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Duergar

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Duergar
Urgraz, iconic duergar antipaladin.
(Creature)
Type Humanoid
(dwarf)
CR By class level
Environment Any underground
Alignment
Images of duergar

Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 117

The duergar,[1] or gray dwarves, are a race of evil dwarves who inhabit large underground cities in Nar-Voth.[2]

Description

A duergar is relatively similar in appearance to a dwarf, except for the lack of hair on its scalp and its ashen-gray skin.[2] Being creatures native to a lightless realm, their darkvision is superior to that of their surface-dwelling brethren, allowing them to see twice as far as dwarves. They have maintained the dwarven resistance to magic, but are also immune to poison and paralytic attacks. Due to their supernatural origins (see History), duergar have the ability to turn invisible and enlarge themselves once every day.[3]

History

While most of the dwarves left their ancestral homelands in Nar-Voth during their Quest for Sky in the late years of the Age of Darkness, there were many who refused to leave their cities. Those left behind attempted to hold on to their settlements, only to find that their numbers were too few. During the centuries that followed, these dwarves faced constant harassment and attacks from the other encroaching races of the Darklands and slowly had to abandon city after city. When finally faced with their own genocide, the evil dwarven god Droskar offered them a chance for survival; in return he demanded their unquestioning devotion. The dwarves had few other options, and accepted his deal, eventually becoming the duergar (meaning "gray-faced" in Dwarven).[2][4] Droskar gifted them with a mastery of magic, and in time they learned to train giant spiders and beetles as mounts and guards. These two developments helped them come back from the brink of extinction, and eventually reclaim many of their lost cities.[5]

Habitat and society

A gang of duergar abduct some slaves.

Duergar remain one of the most wide-spread and prolific races of Nar-Voth, inhabiting the cities of Fellstrok, Hagegraf, and Diepkamer beneath the continent of Avistan. They effectively control the longest and widest tunnel system in Nar-Voth, known as the Long Walk, which is heavily patrolled, and which runs between the cities of Hagegraf and Fellstrok.[6][5]

Having given themselves freely to the Dark Smith, it is not surprising that duergar society is violent and filled with endless work. They train giant spiders and other vermin to serve as mounts and guards, and are among the greatest slavers in the Darklands.[2]

Settlements

Over the millennia, duergar have recaptured and rebuilt many of the ancient dwarven strongholds, though their architectural modifications run along much more functional, almost brutalist lines. Their cities are remarkably free of extreme poverty and signs of dissatisfaction or rebellion. While this may be impressive at first, it is soon clear that a simple, hard truth lies behind it: grey dwarves do not know the meaning of rest and serve their god by endlessly perfecting everything around them, be it structures, weapons, or magic. The only ones who work harder than the duergar are the countless slaves they keep.[2]

  • Fellstrok: This large duergar town is located directly beneath the orc capital of Urgir in the Hold of Belkzen. It has only recently been retaken and the grey dwarves work night and day to build up its defenses.[7]
  • Hagegraf: The public capital of the duergar lies along the Long Walk and is built in an enormous cavern with gigantic stalactites and stalagmites.[8]
  • Diepkamer: In truth, the duergar nation is ruled not from Hagegraf, but from the secret fortress of Diepkamer, found below Taldor's World's Edge Mountains. This heavily guarded settlement is home to the Seven Patriarchs, the seemingly immortal founders of the duergar race who were the first dwarves to dedicate themselves to Droskar.[7]

References

Paizo Inc. published a section about duergar in Monster Codex, and a major article about duergar in Golarion's Darklands in Darklands Revisited.