dwarf Species in The Sora | World Anvil


Dwarves are one of the major, civilized species of the Sora. Dwarves are primarily a subterranean specie, carving their homes beneath the earth. Dwarves are native to many realms, but have spread far and wide across the Sora, favoring mineral rich realms with many mountains and hills. Dwarves are often seen as standoffish by outsiders, but this is typically because they are very protective of their treasures. Dwarves are skilled craftsmen and technologically brilliant, often making new discoveries well before the other species. Despite being protective of their secrets, dwarves are greatly expansionist, conquering either by trade of might of arms.  

Physical Description

Dwarves are short, but broad, having a low center of gravity and high mass. They are often much heavier than they appear at first glance, with dense muscle and fat. Despite being physically shorter than the other civilized species, dwarves are not weaker. In fact, their density makes them both stronger and healthier than many others. Both males and females are of similar height and weight, though females are much curvier. Healthy adults stand between 4' and 5'3" in height and weigh between 135 and 220 lbs. Obese dwarves are fairly rare, tending to be so only among the most idle nobility. Even then, they often prove to be deceptively strong.   Because of their subterranean lives, dwarves typically have paler skin than other species. The palest dwarves can be almost chalky and grayish in coloration, while even those with dark skin can be described as ruddy at best. Dwarves often say they have complexions like granite, from grays and whites to burned pink. Eye colors also tend to be pale, with icy blue being the most common color, followed by gray or silver, then amber, with the very rare hazel. Dwarven hair, meanwhile, tends toward darker colors, ranging from coal black to fiery copper. While older dwarves can have gray or even silver hair, they do not have blondes or hair colors lighter than burnt orange.   Dwarves have broad skulls with wide foreheads and strong features. They tend to have thick, furrowed brows and prominent noses. Eyes are typically small and deep-set with heavy lids. Dwarves have larger ears than humans, often slightly angled away from the skull, with smooth, round edges. Long, full beards and mustaches are nearly omnipresent on male dwarves; some female dwarves are capable of growing them as well and even those who don't often have thick sideburns. They have average-sized lips and mouths, though they possess fewer teeth that are larger than humans.  


Dwarves possess the ability to see even in complete darkness, able to detect the minuscule amounts of light which is emitted by the nivose energy present in all living things. This vision is monochrome, unable to pick up individual colors. Other than this, dwarves have fairly standard senses.  

Life Cycle

Female dwarves are fertile roughly once every three months and have pregnancies that last a full year. These pregnancies are fairly taxing; in the last three months, most female dwarves are unable to do anything more strenuous than walking short distances. Dwarven babies are quite developed when born, usually with full heads of hair and some teeth. After about a year, they are capable of walking on their own and generally can be left to their own devices. They tend to be quite sturdy and difficult to harm, so most dwarven cultures have no problem allowing their children to wander around after birth. Children grow quickly, mostly reaching their adult size around the age of sixteen. From that point on, they continue to grow quite slowly for the next twenty-five years or so, finally ceasing around age forty. This usually only adds a few inches to their height, but may add a couple of pounds to their weight. Dwarves tend to set the middle ground as far as ages go, living longer than humans and goblins, but not as long as dranomyr. Most dwarves tend to live to at least 150 years, with some extremely old ones making it to 200.   As dwarves age, they tend to grow firmer and stiffer, becoming less able to move and get around. They also lose much of their skin, eye, and hair coloration, with old dwarves sometimes being easily mistakable for statues. It also becomes much more difficult for them to think quickly. Unlike humans, dwarves rarely suffer degenerations of their physical and mental maximums, but rather just become much, much slower at it. Additionally, dwarves rarely go bald either, though they do develop much deeper and intense wrinkles.  


Dwarves are omnivores, able to eat a large number of foods with no issues. However, due to their underground lifestyles, most dwarves subsist primarily on fungus and the flesh of burrowing animals. Dwarves practice agriculture extensively, growing huge beds of a variety of mushrooms, truffles, and other fungi, as well as raising a number of livestock. Some communities of dwarves do practice surface agriculture, growing various plants and grains to add to their diet. When possible, they trade for exotic foods from other species.   Uniquely, dwarves appear to have a biological need to consume alcohol. Most dwarves drink some kind of beer, mead, or cider at least once a day, typically with dinner at the end of the day, though some imbibe far more often. Dwarves can become drunk, but must consume twice as much as a similarly sized human to become inebriated. Even if they do consume mass amounts of alcohol, dwarves do not suffer from any of the other side effects of consumption, such as hangovers, dehydration, or long-term liver damage.  


Most dwarves live in deep underground burrows, typically on mountainsides or in hilly terrain. Some primitive dwarves live in natural cave systems, but most cultures dig deep within the earth, creating massive complexes of tunnels, caverns, and rooms. Some settlements are connected to the surface, though others are not, only connecting to other subterranean dwarven settlements. Even dwarves which live near the surface tend to live in burrows or mounds, feeling safer with earth above their heads.   Because they are used to living in the dark, dwarves prefer cooler climates, often on realms that have dimmer photopartums.
150 years
Average Height
4' and 5'3"
Average Weight
135 to 220 lbs

Cover image: by Denis Khusainov


Ability Score Increase +1 Con
Size Medium
Speed 25ft

Slow and Steady. Your speed is never 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 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.   Heritage. Dwarves come from a number of traditions and backgrounds, each named after a type of stone or metal. These heritages set dwarves slightly apart from one another, giving them slightly different abilities from one another. Choose a heritage for your dwarf.  


Basalt dwarves are known for their stern, no-nonsense natures. They are often seen as the prototypical dwarf: interested in craft, but not beholden to it; orderly and law-abiding, but more than willing to relax with a good beer and brawl; desiring gold and profit, but rarely putting it before their reputation; militaristic and stoic, but not violent or imperialistic. Basalt dwarves are the most common dwarven heritage in the Sora, with most realms that contain dwarf natives having at least one region populated by basalt dwarves.   Ability Score Increase. Your measured, reasoned approach to life has left you insightful and perceptive. Your Wisdom increases by 2.   Dwarven Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1 and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.  


Dwarves are renowned for the quality of their crafts, a reputation that is well earned. Gold dwarves leverage this distinction to the fullest, taking trade goods across the Sora and selling them for a tidy profit. They then purchase local goods such as spices, dyes, or fabrics and bring them back to their homes to make even more profit. This life of trade and hauling often brings them into contact with far more outsiders than most dwarves, giving them a cosmopolitan outlook. Their frequent travel to foreign lands means they must often negotiate with officials, guards, and local merchants.   Ability Score Increase. Your constant exposure to bartering and haggling has given you insight into social situations. Your Charisma increases by 2.   Mercantile Savvy. You have advantage on any ability checks to determine the value of any mundane good. In addition, you have advantage on Persuasion or Deception checks related to trade.  


Many dwarves see stone as more than merely a source of shelter and materials. Gods of stone, mountains, and the earth play major roles in most dwarven pantheons, but granite dwarves take their reverence for stone a step beyond religious observance. To them, stone is the very core of a dwarf's being, serving as a representation of their very souls. The immutable and unmovable, standing as firm as a mountain, examining the philosophical implications and meaning of stone and stonecraft.   Ability Score Increase. You have spent time in deep contemplation, considering stone. Your Wisdom increases by 2.   Stonecunning. Your oneness with the stone allows you to tell when something is out of place. You receive advantage on Perception checks to notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. You receive a check to notice such features whenever you pass within 10 feet of them, whether or not you are actively looking.   Stonesoul.: Granite dwarves are as immutable as very earth itself. You have advantage on saving throws against becoming petrified or stunned or being polymorphed.  


Many dwarves are known for their ability to endlessly toil in intensely physically demanding professions. Whether it be spending hours swinging a pickaxe in a mine, working the bellows in a smelter or forge, carving rock blocks for building, or hauling heavy loads, these dwarves seem to live only for work. Those with such commitment to labor are known as iron dwarves and are often considered a vital aspect of any dwarven society. While their labor is often considered base or simple, they usually perform it without complaint. Iron dwarves are used to coming home sore, muscles aching from constant use over long shifts at their profession.   Ability Score Increase. You are strong and hearty through long hours of toiling. Your Strength increases by 2.   Tireless. You are well used to long hours of backbreaking work, making even the most exhausting tasks seem trivial to you. You gain advantage on all saving throws against effects that would leave you fatigued or exhausted. If the effect would not normally allow a saving throw, you may make a Constitution save with a DC equal to 10 + the level of the source causing the effect to avoid the condition entirely. If you do become fatigued or exhausted, the condition only lasts half as long.  


Plumbing the depths of the earth can uncover great riches, but it is also full of dangers. Cave-ins, earthquakes, encounters with subterranean monstrosities, and inadvertent breaches of magma pockets are only some of the threats that face remote settlements. When calamity does strike, the inhabitants can be cut off from the outside world entirely. While most eventually succumb to starvation or disease, some incredibly hearty groups manage to cling to existence. Without access to full settlements, these dwarves must scrape and scrounge to survive. It can take years or even generations before these isolated pockets finally manage to reconnect with their societies. These so-called lead dwarves often find the surface world a strange, unbearable place after their lengthy time sealed underground.   Ability Score Increase. Your upbringing full of strife and hardship increases your Constitution by 2 (for a total increase of 3).   Cave Adaption. You have spent such an extended period of time underground relying on your natural darkvision that the light of day is nearly blinding to you. You have disadvantage on all saving throws, attack rolls, and skill checks when exposed to bright light.   Cave Dweller. The subterranean world is harsh and inhospitable. Despite this, you learned all the tricks to survive the deepest depths for extended times. You have advantage on Survival checks made underground.   Undying. Many people believe the afterlife is deep underground. If so, you've been there and come back. You have advantage on saving throws against any effect which would kill you outright. Additionally, attacks made against you when you are at 0 hit points do not automatically cause a failed death save, but rather cause you to make a normal death saving throw.  


In search of great rewards, many dwarves take heavy risks. Some may live on the rim of active volcanoes, mining out valuable ore ejected by previous eruptions, others dig ever deeper into tunnels that connect to Hell in search of rare gems and metal, and a few traverse the edges of the Sora seeking unknown realms ripe for exploitation. Those who survive these constant gambles have either come to understand the dice rolls of the gods or are looked favorably upon by some power or another. For many dwarven societies, it is these magma dwarves who have spearheaded their expansion into the Sora.   Ability Score Increase. You know that the odds are stacked against you and have become content with that fact. Your stoic approach to any risk increases your Wisdom by 2.   Reckless. As long as the reward is big enough, any risk is worth facing. Whether it's making an unorthodox move in combat or trying an untested solution to a problem, you are able to take a chance at achieving stunning success. Before you make any attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you may call evens or odds. If the unmodified result of the roll matches your call, you receive a +4 bonus to the roll; otherwise, you take a -2 penalty. You may use this feature three times and regain all uses when you take a long rest.   Lucky. You have the Lucky feat.  


While most dwarves are known for their highly ordered, civilized societies, obsidian dwarves thrive on combat and chaos. Whether they emerge from tunnels secretly dug beneath vulnerable towns, sail shallow-hulled longboats to pillage ports, or ride warbears down the side of a mountain to sweep the countryside, these dwarves are barbarians in the most classic sense. Most obsidian dwarves come from societies which place an emphasis on martial culture and a dwarven right to the bounty of the earth. As such, they consider precious metals, gems, and even crops to be theirs, to be reclaimed from those who unjustly took them.   Ability Score Increase. The tough, raiding lifestyle of the obsidian dwarves increases your Strength by 2.   Fearless. A rush of adrenaline surges through you whenever you step into a dangerous situation. You gain advantage on all saving throws against fear effects.   Ferocity. You are able to push yourself beyond where most others can. When you are reduced to 0 Hit Points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. Once you use this trait, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest.  


Contrary to the tendency of dwarves to dig deep into the earth, platinum dwarves make their homes in the highest mountain peaks. Often seeing themselves as a class apart from other dwarves, the platinum dwarves often live greatly separated from other races and dwarves. At these heights, they are free to carve great monuments, engineer incredible marvels, and otherwise pursue their goals without interference from most others. The biggest threats among the peaks are finding a foothold and high flying creatures such as dragons or rocs. Platinum dwarves must thus keep one eye on the sky and one eye on the ground.   Ability Score Increase. Years of navigating loose, craggy peaks and balancing on narrow ledges has helped make you exceptionally nimble. Your Dexterity increases by 2.   Sky Sentinel. The peaks of your home are prime nesting sites for flying monsters, thus you had to learn how to effectively fight them. You have advantage on attack rolls against and Perception checks against flying creatures.  


Steel dwarves are imperialist and noble in tradition, placing heavy value on the ability to wield an axe or hammer in the service of noble houses. Steel dwarves come from a variety of societies. Many live near hostile nations and learn through repeat conflict with their neighbors that strength of arms is of vital importance. Others believe in the supremacy of dwarven order, so they learn to fight in order to conquer the land and bring it under their shield. Some even simply take joy in the mastery of combat as if it were a craft in itself.   Ability Score Increase. Constant training in heavy armor and large weapons has made you stronger. Your Strength increases by 2.   Martial Trance. The large group combat training sessions you have participated in have honed your instincts and ability to fight outnumbered. When three or more foes are attacking you, you can go into a "martial trance" for a number of rounds equal to 3 + your Constitution bonus. During this trance, you add your proficiency bonus to AC and gain advantage on all saves. The trance ends when the rounds are up or the number of enemies attacking you drop below three. Once you use this trait, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest.  


Known for their deep curiosity, quicksilver dwarves constantly engineer all manner of artifice, both practical and absurd. For these dwarves, ingenuity is the highest virtue and building something isn't worth it unless it is complex. Many great advances in technology come from the constant tinkering and experimenting of quicksilver dwarves, though most of their innovations tend to be impractical over the long term. Many can be quite eccentric and standoffish, as they frequently consider those who don't share their passion for artifice to be simpleminded and base, while those who do share this passion are viewed as competitors.   Ability Score Increase. You have been a tinkerer since you were a young dwarf cub. Your Intelligence increases by 2.   Master Tinkers. You have taken apart and reassembled so many gadgets that you simply understand how most contraptions work. You have proficiency with tinker's tools. Additionally, you have advantage on any ability check to disarm a trap; disassemble, repair, or tamper with a mechanical device; or determine the purpose of a mechanical device.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Dwarvish and one additional language of your choice.


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