You’ll remember that I said most encounters will be with creatures that are not so much monsters as people. At that time we covered humans. This time I am going to cover my next favorite race: Dwarves. An appropriately raucous and celebratory warrior race for this Memorial Day.
Dwarves are predominantly a patriarchal warrior society. They will often have a king, but he is a symbolic leader, the dwarves themselves are dedicated to the cause of first their clan, second the dwarven race, and third goodly folk. Dwarves are predominantly good, and usually lawful, though the chaotic individuals among them are often insanely chaotic.
Dwarves are as strong and stout as the mountains and hills in which they live. They are emotionally and physically rough, being stronger and more resilient than humans despite their small size, getting +4 to constitution and +2 to strength. Dwarves are generally short, ranging from 3′ 6″ and 4′ 6″. Like other small humanoid races, they have a base movement speed of 18 rather than 24.
Dwarves are highly religious, and frequently superstitious. They generally worship the gods of the earth and of craftsmanship, but also of battle. Battle is often a religious rite among dwarves. They fight viciously against the dark denizens that threaten their mines and strong holds, especially the drow, goblins, and orcs; often they will crusade against these enemies.
Dwarves are limited in their classes to the warrior and religious classes, but can also participate as Enchanters due to their passion for artisanship and artifact creation.
Brawler-Even dwarves that are not trained in martial combat and the use of weapons are capable fighters. Their great strength and endurance makes them powerful brawlers. No dwarf has passed his first 20 winters without being involved in a drunken brawl.
Cleric-The religious nature of dwarves leads them to invest significant resources to their worship. Any dwarven hold will have a religious body of clerics, whether small or large. These clerics are often warrior clerics, but are also often trained in healing and earth magic.
Fighter-Most dwarves hold combat in close to their hearts. The most common class among dwarves is fighter. While most will be slow and steady melee fighters, other varieties also exist among dwarves. Dwarves take pride in their combative ability.
Berserker-Chaotic or highly passionate dwarven warriors lower some of their emotional barriers to tap into their anger. Dwarves will often be berserkers who fight madly for their clan. They turn their loyalty and passion directly into combative power.
Paladin-The holy warrior caste is especially appropriate for a dwarf. Whether warriors dedicated to a deity in their combat, or religious leaders that turn to a focus on combat to express loyalty to their deity. Dwarven paladins will often follow a warrior god, but can sometimes serve other deities.
Priest-Dwarven devotion to religion and their fervor for their deities leads to a number of members of any clan becoming priests. Dwarven priests will be advisers to the king and leaders of the religious orders in the clans. The priesthood is not usually an exclusion from combat or smithing for dwarves.
Enchanter-Dwarves take great pride in their craftsmanship and the work of their hands. It is not uncommon for dwarves to become enchanters and imbue their weapons and items with magical power. Though dwarves are not particularly prone to magic, they have great appreciation for what it adds to their craft.
Dwarves societies vary less than human ones, the primary differences between societies include their level of focus on religion, which governs how many clerics and priests they have, their focus on goods production, which governs the number of enchanters they have, along with variable superstition about the role of magic, and their level of order, which may stifle the existence of brawlers and berserkers. For example, dwarven clans that have been at war for a long period will have a military culture and most all members of society will be fighters, warrior clerics, and paladins, with perhaps a few berserkers.
Dwarves! Would you play one? They do have some significant pros and very few cons. Would a dwarven clan be a liability or a resource to your characters? Let us know in the comments below!