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Dwarves are a stoic but stern race, ensconced in cities carved from the hearts of mountains and fiercely determined to repel the depredations of savage races like orcs and goblins. More than any other race, the dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humourless craftsmen of the earth. It could be said that dwarven history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors.

Physical Description:

Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and males stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance, while females are slighter and smaller. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. A clean-shaven male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarf.

Female dwarves are considerably slighter and marginally shorter than the males. They have little to no facial hair, and fine body hair, much like a human.

Skin tones range from deep brown to a light tan, and hair colour is generally black, grey, red or brown.


The great distances between their mountain citadels account for many of the cultural differences that exist within dwarven society. Despite these schisms, dwarves throughout the world are characterized by their love of stonework, their passion for stone- and metal-based craftsmanship and architecture, and a fierce hatred of giants, orcs, and goblinoids.

Among all the humanoid races, the dwarves alone show a wide difference between the sexes, physically and culturally. Though males are often seen above ground, the less common female dwarf is rarely spotted outside of the depths of dwarven settlements. Male dwarves on average outnumber their womenfolk by three to one. Consequently, most dwarven cultures regard females as a precious commodity, to be protected and kept secret and hidden. Dwarven females are equally skilled at crafts. A conservative female dwarf is likely to remain in her clan community all her life, and to marry by arrangement of the clan elders. In some cultures it is normal for her to marry more than one male, in most cultures it is normal to bare children by different males - only in the most puritanical dwarven cultures are females expected to be exclusively bound to one male. Many dwarven women are exceptionally skilled at advising the male clan leaders, becoming - from behind the throne - the true powers in the clan. In some dwarven cultures, female rulership is the norm, with all males serving the will of a queen and her female relatives.

Female dwarven heroes are often rebels against what they see as the stifling oppression of male-dominated dwarven culture. Lacking their male counterparts' physical strength, they most often turn to cunning fighting.


Dwarves and orcs have long dwelt in proximity, theirs a history of violence as old as both their races. They find halflings, and elves to be too frail, flighty, or “pretty” to be worthy of proper respect. It is with humans that dwarves share the strongest link, for humans' industrious nature and hearty appetites come closest to matching those of the dwarven ideal.

Alignment and Religion:

Dwarves are driven by honour and tradition, and while they are often satirized as standoffish, they have a strong sense of friendship and justice, and those who win their trust understand that, while they work hard, they play even harder—especially when good ale is involved. Most dwarves are lawful good.

However, adventuring female dwarves tend to be neutral or chaotic, as most female dwarves that leave the community are rebels against their male-centred societies.


Although dwarven heroes are rare compared to humans, they can be found in most regions of the world. Dwarves often leave the confines of their redoubts to seek glory for their clans, to find wealth with which to enrich the fortress-homes of their birth, or to reclaim fallen dwarven citadels from racial enemies. Dwarven warfare is often characterized by tunnel fighting and melee combat, and as such most dwarves tend toward classes such as warriors and barbarians.

Dwarven racial traits

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 armour or encumbrance.

At home in the dark: Dwarves get low-light vision and Stonesight out to 60 feet.

Defensive Training: Dwarves get a +4 dodge bonus to Defence against monsters of the giant subtype.

Greed: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on skill checks made to determine the price of nonmagical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones, including Sense Motive and Bluff checks when bartering.

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.

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.

Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Common and Dwarven. Dwarves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon.

Male dwarves:

+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Males are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff.


• Stability: Dwarves receive a +4 racial bonus to their Combat Manoeuvre Defence when resisting a bull rush or trip attempt while standing on the ground.

• 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.

Female dwarves:

+2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength, -2 Charisma. Females are just as tough and wise and gruff as the male dwarves, but are more dextrous but not as strong


• Small: As a Small creature, a female dwarf gains a +1 size bonus to Defence, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.

• Shrewd: +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks

six20 System

dwarves.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/20 16:09 (external edit)