- Forge fires, the mountain's heart. Dwarf hammers, its thundering beat.
Many races claim to be from 'somewhere else' in the distant depths of their ancestral memory. Not Dwarves. Dwarves are just about as 'Prime Material' as it's possible to get. Dwarves love the Prime Material, in as materialistic a form as they can. Dwarves will happily live and work their entire lives deep under ground, burrowed snug and warm against the bosom of the Prime Material. Dwarves can look at stone and they don't just see a rock, they see the story of that stone, the stresses and strains, the tension of its existence, the gigantic strength of the Earth within it. Dwarves like stone, they find it warm and fascinating, endlessly full of stories and richness.
Dwarves arose from stone, long ago. Dwarves may be the oldest race of all, but if they are, they spent untold ages deep within their beloved stone before the first Dwarf swung a pick and found out that the stone...stopped.
Dwarven legends speak of a great turmoil in their deep cities to discover there was an End to the Stone, a Great Void where many other strange races lived (what those races call 'above ground'). The Void was a place of mysteries and terrors, vast and echoing emptiness, and above it all the great untouchable vault of the sky and all the myriad of things within it.
Whether Dwarves were made by a deity, arose from the Stone spontaneously, or were simply always there from the very beginning nobody knows for certain. There are many Dwarven Deities who claim conflicting versions of the tale, and who knows, since they are Gods, maybe ALL the stories are true or none of them.
There are a LOT of dwarves. The Earth is deep, and there are persistent rumors of deep enclaves of Dwarves who still have not reached the Void, and know nothing of it. Even the known Dwarven nations beneath the earth are large indeed. On top of that, the Dwarves have colonized the Void in great numbers, such that entire mountain ranges (how strange, stone ABOVE stone) are Dwarven nations. Dwarves have come to value Void goods such as timber (much better than mushrooms) and crops (MUCH better than mushrooms.)
Dwarves tend to have large families with the children widely spaced apart in years, and will generally keep having children for the entire time they remain together. Dwarven women remain fertile their entire lives, and have been recorded to bear children even at the age of two-hundred and fifty years. Large families are very common, and Dwarves feel no pressure about living space: When you can simply dig out a new tunnel a few miles and open up an entire new vista of living space, you can see why.
Dwarves are dour folk by nature, the sort of people who find staring at a rock to be hugely entertaining. Other races don't get the point. Dwarves are famously fond of beer and brandy, and honestly, when most of your food is various types of rock-loving fungi, you'd brew as much of it into beer as you could too.
Dwarves do not need a lot of living space either, and have little sense of personal space or a desire for privacy. Dwarves at home tend to pack in tight and enjoy it that way.
Dwarves really do love precious metals. To a Dwarf's sight, gold, silver, platinum, copper, gems, and all such things are far more enjoyable to look at than they are to other races, because a Dwarf is simply seeing more in the material than other races can. Dwarves want more of these beautiful and fascinating materials to look at, and they love displaying them, working with them, touching them, wearing them and everything else about them.
As a result of their strong attunement with the Earth, Dwarfs tend toward earth-tone in their coloration. Dwarven hair is usually some variant of rich, earthy brown, ranging from sturdy red-brown to near slate grey, although black is also sometimes seen. Some few dwarfs will have golden or silver hair, and such are considered either very attractive or overly gaudy, depending on how surly the beholder is feeling. Similarly, skintone is usually some shade of brown, ranging from the rich hue of well-tanned cream leather to the serviceable chocolate tone of fertile bottomland. Occasionally skin of stony grey will be seen, and oddly enough, freckles are common in Dwarfs. Eyes are often black or brown, with a notable percentage of eyes the color of precious stones, such as malachite green, amber, rich purple, brilliant red, and most striking of all, reflective eyes of refractive hue like diamonds. Dwarven men very often carry a mighty beard, and the beard is often a different color than the hair on their head, although it follows the same trends in color.
Growing Up Dwarf
Dwarves have children much like humans do, and Dwarven women need care before and after pregnancy much like humans as well. As a result, Dwarves like sturdy, comfortable, very permanent homes that they then fill to the brim with life and activity and children. Young dwarves are allowed to run and play until they reach the age of five, and then they begin to learn the rules.
When you live underground, there are a lot of rules, and they are all important. Breaking the rules can get you and other dwarves killed, so all dwarves have a real love of rules. That said, some dwarves love knowing all the rules simply so they can break them more efficiently, but the core love of rules is the same.
Dwarves go to school from the age of five until fifteen, where they learn reams of lore and history, the lore of stone, the joy of hard work and the beauty of treasure. From the age of fifteen to adulthood, they become apprentices in one of the millions of Dwarven Guilds. After 25 to 60 years as an apprentice they become Journeymen, which is when most adventurous Dwarves make the decision to strike out into the world.
Dwarves are rich in living space and in food. They do not count treasure as riches. To a Dwarf, precious metals and gems are the very best of the stuff of Stone, and they will rarely, if ever, part with any significant amount permanently. That said, Dwarves live a long time, and they will cheerfully spend treasure today, but they always plan, always, to make it all back in the next century or two. Dwarves will trade and sell foodstuffs, dimension stone, and less precious metals like iron and tin without hesitation and in great amounts, but they will never sell off gold or silver or gems.
Dwarves love guilds, and associations, and covens and circles and councils and every other form of structure. Structures in society neatly parallel the structure required to convert simple Stone into a teeming underground city, and Dwarves love that stuff. Again, some Dwarves love structure simply because it gives them something to overthrow and rebel against, but the underlying love is there.
Dwarves tend to have very stable and very large extended families, with many siblings, dozens of cousins and uncles and aunts and every other sort of relation. Dwarves do not marry early, but they marry for life, so they try to make sure their spouse is someone they can at least tolerate for a century or two.
Lifespan and Burial
Dwarves live between two hundred and three hundred years, and they have a definite childhood, adulthood, seniority, and dotage. Dwarves who have settled down REALLY settle down, and often will build themselves huge and elaborate crypts and cenotaphs inside their massively fortified holdfasts and citadels.
Dwarves are usually buried in family crypts that can reach huge sizes in a large and well-established family
Relations with Others
Dwarves are not terribly friendly sorts even with each other, at least on time scales many races can grasp. It often takes Dwarves a decade to learn each others names, never mind form a friendship. Dwarves, with their stone sight, are also fairly alien compared to many of the races in the Void, and enjoy things that other races just can't. For example, a favorite Dwarven pastime is polishing gold, so they can watch the endlessly fascinating way the stone currents move and reform under their touch. Other races cannot see these things, and interpret Dwarven behavior as simple greed, which is not the case at all.
Starting Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Weight Weight Modifier Male 3 ft. 9 in. +2d4 in. (3 ft. 11 in. - 4 ft. 5 in.) 150 lbs. +(2d8x7 lbs.) (164 - 262 lbs.) Female 3 ft. 7 in. +2d4 in. (3 ft. 9 in. - 4 ft. 3 in.) 120 lbs. +(2d8x7 lbs.) (134 - 232 lbs.)
Adulthood Intuitive Self-Taught Trained 40 years +3d6 years (43 - 58 years) +5d6 years (45 - 70 years) +7d6 years (47 - 82 years)
Dwarves have no class or alignment restrictions.
Standard Racial Traits
All Dwarves have the following Standard Racial Advantages:
- Attributes: Dwarves may choose to gain one of the following ability score bonus sets when creating their character. No ability score may ever be modified above a 20 or below a 7.
- +2 to two different ability scores, -2 to one ability score
- +2 to one ability score, +1 to three different ability scores, -2 to one ability score
- +4 to one ability score, -2 to one other ability score
- Size: Dwarves are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Type: Dwarves have the Humanoid type, with the Primary subtype.
- Base Speed: Dwarves have a Walk speed of 20 feet, but no movement speed they possess is ever modified by armor or encumbrance.
- Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Common and Dwarven.
- Bonus Languages: Characters with a positive Intelligence modifier gain one bonus language per +1 of their modifier, selecting from the following list: Giant, Gnome, Halfling, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon. Once the character's intelligence is high enough to have acquired all six of these bonus languages, they no longer gain bonus languages for increasing their Intelligence. Characters can also learn new languages by placing ranks in the Linguistics skill.
- Darkvision (Ex): Dwarves can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.
- The Story of Gold (Ex): Dwarves may choose to make either Barter or Knowledge (Dungeoneering) a natural talent at character creation, remapping it to the ability modifier of the Dwarf's choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill.
Major Racial Traits
Choose one of the following Major Racial Traits:
- Stability (Ex): Dwarves with this racial trait may reduce any forced movement they are subjected to by 1 square, including movement caused by combat maneuvers, such as bull rush or reposition. At 11th level, this forced movement reduction improves to 2 squares. At 21st level, it improves to 3 squares, and at 31st, it improves to 4 squares. Forced movement reductions stack, so if the dwarf has a means of reducing forced movement from another source, such as a class ability or magic item, they use the sum of the reductions offered.
- Defensive Training (Ex): Dwarves with this racial trait gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC. At level 21, this improves to a +2 dodge bonus to AC.
- Adroit (Ex): Dwarves with this racial trait are more comfortable wearing armor than most. They reduce the armor check penalty by 2, and they never suffer a Dex Penalty to AC for any armor they can proficiently wear. At 11th level, they reduce the armor check penalty by 3 points. At 21st level, they reduce the armor check penalty by 4 points, and at 31st level, they reduce the armor check penalty by 5 points. This trait's bonuses can never cause an armor check penalty to go above a zero (0). The bonuses from this trait are separately applied to any armor check penalty inflicted by a shield the dwarf equips (with which they are proficient).
- Magic Resistant (Su): Some of the older dwarven clans are particularly resistant to magic. A dwarf with this racial trait gains Spell Resistance (SR) equal to their Maneuver Defense value. This resistance can be lowered for 1 round as a standard action. Dwarves with this racial trait take a -2 penalty on all concentration checks made in relation to arcane spells.
- Rock Stepper (Ex): Dwarves with this racial trait can skillfully negotiate rocky and sloped terrain. They can ignore the movement penalties caused by difficult terrain created by rubble, broken ground, when moving up a slope or climbing steep stairs. At 11th level, while standing in a square of difficult terrain, the Dwarf gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC. At 21st level, the dwarf ignores the movement penalties caused by any difficult terrain. At 31st level, the dodge bonus to AC while standing in a square of difficult terrain grows to a +2.
Minor Racial Traits
Choose one of the following Minor Racial Traits:
- Heart of the Forge (Ex): A Dwarf with this racial trait may add a +1 training bonus to any Profession skill in which they have at least 11 ranks. This bonus increases to +2 if they have 26 or more ranks in the skill. In addition, they improve their chances of a critical success with Profession skills by 1 (requiring a natural result of 19 or 20 to crit with the skill check, instead of only a natural 20).
- Rolling Stone (Ex): Dwarves are skilled at pushing their way through a battlefield, striking down lesser foes with ease. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +1 training bonus on Maneuver Offense rolls made as a result of a Charge or Overrun combat maneuver. This training bonus improves to +2 at level 20.
- Lorekeeper (Ex): Dwarves keep extensive records about their history and the world around them. A Dwarf with this racial trait gains a +1 training bonus to both Knowledge (History) and Knowledge (Deep History). This bonus improves to +2 at level 11, +3 at level 21, and +4 at level 31.
- Conservative (Ex): Dwarves with this racial trait gain a +1 training bonus to Will saves. This bonus improves to +2 at level 16, and +3 at level 31.