See also: Eartheart defender

The path of the dwarven defender or dwarven hero is a highly trained and specialized fighter tradition that is available to the dwarven race. These individuals take pride from the noble history of their race and its constant vigilance against exterior threats such as giants or goblinoids, which they hope to match in spirit as well as form.[1]


Common dwarven soldiers are known for their martial vigilance and brotherhood, with many a war story telling of how any one dwarf is worth two fighters of any other race. Dwarven defenders take this reputed strength and loyalty to new heights. They are masters of the dwarven fighting traditions as well as devoted to the protection and continued prosperity of their brethren. Trained particularly in defensive techniques these hardy warriors hold the line even as they break through the enemy's.[1]

Many dwarves who are devoted to Berronar Truesilver or Gorm Gulthyn or who are otherwise charged with protecting their clanholds usually take the path of the dwarven defender. Any one of these individuals can help to make a dwarven defensive line almost impenetrable.[2]


Dwarven defenders are skilled in many ways but the emphasis of their training lies on defense, rather than offense. All dwarven defenders have an extreme capability both for deflecting blows with their armor or shields, as well as for taking any blows that get through,[1] while more than a few learn also how to dodge those they can neither take nor deflect.[2] However, dwarven defenders are not meant to operate on their own and so their defensive capabilities are specialized for working with allies, whom they defend earnestly with great effectiveness. Even more so than other dwarves, dwarven defenders are unmoveable forces of martial might.[1]

Dwarven defenders learn several exploits, all of which are focused on fighting set piece battles where the lines of combat are clear and well-defined. In such circumstances dwarven defenders can be not only mighty warriors but beacons of hope, instilling courage into their allies as they defend themselves and others successfully. 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.[1]

Though not all dwarven defenders are trained in such a way, many dwarven defenders do have some training in detecting traps, much like a rogue or barbarian might, and are much more proficient at avoiding traps than most fighters.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams (July 2003). Dungeon Master's Guide 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 186–7. ISBN 0-7869-2889-1.