Rise of the Runelords
Female Names: Agna, Bodill, Dalbra, Erigga, Gonild, Ingra, Kotri, Lupp, Morstra, Paldna, Rusilka, Stinna, Torra, Ulrikka, Yangrit
Male Names: Alk, Dolgrin, Edrukk, Grunyar, Harsk, Igmar, Kazmuk, Losk, Morgrym, Nils, Odol, Padrym, Rogar, Stigur, Truddig
Family Names: Dwarven family names sometimes seem to contain Common words, such as “hammer” or “gold,” but these originated in Dwarven and are borrowed by the Common tongue.
The dwarves of Golarion are best known for their skill at mining and crafting, their fierce determination in combat, and their stoic, almost mirthless demeanors. Dwarves made their mark on the world with their magnificent castles and fortresses, but they have fought and died endlessly over every last one—particularly in wars with their ancient enemy, the orcs—ever since the day they first emerged from the Darklands.
Dwarven history begins deep below the earth, where the first dwarves mined and smithed under the watchful eye of Torag, the Father of Creation. In the late centuries of the Age of Darkness, following the dictum of a series of ancient mandates handed down from a prophet of Torag, a relentless subterranean migration of dwarves called the Quest for Sky drove these people upward toward the surface. When they reached the surface, they established ten glorious Sky Citadels atop the points of their emergence. Though all Sky Citadels still yet stand today, few are still held by the dwarves; the others were either left in ruins or claimed by other races.
Although the dwarven culture has decayed significantly over the centuries, its core remains steadfast and strong. The heart of dwarven culture is hard work, stemming from centuries of life underground when all dwarves had to contribute to their society or see it fail as a whole. Dwarves pride themselves on their common sense, and accept the world as it actually is, not as they might want it to be. They lack patience for dreamers and wishful thinkers, and often come across as abrasive and lacking in empathy. Dwarven society encourages matter-of-factness and a disdain for unconventional approaches, which can be perceived as rude or intolerant, and an insular culture and occasional lack of individuality sometimes leaves dwarves unable to relate well to outsiders. “Stone endures” is a frequent aphorism among dwarven craftsmen, and dwarves endure like stone. The dwarven ideal is to be like rock—never yielding, always persevering, strong and solid throughout.
The majority of the dwarves of Varisia live in the iron-walled Sky Citadel of Janderhoff, an iron fortress built atop a mountaintop riddled with ancient tunnels and mines. Having settled in the copper-rich foothills of the Mindspin Mountains centuries ago, with the coming of foreign interlopers the dwarves have seen their home become a major hub of commerce between the dwarves and other humanoid races. While Janderhoff offers great opportunities to enterprising dwarves, those who seek their fortunes away from their home’s copper steeples can be found among the workshops of Magnimar, the gas forges of Riddleport, hunting alongside the Shoanti, and anywhere else in Varisia that a profit might be made.
Short of stature and stout of build, dwarves are rarely mistaken for any other race. Equally distinctive are their deep, resonant voices and forthright, often stern demeanors, blunt almost to a fault. Most have ruddy or earthen skin, though eye color varies widely, with gray and brown being common, and many bearing eyes of startling blue. Hair color most often runs from dark brown to red or dirty blond, graying with age and eventually turning white. Nearly all male dwarves have carefully tended mustaches and beards; female dwarves do not tend to grow facial hair. Both sexes favor wearing their hair long and often braided, though dwarven warriors—especially if already balding—have been known to shave their heads to deny opponents an easy handhold in battle. Dwarven dress, as with all physical objects dwarves craft, favors function over form, but is never plain. Decorations serve practical purposes—fasteners, padding, reinforcements of seams, pockets, and tool-holding loops.
Use the dwarf traits from the Player’s Handbook. Dwarves don’t have subraces; instead, the subraces represent dwarves of different clans, regions, or upbringings.
Note that duergar (grey dwarves) are not generally player character friendly; check with the DM if you would like to play one.