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, dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless artisans of the earth. It could be said that their 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.
Dwarves are lovers of history and tradition, and their long lifespan leads to far less in the way of generational shifts in attitudes, styles, fashions, and trends than shorter-lived races exhibit. If a thing is not broken, they do not fix it or change it; and if it is broken, they fix it rather than replace it. Thrifty as a rule, dwarves are loath to discard anything unless it is truly ruined and unable to be fixed. At the same time, dwarves’ meticulous, near-obsessive attention to detail and durability in their craftsmanship makes that a rare occurrence, as the things they make are built to last. As a result, buildings, artwork, tools, housewares, garments, weapons, and virtually everything else made by dwarves still sees regular use at an age when such items would be relegated to museum pieces, dusty antique shelves, or junkyard fodder by other races. Taken together, these traits create the impression that dwarves are a race frozen in time.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as dwarves are both thoughtful and imaginative, willing to experiment, if always keen to refine and perfect a new technique or product before moving on to the next one. Dwarves have achieved feats of metallurgy, stonework, and engineering that have consistently outpaced the technological advances of other races, though some non-dwarven races have used magic to supplement and perfect their own creations to achieve the same ends through mystical rather than mundane means. They are also a race typified by stubborn courage and dedication to seeing tasks through to completion, whatever the risks. These traits have led dwarves to explore and settle in extreme environments that would cause other races to quail and retreat. From the darkest depths of the underworld to the highest mountain peaks, from rusting iron citadels along desolate rocky coasts to squat jungle ziggurats, dwarves have established their enclaves and redoubts, holding them against all comers or perishing to the last and leaving only their enduring monuments to stand as their legacy. While it is said that dwarves are not venturesome or inventive, it would be more accurate to say that they maintain a focus on and dedication to each task they undertake and every change they adopt, vetting such changes thoroughly before adopting them wholeheartedly. When faced with new circumstances and new needs, they react by applying tried and true tools and techniques systematically, using existing methods whenever possible rather than trying to invent novel solutions for every situation. If necessity requires, however, they throw themselves with equal vigor into developing the next perfect procedure for demolishing the obstacles that get in their way. Once their desired goal is obtained, they focus on consolidating each new piece of territory or conceptual advance. Dwarves thus rarely overextend themselves, but they also may miss opportunities to seize the initiative and maximize the advantages they create.
Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the long length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. Clean-shavenness on a male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarven man.
Society: The great distances between dwarves’ mountain citadels account for many of the cultural differences that exist within their 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 their fierce hatred of giants, orcs, and goblinoids. In some remote enclaves, such as those areas where these races are uncommon or unheard of, dwarves’ fixation on security and safety combined with their rather pugnacious nature leads them to find enemies or at least rivals wherever they settle. While they are not precisely militaristic, they learned long ago that those without axes can be hewn apart by them, and thus dwarves everywhere are schooled to be ready to enforce their rights and claims by force of arms. When their patience with diplomacy is exhausted, dwarves do not hesitate to adopt what they call “aggressive negotiations.”
Relations: Dwarves and orcs have long dwelt in proximity to one another, and share a history of violence as old as both races. Dwarves generally distrust and shun half-orcs. They find elves, gnomes, and halflings 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 honor and tradition. While they are often stereotyped 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.
Adventurers: Although dwarven adventurers 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 fighters and barbarians.
Male Names: Dolgrin, Grunyar, Harsk, Kazmuk, Morgrym, Rogar.
Female Names: Agna, Bodill, Ingra, Kotri, Rusilka, Yangrit.
- Ability Score Racial Traits: Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, and –2 Charisma.
- Size: Dwarves are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Type: Dwarves are humanoids with the dwarf subtype.
- Base Speed: (Slow and Steady) Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
- 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. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
- Defensive Training: Dwarves gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
- Hardy: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
- Stability: Dwarves gain a +4 racial bonus to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting a bull rush or trip attempt while standing on the ground.
- Greed: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks made to determine the price of non-magical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones.
- Stonecunning: Dwarves gain a +2 bonus on Perception checks to 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.
- Darkvision: Dwarves can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.
- Hatred: Dwarves gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the orc and goblinoid subtypes because of their special training against these hated foes.
- 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.
The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.
- Ancient Enmity: Dwarves have long been in conflict with elves, especially the hated drow. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the elf subtype. This racial trait replaces hatred.
- Craftsman: Dwarves are known for their superior craftsmanship when it comes to metallurgy and stonework. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks related to metal or stone. This racial trait replaces greed.
- Deep Warrior: Dwarves with this racial trait grew up facing the abominations that live deep beneath the surface. They receive a +2 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the aberration type and a +2 racial bonus on combat maneuver checks made to grapple such creatures (or to continue a grapple). This racial trait replaces defensive training.
- Giant Hunter: Dwarves with this racial trait gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoids with the giant subtype. Furthermore, they gain a +2 bonus on Survival checks to find and follow tracks made by humanoids with the giant subtype. This racial trait replaces the hatred racial trait.
- Lorekeeper: Dwarves keep extensive records about their history and the world around them. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) checks that pertain to dwarves or their enemies. They can make such skill checks untrained. This racial trait replaces greed.
- Magic Resistant: Some of the older dwarven clans are particularly resistant to magic. Dwarves with this racial trait gain spell resistance equal to 5 + their character level. This resistance can be lowered for 1 round as a standard action. Dwarves with this racial trait take a –2 penalty on all concentration checks made in relation to arcane spells. This racial trait replaces hardy.
- Minesight: Dwarves with this racial trait increase the range of their darkvision to 90 feet; however, they are automatically dazzled in bright light and take a –2 penalty on saving throws against effects with the light descriptor. This racial trait replaces darkvision.
- Mountaineer: Mountain dwarves are skilled at climbing and navigating narrow ledges. Dwarves with this racial trait are immune to altitude sickness and do not lose their Dexterity bonus to AC when making Climb or Acrobatics checks to cross narrow or slippery surfaces. This racial trait replaces stability.
- Relentless: Dwarves are skilled at pushing their way through a battlefield, tossing aside lesser foes with ease. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +2 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to bull rush or overrun an opponent. This bonus only applies while both the dwarf and his opponent are standing on the ground. This racial trait replaces stability.
- Rock Stepper: Dwarves with this racial trait can skillfully negotiate rocky terrain. They can ignore difficult terrain created by rubble, broken ground, or steep stairs when they take a 5-foot step. This racial trait replaces stonecunning.
- Saltbeard: Dwarves occasionally found iron cities along rugged seacoasts, and natives of such cities gain a +2 bonus on Profession (sailor) and Survival checks while at sea. They gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls and a +2 dodge bonus to AC against creatures with the aquatic or water subtype. Their greed racial trait applies only to treasure found in or under the water, but applies to all such treasure regardless of whether or not it contains metal or gemstones. This racial trait replaces defensive training, hatred, and stonecunning.
- Sky Sentinel: As creatures with a deep affinity for the ground, dwarves are wary of attacks from above. Enemies on higher ground gain no attack roll bonus against dwarves with this racial trait, and they gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls, a +2 dodge bonus to AC, and a +2 bonus on Perception checks against flying creatures. This racial trait replaces defensive training, hatred, and stonecunning.
- Stonesinger: Some dwarves’ affinity for the earth grants them greater powers. Dwarves with this racial trait are treated as one level higher when casting spells with the earth descriptor or using granted powers of the Earth domain, the bloodline powers of the earth elemental bloodline, and revelations of the oracle’s stone mystery. This ability does not give them early access to level-based powers; it only affects the powers they could use without this ability. This racial trait replaces stonecunning.
- Stubborn: Dwarves are renowned for their stubbornness. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on Will saves to resist spells and spell-like abilities of the enchantment (charm) and enchantment (compulsion) schools. In addition, if they fail such a save, they receive another save 1 round later to prematurely end the effect (assuming it has a duration greater than 1 round). This second save is made at the same DC as the first. If the dwarf has a similar ability from another source (such as a rogue’s slippery mind), he can only use one of these abilities per round, but he can try the other on the second round if the first reroll ability fails. This racial trait replaces hardy.
- Surface Survivalist: Some dwarves have dwelt so long above ground they have lost their ability to see at night. However, their adaptation to extreme environments allows them to treat wind conditions (when determining whether or not they are checked or blown away) and either hot or cold climates (choose one) as one step less severe. This racial trait replaces darkvision.
- Xenophobic: Isolationist dwarves despise non-dwarven humanoids. They speak only Dwarven and do not gain any bonus languages from possessing a high Intelligence score. In addition, they learn only one language per 2 ranks of Linguistics they possess. However, their untrusting nature gives them a +1 bonus against mind-affecting effects, except for fear affects. This racial trait replaces a dwarf’s normal languages.
- Wyrmscourged: Dwarves with this racial trait gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 dodge bonus to AC and on saving throws against the extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities of dragons. They also gain a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks to identify dragons and can make such checks untrained. This racial trait replaces defensive training, hatred, and stonecunning.
You can combine various alternate racial traits above to create subraces or variant races, such as the following:
- Deep Delver: Dwarves living far below the earth have the minesight and deep warrior racial traits. Deep delver spellcasters may exchange stonecunning for the stonesinger trait.
- Elder Dwarf: Traditionalist dwarves of ancient lineage have the ancient enmity, lorekeeper, and either the magic resistant or stubborn racial traits.
- Exiled Dwarf: Dwarves who have lost their homelands usually have the relentless and stubborn racial traits, and often have wyrmscourged as well.
- Mountain Dwarf: Dwarves living atop high peaks have the mountaineer racial trait and often surface survivalist as well. Mountain dwarves are also trained to defend their homes, and may take the sky sentinel and xenophobic traits instead.
The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
- Alchemist: Add +1/4 to the alchemist’s natural armor bonus when using his mutagen.
- Barbarian: Add +1 to the barbarian’s total number of rage rounds per day.
- Bard: Reduce arcane spell failure chance for casting bard spells when wearing medium armor by +1%. Once the total reaches 10%, the bard also receives Medium Armor Proficiency, if he does not already possess it.
- Cavalier: Add +1/2 to the cavalier’s bonus to damage against targets of his challenge.
- Cleric: Select one domain power granted at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the cleric’s Wisdom modifier. The cleric adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that domain power.
- Druid: Select one domain power granted at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the druid’s Wisdom modifier. The druid adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that domain power.
- Fighter: Add +1 to the Fighter’s CMD when resisting a bull rush or trip.
- Gunslinger: Reduce the misfire chance for one type of firearm by 1/4. You cannot reduce the misfire chance of a firearm below 1.
- Inquisitor: Add +1/2 to the inquisitor’s level for the purpose of determining the effects of one type of judgment.
- Monk: Reduce the Hardness of any object made of clay, stone, or metal by 1 whenever the object is struck by the monk’s unarmed strike (minimum of 0).
- Oracle: Reduce the penalty for not being proficient with one weapon by 1. When the nonproficiency penalty for a weapon becomes 0 because of this ability, the oracle is treated as having the appropriate Martial or Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat with that weapon.
- Paladin: Add a +1 bonus on concentration checks when casting paladin spells.
- Ranger: Add a +1/2 bonus on wild empathy checks to influence animals and magical beasts that live underground.
- Rogue: Add a +1/2 bonus on Disable Device checks regarding stone traps and a +1/2 bonus to trap sense regarding stone traps.
- Sorcerer: Add +1/2 to acid and earth spell or spell-like ability damage.
- Witch: Add +1/4 natural armor bonus to the AC of the witch’s familiar.
- Wizard: Select one item creation feat known by the wizard. Whenever he crafts an item using that feat, the amount of progress he makes in an 8-hour period increases by 200 gp (50 gp if crafting while adventuring). This does not reduce the cost of the item; it just increases the rate at which the item is crafted.