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5E D&D5E Duergar PC Race Suggestions

TRD

Villager
I am soon to commence a new 5E game and one of the players would like to play as a Duergar.

I am still getting my head around how races are constructed so thought I would open it up to EN World - would very much appreciate some suggestions.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
My first suggestion would be to tell the player, "Sorry, no. Not this time." While this sounds like being a bastard DM, let me explain.
1) You've already said you are trying to get your head wrapped around the races that exist. Why does he/she need to choose/play a race that is NOT presented in the book already?
2) If this is to be your first 5e game, and it sounds like it may be, you have plenty of stuff to cover/get used to without making things up out of the gate...which will likely have to be revised anyway when WotC puts out some new manual (maybe even just the MM or there might be "bad guy" races in the DMG) with their "official" duerger in it. Again, why is this particular race choice necessary at this time?
3) Presuming you will be running a "typical" D&D 5e world, it's established that these guys are Underdark guys. Are you running an Underdark campaign? Are you running an "evil" party/campaign? Then the choice makes, at least some, sense. As a "well it's the one thing not listed so it's automatic different/special snowflake/I wanna run a Dwarven Drizzt" it doesn't make sense for this particular single duerger (who will be reviled, feared, and/or likely attacked on sight by any mountain or hill dwarf it encounters) to be wandering around the upper world.

Now, considering you seem at least willing to give this character a shot, I suppose you should follow the basic set up of the other races.

I would use Mountain Dwarf as your base for Ability mod's. )+2 Con. +2 Str.), Age, [Societal] Alignment: Lawful Evil, Size, and Speed. Use the standard Dwarven Resilience, Stonecunning, Dwarven Armor Training as is.

Tool Proficiencies with smith's tools, mason's tools, poisoner's kit.
Combat Training with throwing hammer, short sword, dagger and crossbow.
Languages: Common (for ease of play/interaction with the other characters), Dwarvish, Gnomish, and either "Underdark Common" [if you are going to have such a thing] or Elvish [specifically Drow speak if you use a different language for them].
Darkvision enhanced out to 120' (that's what the Drow have).
Sunlight Sensitivity: this is a biggie must if the player wants to use this race.
Duerger Magic:
[using what have been traditional duegar abilities and what was specifically said of them in the PHB...which gives them greater innate magic capabilities than other PC races, btw] You know the "Ray of Frost" cantrip, refluffed as a psionic attack/psychic damage. (Effects/duration/etc. are the same. The visual of a stunning mind blast is up to you/the player.) At 3rd level you can cast Invisibility on yourself once per day. At 5th level, you can cast Enlarge, on yourself, once per day. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

That should suffice to get the ball rolling.
 
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I would give them all the Dwarf stuff like +2 CON plus this:
Ability Scores: +1 to choice of one other.
Darkvision: 120 ft.
Sunlight Sensitivity - disadvantage on perception checks and attack rolls on things in sunlight.
Duergar Resistance: advantage on saving throws against illusions and being paralyzed.
Innate Spellcasting:
level 1 - cantrip - minor illusion (or dancing lights)
level 3 - Enlarge (1/day)
level 5 - Invisibility (1/day)
 
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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I would give them all the Dwarf stuff like +2 CON plus this:
Ability Scores: +1 to choice of one other.
Darkvision: 120 ft.
Sunlight Sensitivity - disadvantage on perception checks and attack rolls on things in sunlight.
Duergar Resistance: advantage on saving throws against illusions and being paralyzed.
Innate Spellcasting:
level 1 - cantrip - minor illusion (or dancing lights)
level 3 - Enlarge (1/day)
level 5 - Invisibility (1/day)
<emphasis mine>Oh crap! That's a biggie. I meant to include that on mine! If the player is insistent on using this Underdark race, then the Sunlight Sensitivity is a must![Editted in now.]

It was a toss up as to whether to do Invis/Enlarge or Enlarge at 3rd and Invis at 5th...looking it up, I was surprised to see that Enlarge, now, is also a 2nd level spell. So the "cantrip, 1st level spell at 3rd level, 2nd level spell at 5th level" model didn't really stick...since the PHB does explicitly state that they can turn invisible and make themselves big.

From a "psionic" standpoint, and basically to me all duergar are is grey-skinned underdark dwarves with psionic powers (not illusionists, that's the svirf's gig), I figured increasing one's actual physical size was a "bigger"/more impressive power than making one's self invisible (telepathically masking oneself in the minds of others). So I went with Invis at 3rd/Enlarge at 5th.

But this way works too. :D
 

Wrathamon

Explorer
I wouldnt give them +2 str. That is why they like to get big!

I would give them the same bonus as the hill dwarf, as druegar priests are their main spellcaster type.


Duegar
Get Dwarf Traits +

Duegar Sub-race
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1
Superior Darkvision 120 ft.
Sunlight Sensitivity disadvantage on perception checks and attack rolls on things in sunlight.
Duergar Resilience in addition to the normal dwarven resilience to poison, duergar get advantage on saving throws against illusions, and being paralyzed.
Stone Stealth Duegar can attempt to hide behind light cover (such as rocks and stalagmites) or lightly obscured areas in a natural rocky or stony environment that might exist in caverns such as the Underdark.
Innate psionics (or spellcasting) Wisdom is your spellcasting ability <-- maybe they get more uses of these as they level
level 3 - Enlarge (1/day)
level 5 - Invisibility (1/day)

Oh wait they can get CHIN SPIKES!
 
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S

Sunseeker

Guest
You're having trouble with the new races, this is a good reason to say "NO" to new races.
It's a new edition and it's important to get a feel for how it plays before adding/removing/changing things. This is another good reason to say "NO".
One player wanting to play something special is a good reason to say "NO".

But, if you are feeling generous, here's some thoughts:
Duergar are basically dwarf tieflings so that could make it easy to refluff without any statistical changes. If you're feeling nice, tell him to roll a Tiefling whose appearance fits the Duergar appearance.

If he objects, he's looking for some kind of stat optimization and would probably break your game and I'd be averse to giving him any other options.
 

TRD

Villager
Thank you all for the feedback.

As 5E is new I thought I would see what other peoples ideas are before I took a shot myself but I felt it would be pretty straight forward.

I tend to be pretty flexible with race/classes in my game and as this is an Evil campaign, a duergar was a great fit, unfortunately I now also need to create rules for a Satyr as well haha.

Wrathamon's suggestion was effectively the same as I had but without Stone Stealth.

The obvious comparison here is Drow - Stone Stealth probably makes sense as a trade off for no cantrip or additional proficiencies.
 

doctorhook

Adventurer
But, if you are feeling generous, here's some thoughts:
Duergar are basically dwarf tieflings so that could make it easy to refluff without any statistical changes. If you're feeling nice, tell him to roll a Tiefling whose appearance fits the Duergar appearance.
Strictly speaking, that's only true if you're used to 4E duergar. Previous editions' duergar were just "grey dwarves"--evil, bald, with light coloured beards and dark grey skin, and with innate psionic abilities that allowed them to enlarge and turn invisible. In 3E, duergar were related to a species of cambions/half-fiends called "durzagons", linked upthread by others. 4E's duergar killed the durzagon and took its stuff; 4E duergars were all basically durzagons. 5E seems to have reverted to the older type of duergar.
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
Strictly speaking, that's only true if you're used to 4E duergar. Previous editions' duergar were just "grey dwarves"--evil, bald, with light coloured beards and dark grey skin, and with innate psionic abilities that allowed them to enlarge and turn invisible. In 3E, duergar were related to a species of cambions/half-fiends called "durzagons", linked upthread by others. 4E's duergar killed the durzagon and took its stuff; 4E duergars were all basically durzagons. 5E seems to have reverted to the older type of duergar.
So you're telling me 4E's duergar are basically tiefling dwarves, but earlier editions duergar(and variants) were dwarves related to demons.

So pardon me for my confusion, but last I checked tieflings were distant descendants of demons/devils. So, what exactly is the difference between dwarves related to demons and dwarves related to demons?
 

Wrathamon

Explorer
So you're telling me 4E's duergar are basically tiefling dwarves, but earlier editions duergar(and variants) were dwarves related to demons.

So pardon me for my confusion, but last I checked tieflings were distant descendants of demons/devils. So, what exactly is the difference between dwarves related to demons and dwarves related to demons?
durzagons are related to devils ... duergar are just gray dwarves like drow are dark elves. They get some innate spell casting to grow and turn invisible (later it became psionic) so they arent anything like tieflings.

4e used the durzagons duergar as the default duergar ...
 

doctorhook

Adventurer
@Wrathamon's post cleared this up nicely, and I XP'd him for it, but it's worth repeating, so here I go.

So you're telling me 4E's duergar are basically tiefling dwarves, but earlier editions duergar(and variants) were dwarves related to demons.
Nope, no fiends of any kind. Pre-4E duergars were only related to dwarves, with the exception of half-fiendish duergars called "durzagons", who were a specific type of monster spawned from duergars breeding with devils. Pre-4E duergar were the dwarf-analogue of drow: evil, dark-skinned underdark-dwellers with innate magical (psionic) abilities.

In 4E, the mechanics and fluff for durzagons was absorbed by duergars, except that these new duergars were racially infernal and bred from each other (similar to tieflings), rather than each one being an actual half-fiend like the durzagon was.

So far, all signs point to 5E duergars being like pre-4E non-fiendish duergars.
 

pu6elist

Villager
Good one, though I'd go for one change - give them +1 to INT. 2 reasons - make them different and make them more wizard-like for their spell-like abilities. The thing that I really cannot get the hang of is the following line from the MM: "A duergar's mind is a fortress, able to shrug off charms, illusions, and other spells." soo, basically adv. on saves against spells?!
 

pu6elist

Villager
Alright, so here is my take on the duergar:

Apart from standard dwarven abilities (only the weapon proficiencies are changed):

STR: +1
Tool Proficiencies: one of smith's tools, mason's tools, poisoner's kit.
Combat Training: proficiency with throwing hammer, warhammer, war pick, and crossbow.
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Undercommon
Darkvision enhanced out to 120' (that's what the Drow have).
Sunlight Sensitivity: this is a biggie must if the player wants to use this race.
Duergar Magic: Enlarge and Invisibility 1/day both at 3-rd lvl, INT is the casting ability
Duergar Resilience: Advantage against mind controlling enchantments and illusions, resistance vs. psionic damage.

My reasoning: I think the darkvision/light sensitivity is self-explanatory. Tool proficiencies also. The resistance against the mind-flyer type of spells is due to their history of slaves to the illithids. Their magical abilities are both equally important and are both spells that require a 3-rd lvl Wizard. Their combat training is more suited to the Underdark. Regarding the +1 I wondered a lot. Now, they are nowhere near intelligent, and whatever charisma they might have had, they lost it during the enslavement. Wisdom will make them kind of like the hill dwarfs and I think the idea here is to have some variety. I thought about giving them immunity vs. mind controlling enchantments and illusions plus medium armor and shields and not giving them any +1 at all. I also thought about dexterity, but come on! So, since they are described as so resilient, I ended up with STR, but only +1, since they have those 2 spells and the mind control/psionic resistance.

Still, I'd like to know your opinion on the following options:
1) Mind control immunity, medium armor + shields training and no +1 whatsoever;
2) Only resistance/advantage to mind control and +1WIS or +1STR;
2a) with medium armor and shields;
2b) without medium armor and shields;
3) Still, if anyone thinks they deserve a +1DEX and has a good argument, let me know.

Thanks for your opinion in advance!

P.S. I tried only using the info in the MM and the suggestions for a new subrace in the DMG.
 
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ko6ux

Explorer
Dwarf traits +


+1 to Strength
Arcane Legacy. You know the Dancing Lights cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Enlarge spell on yourself once per day as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Invisibility spell on yourself once per day as well. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Still, I'd like to know your opinion on the following options:
1) Mind control immunity, medium armor + shields training and no +1 whatsoever;
2) Only resistance/advantage to mind control and +1WIS or +1STR;
2a) with medium armor and shields;
2b) without medium armor and shields;
3) Still, if anyone thinks they deserve a +1DEX and has a good argument, let me know.

Thanks for your opinion in advance!
Well, I don't have the DMG so I don't know about the guidelines therein, but from the structure of other PC races, I would still break up the Enlarge and Invisibility to 1 of them at 3rd level and 1 of them at 5th. But that's me.

As for "immunity" I don't believe any other PC race has immunity to a whole range of effects. So that's big no from me on that. Advantage on enchantment magic and mind-effecting illusions (e.g. phantasmal force, phantasmal killer, etc...) and psychic damage resistance seems more than adequate.

And advantage against and resistance to poison, as per the MM & covered by Dwarven Resilience in the PHB as part of the base Dwarf package.

As for the +1, the other dwarf subraces have +1 to something...in fact I think all sub-races have an additional +1 to go with their initial +2, don't they? So I would do the dwarf standard +2 Con. and +1 on the Int., since it is their casting ability (which I agree with)...and lends to the "incredible mental fortitude" fluff.

As for armor/shield prof...Why? They have their weapon profs like other dwarves. Mountain dwarves have heavy armor prof. It's, like, their shtick as the die-hard warrior guys, I guess (completely arbitrary and unnecessary thing to distinguish them from hill dwarves, and OP, if you ask me). It fits their fluff, I guess I'm saying.

So that's another no, on the armor/shield prof, for PCs for me. :)

Duegar's fluff is psionic underdark slavers...or in 5e, it seems "psychically resilient from their former role as mind-flayer slaves-turned-underdark slavers." They use armor and weapons, sure. But I don't really see it so crucial to their society/being that it warrants a PC trait.

And with their innate magic and psychic/charm resistance I think they are up to speed (or even a bit ahead) of their dwarf (and other PC race). brothers & sisters.
 

pu6elist

Villager
As for armor/shield prof...Why? They have their weapon profs like other dwarves. Mountain dwarves have heavy armor prof. It's, like, their shtick as the die-hard warrior guys, I guess (completely arbitrary and unnecessary thing to distinguish them from hill dwarves, and OP, if you ask me). It fits their fluff, I guess I'm saying.

So that's another no, on the armor/shield prof, for PCs for me. :)

Duegar's fluff is psionic underdark slavers...or in 5e, it seems "psychically resilient from their former role as mind-flayer slaves-turned-underdark slavers." They use armor and weapons, sure. But I don't really see it so crucial to their society/being that it warrants a PC trait.
The weapons are strictly flavour. Since they have long been disconnected from their dwarven brethren, it seemed to me unnatural that they are proficient with axes. Their slave life in the underworld, though, has made them proficient with picks, therefore, I wanted to actually substitute the axes with picks, keeping the hammers. Also, the crossbows are the weapon of choice for underdark ambushers.

Apart from that, yep, I also thought about resistances and resilience, just wanted to hear others' opinion. Furhtermore, I do not think that all PC's have to be so balanced that it would make them somewhat forcedly down- or upgraded. To me, D&D's flavour should really give all that distinction that makes it interesting to them to play. Therefore, it would not always be necessary to give a +2 and a +1 to Ability scores. What if my PC's want to play a fey campaign? Would sprites and pixies still have that minimum of 8 STR? Of course, not! Just a thought ;). Currently I'm working on a "band of misfits" campaign, where I'd put medusa, yan-ti purebloods, and many others as playable races. Will they be so balanced in stats - definitely not. I already had a pixie in one of my campaigns, and her ability scores were very weird, which was compensated by more spells, based on pixie dust, which was a per-day resource, and so on and so forth.

Cheers, mate and thanks for the opinion. ;)
 

ehren37

Villager
I'm running a 5E Golarion game. In my game, duergar and dwarves have the exact same stats. The Duergar were originally a clain of dwarves who turned their backs on the dwarven patrons, and took up the worship of Droskar, lord of toil. It twisted the qualities of dwarves into perverse mirrors of themselves. The dwarven love of hearth, home and clan turned into paranoia and xenophobia. Dwarven love of gold and gems to create beautiful works suitable to last the ages turned into base greed. Their proud work ethic became slaving away to mass produce cheap goods to satisfy their dark god. The other dwarf clans view them with a mix of disgust, horror and pity - for there are many races who are not dwarf... Duergar are "un-dwarf".

If you are new, I would just use the player's choice of mountain or hill dwarf as stats. Sunlight Sensitivity is either nigh crippling, or a non-issue in an underdark/primarily dungeon campaign, so consider saying that while other duergar might have it, the PC does not. Same with their psionic abilities. In 1st/2nd edition, the Underdark had strange magical energy running through it. Its what partially prevented the decay of drow items and granted magical abilities to various races. Without exposure, the player would lose them.

I would allow their PC to regain some with a feat as someone else suggested.

Level 1) Psychic Crush (30' range, Int save, d6 psychic damage, unable to take reacts on a failure)
Level 3) Enlarge 1x day (self only)
Level 5) Invisibility 1x day (self only)
 

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