Player Character Race: Dwarves

craft_pointsDwarves should be clever; not necessarily wise, or even particularly intelligent in the conventional sense, but clever. It’s a subtle distinction but important, I think, to their character.

Dwarves are not mundane. They are not merely small men (certainly not the stocky, angry, inexplicably Scottish men that modern pop culture has universally made them out to be.) What’s missing in most depictions of dwarves is an essential magic, an elevated, supernatural cleverness. We get our notion of dwarves mostly from Tolkien, of course, but they’re much older than that. In Norse mythology, the dwarves are closely related to dark elves, the Svartalfar. Like any good myth, dwarves are a metaphor: they fascinate because they represent the spark of creative, destructive magic. They combine intemperance with wonder and amazement.

The Norse dwarves were dangerous, sharp-minded, over-eager to invent, to dig deep, but they also were unattached. They didn’t belong in Midgard. I think Tolkien realized that and created a story for them which gave them an authentic connection to the world. My dwarves are definitely thematic relatives of the norse dwarves, but I’ve taken a page out of Tolkien’s book as well. The story of the dwarves is a developing tragedy; slowly, they are falling asleep and returning to the stone that they were illegitimately hewn from. If your connection to the world is a tenuous one, then a threat to that connection makes it all the more important. I’ve got a short story on the way that goes into it a bit.

Dwarves

Size: 4-5ft tall. ~150lbs.
Speed: 25ft.

The golem Ymyry created the dwarves in secret, in the bowels of Felmoor. There were 6 tribes in the beginning, descended from 6 brothers. Over the centuries, the dwarves scattered and two of the tribes have disappeared.

Max ability scores
STR DEX CON WIS INT CHA
20 18 24 20 18 20

Misc:

  • Dwarves are well-known for their epic intestinal fortitude. ADV on checks related to drinking and resisting the effects of alcohol.
  • Dwarf player characters start the game with access to a workshop. Most dwarves either are fortunate enough to own their own tools and have a place to use them, or they know a dwarf who knows a dwarf who runs a smithy in Starbish, for example. Work with the DM to determine the specifics.
  • When dwarves die, their bodies turn to stone.

Subrace: Free Almeri

The silver-haired, steel-eyed Almeri have been slaves of the Vohgge giants for centuries. Captivity has stunted many Almeri, who tend to be shorter, and leaner than most dwarves.

Skill: Natural-born artificers
Free proficiency with artisan’s tools

Perk: Legendary weaponsmith
You may craft weapons at half the normal cost in time and gold as long as long as you have access to the necessary tools. Check the item building table for details..

Flaw: Treacherous Legacy
The history of your tribe is so controversial that your presence in an adventuring party is enough to cause many to become critical or hostile towards yourself and your associates. The party’s reputation suffers a -1  penalty for The Synarchy, The Nahad, and all other dwarven tribes.

Subrace: Dwimmer

Dwimmer are usually fair-skinned, and often braid their light-colored hair in complex patterns which signal their social and marital status.

Skill: Natural-born artificers
Free proficiency with herbalist kit

Perk:  Master Brewer
You may brew potions, poisons and oils for half the normal cost in time and gold as long as you have access to the necessary tools. Check the item building table for details..

Flaw: Ymyry’s Mistake
As a race, Dwarves are growing more somnolent. Following a long rest, there is a chance that you will have trouble waking up. Roll 1D4. On a roll of 1 your initiative is decreased by 5, and all saving throws are penalized by 1. Effects last until your next long rest.

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