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The Dwarves of Karameikos

by Joaquin Menchaca

This describes the dwarves of Karameikos for use within Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Edition and Mystara campaign. Essentially there is little difference between the Greyhawk dwarves of mentioned in the Player's Handbook (PHB) on pages 14 and 15, except that the Player's Handbook tailors the dwarves to the Greyhawk campaign. The dwarves in Karameikos have a few added advantages if they are a part of the Stronghollow Clan, mentioned in GAZ1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (GDK) by Aaron Allston.

Dwarven Overview


Personality: text

Physical Description: Dwarves stand only 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, but they are so broad and compact that they are, on average, almost as heavy as humans. Dwarven men are slightly taller and noticeably heavier than dwarven women. Dwarves' skin is typically deep tan or light brown, and their eyes are dark. Their hair can range from black, brown, red, blond, or grey, and is worn long. Dwarven men value their beards highly and groom them very carefully. Dwarves favour simple styles for their hair, beards, and clothes. Dwarves are considered adults at about age 50, and they can live to be over 400 years old.

Relations: When the dwarves of Karameikos do express a preference between Traladarans and Thyatians, the dwarves tend to prefer the company of Thyatians, who are practical people, and not the superstition-ridden like the Traladarans. The dwarves get along very well with the gnomes, whom are appreciated for their kindness, creativity, and inventiveness. Dwarves have an instinctive fear for wizards, especially those from Glantri, as they were known to abduct dwarves for experimentation. The dwarves of Rockhome have a general dislike and distrust for elves, while the Stronghollow dwarves are more accepting of elves. In fact, the dwarves are expert craftsmen of mithril works of the elves.

Alignment: Dwarves are usually lawful, and they tend toward good.

Dwarven Lands: The Dwarves of Karameikos come from the Stronghollow clan located in Highforge. Some dwarves may have migrated from the homeland known as Denwarf, or when translated to common: Rockhome.

Religion: The chief deity of the dwarves is Kagyar. He is the creator of the dwarves, and he expects his followers to work for the betterment of the dwarven race.

Language: Dwarves speak their native language of Furden, which can just be noted as dwarvish for all intents and purposes. The dwarves are very consistent with their language amongst different communities around the world, and so there is little to no dialectal changes from different communities. The language is further strengthen by the yearly religious pilgrimages to Rockhome, the homeland of the dwarves, and the original creation of the first dwarf by Kagyar.

Names: Dwarf given names are a bit hard-sounding and weighty. Family names tend to derive from wartime deeds or special abilities.

Male Names: Update with examples from Rockhome GAZ

Female Names: Update with examples from Rockhome GAZ

Family Names: Update with examples from Rockhome GAZ

Adventurers: A dwarven adventurer may be motivated by crusading zeal, a love of excitement, or simple greed. As long as his accomplishments bring honour to his clan, his deeds earn him respect and status. Defeating giants and claiming powerful magic weapons are sure ways for a dwarf to earn the respect of other dwarves.

Dwarven Racial Traits

Most of these traits are straight from the Player's Handbook on page 14, under DWARVEN RACIAL TRAITS. Abilities noted as "racial" abilities bonuses are in fact a bonus based on culture, and may not be shared by distant dwarven communities. Some abilities have been added, which are in green, to match the Mystara campaign.

These are the bonuses that the dwarves receive, which is mostly straight from PHB:

* +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma: Dwarves are stout and tough but tend to be gruff and reserved.
* Medium: As Medium-size creatures, dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
* Dwarven base speed is 20 feet
* Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
* Stone-cutting: Stone-cutting grants dwarves a +2 racial bonus on 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 dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Dwarves have a sixth sense about stone work, and innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
* +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.
* +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears): Dwarves are trained in the special combat techniques that allow them to fight their common enemies more effectively.
* +4 dodge bonus against giants: This bonus represents special training that dwarves undergo, doing which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Note that any time a character loses his positive Dexterity bonus to Armour Class, such as when he's caught flat-footed, he loses his dodge bonus, too.
* +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to rare or exotic items: 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: Dwarves are especially capable with stonework and metalwork.
* Dwarves have a resistance to magic. This is both a curse and a blessing. Every dwarf has a base chance of 5% x (spell level + modifier), where modifier is the appropriate ability modifier for casting spells, i.e. Intelligence for wizards and Charisma for sorcerers. They also have a spell resistance of 1% x modifier.
* Automatic Languages: Common (Thyatian), gnomish, and dwarven.
* Bonus Languages: Elven, Goblin, Orc, and Terran. Dwarves learn the languages of their friends and enemies.
* Favoured Class: Fighter. A multiclass dwarf's fighter class does not count when determining whether she suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing (see PHB56). Hin have long had to rely on stealth, wit, and skill, and the vocation of rogue comes naturally to them.