From lore and descriptions to traits and abilities, learn all about Hill Dwarves in D&D 5e
What are Hill Dwarves?
Hill Dwarves typically make their homes in mountains but many also live on the surface unlike other subspecies of Dwarf like Mountain Dwarves and Duergar. In Faerun, Hill Dwarves are also known as Gold Dwarves.
Hill Dwarf culture, focuses more on the ritualistic aspects of Dwarven tradition. However, they are much like other dwarves in their love of gold, their proud attitude and their stout, bearded appearance.
Hill Dwarf features in 5e
|Ability Scores||+2 Constitution; +1 Wisdom|
|Lifespan||About 250-450 years|
|Languages||Common and Dwarvish|
|Traits||Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dwarven Combat Training, Stonecunning, Tool Proficiency, Dwarven Toughness|
|Book found in||Player’s Handbook|
If you want to play as a Hill Dwarf, your character will have the following traits and abilities:
Hill Dwarf traits
Darkvision – Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dwarven Resilience – You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
Dwarven Combat Training – You have proficiency with the battleaxe, handaxe, light hammer, and warhammer.
Tool Proficiency – You gain proficiency with the artisan’s tools of your choice: smith’s tools, brewer’s supplies, or mason’s tools.
Stonecunning – Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Dwarven Toughness – Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.
Hill Dwarf Tactics
- Combat Strategy: Utilise the Dwarven Combat Training racial feature to proficiently handle axes and war hammers, whatever your class you will have access to a solid melee option in combat. The Dwarven Toughness racial feature will provide some extra hit points, so works well for melee warriors that are likely to take a battering. Dwarven resilience also helps with this toughness too.
- Class Choice: You’ll likely be on the front lines but without a boost to your dexterity so consider classes that can equip medium or heavy armour. You’ll need the AC boost if you’re going into melee combat.
- Party Dynamics: Coordinate with your party members to complement their strengths and provide support where needed. Use your durability and combat proficiency to protect more vulnerable allies, serving as a steadfast and reliable force during group engagements.
Which classes are best for Hill Dwarves?
The Hill Dwarf has an interesting mix of abilities. Most of them lean into making your character tougher. Dwarves benefit from a +2 bonus to constitution and gain extra HP at every level as well as resilience against poison. These characteristics lend themselves towards martial characters but remains a decent option for fragile classes too. Especially those that get involved in melee combat like hexblades, battle smiths and rogues.
The +1 wisdom makes things a little trickier as dedicated martial characters don’t tend to use wisdom (though there are a lot of wisdom saving throws out there so it’s not completely wasted). However, there are wisdom based Spellcasters that work well in melee combat and can make use of both these abilities.
Best classes for Hill Dwarves
With the above in mind, the best classes for Hill Dwarves tend to be those wisdom based spellcasters and half-casters that also like to get stuck into melee action. The Hill Dwarf’s abilities mix well with this kind of approach meaning the best classes for a Hill Dwarf are:
All 3 of these classes need to beef up their wisdom for spellcasting purposes and all will benefit from the extra constitution and hardiness, especially as clerics and druids only get 1d8 HP per level (rangers fare a little better with 1d10). The cleric does best out of this arrangement because they rely less on dexterity for their AC as they have proficiencies with medium armour and shields as standard.
One other benefit of Hill Dwarves is their proficiency with a handful of martial weapons that might otherwise be unavailable to the above classes. This means that you do have a few extra options for slightly more powerful weaponry. It’s easy to style the above classes towards melee combat too as despite some of them being dedicated spellcasters, their classes allow for flexibility to be a support warrior.
Worst classes for Hill Dwarves
Dedicated spellcasters that aren’t involved in melee combat or don’t use wisdom for spellcasting gain very little from being a Hill Dwarf. This includes:
A case might be made for certain subclasses like the College of Swords Bard or Hexblade Warlock, but none of those are ideal options for the bonuses the Hill Dwarves provides.
It should be noted that the optional rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything do allow for players to change their ability score increases to improve whichever scores they want. This does give a bit more flexibility to Hill Dwarves if your DM is happy to work with those rules.
About Hill Dwarves
Hill Dwarf appearance
Hill Dwarves are stout beings standing about 4ft tall but weighing about as much as a Human due to their dense, powerful frame. Hill Dwarves tend to have slightly darker skin than other Dwarves due to their extended time living on the surface, often having light brown or tanned skin. Hill Dwarf hair is typically black or brown and does fade to grey over time.
Dwarves are renowned for their beards and Hill Dwarves are no exception, displaying it with pride. Some females even grow and proudly displaying beards of their own.
Hill Dwarf Personality
Dwarves adhere to a strict hierarchical society based on their clans. Clanless Dwarves usually find themselves disadvantaged and are given little respect among the Dwarves. Tradition and ceremony are important to Hill Dwarves, who tend to adhere to established ways of doing things, whether through their craft, religion or other rites.
Dwarves have a long life span typically reaching about 250-450yrs. This long life span makes them slower to develop trusted friendships than the younger races like humans. Of course, that long life span does mean that they have a long time to hold a grudge.
Hill Dwarf names
Because Hill Dwarves live a long time, many have experienced first hand the tales told by Humans as legends. Hill Dwarves tend to recycle names, with the clan elders often naming children after some legend or other. If a Hill Dwarf brings dishonour to their clan, they are no longer allowed to use a Dwarven name.
Some examples of male Hill Dwarf names include: Adrik, Barn, Dain, Einkil, Fargrim, Harbek, Horbir, Kildrak, Orsik, Rurik, Thoradin, Traubon, Tugnuth, Ulfgar, Vondal, Wenmead
Some examples of female Hill Dwarf names include: Amber, Dagnal, Eldeth, Gunnloda, Gurdis, Harra, Kathra, Ilde, Ismel, Lodra, Mardred, Sannl, Tharfani, Tobera, Vistra
Hill Dwarves will also have clan names that will represent a hierarchy within Dwarven culture. Belonging to a prominent clan is a matter of immense pride. Clan names will tend to revolve around trades and functions performed historically by that clan.
Some common clan names include: Anvilclasm, Balderk, Battlehammer, Clawhelm, Dankil, Dragonbreaker, Fireforge, Holderhek, Loderr, Rocksmelter, Rumnahein, Stonesmoke, Torunn, Ungart, Ulmbrewer
Roleplaying a Hill Dwarf
You can play a Hill Dwarf guided by more typical traits for the race, or you could run against type for a more unique experience. Here are a few ideas that could be used as starting points:
Embrace Tradition: Hill Dwarfs are known for their deep-rooted traditions and strong familial bonds. Roleplay your character with a sense of cultural pride, emphasising their reverence for ancestral customs and clan’s history.
Forge and Craft: Dwarven craftsmanship is renowned throughout the realms. If you choose to roleplay as a Hill Dwarf, immerse yourself in the art of forging and crafting. Display a passion for creating intricate weapons, armour, and jewellery.
Resilience and Tenacity: Hill Dwarves are known for their resilience in the face of adversity. Roleplay your character as a tenacious individual, unyielding in the pursuit of their goals and unwavering in the face of challenges.
Loyalty and Camaraderie: Hill Dwarfs value loyalty and camaraderie above all else. Roleplay your character as someone who forms enduring bonds with their companions, showcasing unshakable loyalty. Demonstrate that sense of camaraderie by sacrificing your characters own goals for the greater good of your allies.