Posts Tagged With: Dwimmervolk

Do dwarves take baths…?

So, the other day a picture of a chinchilla came up on my Tumblr, and I was struck for a moment by the image of one taking a dust bath. I immediately wondered if dwarves took dust baths? Do dwarves bathe? They don’t like deep water, they pretty much can’t swim (too dense), and the big reason to take a bath is because of sweat and I didn’t even know (because I’d never thought of it) if dwarves even sweat…

I kind of liked the idea though, the idea of dust baths and maybe filing away callouses and the like – or just a really good pumice scraping. So I took the idea to my dwarf player, KT, and talked it over with her. She kind of liked the idea as well, and after some discussion of physiological issues involved (no sweating means different ways of shedding heat, etc) we decided that it was a fine idea and added to it. Dwarves take dust baths, as well as baths with sand or some other coarse abrasive when they need to get rid of stains or caked on whatever. They have generally use pumice or a file to remove calluses and trim nails, and occasionally will slake themselves in oil and scrape themselves down – plus they’ll use oils on their beards occasionally to help shaped them and otherwise keep them healthy after being soaked in water to avoid lighting on fire at the forge.

Dwarves tend to keep their beards tucked into pouches, soaked in water, when they work at the forge in order to keep them safe. I can’t remember if that’s an old Ed Greenwood detail, or one that came from some old Tolkien illustration, but I distinctly remember liking it from somewhere, somewhen.

In fact, the only dwarves who are ever likely to actually wash with water are Hill Dwarves, because they are travelling so often. They don’t like it, and are likely to look a bit dirtier than the average Mountain Dwarf or Dwimmervolk for that reason – which of course adds to their reputation as being the “poor relatives” and vagrants who are at least (thankfully) better then those filthy, clanless and honorbroken Druegar…

We also decided that whatever the temperature regulation mechanism was for dwarven physiology, they just weren’t as bothered by temperature ranges from an comfort level. They aren’t resistant to heat or cold, but their “comfort zone” was far broader than that of a human.




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Dwarven Bardic Spell List

So, I’ve been in the midst of trying to figure how a Ilda, the Dwarven Bard, successfully made a “God-call” to get her out of a seriously nasty jam. In the process I was taking a serious look at the Bardic spell list in the Player’s Handbook as was struck at how odd some of the spells were for dwarves in my game world. The nice thing about 5E is that there is a unified set of levels for spells – spellcasters get nine, lesser spellcasters get five, and the quasi-casters (archtypes) get four. Also unlike 1E, spells don’t change level depending upon what class they are.

So, looking at the list, and thinking about Dwarves, here is their modified spell list:

  • Cantrips
    • Remove Dancing Lights, Minor Illusion
    • Add Produce Flame, Magic Stone
  • First Level
    • Remove Longstrider, Silent Image, Unseen Servant
    • Add Absorb Elements, Bless, Earth Tremor
  • Second Level
    • Remove Phantasmal Force
    • Add Arcane Lock
  • Third Level
    • Remove Leomund’s Tiny Hut, Major Image
    • Add Glyph of Warding, Meld Into Stone
  • Fourth Level
    • Remove Dimension Door, Hallucinatory Terrain, Polymorph
    • Add Conjure Minor Elementals, Stone Shape, Stoneskin
  • Fifth Level
    • Remove Dominate Person, Teleportation Circle
    • Add Passwall, Wall of Stone
  • Sixth Level
    • Remove Programmed Illusion
    • Add Move Earth
  • Seventh Level
    • Remove Etherealness, Mirage Arcane, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, Project Image, Teleport
    • Add Antimagic Field, Antipathy/Sympathy, Reverse Gravity, Sequester, Symbol
  • Eighth Level
    • Remove Dominate Monster
    • Add Earthquake
  • Ninth Level
    • Remove True Polymorph
    • Add Imprisonment

So, as you can see, less illusion and transport spells, more spells with a rune or earth focus. I also pulled out the Dominate spells because they didn’t fit either.



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Dwimmervolk, the Dwarves of the City

“Thank you for the drink! While the common folk know that we provide well-made goods for a fair coin, it is your nobles and merchants who understand our true worth as allies and partners. We provide access to the goods and services of our deep-kin, and our financial services are the backbone of the economy of the Mortal Realms. Not simply the goods we create ourselves and sell, but our banking and investments, the goods we move, and the trade we facilitate between the lands of men and the folk of the Underdark. Our engineers and alchemists have been responsible for some of the greatest wonders of the Mortal Realms and our services are in the demand of kings and mages across lands, oceans, and time – from the First City to the Great Works of Albion and Aquitaine we have been there, working beside humans to make a better, more beautiful, and more functional world.”

-Haegarth”the Keen” Glimdurin, Investigating Auditor-Accountant of the Great Clan of Glimdurin

Compared to their kin the Mountain Dwarves, the Dwimmervolk are a welcoming and friendly, cosmopolitan group of cityfolk who populate both the cities men and the large dwarven cities of the Mortal Realms. Like their kin, they are devoted to their craft, have a deep and abiding hated of goblins, trolls, and worse, with almost as great a reputation for greed and tight-fistedness as their kin. But rather than miners and smiths, the Dwimmervolk are bankers, financiers, and clockwork engineers and tinkerers. As intensely private as the Mountain Dwarves, who they consider shield-brothers and clan-kin, they keep their language and lore secret from outsiders. The term “Dwimmervolk” was given to them by the early humans, it means “the Magic-Folk” and referred not to their skill at the arcane arts per se, but to their skills with clockwork mechanisms, alchemy, and enchanting. Just like the Mountain Dwarves, they are organized along family and clan lines, but the Dwimmervolk have no kingdoms, preferring to “acculturate” into human lands and kingdoms instead, as well as hold titles with their kin in the Underdark.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma

Languages: Two Human Languages, Dwarrune, Dark Tongue.

Appearance: Dwimmervolk stand 3’8″ tall (+2d4″), and weigh 115 lbs (x2d6). They are Medium in Size and their Speed is 25 (though they are not slowed by Heavy Armor). They tend to have stout builds (though slimmer than Mountain Dwarves) and tawny skin – it isn’t tanned, but merely a darker hue than that of their mountain-dwelling kin. 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 their 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 their kin as well if it is dire enough. Dwarven eyes are dark, blacks, browns, and greys, but they glitter underneath craggy brows.

Common Dress: Dwimmervolk dress much like the humans they live beside, though they make a point of wearing fine cuts and fabrics that display their wealth. They also wear a fair amount of jewelry in the way of bracers, necklaces, armbands, and hair and beard rings. Clothing tends to be in browns, and the darker shades of greys, blues and greens, with brighter colors common in travelling cloaks and fest clothing – the only colors that are uncommon are whites and blacks. It is also quite common to wear and use rapiers and firearms rather than the axes and hammers of their Underdark kin.

Lifespan: Dwimmervolk 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 Culture: Clan and Family are of the utmost importance to Dwarves, accompanied by being a productive member of society. The only members of society that are not expected to remain an active artisan are priests and soldiers (and they usually do so anyway is some small way so deep is this value instilled in Dwarven culture). Dwarves have an even more deeply held prejudice against the practice of Arcane magic save through a scant few methods (Alchemy, Divination, and Runic Magic being the foremost, the Truesmith bloodline being the other). One oddity of the Dwarven race is that Dwarves do not have a gendered society, not that there are no male or female dwarves by sexual characteristics, but by language and thought they have no gender – though each dwarf has an acknowledged parent, and some dwarves may assume a gender to simplify relations with humans.

Common Backgrounds: Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Guild Merchant, Noble, Ordinary Man, Outcast, Skald, and Soldier all make suitable Backgrounds for Dwimmervolk that require minimal explanation.

Naming Conventions: Dwarven names can potentially go back hundreds of generations, though only the skalds or the priests generally know anything beyond about twenty generations or so, and are considered the property of the clan, not the dwarf themselves – when exiled they are cut off from any connection to their former family. Dwarves give state their name in the following lineal fashion:

<Given Name> <Nickname(s)>, <Honorific(s)>

Born of (Parent), of the Clan of <Clan Name>,in the line of <Dynastic Forebear>,

<Rank & Guild Membership>, Great Clan of <Great Clan Name>, in the Kingdom of <Kingdom Name>.

Iterations of the “Child of Parent” can go back as long as preferred, along with acknowledgements of changes in the lineage of that ancestors clan and dynastic forbear. Many Dwarves have nicknames attached to their names, granted by the clan-mates and friends. There is no limit to the number of nicknames that a dwarf can accumulate, but few save the most renowned gain one or perhaps two. Honorifics note special status, such as being Stoneborn, a Truesmith, and special religious status (clergy or champion). Dwarves also specifically note their guild membership as part of their name, which will include their rank or status within that guild. At a bare minimum, dwarves will relate Given Name along with Parent and Clan, anything less is considered rude and anything obscuring (but not a lie, which is dishonorable) is considered an insult (“Ragnarn, of the Dwarves”) as it implies that the addressee cannot be trusted.

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, Wizards, and Sorcerers 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 their families.

Common Religions: Dwarven religion is an even more private matter than the rest of their 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 perseverance. They also venerate their 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”. Dwarven Bards are Lorekeepers and Runesingers, all working with chants, runes, and primarily drums and harps as instruments to bolster morale, speed up work, and hone battlefury as needed.

Common Classes: Preferred — Cleric, Fighter, Rogue; Common –Bard, Paladin, Ranger; Uncommon –Barbarian, Druid, Sorcerer (Truesmith); Rare — Monk, Warlock; Very Rare — Wizard

Common Professions: Dwimmervolk culture exists in synergy with the ecologies and cultures of the Mortal Realms and the Underdark. Any profession is possible, but the Dwimmervolk prize technical skill as well as the skills and talents inherent in trade and commerce. Identical to their kin but 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, though the Dwimmervolk consider “merchant” a worthy craft in and of itself. All Dwarves are also all skilled warriors though few will make a sole profession of arms.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to life underground, Dwarves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. They can see in dim light up to 60′ as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. They cannot discern colors in darkness, merely varying shades of grey.

Dwarven Resilience: Dwarves have Advantage on all saving throws against poison, and have Resistance to poison as well.

Dwarven Toughness: Dwarves have a +1 to Hit Points at each level, with an increased maximum of one for each level as well.

Bearers of Burdens: Dwarves increase their Encumbrance by 150%.

Tinkerers: Dwimmervolk are premier tinkerers, in addition to Proficiency with Tinker’s Tools and Clockwork Tools, Dwimmervolk can spend 1 hour and spend roughly 10sp on materials to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC5, 1HP). The device ceases to function after twenty-four hours (unless an hour is spent on upkeep and repair, which provides another 24 hours of operation). A Dwimmervolk tinker can have three (3) clockwork devices , plus their Intelligence modifier, in operation at any one time.

  • Clockwork Toy: It must be an animal, monster, or person. When placed on the ground it moves five feet in a random direction on each of it’s turns. It makes appropriate noises for the creature it represents and moves about for Levelx2 rounds.
  • Fire Starter: The device produces a miniature flame which can be used to light candles, torches, or campfires.
  • Music Box: When opened, this music box plays a single song at a moderate volume. The song stops playing when it reaches it’s end or the box is closed.
  • Autolancer: This device automatically lashes out with a razor-sharp needle for 1HP of damage on contact. It often used for pest disposal or the lancing of infected wounds.
  • Autogyro: Normally a somewhat abstract shape, this is flying device that flies about in a random direction, five feet in distance each round, maintaining the same relative height that it was released at. It moves about for Level in rounds.

With some effort (DC15 and 5sp of materials), the Dwimmervolk can combine two or more of these devices into one. This does not reduce the amount of time that must be spent building or maintaining each sub-mechanism.

Dwimmervolk Skill at Arms: All Dwimmervolk are skilled in Light Armour, and in the use of Hammers, Handaxes, Smallswords, Rapiers, & Firearms.

Psionics: Reserved

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