Born far below the surface, deep dwarves are a bit leaner than their “surface-kin”, with pale skin and pale gold or silver beards. Life in the underground is perilous, and many deep dwarves live short, brutal lives. Dying in defense of one’s clan is considered by most to be the only way to achieve glory after death, and as a result, many deep dwarves have devil-may-care attitudes and are prone to irrational bravery when the safety of their companions is at stake.
Deep dwarven settlements are small, rarely rising above the size of a small village, since larger towns would attract the attention of duergar slavers. Settlements typically consist of a number of living spaces roughly hewn into cavern walls surrounding a central gallery where edible lichens and ferns are grown and harvested. The security of these small clanfasts is the primary concern of a deep dwarven community, and all are expected to contribute from a young age. The most daring defenders of the community are the young men and women who serve as decoys to lure slavers and monsters away from the community and into carefully prepared traps. Skilled tradesmen are rare, and are often made up of the elderly and those who have been too badly injured to continue as hunters or soldiers. The leaders of clanfasts are druids known as stonespeakers. Their primary duties are to facilitate communication between clans and oversee the creation of new settlements when a clan has grown too large.
Trade with the Surface-Kin
Deep dwarves are expert miners, and though they rarely use much iron themselves, they often supply it to the hill and mountain dwarves in exchange for food, lumber, and leather. They also provide their surface-kin with adamantine and other rare metals, as well as coal, granite, and gems. Deep dwarven tools and weapons are often sturdy and unadorned, expected to last a lifetime or more. Rarely will a deep dwarf trade with a human, elf, or other non-dwarf, but exceptions have been made in times of great need.
Deep Dwarf Traits
When you create a dwarf character, you may select the deep dwarf as an alternative to the subraces in the Player’s Handbook.
Ability Score Modifier. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
Light Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Spell Resistance. You have advantage on Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
Cavern Dweller. You can walk across difficult terrain made of earth or stone without expending extra movement.
“Not bad fellas once you get to know them. Just don’t expect a warm welcome.”
- Seamus the Bard