Tuesday, October 11, 2022

OSR: Dwarven Diets and their Multifarious Effects

 This post is based off this one, and inspired by this one.

by liu pengcheng
Dwarves eat metal.  Depending on what metal you can afford to eat, this will determine your caste.  Depending on region, tradition and internal Clan rules, this will determine what rights or privileges each caste has.  The following are the mechanical effects gained from eating a specific type of metal.

Additionally, if you wish to implement this as part of a system where Race and Class are separate, then you will find included weaknesses for each caste of Dwarf below.  

The Diet of Dwarves:


The lowest caste of Dwarves, who do not have the money or inclination to eat sufficiently pure metal each day.  These are the Dwarven equivalent of peasants.  They tend to have hair and beards that vary depending on the specific content of their diets.  Usually they have hair that is black or grey or shiny brown, with streaks of brighter colors through it.  If their is trace gold or silver in their diet, they have streaks of gold or silver, if there is iron in their diet, they have streaks of dull grey, etc. 

Impures do not gain any specific bonuses from their diets. 


When Dwarves shift between castes, their skin tends to shift and mottle, breaking out into blisters like acne.  Their hair and beard falls out and will shortly be replaced by one that matches their new caste.  It is considered rude to comment on a Dwarf's status as Alloyed.  Sometimes this is a happy occasion, especially if the Dwarf is moving up to a higher caste.  Wealthy Dwarves tend to seclude themselves until the process is finished, so they can emerge to adulation of friends and family.  In other cases, Alloyed Dwarves will hide their faces and keep working, especially if they have fallen onto hard times and must down-grade to a lesser metal. 

Dwarves do place a great value on ambition, but just as much, they value those who do not rock the boat and disrupt society.  As such, while it is not illegal nor even immoral to switch castes, those who do it too often are often characterized as whimsical and unserious Dwarves, untrustworthy with serious matters and not deserving of responsibility or authority.  Sometimes these Dwarves are referred to as 'Slags'. 

Dwarves identifying as Vim are much more likely to be harshly judged for changing castes often, rather than Dwarves identifying as Zee, for the latter are expected to be emotional and unsure.  (If this is incomprehensible, check the section on the Dwarven genders in this post here).

Dwarves going through the Alloyed phase do not gain any specific bonuses from their diet.  


- You can reroll your COG and if the result is higher, increase it to that for as long as you consume Gold.  If you roll lower, simply increase your COG by +1 for all the time you consume Gold.
- You gain +X Memory Slots, where X is your COG modifier
- You gain 1 Genius Point.  1/Day, you may ask the Referee a question that your character could theoretically deduce from the information around him and his previous experience and knowledge.  Think 'Sherlock Holmes' not 'Omniscient God'.  For example, you could ask 'Did the gardener have anything to do with the landlord's death?'  In response, the Referee could tell you that you deduce from the alcohol on his breath that the gardener had something to do with the landlord's death, but it also probably wasn't him, as he'd have to leave the property to drink, as the liquor cabinet hasn't been disturbed.
- You gain 2 extra Genius Points. 
- You lose any moral considerations that previously excluded certain solutions from your way of thinking.  

Weakness: You are automatically considered the leader in any situation where there are non-Aureans, unless there is a good reason not to listen to you.  Additionally, you will be targeted by those who seek leverage over you and your enemies, as they will assume you have allies who will be honor-bound to come to your aid and thus, listen to your kidnappers.  You will find yourself enmeshed in Dwarven politics, whether you like it or not. 

Additionally, lower caste Dwarves will be far less likely to confide in you or speak honestly about their problems or troubles.  They will not lie to you usually, but they will fail to mention certain things, especially if they feel like that would get them in trouble. 



- You can reroll your CHA and if the result is higher, increase it to that for as long as you consume Silver.  If you roll lower, simply increase your CHA by +1 for all the time you consume Silver.
- You have advantage on all checks made to persuade or charm Dwarves of the Zee gender.  You get a +2 bonus when attempting to do the same to all other Dwarves.
- You can make art while consuming Silver.  For each day you work on a piece of art, flip a coin.  On a 'Heads', the art gains a 1-in-20 chance of being good.  This increases by 1 each time you get this result.  On the result of 'Tails', the work is too badly made, obtuse or confusing to be widely considered good.  Whenever you wish, you then may sell this art piece.  When you do, roll 1d20.  If you roll under the number of Heads, the art is considered good and can sell to the mass market.  The price depends on the Referee, as well as the medium, materials it is made of, and anything else the Referee feels is appropriate.  Art that is not considered Good can still be sold, but it will require a special collector and persuasion.
- Any Art you produce has a 50% of being Good, and an equal chance of being totally weird and probably unsellable.
- Every time something that might cause an emotional reaction occurs to/near you, you must save or react violently.  Cute things make you gush, sad things make you weep, happy things send you into a manic state, angering things make you rant and rave, etc. 

Weakness: You will not be taken seriously on matters concerning politics, war or finances.  Even if you are identifying with Vim, you will be disregarded and ignored.   


- You can reroll your CON and if the result is higher, increase it to that for as long as you consume Iron.  If you roll lower, simply increase your CON by +1 for all the time you consume Iron. 
- Increase your STR by 1 for as long as you consume Iron. 
- You have advantage on all saves vs Fear, Charm and other emotional appeals.
- You heal 1d6+[CON modifier] HP over the next 1d6 minutes.
- If you are suffering any Horrible Wounds, anything that is not actively killing you (Bleeding Out, Dead Man Walking) is reduced in severity by the number of HP you would have recovered.  For example, if you were suffering from a Horrible Wound that was a "12" on the Horrible Wound table and you recovered 8 HP, you are now suffering from the Horrible Wound under the "4" result. 

Weakness: You do not feel emotions as strongly.  If you ever stop eating Iron, you are wracked by a flood of semi-suppressed emotions, all that you only half-felt while under the influence of Iron.  Depending on what you did, this could be merely extremely inconvenient to mind-shattering. 


- You get +2 to any rolls relating to your sensing and perceiving.
- You cannot be surprised by someone carrying a metal item, even if they are approaching from a direction you cannot see.
- You can see EVERY bit of metal around you.  Whenever confronted with an item made of majority metal, save or be 'blinded' as you can only focus on these blinding spots in your vision.

Weakness: If in the presence of many metal items, everything else fades in your vision.  Stone or wood is hard to see when surrounded by metal.  You must make a successful Acumen check to determine if you can see the non-metal items.       


- You can work for 8+[CON modifier] hours and not get tired.  You can endure the strain of monotonous labor, grueling work and toil far better than anyone else.
- You gain go X days without metal and suffer no penalties, where X is your CON modifier (min 1).
- You start working and do not stop for 1d20+4 hours or until you collapse from exhaustion.  The work can be anything, but the harder and more boring, the better.  After you finish, you collapse from exhaustion.   

Weakness: Your thoughts are so orderly that creative and outside-the-box thinking becomes difficult for you.  You must successfully save to engage in abstract thought.  Abstract thought could be required for something like interpreting a piece of art, solving a puzzle, trying to figure out how to manipulate someone, etc.   


- You can work for [CON modifier] hours and not get tired, lose focus or succumb to boredom. 
- You gain go 1 day without metal and suffer no penalties.
- You can see the whorls in metal items so much more clearly.  Whenever faced with one, you must save or spend 1d4 hours studying the intricate details.  If it is taken away, you will be saddened and will sulk for at least 1 hour. 

If you ever fail at a task, you will become obsessed with it until you master it.  If you fail to pick a lock, for example, you will find the locksmith in question, buy some of his locks and spend hours upon hours trying to pick his locks until you perfectly succeed.  This continues until you have "mastered" the task or you find a new obsession.    



- When you first eat occultum, make a save.  On a failed save, you explode, doing Xd6 damage, save for half, to everything within X*10', where X is your HD/level.  On a successful save, you gain the results below.   
- You gain the ability to cast spells.  You gain MD equal to the number of levels/HD you have and can prepare as many spells as you have open Memory slots. 
- Your gemstone eyes begin to glow with inner light.  You can project this light out to light the darkness as a pair of candles.  In the presence of other lights, this glow is barely noticeable unless you are agitated or mid-casting.
- When you overdose on occultum, make a save.  On a failed save, you explode as if this was your first time eating occultum. 
- If you pass your save, you recover all your MD and gain +2d6 MD for the duration of your overdose. 

Weakness: Your glassy, not-quite substantial hair and beard, as well as your luminous eyes mark you as a Dwarven Sorcerer.  Enemies who know what you are will always target you first.  If someone doesn't know what you are, they will be scared of you.  You will never be accepted or trusted by other Dwarves, not fully.        


- You can drain the metals out of a Dwarf by touching them.  This causes them to take 1d6 CON damage a round.  If it reduces a Dwarf to 0 CON, that Dwarf dies. 
- If you have been consuming Mercury for 1 month, you can release a cloud of toxic gas that fills 30' square and does 2d6 poison damage, save for half, per round to anyone inside the cloud.  The cloud is easily dispersed by strong winds in one round, 1d6 rounds if less windy than above ground, 2d6 rounds if underground.
- If you have been consuming Mercury for at least 3 months, you can shapeshift into another Dwarf or humanoid of a similar size.  You can alter your appearance, odor and voice.  Regardless of how you look, your ability scores and stats remain the same.
- If you have been consuming Mercury for at least 1 year, you can transform into a pool of liquid mercury and move while in your liquid state.    

It is impossible to Overdose on Mercury and thank Muradin for that.  

Weakness:  The Mercurials or Quicksilver Dwarves, are predators who prey on their own kind.  They are hated and despised by all other Dwarves, who will kill them on sight.  If you are discovered, expect an angry mob or the King's Constables to break down your door and try to stone you.

by Dmitry Burmak

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