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29 October 2015 @ 08:48 pm
[The Mist] Our dwarves are different  
I finally got some drive to work on that riff on Skybourne I was thinking of doing, but I want to take it even further away from generic fantasy. So I wrote up a description of dwarves that's pretty different from the traditional take, which I present below:

Dwarves claim that their ancestors came from beyond the stars, descending to Khrone long ago to study its people. Their accounts differ on why they remained. Some histories say that some conflict among their people resulted in a civil war, with the losers being exiled to Khrone's surface and the winners returning to their home. Others claim that something happened to the other dwarves out among the stars, and their high civilization gradually fell as their technology ran out. The modern dwarves still have enough of their ancient prowess to avoid being annihilated by the Forest, but they are nothing compared to the might of their ancestors.

Physical Description:

Dwarves are shorter than humans, rarely topping four-and-a-half feet in height, and their stone-grey skin and enormous obsidian-black eyes make them immediately recognizable. Their bodies appear thin and frail, but they hide a surprising strength within their limbs. While younger dwarves are completely hairless, elder dwarves often grow wispy white or grey beards, looking more like moss growing on stone than the beards of humans.

Society: Dwarven society is rooted firmly in the clan and the hold, and the advent of the Forest has done little to change that. Those dwarves which were forced to abandon their subterranean holdings did so as a group, and while some settled among the other races they did so in groups. There are many cities now that have dwarven quarters, where the crackling of lightning can be heard at all hours. Other dwarves with more time managed to build flying towns powered by fulmencraft, and travel the winds trading from city to city. While dwarves may seem insular to outsiders, they can be extremely gracious to anyone who has any knowledge they wish to acquire or any devices they have never seen before.

Relations: [not written yet]

Game Mechanics
  • +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Dwarves are strong, sturdy, and inquisitive, but their alien viewpoints and insular nature hinders them when dealing with others.

  • Medium-Size: As Medium creatures, dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.

  • Slow Speed: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 Feet.

  • Type: Dwarves are humanoid with the dwarf subtype.

  • Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 120 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.

  • Guardians of Beyond: Dwarves came from elsewhere, and they have long experience combating the other beings from beyond the sky. They gain a +2 racial bonus on attack rolls against aberrations.

  • Inured to Storms: Dwarves have lightning resist 5.

  • Fearless: Dwarves have great experience dealing with a variety of dangerous situations and gain a +1 racial bonus on all saves against fear.

  • Scholars of Ancient Lore: The ancient dwarves were sages beyond modern ken, and the modern dwarves continue that tradition of learning. Each dwarf gains a +2 racial bonus to a single knowledge skill. In addition, that skill is always a class skill.

  • Thunder-Crafters: Fulmencraft is the ancient heritage of the dwarves and they grow up surrounded by the smell of ozone. Dwarves gain a +1 racial bonus to Craft (Fulmen) and Knowledge (Engineering) checks, and these skills are treated as class skills for all dwarves.

  • Starting Languages: Reticuli, the sibilant tongue of the dwarves, and Trade Tongue.

And that's what I have so far!

The proximate inspiration is the description of goblins in Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series, which gives them stony skin, near-featureless faces, and odd habits, and it reminded me a lot of greys. Throw in the Grey Alien Racial Guide I found up for free on DriveThruRPG, put them together with my idea to give dwarves a niche other than miners (in this case, lightning-powered mad science) and you get what I have.

I also wrote up elves with the goal of making them a lot more fey than the traditional tree-loving D&D depiction, but I'll stick to one subject per post for now.
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