Tyranny of Dragons
Dwarves, sometimes called the Stout Folk, are a natural humanoid race common throughout parts of Toril as well as Abeir. Dwarves are a tough, tradition-abiding folk known for their strong martial traditions and beautiful craftsmanship.
Whether or not the dwarven claim that they were carved from the world’s stone is true, the dwarves share many qualities considered similar to the stone they live with. Strong, hardy, and dependable dwarves are polite, particularly elders, and possess a wisdom beyond that of many other races. Dwarves value their traditions, regardless of the subrace they come from, and look for inspiration from ancestral heroes.Dwarves are also known for their stubborn nature and cynicism, traits widespread amongst the dwarves but which contribute to and are commonly offset by their bravery and tenacity.
Dwarven friendship is hard to earn, but is strong once won. Naturally dour and suspicious, the stout folk are slow to trust others, specifically towards those outside their family, suspecting the worst of an individual until the outsider proves many times their good will. Once this trust is gained dwarves hold their friends to it and view betrayals, even minor ones, with a vicious propensity for vengeance. A common gnomish oath, remarking on this dwarven sense of justice, is “if I’m lying, may I cross a dwarf.”
For dwarves, loyalty is more than a word and that it should be both valued and rewarded. Dwarves believe it a gift and mark of respect to stand beside a friend in combat, and an even deeper one to protect that ally from harm. Many dwarven tales subsequently revolve around the sacrifice of dwarves for their friends and family. Just as dwarves are known for their dependability as friends and allies, dwarves also harbor grudges far longer than many other races. This may be on an individual basis between a dwarf and one who has wronged him or against entire races, even if warfare with the enemy has long since ceased.
Dwarves are a careful and deliberate race, with a more serious disposition than other races, who they sometimes view as flighty or reckless. A dwarf does all things with care and a stubborn resolve, with brash or cowardly behavior unusual for the race. However, dwarves do succumb easily to wrath or greed, which are the most common vices of the race.
Dwarves who leave their homeland to become adventurers do so for a number of reasons. In part, a dwarf might be motivated by simple avarice, given the dwarven love of beautiful things. As often, however, a dwarf might be motivated by a drive to do what is right for others (particularly their clan) or a love of excitement for, as settled as dwarves are, they rarely tire of thrills. But even these wayward dwarves retain the spirit of their brethren, hoping that their accomplishments abroad can bring honor to themselves, their clan, or both. Given that successful dwarven adventurers are likely to recover rare items or defeat enemies of the dwarven people during such challenges, this is a hope not entirely without merit.
Dwarves highly value the ties between family members and friends, weaving tightly knit clans. Dwarves particularly respect elders, from whom they expect sound leadership and the wisdom of experience, as well as ancestral heroes or clan founders. This idea carries on to relations with other races and dwarves are deferential even to the elders of another, non-dwarven race.
Likewise, dwarves, perhaps moreso than most other races, turn to their gods for guidance and protection. Non-evil dwarves look to the divine for comfort and inspiration, while the wicked look to their divine overlords for methods through which to obtain power over others. Individual dwarves might be faithless, but the race as a whole, regardless of subrace, has a strong inclination for religion and almost every community maintains at least one temple or ancestral shrine.
Most dwarven societies are divided into clans built along family ties and political allegiances. These clans are usually led by hereditary rulers, often monarchs of a sort and descended from the founder of the clan. Dwarves strongly value loyalty to these rulers and to the clan as a whole and even objective dwarves tend to side primarily with their kin over other races or communities.
Most dwarven clans focus on one or two kinds of crafting, such as blacksmithing, jewelry, engineering, or masonry. Dwarves strive to avoid overspecialization by sending some of their youth as apprentices to other clans, which also helps to foster racial unity. Because of the long age dwarves exhibit these apprenticeships may last decades.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER RACES
Dwarves do not forgive past wrongs easily and the entire race has more or less declared war on goblins and orcs as a whole, wiping them out where they find them. Many dwarves view these races as a foul infestation of their mountain homes and their duty to purge them. Likewise, many dwarves view drow and grimlocks with a similar hatred and few dwarves have forgotten their ancestral hatred of the giants who once enslaved them. Because of this dwarves generally view related races, such as half-orcs, with distrust.
In regards to their distant cousins the azers, duergar, and galeb duhr dwarven opinions vary. Many view their distant relations with sympathy for their prior enslavement. On the other hand, duergar and dwarves have long been enemies and many dwarves view them with little more love than they do the drow who share the Underdark with the duergar.
Dwarves get along pretty well with gnomes, with whom they share a love of fine crafting, and passably with humans, half-elves, half-eladrin, and halflings. However, most dwarves commonly believe that true friendships can only be forged over long periods of time and a common saying is that “the difference between an acquaintance and a friend is about a hundred years,” meaning that few members of the shorter-lived races ever forge strong bonds with dwarves. There are exceptions, however, and some of the strongest friendships are those between a dwarf and a human whose grandparents and parents were also on good terms with the dwarf.
Like many races, the exact origins of the dwarves are lost in myth and legend. While many non-dwarven scholars believe that dwarves are not native to Abeir-Toril or its successor worlds, most dwarves believe that their ancestors came from the heart of the planet itself, given life by Moradin and being made by the All-Father’s hammer in the Soulforge. These legends hold that the dwarves fought their way to the surface world, overcoming the dangers they faced below through strength of arms and skill.
The first known dwarven settlements on Abeir-Toril originated from the mountains of Yehimal. These dwarves settled underneath the junction between the continents of Faerûn, Kara-Tur, and Zakhara, and migrated in all directions from there, spreading across the face of all the planet, except for those who migrated northwards and came to rest in the mountains of Novularond, becoming the ancestors of the arctic dwarves. Those who turned westward to what would eventually become the continent of Faerûn settled in what is now Semphar. The dwarves then migrated westward from there founding many settlements. The first great kingdom of the dwarves is Bhaerynden, beneath the Shaar. The exact time of these events are unknown, but it was before the split of Abeir and Toril into separate worlds, since dwarves are also found on the continent of Returned Abeir.
The dwarves in Bhaerynden settled beneath the future plains of Shaar prospered for centuries but gradually began to endure schisms and fractures, which drove the dwarves apart. The first of these schisms occurred twelve millennia ago when Taark Shanat, the so-called “Crusader,” led a westward migration from the caverns of Bhaerynden. The descendants of these dwarves would eventually become the shield dwarves and forge the vast empire of Shanatar as well as the urdunnir, who moved deeper into the earth and faded from common knowledge.
Some time after this Bhaerynden fell to the drow shortly after their exile following the Crown Wars and these southern dwarves were driven into exile, ending the ancient kingdom. Their descendants would become known as the gold dwarves and would return millennia later with the collapse of Bhaerynden into the Great Rift, forming a new kingdom. Another dwarven subrace emerged from some of these southern dwarves, who instead of continuing their civilized ways and returning in future millennia, fled to Chult and embraced the ways of the jungle, becoming the wild dwarves.
The last dwarven lineage would form from shield dwarves of Clan Duergar. These hapless dwarves who lived beneath the Shining Plains were in time captured and enslaved by the illithids, becoming the separate but related race known as the duergar. Over the ages the twisting of illithid psionics and the infusion of diabolic blood would cause the duergar to grow more and more distant from their kin, until they could no longer be properly called dwarves.
Over the centuries dwarves have entered into a long decline and most of the ancient kingdoms that once stood are now fallen. The shield dwarves have seen parts of the north overrun and conquered by the orcs of Many Arrows while to the south the gold dwarves have been primarily driven from their underground kingdom in the Great Rift towards the surface world. In spite of this, the dwarves remain a proud and hardy people, unshaken by the pitfalls that have befallen them.
The most significant event in recent history for the dwarven peoples has been the Thunder Blessing, from the year of the same name, in which, after centuries of demographic decline, a sudden boon in fertility occurred, resulting in the births of many twins amongst the dwarves. The Blessing is widely believed to have been the work of Moradin, possibly as the culmination of a quest by a dwarven heroine or as part of some grander plan of the All-Father. One of the consequences of this sudden boon was, other than a demographic resurgence that helped bring the dwarves out of their decline, was a sudden shift in culture. The so-called thunder children were radical in comparison with their parents and during their lifetimes over the Era of Upheaval, dwarves took a more active role in the world and abandoned some of their oldest traditions, such as the ancient fear of magic and the arcane.
Most dwarves prefer living in underground cities near the surface and above the Underdark, built around mines that provide much of their livelihood. Carved into stone these cities may take centuries to complete but are practically ageless once finished. Though dwarves are typically a martial race by nature these cities have civilian populations that compose about one fourth of the total population and which are made up primarily of the young, the elderly, or a few regular adults. Females typically compose as large a portion of the military as male dwarves do.
At present, dwarves can be found all across Faerûn although the greatest numbers are in the Underdark, the North, the East Rift, and the Cold Lands.
In their own homelands, dwarves continuously carve out new living space, mining the mountains’ riches as they do so. Dwarves in general stick to these locales, disliking travel, particularly along waterways, but those who live in human lands can find make themselves quite comfortable. Most who do make a living as mercenaries, smiths, or artisans of various kinds. Dwarves are eagerly sought after as warriors, their reputation of courage and loyalty making them excellent choices for bodyguards.
ARCTIC: Arctic dwarves, also known as Inugaakalikurit, are a race of dwarves located in the isolated reaches of the Great Glacier in Faerûn’s northernmost reaches. Arctic dwarves have a different origin than most of the other dwarves in Faerûn as well as the duergar, and are significantly different physiologically and culturally from other members of the Stout Folk, so much that they might be considered their own race. Arctic dwarves were almost entirely unheard of until relatively recent, when a group of them began settling the edges of Luruar a century ago. Arctic dwarves are a very small race, not only in general but in comparison with dwarves as well. The average arctic dwarf is even shorter than a gnome or halfling, standing at just over half the height of a shield dwarf. Physically, arctic dwarves are squat, with pinched faces and stubby legs, being nearly as wide as they are tall with their fingers and toes thick and blunt and their feet flat and wide. Their skin is typically quite pale, ranging from a pale shade of blue to white, except for their cheeks which are a ruddy red, although their frequent exposure to the sun means many are frequently sunburned. Arctic dwarf eyes are bright blue and their curly hair, which they usually let flow freely long to their waists, is white.
- Build: Dwarf
- Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity bonus increases by 2.
- Size. Arctic dwarves stand between 3 to 4 feet tall on average and weigh around 100 pounds. You are small size.
- Arctic Resilience. You have resistance to cold damage. You can also survive and function in cold weather without the need of special clothing or equipment.
GOLD: Gold dwarves are stout, tough individuals like their shield dwarven brethren but are less off-putting and gruff in nature. Conversely, gold dwarves are often less agile then other dwarves. The average gold dwarf is about four feet tall and as heavy as a full-grown human, making them somewhat squatter than the more common shield dwarves. Gold dwarves are also distinguishable by their light brown or tanned skin, significantly darker than that of most dwarves, and their brown or hazel eyes. Gold dwarves have black, gray, or brown hair, which fade to light gray over time.
- Build: Dwarf; Hill Dwarf subrace
SHIELD: Shield dwarves are among the most common of the dwarven peoples. Once the rulers of mighty kingdoms across Faerûn, the shield dwarves have since fallen by the wayside after centuries of warfare with their goblinoid enemies. Since then, shield dwarves have been less commonly seen throughout Faerûn, though during the Era of Upheaval the subrace, spurred on by the Thunder Blessing, began to retake an important role in local politics. The shield dwarves are on average half a foot taller than other dwarves. They are the most common dwarf in the north of Faerûn. They have light skin that is fair or lightly tanned and green or silvery blue eyes with long light brown or red hair, growing white or gray with age.
- Build: Dwarf; Mountain Dwarf subrace
WILD: This dwarven subrace was little-known except by those familiar with the jungles of South Faerûn. The jungle dwarves were smaller than most other dwarves but sturdy and well-muscled. Over millennia in the hot jungles, they had developed a strong resistance to heat and disease. They wore very little, if any, clothing, and greased their tattoo-covered dark skin to keep away insects and make themselves slippery. Both males and females could grow beards, and their beards and woven hair provided satisfactory covering for their otherwise naked bodies. They often plastered themselves, skin and hair, with dried mud, which served as a surprisingly effective armor. For adornment, they carved earrings, bracelets and necklaces out of bone.
- Build: Dwarf
- Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity bonus increases be 1.
- Jungle Runner. Your movement is not impaired or hindered while moving through natural foliage or forested terrain. You also have advantage on any saves against magical plant effects, such as the entangle spell.