Description: Dwarves primarily dwell either underground or in mountainous areas. They are a race that prides themselves on their craftsmanship and engineering.
Appearance: Most dwarves (including females) typically have beards that are often braided in elaborate patterns and adorned with jewelry. They are a somewhat short and stocky race, with the tallest dwarves only being about 5 feet tall but weighing more than the average human male. Hair colors are typically dark: brown, black, and red. Most other races have trouble distinguishing an adult male from an adult female. The pupils of a dwarf’s eyes are proportionally larger than the eyes of other races, which probably explains their ability to see so well in darkness and can be attributed to thousands of years of underground living.
Life Span: Dwarves are a fairly long lived race, which might contribute to their stubbornness and hesitation to change. The average dwarf lives roughly 300-350 years, with the oldest recorded dwarf living to be roughly 450 years old. Dwarven children are usually considered adults around their 40th birthday. The ratio of aging for dwarves as compared to human is roughly 3.5:1.
Emotional/Intellectual Notes, Likes, Dislikes: Dwarves love alcohol and are widely considered to be the most skilled brewers of its many forms. Emotionally, dwarves are considered by most outsiders to be cold, stubborn, and stoic. Around friends and especially family, the exact opposite is true. Dwarves are slow to open up to others and even slower to place trust in someone.
Religion, Gods, Creation Stories, Legends, Myths: Dwarves have very few gods they worship. Most of dwarven history is obscured, especially periods of strife that the dwarves are reluctant to share with outsiders for fear it may show weakness.
Magic – Social Acceptance, Laws, Availability, Use: Magic users among the dwarves are practically unheard of. The handful of dwarven wizards and sorcerers that have been seen in history are usually fairly powerful and influential; most likely a testament to the resolve and focus that the dwarves are famous for and is so important for the use of arcane power. While most dwarves have never seen arcane magic, they do not fear it or impose any restrictions on it.
Region, Boundaries, Weather, Terrain, Resources: Only the surface dwarven kingdoms have use for borders and know of such things as weather. The dwarves that live in the vast underground tunnel network carved out thousands of years ago are free from boundaries. Dwarves depend heavily on the metals and minerals harvested from the earth, both for their own consumption and for trade.
Population Density, Community Sizes, Mobility, Racial Subdivisions: Unlike most other races, dwarves form tight-knit communities and have no real villages or countryside to speak of. The vast majority of dwarves live in dwarven cities, be they above or below ground. Those dwarves who live underground and make a living from mining are fairly mobile; always opening new tunnels to provide a steady flow of minerals.
Language, Alphabet, Writing, Records, Literature, Poetry, Art: The dwarven language is a simple, structured language with thick, blocky letters. Almost all dwarves can read and write and many who live on the surface typically speak multiple languages. Dwarves are notoriously bad at writing down their own history. Most events are simply forgotten. Only a select few moments in dwarven history are retold or written down, typically moments of heroism and triumph. Very few dwarves practice the fine arts: poetry, painting, music, etc. However, one would be hard pressed to find better craftsmen.
Intercultural Relations, Trade, Alliances: Dwarves typically keep to themselves. Dwarven armor and weapons are often highly sought after by human nations. The metals and minerals they harvest from the earth are also highly traded.
Food – Procurement Methods, Surplus, Storage, Distribution: Dwarves above ground have a much easier time gathering food than those below the surface. However, thousands of years of experience have made them adept at living in an environment no one else could. Dwarves grow vast fields of mushrooms in their cave systems. They also rely heavily on fishing from underground streams and hunting the animals that inhabit the caves with them.
Technology – Architecture, Tools, Weapons, Armor: Dwarven architecture, while bland, is of remarkable quality. The same is true of the weapons and armor they produce. The dwarves are roughly technologically equal to human societies.
Use Of Animals: Dwarves make very little use of animals. Donkeys and mules are sometimes used to carry loads of minerals from mining sites.
Transportation, Long Distance Communication: The dwarves have constructed an intricate system of rails beneath the earth, which is probably their greatest technological marvel. They use a mixture of steam power and muscle to allow quick transportation through the long and lonely tunnels.
Ownership Laws, Inheritance Customs, Monetary Form, Debt/Credit: Dwarves are very serious when it comes to money. Debt is highly looked down upon among the dwarves. Inheritance typically passes to the spouse if they are alive. If not, then it passes to the children.
Gender Differences – Rights, Responsibilities: Both sexes of dwarves are typically considered equal and both perform the same jobs.
Marriage System – Customs, Beliefs, Husband/Wife Relationship, Divorce: Dwarven marriage is as solid as the dwarves themselves. Dwarves are monogamous and will not remarry should their partner pass away. Dwarven marriage lasts for life.
Birth – Beliefs, Customs: Dwarven birth is fairly rare and is highly celebrated.
Children – Discipline, Education, Recreation: Dwarven children are highly disciplined. There is typically one member of the clan that takes on the responsibility of raising and educating children.
Death – Beliefs, Customs: Dwarves always bury their dead. Following the death of a clan member, others will typically mourn their loss and bury an object of sentimental value with the body.
Names – Number, Sequence, Meaning: Dwarves are given two names. Their first name is the name other dwarves refer to them by. The last name is the name of the clan they belong to: Ironheart, Stoutmantle, etc.
Social Stratification: Certain clans have more power than others but all dwarves are considered equal except those who belong to an exiled clan.
Political System – Legislative, Executive, Judicial: Dwarves have a fairly loose monarchy. It is typically left to clans to solve internal disputes. Disputes between clans are taken to court or ruled on by other governmental figures.
Military – Size, Strength, Description, Organization, Weapons: The dwarven military is extremely well trained and well equipped. Dwarven soldiers are professionals who spend their entire life serving their nation. During times of crisis, most other dwarves have at least rudimentary weapons training, making even a hastily assembled dwarven militia a force to be reckoned with.
- +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff.
- Medium: Dwarves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Slow and Steady: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
- Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
- Defensive Training: Dwarves get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
- Greed: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on Appraise skill checks made to determine the price of nonmagical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones.
- Hatred: Dwarves receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the orc and goblinoid subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.
- Hardy: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
- Stability: Dwarves receive a +4 racial bonus to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting a bull rush or trip attempt while standing on the ground.
- Stonecunning: Dwarves receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to potentially notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. They receive a check to notice such features whenever they pass within 10 feet of them, whether or not they are actively looking.
- Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word “dwarven” in its name as a martial weapon.