This is the first post of a series fleshing out playable folk for fantasy tabletop RPGs that purposefully removes associated stereotypes and social limitations while grounding them in unique traits… And does it in one page each. While I built built these specifically for Lexicon, the lore and ideas are usable to anyone. It also allows new people to get a feeling for a group they may know nothing about in one page rather than pages upon pages of text.
Some of the upcoming folk include lizardfolk, elves, naga, gnolls, mushroom people (dikarya), fairies, and more.
One Page Lore: Dwarves:
- GM Binder: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-LZzWHMx9mcw6Zsrq5sn
- PDF: https://rexiconjesse.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/one-page-lore_-dwarves-1.pdf
Incorrectly viewed as gruff, cave-dwellers who all fancy mining and drinking, dwarves are a robust, storied, and unique people who travel far beyond their subterranean homelands. Due to their reproductive restrictions, dwarves have to keep good relations with one of the two remaining dwarven homelands if they want a fully dwarven child.
Dwarves are generally stout, strong, and dense. Their compact form perfectly fits moving around tight spaces and normally restrictive environments. Their dense bodies allow them to have impressive bursts of power, which aids them in any number of tasks. The tallest dwarves usually don’t surpass 4 feet, but often weigh twice as much as other people of their size.
Dwarves have a wide variety of skin tones. Their color reflects that of the stone or gem they were carved from, allowing for possibilities such as the deep red of garnet, the glossy black of obsidian, and a constant slight shimmer of moonstone. Not all have such eye-catching skin tones.
No Need for Light
Dwarves can see just as well in light as they can in the dark. They are colorblind and have impeccable vision close up. However, this comes at a cost. Dwarves are almost always nearsighted, but the severity of it ranges greatly. In addition, simply because they can see in the dark doesn’t mean they’re perceptive.
With no unifying dogma in either dwarf homeland, differing religious, magical, and spiritual beliefs are plentiful among dwarves- including fringe cults- regardless of where they’re from.
Despite the faith they choose, a longstanding belief among xenophobic dwarves is that their ability to create new dwarves through precious stones is a sign that they are closer to the gods than other people. When they die, they believe they will use the same method to sculpt their own paradise.
Expanding A Family
While most people evolve to best suit their environments, dwarven origins are different.
Dwarves are not born. When a dwarf or dwarves wish to have a child, they obtain a slab of precious stone from a specific mine in either of the two remaining original dwarven cities. They carve the simple image of a child out of the stone. Once sculpted, the parent(s) take turns holding the child, allowing it to absorb some of their life force. When it absorbs enough, the stone animates, becoming a dwarven baby.
Complete malleability in the creation of life leads to more traits spanning the traditional gender norms, such as full beards, or even foregoing gender. Non visual traits, such as their voice, also varies greatly.
Dwarves cannot use any stone to sculpt a child. While the type of stones vary, they must come from Dorgbein or Grgor Wroth, deep mines in the two remaining dwarven cities.
Without those two mines, dwarves as a people would go extinct. Dwarfs are infertile with each other. However, they can breed with other people. Their traits are recessive, so the child will look overwhelmingly like the other parent but with a few dwarfish qualities.
Dwarves live 100 to 200 years. A 150 year-old dwarf who takes care of themself can easily be as vibrant as their 30 year-old counterpart. While the aging process happens over the course of years rather than decades, they do not lose mental capabilities or physical strength. They simply lose mobility until they can no longer move, becoming like a statue when they pass.
- Stout – Their stature allows them to operate in cramped spaces without restriction
- Strong – Muscle cut from stone is often unmatched
- Hearty – Virtually unmatched in their ability to fight off whatever would affect their vitality
- Sturdy – Dwarves are difficult to overpower due to their compact size and surprising weight
- Astounding fortitude – Virtually unmatched physical resolve
- Can’t squeeze blood from stone – Their geo-origins grants them incredibly tough skin
- Don’t need light to see – Sculpted eyes can see fine in the dark
- Perfect scent – Dwarves can recall scents and often smell predators before seeing or hearing them
- Notice the Details – Impeccable ability to notice small details
- Loads of endurance – Densely packed body mass means using less energy for actions
- Nearsighted – Their vision suffers at distances
- Can’t reach – While powerful, their short stature often hinders abilities
- Nerve insensitivity – Their tough flesh can lack sensitivity, making precise, tactile actions more difficult
- Shimmering skin – Dwarves sculpted from brilliant stones have difficulties going unnoticed
- Unmistakable – Due to their appearance, dwarves are unique and recognizable
Other One Page Lore
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