Dwarves are short, stocky fellows, easily identified by their size and shape. They average 4 to 4-˝ feet tall. They have ruddy cheeks, dark eyes, and dark hair. Dwarves generally live for 350 years.

Dwarves tend to be dour and taciturn. They are given to hard work and care little for most humor. They are strong and brave. They enjoy beer, ale, mead, and even stronger drink. Their chief love, however, is precious metal, particularly gold. They prize gems, of course, especially diamonds and opaque gems (except pearls, which they do not like). Dwarves like the earth and dislike the sea. Not overly fond of elves, they have a fierce hatred of orcs and goblins. Their short, stocky builds make them ill-suited for riding horses or other large mounts (although ponies present no difficulty), so they tend to be a trifle dubious and wary of these creatures. They are ill-disposed toward magic and have little talent for it, but revel in fighting, warcraft, and scientific arts such as engineering.

Though dwarves are suspicious and avaricious, their courage and tenacity more than compensate for these shortcomings.

Dwarves typically dwell in hilly or mountainous regions. They prefer life in the comforting gloom and solidness that is found underground. They have several special abilities that relate to their underground life, and they are noted for being particularly resistant to magics and poisons.

A character of the dwarven race can be a cleric, a fighter, or a thief. He can also choose to be a fighter/cleric or fighter/thief.

From living underground, dwarves have found it useful to learn the languages of several of their neighbors, both friendly and hostile. The initial languages a dwarf can learn are common, dwarf, gnome, goblin, kobold, orc, and any others your DM allows. The actual number of languages is limited by the Intelligence of the player character (see
Table 4) or by the proficiency slots he allots to languages (if that optional system is used).

By nature, dwarves are nonmagical and never use magical spells (priest spells are allowed however). This gives a bonus to dwarves' saving throws against attacks from magical wands, staves, rods, and spells. This bonus is +1 for every 3 - ˝ points of Constitution score. Thus, for example, if a dwarf has a Constitution score of 7 he gains +2 on saving throws. These bonuses are summarized on
Table 9.

Similarly, dwarves have exceptional resistance to toxic substances. All dwarven characters make saving throws against poison with the same bonuses that they get against magical attacks (see
Table 9).

Also because of their nonmagical nature, however, dwarves have trouble using magical items. All magical items that are not specifically suited to the character's class have a 20% chance to malfunction when used by a dwarf. This check is made each time a dwarf uses a magical item. A malfunction affects only the current use; the item may work properly next time. For devices that are continually in operation, the check is made the first time the device is used during an encounter. If the check is passed, the device functions normally until it is turned off. Thus, a dwarf would have to check upon donning a robe of blending but would not check again until he had taken the robe off and then put it on again. If a cursed item malfunctions, the character recognizes its cursed nature and can dispose of the item. Malfunction applies to rods, staves, wands, rings, amulets, potions, horns, jewels, and all other magical items except weapons, shields, armor, gauntlets, and girdles. This penalty does not apply to dwarven clerics using priest items.

In melee, dwarves add 1 to their dice rolls to hit orcs, half-orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins. When ogres, trolls, ogre magi, giants, or titans attack dwarves, these monsters must subtract 4 from their attack rolls because of the dwarves' small size and combat ability against these much bigger creatures.

Dwarven infravision enables them to see up to 60 feet in the dark.

Dwarves are miners of great skill. While underground, they can detect the following information when within 10 feet of the particular phenomenon (but they can determine their approximate depth below the surface at any time).

Detect grade or slope in passage
1-5 on 1d6
Detect new tunnel/passage construction
1-5 on 1d6
Detect sliding/shifting walls or rooms
1-4 on 1d6
Detect stonework traps, pits, and deadfalls
1-3 on 1d6
Determine approximate depth underground
1-3 on 1d6

Note that the dwarf must deliberately try to make these determinations; the information does not simply spring to mind unbidden.

Because of their sturdy builds, dwarves add 1 to their initial Constitution scores. Their dour and suspicious natures cause them to subtract 1 from their initial Charisma scores.

(See also
Arms & Equipment Guide, Monstrous Manual, Player’s Option: Skills & Powersand The Complete Book of Dwarves)

Table of Contents