These short and stocky defenders of mountain fortresses are often seen as stern and humorless. Known for mining the earth’s treasures and crafting magnificent items from ore and gemstones, they have an unrivaled affinity for the bounties of the deep earth. Dwarves also have a tendency toward traditionalism and isolation that sometimes manifests as xenophobia. Dwarves are a stoic but stern race, ensconced in cities carved from the hearts of mountains and fiercely determined to repel the depredations of savage races like orcs and goblins. More than any other race, dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless artisans of the earth. It could be said that their history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors.
Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the long length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. Clean-shavenness on a male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarven man.
The great distances between dwarves’ mountain citadels account for many of the cultural differences that exist within their society. Despite these schisms, dwarves throughout the world are characterized by their love of stonework, their passion for stone- and metal-based craftsmanship and architecture, and their fierce hatred of giants, orcs, and goblinoids. In some remote enclaves, such as those areas where these races are uncommon or unheard of, dwarves’ fixation on security and safety combined with their rather pugnacious nature leads them to find enemies or at least rivals wherever they settle. While they are not precisely militaristic, they learned long ago that those without axes can be hewn apart by them, and thus dwarves everywhere are schooled to be ready to enforce their rights and claims by force of arms. When their patience with diplomacy is exhausted, dwarves do not hesitate to adopt what they call “aggressive negotiations.” Dwarves and orcs have long dwelt in proximity to one another, and share a history of violence as old as both races. Dwarves generally distrust and shun half-orcs. They find elves, gnomes, and halflings to be too frail, flighty, or “pretty” to be worthy of proper respect. It is with humans that dwarves share the strongest link, for humans’ industrious nature and hearty appetites come closest to matching those of the dwarven ideal. Dwarves are driven by honor and tradition. While they are often stereotyped as standoffish, they have a strong sense of friendship and justice, and those who win their trust understand that while they work hard, they play even harder—especially when good ale is involved. Most dwarves are lawful good. Dwarves are lovers of history and tradition, and their long lifespan leads to far less in the way of generational shifts in attitudes, styles, fashions, and trends than shorter-lived races exhibit. If a thing is not broken, they do not fix it or change it; and if it is broken, they fix it rather than replace it. Thrifty as a rule, dwarves are loath to discard anything unless it is truly ruined and unable to be fixed. At the same time, dwarves’ meticulous, near-obsessive attention to detail and durability in their craftsmanship makes that a rare occurrence, as the things they make are built to last. As a result, buildings, artwork, tools, housewares, garments, weapons, and virtually everything else made by dwarves still sees regular use at an age when such items would be relegated to museum pieces, dusty antique shelves, or junkyard fodder by other races. Taken together, these traits create the impression that dwarves are a race frozen in time. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as dwarves are both thoughtful and imaginative, willing to experiment, if always keen to refine and perfect a new technique or product before moving on to the next one. Dwarves have achieved feats of metallurgy, stonework, and engineering that have consistently outpaced the technological advances of other races, though some non-dwarven races have used magic to supplement and perfect their own creations to achieve the same ends through mystical rather than mundane means. They are also a race typified by stubborn courage and dedication to seeing tasks through to completion, whatever the risks. These traits have led dwarves to explore and settle in extreme environments that would cause other races to quail and retreat. From the darkest depths of the underworld to the highest mountain peaks, from rusting iron citadels along desolate rocky coasts to squat jungle ziggurats, dwarves have established their enclaves and redoubts, holding them against all comers or perishing to the last and leaving only their enduring monuments to stand as their legacy. While it is said that dwarves are not venturesome or inventive, it would be more accurate to say that they maintain a focus on and dedication to each task they undertake and every change they adopt, vetting such changes thoroughly before adopting them wholeheartedly. When faced with new circumstances and new needs, they react by applying tried and true tools and techniques systematically, using existing methods whenever possible rather than trying to invent novel solutions for every situation. If necessity requires, however, they throw themselves with equal vigor into developing the next perfect procedure for demolishing the obstacles that get in their way. Once their desired goal is obtained, they focus on consolidating each new piece of territory or conceptual advance. Dwarves thus rarely overextend themselves, but they also may miss opportunities to seize the initiative and maximize the advantages they create.
Duergar dwell in subterranean caverns far from the touch of light. They detest all races living beneath the sun, but that hatred pales beside their loathing of their surface-dwarf cousins. Dwarves and duergar once were one race, but the dwarves left the deeps for their mountain strongholds.
Duergar still consider themselves the only true dwarves, and the rightful heirs of all beneath the world’s surface. In appearance, duergar resemble gray-skinned dwarves, bearded but bald, with cold, lightless eyes.
They favor taking captives in battle over wanton slaughter, save for surface dwarves, who are slain without hesitation. Duergar view life as ceaseless toil ended only by death. Though few can be described as anything other than vile and cruel, duergar still value honor and rarely break their word. Unlike their lighter skinned cousins, the duergar are celebrated wizards, with innate magical powers allowing them to grow in size and turn invisible, as they had taken to devil worship in their years, even going so far as breeding with the fiends. The result was the current breed of gray dwarves. Also unlike their surface cousins, the duergar care little for decoration and splendor in their crafts, making weapons of equal quality, but less beauty. Though there are open trading routes between the duergar and the drow, the two races share no love for one another with their alliance being shaky at best. Though the race that the duergar fear most, are the powerful and terrifying Mind Flayers, as the naturally psionic illithids often enslave the dwarves in mass amounts.
A Azerblood is a type of planetouched that is the combination of a fire outsider known as an azer and dwarven blood. Azerbloods take after their outsider relatives in regard of good and evil by staying out of that conflict. So the common Azerblood is Lawful Neutral. Their favorite class is Fighter. They chose most often to worship Phoerex. Azerblood resemble a dwarf for the most part, with some variations based on the outsider blood that flows in their veins. Common traits are metallic brass-colored skin, flame-red hair and irises that appear to move with flames. They favor the Azer way of dressing in metallic skirts of brass, bronze and copper. But they will dress for necessity, including heavier armors. Azerblood usually dwell in their own small communities or within larger communities of dwarves. In combat, they are well known for team tactics and using their natural protections against fire to cast flaming magics.