Dwarven Discussions

From Dwarven Craftpriest:
Virgil: Out of all the classes, this one strikes me as the strangest. The Elven classes are clearly equivalent to Fighter/Mage and Rogue/Mage, and the Dwarven Fighter is just that, but the Craftpriest is Cleric/nonadventurer. It seems like he gets to level slower with a low cap in exchange for having skills that either a Mage or non-adventuring Specialist could perform just as well. Perhaps there is more remaining to be fleshed out, certainly the spell list, but I can’t see what advantages the Craftpriest has over a human Cleric that would earn a level 10 cap like a Spellsword, who attack like fighters and cast like mages (while wearing armor).
One possibility to make them match their limits might be to keep their 1d6 hp, but advance on attacks and saving throws as per a fighter, making them a Fighter/Cleric hybrid with crafting for flavor. The lower HP, lower maximum level, and lack of increased base damage would prevent them from being better off physically than a pure Dwarven Fighter, but the physical skills would differentiate them from a straight Cleric. If a Fighter/Rogue class is planned for the dwarves, this would also make their racial hybridization mirror the elves (replacing fighter with mage).
Another possibility would be to give the Craftpriest a lot more item/treasure-related utility. Perhaps bonus proficiency levels in some of the crafting/magical item-related abilities, innate treasure sense or detect magic abilities, or other similar traits.
Alex: Thanks, Virgil!
Dwarven Craft-Priest was meant to be a flavorful class that embodied a dwarf’s view of the perfect dwarf.
But, truth be told, Dwarven Craft-Priest is only of only 2 classes in the game that did not get play-tested during the 2.5 year Auran Empire campaign. I hadn’t created the class when the campaign started. Unlike some other ACKS mechanics, it has not suffered the fires of actual play.
I’d love further feedback from other patrons as to whether it looks under-powered.
Sean Wills: I think this rule makes the DCP stand out as a great option:
‘Their attention to detail gives craft-priests a +3 bonus on the skill rolls for any other proficiencies they may learn as well.’
He’s gifted an whatever he put’s his mind to - and has a wide selection of proficiencies to excel in. And as for general proficiencies, +5 to reaction rolls for Seduction attempts if he takes that proficiency? guess who’s the party Casanova.
So, with a proficiency such as Goblin Slaying, he’s getting +4 to his attack roll against Goblins ! He’s a combat machine.
Seriously, at low levels the DCP may well be seen as annoyingly adept in the eyes of the players of other characters.
I think that’s why the DCP has earnt a Level Cap
Sean Wills: I seriously need to play this system just so I can play a DCP who’s kinda Barry White meets Macgyver. This is all your fault.
Alex: Sean - so I hadn’t actually intended that the Dwarven Craft Priest’s +3 bonus on proficiency throws would stack with a proficiency that gives a bonus on attack throws. That seems like it could get abusive very fast…
If you remove that element of it, do you still think it’s a good class?
Sean Wills: Yes, because he’s capable of being a cool archetype…
The DCP as being basically about - crafting his own masterpieces, and recovering lost artifacts - so he’s Leonardo Da Vinci meets Indiana Jones.
I would pick proficiencies to make him more of a Cleric/Thief (and the proficiency list does allow for this distinct class mix) - he’s tombraiding in the name of his god(s), and building monuments as his wealth/status/skill increases.
Mental image: Lightly-armoured dwarf firing a grappling hook x-bow bolt to secure a rope across a cavern then sliding down, a bejewelled icon cradled in one arm.
Ryan: Mental image: Lightly-armoured dwarf firing a grappling hook x-bow bolt to secure a rope across a cavern then sliding down, a bejewelled icon cradled in one arm.
Sean, that’s fantastic - I think I might use that image for the DCP character class illustration
Sean Wills: Cool - have fun with it, and after seeing your artwork on the blog, I’ve bumped up my pledge to Visionary!
Ryan: Awesome! And we just passed our goal! :slight_smile:
When I get to it (end of this week or beginning of next) I’ll post some thumbnails here for you to look at.
Sean Wills: One of the things I like about this class is the implied setting/culture info - the Dwarven church sanctioning the recovery of artifacts by the craftpriests, making them righteous thieves, mechanically and (probably) idealistically different than human thieves. Using craft skills to support expeditions, make/repair equipment and possibly restore artifacts, allied to the access to diplomacy/combat/magic proficiencies to overcome anything that sets in the way of the recovery, makes the class interesting for campaign play or ‘special mission’ one-shots in my opinion. Or is it just me -haha ?
Alex: Sean, the “implied setting” is exactly what we were going for! That fires me up.
Virgil: Their attention to detail gives craft-priests a +3 bonus on the skill rolls for any other proficiencies they may learn as well.
You know, I read that associated it to the previous sentence (which referred to “his craft”). I assumed that the “other proficiencies” referred to crafting proficiencies other than his initial one that he might learn later on.
With that bonus applying to all proficiencies, I completely agree that Cleric/Rogue is a much better way to look at the class, and the lower level cap makes a lot more sense.

From Help Rename the Dwarven Fighter
Alex: Fans of the Dwarven Fighter have demanded a new name, akin to Craft-Priest, Spellsword, and Nightblade.
Some initial suggestions:
Dwarven Slayer
Dwarven Tunnel-Fighter
Dwarven Defender
Dwarven Shieldbreaker
Dwarven Sentinel
Dwarven Warden
Ahstrongmorse: There’s an implied setting issue that comes up in the name. Are Dwarven fighters inherently conceived of as defensive? Many of the names suggested so far (Defender, Sentinel, Warden…) have that feel, which has resonance in my conception of dwarves. “The goblins attack our holds, and we make them pay for every inch of tunnel.” I really like Sentinel if you’re going for that feel, but I’m not sure it’s ideal for what is, after all, a PC class in a game that will rarely (at low levels, at least) be about defending the dwarven holds. Something that has more of a pro-active feel may be better for a PC. Tunnel-Fighter and Slayer are better in this regard; Shieldbreaker as well, although I don’t actually like that name.
Dwarven Venturer? Wayfinder (a term used for thief-fighter dwarves in a homebrew setting I played in)? Seekers?
Alex: “The dwarven fighter class represents a dwarf trained as a soldier in the endless underground wars of his people,” according to the game rules. The Auran Empire setting assumes dwarves are slowly going extinct, displaced by the superior breeding of beastmen. So while there might be local counter-attacks, it’s a Long Defeat.
Some more ideas…
Dwarven Axe-brother
Dwarven Hammer-kin
Dwarven Soldier
Dwarven Warsworn
Dwarven Sworn Shield
Dwarven Axebearer
Blizack: “Dwarven Soldier”, along with “Dwarven Warrior”, were a couple that I considered, but they feel a bit dull to me. “Dwarven Warsworn” sounds 4e as heck, and is hard to pronounce, to boot.
I like “Axe-brother”, but it implies a male character, and surely one could play a female dwarf fighter type. (Let’s not get into the whole “female dwarves have beards” issue.) A lot of these ideas also imply using a particular weapon, but then again, so does “Elven Spellsword”.
Some other suggestions:
Dwarven Man-At-Arms (yes, I know this suggests a male character, too)
Dwarven Vindicator
Dwarven Armiger
Dwarven Guardian
Dwarven Battler
Dwarven Champion (probably too lofty)
Dwarven Partisan
Dwarven Battle-Sage
Dwarven Warmaster
Dwarven Beast-Slayer
If nothing else, a lot of the suggestions could be used as level titles.
Jedo: In Dragonage, their dwarves had a nice concept of the "legion of the dead’ where disgraced dwarves would be considered ‘dead’ and go down into the deep roads where the blight had overrun, and fight the evil as long as they could. A bit like the Night Watch in Game of Thrones. I kind assume that at dwarven fighter is like an immovable object- he waits for his enemies to come to him, and he will hold his ground against all comers. Have one guarding a tunnel, and no creature getting through there. Also there is something cool about them being the ones who go deeper in the earth then even the other dwarves are willing to go.
How about something like Deepwatch or Vaultguard?
Blizack: I think I kind of like “Vaultguard”. Maybe throw a hyphen in there (Vault-Guard) to make it consistent with Craft-Priest?
Alex: I like Vault-guard. If we call them Vault-guards, I could rename the Dwarven strongholds “vaults” instead of “citadels” to go with the name.
The word for “citadel” in Dwarven (in the Auran Empire) is “Azen”, which sounds like it should mean Vault!
ps I should probably eliminate the hyphen in craft-priest or add a hyphen to bladedancer, nightblade, and spellsword. There’s no rhyme or reason right now…
Blizack: I like hyphens, as I feel they add a certain Old World vibe, but it might be best to drop them. For some reason “Vault-Guard” looks like a 1950s brand name to me. Something that should come in a spray can.
Undercrypt: Vault-Guard is filled with dwarven goodness.
Maybe dwarves are culturally prone to over-hyphenation.
Bargle: Isn’t the “pizzaz” of the dwarven fighter names extant in the level titles? In 0d&d the class was a generic descriptor; This is the fighting-man, this is the man-who-uses-magic aka magic-user. Why does the descriptor have to be florid as well?
This is why I’m not terribly taken with class names like “night blade”. It’s just a fancy word for something quite simple. Put the cool names as level titles. I should be able to simply look at a class name and know what it is; things like dwarven warden or blade dancer could be a dwarven ranger or cleric or is the blade dancer a f/mu? or mu/th? or f/th? f/cl? how am I suppose to know unless I have to slog through the text?
There’s an argument to be made that the elf, dwarf, and new class’ level titles are too bland and therefore people want to spice up the class name a bit to compensate, but I think that approach is backwards to what would be best.
Blizack: I actually agree with Bargle, but I assumed that the elven class names (and “bladedancer”) were not open to discussion. I’d actually prefer simpler class names and florid level titles, but that’s just me. Assuming that all of the demi-humans are going to get fancy names (and that’s just the way it is), “dwarven fighter” doesn’t really cut it.
Sean Wills: I like Vaultguard or Vaultsworn.
(This cries out for a 3pp sourcebook called ‘Vaults of Antiquity’)
Jedo: I think with demihumans the classes need to imply more of a story. I think most people have a good idea of the fighter/MU/Cleric/Thief ones because while they are classes, they are pretty similar to careers too- and humasn with jobs are something we can all visualize pretty easily. When it comes to demihumans, it is an unknown race’s culture and lifestyle you are trying to wrap your brain around when you start a new character. And something like “Dwarven Fighter” is non-specific as far as how it differs from a regular fighter. Giving a bit of a story via an evocative name helps make it clearer how a bladedancer, etc differs from a vanilla human fighter.
Florid level titles are fun, but by the time a PC gets that level, you already have a handle on who your character is, and they only serve to be a nice title to toss out when talking to NPCs.
Alex: I am pleased to present the new and more flavorful Dwarven Vaultguard, which will make its first appearance in v17 of the rules. Flavor text and level titles are below.

Dwarves are stout, short, bearded demi-humans who average a height of approximately 4’ and weigh about 150lbs. Perhaps not surprisingly, they have skin, hair and eye colors in earth tones. Dwarves have a reputation for having surly attitudes, and are particularly gruff with elves. They value precious metals and stones, and live in deep underground vaults, where they endure constant raids from the orcs, trolls, and even worse denizens of the darkness below. In the Auran Empire, dwarves are rarely seen, for their strongholds lie to the south, in the great Meniri Mountains on the edge of the Waste.
Dwarves trained to defend their race’s underground vault from the endless hordes that threaten it are called vaultguards. Though most vaultguards are born, live and die in the vault, from time to time a young vaultguard will be dispatched to foreign realms on a warrior’s pilgrimage. The few vaultguards who return from such pilgrimages bring gold and glory to their clans, often leading them to new vaults and becoming great lords. The dwarven vaultguard class represents such a dwarf.
Sentry 1
Warden 2
Shieldbearer 3
Defender 4
Sentinel 5
Guardian 6
Champion 7
Vaultguard 8
Vaultlord 9
Vaultlord 10
Vaultlord 11
Vaultlord 12
Ryan: ‘Vaultguard’ sounds so right to me - hardy like a dwarf, and natural too. Nice one, Jedo! I’ve really enjoyed this thread :slight_smile:

Looking at the Stronghold Structure Costs, it seems like it would be appropriate and flavorful if an all-dwarf construction crew received some kind of bonus. Maybe something as simple as half-price for the dungeon corridor (since that seems to be the base price for underground digging work) or something as impressive as an automatic 25% reduction in construction time.

Thats a pretty good idea Undercrypt. I think the reduction time would be better than the dwarves being cheaper.

Hi, it looks like I’m late to the party, but I have a few ideas as far as Dwarf fighters go. It looks as though there are two class offerings for the demi-humans, yes? Can that be expanded to three? The way I see it, you can have the craftpriest for the runic/artifact dwarves, and then have two dwarven fighter types.
One I see as primarily defensive, like the Vaultguard, but more defensive still. I call him the Dwarven Stonebeard. They have higher saves in the typical dwarven resistance areas, but at an even better rate. They also have a better AC against giant class foes (yes, better than a regular dwarf). They are able to use shield walls with fellow stonebeards to great advantage, and are in their element fighting in constricted, tight ground (like tunnels). I base this classly loosely off the Warhammer Tunnel Fighter.
The other Dwarven fighter class would be all-out offense. It would be a kind of berzerker class, much like Warhammer’s Troll/Giant Slayers. These dwarves are the only ones which can use two-handed weapons; usually their weapon of choice is the largest Dwarven battle-axe they can find. Battle-rage, fury, that’s their game. They may get increased bonuses for charging into battle, fighting goblinoids, and having an extended use of the Cleave/Whack-a-mole rule. Let’s call this class the Axe of the Mountains.

I think the Stonebeard is a bit too specialised, I could imagine a diverse bunch of Vaultguards (madaxe offensive dude, Malazan crossbow sapper guy, sword & board chap etc) but Stonebeard as a class just has one schtick, and it’s a combat one.
BUT - if there was an ancient Stonebeard clan, who were the last line of defence, the rearguard to hold the tunnels (‘none shall pass’) at any cost, then I can see them - dour but determined, the runic names of their forefathers inscribed on their armour**, and I start thinking they’re cool.
Axe of the Mountains though - I see that more as a single legendary Druss-like NPC, or some messed up Dirty Dozen suicide squad, rather than a class. The Viking novel ‘The Whale Road’ by Robert Low, has a Norseman going Berserkergang and it’s chilling and awesome. Keep those ideas coming :slight_smile:
** Romanesque rather than WHFRP Northern Euro