The glory of the ancient dwarven kingdoms lies far in the past, yet these stout champions remain vigilant against the myriad foes arrayed against them. The Stout Folk pride themselves in the achievements of their people. Claiming that they stepped fully formed from the heart of the world, dwarves have much in common with the stone and steel they respect.

Dwarves are doughty, toughened by countless wars. Though many of their strongholds lay in ruin, the dwarves bravely hold what remains theirs, while looking to reclaim their past empires.

Description and Homelands

Although the dwarves were originally one people, strife, internecine conflict, and endless wars with orcs and goblinoids sundered the race, scattering it throughout Faerûn. With each grudging defeat, the dwarves drifted farther from their roots until their natural adaptation to new environments left a physical mark upon their bodies. Of the various clans and tribes, most dwarves fall into one of two groups: gold dwarves and shield dwarves.

The gold dwarves of East Rift and elsewhere in the South are a stocky and muscular people. They stand about 4 feet tall and weigh as much as other dwarves. Unlike their northern kin, gold dwarves have dark skin, deeply tanned to dark brown. They wear their black to dark brown hair long, and males (and rarely females) sport long beards, carefully oiled and groomed. Gold dwarves usually have hazel or brown eyes, and green eyes are considered lucky.

Expert craftsfolk, gold dwarves take pride in their personal equipment and often wield weapons featuring intricate engravings, scrollwork, and acid etchings, all of which depict scenes from dwarven history and creatures their ancestors defeated. The attention to detail extends farther than their weapons, of course; the most innocuous items—combs, brushes, backpacks— feature lovingly wrought scenes and images on their surfaces. Their armor is exceptional, and each piece is a work of peerless art, making gold dwarf armor some of the most coveted in the world.

Outside the South, shield dwarves far outnumber their cousins. Taller and heavier than gold dwarves, shield dwarves are fair-skinned, with hair ranging from brown to blond, and red being the most common. Blue and hazel are the predominant eye colors.

Shield dwarves don’t use the stylized goods of their southern kin, but they are no shirkers when it comes to quality. Peerless craftsfolk, they forge some of the strongest weapons and armor in all the lands. Each piece bears a maker’s mark to denote its crafter, often placed on the business end of hammers and similar bludgeons. As such, these weapons literally leave a stamp on their victims.

Playing a Dwarf in Toril

Dwarves are stubborn and cynical, but also brave and tenacious. Besieged on all sides by ancient enemies, dwarves remain true to the traditions and values of their heritage.

Dwarves are naturally dour and suspicious. Slow to trust, they keep those outside their tight family groups at hammer-length, suspecting the worst in everyone they meet until they can believe without a shred of doubt in another’s honest and good intentions. Dwarves hold betrayals in their memories and swear solemn vows to avenge themselves for what might have been just a minor slight.

Dwarves despise goblins and orcs above all other races and wipe them out wherever they find them. To dwarves, these creatures are an infestation, and it’s their duty to purge the world of them lest they gather in numbers and overrun their fortified cities. Such creatures aren’t the only ones to gain the dwarves’ enmity, and the dwarves hunt drow, grimlocks, and other Underdark races with relish.

Gold dwarves have a reputation for arrogance, pride, and disdain for other races. Where shield dwarves frequently make alliances with their neighbors, gold dwarves have traditionally shunned them and extended their haughtiness even to their dwarven kin. The destruction of the last century has dulled this pride, and for the first time in memory, the gold dwarves now welcome outsiders into their communities. An influx of adventurers and explorers drawn by the lure of excitement, fabulous treasure, and ancient secrets has managed to strengthen the gold dwarf settlements in the East Rift and has done much to slow the drow attacks that test their defenses.

Dwarf Characteristics: Acquisitive, brave, hardworking, loyal, organized, stern, stubborn, tenacious, vengeful
Male Names: Adrik, Baern, Berend, Darrak, Eberk, Fargrim, Gardain, Harbek, Kildrak, Morgran, Orsik, Rangrim, Thoradin, Thorfin, Tordek, Travok, Vondal
Female Names: Artin, Bardryn, Diesa, Eldeth, Falkrunn, Gurdis, Helja, Kathra, Kristryd, Mardred, Riswynn, Torbera, Vistra

Dwarf Adventurers

Three sample dwarf adventurers are described below.

Travok, dwarf paladin

Travok is a dwarf paladin committed to the service of Tempus. Wearing shining plate armor crafted and proudly worn by his great-grandfather, Travok presents an impenetrable line of defense, defying his enemies to get past him to reach his allies. True to his god and the honor of his ancestors, Travok relishes his physical strength and endurance, vowing that nothing will move him from his place. He is fiercely loyal to his friends, and if the need arises, he will lay down his life to ensure that they live.

Kathra, dwarf cleric

Kathra is a dwarf cleric devoted to Moradin, the Great Carver who formed the dwarves out of stone and liberated them from their servitude to the giants. Swinging a warhammer engraved with the hammer-and-anvil symbol of her god, Kathra stands next to her fighter companion, trusting in divine power, the chainmail she made herself, and her own natural resilience to protect her from her enemies. Her dearest hope is to craft a legacy that will last through the ages, as beautiful and enduring as the finest dwarven jewelry—a legacy of peace and justice in this troubled world.

Tordek, dwarf fighter

Tordek is a dwarf fighter, last in a long line of noble warriors. Three generations ago, his family's ancestral fortress was overrun by orcs and laid to waste, leaving Tordek with nothing but a signet ring and tales of ancient glory as his birthright. He has sworn that he will rebuild the fortress one day, and that oath drives his every action. In the meantime, his adventuring companions know they can rely on him completely, and someday he will rely on them to help him reclaim his kingdom.

Dwarf Racial Traits

Average Height: 4' 3"–4' 9"
Average Weight: 160–220 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom
Size: Medium
Speed: 5 squares
Vision: Low-light

Languages: Common, Dwarven
Skill Bonuses: +2 Dungeoneering, +2 Endurance
Cast-Iron Stomach: +5 racial bonus to saving throws against poison.
Dwarven Resilience: You can use your second wind as a minor action instead of a standard action.
Dwarven Weapon Proficiency: You gain proficiency with the throwing hammer and the warhammer.
Encumbered Speed: You move at your normal speed even when it would normally be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magical effects) affect you normally.
Stand Your Ground: When an effect forces you to move—through a pull, a push, or a slide—you can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. This means an effect that normally pulls, pushes, or slides a target 1 square does not force you to move unless you want to. In addition, when an attack would knock you prone, you can immediately make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.

Play a dwarf if you want …

  • to be tough, gruff, and strong as bedrock.
  • to bring glory to your ancestors or serve as your god's right hand.
  • to be able to take as much punishment as you dish out.
  • to be a member of a race that favors the paladin, cleric, and fighter classes.

Character Races
Player's Handbook DragonbornDwarvesEladrinElvesHalf-ElvesHalflingsHumansTieflings
Player's Handbook 2 DevasGnomesGoliathsHalf-OrcsShifters
Player's Handbook 3 GithzeraiMinotaurShardmindWilden
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide DrowGenasi
Character Races

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.