwarves are so broad and compact that they can weigh as much as a human. Their courage and endurance are also easily a match for any of the larger folk.
Dwarven skin ranges from deep brown to a paler hue tinged with red, but the most common shades are light brown or deep tan, like certain tones of earth. Their hair, worn long but in simple styles, is usually black, gray, or brown, though paler dwarves often have red hair. Male dwarves value their beards highly and groom them carefully.
Long Memory, Long Grudges
Dwarves can live to be more than 400 years old, so the oldest living dwarves often remember a very different world. For example, some of the oldest dwarves living in Citadel Felbarr can recall the day, more than three centuries ago, when orcs conquered the fortress and drove them into an exile that lasted over 250 years. This longevity grants them a perspective on the world that shorter-lived species such as humans and hin lack.
Dwarves are solid and enduring like the mountains they love, weathering the passage of centuries with stoic endurance and little change. They respect the traditions of their clans, tracing their ancestry back to the founding of their most ancient strongholds in the youth of the world, and don’t abandon those traditions lightly. Part of those traditions is devotion to the gods of the dwarves, who uphold the dwarven ideals of industrious labor, skill in battle, and devotion to the forge.
Individual dwarves are determined and loyal, true to their word and decisive in action, sometimes to the point of stubbornness. Many dwarves have a strong sense of justice, and they are slow to forget wrongs they have suffered. A wrong done to one dwarf is a wrong done to the dwarf’s entire clan, so what begins as one dwarf’s hunt for vengeance can become a full-blown clan feud.
Clans and Kingdoms
Dwarven kingdoms stretch deep beneath the mountains where the dwarves mine gems and precious metals and forge items of wonder. They love the beauty and artistry of precious metals and fine jewelry, and in some dwarves this love festers into avarice. Whatever wealth they can’t find in their mountains, they gain through trade. They dislike boats, so enterprising humans and hin frequently handle trade in dwarven goods along water routes. Trustworthy members of other species 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, recognize related dwarves, and invoke their ancestors’ names in oaths and curses. To be clanless is the worst fate that can befall a dwarf.
Dwarves in other lands are typically artisans, especially weaponsmiths, armorers, and jewelers. Some become mercenaries or bodyguards, highly sought after for their courage and loyalty.
Gods, Gold, and Clan
Dwarves who take up the adventuring life might be motivated by a desire for treasure—for its own sake, for a specific purpose, or even out of an altruistic desire to help others. Other dwarves are driven by the command or inspiration of a deity, a direct calling or simply a desire to bring glory to one of the dwarf gods. Clan and ancestry are also important motivators. A dwarf might seek to restore a clan’s lost honor, avenge an ancient wrong the clan suffered, or earn a new place within the clan after having been exiled. Or a dwarf might search for the axe wielded by a mighty ancestor, lost on the field of battle centuries ago.
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. A dwarf who misuses or brings shame to a clan name is stripped of the name and forbidden by law to use any dwarven name in its place.
Male Names: Adrik, Alberich, Baern, Barendd, Brottor, Bruenor, Dain, Darrak, Delg, Eberk, Einkil, Fargrim, Flint, Gardain, Harbek, Kildrak, Morgran, Orsik, Oskar, Rangrim, Rurik, Taklinn, Thoradin, Thorin, Tordek, Traubon, Travok, Ulfgar, Veit, Vondal
Female Names: Amber, Artin, Audhild, Bardryn, Dagnal, Diesa, Eldeth, Falkrunn, Finellen, Gunnloda, Gurdis, Helja, Hlin, Kathra, Kristryd, Ilde, Liftrasa, Mardred, Riswynn, Sannl, Torbera, Torgga, Vistra
Clan Names: Balderk, Battlehammer, Brawnanvil, Dankil, Fireforge, Frostbeard, Gorunn, Holderhek, Ironfist, Loderr, Lutgehr, Rumnaheim, Strakeln, Torunn, Ungart
Some other species refer to dwarves by other names.
- Deep Folk is a term that other species might refer to dwarves as they primarily live below the surface.
Your dwarf character has an assortment of inborn abilities, part and parcel of dwarven nature.
Creature type. You are a Humanoid.
Health. Your health increases by 10.
Size. Your size is Medium and you stand between 110 centimeters and 160 centimeters tall.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 4 meters and your speed is not reduced by wearing chain, scale, or plate armor.
Age. Dwarves mature at the same rate as humans, but are considered young until they reach the age of 50, On average, they live about 350 years.
Stonecunning. Whenever you make a skill check related to stonework, you roll with advantage.
Variant. Two variants of dwarves are found among the worlds: mountain and hill dwarves and the rare duergar. Choose one of these variants.
Hill and Mountain Dwarves
Hill and mountain dwarves are strong, remarkably resilient, and accustomed to a difficult life in rugger terrain.
Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 10 meters of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dwarven Vitality. You can add your level to the result of your Second Wind feature.
Cast-Iron Stomach. You have advantage on saving throws against ingested poison.
The gray dwarves, or duergar, live deep in the Underdark. After delving deeper than any other dwarves, they were enslaved by mind flayers for eons. Although they eventually won their freedom, these grim, ashen-skinned dwarves now take slaves of their own and are as tyrannical as their former masters.
Physically similar to other dwarves in some ways, duergar are wiry and lean, with black eyes and bald heads, with the males growing long, unkempt, gray beards.
Duergar value toil above all else. Showing emotions other than grim determination or wrath is frowned on in their culture, but they can sometimes seem joyful when at work. They have the typical dwarven appreciation for order, tradition, and impeccable craftsmanship, but their goods are purely utilitarian, disdaining aesthetic or artistic value.
Few duergar become adventurers, fewer still on the surface world, because they are considered hidebound and suspicious. Those who leave their subterranean cities are usually exiles. Check with your Game Master (GM) to see if you can play a gray dwarf character.
Some other species refer to duergar by other names. Flayed Dwarves is a term that duergar would consider highly derogatory as they were previously enslaved by the mind flayers.
Superior Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 20 meters of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Duergar Magic. You have inherited the innate spellcasting ability of your ancestors. When you reach 3rd level, you know the enlarge/reduce and invisibility spells and can cast one without expending mana. You can’t cast these spells with this trait while you’re in direct sunlight, although sunlight has no effect on them once cast. You regain the ability to cast one of these spells with this trait when you finish a long rest. If you do not have a spellcasting ability, choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as your spellcasting ability for these spells.
At 5th level you regain the ability to cast one of these spells with this trait when you finish a short or long rest. At 13th level your spell is augmented to 2 mana.
If you have mana, you can augment your spell by expending mana, up to your mana limit.