D&D Homebrew: Traskoria | Volume 16 - Dark Dwarves

Volume 16: Dark Dwarves

Volume 16: Dark Dwarves

Racial Class

At a glance: A terrifying and powerful race of conquerors who believe they alone are the ultimate race of beings, and as such are entitled to rule the multiverse as they see fit. 

Appearance: Dark Dwarves appear very much how you would think a Dwarf would look. Generally being short, quite stocky, and muscular. The males and females both grow facial hair which they take great pride in styling and grooming. However there are some notable differences between Dark Dwarves and regular dwarves. Dark Dwarves skin colors run from stark white to absolute black and every shade of gray in-between. Very rarely a child will be born with gold, copper, or silver skin. These children are usually considered to be good omens and will receive instant rank in their tribe. All Dark Dwarves possess some level of Obtenebration. (The ability to control/manipulate darkness.) It also is “always on” causing all Dark Dwarves to constantly look like they are standing in shadow. The effect can be quite unsettling the first few times it is encountered. On an aside this is also how they got their name. They, of course, just considered themselves to be dwarves until meeting others out in the multiverse that started calling them “Dark Dwarves” due to the darkened nature of their visage. The Dark Dwarves take great pride in their ability to manipulate darkness so in time their own people took on the mantle with satisfaction. 

Long ago, they took to worshiping arachnids and genetically modified themselves to have some of their features. A Dark Dwarf can at will release long, powerful, venom tipped, retractable fangs housed in sheathes in their mouths inside the cheeks. They are incredibly sharp and deadly. They also have 4 retractable spider legs housed in their backs which they can use for many purposes. A Dark Dwarves eyes are solid white, with the exception of their kind born with the metallic skin, who will have visible eyes the same color as their skin. 

Each tribe will usually dress in the colors and style of their arachnid “god”

History: The Dark Dwarves were born into a universe with moderate magic but a vast wealth of metals and other natural resources. Early on in their evolution they were contacted by a group of gods (Actually just multidimensional beings claiming godhood) who offered the Dark Dwarves power and knowledge in exchange for worship. They agreed. This allowed the Dark Dwarves to gain their natural use of Obtenebration. These “gods” also used their magical powers to help enhance and perfect the secondary spider features the dwarves had begun. It also gave the Dark Dwarves a taste for blood which they can live off of solely if they wish. They delight in sampling the blood of new races they come across and cultivate gigantic “Blood Farms” where they breed and continually bleed the races whose blood they find most delicious.  

Each of the “gods” took a physical form for them. Appearing as some type of gigantic arachnid and under their leadership the Dwarves Split their society into “tribes” each performing certain functions for the empire. Of all the horrors the Dark Dwarves are known for it must be said that if nothing else, their society works for them. Each tribe is seen as absolutely equal to all the others and is considered vital to them as a whole. They have never known civil war of any kind. They seem to be, if nothing else, a society that genuinely cares for each other. Here I will list the tribes by name and give a brief introduction of each.

(Authors Note: It is my intention that this, and all the classes and races I present to you, be playable characters. WAY back in the heyday of my gaming life there was quite a movement to play “evil characters” in campaigns. Not just in “evil campaigns” {which can be super fun BTW} but to play “evil” characters like Goblins, Bugbears, Trolls, and many more in “good” or regular campaigns. I am all for it. However it requires a good deal of roleplaying to be done right. 

First of all no race is “entirely evil” If you would like to read an AWESOME story that zeros in on this exact way of thinking I highly suggest you read “The Order of the Stick” which is an epic story but it really shows the CULTURE and LIFE of the goblins and hobgoblins and it is anything but black and white. And this is the truth. The vast majority of Dark Dwarves will be “evil” in that they grow up in a society that accepts and propagates horrible horrible things. However there could be some that see the wrongness in their people’s actions and decide to break away. These Dark Dwarves could be played in a regular campaign. But like I said your roleplaying would have to be spot on. Like playing an “evil” race in any setting you will be playing a being whose kind is usually despised and feared, and with good reason. Not only that, but in the case of the Dark Dwarves they are known to hunt down “deserters” by extreme means, to be brought back alive and made an example of. Anyway I could go on I just wanted to let it be known that all these characters are playable. When the time comes, as I have said before, when we have enough people that want the “stats” for all of these classes I will publish them in supplements.)

The Tribes:  

*The Diggers

Arachnid Symbol: Trap-door Spider

Fuction: The Dark Dwarves are a subterranean race that hollow out worlds building super massive underground cities for their people. The surface world is mostly used to house their gigantic slave populations. 

The Diggers make these underground cities happen. From the initial excavation to the massive buildings carved into the living rock, The Diggers do it all from start to finish. They are amazing engineers and architects and excel in mathmatics and the sciences. They create, maintain, and use massive machines and technological marvels to produce these cities. 

*The Technocrats

Arachnid Symbol: Harvestmen

Function: The Dark Dwarves ability to create and use technology is only rivaled by the Humans and the Centaurs. With their natural affinity for metals, they have built some of the most grand, and terrifying technologies the multiverse has ever known. This tribe makes that happen. They specialize in inventing new and amazing technologies, and assimilating technologies from races they have conquered. They are inquisitive inventors always tinkering and building. They are restless in the pursuit of invention.  This class is known to have cybernetic implants and at times will even convert to full cyborg. (This tribe works closely with the Biologics Tribe, especially in the realm of cybernetics, and in converting others of their kind who wish to have cybernetic implants or become cyborgs themselves.)

*The Biologics

Arachnid Symbol: The Tick

Function: This Tribe creates true horrors. They are master genetic manipulators and delight in experimenting on living subjects, creating monsters and abominations. They are often given entire worlds to perform their bizarre and terrifying experiments on. These worlds are commonly referred to as “Nightmare Worlds”, where grotesque creations roam the land and often entire cities of freakish experiments are forced to live together while being studied. Successful creations are often weaponized and sent out to wreak havoc, terrify, and kill the Dark Dwarves enemies. Watching creatures fight is also a favorite pastime of the Dark Dwarves with huge underground arenas built just to watch them battle. The Biologics are in charge of creating a steady stream of biological monstrosities to fight in these arenas across the multiverse and they delight in the work. 

*The Slavers

Arachnid Symbol: The Scorpion

Function: The Dark Dwarves possess a stunningly large slave force. On any planet they conquer more than half of the people on that planet are turned over to The Slavers. (The other half is usually given to The Biologics for experimentation. Deciding which fate is worse is not easy.) It is The Slavers job to break in new slaves and see to their distribution throughout the empire depending on the skills of each slave. The slaves are treated very much like cattle and are tagged and often painfully branded to show them as property and to break their spirit. The Slavers are masters of psychology and torture and find great joy in breaking down their new slaves by various and mostly cruel methods. Why torture a rebellious slave when you can gruesomely torture their family in front of them?   Or send a man’s daughter off to The Biologics and have her come back as a hideous creation to be sent to the arenas for spectacle. Would you like your wife to be next? They work to keep their slaves in a constant broken state of fear, and for good reason. The Dark Dwarves slave population is far greater than their own. There can be no rebellion of any kind allowed and The Slavers see to it that there is none. 

*The Metallurgists

Arachnid Symbol: Poecilotheria Metallica

Function: This tribe provides the magical weaponry and other magical tools needed by the empire. They are master forge workers, blacksmiths, metal workers and more. They excel at enchanting metals and producing and crafting rare and magical metals. They also have the ability to enchant existing metals with runes, glyphs, and other enchantments. Entire teams from this tribe will be assigned to massive war ships and will cover it in magical scripts inside and out giving the Dark Dwarves fleet a very distinct look that also greatly strengthens their ships. A fully scripted Dark Dwarf ship is considered by many to be the most deadly predator in the multiverse. And of course they use their abilities and enchantments to create, fortify, and empower every other aspect of their lives as well. Weapons, Golems, armor, tools, even homes and fortresses. 

*The War Sung

Arachnid Symbol: The Black Widow

Function: Now we come to the second largest tribe. This is their military and it takes up a massive chunk of their population. The Dark Dwarves are foremost, conquerors. They believe in expansion for the sake of expansion. The Multiverse is theirs to rule, so it is their divine right to go out and rule it. This tribe makes that happen. This tribe is so large it is also broken down into several subsets (mages, warriors, psionics, cyborgs, massive weapon users, and many more) But I will not break them all down here for sake of time, but hope to one day in a supplement. 

Regardless these are the warriors on the ever expanding front lines. They are a well-oiled, disciplined, constantly moving phalanx of death. When they enter a universe, a galaxy, a solar system, they move as one with deadly purpose. The sighting of a War Sung fleet is known throughout the multiverse as a reason to abandon all hope. Because they say once you can detect the fleet, the war is already over. The only respite some races have is that the Dark Dwarves aim to take civilizations alive. Why kill good slaves and waste fodder for biological experiments? As such a very small number from most worlds do escape but must do so quickly because the Dark Dwarves cast their “World Nets” with stunning alacrity. 

*The Keepers

Arachnid Symbol: Social Spiders

Function: This is the largest tribe, only closely followed by The War Sung in number. This tribe is also sometimes called “The Infinity Tribe” as they fill in the gaps left by the other tribes. They are the working class, but also the politicians. They are the artists, the entertainers, the story tellers. Many, even among their own kind, say The Keepers are the truest reflection of the Dark Dwarf people. They work closely with every other tribe, and in general, keep the most slaves. They work as mediators when disputes arise and act as judges who verdicts are respected by all the other tribes. 

Two other quick notes about the tribes: there is rumor, more legend, that there exists an 8th secret tribe of Dark Dwarves. Whether this is true or not is a subject of much conjecture, but if you are ever close enough to a Dark Dwarf to ask, you are probably about to be dead or worse. 

Lastly the Tribe system is not “locked.” When a Dark Dwarf is born they will be brought up in the ways of whatever tribe they were born into, however when they reach “The Age of Knowing” they can choose to go to a new tribe if they wish. This is not common but also not unheard of. Sometimes a dwarf will display certain talents from a young age that would endear them to another tribes function. In such cases the young dwarf’s family may even encourage the child to move to another tribe for the betterment of the empire. 

Other Information: The Dark Dwarves consider themselves to be the one true dwarven race. As such they DESPISE all other dwarves and hate them with a passion they do not have for any other race. When captured, regular dwarves are subjected to the cruelest and most painful of experimentation. They are worked to death as slaves in the most grueling of tasks. The horrors the Dark Dwarves have inflicted on other dwarven races is so extreme, entire cities of dwarves have killed themselves in mass, rather than be taken by the Dark Dwarves. They have hunted down and eradicated the other dwarven races with such ferocity that to find a regular dwarf anywhere in the multiverse is considered a rarity. And this is by design. The other dwarven races who know of the dark dwarves know that their only hope for survival is to remain absolutely hidden. 

Not surprisingly, Light magic is the greatest deterrent to Dark Dwarves and there are entire classes of “Light Finders” who specialize in this type of magic and teach it to people in places being besieged by the Dark Dwarf menace. There is also sold many different types of Luminal Weaponry designed to specifically fight against the Dark Dwarves.  

Dark Dwarves can see in absolute darkness with perfect clarity. All magical darkness deployed against them is instantly negated. 

There is also much more to say about the Dark Dwarves “gods” and their relationship with other “gods” in upcoming stories. 

That will be enough on the Dark Dwarves for now. They are a diverse and interesting culture and there is much more to say on them but that will come later.  


-Random Psionic


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