Gray Dwarf

Long ago, mind flayers conquered the strongholds of clan Duergar of the dwarven kingdom of Shanatar. After generations of enslavement and cruel experimentation at the hands of the illithids, the duergar rose against their masters and regained their freedom. They emerged as a new subrace of dwarf with limited mental powers.

The gray dwarves are an evil and bitter race, but retain the superior skill and workmanship of dwarvenkind. They have found a niche for themselves in the Underdark, creating armor and weapons to trade with the warring races of that realm. They seem to have been denied the Thunder Blessing.

Duergar on the whole are evil, but some turn their backs on their fellows and seek a different sort of life. For some, this means abandoning the evil gods of the duergar and embracing the traditional dwarven pantheon, while for others it is a more practical betrayal, usually involving stealing from other gray dwarves. When discovered, an outcast is typically stripped of his possessions, tattooed on the face and arms to mark him as a criminal, and cast out under penalty of death. Some clans secretly aid their outcasts—or encourage them to leave before they are found out. To return is to die.

This grim fate drives most outcasts to the surface, where they struggle to survive in an unwelcoming world. The surface dwarves hate the duergar because they turned to evil, and no other surface races hold much love for the gray dwarves. Most of the gray dwarves met by surface dwellers are tattooed exiles, although a small number were lucky or smart enough to leave before being discovered.

Male and female duergar are bald, and women do not grow beards. They are much thinner than other dwarves, with severe facial expressions, gray hair, and gray skin.


The gray dwarven strongholds are all located in the Underdark.

Racial Traits

  • +2 Constitution, –4 Charisma. Duergar are extremely withdrawn and guarded.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, gray dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Gray dwarf base land speed is 20 feet. However, gray dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).
  • Darkvision: Gray dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and gray dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
  • Stonecunning: This ability grants a gray dwarf a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A gray dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a gray dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A gray dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Gray dwarves have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
  • Stability: A gray dwarf gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, phantasms, and paralysis.
  • +2 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks. Gray dwarves excel at stealthy movement.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects. Gray dwarves have an innate resistance to magic spells.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids. Gray dwarves are trained in the special combat techniques that allow them to fight their common enemies more effectively.
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type. This bonus represents special training that gray dwarves undergo, during which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
  • +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items. Gray dwarves are familiar with valuable items of all kinds, especially those made of stone or metal.
  • +2 racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal. Gray dwarves are especially capable with stonework or metalwork.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—enlarge person. Caster level equals twice the duergar’s class levels (minimum 3rd). These abilities affect only the duergar and whatever he carries.
  • Light Sensitivity: Duergar are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
  • Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass gray dwarf’s fighter class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

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