Sunday, September 3, 2017

Wildwood Manuscripts: The Dwarf

The Dwarf [Fluff]
It is unknown how the dwarfs originated in the world, for they were clearly not crafted from the whims of the One True God and none among the Fey hold them as members of their arcane ranks. They claim to be born from the loam of the earth, in a time of soft warm water rich with silt and skies dotted with stars but no sun to shine. They know of another world, the ahra which exists beneath the skin of the world. They know also they were born upon the stony flesh of the ahra, in what they call the qliphoth; and it is due to this unnatural creation that they exist with neither mortal soul nor bondage of faerie.



Dwarfs are strange in this regard, and in many others. They can hear no word or vision of the One True God due to their lacking of a soul, but they can grasp at the warmth of his blessings. Demons and fiends make no point in entering brokerage with Dwarfs as they are of no worth in the afterlife. They are formidable soldiers, fighting with great strength of arms and making use of strange knacks that grant them command over the material things of the world around him; which is perhaps why Dwarfs are universally considered greedy. They hoard the few things that grant them a sense of purpose which might fill the void where a mortal man has a soul.

Dwarfs dwell in mountainous places, often under the earth where the boundaries of the qliphoth are visible to them. They are short of stature, seldom growing more than four feet in height, with short legs and arms which make the use of certain weapons awkward and cumbersome. They keep long beards, often plaited and braided to show various ranks and titles that none beyond their kind are truly able to comprehend. A dwarf studied in the knowledge of beards can read the truth of a dwarfen lineage back generations, denoting them from the period of loam or an off-shoot from an alleged wandering period during the dawn of Man’s dominion over the world.

Why would a dwarf wander the wildwood? To seek out material goods and perhaps to find purpose in this world. Dwarfs undertake journeys from their homelands often enough, and have historically been wandering exiles from homelands that have collapsed, or survivors of purges from humanity who viewed them as abominable due to their lacking of a mortal soul. The wildwood is vast and filled with ruins and hidden places, and such places can provide lore, wealth or refuge for many a wandering dwarf. Perhaps it is best left said that the reason a dwarf should venture is that dwarf’s own business, and to court such a mystery is liable to leave a man befuddled in attempts at deciphering their hidden tongue and the nature of the reality in which man doth exist.

If one is adventuring through the wildwood, a dwarf is worthwhile company. They are skilled at arms on an almost universal level, and though they do not hold the One True God in their hearts, they can receive his blessings and thus most in the modern time do not view them as aberrant in His eyes. They can make use of strange knacks which have a myriad of uses, and when in the company of stonework they can view the qliphoth and the ahra, which to their companions often means they are able to detect hidden places and vile traps that might otherwise go undetected.

Hit Dice: d10
Initiative Bonus: +0

The Dwarf
Saving Throws
Level
Experience
Enchantment
Substance
Geas
Dragon Spume
Ensorcellment
1
0
17
15
14
17
16
2
2,000
17
15
14
17
15
3
4,000
14
14
13
16
15
4
8,000
14
14
13
16
14
5
16,000
12
13
11
14
14
6
32,000
12
13
11
14
13
7
64,000
11
12
10
13
13
8
120,000
11
12
10
13
13
9
240,000
9
11
8
11
12
10
360,000
9
11
8
11
12

Class Features
Sense Perversion of Stone: Dwarfs may sense the qliphoth and the ahra in stone at a rate of 4-in-6, provided they press their hands or knock against the stone proper. By doing so the Dwarf may notice traps or hidden passages behind the stone, as well as enchantments cast upon the stone, how long ago stone work has performed upon it, and if something is living behind the walls.

Sense Worth of Stone: By eating a small pebble or chip of stone, a dwarf may determine the sort of stone it is at a rate of 4-in-6. Dwarfs may lick a weapon or piece of armor to determine its main metal of construction in the same way.

Soulless: Dwarfs have no soul in any greater divine sense, at least not in the eyes of fiends or the One True God. They are immune to geas that would compel the dwarf to action or soul-harming spells that would damage or drain at their soul.

Short-Limbed: Dwarfs cannot aptly use two-handed weapons, save for mattocks, spears, or polearms. Their short limbs make using weapons such as a claymore or lance disadvantageous.

Dwarf-Lore: Dwarfs can recognize the lineage of another dwarf by spending a few rounds observing their mannerisms and grooming habits; even if such things would be extremely out of sorts (such as a dwarf who is ensorcelled or who is covered in dragon’s soot). Dwarfs also know the Hidden Tongue which is a throaty language of ten thousand runes and which is spoken in a mixture of hand gestures and nods to give full meaning.This tongue is known to only dwarfs, crows, and the ancient enemies of dwarfs.

Dwarf Knacks: Dwarfs possess strange supernatural knacks, which are generally from one of the following six types of knacks: stonesinging, beardsinging, ironsinging, goldwisdom, grudgewisdom, meadwisdom. These fields are described below, and can be determined randomly by rolling a d6. Knacks improve as the dwarf levels, as indicated under the specific types.


Stonesinging
While all dwarfs can innately sense the ahra and the qliphoth, a dwarf who possesses the knack of stonesinging is able to command the way the dermis of the mortal world found in stone, allowing it to become unbowed to fey or mortal man.

1st Level: By whistling loudly, the dwarf is able to cause hidden doors and caches in stone to whistle back. Earthen creatures of less or equal HD to the dwarf’s level will also inadvertently whistle back, alerting those who listen to their presence. Such creatures must make a Save vs Enchantment to realize they’ve revealed themselves.

3rd Level:  With a small yodel, the dwarf is able to seal a door in stone as tight as solid stone; and just the same they may open a sealed door in stone as though it were on loose hinges. This does not prevent the opening of the door from triggering any traps, nor is it necessarily a quiet process.

5th Level: Once per day the dwarf may kiss a statue or stonework edifice, afterwhich the item in question becomes able to communicate with the dwarf and serve as a source of information, a spy, or other gambit that seems reasonable to both parties. The dwarf is able to sing while using a chisel to create a face in stone successfully at a rate of 4-in-6.
7th Level: By cutting the dwarf’s hand and bleeding upon stone, they may open a portal in the qliphoth and craft a passage a number of yards deep as the dwarf’s level + the damage they’ve inflicted upon themselves. The dwarf is able to knock a passing code upon the walls of any connecting stone to hide the passage in illusion.

Beardsinging
Ask a human and they’ll strongly believe that every dwarf has a beard, and this is certainly true by dwarf standards where a beard is any hair that grows longer than the nape of one's neck; and often it is true in the traditional sense as well. Dwarfs cultivate such hair as a cultural sign of prowess, and some are able to manipulate their beards and even the beards of others, in strange ways.

1st Level: By speaking of how luxurious and magnificent their beard (or any hair that grows beyond the back of their neck) is, they may hide an object up to the size of a tankard inside their hair. This item is held snug and secure, and only by shearing the hair or beard of the dwarf may it be found by other parties. The dwarf may recover the item by thanking its beard or hair for being so lovely.

3rd Level:  By humming a tune and mumbling some words about the gloriousness of their hair, the dwarf enchants it to be as strong as bronze and as malleable as silk. This allows a dwarf to bind a door with a few hairs, stitch up a wound or armor with relative ease, and in times of crisis perhaps create a sturdy rope with their locks. The enchantment lasts until the hair is broken, the dwarf dies, or the dwarf accepts an insult about their hair.

5th Level: With a few strokes of their beard and a low intoned bellow, the dwarf may treat their beard or hair (but never both) as though it were an additional hand. It can grip at things and perform dexterous actions, but it cannot wield anything larger than a knife (which it wields awkwardly and damages the dwarf on a miss). If the beard was holding an object it may produce it and immediately allow the dwarf to use it, and if the beard was hummed to metal strength than the beard may itself deal damage akin to a punching gauntlet (1d4-1) to any melee opponent that attacks the dwarf.

7th Level: Intoning a long note and maintaining a glare allows the dwarf to manipulate the beard (or any hair that grows below the nape of the neck) of those around them. Targets who are magical in nature (such as fey or wizards) may make a Save vs Ensorcellment to resist control. Controlled hair functions as an additional limb, controlled by the dwarf; which may be used to drag, choke, smack, rip at, or whatever a limb equivalent can do at the dwarf’s request. The control lasts a number of rounds equal to the dwarf’s level, or until the hair is cut or severed. The dwarf may control a number of beards equal to their Charisma Modifier.

Ironsinging
Due to their affinity with the earth and its metaphysical being, dwarfs are renowned craftsmen when it comes to working metal. Some among their kind are able to spin and twist metal with their voices, leading to the stereotype of dwarf miners often working in step to a song. An ironsinger maintains a distinct relationship with metal, able to turn all but the most loyal of iron to their own purposes.

1st Level: Serenading iron can allow the alloy to repair itself or loosen itself so that it may be destroyed with little effort. Such songs are made in the ancient tongue of the dwarfs, and may only target a single facet of metal at a time; such as a bar in a jail cell rather than an entire cage wall. Loyal iron, that which has been named and treated well by its owner, forces the dwarf to make a Charisma check to succeed.
3rd Level:  By whistling high, a dwarf may enter into negotiations with iron; even in the heat of battle. The dwarf may ask that iron grow keen (+1 damage, +1 to Hit) in exchange for services such as to polish it or oil it later. A dwarf may also ask that iron turn feeble and weaken (-1 damage, -1 to Hit or -1 AC if armor) in exchange for treating such metal with its due respect later. The dwarf must either be touching the iron in question or hearing its whistle as it cuts through the air in order to properly negotiate. Iron loyal to an enemy requires a Charisma check for any success on the dwarf’s part

5th Level:  With a throaty series of intoned notes the dwarf can bring iron to a red hot temperature or sing it to bitter coldness. A red hot weapon deals an additional +1d4 damage when wielded by the dwarf or an ally. If the item belongs to an enemy and it is sung to red hotness or bitter cold, they must make a Constitution check or drop the item instantly. If the armor of an enemy is sung to red hotness they take 1d4 damage per round until they submerge themselves in water or a number of turns equal to the dwarf’s level have passed. Armor sung to bitter cold forces the enemy to roll with disadvantage for a number of rounds equal to the dwarf’s level. Loyal iron requires a Charisma check for any success on the dwarf’s part.

7th Level: The dwarf howls a long sustained note, causing the metal of friends and foes alike to bend to the will of the dwarf. The dwarf can change metal weapons into other weapons, such as turning a spear into a longsword, or a hatchet into a short sword. Chainmail can be welded with song into plate mail, and plate can be sundered into loose chains. Objects of metal such as doors, anvils, or keys can be turned into other items of equivalent size. Designs and motifs may be emulated, but close inspection can easily reveal the item to not be an original work. Enchanted metals cause their owner to make a Save vs Enchantment to prevent such twisting of the items, and such items that are affected change only for a number of rounds equal to the dwarf’s level.  Iron loyal to an enemy requires a Charisma check on the dwarf’s part. The dwarf may do this a number of times per day equal to their Wisdom modifier.

Goldwisdom
Gold and greed help fill a hole within dwarfs where a soul might otherwise go. Those known for their goldwisdom have drowned that void with knowledge of wealth and possess dark talents for finding such hoards and making sure such wealth serves only the desired purposes of the dwarf.
1st Level: A dwarf possessing of goldwisdom is able to identify the scent of wealth upon even the most stagnant of airs. By spending a turn to breathe deeply of the air, the dwarf is able to get a general compass direction leading to the nearest vein of ore or hoard of treasure at an accuracy of 1-in-6. The accuracy is increased by +1-in-6 for every additional 100 gold worth of treasure in the hoard or vein.

3rd Level: With a licking of the item and a thorough rubbing over it with one’s naked fingers, the dwarf is able to discern the appropriate market value of any item held. The item in question need not be metal, but should be inorganic for true accuracy. Organic matter examined in such a way has a 2-in-6 chance of being misidentified as being worth more or less than anticipated, at the GM’s discretion. This ability can be used quite effectively in determining counterfeits, provided the dwarf know the true market value of an item to compare their goldwisdom’s hunch to.

5th Level: Gold weighs heavy on the hearts of all mortal beings for one reason or another, and a dwarf strong in their goldwisdom can suss out the location of any who have robbed, swindled, cheated, or owe a great deal of wealth to the dwarf. By spending a number of minutes rubbing gold between their fingers, breathing deeply the air, and chanting low the dwarf is able to determine the general compass direction of any who have taken of their wealth within a number of weeks equal to their level. The accuracy of this is equivalent to 1-in-6 with an additional +1-in-6 for every additional 100 gold worth of treasure that has been taken from the dwarf or of what the dwarf deems its rightful property.

7th Level: The highest of gold wisdom allows the dwarf to levy upon foes a heinous curse. The dwarf must cut open their hand, bleed deeply (1d8 damage worth) upon a pile of gold, and proclaim a blight upon the soul of any who would dare steal or profit from the misfortune of the dwarf. In doing so the dwarf may turn a number of gold equal to 1000 coins multiplied by the dwarf’s level, into cursed treasure. Those who take the treasure with ill-intent in their hearts or to spite the dwarf, his companion, or dwarf-kind as a whole, must save vs Enchantment each day they keep the cursed treasure. On a failure, the curse takes hold and the subject loses 1d4 Constitution per day and age an equal number of years. Their hair falls out, their skin turns ruddy and scaled, and upon losing all of their Constitution the victim becomes a degenerate ghost who can only warn others not to touch the stolen wealth. Should the victim pass their save vs Enchantment they become instantly aware that the treasure is cursed.

Grudgewisdom
As a people who have suffered periods of wandering and attempted purges by the Faithful and the foul alike, dwarfs know well their own enemies. Those who are tasked with remembering the wrongdoings done to them by others for generations are known for their grudgewisdom. Using such wisdom they make use of foul talents to demand retribution on ancestral foes.

1st Level: The dwarf chooses a type of enemy, (man of a certain nation, fey of a certain court, troll, dragon, beast, et cetera) with implication that such an enemy laid waste to dwarfs of the past. By consuming the blood or flesh of such an enemy, the dwarf is able to enter into a state of torpor. Within this state the dwarf’s weapons and purposes are controlled by spiritual means, increasing the dice value of any attacks against a foe by one degree (1d4 to 1d6, 1d6 to 1d8, et cetera). The dwarf may make a Charisma check to shout the crimes of a single entity in the hidden tongue of the dwarfs, granting advantage on all attacks against that single entity and reducing all damages by other enemies against the dwarf by 1 for the remainder of combat. If the dwarf fails to slay the enemy, no proclamation can be made until that foe is brutally executed. Dwarfs may change their type of enemy once per month.

3rd Level:  The dwarf may burn a bit of beard and oil to enter a state of spiritual communication with their grudgewise ancestor. This ancestor will answer a single question about the enemy, though there is a 1-in-6 chance it will instead ramble on about the sorrows of dwarf-kind and the atrocities suffered at the hands of such enemy. The ancestor will always direct the dwarf to the enemy by providing compass directions and a sense of how many days on foot it will take to reach the foe. If a dwarf has consulted their ancestor before encountering their enemy, they gain a +1 bonus to Hit that foe until that foe is slain. All dwarfs, even those who are not grudgewise, within a party will benefit from this bonus.

5th Level: The dwarf benefits from knowing its enemy, and those who are grudgewise know their enemy well. The dwarf may spend a turn examining the enemy, making an Intelligence check. On a success, the dwarf may easily examine the weakness of the creature or invoke a curse of ancient fallen dwarfs upon the foe. If the dwarf proclaims the weakness aloud, all within the dwarf’s party gain any benefits granted by grudgewisdom against that foe until the end of combat. If the dwarf instead invokes a curse of fallen dwarfs upon the foe, it instead lowers the damage dice of the enemy by one degree (1d8 to 1d6, 1d6 to 1d4, et cetera) and reduces their AC by 2 for a number of turns equal to the dwarf’s levels. The dwarf may only do this once per combat.

7th Level: The dwarf may begin battle by proclaiming the crimes of the enemy against dwarf-kind or the dwarf personally, invoking grudgewise ancestor spirits and the fallen dead to assist the dwarf in combat against the foe. The fallen dwarfs are conjured as soon as the dwarf strikes at the enemy, appearing in a flanking position against the enemy. These dwarves deal damage equal to the main dwarf’s weapon type plus a number of bonus damage equal to the dwarf’s level, have equal hit points, and can only be harmed by magical attacks. Should the dwarf flee from a fight after having conjured these spectres, they lose all of their grudgelore abilities until they shave their beard and kill their foe, severe a trophy from it, and proclaim it a victory to a number of dwarfs equal to 10 times the dwarf’s level.

Meadwisdom
As a long lived people, dwarfs are known to enjoy many a fermented beverage. Those who are of seemingly powerful libation enjoying powers are known as being meadwise, and they may use this wisdom for good or for ill as their drunken wiles deem fit.

1st Level: The meadwise dwarf knows the age, core ingredient and general vintage of origin for anything they consume, be it bread, vegetables, potions or alcohol. This does not instill an ability to fully reconstruct ingredients, but it can give hints to such things as well as an ability to discern information from food or drink that might otherwise be enchanted by fey means. If a dwarf consumes something compromised mainly of poison or is enchanted, they may spit it out as a free action before any such saves need to be made.

3rd Level: By cutting off a bit of their hair and flinging it into the eyes of any onlookers, the meadwise dwarf may conjure out of nearby dirt or mud a small vessel containing a potent alcohol. Those who drink the alcohol feel fully satiated for the remainder of the day, provided they are friend to the dwarf. Those who are unknown to the dwarf or his enemy suffer a bout of sickness, vomiting up blobs of mud, taking 1d4 damage. The dwarf may throw the vessel, as well as any alcoholic beverage, as a grenade weapon, dealing 1d4 damage to anyone caught in the splash. The damage manifests by way of horrific smells of vinegar and stains upon the flesh that bruise.

5th Level: By bleeding into a beverage or placing a severed lock of hair, the meadwise dwarf may enchant a beverage into a powerful hallucinogen. Dwarfs and those who have received the blessings of the meadwise dwarf may consume it to gain clarity from spells or toxins that might otherwise lead their mind to view falsehoods, healing Intelligence or Wisdom attribute damage for 1d4+Dwarf Level points. Non-dwarfs who consume such a beverage view the world in horrific terms, suffering 1d6+Dwarf Level in phantasmal damages, which while not lethal can render an individual unconscious and without the means to defend themselves as the seize in horror at the true nature of earth, stone, and dwarf-kind.

7th Level: Should a meadwise dwarf enter a state of total inebriation they may transfer this blessing on to another as a curse. The meadwise dwarf does this by pointing an accusing finger and speaking an oath in the Hidden Tongue proclaiming the recipient a blaggart and a stooge of no honor. The dwarf deals 1d10+Level damage to the target, who must make a Save vs Substance lest they fall into a drunken stupor. Those who save against this curse are unable to become drunk until the next full moon, and those who fail against this curse do not feel sober and stable until the next new moon or a week eating nothing but hard tack.

End Notes: Still need to do some equipment charts, but I wanted to actually post something. I like dwarfs as being vaguely magical, and if Tolkien can make them vaguely Jewish at times without going wholesale unfortunately anti-semetic, than I'll give it a shot by using a term or two from kabbalah. So dwarfs in this case get four knack abilities as they level, a decent HD, and some traditional dwarf moves. Ought to simplify the knacks, but that's a tomorrow problem.

Still gotta finish up the Elf and the Magic-User for public consumption. The Elf follows much the same pattern as the dwarf, save that they're based on seasons and their abilities change with the time of year or whenever they enter the Fae Realm. And their knacks are more like spells. Huldr-Troll/Low Troll is sort of like a wu jen/barbarian mix; the more they level the more monstrously Trollish they get but the more restrictions they have for being out in the open rather than being a hidden folk. And then that'd be the whole of the WWM classes, which means proper revisions for broader consumption purposes. Though I do have a "bandit" class as a joke, simply because I removed the rogue and made it the expert. Sort of like how a lot of books have a Blackguard in them, with the idea being 'don't actually play this.' A more proper description might be "the dick-ass thief." Happy Labor Dabor.

The Gracklegrick, a Fey Monster

Gracklegrick Hit Dice: 4d8 (22 HP) AC : 13 (Oil-slicked Autumnal Cloak) Attack: +4 to hit Enchanted Enemies, 1d6+1 Damage (Feyruste...