Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Races of Fold: Dwarves as Player Characters

Honestly, I swear I'll post about other races at some point.

I've discussed how orcs fit into the setting, mostly because of how they're a "new" race. The dwarves haven't varied from the PHB in anything other than terms of appearence and some fluff, but I still think they need a 'breakdown', so that you can see how I feel they fit into the base classes.

The dwarven peoples generally have a lawful mindset, and the ferocity and chaotic bent of the barbarian doesn't mesh well with society as a whole. That said, dwarves are innately tough and able to perform certain acts that other races can't. Dwarven armies might utilise the rare barbarian as a "berserker shock troop."

Dwarves often find dealing with members of other races and/or societies difficult due to their brusque and guarded nature, so following the path of the bard is uncommon. When they do follow the calling of the bard, dwarves often act as historians and genealogists; acting as caretakers of their people's ancient lore and heritage. Dwarves often favour poetry and similar sagas, while their music frequently uses metal horns, drums and instruments like bagpipes and the occasional zither.

Dwarven religion mostly centres around worshipping the spirits of ancestors, as well as paying tribute to the elemental forces of fire and earth. Often, organised worship is led by the priests and clerics of 'the Forge Father', an ideal used to cover all the aspects of dwarven faith. Dwarven clerics are often teachers and tutors to dwarven children from all walks of life, with the more scholarly focused on academia and the less scholarly teaching various practical skills. In battle, dwarven clerics will focus on spells to improve weapons and armour, or even ones that replicate or replace them. Clerics are often found working forges and workshops, creating fine arms and armour, as well as more magical fare.

With the lack of naturally occurring woodlands in the tunnels and mountain caverns often called home by the dwarves, a druid might seem like an odd fit. While rare, they're not unheard of, and are often acting as informal wardens of the natural spaces on the edges of dwarven settlements; preventing either one from encroaching on the other too much.

This is the favoured class for dwarves. Their movement speed isn't reduced by armour, and they gain proficiency with some exotic dwarven weapons. Their natural toughness and the degree of resistance to poisons and spells means they're not entirely undefended either. Dwarven fighters are likely to be military specialists, or sometimes scions of noble houses acting as a representative of that family's might. Dwarven fighters often drill in a number of tactics, especially fighting as a unit and/or in confined spaces.

While it may seem an unusual choice, some monks flourish under the discipline and routine of a monastic lifestyle, so much so that some dwarves have attended surface race monasteries and abbeys, and returned to their people bringing the ideals and methods with them, establishing their own monastery in dwarven lands. Dwarves benefit from the heightened speed, ability to slow a fall and numerous resistances offered by the path of the monk.

Like the monk, the paladin's sense of duty, honour and discipline is a potent lure to some dwarves. Paladins of the Forge Father will often act as guardians, driving back evil monstrosities that threaten a dwarven city, and the families within. Some dwarves may struggle utilising a special mount, though, due to the confined spaces of their underground realm, and their shortcomings with general charisma will impact on some of their abilities as well.

As the druid suffers from a lack of "wilderness", as surfacers would view it, so to does the ranger somewhat. Not existing as "wardens of the woodlands", rangers exist in dwarven society as trackers, scouts and "specialists". Their emnity with certain races makes choices for their 'favoured enemy' ability obvious, especially with the races they receive bonuses against.

Rogue seems like another odd choice for a dwarf; their lack of maneuverability and slow speed make them unsuited for the nimble sneak. But their skill with stone and metal, and innate sense of anywhere it seems "unusual", makes them seem very well suited to a more mechanically-minded rogue. The resistance to poison might even make them more viable in other fields as well...

The biggest pitfall for dwarves as sorcerers is the charisma penalty they suffer, as this will likely limit the power of the spells they can cast, but it is possible for a sorcerer to utilise spells that don't entirely rely on this attribute. Spells manipulating earth and metal are often popular. Dwarven sorcerers are liable to become hermits, as they are an unusual occurence, and often differ greatly from their brethren.

Dwarven wizards are often scholars and advisors in noble courts. They may not track and record history, but they will consult it. They often work alongside clerics as scholars and crafters, creating items that the clerics cannot. Most dwarven scrolls are crafted by these mages. As with clerics and sorcerers, spells commanding fire, earth and enhacing or mimicing weapons and armour are commonplace.