|Posted on Sat, August 14, 2004 by Farcluun
|DangerDwarf writes "the 3rd edition rules allow for race/class combinations not allowed before. One such combination is that of the dwarven wizard. Here is one way to add them to your campaign.
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
NOTE: The subject matter of this article further expounds upon information originally presented in a previous Canonfire article titled Order of the Axe.
Within the Order of the Axe exist a handful of dwarves known as the Risters. They are an enigma to those who know of them, a cabal of dwarves wielding arcane powers and a great source of controversy for dwarves outside of the Order of the Axe.
When the ancient citadel of Radruundar was reclaimed an aging cleric of Dumathoin, Koralt Stonewarden, made a startling discovery. Hidden beneath the citadel’s temple to Dumathoin was a heavily warded passageway. At it’s end Koralt found a massive chamber in which every inch of the walls were covered by ancient dwarven inscriptions, pulsing with latent power.
While undoubtedly dwarven in origin they were written in a long forgotten dialect and for weeks Koralt spent his days and nights trying to decipher the strange inscriptions. When finally he was able to understand them he was astonished by his discovery. Carved into the walls untold centuries before, these were spells. More shockingly though, they were not spells or prayers of a divine nature. No, these inscriptions detailed magic of an arcane sort.
Shaken by his discovery and unsure of the ramifications it could have on his people, Koralt barred all entry to the chamber save by himself and a select few clerics. Endless debates ensued as the dwarves struggled to understand the meaning of this find. Did their most ancient of ancestors wield arcane magics, and if so how was this knowledge lost the their race? What of the prophecies which mentioned the return of the Fierce Axe and the dwarves moving into a new era? Was this chamber placed there for just that purpose? In the end they remained undecided as to the origins and purpose of the mysterious chamber. The only thing they remained sure of was that it was indeed of dwarven origin.
Koralt and a few others began further study of the runic inscriptions, learning to wield the powers and spells which they detailed, thus the Risters were born.
Only recently have the Risters opened the door to other dwarves, welcoming those with interest to Radruundar. Those who show promise are accepted into their ranks and taught the ways of dwarven magic although as of yet that number has been few indeed.
Dwarven Wizards in Game Play
The Risters are but a single way to explain dwarven wizards in a campaign and with only a few minor changes you can give them a unique flavor of their own, keeping them from becoming just another wizard who happens to be short.
Nomenclature: They DO NOT consider themselves wizards. They are Risters and while they do practice arcane magic, wizardry is the unclean stuff of other races. Their magic is dwarven in origin and therefore acceptable in their eyes.
Learning Spells From Outside Sources: The training of the Risters is fundamentally different then that of other wizards. While there are differences in the arcane magic of the dwarves and the arcane arts of the other races there are similarities as well. A Rister discovering a spell book or scroll containing spells used by outside races can inscribe them into their own spell book but must make a Spellcraft check with a DC of 20 + the spell level (as opposed to the normal 15 + spell level) as they convert the spell to fit within the dwarven understanding of magic. Spells copied from other Risters or from the chamber in Radruundar are done using the standard DC of 15 + spell level.
Loss of Bonus: Risters inexplicably lose their +2 bonus to saves against spells as the process of wielding magic strips away their inborn resistance.
Spell Casting: This is more of a function of role-playing than any sort of hard and fast rule. Be creative in your description of their casting spells, make it unique and dwarven. Dwarven magic is based on the premise that potent energies reside within runic designs and inscriptions. Somatic components would include the Rister tracing runic designs on the target or even with his finger in the air. Powerful spells could even momentarily leave feint bluish glowing traces in the air where the dwarf traced a rune of power. Perhaps when casting a knock spell the Rister traces a rune of force upon the surface of the target. While system-wise the dwarf wizard differs little from any other wizard their “feel” should be quite different than your standard wizard.
Social Stigma: The art of the Rister is still widely not accepted by dwarven society as a whole but they are regarded more favorably than would a dwarf who studied the arcane arts of the other races. There is a grudging acceptance that the art of a Rister is dwarven in origin but it will likely take some time before they are more readily accepted by dwarves as a whole.
AD&D 2nd Edition: For those who still play using the 2nd edition rules that might be interested in adding Risters to their campaigns you can find in the Player’s Options: Skills and Powers book a Specialist Wizard called the Geometer. They make excellent representations of Risters and could be made the only magic using class allowed to dwarves.