The duergar, or gray dwarves, are grim folk who lead lives of neverending toil in great underground foundry-cities. The typical duergar realm is every bit as powerful, cruel, and wealthy as a great city of the drow. Duergar cities exist only for the manufacture of wealth through unending labor. Duergar are the preeminent smiths and traders of the Underdark, and duergar caravans travel vast distances deep beneath the surface. Duergar are sullen, insular, and tireless workers. They tend to be better neighbors than drow, but they are always eager to acquire new slaves to supply their labor needs. The duergar don’t waste slaves in the sort of cruel spectacles other evil races enjoy—they simply work their captives to death.
Personality: Gray dwarves have few good points aside from courage and determination. They are avaricious, shorttempered, sullen, violent, and ungrateful. Duergar nurse grudges for a lifetime and never stop counting the slights (real or imagined) they’ve received. They believe that might makes right, and they have no pity for those who are too weak to defend their property or themselves.
On the positive side, duergar believe in minding their own business (so long as other folks don’t have anything they want) and working hard to excel at their chosen crafts. No obstacle daunts a gray dwarf who has settled on a goal. Duergar may not have much loyalty to anyone other than themselves, but they never leave a job half done.
Physical Description: Gray dwarves stand 4 to 4-1/2 feet tall, but are lean and hard compared to other dwarves. Their skin is a dull gray, and their eyes are black and cold. Male duergar don’t have hair above their ears, but they often boast short, wiry beards of iron-gray or black. Most females are likewise bald, but some have short-cropped hair of dull black.
Relations: Duergar are universally disliked by all other societies, and even have trouble getting along with each other. They are churlish and hateful, and they have nothing to do with folk of other races unless they stand to gain something by it. Of the other races commonly encountered underground, duergar find svirfneblin (deep gnomes) the least irritating, since the gnomes are also outstanding artisans who value hard work.
Duergar can’t stand drow (dark elves), sensing condescension and mockery behind the elves’ courtesy. Duergar absolutely loathe other kinds of dwarves as well as mind flayers because, according to duergar legends, thousands of years ago the rest of dwarfkind abandoned the gray dwarves to thralldom and misery under mind flayer rule.
Alignment: Gray dwarves are generally evil, placing little value on the lives and property of others. They are consumed by envy for those better off than they, and have not a trace of pity for those not as fortunate. A fair number of duergar simply want nothing more than to be left alone, and so they lean toward hardhearted neutrality. Few gray dwarves are good-aligned.
Religion: The patron deity of the gray dwarves is Laduguer, a joyless deity of toil. Duergar spend little time or effort on any sort of religious observances, feeling that the best way to venerate their grim god is to work.
Language: Gray dwarves speak Dwarven and Undercommon.
Names: A duergar’s clan name is often based on his or her chosen profession. Clan names can change over time as clans take up different occupations or win honors in battle.
Male Names: Bruthwol, Horgar, Ivar, Murgol, Thangardt.
Female Names: Brilmara, Dorthis, Olga, Ulara, Weltha.
Clan Names: Coalhewer, Firehand, Goldcrown, Hammerhead, Ironthew, Steelshadow.
Adventurers: Few gray dwarves have any time for nonsense, which is how they view adventuring. However, individuals with no stomach for a life of unceasing toil occasionally appear in duergar society, and these rare gray dwarves often find it expedient to strike out on their own before their fellows decide that they’re not pulling their weight. Other gray dwarf adventurers are exiles or fugitives, driven out of their home cities by the vicious feuds that arise between rival clans.



  • +2 Constitution, –4 Charisma: Duergar are hardy but sullen and mean-spirited.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, duergar have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Duergar base land speed is 20 feet. However, gray dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).
  • Darkvision out to 120 feet.
  • Immunity to paralysis, phantasms, and poison.
  • +2 racial bonus on saves against spells and spell-like effects.
  • Stability: Duergar are exceptionally stable on their feet. A duergar receives a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
  • Stonecunning: This ability grants a duergar a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework, traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A gray dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a duergar can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A duergar can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Duergar have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
  • Psi-Like Abilities: 1/day—expansion, invisibility. These abilities affect only the duergar and whatever he carries. Manifester level is equal to Hit Dice (minimum 3rd).
  • Naturally Psionic: Duergar gain 3 bonus power points at 1st level. This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs (including half-orcs) and goblinoids (including goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears).
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against creatures of the giant type (such as ogres, trolls, and hill giants).
  • Light Sensitivity (Ex): Duergar are dazzled in sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
  • Duergar have a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks and a +1 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks. They have a +2 racial bonus on Appraise and Craft checks that are related to stone or metal.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Dwarven, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Goblin, Orc, Terran.
  • Favored Class: Fighter.
  • Level Adjustment: +1.

Source: Expanded Psionics Handbook

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