The Exile, The Gray Protector, Master of Crafts
Pantheon Dwarven (Duergar)
Realm Unknown
Portfolio Artisans, gray dwarves, magic, magic weapon creation
Worshippers Dwarves, fighters, loremasters, soldiers
Domains Craft, Dwarf, Evil, Law, Magic, Metal, Protection
Favored Weapon Grimhammer (warhammer)


Laduguer is the patron of the duergar, or gray dwarves, a malevolent breed of dwarves who dwell in the dark reaches of the Underdark and who withdrew from the rest of dwarven society long ago along with their god. The Exile is venerated by most gray dwarves as the protector of the race who defends them from the countless other creatures of the Underdark who wish to enslave them and seize their tunnels, mines, and crafts. Duergar craftsmen, particularly those who seek to create magical weapons, pay particular homage to Laduguer.

The children of Laduguer have rejected the indolent and feeble gods of their forefathers and withdrawn from their lazy once-kin so as not to be tainted by their weaknesses. Strict obedience to superiors, dedication to one's craft, and endless toil are necessary to achieve wealth, security, and power. The hands of a craftsman are his tools, and a master craftsman always uses the most appropriate tools available. Nothing is ever easy, nor should it be. Suffer pain stoically and remain aloof, for to show or even feel emotion is to demonstrate weakness. Those who are weak are undeserving and will suffer an appropriate fate. Adversity is Laduguer's forge, and the harsh trials through which the duergar must pass are his hammer blowsendure all and become stronger than adamantite.

The reasons behind the Gray Protector's exile from the Morndinsamman vary according to the perspective of the speaker: The Morndinsamman, as well as most gold and shield dwarves, hold that Laduguer was banished by Moradin for his crimes, while Laduguer, as well as most gray dwarves, asserts that he took a stand on principle against the other dwarven gods, and that his exile is self-imposed.

Within gray dwarven communities, Laduguer and his clergy are considered strict taskmasters whose strengths and mandates ensure the very survival of the duergar. Few gray dwarves resent the Exile's mercilessly high standards, and most duergar respect him for his principled stand against the lazy and weak Morndinsamman and their shield and gold dwarven followers. Shield dwarves, gold dwarves, and svirfneblin regard Laduguer and his followers as embittered fools deserving of their fates who have done much to undermine the strength of the dwarven race in both their absence and their assaults on nonduergar dwarven holds. Other races in the Underdark have little sympathy for the gray dwarves or their embittered god and seek only to destroy or subjugate them.

Temples of Laduguer are grim, smoke-filled halls hewn from solid rock and bereft of adornment, aside from weapons and armor demonstrating the skilled craftsmanship of the Exile's priests. Laduguer's houses of worship are filled with armories, barracks, smithies, storerooms, and Steeder stables. Many are built directly atop mine shafts from which the raw materials are extracted. Great coal-burning forges provide the only warmth, and their ashen exhaust covers ever surface in dark soot. Clerical guards, many of them mounted on steeders, are everywhere, overseeing the skilled smithwork that proceeds without pause.

The Gray Lances of the Snarling Steeder are a mounted order of duergar warrior-priests. The Gray Lances serve as the elite cavalry of gray dwarven armies, and their most common opponents are drow mounted on riding lizards. Individual duergar knights and their steeder mounts are well schooled in subterranean warfare techniques for battles that unfold across cave floors, walls, and ceilings.

Laduguer's priests serve as the leaders, defenders, and elite artisans of gray dwarven society. As reflected in the title given to High Old Ones – arduke being a dwarven title for clan leader - Laduguer's clergy derive their spiritual and temporal authority from the role the Exile's early priests played in leading the ancestors of the gray dwarves away from the rest of dwarven society. Unlike gold and shield dwarven cultures where religious and clan leadership are usually distinct, the duergar make no distinction between the two roles. As the protectors of duergar enclaves, members of Laduguer's clergy command and serve in the military and are ultimately responsible for the care, feeding, and training of steeders. They are responsible for the brewing of poisons, the infliction of torture, and the exploitation of slaves. To ensure the safety of the gray dwarves as a whole, Laduguer's priests forcefully repel contacts from other races, permitting trade only under very controlled circumstances far removed from duergar strongholds. The Exile's clergy are also expected to be skilled craftsmen, particularly of magical weapons, and the older and more frail priests are typically the elite artisans of any gray dwarven community.

Novices of Laduguer are known as the Untempered. Full priests of the Exile are known as Grimcloaks or thuldor, a dwarvish word that can be loosely translated as 'those who endure'. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Ladugueran priests are Deep Adept, Dark Craftsman, Invisible Artisan, Rune Weaver, Grim Guardian, and Doom Knight. High Old Ones have individual titles but are collectively known as the Ardukes of the Gray Gloom.

The clergy of Laduguer consists primarily of gray dwarves (99%), but a handful of embittered and/or exiled gold dwarves, shield dwarves, and wild dwarves serve the Exile as well. The overwhelming majority of the clergy (95%) is male. Before the Time of Troubles, Laduguer's priesthood was exclusively male. Since that time, some females have joined the clergy.

Priestly Vestments

The clerical vestments of Laduguer's priests consist of utilitarian metal armor and the gray, hooded mantles for which the Grimcloaks are named. The holy symbol of the faith is a gem of any type, split nearly in twain by a large crack, one half of which is deeply flawed and the other half of which is perfect. For the duergar, such gems symbolize their split from the rest of the dwarven race and their superiority over those they have forsaken.

Laduguer's priests favor weapons commonly employed by gray dwarves including heavy and light crossbows, picks, short swords, spears, and war hammers. When stealth is required, Grimcloaks prefer leather and studded leather armor. In situations requiring direct melee combat, the Exile's priests favor the heaviest armor available, usually a medium shield and chain mail or dwarven plate mail.

As befits their grim lives, gray dwarves are a race almost without joy who reserve their celebrations for victories over enemies and for the grim pleasure of inflicting pain on those unlucky enough to fall into their clutches.

The only regular holy day is celebrated annually at Midwinter and is known as Grimtidings. On this day only, the duergar lay down their hammers and gather to hear their priests recount the trials the duergar have suffered since their voluntary exile and the weaknesses of the other dwarven subraces and their gods. Laduguer is extolled for his artistry and craftsmanship, and a litany of those who have given insult to the god and the gray dwarves and against whom a promised, deadly revenge is recited.

The Ardukes of the Gray Gloom also declare holy days, known as Guerdon Revels, after major victories and when prisoners – particularly gold and shield dwarves – are captured. While the work does not stop during such festivals, most gray dwarves are given a few moments off from their labors to observe the recounting of heroics by duergar warriors, to examine plundered loot, and to participate in the torture and painful deaths of any prisoners.

The Exile particularly loathes Moradin, his nominal superior, and the personal animosity between the two accounts for much of Laduguer's enmity against the rest of the dwarven pantheon. In fact, Laduguer's only ally is Deep Duerra, a once-mortal demipower he elevated to the rank of divinity.

The withdrawal of Laduguer's followers to the Underdark and their subsequent territorial conflicts with Underdark-dwelling creatures has created a great deal of strife and enmity between the Exile and other powers with an interest in the Night Below. Although he once managed to win hegemony over the giant tarantulas known as steeders during a brief alliance with Lolth, the Spider Queen and the Gray Protector have long feuded as their followers battled. Likewise Ilsensine, the Great Brain of the illithid race, has long sought revenge against Laduguer for some ancient slight.