Monday, April 6, 2015

G is for Dwarves!

Continuing with the A-Z (in no particular order) challenge.

A kit for dwarves, for use with the AD&D 2nd edition game.


The Griff Clan

The Griff Clan (or Clan Griff) is the oldest and largest group of dwarves north of the Moonsea, with clan-holds scattered throughout the Dragonspine and Galena Mountains. Once famed as masons and merchants, shipping stone from the mountains down the Stojanow River to Phlan to build the great cities of the Moonsea, the Griffs have become highly insular and isolationist since the fall of Phlan. The Griff are seldom seen outside of the mountain holdfasts, appearing only to drive off unwanted visitors, of which there are many in the mountains (orcs, goblins, dragons, Eraka nomads, Zhentarim, and others). 
The Dragonspine Mountains are not known for ore (other than lead), and most of the Griff mining efforts throughout the centuries have been failures. The Griff, therefore are much less mechanically minded than other dwarves, but have a keen sense for cutting and carving the great granite blocks that make up the mountains. Their weapons and armor are typically made of lead alloys, making them both softer and heavier than those used by their kin, thus the Griffs have become famous for their avoidance of confrontation (by dwarf standards at least), preferring to rain death on their enemies with lead-tipped crossbow bolts than to engage in melee in their substandard armor.
Base Requirements

  • Races: Dwarf
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Non-Chaotic
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: Tharian
  • Recommended Languages: none
  • Local Religions: Dwarven Pantheon


  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: Crossbows Group
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Dwarven Runes, Mountaineering, Stonemasonry
  • Required Proficiencies: Dwarf History
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Artistic Ability (sculpture), Awareness, Boating, Bowyer/Fletcher, Cryptography, Danger Sense, Dark Lore, Defensive Tactics, Dragon Lore, Engineering, Excavations, Geology, Hiding, Rope Use, Set Snares, Survival (Mountains), Trail Marking
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: Deep Diving, Poison Use, Swimming, Venom Handling

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets: --
  • Open Locks: -10%
  • Find/Remove Traps: -5%
  • Move Silently: +5%
  • Hide in Shadows: --
  • Hear Noise: --
  • Climb Walls: +10%
  • Read Languages: --

Special Abilities:

  • Griff Clan dwarves are highly skilled masons. They gain a +2 bonus on all proficiency checks when attempting to craft any stone item or structure. In addition, their Dwarven Detection Proficiencies function at a range of 15 feet (instead of 10 feet).
  • Griff Clan dwarves are excellent marksmen. They gain free weapon proficiency with the Crossbows Group at 1st level, and may use such weapons regardless of any limitations imposed by their class or kit (even Griff priests use crossbows). Each Griff dwarf begins with a heavy crossbow and 5 lead-tipped bolts, in addition to his normal starting cash.
  • Griff Clan dwarves are all taught at least the rudiments of the ancient arts of rune magic. A Griff dwarf begins knowing a single rune at 1st level, and learns 1 additional rune at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels. These are in addition to any runes the dwarf may learn based on his class or kit. A Griff Dwarf that is not a Runecaster may have only a single active rune at any given time. See Giantcraft or the Viking Campaign Sourcebook for rules on Runecasters.

Special Disadvantages:

  • The Griff Clan is strictly hierarchical and caste based. Griff Clan dwarves may not be multi-classed characters. Griff dwarves may not become specialty priests (of any religion). In addition, only female Griff dwarves may be members of the Cleric class.
  • Because of their prolonged exposure to lead and the corrupted nature of the Stojanow River (a.k.a. the Barren River), the dwarves of the Griff Clan are much more susceptible to poisons than their kin. They do not gain the normal dwarven bonus on saving throws against poison.
  • All metal weapons and armor purchased by a Griff Clan dwarf at character creation are made of lead (instead of steel or iron). These items are the normal price, but weigh 150% the normal amount. Slashing weapons made of lead suffer a -1 penalty on damage (due to the inability to hold an edge). Armor made of lead provides 1 less point of AC bonus, but grants immunity to certain divination spells and effects.