Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dwarves of El-Sai

Dwarves are made, not born. Their bodies are constructed completely from rock, the most popular types being basalt, limestone, or obsidian. They are completely hairless however most dwarves are etched with long hair and complex woven beards. They stand about five feet tall and their shoulder width is wider than that of an average man and they boast a stout physique. Their pupils glow with the bluish light of the soul forge.

A Forge of Souls
Soul forges are ancient artifacts constructed and left behind by deep dark forces now lost to mortal races. It is the crux of dwarven life. Without their soul forge dwarves would not exist. That's because the soul forge is a factory that produces dwarves and it is fueled by the souls of the living. Without proper fuel a soul forge would cease production and the secret of forging dwarves would be lost forever in its machinery.

Dwarves treat their soul forge like ants treat the queen of an anthill. Not to mention that dwarves prefer to refer to their societies as "colonies". Each dwarf has a purpose. Most go out into the world in search of souls while others dig or build or trade. Colonies are usually located underground below tall mountains but volcanoes and deep canyons are also viable locations.

Dwarves don't experience emotions. Neither is their will solely theirs. All dwarves share a consciousness with the other dwarves of their forge. They sense what they sense and vice versa.

Children of the Earth
Made from the earth dwarves are therefore one with it. Rock is no different to them as water is different to man. Therefore dwarves can submerge themselves in the rock. Walls are useless against them and proofing a structure against them requires complex metal alloys or lead. However every time a dwarf submerges he risks losing himself and becoming one with the earth from whence he came. If this happens the dwarf fuses with the earth, leaving behind an eerily humanoid shaped rock deposit and a foggy white gemstone where the heart would be.

Hearts of Diamonds
That gemstone is a dwarf's soul gem. It serves a similar purpose to a dwarf as a black box serves to a crashed plane. The soul gem contains all the experience and memories of a dwarf. Colonies will sometimes retrieve these if it is necessary. To the right collector these gems are valuable and they hold spells well if emptied.

Ghostly, not Ghastly
Dwarves do not hate all life. They simply follow the cyclic nature of their soul forge. Collect souls, to fuel the forge, to make more dwarves, to collect more souls, etc etc. They will only begin abduction, or collecting as they like to call it, when forced. Otherwise they are more than willing to provide a service in exchange for souls. In fact a popular capital punishment among settlements around dwarven ones is to punish criminals to "collection". This deal doesn't bother most settlements because the people being collected are usually undesirable in the first place and the dwarves are damned efficient builders.

If the dwarves have some sort of endgame goal in mind, no one has got a clue as to what it could be.

Race Overview:

XP Penalty: 750

Movement: 25 feet or 3/4 human

Stoneman: Chose one or both: 1) +1 HD 2) +4 AC. If you chose both add 50 to your XP penalty

Earth Swim: A dwarf can move through rock 3/day as if Phase Door was cast on its surface. If a dwarf ends his turn inside rock he takes d10 crushing damage and a further d10 every round until he leaves. If a dwarf dies inside rock his body fuses with the rock permanently, leaving behind a soul gem.

Soul Gem: A soul gem contain all of a dwarf's memories and experience. Experience cannot be collected from a slain dwarf until its soul gem is retrieved. Additionally the gem can store spells of up to X level were X is the slain dwarf's HD.

Golem Immunities: Dwarves are immune to poison and any spells that target the body's physiology. Additionally they don't require food, drink, or rest and therefore do not suffer fatigue.

Hivemind: Dwarves sense the senses of nearby dwarves. This only applies to dwarves created in the same soul forge, or soul brothers. Unfortunately this means if one dwarf is subject to an effect that targets the senses all dwarves nearby are subjected to it as well.

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