View Full Version : Dwarves and Magic

2012-03-07, 12:44 AM
In so many D&D worlds of old, Dwarves were incapable of using magic. This was a staple of the dwarven race in days past, and I'm not sure how many people like or dislike that thought. In the Warhammer universe they use Runes as a replacement for magic and I like that idea. My first question to you, the community... is: How do you feel about dwarves being unable to wield magic in the standard style that other races can through spellcasting?

The second part is this, which I will explain first, to get some opinions on the subject.

My system is that Dwarf Males cannot use magic, also known as the Weave, which is the intertwining path of souls. Only female dwarves can use magic, and they use 'wands' as a knitting needles to change the path of the weave to thier own purposes, but they do this carefully because they can't really see the total effect and every thing that will be changed. Using the weave, dwarf mages can see into the future as it is supposed to be now, and see how a soul progresses through time, and in this way they gain prophecy, but they also can change that prophecy by manipulating the other souls that cross. That is how the dwarves view magic, and they only pass down thier education to specifically chosen girls. The mages are covens of women who are not assigned to any Dwarf Kingdom, or City, but roam around and are said to bring great danger with them. They are portents unto themselves, and to prove themselves as powerful fateweavers, they bring forth magically enhanced weapons to the Dwarf Kings as gifts. Dwarf males gain a resistance to magic because they are void of it, which is why they cannot gain the use of magic (though this leaves open a dwarf male who CAN use magic) but the women are actually susceptible to it, which is why the covens are so able to find the particular ones that are strongest with magic. They are brighter strands in the greater weave of the cloth of life.

Now, that is a loose basis on the way I have done dwarves with magic... Any thoughts? Ways to make it better? Don't like it? Lemme know!

2012-03-07, 12:49 AM
just a minor tidbit here, but dwarves were 10% cpable to working Divine magic and creating magic arms and armors on their own, it was arcane where they had no ability.

I guess your world takes it one step further and only allows femaes dwarves to use magic?

or am I misinterpreting what you mean here?

2012-03-07, 09:22 AM
As a side-note, dwarves unable to use magic is modern twist. In the past, dwarves were all about magic. Recall Rumplestiltskin, who could weave straw into gold and flew around on a spoon.

As a design feature for you, the DM, it works fine.

As for workablility for the players, it's a stick of TNT thrown into the classes unless you don't mean for this to affect PCs, which is not clear at all. Can I choose a magic class anyway? Divine? Arcane? Warlock pact? How about a class that gives (Su) or (Sp) abilities? What about psionics? Can I use a feat to bypass the restriction?

It seems to me, that if you are a dwarf male and self-taught yourself how to interact with the weave, you can cause great havoc, and someone gutsy enough might learn to use that to his own advantage. That's cool. There's a story in that.

2012-03-07, 03:57 PM
Sounds good to me. Now you only need to build more of that region of the campaign world around it, getting into what effects it has on dwarven society and what that means to your campaign. And get into the specifics for a player or NPC selecting dwarf as a race.

So does this mean only dwarven females craft magic weapons?

2012-03-07, 04:50 PM
@ngilop Dwarves cant use arcane magic on my world, but can use Divine because it's not actually magic, but blessings they call down from thier gods. As for creating magic items, they can, but they use runes to do so, but the runes fade over time, and they don't bind magic to them so much as use the natural magic in the nearby area to power them.

@Clawhound Weaving straw into gold may have been an ability. He was so good at metalworking he could do such a thing. The spoon may have been magical like a flying carpet that he was just activating the power within, via command word or some such.

As for classes, you could pick a warlock because like Divine magic, these are granted abilities. You could take a class like bard, and not use the arcane spells involved there, and still be a bard. DM may want to come up with something to compensate, but that's neither here nor there. They wouldnt be able to use the spells of the arcane type. Psionics isnt magic.

All that being said... as I stated in my first post, A dwarf male that used magic COULD exist, and he could learn but it would be an anomoly, or some basis for a campaign to explain why. Could be divine intervention. There are going to be exceptions to the rule, but part of the reason I like the rule is FOR these exceptions. It makes the Character who breaks the rule that much more intriguing for it.


Actually, I have the whole religion worked out, and Duregar are actually not particularly evil in my world, but there was a Civil War between the Current Religion and the old religion, and the losers (old religion) were cast out and titled duregar. I have a huge amount of lore revolving around the dwarves, and each of thier gods, and how they interact with each other, or other races gods.

The female covens that roam around are the only ones that CAN make magic items, but there are runesmiths that can make rune weapons, but they don't last forever. They eventully become unable to channel magic thier way, but they can be reforged by even a lesser smith, to gain thier abilities back. Ultimately though... Only female dwarves can craft magic items.