Dwarf 5e Guide

Published on July 15, 2020

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Dwarf will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Dwarf. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

What are Dwarves?

Bold and hardy, dwarves are known as skilled warriors, miners, and workers of stone and metal. Though they stand well under 5 feet tall, dwarves are so broad and compact that they can weigh as much as a human standing nearly two feet taller. Their courage and endurance are also easily a match for any of the larger folk.

Dwarven skin ranges from deep brown to a paler hue tinged with red, but the most common shades are light brown or deep tan, like certain tones of earth. Their hair, worn long but in simple styles, is usually black, gray, or brown, though paler dwarves often have red hair. Male dwarves value their beards highly and groom them carefully.

Dwarven Traits

Ability Score Increase: +2 CON is a fairly uncommon double racial bonus. 

Age: Dwarves are considered young until they are 50. They live about 350 years

Alignment: Dwarves are usually lawful good.

Size: Dwarves stand between 4-5 feet tall and weigh about 150lbs.

Speed: 25ft walking is below standard. Only Dwarves and Gnomes have this reduced speed.

Darkvision60ft

Dwarven Resilience: Free resistance to a common damage type and condition is always welcome.

Dwarven Combat Training: Typically, if you’re going to be using these weapons you will have the proficiency available in your class.

Tool Proficiency: Tool proficiencies don’t end up affecting most 5e games very drastically. The most useful one here is probably the smith’s tools.

Stonecunning: This will likely come in hand a couple times during the course of a campaign.

Languages: Common and Dwarvish.

Dwarf Subraces

Hill Dwarf:

Ability Score Increase: +1 WIS is quite useful because that is the highest WIS bonus PHB races can get.

Dwarven Toughness: More hitpoints, even the minute amount given by this trait, are always useful.

Mountain Dwarf:

Ability Score Increase: Getting +2 from CON from the base racial bonus and +2 to STR from the subrace bonus is absolutely amazing for most martial classes.

Dwarven Armor Training: Typically, if you’re going to be using these armor types you will have the proficiency available in your class.

Which Classes Work With Dwarves?

Barbarian: +2 STR is and the damage resistance, and an AoE are great for Barbarians.

Bard: The Bard won’t be tanking any time soon, even if they are going Valor or Swords College.

Cleric: Dwarves are your stereotypical Cleric race. They get a CON bonus ensuring you will live long enough to heal your teammates.

Druid: +2 CON and Darkvision are nice.

Fighter: Dwarves are a great choice for Melee Fighters (just look at Gimli). They get bonuses to CON and a free resistance to poison. What’s not to love?

Monk: CON is helpful but not a priority. The fact that Dwarves don’t get access to +2 DEX will really harm a Monk build.

Paladin: Dwarves are a great choice for all Paladin builds. They get bonuses to CON and a free resistance to poison which is just gravy.

Ranger: +2 CON and Darkvision are nice.

Rogue: CON bonus and Darkvision are nice, but Dwarves have a base walking speed of only 25 feet. Mobility can be critical for the Rogue Class.

Sorcerer: No CHA is tough and the Sorcerer won’t be tanking any time soon. Additional hitpoints are always helpful.

Warlock: No CHA is tough and the Warlock won’t be tanking any time soon, even if they choose Pact of the Blade. Additional hitpoints are always helpful.

Wizard: No INT is tough and the Wizard won’t be tanking any time soon. Additional hitpoints are always helpful, especially with the meager d6 hit dice.