There are stories of those who dug too deep into the bowels of the earth, spelunkers who opened ancient cities and awakened things from beyond our worst nightmares. There these miners discovered creatures more akin to gods sleeping beneath the earth, beings neither demonic nor angelic in their forms and minds. There was a clan of dwarves who cast all caution aside, tunneling deep, following richer and richer mineral veins until they found something that shattered their minds, broke their bodies, and remade them in a new image. What returned from that unknown place where logic no longer made sense, where the laws of physics did not always hold sway, and the weak minds of the current races couldn’t fathom were the duergars, who warned of a slumbering deity who would rule over all other deities if awakened. Duergars are reminiscent of the dwarves they once were, in that they are short and broad, of powerful stature, but that is where any likeness is lost. Their ways can seem to be callous and cruel, but it is from their experience deep in the earth that they are motivated. Even actions such as slavery are not only acceptable but encouraged if it helps to continue the projects that keep That Which Sleeps Beneath from arising.

Physical Description Duergars’ eyes shine with a madness that has touched their entire bloodline. Their ashen skin is devoid of nearly all hair, except on their head and face, although male duergars tend to have a bald pate. While short and broad, standing roughly 4 1/2 feet tall, the rippling muscles of the duergars make most people uneasy, for beneath their skin, the muscles move of their own accord, snaking and twisting. Many duergars have long scars, often caused by their own delusions.

Society Having witnessed what they perceive to be the truth of this world, there is no joy amongst the duergars, only eternal toil. Deep underground, deeper than the dwarven kingdoms, they toil on deranged constructions that twist and turn in ways that give others headaches and nightmares. Driven by an intense need to create and build, those who stop to listen hear the duergars humming and singing while building. The duergars themselves claim they are saving the world by distracting the terrible deity that slumbers beneath the earth, keeping it asleep for the sake of all life. Their society has no joys, no color, no individuality. Everyone wears the same clothes, the same armor, the same weapons, and by birth they seem to know the lullaby chants of the mentally unbalanced.

Relations To the duergars, it is the other races who are mad. As a terrible monster that is beyond what words can describe threatens to awaken and devour the world and the gods themselves, the other races squander their lives away, playing useless games and waging meaningless war. Xephs, dromites, halflings and gnomes can provoke the insane rage of the duergars, for their constant activity threatens the duergar view of how to keep the titanic god sleeping. Other races are most often ignored or disdained for their failure to recognize the truth and the deadly threat. Most other races avoid the mad duergars, but there are those who wonder if the duergars might not be insane, and might actually be correct, and how terrifying that possibility might be.

Alignment and Religion Almost all duergars worship the sleeping horror by working, building, constructing, and redefining, while humming and singing the twisted lullaby that runs through their minds. All other gods are inconsequential, for the horrid thing, That Which Sleeps Beneath, will consume all if it awakens. Lawful neutral, or perhaps lawful evil, tend to be the natural tendencies of the duergars, for they see no use in helping others with their pointless daily problems when they are busy saving the world from the threat of imminent destruction.

Adventurers Duergars only become adventurers because their unique brand of insanity plagues them with visions and whispers of the peace that others have in their heads. Driven by a need to fulfill these visions and quiet the voices within, duergars often seem obsessed with what they are doing. While capable companions, many are scared to adventure with duergars, for their tendency to whisper in their sleep and their skin’s unusual undulations can be unnerving.

Note On Names Duergars abstain from traditional naming conventions, often viewing names as a pointless exercise in a doomed world. When young, they are ‘child,’ and then become ‘woman’ and ‘man’. Amongst the other races, they often take on a name because their companions ask them to; this name is often matter-of-fact and describes their perceived role in the world.

Names Hammer, Smith, War, Hunter, Tailor, Shieldbearer, Slayer, Hatemonger

Table: Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Intuitive1 Self-Taught2 Trained3
40 years +3d6 years (43-52 years) +5d6 years (45-70 years) +7d6 years (47-82 years)

1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
2 This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.
3 This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.

Table: Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 3 ft. 9 in. +2d4 in. (3 ft. 11 in. – 4 ft. 5 in.) 110 lbs. x(2d4) lbs. (114 – 174 lbs.)
Female 3 ft. 7 in. +2d4 in. (3 ft. 0 in. – 3 ft. 6 in.) 80 lbs. x(2d4) lbs. (84 – 144 lbs.)

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Duergar are both tough and wise, but also gruff.
  • Size: Duergar are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Type: Duergar are of the humanoid (dwarf) subtype.
  • Speed: Duergar have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
  • Vision: Duergar have darkvision 60 ft. See Vision and Light for details.
  • Languages: Duergars begin play speaking Common, Dwarven, and Undercommon. Duergar with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aklo, Draconic, Giant, Goblin, Orc, and Terran.
  • Hardy: Duergar receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
  • Stability: Duergar receive a +4 racial bonus to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting a bull rush or trip attempt while standing on the ground.
  • Dwarf Blood: Duergars count as dwarves for any effect related to race.
  • Light Sensitivity (Ex): Duergars are dazzled in an area of bright light.
  • Duergar Psionics: Duergars gain the following psi-like abilities: 1/day—expansion and cloud mind. These abilities affect only the duergar and his gear. The manifester level for these effects is equal to the duergar’s level (minimum 3rd). The DC for cloud mind is equal to 10 + the power’s level + the duergar’s Charisma modifier.
  • Naturally Psionic: Duergars gain the Wild Talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If a duergar takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
  • Psionic Aptitude: When a duergar takes a level in a favored class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.

Psionic Duergar vs. Traditional Duergar

The duergars of Psionics Unleashed are different from traditional duergars. Although they share similar traits and abilities, the psionic duergars are those who were altered by the ancient beings found deep within the earth. While they are kin to the traditional duergars, they are a variant form and come from different clans.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following racial traits replace existing duergar racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

  • Ancestral Voice: Duergars have a connection to their ancestors through the crystals they harvest deep beneath the earth. In some, their ancestors are able to speak to them directly. A duergar with this trait gains a +4 racial bonus to Intimidate and a +2 bonus to a Knowledge skill. This trait replaces the Stability trait.
  • Echoes of the Abyss: Some duergar are more deeply touched by their experiences underground than their fellows. A duergar with this trait is treated as an aberration rather than a humanoid whenever it would be beneficial (for example, harmful spells which target only humanoids such as Charm Person or Hold Person will automatically fail unless the duergar specifically chooses otherwise; rangers will not be able to use Favored Enemy against him unless they have both humanoids (dwarves) and aberrations as favored enemies, in which case the duergar suffers the lesser
    bonus of the two). This trait replaces the Hardy trait.
  • Method to the Madness: While you might appear to be mad, there is a mental order to your actions. You gain a +2 racial bonus to Will saves and gain call to mind as a psi-like ability usable once per day with a manifester level equal to your character level. This trait replaces the Hardy trait.
  • Reborn Ancestor: While most duergar are influenced by the spirits of their ancestors, some are the spirits of their ancestors reborn. The insights and experience of their previous life allows a duergar with this trait to re-roll any d20 roll made once per day. This trait replaces the Hardy trait.
  • Waking Dreamer: You have adapted to always humming to keep That Which Sleeps Beneath from waking. You do not need to sleep at all and can meditate, fully awake and aware, for 4 hours to gain all the benefits of sleep, including regaining power points. This trait replaces the Duergar Psionics trait.
  • Whispers of Insanity: Some duergar hum insane lullabies mentally, rather than vocally, in a subconscious attempt to keep That Which Sleeps Beneath asleep, while they themselves suffer from insomnia. Duergar with this trait gain a +2 bonus on Perception and Stealth checks, and the DC to make Perception checks while sleeping is only +5 (rather than +10). This trait replaces the Duergar Psionics trait.

Favored Class Options

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, duergar have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to all duergar who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Psionics Unleashed. Copyright 2010, Dreamscarred Press.

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