Dwarves

Dwarves are renowned miners, smiths, and workers of stone. They were created for the express purpose of crafting items for their divine overlords. When they were freed of their bondage, they remained in their underground forges and clanhalls, as this was all they knew.

Dwarven society is class-based; though the classes are more or less equal in status, there are distinctions between them. One can easily change classes through deeds or ability - dwarven children are considered to be Commoner class (see below) until they reach their majority, after which time, if they haven't already shown a talent or preference, they generally fall into their parents' class. One can be a member of multiple classes, such as a noble warrior or a craftsman priest; such dwarves are generall prevented from being on the Council, however.

At the top of the hierarchy is the Thane, who presides over a clanhold. Below him are the nobles; dwarves can gain noble status through deeds (defeating powerful enemies, making great discoveries, etc.) or lose it through the same (though it is rare for an entire house to lose its status; individuals operating without knowledge of the house's head will be stripped of their status without punishment to the rest of the house beyond shame by association). Next come the warriors, clerics, and mages (sorcerers and wizards); dwarves look favorably upon their warriors (barbarians, fighters, rangers, and paladins) for their fighting prowess. Clerics likewise are respected for their ties to the gods. Sorcerers and mages, while rare, are valued for their ability to enchant magical items, find new veins of ore, or aid in mining and smithing (almost all dwarven sorcerers have earth or fire elemental bloodlines). Craftsmen (smiths, carpenters, stonemasons, etc.) come next, and then the common common folk (laborers, merchants, tavernkeepers, servants, etc.). In dwarven society, there is no shame in having an ordinary job, as long as one is productive. The classless (those who have left or been expelled from dwarven society) are at the bottom; they are below all others in status, and many dwarves pretend a classless dwarf doesn't exist. Being exiled is, for most dwarves, a fate worse than death; their name is stricken from the records and is never spoken again - effectively, they are wiped from the collective memory of all dwarves.

Bards and lorekeepers hold a special place in dwarven society. They are effectively outside of the hierarchy - they answer only to the Thane, and can travel freely between clanholds even during wars. They cannot take part in inter-clan conflicts and are likewise protected from harm while traveling in other clans' holds. Harming a lorekeeper bears heavy penalties, up to and including death or exile. They cannot, however, take part in politics.

Dwarven adult males braid their beards with stones of various colors carved with runes that show their class, status, occupation, deeds, and lineage; females braid the stones into their hair. Dwarven children aren't allowed to braid hair or beard until they reach their majority or, rarely, unless they have achieved a noteworthy deed (in which case they can add a braid to their hair - this applies to both sexes).

Dwarven clanholds are led by a thane and a council of thirteen. The Council is made up of members from all the classes, as follows: one noble, two each from the warriors, clerics, and mages, and three each from the crafters and commonfolk. The Council is weighted thus to be in rough proportion to the size of the classes in society. Each member is a direct representative of his or her class, passing on concerns and complaints to the Thane to be dealt with.
The Thane rules for life or until he chooses to step down; Councilmembers serve for five-year terms, whereupon they can run for reelection by members of their class. The Council also serves as a balance to the Thane; if they determine the Thane is incapable of ruling (either through incompetence, old age, or mental problems) and (s)he refuses to step down, a 2/3 vote by the Council can force the Thane to step down. Likewise, if the Thane dies or steps down, the Council is bound to choose a successor from among the worthiest candidates.

Personality: Dwarves are initially suspicious of those they don't know. After being used as slaves by the Old Gods, they swore it would never happen again; this view taints their interactions with strangers. Once they get to know someone, though, they become more open and friendly. They are avid singers and storytellers; those who can sing or tell a tale (bards especially) are more likely to gain access to a clanhold or get a dwarf to open up.

Dwarves take their time when making a decision outside of battle, pondering the various results of any action's consequences. This does not, however, make them dense or stupid – just deliberate. They are quite capable of quick action when necessary.

Dwarves have a wide store of songs, which they sing at a variety of occasions: while working their forges or in the mines (much like soldiers chant marching songs), during worship, at joyous occasions, and for their dead. Few outsiders have ever heard dwarven dirges, but they universally describe them as mournful sounds that would make even the stones weep.

Physical Description: Dwarves are heavy-boned, broad-shouldered, and barrel-chested, with heavy, well-defined musculature. They stand 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, though they weigh as much as a human. Their skin ranges from light gray to dark brown, with hair in shades of brown and black.

Table 1: Height and Weight by Gender

Gender Base Ht. Ht. Mod Base Wt. Wt. Mod
Male 4' 0" +2d4 140 lb. ×(2d6) lb.
Female 3' 10" +2d4 130 lb. ×(2d6) lb.

Relations: Dwarves get along well with gnomes and most humans (though humans are too short-lived to really get to know well). They mistrust elves and avoid contact with them whenever possible. Though they have little contact with halflings, they are on good terms.

Alignment: Like most of the civilized races, the majority of dwarves are good or neutral in alignment.

Lands: Dwarven lands are found in barren mountain ranges, harsh stone lands, and hilly areas. They maintain crops and livestock on the surface, but their living quarters are belowground, near their forges.

Religion: Dwarves are deeply religious and hold their priests in high esteem. They have a strong written and oral history, through which they venerate their ancestors and their gods alike.

Language: Dwarves speak Dwarven. They have a written language, which is also used by other races that live in the same terrain.

Names: A dwarf's name is often short (two or three syllables), with many consonants and very few liquids. Glottal stops and harsh, guttural sounds are common. Last names are often descriptive of an individual's or, more often, a clan's ability, or something for which a clan is known.

Male Names: Aldric, Conrad, Gunter, Olaf.

Female Names: Berta, Elke, Gertrude, Gunhilde, Hilda.

Clan Names: Brightgem, Foehammer, Stonesinger.

Adventurers: Most adventurers are young dwarves, either those seeking glory for themselves or their clan (or to regain respect lost by themselves or an ancestor), or those looking to start a new clanhall. Bards are common among the dwarves, as are clerics and fighters; barbarians and paladins are slightly less so. Sorcery is rare among the dwarves, but those who do manifest the talent are always elementalists (usually earth). Wizards are uncommon, but their magics are useful for enchanting items and helping in the creation or renovation of clanholds. Rangers and rogues are rare, and most of those serve as scouts or merchants who travel alone or with a small group, trading with other subterranean races.

Table 2: Starting Age

Adulthood Barbarian,
Rogue, Sorcerer
Bard, Fighter
Paladin, Ranger
Cleric, Druid
Monk, Wizard
40 years +3d6 +5d6 +7d6


Racial Traits

- Medium size.

Racial Abilities

Clansinger (Ex): Dwarves have a +2 racial bonus on either Perform (singing) or Perform (storytelling) checks (chosen when the character is created).

Earth Affinity (Ex): Dwarves have a +2 racial bonus on Appraise and Craft checks related to stone or metal items. At 5th level and every five levels thereafter, the bonus to both skills increases by +1.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): A dwarf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

Resistant (Ex): Dwarves have a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like effects.

Stonecunning (Ex): Dwarves have a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.

At 5th level and every five levels thereafter, a dwarf's racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework or stone traps increases by +1. Also at 5th level, he can intuit where true north lies in relation to himself (as if he had 5 ranks in Survival) whenever he is underground.

Sturdy (Ex): Dwarf base land speed is 20 feet. However, dwarves can move at this speed even when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations). They also have a +2 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).

Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves treat dwarven waraxes and dwarven urgroshes as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.

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