Found largely in the South in the immediate vicinity of the Great Rift, gold dwarves are the dominant southern branch of the Stout Folk. Renowned not only for their smithwork and craftsmanship but also for their military prowess and legendary wealth, gold dwarves have maintained their empire for millennia, unbowed by the passage of time.
For generations, the Deep Kingdom of the gold dwarves has stood unconquered, dominating the surface lands and subterranean caverns that surround the Great Rift. As their numbers never declined in the face of the endless warfare like their northern cousins, the Thunder Blessing has actually filled the great caverns of the Deep Kingdom beyond their capacity. As a result, for the first time in many years, large numbers of gold dwarves are setting out to establish new strongholds across the South and the rest of Faerun, including the Smoking Mountains of Unther and the Giant's Run Mountains of the Shining Plains.
Averaging 4 feet tall and weighing as mush as an adult human, gold dwarves are stocky and muscular. The skin of a gold dwarf is light brown or deeply tanned, and her eyes are unusually brown or hazel. Both genders wear their hair long, and males (and some females) have long, carefully groomed beards and mustaches. Hair color ranges from black to gray or brown, with all shades fading to light gray as time progresses.
Like their northern kin, gold dwarves harbor a great deal of pride, both in their own accomplishments and those of their ancestors. They also share the philosophy that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that the natural world is but raw material to be worked into objects of great beauty. Unlike the long-beleaguered shield dwarves, gold dwarves have not faced a serious challenge to their way of like for thousands of years. Confident and secure in their isolated realm, gold dwarves do not share the pessimism or fatalism of their shield dwarven brethren. To the contrary, having seen the rise and fall of countless elven, human, and shield dwarven empires, their endurance has fostered a deep-seated belief that their traditions and culture are superior to those of all other races.
Gold dwarves measure others by how much honor and wealth each individual garners as the status of his or her bloodline and clan. To gold dwarves, life is best lived through adherence to the ancient traditions of the Deep Realm. The very persistence of their own way of life indicates that other short-lived cultures are inherently flawed. As such, those who lack a meaningful cultural tradition or reject the elders' dictates are untrustworthy and possibly dangerous.
From birth, gold dwarves are taught to conform to the traditional strictures of their society. Every important decision, from choice of profession to their mate, is dictated by their circumstances at birth. Those who do not act honorably in their dealings are shunned from an early age, breeding a tremendous social pressure to fit in.
Gold dwarves lack the longstanding tradition of adventuring found in ther shield dwarf cousins in the north. However, population pressures induced by the Thunder Blessing have given birth to a new generation of gold dwarf adventurers. Most gold dwarves who wander beyond the familiar confines of the Deep Realm do so in order to found new strongholds of their own, but many find the lure of adventuring hard to ignore once it has entered into their blood.
Gold dwarves are painfully aware that many once-proud empires have been brought low, and they are therefore vigilant about maintaining their own. The keen awareness gold dwarves hold of the dangers to their eternal rule ensure that all dwarves are trained to fight from a young age. Most are trained as fighters, although clerics, paladins, rangers, rogues, and even the occasional arcane spellcaster play important roles in defending the Deep Realm. Gold dwarf sorcerers usually trace their ancestry back to a powerful dragon or some creature of elemental earth or fire. Common multiclass combinations include fighter/cleric, fighter/paladin, and fighter/expert.
Gold dwarf culture does not exhibit a great deal of variability, the result of generations of gold dwarves insulated from outside influences. Class and clan divisions are strong among gold dwarves, and great importance is attributed to bloodlines when ascribing social status. However, the Deep Realm is so swamped with petty, decadent royals and nobles that little real power is invested in anyone but the governing council of clan elders. Commerce and craftsmanship both play an important role in gold dwarf society, as does the never-satiated grasping for more riches. Pride and honor play an important role in all aspects of daily life, for disgrace applies not only to oneself, but also to kin, clan, and long-dead ancestors.
Gold dwarves are raised in tight family units, but the clan elders play an important oversight role in the upbringing of every child. Book learning is common, as is an apprenticeship to learn a trade. All adults are expected to support themselves and their family as well as bring honor and riches to the clan. Ostentatious dispalys of wealth are important for maintaining one's prestige, so poor gold dwarves often scrimp and save to keep up appearances. As gold dwarves age, they are accorded increasing respect for their wisdom. Clan elders form a ruling gerontocracy that strongly enforces traditional practices. Families and clans are expected to honor their elders in death with elaborate funeral rites and tombs befitting the deceased's reputation.
Outside the Deep Realm, gold dwarves hold themselves apart, forming small, insular enclaves that attempt to replicate traditional clan life. Few gold dwarves have any interest in adopting local practices except where it further their ability to hawk their wares.
Gold dwarves have venerated the dwarven deities of the Morndinsamman since the founding of Bhaerynden, but centuries of relative isolation and security have made their culture far less religious in nature than their shield dwarven kin. Among gold dwarves the churches of Moradin and Berronar are so predominant and have been for so long that many lesser dwarven deities enjoy little than token obeisance. High-ranking clerics of both faiths command a great amount of institutional authority in gold dwarf society. The clerics of Berronar's faith are responsible for preserving records of the extraordinarily ancient genealogy of the noble families and serve as the guardians of tradition in the home and community.
All gold dwarves revere the Soul Forger as the founder of the dwarven race, and his church is the predominant faith of the Deep Realm, centered in the monastic city of Thuulurn. Moradin's clerics sponsor many craftsfolk, particularly armorers and weaponsmiths, and serve as the principal judges and magistrates of gold dwarf society. The Soul Forger's faithful are drawn primarily from those who labor as smiths, craftsfolk, or engineers, but he is also seen as the protector of the entire dwarven race and is thus worshiped by many lawful gold dwarves regardless of profession.
Relations with Other Races
Confident and secure in their remote home, gold dwarves have a well-deserved reputation for haughtiness and pride. They look down on all other dwarves, even shield dwarves and gray dwarves whose achievements and kingdoms have matched the glory of their won. Gold dwarves regard elves and half-elves with suspicion after generations spent battling their deep-dwelling cousins. Gnomes, particularly deep gnomes, are well regarded and welcomed as trading partners. Their impression of halflings is shaped byt the strongheart inhabitants of Luiren, whom gold dwarves find to be suitably industrious and forthright.
Gold dwarves know little of half-orcs, but usually lump them in the the rest of orc and goblinoid scum. Gold dwarves are very cautious in their dealing with humans, having found great variability in their dealings with Chodathans, the folk of Dambrath, Durpari, Mulan, Sharrans, and Halruaans. Plantouched are almost unknown but are usuaully viewed in the same light as Mulan, since most plantouched the gold dwarves encounter are either Mulan aasimar or earth gensai followers of Geb.
Creating New Character On Arelith
Base race: Dwarf (+2 Con, -2 Cha)
- Dwarven ability adjustments: +2 Con, -2 Cha
- Favored class: Fighter
- Special abilities
- Stonecunning: +2 racial bonus on Search checks made in subterranean areas.
- Darkvision: Dwarves are able to see in the dark.
- Hardiness vs. Poisons: +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poisons.
- Hardiness vs. Spells: +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells.
- Offensive Training vs. Orcs: +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs.
- Offensive Training vs. Goblinoids: +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears).
- Defensive Training vs. Giants: +4 dodge bonus to AC against giants.
- Skill Affinity (Lore): +2 racial bonus to lore checks.
- Favoured Class: Fighter (for all subraces)
- Favoured Prestige Class: Dwarven Defender
- Common multiclassing is fighter/cleric and fighter/paladin.
Fighters are most common between them by far, although clerics, paladins, rangers, rogues and even occasional arcane spellcaster play important roles in their defences. Sorcerers usually trace their ancestry back to a powerful dragon or some creature of elemental earth or fire.
Dwarves are usually lawful, and they tend toward good.
- Retains all base racial abilities, except the stats change
- DEX -2, CON +2
- Attack +1 vs. Aberrations
- Skin: Light brown or deep tanned
- Hair: Both gender wear long hair ranging in colours from black to gray or brown, with all shades fading to light gray as time progresses. Males (and also some females) have long, carefully groomed beards and mustaches.
- Eyes: Brown or hazel
Ageing, height and weight similar to dwarves for all subraces. Dwarves are considered adults at about age 50, and they can live to be over 400 years old.
Dwarves stand only 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, but they are so broad and compact that they are, on average, almost as heavy as humans. Dwarven men are slightly taller and noticeably heavier than dwarven women. Shield Dwarves (average 4 1/2 feet tall) are taller by half a foot then Gold Dwarves.
- Bonus language: Dwarven
- Starting city: Cordor, or Brogendenstein if the player has at least RPR 10.
- Dwarven pantheon
- Gold Dwarf on FR wiki