The path of the dwarven defender, or dwarven hero, was a highly trained and specialized martial tradition that was available to dwarves of the Realms. These individuals took pride from the noble history of their race and their constant vigilance against exterior threats such as giants or goblinoids, which they hoped to match in spirit as well as form.
Common dwarven soldiers were known for their martial vigilance and brotherhood, with many war stories telling of how any one dwarf was worth two fighters of any other race. Dwarven defenders took this reputed strength and loyalty to new heights. They were masters of the dwarven fighting traditions as well as devoted protectors of the continued prosperity of their brethren. Trained particularly in defensive techniques, these hardy warriors held the line in battle, even as they broke through the ranks of their enemies.
Many dwarves who were devoted to Berronar Truesilver, Moradin, Gorm Gulthyn, or those who were otherwise charged with protecting their clanholds usually took the path of the dwarven defender. Any one of those individuals could help make a dwarven defensive line almost impenetrable.
Dwarven defenders were skilled in many ways, but the emphasis of their training lay with defense rather than offense. All dwarven defenders were extremely skilled at deflecting blows with their armor or shields, as well as enduring through any blows that managed get through. More than a few of their ranks also learned also how to dodge those attacks they can neither deflect nor tolerate.
Dwarven defenders were not meant to operate on their own and their defensive capabilities were specialized to best work with allies, whom they defend great effectiveness. Even more so than other dwarves, dwarven defenders were unmovable forces of martial might.
Dwarven defenders learned several exploits, all of which were focused on fighting set piece battles where the lines of combat were clear and well-defined. In such circumstances dwarven defenders were not only mighty warriors, but beacons of hope who instilled courage within their allies.
Though their primary role is defense, dwarven defenders also learn to break the enemy's lines, knowing that any good defense has an offensive portion to it. A particularly advanced technique, keystone collapse, allows dwarven defenders to turn their attacks into heavy blows which use the weight of an enemy to knock over even more foes.
Notable Dwarven Defenders
- Corthold Flameaxe, one of the "Dwarves of the Ring" of the House of the Axe.
- King Harbromm, ruler of Citadel Adbar.
- Mariochar Bladebeard, Lord Scepter of Eartheart.
- Rob Heinsoo, David Noonan, Robert J. Schwalb, Chris Sims (November 2008). Martial Power. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7869-4981-6.
- Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams (July 2003). Dungeon Master's Guide v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 186–7. ISBN 0-7869-2889-1.
- Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Web Enhancement for Faiths and Pantheons. Wizards of the Coast. p. 7. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
- Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Web Enhancement for Faiths and Pantheons. Wizards of the Coast. p. 8. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
- Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 31. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
- Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (July 2002). Silver Marches. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 71. ISBN 0-7869-2835-2.
- Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.