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Gorbash Kazdar
2006-10-01, 09:02 PM
I posted this some time ago, but the thread disappeared. Also, this version of the half-dwarf has been modified slightly from the original.

HALF-DWARF
Occasionally, a dwarf and a human will become lovers. This most often occurs with human cultures with similar outlooks to dwarven culture. These relationships, unlike those between humans and elves, are often long lasting, though the dwarf often outlives his or her human companion. From these relationships come a unique group of offspring - the half-dwarves.

A half-dwarf's social life can be hard, since many dwarven societies are very insular and frown upon the unusual relationships they come from. However, the strong dwarven ties to family means that they almost always have a support network to fall back on. When raised mostly in dwarven society, half-dwarves grow faster and much larger than their dwarven cousins, which causes problems with clothes and movement in the underground dwarven homes, and a few issues with fitting in. Half-dwarves are often too young mentally for their physical peers and too old physically for their mental peers, but occasionally find companions in both groups. The biggest conflict between half-dwarves and dwarves comes from the former's curiousity and desire to see new things - characteristics that dwarves lack, and some may even see as negative. However, many dwarven communities find that half-dwarves give them a window into the outside world, making them valuable, if sometimes vexing, members of the community.

In human lands, half-dwarves have many similar problems, but often in reverse. They mature more slowly than humans, and never gain the height of their human relatives. However, they are just as massive, and many don't seem to realize their own strength. They suffer less prejudice than half-orcs since they look similar to humans, but their gruff and impetuous nature makes them few friends among humans. Half-dwarves have a harder time fitting into human communities, and many leave their homes to find a place for themselves. The military life agrees well with half-dwarves, and human raised half-dwarves can be found in many elite warrior organizations.

Personality: Half-dwarves have the curiosity and inventiveness of their human forebears, combined with the industriousness, tenacity, and quiet courage of dwarves. However, they have the same distrust of strangers, gruffness, and tempers as dwarves, made worse by being even more impulsive than humans.

Physical Description: Half-dwarves mix the features of their parents, standing shorter than humans but being more massive. To dwarves they appear taller and slimmer than normal, but obviously more strongly built than "frail" humans. Half-dwarf height ranges from 4 1/2 to just over 5 1/2 feet in height, but weigh quite a bit more than a human of the same height. Male half-dwaves are only slightly taller than females, but are noticeably heavier. Half-dwarves tend to have darker and rougher skin than their human parents, though they have a wider range of skin tones than dwarves, and tend to be softer skinned than dwarves. Hair color runs the gamut of human and dwarven shades, with more on the darker end. Most male half-dwarves wear beards, and those who do not have to shave at least twice a day to stay cleanshaven. Females tend to have "side-whiskers," which many in human lands shave off. Oddly, many, though not a majority of, male half-dwarves go bald at relatively young ages, though they can still usually grow a beard. Eye color tends to be dark, but can cover the entire human range. Half-dwarves reach maturity around age 18 and can live as much as 200 years.

Half-dwarves can breed true, but few such relationships are known - most half-dwarves marry dwarves or humans instead. Second generation half-dwarves look much like their parents, though they tend to be a bit taller and have darker eyes and skin.

Relations: Half-dwarves get along well with both humans and dwarves, often serving as a bridge between the two races. They get along especially well with gnomes, having a much higher tolerance for their practical jokes than full dwarves do. They get along passably with halflings, not because of any active dislike but because the two races rarely come in contact. Half-dwarves sometimes get along well with half-elves, seeing them as kindred spirits, but many others find them much too flighty and moody. They have the same attitude towards elves as other dwarves, and especially dislike elvish arrogance.

Many half-dwarves are highly suspicious towards half-orcs, distrusting their orcish heritage. However, they often find they have much in common when they get to know one another, and can become fast friends.

Alignment: Half-dwarves tend towards good, having been taught the importance of honor and doing the right thing by their dwarven parents. They generally have a neutral outlook towards law and chaos - their parents often instill a respect for authority and tradition, but half-dwarves also have a strong reckless streak that is at odds with this.

Half-dwarf Lands: Rather than having their own lands, half-dwarves live in human and dwarven communities. In larger cities, half-dwarves may live near each other, but they tend to identify more with one of their parent cultures than with each other.

Religion: Most half-dwarves worship the dwarven gods, especially Moradin. Among human gods, they favor Heironious, Kord, and St. Cuthburt.

Languages: Half-dwarves learn both Common and Dwarven as children. Humans tend to hear a bit of a dwarven accent in their Common, while dwarves notice a slight tendency to speak too quickly in Dwarven, but neither finds this especially a problem.

Names: Half-dwarves tend to have a mix of human and dwarven names. If their mother was dwarven, they often have a human family name and a dwarven given name. If the mother was human, the given name tends to be human and they have a dwarven clan name. Many have entirely human or entirely dwarven names as well.

Adventures: Half-dwarves have a natural drive to expand their horizons and see new things, and are very good at surviving the rigors of adventuring. Many seem to just fall into the "profession," with no clear intention of taking it up.

HALF-DWARF RACIAL TRAITS
+2 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis: Half-dwarves have their dwarven parent's build combined with human height, making them very strong and tough. However, they aren't particularly agile, and are known for being even more impetuous than humans, despite retaining some of their dwarven parent's taciturn and steady manner.
Medium: As medium creatures, half-dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
Half-dwarf base land speed is 30 feet. However, half-dwarves suffer no movement penalties when wearing medium armor (though they are still considered to be wearing medium armor for all other effects), and recieve only the movement penalties for medium armor when wearing heavy armor (though they are still considered to be wearing heavy armor for all other effects).
Darkvision: Half-dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and half-dwarfs can function just fine with no light at all.
Stonecunning: Half-dwarves inherit a version of their dwarven parent's sixth-sense about stone. This ability grants a half-dwarf a +1 racial bonus to Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn't stone also counts as unusual stonework. A half-dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing her approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
Endurance as a racial bonus feat. Half-dwarves are especially hardy and accustomed to hard work and hard-living.
Half-dwarfs have a +2 racial bonus to saves versus poisons and diseases. Half-dwarfs have very strong immune systems and rarely suffer from illness.
Dwarf Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-dwarf is considered a dwarf. Half-dwarves, for example, are just as vulnerable to special effects that affect dwarves as their dwarf ancestors are, and they can use magical items that are only usable by dwarves.
Automatic Languages: Common and Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). Half-dwarves have much of same versatility as humans, and are more likely to go out and mix with other races than dwarves are.
Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass half-dwarf's fighter class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty. Half-dwarves learn the virtues of battle at an early age, and have a natural advantage in warfare.

RANDOM HEIGHTS AND WEIGHTS
{table="head"]Race|
Base Height|
Height Modifier|
Base Weight|
Weight Modifier

Half-dwarf, male|
4'6"|
+2d6|
140 lb.|
x (2d4) lb.

Half-dwarf, female|
4'4"|
+2d6|
120 lb.|
x (2d4) lb.
[/table]

RANDOM STARTING AGES
{table="head"]Race|
Adulthood|
Babarian[br]Rogue[br]Sorcerer|
Bard[br]Fighter[br]Paladin[br]Ranger|
Cleric[br]Druid[br]Monk[br]Wizard

Half-dwarf|
18 years|
+1d8|
+2d8|
+3d8
[/table]

AGING EFFECTS
{table="head"]Race|
Middle Age|
Old|
Venerable|
Maximum Age

Half-dwarf|
75 years|
110 years|
160 years|
+4d20 years
[/table]

EDIT: Final version.

Golthur
2006-10-02, 10:28 AM
Not really a comment on what you've made here, but the Mul from Dark Sun are half-dwarf/half-human. You can check it out here (http://www.athas.org/releases/ds3/).

From what I remember, the Mul are as muscular as a dwarf, but as big as a human. They get a tireless racial trait (which stacks with the Endurance feat if they choose to take it). They are considered to have dwarf blood.

All in all, it's very similar in flavour to what you have here. The Mul might be more powerful, though.

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-10-02, 01:22 PM
I'm a big Dark Sun fan, so I know of the Mul. However, DS races tend to be more powerful than standard D&D races, plus there's a lot of flavor elements to the Mul that I wanted to back off from.

Basically, this half-dwarf is a more generic one built for your standard D&D game.

(Also, derro - or is it duergar? I can never keep them straight - are also half-dwarf/half-human, but again have a lot of flavor I wanted to avoid.)

Golthur
2006-10-02, 04:31 PM
Fair enough :)

Here's my comments, such as they are, then:

What I see is this:

Unbalanced ability scores, net negative, but Wis/Cha don't really balance Str/Con. The Dex hit hurts a bit.

vs.

Endurance (bonus feat)
+2 racial bonus to Fortitude saves (equivalent to Great Fortitude, but stacks with it - basically a second, good, bonus feat)
60' darkvision (good)
Stonecunning (not really much, +1 is not a balance issue, depth detection is neat flavour-wise, but also not a balance issue)
Dwarf heavy load movement (good, especially for fighters)
Dwarf blood (flavour, yes, but more or less neutral balance-wise - it only comes into play if the DM makes it do so)

I'd say, it looks very tough, especially for a melee fighter. +2 Str, +2 Con, the -2 on Dex is more or less irrelevant if you're wearing heavy armour and don't use missile weapons. As a bonus, the heavy armour won't even bog you down (due to dwarf movement).

Umbral_Arcanist
2006-10-02, 09:30 PM
I'd give them the 1-up on normal dwarves (is that a phrase?), and maybe an LA of +1, but they'd be medium to weak +1.......

Golthur
2006-10-02, 09:38 PM
I'd give them the 1-up on normal dwarves (is that a phrase?), and maybe an LA of +1, but they'd be medium to weak +1.......

That was about my thought as well, they're tough, but I was wavering between high +0 and low +1, leaning towards low +1.

They definitely can kick the crap out of plain-ol-dwarves, though, that's for sure. I'd love to have a bunch of these guys as shock troops.

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-10-03, 09:58 AM
Actually, if anything, the ability scores are unabalanced towards the week side, according to the DMG. On page 173, it lists bonus/penalty equivalents. A Str bonus can be balanced by a Dex penalty, or a penalty to two mental stats. A Con bonus can be balanced by a Dex penalty, or a penalty to any one mental stat. In theory, the half-dwarf could have been balanced with +2 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis.

As for the racial abilities, let's compare straight up to dwarves and elves.

Half-dwarves get one somewhat weaker bonus feat (Endurance), one okay bonus feat equivalent (Fort bonus), a fairly powerful ability (movement with armor), darkvision, and a couple flavor abilities (weakened Stonecunning, dwarf blood).

Dwarves get a +2 bonus to saves vs poisons and spells (almost as good as Great Fortitude), +4 dodge AC vs giants (probably worth a weaker feat), +1 dmg vs orcs & goblinoids, two free EWPs if they have MWP, better Stoncunning, darkvision, and the movement with armor ability. The dwarven movement ability is somewhat of a wash, given their lower speed at medium size, but is still nice. A properly built dwarf has a lot going for them.

Elves get +2 bonuses to Search, Spot, and Listen plus auto-search (easily worth a feat), four free MWPs (rapier, longsword, shortbow, and longbow, useful for quite a few classes), immunity to sleep and +2 vs enchantments, and low-light vision (I personally feel low-light is a very small step down from darkvision). Again, pretty close.

The half-dwarf movement ability is probably a little two good, and I have an idea on how to adjust it, but putting that aside, dwarves and elves have at least as much going for them. I think I will nerf the movement ability a little and go with a better ability score set up (Str +2, Dex -2, Con +2, Wis -2). I will probably adjust the Fortitude bonus as well.

EDIT: Original racial abilities before adjustment after this post.

+2 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis, -2 Cha: Half-dwarves have their dwarven parent's build combined with human height, making them very strong and tough. However, they aren't particularly agile, and have some of the same gruffness and touchiness of dwarves combined with an impetuous human nature.

Half-dwarf base land speed is 30 feet. However, half-dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Half-dwarfs have a +2 racial bonus to Fortitude saves. Half-dwarfs are extremely resilient.

Caelestion
2006-10-03, 10:32 AM
It has to be said that the Elf and the Dwarf are easily LA +0.5, so if a race is more powerful, itís clearly LA +1 or more.

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-10-03, 10:38 AM
It has to be said that the Elf and the Dwarf are easily LA +0.5, so if a race is more powerful, itís clearly LA +1 or more.
Perhaps, but my argument is that the half-dwarf (especially with the most recent adjustments) isn't more powerful than a dwarf or an elf.

Golthur
2006-10-03, 10:59 AM
Actually, if anything, the ability scores are unabalanced towards the week side, according to the DMG. On page 173, it lists bonus/penalty equivalents. A Str bonus can be balanced by a Dex penalty, or a penalty to two mental stats. A Con bonus can be balanced by a Dex penalty, or a penalty to any one mental stat. In theory, the half-dwarf could have been balanced with +2 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis.
I said they were net-negative, not net-positive :)

So yes, it counts to mitigate some of the other abilities, but the Dex penalty is the one that really matters. The Wis penalty only matters for the types of characters you'd use this race for because of its impact on Will saves.

Nobody's playing a half-dwarf cleric or sorcerer ;)



As for the racial abilities, let's compare straight up to dwarves and elves.

Half-dwarves get one somewhat weaker bonus feat (Endurance), one okay bonus feat equivalent (Fort bonus), a fairly powerful ability (movement with armor), darkvision, and a couple flavor abilities (weakened Stonecunning, dwarf blood).

The Fort bonus is decent because it stacks with the original Great Fortitude feat. I agree that it should be a racial bonus (no other kind is appropriate), but this makes it better than Great Fortitude to me. Not that Fortitude saves are going to be this guy's problem...


Dwarves get a +2 bonus to saves vs poisons and spells (almost as good as Great Fortitude), +4 dodge AC vs giants (probably worth a weaker feat), +1 dmg vs orcs & goblinoids, two free EWPs if they have MWP, better Stoncunning, darkvision, and the movement with armor ability. The dwarven movement ability is somewhat of a wash, given their lower speed at medium size, but is still nice. A properly built dwarf has a lot going for them.

Elves get +2 bonuses to Search, Spot, and Listen plus auto-search (easily worth a feat), four free MWPs (rapier, longsword, shortbow, and longbow, useful for quite a few classes), immunity to sleep and +2 vs enchantments, and low-light vision (I personally feel low-light is a very small step down from darkvision). Again, pretty close.

Actually, darkvision is quite a bit better than low-light. A single cantrip from BoVD will give you darkness that renders everyone except the guy with darkvision blind. If he's your tank, it's crushing time ;D Plus, that whole dungeons part of the Dungeons & Dragons ;)

MWPs are useful, but EWPs are meh.

I'd suggest: reduce darkvision to 30' (or switch it to low light), lower the potency of the movement ability somehow ??? (but I like it, so I don't think it should be dropped), and you're firmly in +0 LA territory. You could probably even drop the -2 Cha ability adjustment.

EDIT: Perhaps an ability similar to the Tough as Nails feat (I don't remember where it's from)? For purposes of encumbrance, use the higher of your Str + Con bonus, or your Con + Str bonus.

This is more or less a random idea from the grab bag, so weigh it accordingly :)

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-10-03, 11:45 AM
Made some modifications before your post, Golthur.

IMHO, low-light is often treated as weaker that it is. It's full color, doubles both the full and shadowy illumination from any light source, often allows no penalties at night (starlight and moonlight providing enough for normal vision, as per the description, IIRC), and extends to full vision range. Under certain not particularly uncommon circumstances, a creature with low-light can see a creature with darkvision, but the creature with darkvision can't see them. Also, darkvision gets whacked by most magical darkness anyways. Darkvision is better, in most circumstances, but low-light is pretty solid when applied correctly.

Golthur
2006-10-03, 11:57 AM
Made some modifications before your post, Golthur.

Ah, didn't look at the top of the thread again. I always scroll to the bottom :)

I think the revision's firmly +0. Poison/disease, while a common type of Fort save, doesn't cover the gamut.

Reducing the armour movement down to none/medium from none/none makes it still tough/useful, but not too tankish.


IMHO, low-light is often treated as weaker that it is. It's full color, doubles both the full and shadowy illumination from any light source, often allows no penalties at night (starlight and moonlight providing enough for normal vision, as per the description, IIRC), and extends to full vision range. Under certain not particularly uncommon circumstances, a creature with low-light can see a creature with darkvision, but the creature with darkvision can't see them. Also, darkvision gets whacked by most magical darkness anyways. Darkvision is better, in most circumstances, but low-light is pretty solid when applied correctly.
I think it's one of those things that depends on your campaign. If you're frequently outside, or in a situation where carrying a light source underground isn't a problem, low light is the clear winner. Otherwise, darkvision wins.

My group has an aversion to magical darkness. We had a DM where every third encounter was a darkness/silence trap. As such, we all avoid it, no matter who runs ;D

Caelestion
2006-10-03, 12:15 PM
I like it. It's clearly +0 now.