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New Subrace: Modrigswerg (Moulder Dwarves, Rot Dwarves)

by Adamantyr

The Modrigswerg are an ancient clan of dwarves exiled from Rockhome for pursuit of forbidden lore and traffic with dark powers. Only the gnomes are their peers as artificers, but the Modrigswerg are said to be cursed by the Darkness, condemned forever to suffer distrust, treachery, and madness.

Modrigswerg reside in underground warrens in the hills and mountains of the Northern Reaches. They are aloof and generally dislike visitors. They share their race's traditional conservative attitudes, they are loath to abandon ritual, and adopt new ways reluctantly. They are masters of traps and fiendish devices; the best work in this field is done by Modrigswerg craftsdwarves. Modrigswerg can be wizards, priests, warriors, or thieves.

Ability Score Adjustments: Modrigswerg dwarves have a +1 to their Intelligence and a +2 to their Constitution. They have a -1 to their Strength, and a -2 to their Charisma.

Alignment: They cannot be of good alignment, the majority of the race is Chaotic Neutral.

Modrigswerg Dwarf Ability Scores

Ability Minimum Maximum
Strength 6 16
Dexterity 3 17
Constitution 12 20
Intelligence 3 19
Wisdom 3 18
Charisma 3 12

Languages: Dwarf (Modrigswerg dialect), Dwarf (Rockhome), Gnoll, Kobold

Special Advantages: Modrigswerg have the basic dwarf package of abilities listed in the Player's Handbook, with these adjustments:

· Their Infravision has a range of 90'.
· Their Mining abilities are equivalent to that of a gnome, rather than a basic dwarf.
· They do not have the dwarvish bonus to hit humanoids, nor do any humanoid foes suffer the -4 penalty listed. This is due to the Modrigswerg's long existence more in cooperation with these creatures, and their avoidance of direct combat.
· To put it bluntly, Modrigswerg have cast-iron stomachs. They can eat almost anything, despite its age, and still gain sustenance from it. A Modrigswerg has a +3 bonus to any saves verses Poison taken through ingestion. They can also eat tainted or spoiled food, or drink impure water; they have a +5 to their Constitution check verses nausea. If the roll is successful, they gain sustenance, if not, they only gain half; they never get nauseous. (See the Wilderness Survival Guide, pages 58 and 60, for more details.)

Special Disadvantages: Modrigswerg suffer a number of penalties, due to their history, detailed below:

· They suffer a general +2 reaction from all, due to their eating habits, which gives them a rather unpleasant odour. They have an additional +1 penalty with Dwarves and Gnomes, who view them as outcasts and miscreants.
· All Modrigswerg suffer from madness and periods of depression and suicidal behaviour. They tend to lose it in periods of high stress, such as near death (hovering at death's door), seeing a valuable project destroyed, or being grossly insulted. After they reach the age of 400, they must automatically make these checks once a year.

When this happens, the Modrigswerg must make a saving throw verses Petrification, without their racial modifiers. (If the moon is full at the time, he makes the check at -2 penalty.) If he fails, he enters into a period of madness. If not already Chaotic Neutral, he automatically becomes so, and will earn no further experience until he reverts. (If he is already Chaotic Neutral, he suffers no penalty.) While 'insane' the Modrigswerg is irrational, unpredictable, erratic, obsessive, and apathetic, to name a few. They become NPCs under the DM's control during this period, which lasts for 1d8+4 days.

The player can attempt a Wisdom check and break out of the madness once during the madness, with a -4 penalty, any roll above 10 fails automatically. At the end of the period, he can make a new saving throw verses Death Ray to snap out of it. If he fails, he enters another bout, and he suffers a -1 penalty on the next cycle, which is cumulative. (Some Modrigswerg never come out of the madness.) Spells such as heal have no effect on a Modrigswerg, their condition is natural, not magical.

Racial Enmities: None of note. Rockhome and Northern Reaches dwarves despise Modrigswerg, but both tend to stay out of each other's way, and thus there is no bonus or penalty on either side.

Additional Experience Cost: None

Life Expectancy: 500 years