Dwarves are a stoic but stern race, ensconced in cities carved from the hearts of mountains and fiercely determined to repel the depredations of savage races like giants and goblins. More than any other race, the dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless craftsmen of the earth. It could be said that dwarven history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors.
Physical Description: Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. A clean-shaven male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarf.
Society: The great distances between their mountain citadels account for many of the cultural differences that exist within dwarven society. Despite these schisms, dwarves throughout the world are characterized by their love of stonework, their passion for stone- and metal-based craftsmanship and architecture, and a fierce hatred of giants and goblinoids.
Relations: Dwarves and giants have long dwelt in proximity, theirs a history of violence as old as both their races. Dwarves generally distrust and shun planetouched. They find halflings, elves, and drow to be too frail, flighty, or “pretty” to be worthy of proper respect. Gnomes are, according to dwarven religion, their cousins made with the leftover clay after the dwarves were created so they tend to get along pretty well (despite the Gnomes true nature as Fey). It is with humans that dwarves share the strongest link, for humans’ industrious nature and hearty appetites come closest to matching those of the dwarven ideal.
Alignment and Religion: Dwarves are driven by honor and tradition, and while they are often satirized as standoffish, they have a strong sense of friendship and justice, and those who win their trust understand that, while they work hard, they play even harder—especially when good ale is involved. Most dwarves are lawful good. Dwarven religion revolves around the veneration of their sole deity known as the “Stone Father” who appears in religious iconography as a mountain with four muscular arms and a manly beard. According to Dwarven creation stories, their race was sculpted from the clay of the earth by the Stonefather in a set of six clans. Most modern day Dwarves are mildly religious except for on the two days of the year devoted to the Stonefather Hrftingaut (“First Frost”) & Hrftinthag (“First Thaw”) (representing the start of winter and spring respectively) when large celebrations are held to honor their creator and the four surviving original clans.
Adventurers: Although dwarven adventurers are rare compared to humans, they can be found in most regions of the world. Dwarves often leave the confines of their redoubts to seek glory for their clans, to find wealth with which to enrich the fortress-homes of their birth, or to reclaim fallen dwarven citadels from racial enemies. Dwarven warfare is often characterized by tunnel fighting and melee combat, and as such most dwarves tend toward classes such as fighters and barbarians.
- +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff.
- Medium: Dwarves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Slow and Steady: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
- Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. (see darkvision).
- Defensive Training: Dwarves get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
- Greed: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on Appraise skill checks made to determine the price of nonmagical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones.
- Hatred: Dwarves receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the giant and goblinoid subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.
- Hardy: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
- Stability: Dwarves receive a +4 racial bonus to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting a bull rush or trip attempt while standing on the ground.
- Stonecunning: Dwarves receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to potentially notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. They receive a check to notice such features whenever they pass within 10 feet of them, whether or not they are actively looking.
- Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word “dwarven” in its name as a martial weapon.
- Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Common and Dwarven. Dwarves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon.
- Bloodline: Most Dwarves of Tharanthios are a descendant of one of the original six clans, and thus may choose one of the bloodlines presented below and gain the according clan gift. At this time Clan Duergar may not be chosen.
- (History DC 15) Each of the six original clans was given an artifact and gift by the Stone Father as a sign of the covenant between creator and created. The clans their artifacts & gifts, according to surviving lore, were:
- Clan Irot (the progenitors of present day Clan Ironheart)
- Earth Shaper, Staff
- Gift of Stonevoice: You automatically known Terran, and can influence earth elementals and creatures from the elemental plane of earth with skill checks in the same way as other races (diplomacy, bluff, etc…). Once per week you can summon an earth elemental of no more then half your total HD as a standard action and command it to do your bidding for your HD in minutes, after which it disappears.
- Clan Jo (merged with clan Tir to form clan Jotir through multiple arranged marriages)
- Stone Bastion, Large Shield
- Gift of Resilience: You gain a +2 racial bonus to fortitude saves and a +1 racial bonus to natural armor. In addition you automatically stabilize when reduced to negative hit points on a D20 roll of 5 +.
- Clan Tir (merged with clan Jo to form clan Jotir through multiple arranged marriages)
- Mountain Breaker, Greataxe
- Gift of Accuracy: You gain a +2 racial bonus to attack as well as a +2 racial bonus to perception. Once per week you may call upon the blessing of the Stone Father to gain the effects of Truestrike as a swift action.
- Clan Vangr
- Grips of the Eternal Forge, Gauntlets
- Gift of Insight: You gain an additional +1 racial bonus to wisdom, and a +2 racial bonus to sense motive and appraise.
- (History DC22) Clan Fegrgol (locked themselves in their ancestral clanhold and haven’t been heard from in 600 years)
- Tuning, Anvil
- Gift of Strength: You gain a +2 racial bonus to strength. Additionally, you can wield 2 handed weapons in one hand due to your freakishly buff physique and giant hands.
- (History DC28) Clan Duergar (exiled from Tharanthios for heresy)
- Forgemaster’s Shaper, Hammer
- Gift of the Forge: You gain 10+ half your total HD in fire resistance.
- Clan Irot (the progenitors of present day Clan Ironheart)
- Dwarves can have children with Humans and Halflings, the resulting half-breed is referred to by dwarves as a “Mul” which is a pejorative largely meaning “mixed”. Humans tend to call such children “half-dwarves” while halflings have a variety of names including things like “fat kids” and “rollys”. Mul are very rare in Thundaar, but are occasionally found in Seren due to the everyday fact that the society is so intertwined and “mistakes do happen”.