From lore and descriptions to traits and abilities, learn all about Mountain Dwarves in D&D 5e
Dwarves are one of the original playable races of D&D 5e and follow the blueprint laid out by Tolkien and other fantasy writers; they’re squat, hardy folk with a great pride in their beards and dig deep to acquire wealth. Mountain dwarves, as you’d expect, live in their mountains carving out vast cities in the rock that often go deep into the ground in search of veins of ore and precious gems from which to accumulate great wealth.
The rules for Mountain Dwarves can be found in the Player’s Handbook. We’ve detailed everything you need to know to play as a Mountain Dwarf below from lore and descriptions to abilities and advice on how to play as a dwarf.
What are Mountain Dwarves?
Mountain Dwarves are one of the subraces of Dwarves and are known for their grand mountain kingdoms. Unlike Hill Dwarves, they tend to stick primarily to dwelling in mountains rather than on the surface while the Duergar live deep in the Underdark. Mountain Dwarves tend to be more isolationist than their Hill Dwarf brethren and for this reason, can be more distrustful an insular, taking on stronger attributes of dwarven-ness than the more sociable Hill Dwarves.
Mountain Dwarf appearance
Mountain Dwarves are short humanoids, with long beards and a stocky frame. They are slightly taller than other dwarven subraces like the Hill Dwarves and Duergar, but still stand at about 4-5ft tall. Mountain dwarves are also used to living in more rugged terrain and are a little hardier for it too.
Mountain 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. Dwarves also place great importance on their beard as it’s an important symbol of their dwarven customs.
Dwarves have a long life span typically reaching about 250-450yrs. This long life span makes them slower to develop trusted friendships as the younger races like humans, spending much time getting to know an acquaintance. This can be accelerated in certain situations, especially in an adventuring party where they live together with other party members. Of course, that long life span does mean that they have a long time to hold a grudge. Dwarves are typically slow to forgive, especially if you’re an Orc for whom Dwarves have an intense hatred!
Mountain Dwarf names
Because Mountain Dwarves live a long time, many have experienced first hand the tales told by Humans as legends. Mountain Dwarves will tend to recycle names, with the clan elders naming a child after some legend or other. These names bear significance and if a Mountain Dwarf brings dishonour to their clan, they are no longer allowed to use a Dwarven name.
Some examples of male Mountain Dwarf names include: Adrik, Barn, Dain, Einkil, Fargrim, Harbek, Horbir, Kildrak, Orsik, Rurik, Thoradin, Traubon, Tugnuth, Ulfgar, Vondal, Wenmead
Some examples of female Mountain Dwarf names include: Amber, Dagnal, Eldeth, Gunnloda, Gurdis, Harra, Kathra, Ilde, Ismel, Lodra, Mardred, Sannl, Tharfani, Tobera, Vistra
Mountain 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 to a Mountain Dwarf. 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
How to play as a Mountain Dwarf
Gruff, tough, slow to develop trust or to forgive, a pride in the clan, a love of wealth and a stubborn, determined streak are the typical hallmarks of a Dwarf. However, all Mountain Dwarves are different with varying personalities, this means that you can play a Mountain Dwarf with whatever personality you choose. Dwarven culture is still likely to permeate with your character so it’s worth considering the following when creating a Mountain Dwarf:
- What is your clan? – Do you have a clan or are you clanless? If you’re clanless, you’ve likely left Dwarven society as there’s little place for you there and struck out on your own. If you have a clan, which clan are they, what do they stand for and how well are they regarded? All these factors may affect your personality.
- Why are you adventuring? – Is it just an adventurous streak? Have you been shunned by your clanless nature? Or perhaps you’re seeking to bring pride and glory back to your clan or investigate something endangering your clan.
- Dwarven pride – Mountain Dwarves are notoriously pride and will rarely admit to doing things in an inferior way to other races, whether it be their ability to forge powerful weapons, build impressive structures or knowledge of mining. How might your character react if they are mocked or demeaned? This pride also means that Dwarves are slow to accept help, even when they need it. Could this affect how you act in certain situations?
Mountain Dwarf features in 5e
|Ability Scores||+2 Constitution; +2 Strength|
|Lifespan||About 250-450 years|
|Languages||Common and Dwarvish|
|Traits||Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dwarven Combat Training, Stonecunning, Tool Proficiency, Dwarven Armour Training|
|Book found in||Player’s Handbook|
If you want to play as a Mountain Dwarf, your character will have the following traits and abilities:
Mountain 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 Armor Training – You have proficiency with light and medium armor.
Which classes work best for Mountain Dwarves
Mountain Dwarves gain +2 to both strength and constitution which is more ability score increases than any other races making it highly valuable. This on its own leans heavily into martial classes, especially those that use strength as their attacking ability. Dwarven Resilience is useful for martials too, making you tougher against poison attacks.
A Mountain Dwarf’s other abilities are less important but split the kinds of classes you’d want to use them with a little. They essentially give some of the benefits of a fighter like light and medium armour proficiency and proficiency with some martial weapons, to any class. This is useful if you want to play as a class that doesn’t normally have these proficiencies, but considering that the best match for a Mountain Dwarf are the martial classes, these traits are of less importance.
Best classes for Mountain Dwarves
With the above in mind, the best classes for a Mountain Dwarf are:
Both these classes have a high need for constitution and strength and while you may get little from armour proficiencies (either because your class gives them already or because you don’t wear armour), being resilient to poison is a big bonus. Fighters are the best option here while paladins may suffer slightly from the lack of a charisma improvement (but charisma can be secondary if you want it to be on a paladin).
With a bit of building around, you could make a ranger work with a Mountain Dwarf by having them be strength based and compensating for lower dexterity with the medium armour you can now where. It does feel a bit like a poor man’s fighter in that regard but it can work.
There’s also a case to be made for having spellcasters with much better armour, especially ones that can delve into melee combat and while this can work, it can also be difficult making it work and other races are likely to work better on this front.
Worst classes for Mountain Dwarves
Classes that rely on dexterity and being quick do suffer as Mountain Dwarves with their lack of dexterity and 25ft movement speed. This makes monks and rogues difficult to recommend, especially as armour that isn’t light will likely hamper your stealth abilities. Sorcerors, warlocks, wizards and bards also gain little here as their more important charisma and intelligence ability scores don’t get a boost or secondary ability scores like dexterity. Some of this is compensated for with armour proficiencies but it isn’t enough.
It should also be mentioned that while a battle smith or armourer artificer may seem like a natural fit for a Mountain Dwarf, and certainly the extra constitution is a welcome boon, Artificers still use intelligence for attack rolls rather than strength. This makes the +2 strength wasted on artificers. On top of this, these artificers are already proficient with the armour they need so gain little other than a bit of extra toughness.
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 which does give a bit more flexibility to Mountain Dwarves if your DM is happy to work with those rules.