“The first thing that you humans need to remember if you would treat with us is that we are a honorable people, with traditions that go back to the First Age and the Deeps. The second thing to remember is to forget what you know of the Dwimmervolk that dwell in your cities, they are shield-brothers and axe-kin, and skilled in their own way, but we are earth-blooded and stone-boned and do not suffer foolishness in our dealings with others. Third, we dwarves are forged by the riddle of steel and we have hewn down more goblins, trolls, and worse in the Deeps than have ever walked the surface in our serach for the answer to the riddle of steel. The last thing that deserves consideration is that you humans seem to think that we have a need of you.
We don’t.” – Thralin Deepingaxe, Ambassador to the Gynarch of T’zarr.
As can be seen, Mountain Dwarves are a proud, dour, and taciturn race of warriors. They are devoted to their craft, have a deep and abiding hated of goblins, trolls, and worse, all with a darker reputation for greed and jealousy. Now, there are other Dwarves elsewhere, the Dwimmervolk that dwell primarily aboveground and in human cities, the ash-skinned and black-eyed Dwarrow of the Shadowlands, but the Mountain Dwarves, the Dwarves of the Underdark, or the Dwaedurinar as they call themselves in their own language, think of themselves as the true Dwarves and the keepers and inheritors of the greatest secrets of their race – which includes some of the most technologically advanced secrets known to mortals. Known as the “Mountain Folk” or the “Kings Under The Mountains” because the upper reaches of their cities inhabit the exposed spine of the world. Dwarven society itself is divided along family and clan lines, and then further organizied into kingdoms – though the reviled outcasts known as Derrokin always scrabble at the edges. They are an intensely private people, who keep thier language and lore secret from outsiders and rarely trust non-Dwarves with anything of value.
Appearance: Male Mountain Dwarves stand 48″ tall (+1d6 or -1d4), and weigh 150 lbs (+2-24 or -2-16) while female Mountain Dwarves stand 47″ tall (+1d4 or -1d4), and weigh 145 lbs (+2-20 or -2-16). They tend to have stout builds and pale skin with a stone-like hue. Even young Dwarves tend to have features that look old by human standards, with deep lines and pronounced features, but this is not universal. Dwarven hair begins in generally dark hues, with occasional reds and blonds, but as in humans, it goes gray or white as the Dwarf ages. Dwarves tend to wear thier beards and hair long, often with simple braiding to keep it it of the way in forge or fight. The Dwarven beard is a mark of pride and honor and insulting a Dwarf’s beard is a tried and true method of starting a fight with not just that Dwarf, but all thier kin as well if it is dire enough. Dwarven eyes are dark, blacks, browns, and greys, but they glitter underneath craggy brows.
Lifespan: Mountain Dwarves are young adults at age 40, considered mature adults at around age 60, and can live up to 525 years of age. They generally begin play at 40 + 5d4 years of age.
Common Alignments: Dwarven culture promotes Lawful ethics and Good morals as the ideal, though there are plenty of more Neutral and even Evil Dwarves. Dwarven psychics tend to be Chaotic in alignment, as their very nature puts them at odds with many of the most tightly held Dwarven beliefs and attitudes. Most chaotic Dwarves will effectively voluntarily exile themselves rather than risk being labeled Derrokin and have their names struck from the rolls of thier families.
Common Classes: Mountain Dwarves are most commonly Fighters of some sort, with Templars and Scouts running a close second. They can multiclass, but many Dwarves retain a somewhat single-minded focus on a single character class. Rogues are not common, but not exactly uncommon either – but Scouts are generally more common than actual Thieves. Other than Templars, and even then uncommonly, Priests are rarely found adventuring. Dwarves also have Oracles, but these adventure even less than Priests.
Common Professions: Mountain Dwarf culture is entirely self-sufficient, so any profession is possible. That said, Mountain Dwarves have a reputation as metal and stoneworkers and their smithwork is fabled in human lands and history and all Dwarves have a certain basic knowledge of these fields. Unlike human society (let alone Elven) Dwarven ethics do not allow a leisure class, and even Dwarven nobles work to excel at a craft of some sort – that being the highest of all aspirations of a Dwarf. All Dwarves are also all skilled warriors though few will make a sole profession of arms.
Common Religions: Dwarven religion is an even more private matter than the rest of thier affairs. Dwarves have a great deal of reverence for the Great Gods and even a grudging respect the human religions of the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but their primary spiritual pursuit is pursuing “the riddle of steel” though “forging their souls” by trial and perseverence. They also venerate thier ancestors, living and dead, holding up the best and the worst as exemplars of the best and worst of Dwarven nature. Dwarven Priests are the “Ancestor Lords” – those that have a special connection to the Ancestors, while Dwarven Oracles are skilled with both Runes and “Stonesight”.
Statistic Bonuses: +1 to Constitution, -1 Charisma, -2 Comeliness.
Languages: Local Human Language, Dwarrune, Dark Tongue, Trollish (Int15 +1, Int 16 +2, Int17 +3, Int18 +4). Dwarves can also speak with Spirits of Elemental Earth.
Special Abilities: Detect Grade or Slope in Passage, 75%; Detect New Construction of Passage or Tunnel, 75%; Detect Sliding or Shifting Walls or Rooms, 60%; Detect Stonework Traps, 50%; Determine Depth Underground, 50%; +1 to Hit Goblins; -4 to be Hit by Larger than Man-Sized Creature; Highly Resistant to Poison (+1 to saves per 3½ pts of Constitution); Highly Resistant to Magic (+1 to saves vs. Spells, Rods, Wands, & Staves per 3½ pts of Constitution); 60′ Infravision; All motionless Dwarves are Invisible in areas of natural rock or stone, 90%; At 4th Level, non-Psychic Dwarves can use Stone Tell 1/day; at 8th level non-Psychic Dwarves can Conjure Earth Elemental 1/day.
Special Vulnerabilities: In bright light, Dwarves have thier vision reduced to 30′ and they are -1 to Hit. Dwarves are also unable to swim and sink like, well, rocks in water. As a result they all tend to have a fear of deep water and the idea of sailing on seas or oceans can terrify them into a quiet panic. They are short, though not as short as gnomes. Their hatred of other races is matched in turn and goblins, ogres, trolls, and drakes will tend to attack Dwarves in preference to other races and thier settlements are often the targets of attacks. Dwarven reputation means that they generally suffer a penalty of -10% to Reaction Rolls with humans and elves. Dwarves also suffer the standard nonhuman penalty of -10% to experience for each character class.
Character Class Limits: Entertainer – N/A, Mage – N/A (Alchemist – 6th), Priest – 8th, Psychic – N/A (Oracle 8th), Rogue – 9th, Warrior – 7th, Warrior-Monk – N/A. As always, this is for Prime Attributes of 15 or less, 16 is +1 level, 17 is +2 levels, 18 is +3 levels, and 19 is +4 levels before the XP penalty is doubled from -10% to -20%.
Psionics: None inherent for Mountain Dwarves, though they have normal chances to roll for Major Psionics.
Additional Proficiencies or Skills: All Mountain Dwarves gain one free weapon proficiency to be applied to a Crossbow or a Firearm (Handgun or Longarm). They also have one more free proficiency that can be applied to Axes or Hammers. Dwarven Warriors also have one additional weapon proficiency.
Rogue Bonuses: Slight of Hand: No Bonus, Open Locks: +10%, Find/Remove Traps: +15%, Stealth: No Bonus, Climb Walls: -15%, Acrobatics: +5%, Tumbling: +5%
Perception / Hear Noise: Base 10%