Ash Dwarf

A diminutive, frail subrace of nimble dwarves with ashen skin, the ash dwarves are a displaced race that were forced from their ancestral homes and driven into slavery.

Homeless and Helpless

To be an ash dwarf is to be a displaced nobody, a thing owned and used, never loved and cared for. Ash dwarves have little hope outside of their enslavement, since their kingdoms were invaded and destroyed during the Second Age.

Now they are a disparate people, with no real power to call their own.


Slavery is common in some worlds, but it takes different forms in different lands. For example, in one land the keeping of human or dwarvish slaves is taboo, yet the keeping of ash dwarves is hardly questioned except by some small enclaves that work towards their emancipation. Ash dwarves can be found in any land and across the many oceans of the worlds as well. Below the waves, they are only kept if provision is made for their need for air.

Children of the Mountain

Ash dwarves may appear feeble now, but their ancestors were wire-muscled and tough, able to burrow and climb deep into the most inhospitable caverns below the earth. Their small size and ash-grey complexion undoubtedly helped them to conceal themselves in the darkness, or within the shadowy crags of the mountains above.

Although they have long left their mountain homes, ash dwarves seldom feel the cold and are comfortable even in the rags of a slave, though they surely wish for finer clothes.

Ash Dwarf Adventurers

Few ash dwarves can ever hope for freedom, and those who attain it must fight hard to keep it. Most ash dwarf adventurers are leaders of rebellion, covert agents of an uprising, escapees, or agents on a mission for their slave masters.

The few ash dwarves with a Mark of Freedom gain the racial trait of the same name. Such ash dwarves have an easier time moving among other races, but they are still looked on with a degree of suspicion.

Ash Dwarf Names

Ash dwarves are given a name by their slave master, and these names are therefore as varied as the civilizations where ash dwarves are found. This slave name is a formality, but all ash dwarves treasure their true name, a name given to them by a parent or guardian. Since most ash dwarves are parted from their families at a young age, many of them acquire their true name much later in life and may even earn additional true names over their lifetime.

Ash Dwarf Traits

Your ash dwarf character is a nimble yet frail being.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Ability Score Penalty. Your Constitution score decreases by 2.
  • Age. Ash dwarves mature a few years before humans. They live to about 200 years of age.
  • Alignment. Most ash dwarves are lawful neutral, though their motivation to survive at all costs often drives them towards evil and chaos.
  • Size. Ash dwarves are smaller than common dwarves, seldom topping 4 feet. They average around 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. Your ancestors lived out their whole lives within the bowels of the earth, and as such you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Cowering Survivalist. You can take the Dodge action as a reaction to a melee attack from a creature you can see, but you have disadvantage on your own melee attacks until the end of your next turn when you do so.
  • Ash and Flame. The ancestors of ash dwarves lived within volcanically active caves, deep underground. There breathable air was scarce and often toxic. You have resistance to fire damage and can breathe normally in thick smoke and clouds of ash. Furthermore, you have resistance to poison damage from gasses or toxin clouds of all kinds.
  • Safe in Shadow. You have advantage on Stealth checks. You lose this ability in areas of bright light.
  • Slave’s Lot. You were born and raised as a slave, and you have the same rights as a slave. These rights differ from territory to territory, but because of your race you will always be considered a slave.
  • Mark of Freedom. If you have won your freedom—a rare occurrence—then you gain this racial trait. You have been marked with a brand, scars, or a tattoo that denotes your freedom. Marks of Freedom are seldom given and rare, and forging one is considered an insult towards other ash dwarves. Non ash dwarves may still treat you as a slave initially, though some territories might have systems in place to protect bearers of the Mark of Freedom.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Grimdark Pamphlet. Copyright 2020, Rising Phoenix Games; Author: Rodney Sloan. Copyright 2020, Rising Phoenix Games; Author: Rodney Sloan

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