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Dwarves are known for their skill in warfare, their ability to withstand physical and magical punishment, their knowledge of the earth’s secrets, their hard work, and their capacity for drinking ale. Their mysterious kingdoms, carved out from the insides of mountains, are renowned for the marvelous treasures that they produce as gifts or for trade.


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Dwarves are slow to laugh or jest and suspicious of strangers, but they are generous to those few who earn their trust. Dwarves value gold, gems, jewelry, and art objects made with these precious materials, and they have been known to succumb to greed. They fight neither recklessly nor timidly, but with a careful courage and tenacity. Their sense of justice is strong, but at its worst it can turn into a thirst for vengeance. Among gnomes, who get along famously with dwarves, a mild oath is “If I’m lying, may I cross a dwarf.”

Dwarves enjoy creating and doing. They are not a people given over to introspection and hypothetical outcomes. They are a patient, hard working people to who laziness and indulgence is seen as a sin. A dwarf will be single-minded in his tasks and will never accept anything less than his 100% effort. Many dwarven craftsmen have destroyed works that they felt were inferior to their best even though from other people's perspective the work was of greatest quality. Although given over to ensuring every detail is perfect, dwarves are not the sort to worry about those details. From a dwarven point of view, the details will be taken care of when it is their time to be looked into. This patient and steady work ethic has been so in-bred to the dwarven mentality that it becomes difficult to get a dwarf to rush a job or to cut corners even if his life is at stake.

Dwarves will work only on one task at the time and rarely (if ever) do multiple tasks at once. If, for example, it takes three hours for a forge to be hot enough to work, a dwarf will patiently sit there and stare at the fire until it has reached the proper temperature. This has caused much confusion among humans who alternatively perceive dwarves as being hard working and industrious but then see them lazily sitting down smoking a pipe while watching a fire grow. A popular misconception among other races is that dwarves enjoy working. This is not completely true, a dwarf enjoys seeing the final result of his work. The work itself is a means to an end. For a dwarf, the final result is what counts.

Physical Description

Dwarves stand only 4' to 4' 1/2" feet tall, but they are so broad and compact that they are, on average, almost as heavy as humans. Dwarf men are slightly taller and noticeably heavier than dwarf women. Dwarves’ skin is typically deep tan or light brown, and their eyes are dark. Their hair is usually black, gray, or brown, and worn long. Dwarf men value their beards highly and groom them very carefully. Dwarves favor simple styles for their hair, beards, and clothes. Dwarves are considered adults at about age 40, and they can live to be more than 400 years old.

Family Life

Much like everything else in their lives, dwarven family life is patiently planned. Much like humans, a dwarf will remain married until death separates them. The dwarf will mourn the loss of his spouse for at least three years. These three years will be dedicated to creating a permanent reminder of what the spouse represented to the dwarf and to the community. Children are important to dwarves as they represent the ultimate opportunity for creation. Dwarven couples dedicate themselves to teaching as much as they can so that their children become the best at what they do. Within dwarven communities, having your children surpass your achievements is seen with great pride as it means that the parents are particularly gifted in raising children. Inversely, having a dwarven child turn out badly is one of the greatest disgraces that can be inflicted upon dwarven parents. The implications are that the parents have failed in this, their most important task. Many parents of troubled children have left their community with their spirits crushed. Their workmanship in all other tasks has almost always suffered as a result and their products become inferior to what they have worked before.


Dwarves get along fine with gnomes, and passably with humans, half-elves, and halflings. Dwarves say, “The difference between an acquaintance and a friend is about a hundred years.” Humans, with their short life spans, have a hard time forging truly strong bonds with dwarves. The best dwarf-human friendships are between a human and a dwarf who liked the human’s parents and grandparents. Dwarves fail to appreciate elves’ subtlety and art, regarding elves as unpredictable, fickle, and flighty. Still, elves and dwarves have, through the ages, found common cause in battles against orcs, goblins, and gnolls. Through many such joint campaigns, the elves have earned the dwarves’ grudging respect. Dwarves mistrust half-orcs in general, and the feeling is mutual. Luckily, dwarves are fair-minded, and they grant individual half-orcs the opportunity to prove themselves.


Dwarves are usually lawful, and they tend toward good. Adventuring dwarves are less likely to fit the common mold, however, since they’re more likely to be those who did not fit perfectly into dwarven society.

Dwarven Lands

Dwarven kingdoms usually lie deep beneath the stony faces of mountains, where the dwarves mine gems and precious metals and forge items of wonder. Trustworthy members of other races are welcome in such settlements, though some parts of these lands are off limits even to them. Whatever wealth the dwarves can’t find in their mountains, they gain through trade. Dwarves dislike water travel, so enterprising humans frequently handle trade in dwarven goods when travel is along a water route. Dwarves in human lands are typically mercenaries, weaponsmiths, armorsmiths, jewelers, and artisans. Dwarf bodyguards are renowned for their courage and loyalty, and they are well rewarded for their virtues.


The chief deity of the dwarves is Moradin, the Soul Forger. He is the creator of the dwarves, and he expects his followers to work for the betterment of the dwarf race.

The dwarves believe in a small pantheon of deities, with each deity overseeing the daily tasks that the dwarven people accomplish. As such, dwarves will pray to a deity whenever they work on a task for which that deity has a portfolio. Dwarven deities are rarely frivolous, but are mostly serious and task oriented. Dwarven prayers are short and practical with very little embellishments.


Dwarves speak Dwarven, which has its own runic script. Dwarven literature is marked by comprehensive histories of kingdoms and wars through the millennia. The Dwarven alphabet is also used (with minor variations) for the Gnome, Giant, Goblin, Orc, and Terran languages. Dwarves often speak the languages of their friends (humans and gnomes) and enemies. Some also learn Terran, the strange language of earth-based creatures such as xorn.


A dwarf’s name is granted to him by his clan elder, in accordance with tradition. Every proper dwarven name has been used and reused down through the generations. A dwarf’s name is not his own. It belongs to his clan. If he misuses it or brings shame to it, his clan will strip him of it. A dwarf stripped of his name is forbidden by dwarven law to use any dwarven name in its place.

  • Male Names: Barendd, Brottor, Eberk, Einkil, Oskar, Rurik, Taklinn, Torderk, Traubon, Ulfgar, Veit.
  • Female Names: Artin, Audhild, Dagnal, Diesa, Gunnloda, Hlin, Ilde, Liftrasa, Sannl, Torgga.
  • Clan Names: Balderk, Dankil, Gorunn, Holderhek, Loderr, Lutgehr, Rumnaheim, Strakeln, Torunn, Ungart.


A dwarven adventurer may be motivated by crusading zeal, a love of excitement, or simple greed. As long as his accomplishments bring honor to his clan, his deeds earn him respect and status. Defeating giants and claiming powerful magic weapons are sure ways for a dwarf to earn the respect of other dwarves.


The dwarven warriors take to the task of killing with as much fervor and perfection as they do all other tasks. Once a dwarf has entered into combat he will never surrender and never work with half a heart. What makes dwarves particularly deadly in combat is their tenacity in the face of adversity. Dwarves will not hesitate in attacking even in situations where the losses would be horrendous. A perfectly planned campaign is what the dwarves strive for, with each dwarf doing his task of killing with the outmost efficiency. A dwarf will not hesitate for a split second in combat. If he has decided that there is a need to fight, he will fight even if at half strength or unarmed.

Racial Traits

According to the Players Handbook, 3.5 Edition.

  • +2 Constitution, –2 Charisma: Dwarves are stout and tough but tend to be gruff and reserved.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Dwarf base land speed is 20 feet. However, dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or whose speed is reduced in such conditions).
  • Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
  • Stonecunning: This ability grants a dwarf a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Dwarves have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves may treat dwarven waraxes and dwarven urgroshes (see Chapter 7:Equipment) as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
  • Stability: Dwarves are exceptionally stable on their feet. A dwarf gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison: Dwarves are hardy and resistant to toxins.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects: dwarves have an innate resistance to magic spells.
  • +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against orcs (including half-orcs) and goblinoids (including goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears): Dwarves are trained in the special combat techniques that allow them to fight their common enemies more effectively.
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type (such as ogres, trolls, and hill giants): This bonus represents special training that dwarves undergo, during which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
  • +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items: Dwarves are familiar with valuable items of all kinds, especially those made of stone or metal.
  • +2 racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal: Dwarves are especially capable with stonework and metalwork.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon. Dwarves are familiar with the languages of their enemies and of their subterranean allies.
  • Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass dwarf’s fighter class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing. Dwarven culture extols the virtues of battle, and the vocation comes easily to dwarves.