Dawn of Chaos
Children of Moradin who dwell deep in the mountains surrounding the cities. Many of their priests secretly tell stories of how Moradin had the power of a God and was going to win a CLOAK OF POWER but was cheated out of it by ORDER and an ally.
Dwarves generally come in two types, the Gold Dwarves and the Shield Dwarves.
Gold dwarves see themselves as the founders of the dwarven race, their society able to trace an unbroken line back nearly to the world’s creation. It should be no surprise, then, that gold dwarves have a chip on their shoulders—and a heavy one at that. Gold dwarves get along well with others, but they come from a culture where tradition reigns and codes of honor are strict. Each dwarf has a predestined role and a place in society that stems from birth order and bloodline. Gold dwarves who stray from such strictures bring great dishonor on themselves and shame to their clans.
The largely isolated kingdoms of the gold dwarves had begun to expand before the Spellplague hit. Many adventurous gold dwarves left the Great Rift and their other traditional lands to explore distant parts of the surface world. This emigration served them well when their homeland was destroyed by the plague. Much of the Great Rift and the surrounding surface was obliterated, leaving in its wake the massive Underchasm and the realm of Great Bhaerynden. The gold dwarves who were spread across Faerûn returned to the area to help rebuild their homeland, and the realm known as the East Rift was built on and in the ruins of the Great Rift. The disaster and the disruption of those dark times caused numerous gold dwarf clans to accept new ideas and new peoples, while some others retreated into xenophobia as a means of holding onto the traditions of the past.
Gold Dwarf Benefits
Cast-Iron Mind: Gold dwarves have developed a resistance to protect against the depredations of aberrant creatures from the Underdark.
Benefits: You have a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against ongoing psychic damage. This benefit replaces Cast-Iron Stomach.
Gold Dwarf Weapon Proficiency: Though gold dwarves rely on the hammer as a tool as much as do any of their kin, carving their homes from the living rock requires other specialized implements. Such tools have been adapted for use as the traditional weapons of the gold dwarves for as long as anyone remembers.
Benefits: You gain proficiency with the war pick and the maul. This benefit replaces Dwarven Weapon Proficiency.
A long history of internecine war has made the once clannish society of shield dwarves more open. Shield dwarves actively seek out friends and forge alliances against enemies. They judge others by their skill and bravery, not merely the honor of a bloodline or the number of beard hairs gone gray. Tradition, respect for elders, and the bonds of kinship are strong forces in shield dwarf culture. However, no shield dwarf would be thought dishonorable for seeking his or her own destiny, whether doing so involves battling orcs alongside elf allies or becoming a master crafter in a human city.
The history of the shield dwarves can be traced back through millennia. The sons of Taark Shanat the Crusader founded eight kingdoms, which fought, made alliances, rose to greatness as one nation, and then fell into separate states before vanishing from the face of the world. The last great dwarven kingdom of the North was Delzoun, and few are the shield dwarves who do not claim a connection to the bloodline of that realm.
Roleplaying a Shield Dwarf
Even mountains change. Although you honor the past and strive to see the good of the present preserved, you know that nothing lasts forever. This impermanency is a reminder that one should never be too complacent or too proud. The ruins of cultures that fell to false pride litter the North. Only those who develop and guard a true greatness can maintain that greatness.
Even the strongest steel can break. Among the dwarves, it is said that allies are like axes—despite their strength, both can fail when you need them most. Though you strive to make alliances and return friendship in kind, you always remain wary of others. Your closest comrades are noteworthy exceptions, but you remain on the lookout for disloyalty, greed, and cowardice, particularly from other races.
A stout shield can both guard and smash. The clan cannot defend itself by hiding in the mountains. Neither can the warrior win merely by blocking attacks. When you face a foe, you must strike out at it. Never fear a challenge so much that you shy away from it.
Shield Dwarf Benefits
Shield Dwarf Weapon Proficiency: Shield dwarves spend more time aboveground and in forested areas than their gold dwarf cousins. This has led to them relying on axes as tools and weapons.
Benefits: You gain proficiency with the handaxe and the battleaxe. This benefit replaces Dwarven Weapon Proficiency.
Shield Proficiency: Besieged by numerous threats such as orcs and goblins, the shield dwarves take the name of their people seriously. Many are trained to use a shield regardless of duty or station.
Benefits: You gain proficiency with the light shield. This benefit replaces Dwarven Weapon Proficiency.