Dwarves live in sprawling underground kingdoms hewn from the living rock of Hyracanum’s mountain ranges. They stand between 4 and 5 feet in height, weighing around 100-150 pounds (dwarves are very solidly built!) with dark brown skin and hair colour ranging from dark iron to deep copper. For Dwarves, beards are a point of pride and it is considered the worst insult to cut one off.

They came into being when the Elemental Giants decided to create life in their own image, giving rise to Frost and Hill Giants, Cyclopes and Ogres along with Dwarves. The giants wanted beings small enough to fit into the tight spaces under the earth and mine for ores, and it fell to the Stone Giants living underground to craft them. It is a testament to their artistry that dwarves came out as cultured and intelligent as they did. To this day there is a shared affinity between Dwarves and Stone Giants that makes nearly all their interactions pleasant.

For the first few generations, Dwarves lived above as well as below ground. This is where the distinction between the two subraces came to be: Mountain Dwarves were subterranean from the start and Hill Dwarves were their surface-dwelling counterparts, but at a certain point (coinciding with the coming of Humans) they joined their cousins underground permanently. One offshoot of Hill Dwarves chose to remain on the surface and over the millennia they became today’s Halflings. There are also the Duergar (NPC only), an offshoot of Mountain Dwarves who went so deep into the Underdark that they reached the Inverted World and turned Evil.

Dwarves are serious, diligent and tenacious by nature, valuing the welfare of the community and deeply opposed to Evil. A typical NPC will be of Lawful Good alignment and adventurers tend toward Cleric, Fighter and Paladin classes, which reflect the classic Dwarven traits of tradition, strength and determination. Holy magic is welcomed by Dwarves, who all worship Moradin (said to be the immortal First Dwarf who still roams the Underdark), but they are suspicious of arcane magic. Sorcerers, Wizards and Warlocks are virtually unheard of, and, since Dwarves live underground, Druids and Rangers even more so; the Gloom Stalker sub-class of Ranger is the only one.

Of last note, all Dwarves have an unerring sense of direction and their ability to read stone means they can never get lost while underground. However, they are not natural swimmers and NPCs will almost never be able to even tread water. The myth that “dwarves sink like stones” is due to their cultural lack of exposure to the element, as Player Character Dwarves may certainly have picked up the ability to swim.

Standard PHB character creation rules apply, with one addition: Stonecunning also gives them the ability to judge distance below ground and a perfect recall of rock formations that helps them recognize any place they’ve been before. This translates as making a WIS check at Advantage for direction sense rolls.

Wild Dwarves

In isolated places like the Great Canyon Maze of the western Equatorial Desert or the southern slopes of the Zenobi Mountains, there exist barbaric tribes of Wild Dwarves. These hirsute (even the women have beards), non-literate folk lean heavily toward Chaotic Good alignment. Barbarians, Druids and Rangers are the most common PC classes amongst them, maybe Sorcerers and Warlocks, but never Wizards. Lacking formalized religion, there are no Clerics or Paladins, either. They still worship Moradin, however, with tribal Shamans for priests.

Wild Dwarves do not share their cousins’ aversion to water and inability to swim and many are quite capable of moving through it with ease.

NOTE: Wild Dwarves do not have the Tool Proficiency as noted in the PHB.

            Ability Score Increase: Dexterity increases by 1.

            Bonus Skill: All Wild Dwarves are trained from birth in Survival.

            Class Preferences: Barbarian, Druid, Ranger, Shaman

            Class Restrictions:Cleric, Monk, Paladin, Wizard

            Resilience: When reduced to 0 hit-points, instead of being incapacitated you drop to 1 hit-point. This effect lasts for 10 minutes, after which point you suffer Level 1 Exhaustion until you take a short or long rest. You must take a long rest before you can use this ability again.