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Races of the Shattered Lands, part III: Dwarves 
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Post Races of the Shattered Lands, part III: Dwarves

There was a time, long ago in the memories of man, but far fewer generations of the longer-lived races, when the dwarves ruled much of the world.

Two millennia ago, the Dwarven Dominions (Dal-Khazad) occupied most of the interior of the vast continent of Illyria, ruling tens of millions of non-dwarves as well as maintaining several human petty client kings in what was then known as the Westmarch. The Dominions were a combination of theocracy and league of kingdoms, with a High King of the Mountains and Valleys appointed by election upon the death the previous high king by the thanes, and a High Priest of the Stone Lord chosen from amongst the clergy. The High King and High Priest ruled the land together, in supposed harmony with each other, though some records indicate that there was near-continuous tension between the military and the clergy over the ultimate source of power in the Dominions.

About 1500 years ago, however, the power of the Dwarven Dominion was challenged by several forces around it. The human Septiman Empire was in the midst of a resurgence, as the Issari horselords had conquered the Empire without destroying it- giving it a much-needed martial spirit. The Dragon-Men of Rakosha had formed a unified state and with their dragon mounts, had caused significant devastation in the southern provinces of the Dominion. The men of the Westmarch were rising in rebellion as well, inspired by the words of the Broken Man, the prophet who predicted a terrifying end to the Dwarven Dominions.

No one knows exactly what happened within the recesses of the great capital of Nurn. It is believed that the Dwarves, in desperation, seeing their power crumbling, had tunnelled deeper and deeper within their mines, searching for some great power hidden within. It is believed, perhaps, that they awoke something truly awful.

No one survived in Nurn. It is a city of the dead, some of whom lie mouldering into dust, others of which walk in a twisted blasphemy of life.

In an instant, the greater part of the Dwarven race had been obliterated, simply murdered at best, at worst, damned to an existence infinitely worse than slavery, without joy, without hope, the death that walks.

The survivors of the Dwarven Dominions were the border garrisons facing the Westmarch and the Septiman Empire. As the lands that once belonged to the Dominion turned into blasted wildernesses infested with terrifying monsters, the Dwarves took it upon themselves to protect the green lands of the world, to atone for the monstrous sin they were sure their ancestors committed. Though their numbers were small (the border garrisons were woefully undermanned), their fortifications were immensely strong and the Dwarves found new purpose.

Over a millennium later, however, many Dwarves no longer really know why they alone must guard the frontier. Many Dwarves now leave their fortress-towns, pursuing work as craftsmen and mercenaries across the world, most especially in the staggeringly rich Phoenix Empire of Arcadia. Those that remain realize that they have fewer and fewer resources with which to hold the darkness. Their hearts remain solid as stone, but a small part of them fears what might happen if the darkness were to return ...

Description: The Dwarves are relatively short, usually about four feet tall, but weigh as much on average as humans due to stocky, muscular builds. Dwarven men almost universally sport long beards and mustaches, which are usually elaborately braided, with the beads in the beard telling of great deeds that the dwarf has wrought. Contrary to common legends among ignorant peasants, dwarven women are not naturally bearded. Dwarven eyes are usually grey like the stone they purport to come from and their skin is usually deeply tanned from exposure to harsh mountain sun and hot forges.

Personality: The Dwarves live by strict codes of honour, but even more so by their religion. Dwarves are virtually all monolatric in that they believe that there is only one god, El-Khaz (also known as the Stone Lord or simply as God) that is fit for dwarves to worship, though they acknowledge that other gods are good and fit for non-dwarves to worship. The precepts of dwarven religion put immense importance on hard work and honesty and dwarves work and fight with a zeal that is difficult to match among other races. Dwarves are also naturally rather reticent to share details about their culture and faith with foreigners as their observances are considered too holy for non-believers to witness.

Dwarven society is divided into three tiers, the churls, who are serfs in the service of nobles, freemen, who neither serve or are served, and the nobility, who command the obedience of churls. Great service to the kings of the various fortress towns can result in promotion, most commonly from the status of churl to freeman, but sometimes into the ranks of the nobility. Churls owe fealty to the nobles, but the nobles are expected to protect and provide for them in return. All dwarves, regardless of rank, are expected to work or to fight, and most do both.

Dwarves take friendship very seriously and if one manages to earn the friendship of a dwarf, it is expected that it be a friendship for life or even longer- it is not uncommon for a single dwarf to call themselves friend to three or even four generations of humans.

Racial Affinities: Dwarves dislike elves, partly for reasons of competition for power in impossibly ancient times, but primarily because they simply have such different worldviews. Dwarves are wary of gnomes, who are far too magical for their liking. They are impressed by the considerable cultural shift among halflings- "They're finally findin' their guts." is not an uncommon saying among dwarves regarding the smaller race. Though history has seen multiple conflicts between men and dwarves, they share an industriousness and hearty appetites and it is among humans that dwarves are most comfortable, aside from their own company.

Racial Attributes

Altitude Adaptation: Dwarves do not suffer ill effects from altitude sickness and are comfortable in the blasting heat of forges and the cold of a mountain blizzard.

Crafter: All Dwarves know at least one practical trade (mining, smithing, brewing) and treat all checks related to this trade as a Prime Check, adding their level as well.

Deepvision: As PHB.

Defensive Expertise: Dwarves are trained in fighting huge and powerful foes like giants and dragons. They receive a +2 bonus to armour class when fighting opponents of Huge or Larger size and to Strength saves against being grappled, tripped or knocked over by any opponent.

Determine Depth and Direction: As PHB

Dwarven Weapon Training: Dwarves are almost universally trained in combat, particularly with axes, hammers and picks which are also useful tools in crafting. Dwarven characters are proficient in the use of these weapons. If their class makes them proficient, they gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with these weapons instead.

Resistant to Arcane Magic: As PHB

Resistant to Fear: As PHB

Resistant to Poisons: As PHB

Stonecraft (Wisdom): As PHB

Languages: Common and Dwarven, can learn Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Elven, Ogrish, Giant and Troll
Size: Medium (they're short but very, very stocky)
Movement: 20 feet
Typical Classes: Fighter, Rogue, Barbarian, Cleric, Bard
Attribute Modifiers: +2 Constitution, +1 Wisdom, -2 Dexterity
Rogue and Assassin Modifier: As PHB

Tue May 02, 2017 1:14 am
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