race_dwarves.jpg Left to Right: Duergar, Shield Dwarf, Gold Dwarf
Type Humanoid
General Alignment Often Lawful
Typical Languages Dwarven, Regional, Ignan
Habitat Mountains, Underdark
Subraces None (Dwarven Subrace)
Deities The Morndinsamman
Groups Various

Shield Dwarves

Found larely in the northern reaches of western and central Faerun, shield dwarves are the dominant northern branch of the Stout Folk. Renowned for their smithwork and craftsmanship, shield dwarves have endured a centuries-long decline in the face of never-ending wars with orcs, goblins, giants and trolls.

Taller by half a foot than their gold dwarf cousins, male shield dwarves average 4 1/2 feet tall and weigh as much as an adult human, with females a little shorter. The skin of a shield dwarf is fair or lightly tanner, and her eyes are usually green or silvered blue. Both genders wear their hair long, and males (and a very few females) have long, carefully groomed beards and moustaches. Hair colour ranges from light brown to red, with all shades fading to silver or white as time progresses.

Despite their centuries-long decline and deserved reputation for dourness and cynicism, shield dwarves have never succumbed to fatalism. Shield dwarves have traditionally been divided into two camps - the Hidden and the Wanderers - although such divisions have begun to fade since the Thunder Blessing. While the members of the former group have literally hidden themselves away from the outside world, content to pursue their traditional way of life, the latter group have gone out into the world, unbowed by their race's relentless decline.

Shield dwarves are traditionally slow to trust and slow to forget slights, but a dawning realization of their races plight has left many willing to seek out new ways of doing things unconstrained by traditional prejudices or practices. Shield dwarves have a long and proud tradition of adventuring, and many shield dwarves follow this route simply in hopes of equaling or exceeding the deeds of those who have gone before. Others seek to recover long-lost strongholds and treasures that have fallen to orcs or other beasts. Since the Thunder Blessing, the question for many young shield dwarves is not why they should become adventurers, but why they should not.

Although clan and class divisions were once strong among shield dwarves, generations of decline have largely broken their once-dominant influence. While shield dwarves are still incredibly proud of their bloodlines, individual accomplishment now counts for more than longstanding tradition of the dictates of clan elders. Shield dwarven life among the Hidden is still dominated by craft and forge, but increasing numbers of shield dwarves are making their own way in the world as adventurers or as crafts-folk dwelling in human-dominated communities.

Shield dwarves are raised in tight family unites, with clan elders playing a diminishing role in overseeing their upbringing. Book learning is common, and most children are apprenticed to learn a trade as they near maturity. Adult shield dwarves are expected to support themselves and their family, as well as bring honor and riches to the clan. while shield dwarves do not shy away from displays of wealth, they avoid ostentatious or decadent behavior. As shield dwarves age, they are honored for their wisdom and accorded respect for their past accomplishments. Families and clans are expected to honor their elders in death with solemn funereal rites and tombs befitting the deceased's reputation and accomplishments.

Generations of Wanderers have created large and thriving dwarven enclaves within most human settlements, with all shield dwarves welcome as part of the loosely knit dwarven “clan”. Shield dwarves occupy the role of smith or craftsmen in many human communities and are well respected for their skill as artisans. Few shield dwarves turn away from veneration of the Morndinsamman, but most are quick to learn the local trade tongue and make friends with other races.

Main article: Dwarves - History

The population of Glen in Mistledale is shield dwarven in origin. The various families there do not have a unified clan lineage and appear to be a loose clan of Wanderer ancestry.

Dwarves with Weapon Proficiency: Martial receive Weapon Proficiency: Dwarf for free, which allows them to use Dwarven Waraxes.