Dwarf Ethnicity in Runetalras | World Anvil
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Dwarves, along with the gnomes are sometimes referred to as the noble races, are a humanoid race common throughout much of the known world. Dwarves and are a tough, tradition-abiding folk known for their strong martial traditions and beautiful craftsmanship. They are more sturdy than humans, which makes them tougher and stronger. They usually grow long beards. Dwarves are often excellent soldiers, artisans and businessmen. While they tend to be uncouth, they are also jolly and cheerful.  

Physical Description

Dwarves are a short race, as their name implies, but they are by no means the shortest of the mortal races. Standing between 4'3"–4'9" (1.3–1.45 meters) on average. What dwarves lack in height they made up for in bulk; with them weighing on average as much as or more than a Human; with a dwarf weighing anywhere between 160–220 lbs (73–100 kg). Much like humans male dwarves tend to be taller and heavier than their female counterparts. Simularily, dwarves like humans possess a wide variety of skin, eye, and hair colors, typically pale among among mountain dwarves, tanned or brown amongst hill and sea dwarves, with city dwarves typically sharing the skin tones of the local Human society. Hazel eyes are common throughout the race, with blue eyes more common amongst mountain dwarves and brown or green eyes found amongst the hill and sea dwarves.   Male dwarves are often bald and grew thick facial hair, which was sometimes used to display social status. Unusually for humanoids, both sexes naturally grew ample facial hair, though the majority of dwarf females shave their beards off. This hair is often dark in hue, though among hill and sea dwarves blond or red hair was just as common. Mountain dwarves take care of their facial hair to an extreme, carefully oiling and grooming it, with some adding perfume and ornamentations.  

Lifespan and Maturity

Dwarves are a long-lived race, though not so much as elves, and reached physical maturity somewhat later than humans. A dwarf was traditionally considered an adult once he or she reached age thirty. Dwarves aged much like humans but over a longer period of time, remaining vigorous well past 150 years. Most dwarves lived to see their centennial and a few lived to be over two hundred and fifty.  

Dwarven Abilities

Dwarves are unusually tough for humanoids, in more ways than one. Dwarven stomachs, for instance, are resistant to virtually all poisons and it takes less effort for a dwarf to get back on their feet than other races. Dwarves also have dense bodies and are difficult to push around as a result, as well as having the capacity to bear loads that other races might find hindering with little ill effect. Dwarves also have a sense about them that few races did, with a preternatural awareness of their surroundings useful for a subterranean race as well as good judgment all-around in general.   Dwarves can see in the dark remarkably well, out to about 60 feet (18 meters). Many dwarves have an affinity for the caverns in which they lived, possessing a knack for recognizing unusual patterns in stonework that could seem almost supernatural at times.  


The Dwarves can be divided into a number of ethnicities, most of which minor if any biological differences.   City Dwarf The city dwarves are most commonly found within Human cities, though they can also be found within the dwarven kingdoms.   Hill dwarf The hill dwarves are the majority within the Craglands and the Kingdom of Makthoria.   Mountain dwarf The mountain are the most common of the dwarves and form the majority of the Kingdom of Aran’Nack, and are present with the Kasari Dominion and Velgan Empire.   Sea dwarf The sea dwarves are the most recent of the dwarven subraces to emerge, and are the majority within the Kingdom of Sarvartar.   Wild Dwarf The wild dwarves are only present in any numbers within the Wild Isles, the wild dwarves are loathed to leave their homelands.   Duergar The duergar are dwarves who have fallen to the illithid and been twisted by them, the dwarves and duergar have a long standing hatred.  

Dwarves in Human Kingdoms

The Dwarves have a long history throughout Runetalras, and have spread their people with various attempts at colonization, which met with varying degrees of success. With the success of humanity within the Age of Conquest and beyond dwarves now have significant populations within the kingdoms of other races.  

Kingdom of Thaxnoria

Dwarves are a common sight within the Kingdom of Thaxnoria, particularly the hill and city dwarves, with mountain dwarves also being present in small numbers. Dwarves have a special protected status within Thaxnoria, as a result of Thaxnoria’s and Craglands Act of Union, which prevents economic, financial, or political discrimination against dwarves and gnomes. Unlike the other Elder Races dwarves, and gnomes, do not face increased taxes and are not officially discriminated against when attempting to gain employment. While their is no governmental discrimination the dwarves do face widespread discrimination and racisim, with the population beleiving dwarves to be ‘favoured’ for possesing the same rights as humans, and express this dissatisfaction with racisim, violence, and pogroms.   It is the city dwarves which have the worst of the racial prejudice and violence, by the simple virtue of being the dwarven subrace that interacts most with the humans of Thaxnoria within ‘their’ cities. While not official bound to live in slums and ghettos many are effectively forced to live within them, as humans are loathed to employ dwarves, with the exceptions being in the fields of metal work, mining, banking, and the like. It is however true that even city dwarves, unlike most other Elder Races are capable of rising high within Thaxnorian society.   The hill dwarves, in general, have a better lot within Thaxnoria; and primarily reside within the Craglands. The Craglands are the only province of Thaxnoria ruled by the Elder Races, and the Elder Races have expressed similar prejudices towards their Human subjects as the other provinces within Thaxnoria express to the Elder Races. A significant proportion of the Human population are serfs, while the remainder face economic and financial hardship. The dwarves of the Craglands are viewed as despots, authorities, greedy, and cruel by both the local Human population and a majority of the humans within Thaxnoria, and the dwarves see plenty of evidence that humans are no better, and in fact worse than they are, for no pogroms or wide spread racial violence occur within the Craglands.   Dwarves do face a special king of discrimination within Thaxnoria, as a result of their finacial status. As the dwarves, as a people, are perceived as rich due to the riches of the Craglands, the Craglands economic power, and the fact that dwarves control some of the largest financial and banking institutions, when an economic crisis looms the dwarves are regularly scapegoated as the cause with their hoarding, or believed to hiding their riches allowing the Human population to suffer and starve, prompting particular violence towards dwarves within economic hard times.  

Velgan Empire

Dwarves within the Velgan Empire are discriminated against in all economic, social, and political spheres, and have been since the formation of the Empire. Within the Empire dwarves are put to work within mine, metal works, and within the Velgan Army within what the dwarves call ‘suicde units’ for their horrible casualty rates; while the dwarves technically slaves because they are paid a merger wage it does not make the hardships they face much better. The dwarves are also highly taxed, with forty percent of their income being taken away from them, a lower tax than the elves as dwarves as the dwarves have more successful integrated themselves into Velgan Society. The dwarves, much like the other Elder Races, are forced to live within ghettos, with rampant squalor, famine, and plagues.   It is the city dwarves that face the worst of it as the mountain dwarves were able to keep a hold on their fortress province of Karthaig, which allows them a greater degree of independence and freedom, though does not exclude them from the heavy hand of the Tsar.   As a direct result of the discrimination and racism, both personal and institutional, the Tee'Chaher within the Velgan Empire have the highest number of dwarves within them. Many dwarves have thrown aside their deep concerns over the ethics and effectiveness of the Tee'Chaher to fight until the end for a better place in the world for their friends, loved ones, and clans.  

Kasari Dominion

The dwarves of the Kasari Dominion are considered, in law, to be equal to humans legally and financially. The dwarves, with the gnomes possess their own semi-autonomous province, Zwerthaig, out of which they enact their own laws and practice of governance. Significantly the province of Zwerthaig is not an Elector-Kingdom and does not have a vote on who becomes the Kaiser of the Kasari Dominion.   While legalistically there is no discrimination against the dwarves the reality is less ideal. The masses of the Kasari Dominion do still express racist sentiments and discriminate against dwarves in areas of employment or housing. The dwarves do however, fair the best of the Elder Races within the Kasari Dominion, as the Kasari people recognise the keen ability of the dwarves to conform and assimilate into Kasari society, also recognised is the dwarves keen work ethic and capabilities.   City dwarves are the most common dwarven subrace within the Kasari Dominion, being found in virtually all Kasari cities and towns. They are also the subrace that interacts with humans the most. They are an industrious and skilled people, creating business based on their crafts, and have established various banks; this has unfortunately led to some within the Kasari Dominion to believe the dwarves are profiteering for warfare and economic crisis.   The mountain dwarves can be found within most Kasari cities and some larger towns, but the majority of the population can be found within the subterranean Kingdom of Zwerthaig. The Kingdom of Zwerthaig and the dwarves of it have greatly prospered under the Kasari Dominion, and their wealth rivals that of the Thaxnorian Craglands.  

The Yhess Kingdoms

The Yhess Kingdoms are unique, race rarely matters, what matters is power and wealth should an individual have one or both their races is of no importance. The dwarves within the Yhess Kingdoms, unlike virtually anywhere else, have socially, religiously, culturally, and ideologically resemble the other masters, holding on to little of what makes the dwarves quintessentially dwarven. The dwarves within the Yhess Kingdoms can be broken down into two groups, the far more numerous slaves and prosperous masters.   The most numinous of the dwarven subraces amongst the slaves are the mountain dwarves, followed by hill and city dwarves with a small number of sea dwarves. The slave dwarves are priced are hardy, strong, and resilient, and primarily used to mining dangerous areas and trained to work a slave soldiers. Among the master sea dwarves and city dwarves are the most common followed hill then mountain dwarves. The dwarves have a reputation of caring for their slaves, but only as to preserve their value.  

Atarsid City-States

Only the politically, religiously, militarly, and financially powerful have any form of rights within the Atarsid City-States, and slavery runs rampant. There are few dwarves within the Atarsid City-States themselves as racial violence against dwarves is highly common. What few dwarves are there are, are slaves taken from the kingdoms of Makthoria and Sarvartar and either kept as personal slaves or traded with the Yhess Kingdoms. The racial violence against the dwarves within the City-States is a direct result of the constant and persistent raiding that the Kingdom of Sarvartar conducts against the City-States.  

Dwarf Traits

Ability Score Increase. Increase one ability score by 2 and increase a different one by 1, or you increase three different scores by 1.   Size. Dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.   Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 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, light hammer, and warhammer.   Tool Proficiency. You gain proficiency with the artisan's tools of your choice: smith's tools, 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.

Hill dwarf

Dwarven Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.

Mountain dwarf

Dwarven Armor Training. You have proficiency with light and medium armour.

Sea dwarf

Born at Sea. Your speed when swimming is equal to your movement speed.   Island Weapon Training (replaces Dwarven Combat Training). You have proficiency with the rapier, scimitar, trident, and net.   At Home on the Deck. You have proficiency in vehicles (water).  

Dwarf, Duergar Traits

Ability Score Increase. When determining your character’s ability scores, increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. You can't raise any of your scores above 20.   Creature Type. You are a Humanoid. You are also considered a Dwarf for any prerequisite or effect that requires you to be a Dwarf.   Size. You are Medium.   Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.   Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.   Duergar Magic. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the Enlarge/Reduce spell with this trait, without requiring a material component. Starting at 5th level, you can also cast the Invisibility spell with it, without requiring a material component. Once you cast either of these spells with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast these spells using spell slots you have of the appropriate level.   Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells when you cast them with this trait (choose when you select this race).   Dwarven Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws you make to avoid or end the poisoned condition on yourself. You also have resistance to poison damage.   Psionic Fortitude. You have advantage on saving throws you make to avoid or end the charmed or stunned condition on yourself.   Languages. Your character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your DM agree is appropriate for the character. The Player’s Handbook offers a list of Languages to choose from. The DM is free to modify that list for a campaign.

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