Grim and determined, the duergar (or gray dwarves) lead lives of neverending toil in the great foundry-cities they have built in the Underdark. The gray dwarves are nearly as widespread and numerous as the drow, and the typical duergar realm is every bit as strong, cruel, and wealthy as a great city of the dark elves. But while most drow cities exist to exalt the high nobility of the dark elves, duergar cities exist only for the manufacture of wealth through unending labor.
Duergar are sullen, insular and industrious, but they tend to be better neighbors than drow and are less likely to raid surface lands or seek out victims to torment. They are the preeminent artisans and merchants of the Underdark, and duergar caravans cross every corner of Faerun miles beneath the surface. The gray dwarves are all too willing to enslave any likely creatures that fall into their hands, but they don't waste slaves in the sort of cruel spectacles that the drow enjoy. Instead, the duergar simply work their captives to death.
Though gray dwarves do display the redeeming virtues of courage and determination, they are also avaricious, short-trmpered, sullen, violent, and ungrateful. Duergar nurse grudges until they die and never stop counting the slights (real or imagined) that they've received. They are inclined to believe that might makes right, so most have no pity for those who are too weak to defend their property or themselves against a stronger foe. Duergar are not above launching fearsome raids to garner the gold they love so well from their weaker neighbors.
On the positive side, duergar believe in minding their own business (so long as others don't have anything they want) and working hard to excel at their chosen crafts. No obstacle daunts a gray dwarf who has settled on a goal. Duergar may not display much loyalty to anyone other than themselves, but they never leave a job half done.
The typical gray dwarf stands about 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, but their physique is lean and hard compared to those of their shield dwarf kin. Their skin is a dull, lifeless gray color, and their eyes are black and cold. A male duergar doesn't have a wisp of hair above his ears, but he may boast a short, wiry beard of iron-gray or black hair. The typical female duergar is likewise bald, but a few have short-cropped hair of dull black.
Duergar are universally disliked by all other beings, including each other. They are churlish and hateful, and they want nothing to do with other races unless they stand to gain something from the encounter. Of the other Underdark races, duergar find the svirfneblin and the orogs the least irritating, since the deep gnomes and deep orcs are also outstanding artissans who value hard work. The gray dwarves can't stand the drow, probably because they can sense the condescension and mockery behind dark elf courtesy. Duergar absolutely loathe other dwarves (particularly shield dwarves) and mind flayers because the rest of dwarvenkind abandoned Clan Duergar to thralldom and misery under illithid rule thousands of years ago. (At least, that's how the gray dwarves view the incident.)
Most gray dwarves are evil, placing little value on the lives and property of others. They are consumed by envy of anyone better off than themselves, and they display not a trace of pity for those who are not as fortunate. A fair number of duergar, wanting nothing more than to be left alone, lean toward hardhearted neutrality, but few ever become truly good.
The patron deity of the gray dwarves is Laduguer, the dwarven deity of toil. Duergar spend little time or effort on any sort of religious observances because they feel that the best way to venerate their grim god is to work. Some gray dwarves also venerate Deep Duerra, the dwarven deity of the Invisible Art (psionics).
Gray dwarves speak Dwarven and Undercommon. They also make use of Dethek, the rune alphabet of the dwarves.
Duergar favor surnames that describe the work of which they are so justly proud. Their given names tend to be simple and somewhat gutteral.
Male Names: Bruthwol, Horgar, Ivar, Murgol, Thangardt.
Female Names: Brilmara, Dorthis, Olga, Ulara, Weltha.
Surnames: Coalhewer, Firehand, Goldcrown, Hammerhand, Ironthew, Steelshadow.
Few gray dwarves have time for such nonsense as adventuring. However, occasionally an indiviual with no stomach for a life of unceasing toil appears in duergar society. These rare gray dwarves often find it expedient to seek out less hostile surroundings before their fellows decide that they're not pulling their weight. A few gray dwarf adventurers are exiles or fugitives who were driven out of their home cities by vicious feuds between rival clans.