Wild Dwarf

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Note: The Wild Dwarf subrace may only be selected by spending a Minor Award!
From Races of Faerûn

Introduction

Wild dwarves, who call themselves “dur Authalar” (the People), are the primitive inhabitants of the Jungles of Chult and the Mhair and Black Jungles. They have largely rejected the clanbased craft- and smith-oriented culture of their gold, gray, and shield dwarf cousins, choosing instead to live in hunting bands with ever-shifting memberships. Eschewing all trappings of civilization, wild dwarves live like beasts, engaged in an endless hunt for survival. Only those who dare the shadowy depths of Faerûn’s southern jungles are even aware of the existence of this barbaric dwarven subrace, for these elusive hunters keep to the depths of their woodland homes.

Wild dwarves are dark-skinned, short, and stout, with dark brown eyes. Their heavily tattooed bodies are covered with grease to ward off insects and make them hard to hold. Wild dwarves wear little except their long, woven hair, which serves as adequate clothing. They plaster their hair and skin with mud to form a crude armor when going to war. Dur Authalar have more in common with the beasts of the jungle than they do with their dwarven kin, viewing life as an endless hunt and each day a struggle to kill or be killed. Wild dwarves distrust all intruders into their jungle domain and, if confronted, are apt to attack first without question. Much like the beasts they strive to emulate, wild dwarves care little about goings-on in the world at large, the doings of those who are not wild dwarves, or material possessions.

History

The drow conquest of Bhaerynden sometime around the year –9000 DR forced the Stout Folk of that realm to scatter to isolated holdings across the South. One of the largest groups of dwarves to flee the destruction made their way overland to the Chultan peninsula before splintering into small tribal groups. There they emerged as a distinct subrace known as wild dwarves. Dur Authalar have never reversed their rapid descent into barbarism and have largely forgone the strictures of clan life. Although several great empires have claimed their territory from time to time, including the Chultan realm based in Mezro, the yuan-ti empire of Serpentes that arose after the fall of Netheril, and the Cities of the Seabreeze that came together to form the kingdom of Tashtan, the wild dwarves have never been conquered. Instead, they have chosen to simply melt into the depths of the jungle until such time as they could peaceably reclaim their old hunting grounds.

Outlook

Wild dwarves see the world in terms of hunter and prey. In the minds of the dur Authalar, civilization is but a veneer that obscures the endless cycle of prey and predation. Wild dwarves care only about securing their next meal and surviving the everpresent dangers of the natural world. From a young age, wild dwarves join in the hunt, and the lack of strong family or clan ties ensures that each wild dwarf understands just how alone he or she is in the world.

Those few wild dwarves who have chosen a life of adventure usually found it thrust upon them. Many were once captives of Calishite slavers who escaped and must now make their own way in the world. Lacking the support of the pack in which they were raised, many see the close camaraderie of adventuring bands as a close approximation of their traditional huntingbands and thus seek out such groups.

Wild Dwarves as Characters The primitive way of life led by wild dwarves ensures that the skills of the barbarian are highly prized. Rangers and fighters who are capable of defeating potential predators and hunting for food survive longer than those who must rely on the beneficence of the pack. Clerics and druids of Thard Harr spread the teaching needed to survive in the harsh jungle environment, while rogues skilled in making and setting traps bring much needed bounty to the nightly feast. Common multiclass combinations include barbarian/fighter, barbarian/ranger, barbarian/druid, and ranger/druid.

Favored Class: A wild dwarf’s favored class is barbarian. Unlike their more civilized kin, the dur Authalar have retreated into barbarism beneath the thick jungle canopy of Chult. In the face of the many dangers that stalk their homeland, survival demands the heightened senses, fast movement, and battle rages of a barbarian.

Society

Wild dwarves organize themselves into loose, ever-changing hunting bands and pay little heed to distinctions of family or clan. They live nomadic lives that revolve around the hunt and escaping from more powerful predators. Material wealth and goods mean very little, with weapons being the only objects to which they evince any real attachment. Wild dwarven children are raised communally, with only faint familial bonds ever acknowledged. Book learning is nonexistent, and the young are taught to hunt as soon as they can keep up with the pack. All adults are expected to contribute to the communal life, whether it be watching over the young or leading the hunt. While the wild dwarves respect the wisdom of elders, those who grow too weak to keep up through persistent sickness or age are eventually left behind by their kin. A few choose their own deaths, suicidally attacking a great beast single-handedly. They are remembered for their bravery in nightly tales that gradually grow into myths.

Few wild dwarves ever leave their traditional way of life in the southern jungles. Wild dwarves encountered beyond the jungle are usually loners who have either been captured and enslaved or voluntarily chosen exile. Most such wild dwarves eventually find their niche alongside rangers, hunters, or druids, although a few join packs of lycanthropes and other sentient beasts in an attempt to recreate their traditional way of life.

Language and Literacy

Wild dwarves speak a dialect of Dwarven, as well as Common. Those rare individuals who are literate employ the Dethek rune alphabet. The wild dwarf dialect, Authalan, is distantly related to the dialect of the gold dwarves, and betrays a subtle Chultan and Tashalan influence. Common secondary languages reflect the dominant languages of the Chultan peninsula and include Chultan, Draconic, Goblin, Shaaran, Tashalan, and Yuan-Ti.

Barbarian wild dwarves are usually iliterate.

Wild Dwarf Magic and Lore

Wild dwarves take what magic they know for granted. The blessings of Thard Harr, transmitted through the tribe’s cleric, are no more unusual than the chieftain’s prowess in warfare or the healer’s ability to find beneficial herbs in the jungle. Conversely, wild dwarves are often anxious round magic they’ve never seen before, which includes most arcane magic and any magic items based on manufactured goods.

Spells and Spellcasting

Wild dwarves have a strong divine spellcasting tradition, with many of the Stout Folk called to serve Thard Harr as clerics, druids, or rangers. Arcane spellcasters are almost unknown. Spellcasting Tradition: Wild dwarves favor spells that that interact with the natural world and aid in the hunt, such as barkskin, calm animals, commune with nature, dominate animal, entangle, hold animal, repel vermin, and wall of thorns. Wild dwarves do not appear to create many spells, or, if they do, they are not widely known and disseminated.

Wild dwarves often augment their magic with extra grunts, gesticulations, and herbs gathered from their jungle home.

Magic Items

Wild dwarves favor magic items that aid in combat, facilitate fast movement, or provide personal protection. Common examples of such include mulets of natural armor, anklets of springing and striding (identical to the boots of the same name), anklets of speed (identical to the boots of the same name), and all manner of magical oils.

Wild dwarves have fabricated many unique magic items as well, such as anklets of freedom of movement (as the ring, but worn on the feet), ointment of barkskin, and tanglepatches.

Deities

Although the wild dwarves occasionally make offerings to the other dwarven deities, they truly worship only Thard Harr, Lord of the Jungle Deeps. In the folklore of the dur Authalar, the Morndinsamman are reduced to little more than powerful spirits, often associated with specific landmarks or natural phenomena. The Lord of the Jungle Deeps is the protector of wild dwarves, aiding them against marauding beasts and intruders into the jungle fastness. Nearlyall wild dwarves venerate Thard Harr, viewing him not only as patron of their kind but also as a source of great wisdom and experience. He teaches the wild dwarves to both respect and emulate the ways of beasts, particularly great jungle cats, and live in harmony with nature

Relations with Other Races

Hidden away in their vast jungle, wild dwarves have little exposure to races that do not dwell in significant numbers on the Chultan peninsula. Wild dwarves have good relations with other dwarven subraces after centuries of peaceful contact with a small number of shield dwarves who have emigrated to Chult. Wild dwarves have almost no knowledge of elves, half-elves, gnomes, halflings, half-orcs, or planetouched, although they get along well with the ghostwise halflings on the rare occasions they meet.Wild dwarves have mixed feelings about humans. While they get along well with Chultans, they see Calishites and Lantanna as cruel exploiters and view most Tashalans as servants of the yuan-ti. Wild dwarves reserve their greatest hatred for the goblins of Chult.

Wild Dwarf Equipment

Wild dwarves generally eschew any form of clothing, choosing instead to wear their hair long and cover their bodies with tattoos and grease. In times of war, they plaster their bodies with mud, forming effective but crude mud armor. When defending their home caves, they like to use all manner of pits, snares, deadfalls, and other traps.

Arms and Armor

Wild dwarves commonly employ weapons such as halfspears, handaxes, and the ubiquitous blowguns with barbed darts coated with knockout poison.

Animals and Pets

Wild dwarves favor bats, ocelots (lynxes), snakes, and toads as familiars; they prefer hunting cats, such as leopards and tigers, as pets or animal companions. The wild dwarves’ reverence for the great felines of the jungle is so great that most refuse to hunt them.

Wild dwarves eschew the use of pack or riding animals, although from time to time those who dwell in the Jungles of Chult attempt to harness riceratops for the latter role.

Creating a New Character on Arelith

Prerequisites:

Base Race

Dwarf

Dwarven ability adjustments: +2 Con, -2 Cha
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.

Abilities

Retains base race abilities, except the stat changes, they lose Stonecunning and Skill Affinity: Lore, and they have +3 instead of +2 saves against poison.
+4 on saves against disease
Use Poison feat
Fire Immunity 15%
Do not leave tracks if wearing cloth or light armor
Can use -track

Notes

  • Small-sized.
  • Wild dwarves use the standard dwarf model and don't appear to be smaller, but all the restrictions and bonuses that come with being small sized apply as normal.
  • Bonus Language: Dwarven.