Equally skilled in both deception and combat, duergar are a repulsive offshoot of the dwarven race. Most at home in the lightless depths of the foreboding Underdark, they despise virtually every other race in existence. They hate dwarves above all others, though, and will ally with other creatures temporarily if it means a chance to spill the blood of Moradin’s children. Duergar are sometimes called gray dwarves by natives of the Underdark and are akin to surface dwarves in a manner similar to how drow are to surface elves.
Duergar Quick Characteristics: Conniving, scheming, bland, biased, unforgiving, treacherous, spiteful, untrustworthy, militaristc.
The duergar were once a settlement of shield dwarves in the dwarven kingdom of Shanatar. The shield dwarves that eventually became the duergar lived in certain strongholds that fell under attack of mind flayers, or illithids, and were captured. During their captivity, which lasted for generations, the illithids performed many cruel and unusual experiments on the dwarves. Eventually, the dwarves rose up against their captors and gained their freedom from the mind flayers. Now the duergar inhabit the Underdark and have been left as cruel and evil as their captors and quite withdrawn from their experiences.
Duergar greatly resemble their dwarf cousins, but they stand slightly taller on average and tend to weigh more. Their skin is grey or pale white, with the darkest possessed of skin that seems almost ebon in hue. Their eyes are equally dull, with any shade of grey or brown being the norm. The vast majority of duergar are naturally bald, including the females, and those that aren’t often shave off their hair anyway, it being viewed as nothing more than a detriment in combat. Their weapons and armor often depicting leering, demonic faces, images of rival creatures being executed, and similar ghastly scenes meant to demoralize opponents.
Duergar mature more quickly than humans early in life, reaching maturity as young as 10, but then age slowly after that. Though capable of living well past 200 years, most die of unnatural causes long before then.
Duergar are cruel and heartless beings, claiming to have been robbed of their former glory by the vile dwarves, though none can name exactly what measure of glory it is they once possessed. They owe allegiance only to those who can enforce it, and seek to control all those weaker than themselves. Their culture is bland and lacking in traditions, owing in part to their exceedingly strict militaristic lifestyle. To a duergar, anything that does not directly contribute to its own survival or power is nothing more than a useless trinket. Accordingly, they have no appreciation of artistic expression, and their dwellings are roughly hewed from stone and furnished with the sparsest of accommodations.
The duergar are goal-oriented and adhere strictly to their hierarchical society, though its exact structure can change drastically over time. Though they enjoy inflicting pain on others, they are practical individuals and will kill anyone too dangerous to risk keeping alive. An individual’s standing within the community is greatly influenced by his battle prowess and, most importantly, the number of foes he has slain in combat. The leaders of duergar society are almost always powerful warlords and battle veterans.
Duergar honor tenets:
- Never allow the blood of the duergar to be tainted. Fight to the death against all outsiders, especially dwarves, and place your loyalties firmly within the duergar society.
- Follow the command of your superiors, but only so long as they can maintain control over you. If they show weakness or lack in ability, it is your duty to overthrow them and assume their station as your own.
- Those who survive are those who are willing to sacrifice the most to accomplish their goals. Spare no expense to attain progress and let nothing stand in the way of your power. Anything that holds you back should be expunged.
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