Duergar Information

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Duergar Information

Post  Fox on Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:28 am

Dwarf, Gray (Duergar)

Dwelling in great subterranean cities of the Underdark, the gray dwarves are deep-dwelling cousins of shield dwarves, known for their cruelty & bitterness. Like their surface-dwelling kin, gray Dwarves are famed for their smithwork & craftsmanship, but unlike their brethren in the Realms Above, the Duergar are grim & cheerless, living lives of endless toil. Like their gold & shield dwarf kin, the Duergar have forged great empires, founding such realms as the Deepkingdom of Gracklstugh & the Steel Kingdom of Dunspeirrin in the endless darkness of the Realms Below.

Averaging 4 feet tall, gray Dwarves weigh nearly as much as an adult Human. While other Dwarves tend to be round bodied & stoutly muscled, Duergar are wide of shoulder but wiry & lean, their limbs corded with tough muscle. The skin of a gray Dwarf is light or dark gray, & his eyes are dull black. Bith genders are usually bald, with males having long gray bears & moustaches.

Gray Dwarves are consumed with bitterness, feeling their races has forever been denied what was rightfully theirs. The Duergar expect and live lives of never-ending drudgery. While their work rivals that of shield & gold Dwarves, they are relentless perfectionists who take no pleasure in their craftsmanship. Only cruel jokes & petty torments bring a moment's smile to most gray dwarves, and they delight in tormenting the weak and the helpless.

Gray Dwarves have the life expectancy & age category of normal Dwarves.

History

Gray Dwarves trace their history back to the establishment of Barakuir, one of the eight kingdoms of Shanatar. The Iron Kingdom was dominated by the shield dwarves of Clan Duergar, who venerated Laduguer as their kingdom's patron. Although they swore allegiance to the Wyrmskull Throne, the rulers of Clan Duergar thought their king should have been selected to rule Shanatar at the conclusion of the Second Spider War. Cpmsi,ed wotj bitterness, the dwarves of Barakuir largely turned away from the rest of the empire. The foolishness of this action was quickly proved when a war broke out with the Illithids of Oyrndoll, a city that lies deep beneath the Shining Plans, around -8100 DR. Slthough Shanatar battled the Illithid's to a stalemate, the enemy's armies managed to cut off Barakuir from outside reinforcement. By the time the Mindstalker Wars had ended, Barakuir had fallen to the Illithids and most of its inhabitants had been enslaved as thralls.

After millenia of enslavement & countless Illithid breeding experiments, the descendants of Clan Duergar were transformed into a new dwarven subrace; The gray dwwarves. Roughly four thousand years before the start of Dalereckoning, the Duergar rebelled against their illithid masters & eventually freed themselves of the mind flayers' dominion. These newly liberated gray dwarves carved out their own holdings in the northern Underdark beneath the Orsraun Mountains and in isolated caverns deep beneath the Great Glacier.

In the North, Gray Dwarves founded Gracklstugh, City of Blades in -3717 DR. As the first city of their kind in the North, its holdings grew without rival throughout the upper & middle Underdark. The Deepkingdom reached it's peak around -2600 DR, but in 1903 DR, the kingdom fell into a slow decline after smashing the Quaggoth nation of Ursadunthar which lay deep beneath the Spine of the World. For centuries thereafter, the overextended Duergar battled barbaric Quaggoths (who were incited by the Drow). As the Deepbear Battles raged until -1350 DR.

In the heart of Faerun, Gray Dwarves founded Dunspeirrin, City of Sunken Spires beneath the Osraun Mountains. In time, the holdings of Underspires, as the city was also known, grew to encompass the Underdark of Turmish and the Dragon Coast, and the gray dwarves grew strong. In -1850 DR, under the leadership of their greatest queen, Duerra, the gray dwarves launched a series of attacks against the Drow of Undraeth, the illithids of Oryndoll (from whom Duerra is said to have wrested the secrets of the Invisible Art), and other Undrdark races. Duerra's armies turned their simmering hatred against the remnants of Deep Shanatar sometime around -1800 DR. The gray dwarves overran Ultoksamrin & Holorarar & conquered the caverns of Alatorin for themselves. Laduguer rewarded Duerra with divine ascention. Afterward, Dunspeirrin fell into a centuries-long decline, from which it has only recntly begun to emergy. The return of Deep Duerra durng the Time of Troubles has sparked a new age of empire-building, but the city's Army of Steel now finds itself locked in a three-year-old conflict with the gold dwarf Army of Gold over control of the caverns of ancient Shanatar.

Outlook

Gray dwarves view the world with bitterness, convinced family, clan, other dwarves & the rest of the world have cheated them of their birthright & their due. They see life as nothing morethan endless backbreaking labour, a torment from birth through death. The Duergar evince little mercy for the helpless or the weak & enjoy tormenting those they can prey upon. From a young age, gray dwarves are quickly schooled in the harshness of the world, taught that their lot in life is nothing more than never-ending labour accompanied by betrayal & then death.

Gray Dwarves rarely adventure out of choice. Those who are exiled or flee imminent banishment often gravitate to the life of an adventure simply in hopes of surviving. Adventuresoe Duergar are usually focused on the acquisition of material wealth, caring little for the plight of others.

Gray Dwarf Characters

The ever-present dangers of the all-enveloping darkness are taught to gray dwarves from a young age. Most recieve some training as fighters or rogues to better defend their homes against those who would steal their hard-earned wealth. Clerics are common as well, for those who serve the Duergar gods claim positions of relative influence within their clan. Experts who combine traditional smithcraft with skill in the arcane arts are also much respected. Wizards are much more common than sorcerors among the gray dwarves. Common multiclass combinations inclue fighter/cleric, fighter/expert & fighter/rogue.

Favoured Classes

A gray Dwarf's favoured classes are Fighter & Psychic Warrior. The Underdark is a harsh & unforgiving environment, where only the strongest can survive. Gray Dwarf fighters have formed the bedrock of Duergar armies for generations, enabling them to hold off such varied threats as Aboleths, Drow, Illithids, Kuo-Toa & Svirfnebli.

Prestige Classes

Gray Dwarves gravitate toward prestige classes such as Assassin & Blackguard. A few become Dwarven Defenders. As with their cousins, the shield dwarves, the gray dwarves have a tradition of rune magic, & so a number of clerics become runecasters.

Language & Literacy

Like all dwarves, gray dwarves speak Dwarven & employ the Dethek rune alphabet. Gray Dwarvesalso speak Undercommon, the trade tongue of the realms below. The primary gray Dwarven dialect, Duergan, is an offshoot of the Shield Dwarven dialect, heavily influenced by Drow & Illithid words & language constructs found in Undercommon.

Common secondary languages reflect those spoken by traditiona foes, including Draconic, Elven (The Drow dialect_, Giant, Goblin & Orc. Those who have extensive dealings with creatures of elemental earth often learn Terran, while those who trade with inhabitants of the Realms Above often learn the trade tongue Common.

All Gray Dwarf characters are literate except for Barbarians.

Gray Dwarf Magic & Lore

Gray Dwarves have a strong divine spellcasting tradition, with many of the Stout Folk called to serve Laduguer or Deep Duerra as clerics, runecasters or Runesmiths. Acane spellcasters are much rarer, but Wizards skilled in the crafting of magic items are much respected.

Spells & Spellcasting

Gray Dwarves favour spells that aid their abilities in combat, assist in craftwork or mining, or facilitate stealthy movement.

Gray Dwarf Magic Items

Gray Dwarves favour magic items that aid in combat, facilitate craftwork, shield the mind, or enable stealthy movement. Blades & axes are commonly crafted with bane, keen, lawful, mighty cleaving, sundering, stunning, unholy & wounding special abilities. Hammers & Maces are commonly crafted with bane, impact, lawful, returning, stunning, sundering, throwing & unholy special abiliites. Armour is typically crafted with etherealness, shadow, slick, silent moves & spell resistance special abilities that facilitate stealthy movement.

Duergar Deities

Laduguer, the Gray Protector, is the harsh taskmaster of the Duergar & patron of their subrace. Although the Duergar nominally venerate all the Dwarven deities of the Morndinsamman, in truth they venerate only Laduguer & his daughter, Deep Duerra. Before the rise of Shanatar, each of the shield dwarven kingdoms has its own patron deity. The kingdom of Barakuir, dominated by the Dwarves of Clan Duergar, honoured Laduguer & never accepted the ascention of Dumathoin as the patron deity of shield dwarves. The ancestors of the gray dwarves continued to honour Laduguer during their long enslavement by the Illithids of Oryndoll. Unlike their shield dwarven bretheren, the Duergar did not evolve their religious practice toward the veneration of the pantheon as a whole.

Deep Duerra, the Daughter of Laduguer, is said to have been a great warrior queen who stole many secrets of the Invisible Art (Psionics) from Ilsensine, god of mind flayers. Deep Duerra is venerated primarily by Duergar who study the Invisible Art & by those militantdwarves who would rather crush their subterranean neighbours than trade with them. Her faith is particularly strong beneath the Osraun Mountains of Turmish, where her followers rule Dunspeirrin, the city of Sunken Spires.

Relations with Other Races

Dour & suspicous of outsiders, Gray Dwarves have universally bad relations with all other races, including other dwarven subraces. The Duergar regard their shield dwarf cousins with particular business, dating back to the shield dwarves' failure to succor Clan Duergar during the Mindstalker Wars. The Kin Clashes forever cemented the mutual animosity between the two dwarven subraces, a hatred that continues today. Gray Dwarves regard their gold dwarf cousins as arrogant rivals & potential threats, but trade is possible between the two groups.

Gray Dwarves view the surface dwelling races - Elves & half-elves, gnomes, halflings, half-Orcs & planetouched - with suspicion but willingly trade with those who are foolhardy enough to venture into the depths. The Duergar harbor a longstanding hatred of their subterranean rivals, the Drow & the Svirnbeli. Nevertheless, they regularly trade wih both groups, pitting them against one another whenever possible.

Gray Dwarf Equipment

Duergar carve & emboss scenes of bloodshed into many items they craft. Though they have a fierce appreciation for fine craftsmanshi, they are pragmatic enough to shun ostentatious decoration (such as glittering gems) when it prevents them from creeping unseen through the Underdark. Duergar traders may be richly appointed or seem poorly equipped, depending on the sort of bargaining advantage they seek.

Arms & Armour

Even more so than other Dwarves, Duergar favour weapons clearly derived from the craftsman's tools. They favour hammers & picks of all sorts.

Animals & Pets

Gray Dwarves favour common pats, hair spiders, osquips & spitting crawlers as pets & familiars. Deep Rothe are the preferred type of livestock. They employ pack lizards as beasts of burden. Although gray dwarves are known for their use of steeders as mounts, some clans employ riding lizards as wel.

Duergar Racial Traits

-4 Charisma instead of -2

Darkvision

Immunity to paralysis, phantasms (eg phantasmal killer) & poison. This trait replaces the standard Dwarven poison resistance.

+2 bonus to saves.

1/day invisibility

+4 bonus to Move Silently

+1 bonus to detect checks.

Automatic Languages - Common, Dwarven (Duergan), Undercommon
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