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Ysgardian dwarves, also known as Norse dwarves[3] or Midgard dwarves,[1][4] were two races of dwarves that were native to the plane of Ysgard’s third layer, Nidavellir.[3]

Description[]

Ysgardian dwarves largely resembled those found on worlds in the Prime Material plane.[5] They had broad shoulders, stout arms, large heads, and big hands. On average they stood around 3.5 feet (1.1 meters) tall.[1]

Personalities[]

Ysgardian dwarves largely had dour demeanors, tinged with feelings of greed and materialism. Because of this they often coveted the wealth of others, hid their own wealth, and talked frequently of coin.[3][4] They were also thrifty, rarely leaving things to waste.[3]

Other topics their conversations tended to revolve around included the making of tools or weapons and the exacting of revenge upon one's enemies.[3][4]

They were notoriously unforgiving, carrying grudges across generations.[2] They treated travelers in their realm neutrally, though they were quick to punish anyone who thieved.[3]

Abilities[]

Compared to the Dwarven races of the Prime Material, these dwarves had a great innate propensity for magic. Often becoming capable mages with very powerful spells.[3] Once per year they were capable of bestowing a powerful curse among someone who had wronged them. This ability required them to see or describe their target and said target had to be guilty of the crime. They could sometimes be persuaded by compensation to lift this curse, with them generally asking for at least a thousand gold pieces.[2]

Most Ysgardian dwarves had an innate ability to assume the form of a small animal, much like the spell polymorph. Some typical animal forms for them included badgers, otters, ravens, and weasels.[2]

Unlike most outsiders, these dwarves could be raised or resurrected normally.[2]

Combat[]

Much like the dwarven races of the Prime Material, Ysgardian dwarves were fierce fighters.[5] They frequently fought with magical items, typically ones that they had made themselves.[3] Typical equipment for them included +2 battleaxes, +1 light crossbows, +1 rings of protection, and +2 chainmail.[2]

Sub-Races[]

The primary distinguishing factor between the two races of Ysgardian dwarves were the type of magical items they produced and who they traded these items with.[3][6][7]

Durin
these Ysgardian dwarves were known for creating magical weapons of tremendous power. They were willing to trade these weapons with the Aesir, frost giants,[3][6][7] and just about anyone else.[3] Including proxies, factols (the leaders of the fifteen official philosophical and political factions of the Outer Planes), and planars in general.[3] They were unconcerned with where the payment for their services came from.[8]
Modsognor
these Ysgardian dwarves were known for creating magical items of a non-violent nature.[3][6][7] Their skill in creating nonviolent magical items rivalled that of all other beings.[7] They would only trade these items with the Aesir.[3][6][7]

Society[]

Life in Ysgardian society greatly revolved around mining and smithing. They constantly strove to perfect their skills in smithworking, the working of runes, and magery.[5][9]

This race's propensity for magic was largely focused into the creation of magical items[3] that were considered priceless, masterwork, and even artifacts.[1] Most of these items were used in an ongoing war they had against the inhabitants of Svartalfheim. They required significant payments of gold and jewels for their work,[3] with the average minimum cost for any magical item they crafted being around 10,000 gold pieces.[8]

Homelands[]

Ysgardian dwarves were generally found within their home realm of Nidavellir and its city Ashbringer.[3] During the summer season in Ysgard, they often came to the surface world of Alfheim to farm or engage in trade with other races.[1]

Some could be found in Winter's Hall, having been kidnapped in raids by giants.[10] And occasionally they could be found in Ysgard's layer Jotunheim,[11] where they traded wares at double their normal price.[12]

Languages[]

These dwarves generally spoke both Dwarven and the Celestial language.[2]

Relationships[]

Ysgardian dwarves were suspicious of deities and priests in general.[2] Though among the Morndinsamman they were known to act as servants of the goddess Sharindlar.[13] Marthammor Duin — a wandering minor power within the Morndinsamman whose divine realm, the Cavern of Rest, laid beneath Nidavellir[14] — often visited the dwarves' layer to keep an eye on them, though he had no authority over them.[5] And the deity Aasterinian's avatar sometimes walked among them in a dwarven disguise, as they enjoyed the dwarves' inventions.[15]

The Ysgardian dwarves had varied relationships with the other inhabitants of Ysgard. They and the gnomes of Nidavellir considered each other rivals, but were close allies in their ongoing war against the inhabitants of Svartalfheim.[5][9] The elves of Alfheim held a special enmity towards them and would make an effort to make their stay an unwelcoming.[16] They were also hated by many of Jotunheim's giants for having created mjolnir, a weapon used to slay many of their kin.[11][17] And they competed with dragons for gold, their hoards sometimes rivalling those of small dragons.[1]

During the summer season Ysgardian dwarves would come up to the surface world of Alfheim to engage in trade with elves, humans, Ysgardian trolls, and other races. Trading their gold, silver, and steel for food and cloth.[1] Female Ysgardian trolls especially engaged in trade with the dwarves, giving them clothes they weaved in return for metal goods. These goods included such things as arrowheads, cleavers, spears, stewpots, and tea kettles.[18]

Ysgardian dwarves occasionally traveled to Asgard to act as smiths and tinkerers for that divine realm's einheriar.[19]

History[]

Throughout the history of the Ysgardian dwarves, the Norse god Loki often turned to them for help in his schemes.[20]

At some point a Norse goddess named Sif lost her hair due to trickery by Loki, who was then forced to replace it. He approached a pair of Ysgardian dwarves for this task, who made locks from gold that grew like real hair. Flushed by their success,[21] and challenged by Loki to outdo their success with that hair,[22] the dwarves went on to construct many of the legendary weapons and equipment of the Norse pantheon.[21][22]

These included Odin’s spear gungnir, his ring draupnir,[21][23] Freya's Necklace of the Brisings,[24] and Thor's hammer mjolnir.[1][11][21]

In time some Aesir would come to murder and rob Ysgardian dwarves for their magical items, leading them to be increasingly skeptical and suspicious of the Norse deities.[2]

At some point a string of Ysgardian dwarf deaths occurred in Breidablik, the divine hall of Baldur, due to poisoning and strangely had the belongings on their bodies left untouched. Some bards claimed that they were murdered for selling false gemstones or gold tainted with base metals, others claimed they were spies of Nidavellir, and some claimed that the deaths were faked. The Ysgardian dwarven people demanded a blood price for these deaths, threatening to take vengeance into their own hands otherwise. While those who ruled Breidablik in Baldur's stead considered banning the entire race from their hall.[25]

Rumors & Legends[]

  • Some legends claimed that Odin and his brothers created these dwarves from maggots they took from the body of a mighty giant.[26]
  • Among the Asgardians there were stories claiming that the Ysgardian dwarves constructed an unbreakable, golden chain as thick as a strand of silk, in order to finally restrain Fenris. A mighty wolf-like monster that had once terrorized their layer of Ysgard.[20][27][28] Some would say this chain was constructed from thoughts and concepts.[28] Others would say that they had used the roots of a mountain, the noise of a cat's movement, and the breath of a fish.[27] Whatever the case, these stories tended to agree that the act of placing this restraint on the beast caused the deity Tyr to lose his hand.[20][29][30][note 1]

Notable Ysgardian Dwarves[]

  • Alberich the Fire Tamer: a legendary mage and thief among the Ysgardian dwarves, he was the ruler of both races in Nidavellir for over seven centuries. He was known to be stern, suspicious of strangers, and jealous of his treasury.[3]
  • Andvari: a Ysgardian dwarf who was robbed of their magical items by an Aesir.[2][note 2]
  • Audumla the Giant Slayer: a priestess of Dumathoin that operated a temple to him in Nidavellir.[3]
  • Fjalar: a Ysgardian dwarf of the durin variety, he was a fighter and thief that was considered a battle leader among his kin. He was known thieving magical items from the fire giants of Muspelheim.[6]
  • Valin: a master smith from the city of Ashbringer who was approached by an Oerthian war god with a commission for a weapon capable of killing Tiamat. To construct it he asked of the god for the blood of five chromatic dragons, one of each type. He also asked for enough of each of their hides to make a suit of armor for five of the dwarves' greatest warriors and stipulated that the god would have to lead them in an assault on Svartalheim. After many months Valin came to construct a +5 dragonbane keen glaive of speed that had a handle of darkwood and a blade of mithril. This blade, having been quenched in water from the River Styx, was as black as night and imparted an effect similar to the spell feeblemind.[31]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. Since 2nd edition, Forgotten Realms sourcebooks have stated that Tyr lost his hand to Kezef the Chaos Hound. Since 1st edition, core sourcebooks have instead recounted the real-world myth of Tyr losing his hand to the monstrous beast Fenris Wolf, who was the offspring of Loki. While the 3rd-edition sourcebook Faiths and Pantheons states that Tyr lost the hand in battle with Kezef, all earlier and later sources claim that it was rather a test of strength of will, and the most detailed version of the story was elaborated in full in Champions of Ruin. In that Realmsian tale, Gond created chains with which to bind Kezef, and Mystra enchanted them. The gods made a deal with Kezef that they would lift a ban against him if Kezef could successfully escape from bonds. He only agreed to be bound if Tyr would insert his hand into the hound's maw. Tyr agreed, and Kezef bit his hand off, consuming it slowly over centuries. This tale undoubtedly was inspired by the real-world myth, which differs in that the evil canine was Fenris Wolf, the chains were created by the dwarves, and the gods involved were Tyr and the rest of the Aesir. Champions of Ruin goes on to explain that Kezef was later freed from his bonds by Cyric.
    In the planar multiverse in which the world of Toril is found, the Norse pantheon canonically exists, and Tyr is stated in multiple FR sources to be the same individual as the Norse deity and to make one of his two divine realms in Asgard with the rest of that pantheon. Also, in core 1st edition and Planescape settings, Fenris Wolf is an entity still bound on an island outside of Asgard, so both Fenris Wolf and Kezef the Chaos Hound must coexist in the D&D multiverse, with one bound and the other free.
    Ultimately, as this is a wiki for the Forgotten Realms setting, we assume that the story of Tyr's loss of his hand to Kezef is the true tale, and that the version told by the Asgardians must simply be a legend, likely inspired by a similar tale about another evil, primordial canine, although it is certainly possible that the alternative is true.
  2. Frostburn does not clarify whether this Ysgardian dwarf was being given as an example of an Aesir murdering or robbing one for their magical items. However, since the Norse myth of Andvari involves him being robbed of a magical ring by Loki, the latter is assumed.

Appearances[]

Adventures
Referenced only
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
Card Games
Blood Wars

References[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Wolfgang Baur, James Jacobs, George Strayton (September 2004). Frostburn. Edited by Greg Collins. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 124. ISBN 0-7869-2896-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Wolfgang Baur, James Jacobs, George Strayton (September 2004). Frostburn. Edited by Greg Collins. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 125. ISBN 0-7869-2896-4.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 126. ISBN 1560768746.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Roger E. Moore (October 1984). “Plane Facts on Gladsheim”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #90 (TSR, Inc.), p. 38.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 125. ISBN 1560768746.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 186. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 113. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 127. ISBN 1560768746.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  10. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 95. ISBN 1560768746.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 115. ISBN 1560768746.
  12. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 116. ISBN 1560768746.
  13. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  14. Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 22. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  15. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 107. ISBN 1560768746.
  16. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), pp. 109–111. ISBN 1560768746.
  17. Roger E. Moore (October 1984). “Plane Facts on Gladsheim”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #90 (TSR, Inc.), p. 60.
  18. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “Monstrous Supplement”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), pp. 12–13. ISBN 1560768746.
  19. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 113. ISBN 1560768746.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 183. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 177. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 183. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  23. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 169. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  24. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 176. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  25. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Travelogue”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 1560768746.
  26. Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 138. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  27. 27.0 27.1 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 187. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  28. 28.0 28.1 James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 116. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  29. James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 119. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  30. Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 148–149. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  31. Chris Pramas (June 2002). “Chainmail: The Ebon Glaive”. In Jesse Decker ed. Dragon #296 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 100–101.

Connections[]

Arctic dwarfChultan dwarfDesert dwarfGold dwarfShield dwarfUrdunnir dwarfWild dwarf
Related Races
AzerDerroDuergarDurzagonD'tarigKorobokuruMaeluthYsgardian dwarf
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