Dwelling in great subterranean cities of the Underdark, the gray dwarves are deep-dwelling cousins of shield dwarves, known for their cruelty and bitterness. Like their surface-dwelling kin, gray dwarves are famed for their smithwork and craftsmanship, but unlike their brethren in the Realms Above, the duergar are grim and cheerless, living lives of endless toil. Like their gold and shield dwarf kin, the duergar have forged great empires, founding such realms as the Deepkingdom of Gracklstugh and 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 and stoutly muscled, duergar are wide of shoulder but wiry and lean, their limbs corded with tough muscle. The skin of a gray dwarf is light or dark gray, and his eyes are dull black. Both genders are usually bald, with males having long gray beards and mustaches.
Gray dwarves are consumed with bitterness; feeling their race 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 and gold dwarves, they are relentless perfectionists who take no pleasure in their craftsmanship. Only cruel jokes and petty torments bring a moment's smile to most gray dwarves, and they delight in tormenting the weak and helpless.
Gray dwarves view the world with bitterness, convinced family, clan, other dwarves, and the rest of the world have cheated them on their birthright and their due. They see life as nothing more than endless backbreaking labor, a torment from birth through death. The duergar evince little mercy for the helpless or the weak and 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 labor accompanied by betrayal and then death.
Gray dwarves rarely adventure out of choice. Those who are exiled or flee imminent banishment often gravitate to the life of an adventurer simply in hopes of surviving. Adventuresome duergar are usually focused on the acquisition of material wealth, caring little for the plight of others.
The ever-present dangers of the all-enveloping darkness are taught to gray dwarves from a young age. Most receive 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 sorcerers among gray dwarves. Common multiclass combinations include: fighter/cleric and fighter/rogue.
Laduguer, the Gray Protector, is the harsh taskmaster of the duergar and the patron of their subrace. Although the duergar nominally venerate all the dwarven deities of the Morndinsamman, in truth they venerate only Laduguer and his daughter, Deep Duerra. Before the rise of Shannatar, each of the shield dwarven subkingdoms had its own patron deity. The kingdom of Barakuir, dominated by dwarves of Clan Duergar, honored Laduguer and never accepted the ascension of Dumathoin as the patron deity of shield dwarves. The ancestors of the gray dwarves continued to honor Ladueger during their long enslavement by the illithids of Oryndoll. Unlike their shield dwarven brethren, the duergar did not evolve their religious practice toward the veneration of the pantheon as a whole.
Deep Duerra, the Daughter of Ladueger, 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. And by those militant gray dwarves who would rather crush their subterranean neighbors 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 and suspicious of outsiders, gray dwarves have uniformly bad relations with all other races, including other dwarven subraces. The duergar regard their shield dwarf cousins with particular bitterness, 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 and potential threats, but trade is possible between the two groups.
Gray dwarves view the surface-dwelling races – elves and half-elves, gnomes, halflings, half-orcs, and 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 and the svirfneblin. Nevertheless, they regularly trade with both groups, pitting them against one another whenever possible.
Creating New Character On Arelith
- Retains all base racial abilities, except the stats change
- CON +2, CHA -4, STR +2
- Listen +1, Move Silently +4, Spot +1
- Immunity: Paralysis
- Immunity: Poison
- Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day Invisibility
- Savvy Traders: Duergars deal with all NPC merchants as if they were the same race for determining their reaction.
Base race: Dwarf
- Favoured Class: Fighter
Most receive some training as fighters or rogues. Clerics are quite common as well. Arcane spellcasters are much rarer, wizards are much more common than sorcerers.
- Often lawful evil, most are evil.
Arelith Alignment Restriction: Non-good
- Skin: Dull, lifeless, light or dark gray
- Hair: Both genders are usually bald, with males having long gray beards and mustaches - short, wiry of iron-gray or black. Few females have short-cropped hair of dull black.
- Eyes: Dull black and cold.
Avarage 4 feet tall and weighting nearly as much as an adult human. Well muscled, wide of shoulder, but wiry and lean.
Ageing like Dwarves.
- Adulthood: 40 years
- Few live over 250 years
- Bonus language:
- Starting city: Andunor
- Subterranean Race, while truly an Underdark race are physically extremely similar to their surface dwelling relatives, save for the darker complexion. To many non-dwarven races they are a mistrusted race, but not ones that provoke an immediate violent response.
- Generally uncomfortable, or at least ill-tempered, above ground, and in daylight, their avarice can lead them to trade upon the surface world. While very few would ever be inclined to settle anywhere other than the Underdark, they do not expect those of the surface to treat them as monsters. With Shield Dwarves they are entirely hostile however, and the latter would likely vocally object to any formal dealings with their enemies.
- Duergar on FR wiki