Post by ancientempathy on Oct 27, 2010 13:27:36 GMT -5
Regions: Dragon Coast, Dwarf (gold), Unther, Western Heartlands. Gold dwarves native to the Great Rift should select the gold dwarf region. Racial Feats: Hammer Fist, Metallurgy, Skyrider, Stoneshaper. Racial Prestige Class: Battlerager.
Found largely in the South in the immediate vicinity of the Great Rift, gold dwarves are the dominant southern branch of the Stout Folk. Renowned not only for their smith work and craftsmanship but also for their military prowess and legendary wealth, gold dwarves have maintained their empire for millennia, unbowed by the passage of time.
For generations, the Deep Kingdom of the gold dwarves has stood unconquered, dominating the surface lands and subterranean caverns that surround the Great Rift. As their numbers never declined in the face of endless warfare like their northern cousins, the Thundering Blessing has actually filled the great caverns of the Deep Kingdom beyond their capacity. As a result, for the first time in many years, large numbers of gold dwarves are setting out to establish new strongholds across the South and the rest of Faerun, including the Smoking Mountains of Unther and the Giant’s Run Mountains of the Shining Plains.
Averaging 4 feet tall and weighing as much as an adult human, gold dwarves are stocky and muscular. The skin of a gold dwarf is light brown or deeply tanned, and her eyes are usually brown or hazel. Both genders wear their hair long, and males (and some females) have long, carefully groomed beards and mustaches. Hair color ranges from black to gray or brown, with all shades fading to light gray as time progresses.
Like their northern kin, gold dwarves harbor a great deal of pride, both in their own accomplishments and those of their ancestors. They also share the philosophy that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that the natural world is but raw material to be worked into objects of great beauty. Unlike the long-beleaguered shield dwarves, gold dwarves have not faced a serious challenge to their way of life for thousands of years. Confident and secure in their isolated realm, gold dwarves do not share the pessimism or fatalism of their shield dwarven brethren. To the contrary, having seen the rise and fall of countless elven, human, and shield dwarven empires, their endurance has fostered a deep-seated belief that their traditions and culture are superior to those of all other races.
Gold dwarves have the life expectancy, age categories, height, and weight defined for dwarves in tables 6-4, 6-5, and 6-6 in the Player’s Handbook.
Founded more than sixteen thousand years ago, the original dwarven homeland of Bhaerynden occupied a vast cavern deep beneath the southern plains ruled by the elves of Ilythiir. Bhaerynden claimed great swaths of the Underdark, but remained largely unknown in the Realms Above. Little is known about the history of Bhaerynden except that a great exodus of dwarves led by Taark Shanat the Crusader left to found a new kingdom in the west about -11,000 DR. The end of the elven Crown Wars and the Descent of the Drow in the years after -10,000 DR directly precipitated the fall of Bhaerynden. The first drow civilizations arose in the southern Underdark around -9600 DR, but the drow quickly directed their anger against the Stout Folk. Within the space of six centuries, the Stout Folk had been scattered and the drow empire of Telantiwar ruled supreme in the dwarf-carved halls of fallen Bhaerynden.
The collapse of the cavern of Bhaerynden destroyed Telantiwar and created the Great Rift, scattering the drow around -7600 DR, Gold dwarves believe Moradin destroyed Telantiwar with a blow of his axe, but scholars of other races have suggested that the drow weakened the cavern roof through excessive tunneling and reliance on magic to support the ceiling’s weight. In the aftermath of Telantiwar’s fall, there was a great scramble to claim new territory in the Underdark. The Stout Folk quickly returned to their ancestral home and established the Deep Realm, occupying lesser caverns and miles of tunnels spreading out under the Eastern Shaar. Drow refugees claimed lesser caverns to the north, south, and west of the Great Rift, establishing cities in nearby lands.
In the millennia that followed, the Stout Folk of the Deep realm became known as gold dwarves. Once the borders of their realm were firmly established and defended, they set about building great subterranean cities and harvesting the bounty of the earth. While external threats from the drow and other Underdark races such as aboleths, cloakers, illithids, ixzans, and kuo-toa never entirely abated, no other race could match the unity of purpose evinced by the gold dwarves, and the sanctity of the Deep Realm was never challenged. The dwarves profited in trade with each successive human empire that reached their Great Rift, including ancient Jhaamdath, the folk of Mulhorand and Unther in their heyday, the Shoon Imperium at its height, and in more recent centuries the mercantile Chondathan nations of the Inner Sea.
In 1306 DR, the Thunder Blessing shook the gold dwarves out of their millennia-long quiescence. In the decades that followed, a burgeoning population forced the gold dwarves to seek out new caverns to claim and settle across the South, upsetting the long-held status quo of the southern Underdark. The largest exodus to date from the Deep Realm began in 1369 DR, when the Army of Gold set out on a great crusade to reclaim the caverns of Taark Shanat and restore the glory of Shanatar, the ancient kingdom of the shield dwarves. That expedition has become bogged down in warfare with the Army of Steel, dispatched by the gray dwarves of Underspires. Fierce battles rage in the tunnels beneath the Lake of Steam and the Cloven Mountains.
Gold dwarves measure others by how much honor and wealth each individual garners as well as the status of his or her bloodline and clan. To gold dwarves, life is best lived through adherence to the ancient traditions of the Deep Realm. The very persistence of their own way of life indicates that other short-lived cultures are inherently flawed. As such, those who lack a meaning cultural tradition or reject their elders’ dictates are untrustworthy and possibly dangerous.
From birth, gold dwarves are taught to conform to the traditional strictures of their society. Every important decision, from choice of profession to their mate, is dictated by the circumstances of their birth. Those who do not act honorably in their dealings are shunned from an early age, breeding a tremendous societal pressure to fit in.
Gold dwarves lack the longstanding tradition of adventuring found in their shield dwarf cousins in the north. However, population pressures induced by the Thunder Blessing have given birth to a new generation of gold dwarf adventurers. Most gold dwarves who wander beyond the familiar confines of the Deep Realm do so in order to found new strongholds of their own, but many find the lure of adventuring hard to ignore once it has entered into their blood.
Gold Dwarf Characters
Gold dwarves are painfully aware that many once-proud empires have been brought low, and they are therefore vigilant about maintaining their own. The keen awareness gold dwarves hold of the dangers too their eternal rule ensure that all gold dwarves are trained to fight from a young age. Most are trained as fighters, although clerics, paladins, rangers, rogues, and even the occasional arcane spellcaster play important roles in defending the Deep Realm. Gold dwarf sorcerers usually trace their ancestry back to a powerful dragon or some creature of elemental earth or fire. Common multiclass combinations include fighter/cleric, fighter/paladin, and fighter/expert. Favored Class: A gold dwarf’s favored class is a fighter. Only a strong and fierce military tradition has kept the Deep Realm secure from its enemies above and below, a result of generations of gold dwarves training as fighters. Prestige Classes: Battleragers are legendary dwarven warriors who can enter a battle frenzy through ritual singing. Given to drinking, rowdy and boisterous singing, and drunken dancing, battleragers love to plunge into close-quarters battle, heedless of any danger. Most battleragers are shield dwarves, but a small number of gold dwarves rebelling against the discipline and tradition of their society have joined the ranks of the berserkers.
More disciplined gold dwarves lean toward the dwarven defender or divine champion classes.
Gold Dwarf Society
Gold dwarf culture does not exhibit a great deal of variability, the result of generations of gold dwarves insulated from outside influences. Class and clan divisions are strong among gold dwarves, and great importance is attributed to bloodlines when ascribing social status. However, the Deep Realm is so swamped with petty, decadent royals and nobles that little real power is invested in anyone but the governing council of clan elders. Commerce and craftsmanship both play an important role in gold dwarf society, as does the never-satiated grasping for more riches. Pride and honor play an important role in all aspects of daily life, for disgrace applies not only to oneself, but also to kin, clan, and long-dead ancestors.
Gold dwarves are raised in tight family unites, but the clan elders play an important oversight role in the upbringing of every child. Book learning is common, as is an apprenticeship to learn a trade. All adults are expected to support themselves and their family as well as bring honor and riches to the clan. Ostentatious displays of wealth are important for maintaining one’s prestige, so poorer gold dwarves often scrimp and save to keep up appearances. As gold dwarves age, they are accorded increasing respect for their wisdom. Clan elders form a ruling gerontocracy that strongly enforces traditional practices. Families and clans are expected to honor their elders in death with elaborate funeral rites and tombs befitting the deceased’s reputation.
Outside the Deep Realm, gold dwarves hold themselves apart, forming small, insular enclaves that attempt to replicate traditional clan life. Few gold dwarves have any interest in adopting local practices except where it furthers their ability to hawk their wares.
Language and Literacy
Like all dwarves, gold dwarves speak a dialect of Dwarven and employ the Dethek rune alphabet. They also speak Common, the trade language of the Realms Above. The primary gold dwarven dialect (sometimes referred to as Riftspeak) has changed little since the glory days of Bhaerynden. Gold dwarves dwelling in the colonies in Unther and the Giant’s Run often learn the languages of the nearby lands.
Common secondary languages reflect the extensive trading contacts maintained by gold dwarves with their neighbors in the South and include Shaaran, Untheric, and, to a lesser extent, Durpari, Dambrathan, Mulhorandi, Halfling, and Halruaan. Gold dwarves who have extensive contact with other subterranean races often learn Terran, Gnome, or Undercommon.
All gold dwarf characters are literate except barbarians (who are very unusual among the folk of this ancient civilization).
Gold Dwarf Magic and Lore
Gold dwarves have a strong divine spellcasting tradition, with many of the Stout Folk called to serve the Morndinsamman as clerics, paladins, rune casters, or runesmiths. Arcane spellcasters are much rarer, but they do exist.
Spells and Spellcasting
Gold dwarves favor spells that aid their abilities in combat or assist in craftwork or mining. Most are divine spellcasters, but the gold dwarves’ millennia-old civilization has ensured both ancient libraries of wizardry and strange, sorcerous bloodlines. Spellcasting Tradition: Many gold dwarves take the Gold Dwarf Dweomersmith feat, which grants them advantages when creating or enhancing weapons with magic. Unique Spells: Gold dwarves have created many spells over the years, many of which are now employed by the Stout Folk across Faerun. One such example is detect metals and minerals.
Gold Dwarf Magic Items
Gold dwarves favor magic items that aid in combat, facilitate craftwork, provide personal protection or comfort, guard against theft, or are adorned with fine metals and gems. Blades and axes are commonly crafted with keen, holy, lawful, mighty cleaving, sundering, and stunning special abilities. Hammers and maces are commonly crafted with holy, impact, lawful, returning, stunning, sundering, and throwing special abilities. Armor is typically crafted with fortification, invulnerability, reflection, and spell resistance special abilities, reflecting a long tradition of battles against the drow and other creatures of the Underdark. Common Magic Items: Magic items particularly prevalent in the Great Rift and the trade cities at its edge include anvil of the blacksmith, belt of dwarvenkind, forge of smithing, hammer of the weapon smith, and tongs of the armorer. Iconic Magic Items: Gold dwarves have fabricated many unique magic items, but they are best known for the stonereaver greataxes.
Gold Dwarf Deities
Gold dwarves have venerated the dwarven deities of the Morndinsamman since the founding of Bhaerynden, but centuries of relative isolation and security have made their culture far less religious in nature than their shield dwarven kin. Among gold dwarves the churches of Moradin and Berronar are so predominant and have been for so long that many lesser dwarven deities enjoy little more than token obeisance. High-ranking clerics of both faiths command a great amount of institutional authority in gold dwarf society. The clerics of Berronar’s faith are responsible for preserving records of the extraordinarily ancient genealogy of the noble families and serve as the guardians of tradition in the home and community.
All gold dwarves revere the Soul Forger as the founder of the dwarven race, and his church is the predominant faith of the Deep Realm, centered in the monastic city of Thuulurn. Moradin’s clerics sponsor many crafts folk, particularly armorers and weapon smiths, and serve as the principle judges and magistrates of gold dwarf society. The Soul Forger’s faithful are drawn primarily from those who labor as smiths, craft folks, or engineers, but he is also seen as the protector of the entire dwarven race and is thus worshiped by many lawful good dwarves regardless of profession.
Relations with other Races
Confident and secure in their remote home, gold dwarves have a well-deserved reputation for haughtiness and pride. They look down on all other dwarves, even shield dwarves and gray dwarves whose achievements and kingdoms have matched the glory of their own. Gold dwarves regard elves and half-elves with suspicion after generations spent battling their deep-dwelling cousins. Gnomes, particularly deep gnomes, are well regarded and welcomed as trading partners. Their impression of halflings is shaped by the strongheart inhabitants of Luiren, whom gold dwarves find to be suitably industrious and forthright.
Gold dwarves know little of half-orcs, but usually lump them in with the rest of orc and goblinoid scum. Gold dwarves are very cautious in their dealings with humans, having found great variability in their dealings with Chondathans, the folk of Dambrath, Durpari, Mulan, Shaarans, and Halruaans. Planetouched are almost unknown but are usually viewed in the same light as the Mulan, since most plane touched the gold dwarves encounter are either Mulan aasimar or earth genasi followers of Geb.
Gold Dwarf Equipment
The gold dwarf craft guilds have had centuries to master their artisanship, so almost any finished good has some filigree, runic mark, or other decoration that marks it as unmistakably the work of the gold dwarves. Even a simple bucket will have carefully marked gradations along the inside, graven runes identifying its owner, and a curved handle shaped to fit a thick dwarven hand. Common Items: Sunrods, thunderstones. Unique Items: Gold dwarves commonly employ well-engineered equipment such as mobile braces and rope climbers. The hippogriff-mounted skyriders of the Great Rift are known to employ drogue wings and exotic military saddles.
Arms and Armor
Gold dwarves favor a wide range of weapons, including battleaxes, crossbows, gauntlets, hand axes, heavy picks, light hammers, light picks, mauls, throwing axes, and war hammers.
More unusual weapons include dwarven urgroshes and dwarven waraxes. Typical forms of armor include breastplates, half-plate, full plate, scale mail, large steel shields, and small steel shields. Common Items: Battleaxe, light crossbow, heavy picks, dwarven urgrosh, scale mail, full plate armor. The gold dwarves manufacture adamantine heavy picks and battleaxes for those who can afford such things; adamantine weapons are available at a 10% discount in the Great Rift.
Animals and Pets
Gold dwarves favor small lizards such as the spitting crawler and shocker lizard for pets and familiars. Deep rothe are the preferred type of livestock. They employ pack lizards and mules as beasts of burden, usually breeding the latter from Lhesperan or Meth horses crossed with donkeys. Gold dwarves commonly use riding lizards as steeds in subterranean locales, and war ponies for travel in the surface lands. The gold dwarf skyriders of the Great Rift employ hippogriffs as aerial mounts.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Post by ancientempathy on Oct 27, 2010 13:28:29 GMT -5
Regions: Damara, Dwarf (shield), Impiltur, the North, Silverymoon, Vaasa, the Vast, and Western Heartlands. Racial Feats: Azerblood, Batrider, Hammer Fist, Oral History, Stoneshaper. Racial Prestige Class: Battlerager.
Found largely in the northern reaches of western and central Faerun, shield dwarves are the dominate northern branch of the Stout Folk. Renowned for their smith work and craftsmanship, shield dwarves have endured a centuries-long decline in the face of never-ending wars with orcs, goblins, giants, and trolls.
Shield dwarves are descended from the founders of Shanatar, a legendary dwarven empire that once ruled the caverns beneath modern-day Amn, Tethyr, and Calimshan. After Shanatar fell, the shield dwarves migrated north, founding kingdoms such as Ammarindar, Delzoun, Gharraghaur, Haunghdamar, Oghrann, and Sarbreen. Although those kingdoms have also largely fallen, the Stout Folk of the North endure. The Thunder Blessing has served as a welcome reprieve for the beleaguered shield dwarves, giving hope that the descendants of ancient Shanatar may one day reclaim the glory of their forebears.
Taller be half a foot than their gold dwarf cousins, shield dwarves average 4 ½ feet tall and weigh as much as an adult human. The skin of a shield dwarf is fair or lightly tanned, and her eyes are usually green or silvered blue. Both genders wear their hair long, and males (and a very few females) have long, carefully groomed beards and mustaches. Hair color ranges from light brown to red, with all shades fading to silver or white as time progresses.
Shield dwarves keep to their word, whatever the cost, and are incredibly stubborn, unwilling to concede an inch unless there is absolutely no alternative. Such intransigence has enabled dwindling shield dwarf population to hold on to ancient strongholds with just a fraction of their original defenders. However, it has also led to clan feuds and long-standing misunderstandings with other races that have sapped the strength of the Stout Folk. Shield dwarves love worked beauty, seeing the world as raw material to be forged and shaped into something more than the original.
Shield dwarves have the life expectancy and age categories defined for dwarves in Tables 6-4 and 6-5 of the Player’s Handbook, but use the following random height and weight characteristics instead of those described on Table 6-6:
Shield dwarves trace their history back to Taark Shanat, third son of the great ruling clan of Bhaerynden. In the legendary times more than twelve thousand years ago, the Great Crusader and his eight sons led a great westward migration of dwarves from Bhaerynden in hopes of founding a new homeland. The Cloaker Wars pitted the dwarves who followed Shanat against the mysterious inhabitants of Rringlor Noroth, who rose from the depths of a great chasm in a battle for control of the caverns of Alatorin. The Stout Folk eventually prevailed, after Taark slew four blue dragons who claimed the Rift of Dhalnadar as their demesne. By the hand of one of the dwarven gods, probably Dumathoin, the skulls of the four wyrms came together with a throne that emerged from the cavern floor to form the Wrymskull Throne. Taark renamed the wyrm’s lair Brightaxe Hall and founded of the kingdom of Alatorin. Shield dwarves mark the founding of Alatorin as the beginning of the First Great Age of Shanatar.
Once Alatorin was established, the eight sons of Taark Shanat set off to found their own kingdom in the caverns to the north (beneath modern-day Tethyr and Amn). Each son claimed one of the children of Moradin as his patron deity and so each of the subkingdoms they established became tightly linked with the church of that particular god or goddess. Around -9000 DR, skirmishing broke out between the eight northern kingdoms, as each fought to extend its borders at the expense of its neighbors. Over time, the skirmishes evolved into open warfare, pitting thousands of dwarves against one another.
While these wars raged, the drow of Guallidurth took advantage of the dwarves’ distraction to attack the caverns of Alatorin, which were far removed from the frontlines of the fighting. The First Spider War was fought from -8170 DR to -8150 DR and ended with the capture of Brightaxe Hall and the collapse of Alatorin. Aghast at their folly, the eight reigning kings of that era forged an armistice, and turning their armies against the drow. The Second spider War raged from -8145 DR to -8137 DR, and ended with the drow retreating from the caverns of Alatorin.
In triumph, the eight kings marched their armies back into Brightaxe Hall, pledging never again to fight one another. Seeking to reclaim the vision of Taark Shanat, the eight kings pleaded with their gods to pick one of them to sit on the Wyrmskull Throne. In response, the gods revealed the visage of the reigning king of Ultoksamrin, high priest of Dumathoin. Shield dwarves mark this event as the beginning of the Second Age of Shanatar and the elevation of Dumathoin as patron of their race.
Despite their newfound unity, dissension still lurked within the breasts of many of Shanatar’s citizens. The kings of both Barakuir and Drakkalor both thought that they were entitled to sit on the Wrymskull Throne, backed by the whisperings of their gods who had sought to have Moradin name them the patron of the shield dwarves. Before such dissent could erupt into open strike, the illithids of Oryndoll attacked the eastern subkingdoms in -8100 DR, beginning a conflict that came to be known as the Mindstalker Wars to the dwarves and the War of Cloven Thoughts to the mind flayers. The illithids were driven back by -8080 DR, but in their wake the surviving Stout Folk discovered that the caverns of Barakuir, which had been cut off in the early days of the fighting, lay empty. Clan Duergar had been carried back to thralldom in the mind flayers’ realm.
The Second Age of Shanatar lasted for nearly 1,800 years. Around -6150 DR, the drow of Guallidurth once again attacked the caverns of Alatorin. The Third Spider War lasted nearly thirty years but ended with the Stout Folk abandoning Brightaxe Hall to the Drow. The dwarven refugees brought the Wrymskull Throne with them, marking the end of the Second Age of Shanatar.
As the Third age of Shanatar dawned, the emperor of Shanatar made plans to establish a new subkingdom in the Realms Above. Dwarven scouts were sent up to the surface around -6100 DR, where they allied with the humans of the region to oust the remaining djinni despots. The alliance between the dwarves and the humans quickly foundered because the rulers of Coramshan turned to evil gods. In response, the dwarves claimed the surface lands of the Marching Mountains as their own, establishing the kingdom of High Shanatar around -5960 DR.
High Shanatar flourished for centuries under the rule of House Axemarch, but the seeds of its destruction were planted within a century of its establishment. A conflict over a looted tomb led to a skirmishing and eventually open warfare. The First Kingdom of Mir was established after Iltaker fell to Murabir Mir of Coramshan in -5330 DR, marking the beginning of the centuries-long expansion of Calimshan at the expense of High Shanatar. By -2600 DR, the last known dwarves of High Shanatar had fallen on the northern banks of the Sulduskoon River, and high Shanatar was no more.
As High Shanatar struggled to hold on to its territories in southwestern Faerun, Deep Shanatar struggled with challenges of its own. Successive waves of emigration led many young dwarves north to found new realms but also depleted the ranks of those who remained. Over time, the northern kingdoms of Drakkolor, Korolnor, Sondarr, Torglor, and Xothaerin slowly dwindled away as their inhabitants migrated north. The kingdom of Oghrann was established beneath the Plains of Tun in -5125 DR. The coastal realm of Haunghdannar was established in the northern Sword Mountains and along the north Sword Coast in -4974 DR. Ammarindar was found beneath the Graypeak Mountains around -4160 DR, the Delzoun, the Northkingdom, rose beneath what is now the Silver Marches around -3900 DR.
Unfortunately for the shield dwarves, their conquests in the North proved illusory, and the glory of Shanatar was never reborn. Oghrann fell in -3770 DR, and Haunghdannar in -3389 DR. Delzoun and Ammarindar lasted many more centuries, but the Northkingdom eventually succumbed in -100 DR, and Ammarindar was overrun in 882 DR by lingering horrors unleashed by the Netherese of Ascalhorn.
In the South, after centuries of decline, the final fall of Deep Shanatar was precipitated by the Stout Folk themselves. Impelled by centuries of bitter resentment, Clan Duergar invaded Ultoksamrin and Holorarar around -1800 DR in a series of conflicts known as the Kin Clashes. Only Iltkazar survived the gray dwarf invasion, leaving Shanatar fallen in all but name.
Despite their centuries-long decline and deserved reputation for dourness and cynicism, shield dwarves have never succumbed to fatalism. Shield dwarves have traditionally been divided into two camps—The Hidden and the Wanderers---although such divisions have begun to fade since the Thunder Blessing. While members of the former group have literally hidden themselves away from the outside world, content to pursue their traditional way of life, members of the latter group have gone out into the world, unbowed by their race’s relentless decline.
Shield dwarves are traditionally slow to trust and slow to forget slights, but a dawning realization of their race’s plight has left many willing to seek out new ways of doing things unconstrained by traditional prejudices or practices. Shield dwarves have a long and proud tradition of adventuring, and many shield dwarves follow this route simply in hopes of equaling or exceeding the deeds of those who have come before. Others seek to recover long-lost strongholds and treasures that have fallen to orcs or other beasts. Since the Thunder Blessings, the question for many young shield dwarves is not why they should become adventurers, but why they should not.
Shield Dwarf Characters
Constant warfare with orcs, goblins, trolls, and giants have imbued a strong martial tradition in shield dwarf culture. Most dwarves learn to defend their homes and clan, with fighters, paladins, and martial clerics being commonplace. Other shield dwarves focus on time-honored skills, following the path of the expert or the rogue. Arcane spellcasters are quite rare, with few of sorcerous inclination. Common multiclass combinations include fighter/cleric, fighter/paladin, and fighter/expert. Favored Class: A shield dwarf’s favored class is fighter. For centuries shield dwarves have fought a war of genocidal destruction against the orcs, goblins, trolls, and giants of the North. Fighters have always served at the core of shield dwarf armies, ever defiant in the face of overwhelming odds. Prestige Classes: Battleragers are legendary dwarven warriors who can enter a divine battle frenzy through ritualistic singing. Given to drinking, rowdy and boisterous singing, and drunken dancing, battleragers love to plunge into close-quarters battles, heedless of any danger.
Shield dwarves of some accomplishment frequently adopt the dwarven defender prestige class, and many of their clerics become runecasters.
Shield Dwarf Society
Although clan and class divisions were once strong among shield dwarves, generations of decline have largely broken their once-dominant influence. While shield dwarves are still incredibly proud of their bloodlines, individual accomplishment now counts for more than longstanding tradition or the dictates of clan elders. Shield dwarven life among the Hidden is still dominated by craft and forge, but increasing numbers of shield dwarves are making their own way in the world as adventurers or as crafts-folk dwelling in human dominated communities.
Shield dwarves are raised in tight family units, with clan elders playing a diminishing role in overseeing their upbringing. Book learning is common, and most children are apprenticed to learn a trade as they near maturity. Adult shield dwarves are expected to support themselves and their family as well as bring honor and riches to the clan. While shield dwarves do not shy away from displays of wealth, they avoid ostentatious or decadent behavior. As shield dwarves age, they are honored for their wisdom and accorded respect for their past accomplishments. Families and clans are expected to honor their elders in death with solemn funereal rites and tombs befitting the deceased’s reputation and accomplishments.
Generations of Wanderers have created large and thriving dwarven enclaves within most human settlements, with all shield dwarves welcome as part of the loosely knit dwarven “clan”. Shield dwarves occupy the roles of smith or craftsmen in many human communities and are well respected for their skill as artisans. Few shield dwarves turn away from veneration of the Morndinsamman, but most are quick to learn the local trade tongue and make friends with other races.
Language and Literacy
Like all dwarves, shield dwarves speak Dwarven and employ the Dethek rune alphabet. They also speak Common. The primary shield dwarven dialect, Shanatan, dates back to the founding of Shanatar and is still spoken by dwarves along the Sword Coast from the Shining Sea to the Spine of the World. To the east, in northcentral Faerun, most shield dwarves speak the Galenan dialect, strongly influenced by the Damaran human tongue.
Common secondary languages reflect the extensive trading contacts maintained by shield dwarves with their neighbors in the North and include Chondathan, Illuskan, and, to a lesser extent, Elven and Gnome. The shield dwarves of northcentral Faerun are more apt to learn Damaran than Illuskan as a secondary language. Many shield dwarves also learn the languages of their traditional foes, including Draconic, Giant, Goblin, and Orc.
All shield dwarf characters are literate except for barbarians.
Shield Dwarf Magic and Lore
Shield dwarves have been engaged in a perpetual war against goblinoids and giants for centuries, so their magic reflects a martial bent. Anything that helps slay more giants is a welcome addition to the shield dwarf arsenal.
Among the Hidden, magic from Illusion and Abjuration schools are immensely important, because they guard a dwarf clan from discovery and attack. The Hidden create layer after layer of protective spells to guard every entrance to their strongholds. Many an invading orc horde has been tricked into leaving or frustrated into exhaustion without ever seeing the shield dwarves they’re fighting.
Spells and Spellcasting
Shield dwarves have a strong divine spellcasting tradition, with many of the Stout Folk called to serve the Morndinsamman as clerics, paladins, runecasters, or runesmiths. Arcane spellcasters are much more rare, but increasing in number. Spellcasting Traditions: Shield dwarves often take the Shield Dwarf Warder feat, which reflects their knack for creating armor and shields with magic. Unique Spells: Shield dwarves have created many divine spells over the years, including mindless rage and shape metal.
Racial Magic Items
Shield dwarves favor magic items that aid in combat, whether offensively or defensively. Whether magic is best employed to protect or attack is a centuries-old argument among the shield dwarves, with Wanderers favoring magic weapons and Hidden favoring magic armor. In any case, all shield dwarves revere any magic item that facilitates craftwork, because the urge to create flows strongly in dwarven blood.
Axes and other blades are commonly crafted with keen, holy, lawful, flaming, flaming burst, mighty cleaving, sundering, and stunning special abilities. Hammers and maces are commonly crafted with holy, impact, lawful, returning, shock, shocking burst, stunning, sundering, and throwing special abilities. Armor is typically crafted with fire resistance, fortification, and invulnerability special abilities, reflecting a long tradition of battles against orcs, goblinoids, trolls, and giants, and a deep understanding of metalworking. Common Magic Items: Common examples of items favored by shield dwarves include anvils of the blacksmith, belts of dwarvenkind (often as gifts to nondwarves who help a dwarf clan), boots of the winterland’s, forges of smithing, hammers of weaponsmith, tongs of the armorer, and whetstones of keen edge. Iconic Magic Items: Shield dwarves have fabricated many unique magic items as well, such as doorbreakers, hammers of staggering blows, and stonereavers. They are justly famous for foesplitter axes, which are +1 keen battleaxes.
Shield Dwarf Deities
Shield dwarves have venerated the dwarven deities of the Morndinsamman since the dawn of Shanatar, although their mythology has evolved significantly over the millennia. Taark Shanat and his followers in Alatorin venerated Moradin and Berronar, but worship of those two deities receded as Taark’s eight sons set out to found their own kingdoms, each choosing a patron deity of his own from among their eight children: Dumathoin, Laduguer, Abbathor, Clangeddin Silverbeard, Vergadain, Sharindlar, and the twins Diinkarazan and Diirinka.
When the eight kings came together to choose who would first sit on the Wrymskull Throne, Moradin selected the king of Ultoksamrin, who was also the high priest of Dumathoin. This act cemented the Silent Keeper’s position as patron deity of the shield dwarves but strongly disappointed Dumathoin’s chief rivals, eventually leading to Laduguer’s bitter exile and Abbathor’s enduring corruption. By the fall of Shanatar, the shield dwarves had abandoned the worship of Laduguer, Diinkarazan, and Diirinka, while younger gods such as Thard Harr, Gorm Gulthyn, Marthammor Duin, Dugmaren Brightmantle, and Haela Brightaxe had arisen.
Dumathoin is considered the patron of shield dwarves, and his church has by far the most adherents among shield dwarves. Miners and smiths venerate the Silent Keeper, but he also has a small following among those good- and neutral-aligned shield dwarves seeking secrets of arcane lore. The Mountain Shield is also considered the guardian of the dead and is propitiated by most shield dwarves during burials. Dumathoin’s clerics take charge of all burials, inter the dead in secret vaults, and guard the funereal wealth of great shield dwarves.
Marthammor Duin, the Finder-of-Trails, is venerated by those shield dwarves who consider themselves Wanderers. He watches over good-aligned adventurers, craftsfolk, explorers, expatriates, travelers, and wanderers. Marthammor has a secondary aspect as the dwarven god of lightning, which curiously has attracted a small but growing number of wizards and sorcerers who specialize in evocation magic.
Relations with other Races
Shield dwarves get along well with most other dwarven subraces, although they regard gold dwarven arrogance as naïve and have little understanding for their barbaric wild and arctic dwarven kin. Shield dwarves have a longstanding enmity for the descendants of Clan Duergar, dating back to the Kin Clashes that marked Shanatar’s final chapter, and they attack Duergar on sight.
Despite centuries of squabbling with elves and half-elves, shield dwarves have always managed to put aside their differences with the Tel-quessir in the face of outside threats. Shield dwarves have always gotten along well with gnomes, particularly rock gnomes and deep gnomes. Colored by their experience with lightfoots, shield dwarves find Halflings to be somewhat unreliable but easy to get along with. Shield dwarves get along well with most humans, particularly Illuskans, Tethyrians, Chondathans, and Damarans.
Shield dwarves see half-orcs as little better than their hated brethren, although exceptions do exist. The Stout Folk of the North associate most planetouched with the horrors of Hellgate Keep and view them with suspicion. Earth genasi are a notable exception and are commonly welcomed in dwarven delves across the North.
Shield Dwarf Equipment
Shield dwarves commonly employ equipment such as armor lubricant, mobiles braces, rope climbers, thunderstones, and sunrods.
Arms and Armor
Shield dwarves favor a wide range of weapons, including battleaxes, crossbows, gauntlets, handaxes, heavy picks, light hammers, light picks, longswords, halfspears, short swords, mauls, throwing axes, and warhammers. More unusual weapons include dwarven urgroshes, dwarven waraxes, horned helmets, spiked chains, spiked gauntlets, spiked helmets, and spike shooters. Typical forms of armor include breastplates, chainmail, half-plate, full plate, large steel shields, and small steel shields. Less common forms of armor include dwarven plate, grasping shields, and large mithral shields.
Whenever possible, shield dwarves fashion their armor from mithral; their love of the metal matches the gold dwarves’ admiration for adamantine.
Animals and Pets
Shield dwarves favor bats (especially the common bat), canaries, and small lizards such as the spitting crawler as pets and familiars. They use pack lizards and mules as beasts of burden. Shield dwarves commonly employ ponies or war ponies as steeds, except in Iltkazar, where riding lizards are still the norm. Favored breeds include the Island pony, the Nether pony, and the Whiteshield (war pony). The shield dwarves of the Far Hills employ dire bats as steeds (fitted with exotic military saddles) to navigate the subterranean wells they call home. Shield dwarf barbarians and battleragers often employ dire boars as steeds.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Post by sandcastles on Aug 21, 2011 15:05:29 GMT -5
Vital Statistics for Dwarven Subraces
Please note that only Shield and Gold Dwarves are playable on FRC
Random Starting Ages
¹ The simple classes are barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer. ² The moderate classes are bard, fighter, paladin, and ranger. ³ The complex classes are cleric, druid, monk, and wizard.
¹ -1 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha ² -2 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis and Cha. ³ -3 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Random Height and Weight
Base Male Height
Base Female Height
Base Height Mod
Base Male Weight
Base Female Weight
Base Weight Mod
x (1d4) lb.
x (2d6) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d6) lb. (m)| x (2d4) lb. (f)
x (2d8) lb.
x (1d4) lb.
Source: Races of Faerûn.
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