In many ways, the Dark Dwarves, or Duergar, are to the dwarves as the Drow are to the Eladrin. Not long after the dwarves overthrew their Giant masters, one of the Dwarvish Clans of Old disappeared. Many dwarves believed this clan to be lost, delving too deep in search of riches, to their doom. This is not far from the truth, though almost no one knows it.
The history of the Dark Dwarves begins with the Twin Thane-brothers of the Rockhammer Clan. The Rockhammer Clan was renowned for their skill as miners and prospectors, able to locate the most abundant veins of ore and gems above any others. The eldest of the twins grew decadent and greedy, beyond any other dwarf, especially his younger brother. So great was his greed that when a mysterious stranger appeared in their hall, offering a wealth of metal and jewels beyond their imagining, the eldest defied his younger brother. A fight broke out between them, in which harsh words quickly escalated into a brawl between the brothers. The Halls of the Rockhammer Clan were shaken by infighting, as Clan-mate attacked Clan-mate. In the end, the eldest brother was defeated, and he and his followers were cast out. They should all have been put to death for their crimes, but the younger brother’s compassion would doom the dwarvish people.
Cast out from their ancestral holdings, these dwarves dug deep into the depths of the world, beyond the point any dwarf before them had dared to dig, following the promise of wealth and glory. They had been cursed, however, and found only soot and coal wherever they dug, and not a single glittering vein. The dwarves cursed their ancestral clan-brothers, assuming that they had cursed them to this fate. As their hearts were twisted with hate and greed, their skin turned ashen, and their eyes burned with a fiery glow. The Betrayer welcomed these dwarves into her service, offering them her protection and patronage in exchange for one thing: the secrets of shaping raw adamantine into dwarvish gromril steel. So it was that the Dark Dwarves were born, twisted by the conspiracies of the Betrayer, and their secrets taken to be turned against their former brothers; secrets which would be used to murder their creator, Urik.
Duergar literally means Cursed Ones in the dwarvish tongue. The Dark Dwarves are twisted forms of dwarven sensibility. They are no less stubborn than their dwarven kin, hating other dwarves with a passion that is unseen in many dwarves. They truly feel that they are the ones who were wronged, and completely blame the dwarvish clans for cursing them to this existence in the deep, dark places of the world. They have long since turned away from the faith of their forefathers, and the power of dwarvish rune-magic, turning instead to the arcane for power and riches. Very few worship any gods but themselves, their greed and pride overwhelming all other concerns.
Dark Dwarves share similar features to their dwarven cousins, particularly in weight and build. Their skin ranges from slate gray to an almost obsidian black. Their eyes almost universally glow reddish orange, like dying forge-embers, and their hair colors range typically from stark white, to various shades of gray, and sometimes black. Their beards are no less well kept than their mountain dwarf cousins, though tend to be cut and shaped to be squared. Their braid caps are perhaps more elaborate and ornate than many mountain dwarf styles.
D&D 4e Edit
Average Height: 4’2”- 4’8”
Average Weight: 160-220 lbs
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence or Wisdom
Speed: 5 squares
Languages: Deep Speech, Dwarven
Skill Bonuses: +2 Dungeoneering, +2 Arcana
Cast-Iron Stomach: You have a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against poison
Lolthtouched: Once per encounter, you can use either the cloud of darkness or darkfire power. (As Drow)
Encumbered Speed: You move at your normal speed even when it would be reduced by armor or heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magic) affect you normally.
Stand Your Ground: When an effect forces you to move – through a push, a pull, or a slide – you can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. This means an effects that normally pulls, pushes, or slides a target 1 square does not force you to move unless you want to. In addition when an attack would knock you prone, you can make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.
D&D 5e Edit
In addition to the basic Dwarf traits listed in the Player's Handbook, Duergar receive the following traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Superior Darkvision: Your darkvision has a radius of 120 ft.
Sunlight Sensitivity: You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom(Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Void-touched: You know the blade ward cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the invisibility spell on yourself once per day. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Enlarge/Reduce spell on yourself once per day to enlarge from Medium size to Large or reduce from Large size to Medium. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for these spells.