Dwarves are short, stocky industrialists with attitudes as boisterous as their beards. It’s common for dwarves to enjoy pass-times like drinking, mining and writing poems that encode into their rhyme and meter coy insults toward the reader’s mother (principally because they assume only elves ever bother to read poetry).
Dwarven characters start with the following stats:
Dwarven characters can be from one of three nations…
Builders and inventors, the Earthhewn clan forms the bulk of the geeky population among dwarves. They love making new things even more than they hate the brutal glow of the sun. They wander up to the surface whenever they want to build a rail road, dam or bridge that won’t fit in their underground cities.
Their propensity for innovation made them invaluable against the demons in the “Fiend War.” Their trains carried supplies to the world’s allied forces and their artillery carried death to the enemy.
In recent years, Earthhewn dwarves have been seen making regular trips to the Hell Pit — the supposed point of origin of the demon invasion. They’ve been busily erecting a cannon-spangled wall to prevent any future invaders from passing through. They don’t know if any demons will return that way and they don’t care as long as they can point huge guns down the throat of Hell.
Earthhewn dwarves study the rifle at an early age and combat maneuvers are a requirement for anybody who intends survive. Along with the skills needed to preserve life, those skills that enrich it are also strongly encouraged: Engineering and musical performance are common.
Starting Earthhewn characters have the following skills at level 2:
Traveling on the surface is considered dangerous affair with the large number of strange monsters and small number of decent breweries. Those that brave such perils never leave home without the following provisions:
If your character is from the Earthhewn clan, you may choose one of the following professions as part of your character’s background…
Since the Fiend War began, machines have become increasingly integral to the world economy, replacing animals which are easily spooked by the presence of demonic beings and are food for the Fouled creatures that the demons left behind. Mechanics have become something of folk heroes to the Earthhewn clan as they both maintain and protect the trains and factories that sustain life for the world.
Being a mechanic grants the following benefits:
This martial organization travels the canyons and rocky summits of their home hunting for dangerous creatures. While on the trail, they entertain themselves with music and dance — a spectacle which has also earned them a reputation as showmen.
The Earthhewn Clan considers engineering, metallurgy and smithing to be more than just fine trades. They consider these things to be a deeply spiritual activity. It’s an act of personal refinement to some to create machines that lose less energy to heat, endure intense usage for longer.
The most accomplished craftsmen may never realize that they are imbuing their creations with magical properties that grant such efficiency or durability. These dwarves are enchanters.
Frostbeard dwarves live in the remotest northern reaches of the continent and yet have more international relations than any other dwarven nation. Like all dwarves, they love mining deep in the earth yet their curiosity drives them to the surface quite often. They are eager to help and give resources to those in need but are also clandestine and secretive; offering information only when they believe it is absolutely necessary.
During the Fiend War, the Frostbeard Clan was a major supplier of food for the Allied Forces of the world and their military was comprised mostly of shock troops proficient in fast raids, demolitions and siege busting. Their communications infrastructure was vital for disseminating intelligence and staying ahead of the enemy.
When post-war reconstruction efforts began, the Frostbeard Clan asked each of the nations for permission to build the clan’s famous heliography towers within their borders; Most agreed. Many dwarves in the Frostbeard Clan traverse the icy mountains of their home so they can serve in one of these towers and offer communications services to the world.
Starting Frostbeard characters begin with the following skills at level 2:
Frostbeards have learned that the following equipment is universally necessary and thus, all starting Frostbeard characters have…
If your character comes from the Frostbeard clan, the following are the most likely professions your character had before beginning the career of an adventurer.
Most Frostbeards learn Heliography as a basic component of literacy. Using pulses of light to send long-distance messages is the bedrock of international civilization. One that specializes in heliography is an expert of ciphers, iconography and mathematics.
Ice Strikers are like a glacier: silent, cool, and able to cut through mountains. They’re the marines of the Frostbeard Clan; shock troops that soften enemy resistance to make room for occupation forces. They spend a great deal of time on mountain peaks so they can respond quickly to threats by skiing, hang-gliding or rafting down icy rapids to engage the enemy.
The Frostbeard clan has never made it a secret that they covet any and all information — even tidbits that may seem trivial to everyone else. What they do try to keep secret is the reason: The clan’s wisest sages, by analyzing facts, are able to make some small predictions of the future. The more information they have to work with, the more specific and detailed those predictions get.
Spellsayers are sages in training. They aren’t at all clairvoyant but they’re hard to surprise and have an intuitive sense for which information is most useful for predicting future events.
Stalwart and resourceful, the Alliance of Stoneglaive Chieftancies was the dwarven nation hit hardest in the War. They take pride in the fact that they defeated two demon lords and numerous imp legions without foreign aid but the victory could be called a hollow one.
Unbeknownst to them at the time, every drop of demonic blood that the Stoneglaive dwarves spilled was a noxious poison seeping into the soil and water, evaporating to become a toxic vapor that lingered in the air and made the land uninhabitable.
Too stubborn to leave, Stoneglaive dwarves do their best to make do with what’s left of their home; wearing gas masks when they venture down into the abandoned cities and mining more aggressively than they would if there were an ecosystem to destroy.
Life in Stoneglaive lands is physically and emotionally demanding. It is rife with threats as the local wildlife has been twisted by ecological disaster into ravenous “Fouled” beasts.
Stonglaive dwarves that never picked up the following skills died young. Starting characters get them at level 2.
Stoneglaive dwarves found the following equipment to be vital to survival and thus every starting character has these things in their inventory.
A character born to the Stoneglaive Alliance may choose from one of the following professions…
Decades after the Fiend War, while the Stoneglaives were trying to dispose of the gargantuan demon corpses that littered their country, they were shocked to find that under the bodies of the demons, massive networks of tunnels had formed. In them, they found bizarre substances that carried magical properties. Since then, entire careers have been built around exploring these mysterious tunnels and selling the unsavory yet potent materials they discover.
The inhospitable environment Stoneglaives live in is teeming with wild beasts driven mad by the corruption of demon necrosis. These “fouled” creatures are a real health problem and have to be hunted down and destroyed – which isn’t easy to do in the treacherous mountains. The difficulty of the task is precisely what attracts most Caldera Tamers to the profession.
A Caldera Tamer is constantly outdoors, exposed to extreme weather, chasing monsters for days without sleep, wrestling with powerful abominations, making them dead, and safely disposing of the corpses far from any precious water and food sources.
While recovering lost treasure and exploring the cadavers of fallen demons, Stoneglaive dwarves have chanced upon some very strange materials and substances. Those that dedicate their lives to studying and making these discoveries useful are called “alchemists.”
Dwarves usually have two names. Sometimes they’ll have more but people tend to assume having lots of names indicates a lot of pomp and no substance. The first name is the given name and the second name is the dwarf’s house.
In informal situations, names are simply said in the form of the given name immediately followed by the surname. In formal situations, the names are separated by the phrase “of House” to show respect for the family and heritage. Only close friends, relatives and sworn enemies will tend to use the given name alone to refer to a dwarf.
If you need help coming up with a good dwarf-sounding names, roll four times on the following chart. The first roll correlates with the first column of the table and its value determines the row. The first two rolls will combine to make your character’s given name and the second two rolls will form the house name.
For example, if you roll 9, 1, 6, 1 on this chart, the generated name would be: “Slatebeard of house Hammerbank.”