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On Athas, dwarves aren’t subterranean miners. They are a long-lived but slowly dying race known for their relentless focus on a single task to the exclusion of all others. Stubborn and strong‐minded, dwarves make good companions, even though their focused nature can tend to become bothersome.
Physical Description: The dwarves of Athas have the stature of their kindred in other worlds – short, sturdy, and thickly muscled. Most dwarves have deep tans from lives spent toiling in the hot sun, with wide, callused hands and feet. They usually have little or no hair; the flowing beards that are the pride of male dwarves on other worlds are never seen the Athasian variety.
Personality: Dwarves are known for their stoicism and single-mindedness. They fix their minds on the task at hand, whether it is a challenging feat of engineering, an intricate work of craft, a struggle for survival, or a quest for revenger. It’s just not in their nature to abandon a task or leave work half done; dwarves set aside the object of their focus only after much grumbling and coercion.
Society: Dwarves are found intermingled with the human populations of the city-states; dwarves do not have communities to call their own anymore. The towns of Ledopolus are an ancestral home of the dwarves, so the dwarven population there is larger than it would be otherwise. In most city-states, dwarves congregate in certain neighborhoods to the exclusion of others.
Despite the current absence of dwarven cities or strongholds, dwarves have a rich cultural history passed down from generation to generation in great sagas and secret traditions. Long ago, dwarven cities were the marvel of the world, and the dwarves keep the tale of their past glories and bitter defeats alive across the centuries.
Relations: A dwarf’s relation with others is often a function of his focus. People that help the dwarf accomplish his focus or share his goals are treated with respect and considered good companions. There is little room for compromise, though, with those that disagree with the dwarf’s focus. If they hinder the dwarf, they are considered obstacles that must be removed, and not relating to his focus at all makes the being irrelevant. Community is important to the dwarves. Dwarves have a very strong racial affinity. They rarely share their history with non–dwarves; it can take years for a stranger to gain enough trust to be admitted into a dwarven family circle.
Alignment: Dwarves tend towards a lawful alignment, with most members either good or neutral. Their devotion to following the established hierarchy in their community means they tend to follow the rules, sometimes to the point of ridicule.
Religion: Most dwarves worship one of the sorcerer-kings, although many heed the words of elemental clerics, especially those of earth and fire. Dwarven druids are unusual, and tend to devote themselves to a particular area of guarded land.
Language: Dwarves have overwhelmingly adopted the language of the humans they live with. They only use their ancestral language of Dwarven among each other and on ceremonial occasions. The Dwarven language is deep and throaty, composed of many guttural sounds and harsh exclamations.
Adventurers: Dwarven adventurers are often driven by a focus that puts them in harm’s way, such as “map the ”/wikis/Jagged%20Cliffs%20Region/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Jagged Cliffs Region," “overthrow the sorcerer-king,” or “make enough money to buy the freedom of my family.”
Dwarf Racial Traits
- +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.
- Focus: Dwarves are notoriously single-minded, focusing on one task to the exclusion of others. This focus is something that can be simply stated, such as “overthrow the government,” “get the caravan to ”/wikis/Urik/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Urik," or “find the twelve ruby chrysalises.” Dwarves gain a +2 bonus on any skill checks, saving throws, and attack rolls made to accomplish their focus. A dwarf cannot change his focus without the GM‘s permission, and the +2 bonus can be denied if the GM decides it is too vague.
- 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.
- Hardy: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, psionics, 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.
- Wild Talent: Athasian dwarves gain the Wild Talent feat.
- Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Dwarven.
- Level Adjustment: +1