When the rebellion following the death of Lartha Mond ended, not all dwarves were in accordance with the new laws. A small faction of dwarves saw this change as unnecessary and pointed out that it was more corruption by those enforcing the laws rather than the laws themselves. They were generally mocked or shunned. These dwarves decided to dig deeper caverns for their mountain homes, setting up insular communities in which to dwell and eventually becoming the duergar.
Duergar were male-dominated from the start. The betrayal of Lartha became the fulcrum for this perverted dwarven culture. Over time, they shifted their focus from blacksmithing ore and mining gemstones to molding rock and managing society.
Fighters became monks and took over the judicial branch of government. The control of the legislative and executive branches was entrusted to the bulk of the renegades, wizards. These changes caused significant differences in both the dwarven and duergar communities.
Dwarves could no longer commanded the arcane magic needed to enchant their superior weapons and armor, while Duergar could no longer create the quality of products necessary to hold a magical charge. In truth, duergar and dwarves are bound to one another if powerful magical items are to be developed.
Duergar stand between 3.5 to 4 feet tall (though only a few are 3.5) and weigh between 90 to 120 pounds. Women tend to be shorter than men but not by much. The average lifespan of a duergar is 250-450 years. Their eyes are either brown or gray. Duergar have pale peach skin with a slightly grayish look to it. They have gray hair as well, though it might be mixed with white or black and on rare occasions it is completely silver. Men have long beards that are difficult to keep. They are never trimmed or adorned. Women (who cannot grow beards) have hair generally worn as long as a beard. Similarly, it is neither trimmed nor adorned.
Personality (lawful neutral)
Duergar have a very hierarchical society. Everyone is aware of everyone else’s status and treats them accordingly. Though normally titles are used, it is permissible to be less formal with those in a lower societal rung, but titles must be used for an equal or greater. Failure to show proper respect allows the offended person to call the offender a felch for a set time (the higher the rank, the longer the time). This is a sign of great humiliation.
Formality and politeness are key aspects in duergar society. Everything from meals to dances has their proper place and time, with courses and steps occurring according to preset conventions. Men are friendly with other men and women are friendly with other women, but it is considered a serious breach of protocol for men and women to be friendly with one another outside an intimate or familial relationship.
Duergar are a content people. They have no interest in expanding or rejoining the other world but they do need to interact with the outside world from time to time. When dealing with outside races, formal titles are always used even if duergar would not normally do so. They treat others with respect but are not overly friendly.
Duergar’s emotions are not widely ranged. They do feel happiness and sadness but not to the same degree as other races. Bipolar duergar are unheard of. They are level headed and logical, and always have a plan before they act.
Duergar live in a caste society; families do not change rank very often. Almost all marriages occur within one of the castes and inter-caste marriages are so rare that they can be easily counted. There is nothing in the law that actually prevents inter-caste marriages, but most titles are related to caste and are considered to be passed down to children by birth, so it becomes societal problematic when the parents are of two different castes (usually the higher caste is used).
The cities of duergar are encased by several yards of rock. Physical entrances or exits do not exist. Instead, the duergar use magic to get in and out – a mightily defensive system.
Their inner structure is much like a modern mall with clothing areas, food areas, and similar. Indoor lighting, plumbing, and air conditioning are provided by magic. The cities are very geometrically pleasing with wide, grid-like roads. All the buildings are carefully designed and crafted and usually have some trees planted nearby to add beauty. At the center of each city is a park-like area where benches, fountains, and plants are placed. The lighting of the city allows surface plants to grow underground.
Men wear form-covering clothing and hats, though they do go bare-faced. They manage the city, the defenses, and political structure of duergar society. Men tend to be wizards or monks spending their days contemplating future plans or developments of their civilization.
Duergar parties outside their city are male dominated. Women are sheltered and protected and seem very happy with this arrangement. Men believe duergar women are their greatest treasure and killing a woman is a capital offense resulting in banishment or death.
While men have control outside the house, women have control inside the house and control is complete for both parties. Women make the decisions on food and decorative choices, how children are raised, whether to expand or build a larger home elsewhere, even if their husband is allowed to take on another wife.
Additional wives are selected by the women a man has married. The man does not have the right to refuse his wives if he expressed an interest in another wife. He may only refuse if his wives initiate the conversation of another spouse. Wives who select additional spouses are more likely to choose a woman that can either be easily controlled or who is in accord. The order of marriage asserts the dominance of the woman.
Women are married before adulthood. Unarranged marriages are considered anathema, so duergar parents are always careful to arrange marriages as soon as possible. The final decision of marriage rests on the shoulders of the child’s mother. In cases of children with multiple wives, only the senior mother has direct say over a child’s arranged marriage. A marriage in which the birth mother disagrees with the senior wife’s decision frequently causes strife in home life.
Women take up the roles of clerics. They utilize their class abilities to either commune for guidance or heal in times of war. Religious education is taught to children by their mothers. Daily mothers will take their children to shop for the household items and visit religious establishments but while in public, women wear face covers.
Duergar tend to be shy and secretive. They are never less than polite in all they say and do. Duergar have had so little to do with other races over the years that they are never quite sure how to interact with others, though they have developed certain protocols.
First and foremost, duergar are partial to parley. They routinely negotiate, yet only in their favor. They have lived in a society that has been protected from any outside element and have grown to believe they always hold the advantage in any situation, even if the truth of the matter is otherwise.
Duergar do not fight unless they have superior numbers and believe they will win. It is not cowardice, but strategy. They enjoy their peaceful existence and do not wish to upset its tranquility so the preference is to either kill their foes immediately or avoid generating more enemies.
Though some duergar cities closer to the surface have established tempered alliances with other races, they are still not interested in opening up trade. Fear of change keeps the duergar isolated, yet this same fear sometimes mutates into hate and the duergar will go to war with any neighboring race (generally the dwarves or the drow). A very few duergar communities are more open than others, but even then they trade rarely.
Arden: Duergar think that arden are some form of magical, talking vermin. The notion they could have been dwarves is considered blasphemous. If an arden some how finds his way inside a duergar city without proper permission, he is killed on sight without remorse.
Amoraq: The amoraq culture completely confuses duergar. The usual protocol is to ‘treat the magical talking bear with respect until you can leave’. There’s rarely contact between non-adventuring duergar and amoraq.
Drow: Living next to the drow, duergar try to make the best of a bad situation. They keep away from drow settlements. They will not trade in times of peace without a guarded protocol, ‘keep weapons and spells at the ready’.
Dwarves: Other than their xenophobic lifestyle, duergar are essential dwarves. They are structured; friendly with their own race; and generally live in peace with one another. Trade between these two races is common. In fact, dwarves are the linchpin of the arcane market – the middle man. Unfortunately, duergar expect more in trade than their items are worth. This cost, in turn, gets placed on the consumer making all arcane magical items extremely expensive to outsiders.
Elves: Duergar and elves have nothing in common. There is a fundamental difference between the two races and neither race wishes to work through their disagreements. Luckily they live far away from one another. In different circumstances, these two races would be at war.
Fenodyree: Duergar believe in politeness but are not overly friendly with anyone. Fenodyree are affectionate to a level that duergar find atrocious, yet they do not think of fenodyree as enemies, more so as clingy pets.
Goblins: Goblins and duergar often interact with one another. Contact is greatly determined by the vicinity of the goblin colony. If their encampments are too close to duergar cities or hunting areas, the deep dwarves react to the goblins as pests if not outright enemies. If the goblins live far enough away yet still in an economic trade range, the duergar will embrace this wild group of creatures as possible allies.
Humans: Duergar do not like humans. They are unpredictable and greedy. In most cases, they do not show respect for duergar clans. Although duergar will initially parley with humans, they tend not to hold their breath. Duergar have long memories and they definitely remember that humans played the most vital role in the destruction of the surface world.
Kel: Kel do not exist. At least that is what an adult duergar will tell you. Childhood bedtime stories often include this monstrous dwarf as the antagonist. So when a duergar actually meets a kel, he is unsure how he should act. Disbelief, fear, and anger are the most common reactions.
Kobolds: Duergar see the truth of kobolds. They are sneaky thieves with no respect for anyone other than themselves. They are selfish little creatures and duergar dislike them almost entirely, yet duergar covet kobold trinkets. Fat fingers are unable to create such delicate objects. Duergar end up trading with dwarves for kobold merchandise rather than actually communicating with kobolds.
Nalu: To duergar, nalu are alien-looking humans. Distance and environment hampers a duergar’s knowledge of the nalu. Unfortunately, this ignorance ends up causing more problems than not. Duergar treat the nalu with the same aversion they have for humans.
Sobekites: Sobekites and duergar happen to be quite similar. Both are family-oriented people, protective of one’s community, and willing to live in harmony with other races. If not for the sobekites’ strange appearance and their animosity toward arcane magic, these two races would be life-long friends.
Duergar typically become adventurers by the hands of external forces. Low ranking members of their society often leave the safety of their home for better prospects. Rising rank in a duergar community is virtually impossible and 300 years or more of being look down upon is a hard pill to swallow.
On occasion, a duergar woman will be murdered by one of her wives. Whether proven intentional or not, if a woman was involved in another woman’s death, she is banished for life. On the other hand, if a man is found to have murdered a woman that duergar is sentenced to an eternity of stone. Their justice system magically transforms the offender from flesh to stone. These scanty statues are placed at the edge of a city in a cavern of fleetingly light.
Duergar trade with outsiders generates much interest for all other races. When sought out, first encounter is always handled by the Kath, a specialized unit of scouts and negotiators. Over time, some in the Kath become corrupted by the promise of wondrous new lands and people. They desert their position. The duergar that do follow this path are considered traitors and are executed when found.
Class Preferences: cleric, monk, wizard
Religious Preferences: Adaska, Baiperus, Eadiac, Ibidi, Tariav’ai, Zenaket
Racial Traits (PF)
When creating a duergar character, a player uses all the base traits presented below; these traits are inherent to the duergar and cannot be altered. A player then selects alternate traits to flesh out his duergar character. The total number of alternative traits may not exceed 4 racial points (RP). Each alternative trait has its RP cost listed after its name.
+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom: A duergar is both tough and educated, but lacks insight.
Medium: A duergar is a Medium creature and has no bonuses or penalties due to his size.
Slow Speed: A duergar has a base speed of 20 feet, but his speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
Darkvision: A duergar can see in the dark up to 120 feet.
Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light blinds a duergar for 1 round; on subsequent rounds, he is dazzled as long as he remains in the affected area.
Duergar Immunities: A duergar is immune to paralysis, phantasms, and poison. He also gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities.
Stability: A duergar receives a +4 racial bonus to his CMD when resisting bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground.
Stonecunning: A duergar receives a +2 bonus on Perception checks to notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. He receives a check to notice such features whenever he passes within 10 feet of them, whether or not he is actively looking.
Stoneseer: A duergar adds +1 to the caster level of any spells with the earth descriptor he casts. A duergar also gains the following spell-like abilities: constant — Nondetection; 1/day — Magic Stone, Stone Shape, and Stone Tell. The caster level for these spell-like abilities is equal to the user’s character level.
Languages: A duergar begins play speaking Duergar. A duergar with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: Drow, Dwarven, Terran, and Undercommon.
Arcane Focus (1 RP): A duergar gains a +2 racial bonus on concentration checks made to cast arcane spells defensively.
Cave Dweller (1 RP): A duergar gains a +1 bonus on Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival checks made underground.
Craftsman (1 RP): A duergar gains a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks to create objects from metal or stone.
Terrain Stride (1 RP): A duergar can move through naturally-occurring difficult terrain at his normal speed while in the darklands. Magically altered terrain affects him normally.
Elemental Summoner (2 RP): When a duergar summons a creature of the earth subtype with a summon spell, increase the duration of that spell by 2 rounds.
Treacherous Earth (2 RP): Once per day a duergar can will the earth to rumble and shift, transforming a 10-foot-radius patch of earth, unworked stone, or sand into an area of difficult terrain centered on a square he can touch. This lasts for a number of minutes equal to the user’s level, after which the ground returns to normal.
Deep Magic (3 RP): A duergar gains a +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance and a +2 racial bonus on dispel checks.
Racial Traits (DD)
Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
Size: Your size is Small.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 25.
Superior Darkvision: Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
Sunlight Sensitivity: You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target or your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Dwarven Resilience: You have advantage on saving throws versus poison, and you have resistance against poison damage (explained in chapter 9, “Combat”).
At 3rd level a duergar can Enlarge (Recharges after a Short or a Long rest) for 1 minute. The duergar magically increases in size, along with anything he is wearing or carrying. While enlarged, the duergar is Large, doubles his damage dice on Strength-based weapon attacks (included in the attacks), and makes Strength checks and Strength saving throws with advantage. If the duergar lacks the room to become Large, it attains the maximum size possibly in the space available.
At 5th level, a duergar can become Invisible (Recharges after a Short or Long rest) until it attacks, casts a spell, or uses its Enlarge, or until its concentration is broken, up to 1 hour (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the duergar wears or carries is invisible with him.
Terrain Stride: The duergar gains Terrain Stride as noted above.
Treacherous Terrain (Recharges after a Short or a Long rest): A duergar can will the earth to rumble and shift, transforming a 10-foot-radius patch of earth, unworked stone, or sand into an area of difficult terrain centered on a square he can touch. This lasts for 10 minutes, after which the ground returns to normal.
Artwork provided by Steve Bellshaw
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