Dwarves, Obsidian (3.5e Race)

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Obsidian Dwarves[edit]

Obsidian dwarves are aptly named for two reasons:

  1. Their appearance.
  2. Their habitat.

They are rumored to be descendants of an ancient earth elemental.


Obsidian dwarves are as hard as their environment. Where a typical hill dwarf might be surly or taciturn, an obsidian dwarf is impassive as stone. Making smalltalk with one is like talking to a rock.

Obsidian dwarf culture is uncommonly rigid. Although basically egalitarian, there is little tolerance for anyone who would rock the boat. Crime of any kind is virtually unknown, and punishable by stoning.

Physical Description[edit]

Obsidian dwarves are slightly shorter and even stockier than other dwarves, averaging about 4 feet tall, both males and females, and weighing around 12 or 13 stone. They have less hair than other dwarves, beards on males typically growing no more than three or four inches. Their skin is dark as a shadow. They wear clothing of black or dark earth colors. Even their armor is made of a high-carbon alloy which renders it dull black. When not in motion they remain rock still, allowing them to blend easily into the shadows.


Obsidian dwarves are exceedingly insular. They rarely leave their mountain homes, and pay little attention to the outside world. Their habitat is so unappealing to most races, and their natural defenses so imposing, that they are rarely troubled by intruders. However, they are more than capable of defending themselves when threatened.

Obsidian dwarves generally have amicable relations with any mountain dwarves in their vicinity, relying on them for whatever commerce they may need. They are more tolerant than most dwarves of orcs and other savage races, so long as they do not pose a direct threat. They are indifferent to elves and other aboveground races, hardly ever giving them a second thought.

Obsidian dwarves are rumored to have hoards of precious metals and gems. This is only partly true. They typically only mine what they need to trade with outsiders, preferring to leave the rest in its natural setting, which they consider more beautiful.

Obsidian dwarves are most likely to be encountered outside their homes when a danger to them becomes evident. On those rare occasions when they mobilize for war, it is truly a terrifying sight.

It is unusual for an obsidian dwarf to leave home for other reasons, but it does happen.


Most obsidian dwarves are lawful neutral, although it is not uncommon to find one who tends toward good. Evil or chaotic obsidian dwarves rarely survive to adulthood.


Obsidian dwarves favor the harshest mountain environments, avoided even by their distant cousins, the mountain dwarves, because of the high concentration of solid rock and other mining-resistant minerals. They typically live in caverns deep within the rock, accessible only by a few well-defended points of entry.


Believing themselves to be descendants of an ancient earth spirit, nearly all obsidian dwarves are religious to some degree. They pay homage to deities of dwarves, earth, stone and darkness, such as Dumathoin or Grumbar. However, they have few clerics, and they tend to view their deities as distant and unapproachable. They destroy adherents of evil or chaotic gods when opportunity permits, but they don't go out of their way to find them.


Obsidian dwarves speak their own dialect of dwarvish, similar to that of mountain dwarves. They rarely learn other languages, although they are perfectly capable of doing so given a sufficient reason.


Names are similar to those of other dwarves.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • An obsidian dwarf’s base land speed is 20 feet. However, they can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.
  • Stonecunning: Similar to a standard dwarf, but with a +4 bonus (instead of +2). Accustomed to working with the hardest rocks and minerals, obsidian dwarves are even more attuned to stonework than standard dwarves.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Obsidian dwarves treat dwarven waraxes (but not dwarven urgroshes) as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons. The confined spaces to which they are accustomed are not conducive to double weapons.
  • Stability: +8 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground). Obsidian dwarves are even more stable on their feet than their standard cousins.
  • Light Sensitivity: Obsidian dwarves are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
  • +4 racial bonus on Appraise and Craft skill checks related to stone or metal items.
  • +4 racial bonus on Hide skill checks in dim light or shadows.
  • Automatic Languages: Common (PC's only), Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, Undercommon.

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Obsidian Dwarves Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
50 years +4d6 +6d6 +8d6
Table: Obsidian Dwarves Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
140 years 210 years 280 years +3d% years
  1. At middle age, -1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, -2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, -3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Obsidian Dwarves Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 3' 6" +2d4 130 lb. × (2d6) lb.
Female 3' 5" +2d4 120 lb. × (2d6) lb.

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