Sunday, April 6, 2014

13th Age: Duergar Dwarves

Although I'm supposed to be coming up with B/X stuff per my April theme, I'm actually busy working on 13th Age material for my planned next print book, an Ages of Lingusia campaign setting for 13th Age. Here's a sample I've adapted for deep dwarves (the saner cousins of the derro)...

Duergar, Dark Dwarves    
   Like the Ashtarth, some dwarves in the War of the Gods were swayed to serve Chaos, and were marked with a dusky, death-like gray skin, as if they were filled with the darkness of their subterranean kingdoms. They dwell beneath the surface of the world only, and are rarely ever seen in daylight.

   Most duergar (called darendur in old dwarvish) encountered on the surface or near it are to be found in the western end of the Slithotendan Mountains, where they have two dominant surface cities: Darkholm, not far from the Monastery of Senempar, and Groth, a small trade town dominated by the Gharadagh Clan. The curious poltical and cultural mix of the region proved to be a lucrative market for some of the tribes of the deep, and these Duergar have taken the mountains in that region as their own. It is often noted by adventurers visiting the region that the duergar are the only dwarves to be found in the region; the fairer skinned dwarves have left the region entirely to their deep dwelling cousins. Other than the murderous derro, who are constantly at war with their saner magic-resistant cousins the duergar interact little with other races.

   Physically duergar are not unlike iron and silver dwarves, but they are marked in much the same manner as the ashtarth by the taint of chaos, with dusky grey skin, hair that ranges from white to red and black in coloration, and deep, liquid opal eyes that reflect their keen vision in total darkness.

   Duergar are similar to regular dwarves, with some differences:

Duergar Characters
Average Height: 3’6” to 4’8”
Average Weight: 125-225 lbs.
Languages: Deep Speech, plus one other (usually Tradespeak or Giantish)
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution or +2 Strength

   Duergar are known for their sensitivity to magic, and can usually identify the properties of a magical item merely by touching it. Their adaptivity to the darkness of the Underworld has left them with an ability to see in total darkness in shades of gray. They despise sunlight, however, and when exposed to such natural light will always seek out cover of some means.

Spell Deflection (racial power)
   Duergar have a strange natural resistance to the weave of magic, and this can create unusual effects on spells which target them. Once per battle as a free action the duergar, upon being hit by a magical effect that is not an illusion or does not deal psychic damage may make a save (11+); success means the spell has no effect. Furthermore if the attacker rolled a 16+ on the attack die and the spell is reflected then the spell ricochets off the dwarf and targets a random nearby adjacent target (friend or foe, doesn’t matter); a new attack roll is then made by the caster.

   The spell resistance of duergar is also overwhelming to magical items. Every time a duergar seeks to attune a chakra to a magical device or activate a runestone, he must make a saving roll (11+). If he fails, then the device cannot attune to him or be used by the duergar that day. This applies to both beneficial and detrimental items as arbitrated by the GM.

   There is only one exception: illusory psychic effects always work on or for the Duergar.

   Items which do not affect the Duergar do not lose their charge unless the situation would suggest it (i.e. a rune stone simply remains dormant), though potions are gone.

Adventurer Tier Feat: the magic resistance no longer affects temporary magic  items, and the duergar may add his Wisdom modifier to his Save roll to attune to magic items.

Champion Tier Feat: the duergar’s spell reflection recharges on a 16+ when used and he only needs to save 6+ to attune to magic items.

Epic Tier Feat: the duergar’s spell reflection succeeds on a 6+.

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