The stoic exterior of a dwarf masks a heart that burns as hot as a blacksmith’s forge. A long history of hardship and betrayal made them tough, wary, and practical, but dwarven emotions flare when their passions are aroused.
DWARF RACIAL CHARACTERISTICS
- male/female dwarves (s., pl.)
- species dwarves (s., pl.)
- adjective dwarven
- native tsverg, (s., pl.)
- Height 4’ 6” (137 cm)
- Weight 150 lbs. (68 kg)
- Hair Color Black, brown, or red
- Eye Color Gray to brown
- Skin Color Tan to white
- Physical Maturity 20 years
- Lifespan 250-300 years
- Patron Gods None
- Secondary Gods None
- Favored Primary Cultures Deeplander, Maladorian
- Favored Secondary Cultures Any
- Restricted Cultures Newardine
- Favored Classes Any
- Restricted Adventurer Types Cleric, Paladin
- Favored Occupations Bounty hunter, crusader, guardian, liberator
- Restricted Occupations Purifier
Most of the ancient Dwarven Histories were lost during the Age of Darkness, but we know that dwarves settled the Deeplands sometime during the Age of Dawn. Using the natural network of passages and caverns that honeycomb the world of Aetaltis, they built vast underground empires that spanned the globe. Their time of greatest glory was the period after the Age of Magic and before the Age of Darkness, a time that is known as the Dwarven Age.
The Age of Darkness brought the Dwarven Age to an end. As the Dark Hordes rose from the depths they destroyed everything in their paths, starting with the great dwarven kingdoms. The wound was deepened when, at the end of the Great War, the gods used the devastated Deeplands as a prison for Endroren and the Dark Hordes. After this apparent betrayal by those they’d worshipped for so long, they renounced the gods. To this day, the dwarves refuse to worship the gods or ask them for aid.
After their perceived betrayal by the gods, the dwarves decided that the only ones they could count on were themselves. Unfortunately this can lead them to refuse aid even when they desperately need it and has earned them a reputation as hard-nosed and stubborn. They trust other dwarves above all others, but a companion who proves their worth will be given the same level of respect. Dwarves have no interest in fancy things and put the most value on useful items. They feel the same way about people.
The average dwarf is 4 1/2 feet (137 cm) tall and weighs around 150 pounds (68 kg). They have thick, often bushy hair that ranges in color from red to black. The men wear thick beards and moustaches and the women grow their hair long. Both genders wear their hair in intricate braids decorated with beads. This is especially true of the beards of male dwarves. The braids and beads often have meaning and represent aspects of the dwarf ’s clan, achievements, or loyalties. Dwarves reach majority at around 20 years and live late into their third century.
The dwarves have great respect for the humans. This is partially because they feel that their fates (the humans trapped on Aetaltis and the dwarves forced from the Deeplands) are similar. They also respect the human drive to build and expand, a trait common among the dwarves as well. The dwarves treat halflings as younger siblings, regardless of the actual age difference between individuals. They disapprove of the halfling love of pleasure, but appreciate the halflings’ willingness to get down to work and do what needs to be done. Most dwarves can’t stand fey. They see fey as useless and shallow with their heads in the clouds. Dwarves are uncomfortable around newardins, viewing them as unnatural and beyond their understanding.
Dwarves prefer to live in structures constructed from stone slabs or large stone blocks. Whenever possible they carve dwellings straight into natural stone, but the danger of breaching a Deepland hall filled with endrori limits this sort of construction. They are most comfortable living among their own kind or with humans, but a few make their homes among halflings. A dwarf may choose to live in a village, town, or city. The size of the settlement is not important to them. As long as they can get their work done, they don’t care who their neighbor is or how many of them there are. Dwarves most often take up crafts, and find work as stone workers, carpenters, coopers, or in other hands-on professions. They are not averse to farming, especially since it allows them to work with the ground.
They believe that the gods betrayed them when the Deeplands were used to imprison Endroren and the Dark Hordes. As a result they do not worship any of the gods and in some cases show open disrespect towards them. Ancestor Worship is important to dwarves and represents the core of their religious beliefs. A few dwarves study the philosophy of Atlan Centering.
Dwarven names consist of three parts. The first is their personal name, given to them by their parents at birth. The second, originally their tribe name, is their family name. The third is their clan name, which always ends in “-kett”, the dwarven word for clan. Most dwarves only use their first two names since clan loyalty has waned since the Age of Darkness. That said, many dwarves know their clan name and hold a nostalgic respect for the old ways.
- Male Names Threnn, Vogol, Togart, Agthon, Braund, Dreman, Gorman, Thal, Rogarth, Harwar and Drell.
- Female Names Vida, Drey, Elsbree, Frayer, Galea, Harra, Trellin, Stoga, Kathya and Doral
The number one reason a dwarf becomes an adventurer is to fight the forces of Darkness and liberate the Deeplands. The most dedicated of these adventurers may even become full Liberators, a group of zealous warriors that dedicate their lives to the reclamation of the Deepland halls. Dwarven preferred occupations include bounty hunter, crusader, and guardian. Dwarves may choose any class that allows them to work toward their goals except for cleric or paladin.
Dwarf Racial Traits for 5E
- Ability Score Increase Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Strength score increases by 2
- Speed Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
- Size Medium
- Infravision1 60’
- Dwarven Resilience Advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance against poison
- Stonecunning Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
- Tool Proficiency You gain proficiency with the artisan’s tools of your choice: smith’s tools, brewer’s supplies, or mason’s tools.
- Languages You can speak, read, and write Atlan (Common) and Tsverg(Dwarven)
Particularly as we get started posting new material, there will be topics we haven't covered yet. In most cases you an easily read between the lines to understand the meaning, but we wanted to note some areas where we have expanded material that we'll be sharing.
(1) Yes, we're bringing back Infravision. We'll share more details later, but if you don't want infravision in your game, you can simply use the standard Darkvision ability.
ART & ILLUSTRATION
- Dwarf concept art by Mitchell Malloy
To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!