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Known World Dwarves 3E

by Jesper Andersen

This post should eventually turn into a list of the statistics of the various dwarven subraces on Mystara. Before that, I have tried to compile a timeline of the evolution of the dwarven race based on Gazetteers and the DotE and HW boxed sets.

I will also include some new ideas on Modrigswerg dwarves.

But first, the timeline:

BC 6000:
Dwarves are barbaric goatherds living in mountains and foothills.

BC 2500:
Gnomes and dwarves enter the Northern Reaches region and settle in its hills and mountains as the continental ice sheets recede.

BC 1800:
The dwarvish race on the Known World is slowly, inevitably dying out. The immortal Kagyar the Artisan places half of the remaining dwarves in the Hollow World where they become the Kogolor dwarves and the other half he reshapes into a new dwarven race. Some of these "new dwarves" are placed in the Northern Reaches and become the Modrigswerg dwarves while others are placed in Rockhome. All are given the false memory that the Modrigswerg were also once from Rockhome.

BC 1500:
Sophisticated gnomish and dwarven cultures co-exist with primitive giantish clans in the western uplands of the Northern Reaches.

BC 1400:
Denwarf, golem-like leader of the Known World's dwarves, settles his people in a great cavern called Dengar and disappears into the lower caverns. He emerges in the Hollow World, where he helps the Kogolor dwarves fight off a Shadow Elf invasion.

BC 1395:
The Kogolor dwarves win the war. Kagyar places Denwarf in a state of suspended animation below Dengar.

BC 1000:
Nonhuman tribal movements pits orcs and goblins against the dwarves.

BC 492:
The dwarves win the battle at Sardal Pass against the horde of Queen Udbala of the Broken Lands.

AC 1:
Dwarves are invited from Rockhome to settle in Thyatis by King Lucinius I. They form the Barony of Buhrohur and the town of Makrast in northern Thyatis mainland. Clan Farkres is the ruling clan.

AC 200:
Rockhome dwarves begin colonising into outside lands; they are usually welcomed into human communities. (The Stronghollow Clan settles in Highforge in Karameikos?)

AC 802:
Dwarves go to Glantri during the great gold rush.

AC 828:
Accused of bringing the plague, the last dwarves are expelled from Glantri. Dwarves depart on guild ships and settle on Fortress Island.

AC 841:
The dwarven port of Stronghold is established.

AC 950:
Dwarves from Rockhome accept an invitation to settle in the kingdom of Stoutfellow in Alphatia in the city of Denwarf-Hurgon.

So, according to this timeline there should be three dwarven subraces: the original pre-Blackmoor (Kogolor) dwarves, the reshaped Rockborn dwarves and the reshaped Moulder (Modrigswerg) dwarves. The dwarves in Alphatia, Minrothad Guilds, Thyatis and Karameikos are all descendants of the Rockborn dwarves.

Rereading the Complete Book of Dwarves it seems to me there is so little difference between Hill Dwarves and Mountain Dwarves that it is hardly worth making them two separate subraces?

The Dwarves of Rockhome Gazetteer states that even though the various clans have special traditional occupations it does not mean that a dwarf from one clan cannot be trained in another clan's speciality, so there is really very little reason to differentiate the dwarves based on clan neither.

Depending on where in the timeline Havard wishes to insert the Tunnel Wanderers, they might have evolved differently, so I will ignore those dwarves all together in this thread and leave them for him (or others) to develop.

Well, I just saw that the Rockborn dwarves have already been created as a player race at the 3E Mystara site

In general, it is as I would have created it, except I think the +2 bonus to craft checks that are related to stone or metal should be replaced with a bonus to the dwarf's clan specialty. That way, a dwarf from e.g. the Everast clan could have a bonus to Diplomacy, Knowledge of history and heraldry or Gather Information and a dwarf from the Wyrwarf clan could have a bonus to Profession Farmer/Fisher and Handle Animal skill checks.

The Kogolor dwarves have not been created for the 3E Mystara site yet. According to the Rockhome Gaz., Kagyar reshaped the original dwarves to be more resistant to the Radiance (poison and magic) from Blackmoor. Furthermore, it says in the HW boxed set that the Kogolor dwarves are no better metal and stone craftsmen than other races, have no preoccupation with fighting and only one family in four lives in a cave home.

So, here is my take on what they should be like:

Kogolor dwarves

The Kogolor dwarves living in the Hollow World are one of the original races created in the outer world. Like most others they suffered from the destruction of Blackmoor and so, when Kagyar decided to make a race, which would be more resistant in the case of another disaster, he first transported half of the remaining dwarves to the Hollow World and placed them in the mountains.

Racial traits:

+1 Charisma, -1 Constitution

Medium Size

Base speed 20

+1 racial bonus to attack rolls against Krugel Horde orcs and Schattenalfen

+4 dodge bonus against giants

+1 on all saves vs. cold attacks or damage from cold

Automatic Languages: Kogolor, Neathar, Krugel Orc. Bonus Languages: Oltec, Schattelalfen, Brute-men.

+4 racial bonus to Climb and Profession Brewing checks.

+2 racial bonus to Perform (Yodelling (for signalling), Listen, Intuit Direction, Jump and Hide checks.

Favoured class: Ranger

Modrigswerg dwarves

Continuing the list of dwarven subraces and their abilities, we come to the Moulder or Modrigswerg dwarves of the Northern Reaches.

A few quotes about them from the Gaz:

"Because of the unpredictability and hostility towards visitors, the Modrigswerg are approached by very few".

"The Modrigswerg are artists, skilled workers in silver and gold... They work skilfully-cut precious stones, particularly diamonds and rubies, into their jewellery and devices... the fabulous and bizarre artifacts the Modrigswerg create in their cavern workshops".

"The Modrigswerg are also masters of the engineering specialty of dungeon trapping... dungeon traps of illogical but elegant complexity are usually of Modrigswerg design".

"Their language will seem archaic to modern dwarves... few Modrigswerg speak Common or any tongue but an archaic form of Dwarvish. They also speak dialects of Gnomish, Goblin and Kobold".

"Modrigswerg are, by their own assessment, obsessive workers. They make no distinction between work-for-hire, hobbies, and play, throwing themselves into every project with the same obsessive, uncritical enthusiasm. As with all the Elder Races, they need little sleep and are capable of working for days without a break".

"Modrigswerg set great store by memorisation of family trees and oral clan histories".

"Modrigswerg are known to deal with the Lords of Entropy... knowledge of their rituals are is necessary for safety, and oaths of loyalty are commonly demanded for the services these beings render".

"In general, the Modrigswerg have maintained the same skills and lore they had when they were banished. They are adepts in metalsmithing, gold- and silversmithing, armouring, weapon-making, gem-craft, sculpting, engraving, engineering, mining, geology, metallurgy and other disciplines usually associated with dwarves... the Modrigswerg have mastered two disciplines not practiced by any other dwarven culture - the life-bindings of the dark elves and the artificer's craft associated with the Lords of Entropy. These two disciplines, combined with conventional dwarven skills, enable the Modrigswerg to create unique devices".

Moulder Dwarves

+1 Intelligence, +1 Dexterity, -2 Charisma

Medium Size

Darkvision, the moulder dwarves can see up to 60 feet in the dark

Stonecunning; +2 racial bonus to checks to notice unusual stonework, intuit depth sense.

+2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison

+2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects

+4 dodge bonus against giants

Moulder dwarves do not need to sleep but can rest by sitting quietly working for a few hours each day. This is enough to regain any spells.

+2 racial bonus to Appraise checks that are related to rare or exotic items.

+2 racial bonus to Spellcraft, Knowledge Religion, Knowledge Outer Planes, Knowledge Arcana, Knowledge History, Disable Device and all craft skill checks related to metals and stones.

-2 racial penalty to Diplomacy and Perform skill checks.

Automatic Languages: Moulder dwarf. Bonus Languages: Giant, Kobold, Goblin, Gnomish, Common, Dwarf, Shadow Elf.

Favoured Class: The Moulder dwarves have not one but two favoured classes; Wizard and Expert (DMG p. 39). Most Moulder dwarves are necromancer or conjurer specialist wizards as well as expert craftsmen.


"Since the dawn of the first human kings in the realms of the North, Man has known of the race known as the Moulder Dwarves - powerful artificers and mighty craftsmen of magic and metal. The dwarves lived in secluded caves in high valleys and Man and Giant alike sought their services and friendship, for the dwarves were able to produce wondrous artifacts of awesome power and beauty.
But very few understood, much less cared to know about, the heinous and dark rituals needed to produce these items. The Moulder dwarves had learned the forbidden art of life-binding from their contact with the dark elves - a twisted, evil race living in the depths of Shadowdeep beneath the world of Man. And from the cultists of the Lords of Entropy they were taught the secrets of the artificer's craft - how to summon other planar beings and bind them to your service.
Such beings often demanded compensation or payment for their service and the Moulder dwarves would happily provide them with fresh souls for the sake of their "art".
One such story is of the upland chieftain Saemund Rhorwaldson, who lived in the valleys before the coming of the Sons of Cnute. Saemund was a wealthy and powerful lord but he was in distress for he desired the maiden Thyra and word of her beauty had even reached as far north as the freeholds. But she did not return his affections.
One day, when he was out riding, Saemund encountered a raven that spoke to him. It said it could help him win the young maiden and Saemund immediately promised the raven a hoard of gold and wonderful gems, if Thyra could only be his. The raven refused the treasure and said that Saemund instead had to pay the first son that he and Thyra had. Blinded with lust, Saemund agreed. The raven departed. And within a week, one night, Thyra magically appeared before the jarl's bed. And as she lay down in his arms, the shriek of a raven could be heard in the distant night...
Nine moons passed and Saemund had forgotten all about the bargain, he had struck. But on a night of thunder and lightning, Thyra gave birth to a strong and beautiful little boy and suddenly the flutter of raven's wings could be heard in the great hall of Saemund and from the shadows stepped a dwarf. It was Gosur, one of the Master Smiths of Old. His beard was long and white, his eyes dark and narrow and his voice dry as parchment. He reminded Saemund of the deal they had made, and fearful of the dark dwarf's powers the heartbroken jarl had to hand over his newborn son.
Gosur departed never to be seen in the jarl's halls again and eventually Thyra drowned herself in a river. But Saemund would not die. He lived to a remarkably old age and sat alone, tormented by memories, in the darkness and emptiness of his hall".