Dorn Black Axe was a dwarf warrior who resided in the Cavern of Cloven Heads, a rich iron mine in the Underdark. He was the only known member of Clan Black Axe, and a renowned "Brave Beard".[1][2][3]


Dorn Black Axe was noted to carry the Black Axe of Dorn, the Dragonbane Towershield, and the Adamantite Golemcloak. Nothing were known of these weapons, but they were perfectly preserved at his site of death. The legend of these items never faded away.[3]

The statue that his spirit occupied held a chalice of healing power. As well as the Black Axe of Dorn, he owned a magical returning axe, the Axe of Hurling, which he held in his spirit form.[1]



Dorn dwelt in the Cavern of Cloven Heads in the Underdark, where the clan he belonged to mined iron and worshiped Dumathoin.[1]

Around −3900 DR, he and his clan encountered Menzoberra's drow forces approaching his cavern.[4][5][6] They greatly outnumbered the dwarven forces, and the guards shouted for the elders to retreat. While most of the other dwarves fled, he and the other fighters formed the dwarven rearguard and tried to hold off against the invading dark elves. Despite their bravery and fine shields and axes, the dwarven "Brave Beards" fell around him.[1][2][3]

Dorn Black Axe was the final dwarf alive, and against several drow, it was an impossible battle. Close to his final moments, he was bloodied but unbending. Dorn took scores of poisoned bolts to his body, and his muscles shook uncontrollably, undergoing intense spasms. He wished upon Menzoberra's invaders "the doom of many eyes", then spluttered blood from his mouth, all over his beard, and died. It is believed that some sort of dweomer was placed upon him, as he became one with the cavern floor.[1][2][3]


His clan returned to the cavern several years later, erecting a cairn to the Brave Beards, above Dorn's place of death. They were inscribed with runes, detailing the fight with the drow.[3]

In the mid–14th century DR, a group of adventurers on their way to Menzoberranzan came across the large dwarven temple, and found many old dwarven books, detailing Dorn's death. These books noted that after he sank slowly into the stones and was gone, his life essence came to the temple, where he still stood. The statue held a healing chalice, and waited for the call of a dwarven battle horn. The adventuring group, after following the dwarven texts, recovered the battle horn.[1]

Hear me! Long ago we fought the drow, and failed. Driven from our homes, we came here, only to meet the same fate again in later years. The renewed ambitions of the drow have stolen everything from us! Everything! You who hold both the Chalice of Healing Water and the Holy Symbol of Dumathoin, take up our fight! Avenge the dwarven warriors slain in battle by the dark elves.
— Spirit of Dorn Black Axe[1]

When the party approached the statue, they put the horn in the hand of the statue, and received the healing chalice. After adventuring further down the temple, they found a sacred fountain, which along with the chalice, cured them of the disease inflicted on them by an aboleth. As foretold in the dwarven book they found, they sacrificed a diamond to the statue, and awoke Dorn's spirit.[1]

Dorn Black Axe detailed the story of his fight against the drow, and how he wished for revenge. Being a spirit, he could not take action. He urged the party to take revenge on the drow in memory of Clan Black Axe, and bestowed upon them the Axe of Hurling, which would return to its wielder after it had been thrown. The party later made it to Menzoberranzan, and caused havoc amongst the drow houses.[1]

Uthgardt grimlocks came to worship his site of death at the Cavern of Cloven Heads. They believed this fulfilled an old Uthgardt legend, and revered the site as their sacred ancestor mound. Unknown to the grimlocks, Dorn's equipment was preserved below.[3]





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