Kingdoms rich in ancient grandeur, halls carved into the roots of mountains, the echoing of picks and hammers in deep mines and blazing forges, a commitment to clan and tradition, and a burning hatred of goblins and orcs—these common threads unite all dwarves.

Short and Stout

Bold and hardy, dwarves are known as skilled warriors, miners, and workers of stone and metaI. Though they sland well under 5 feet tall, dwarves are so broad and compact that they can weigh as much as a human standing nearly two feet taller. Their courage and endurance are also easily a match for any of the larger folk.

Dwarven skin ranges from deep brown to a paler hue tinged with red, but the most common shades are light brown or deep tan, like certain tones of earth. Their hair, worn long but in simple styles, is usually black, gray, or brown, though paler dwarves often have red hair. Male dwarves value their beards highly and groom them carefully.

Long Memory, Long Grudges

Dwarves can live to be more than 400 years old, so lhe oldesl living dwarves often remember a very different world. For example, some of the oldest dwarves living in Citadel Felbarr (in the world of the Forgotten Realms) can recall the day, more than three centuries ago, when orcs conquered the fortress and drove them into an exile that lasted over 250 years. This longevity grants them a perspective on the world that shorter-lived races such as humans and halflings lack.

Dwarves are solid and enduring like the mountains they love, weathering the passage of centuries with stoic endurance and little change. They respect the traditions of their clans, tracing their ancestry back to the founding of their most ancient strongholds in the youth of the world, and don’t abandon those traditions lightly. Part of those traditions is devotion to the gods of the dwarves, who uphold the dwarven ideals of industrious labor, skill in battle, and devotion to the forge.

Individual dwarves are determined and loyal, true to their word and decisive in action, sometimes to the point of stubbornness. Many dwarves have a strong sense of justice, and they are slow to forget wrongs they have suffered. A wrong done to one dwarf is a wrong done to the dwarf’s entire clan, so what begins as one dwarf’s hunt for vengeance can become a full-blown clan feud.

Clans and Kingdoms

Dwarven kingdoms stretch deep beneath the mountains where the dwarves mine gems and precious metals and forge items of wonder. They love the beauty and artistry of precious metals and fine jewelry, and in some dwarves this love festers into avarice. Whatever wealth they can’t find in their mountains, they gain through trade. They dislike boats, so enterprising humans and halflings frequently handle trade in dwarven goods along water routes. Trustworthy members of other races are welcome in dwarf settlements, though some areas are off limits even to them.

The chief unit of dwarven society is the clan, and dwarves highly value social standing. Even dwarves who live far from their own kingdoms cherish their clan identities and affiliations, recognize related dwarves, and invoke their ancestors’ names in oaths and curses. To be clanless is the worst fate that can befall a dwarf.

Dwarves in other lands are typically artisans, especially weaponsmiths, armorers, and jewelers. Some become mercenaries or bodyguards, highly sought after for their courage and loyalty.

Gods, Gold, and Clan

Dwarves who take up the adventuring life might be motivated bya desire for treasure—for its own sake, for a specific purpose, or even out of an altruistic desire to help others. Other dwarves are driven by the command or inspiration of a deity, a direct calling or simply a desire to bring glory to one of the dwarf gods. Clan and ancestry are also important motivators. A dwarf might seek to restore a clan’s lost honor, avenge an ancient wrong the clan suffered, or earn a new place within the clan after having been exiled. Or a dwarf might search for the axe wielded by a mighty ancestor, lost on the field of battle centuries ago.

Dwarves in Faerûn

The Stout Folk (as dwarves are known in Faerûn) are deliberate and steadfast, with a proud history as great artisans, builders, and warriors. Although the glory of their empires faded long ago, the dwarves still hold to their ancient ways and traditions. They stubbornly defend what remains of their old domains beneath hill and mountain, and some seek to reclaim what they have lost to the depreciations of orcs, goblins, and the inexorable march of time.

According to their own legends, dwarves were formed from iron, mithral, earth, and stone on the Soulforge of Moradin. After the All-Father breathed life into them in the heart of the world, dwarves found their way to the surface and, from there, spread across each continent.

Dwarf Names

A dwarf’s name is granted by a clan elder, in accordance with tradition. Every proper dwarven name has been used and reused down through the generations. A dwarf’s name belongs to the clan, not to the individual. A dwarf who misuses or brings shame to a clan name is stripped of the name and forbidden by law to use any dwarven name in its place.

Male Names: Adrik, Alberich, Baern, Barendd, Brottor, Bruenor, Dain, Darrak, Delg, Eberk, Einkil, Fargrim, Flint, Gardain, Harbek, Kildrak, Morgran, Orsik, Oskar, Rangrim, Rurik, Taklinn, Thoradin, Thorin, Tordek, Traubon, Travok, Ulfgar, Veit, Vondal
Female Names: Amber, Artin, Audhild, Bardryn, Dagnal, Diesa, Eldeth, Falkrunn, Finellen, Gunnloda, Gurdis, Helja, Hlin, Kathra, Kristryd, lide, Liftrasa, Mardred, Riswynn, Sannl, Torbera, Torgga, Vistra
Clan Names: Balderk, Battlehammer, Brawnanvil, Dankil, Fireforge, Frostbeard, Gorunn, Holderhek, Ironfist, Loderr, Lutgehr, Rumnaheim, Strakeln, Torunn, Ungart

Dwarf Traits

Your dwarf character has an assortment of inborn abilities, part and parcel of dwarven nature.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2.
  • Age. Dwarves mature at the same rate as humans, but they’re considered young until they reach the age of 50. On average, they live about 350 years.
  • Alignment. Most dwarves are lawful, believing firmly in the benefits of a well-ordered society. They tend toward good as well, with a strong sense of fair play and a belief that everyone deserves to share in the benefits of a just order.
  • Size. Dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. Your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor.
  • Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Dwarven Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
  • Dwarven Combat Training. You have proficiency with the battleaxe, handaxe, throwing hammer, and warhammer.
  • Tool Proficiency. You gain proficiency with the artisan’s tools of your choice: smith’s tooIs, brewer’s supplies, or mason’s tools.
  • Stonecunning. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Dwarvish. Dwarvish is full of hard consonants and guttural sounds, and those characteristics spill over into whatever other language a dwarf might speak.
  • Subrace. Thousands of years of settlement and separation divided the dwarves into distinct subraces: the shield dwarves, most common in the North and the Sword Coast; the gold dwarves of the southern lands; and the gray dwarves, or duergar, of the Underdark. These subraces have additional traits. Pick from one of the three options below.

Shield Dwarves

The ancestral home of the shield dwarves is in northern Faerûn, where ancient dwarfholds exist in the North, Damara, lmpiltur, Vaasa, the Vast, and the Western Heartlands. The most famous of the old shield dwarf cities is Citadel Adbar, north and east of Silverymoon. Many of these dwarfholds have changed hands over the centuries in a cycle of invasion by enemies, followed by reconquest by the dwarves.

Living in a near-constant state of war for generations, shield dwarves are a hardy people, slow to trust, with long memories and often an equally long list of grievances against their ancient enemies. The more conservative among them want to maintain the traditions and remaining holdings of their people, isolated from the influence of outsiders and safe from invaders behind thick walls of stone. Shield dwarves of a more adventurous bent are interested in exploring the world and seeing what lies beyond the bounds of their ancient dwarfholds.

Shield dwarves are renowned artisans, particularly in metal and stone. They tend to focus more on sturdiness in their craft than on the artistic flourishes and gilding favored by their gold dwarf cousins. Shield dwarf crafters build to last, and each one’s signature mark placed upon an enduring masterpiece serves as a way of gaining immortality.

Their skin is usually fair, eyes green, hazel, or silver-blue, and they have brown, blond, or red hair. Full beards and mustaches are commonly seen on male shield dwarves.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
  • Dwarven Armor Training. You have proficiency with light and medium armor.

Gold Dwarves

Gold dwarves are common in the lands to the south and east. They are formidable warriors, proud of their long traditions, with strong ties to clan. They are gruff and haughty and have a love of fine craftsmanship and an eagerness to trade.

Significant settlements of gold dwarves exist in the Great Rift, the area surrounding the Dragon Coast, as well as in the Old Empires of eastern Faerûn. Smaller communities are found in the Smoking Mountains, in the Giant’s Run Mountains, and the Western Heartlands.

Because they have not endured the same cycle of invasion and displacement as the shield dwarves, gold dwarves tend to be more optimistic than their cousins, but they’re still standoffish and prideful as only a dwarf can be. They believe their race’s stable history is the result of their attentiveness to tradition, and have little doubt that the future of the gold dwarves will be just as peaceful, if they remain true to their customs and principles.

They are stocky and muscular, averaging about 4 feet tall, with brown skin, black or brown hair, and brown or hazel eyes, with green eyes rare (and considered lucky). Males grow full beards that they keep oiled and well groomed, and both genders wear their hair long and often elaborately braided.

Gold dwarves are best known for crafting beautiful objects. According to them, all the natural resources of the world exist for mortals to turn them into objects of great beauty. Gold dwarves don’t want the most of everything; they want the best. Their artisans toil over items for years, getting their etchings and fine details just right before being satisfied with their efforts.

That deliberate, perfectionist approach is a reflection of gold dwarf culture, in which there is a right and proper way to do everything. Tradition dictates every aspect of a gold dwarf’s life, from one’s place in society, to prospects for marriage, to what careers are acceptable. Gold dwarves who take up a life of adventuring, away from the clan, rarely forsake their traditions when doing so. Even though they might have to live as outsiders for a time, they hope to ultimately improve their standing in their society.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Dwarven Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a leveI.

Gray Dwarves (Duergar)

The gray dwarves, or duergar, live deep in the Underdark. After delving deeper than any other dwarves, they were enslaved by mindflayers for eons. Although they eventually won their freedom , these grim, ashen-skinned dwarves now take slaves of their own and are as tyrannical as their former masters.

Physically similar to other dwarves in some ways, duergar are wiry and lean, with black eyes and bald heads, with the males growing long, unkempt, gray beards.

Duergar value toil above all else. Showing emotions other than grim determination or wrath is frowned on in their culture, but they can sometimes seem joyful when at work. They have the typical dwarven appreciation for order, tradition, and impeccable craftsmanship, but their goods are purely utilitarian, disdaining aesthetic or artistic value.

Few duergar become adventurers, fewer still on the surface world, because they are a hidebound and suspicious race. Those who leave their subterranean cities are usually exiles.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
  • Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
  • Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write Undercommon.
  • Duergar Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against illusions and against being charmed or paralyzed.
  • Duergar Magic. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the enlarge/reduce spell on yourself once with this trait, using only the spell’s enlarge option. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the invisibility spell on yourself once with this trait. You don’t need material components for either spell, and you can’t cast them while you’re in direct sunlight, although sunlight has no effect on them once cast. You regain the ability to cast these spells with this trait when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.


Dungeons & Dragons Goatlore