Duergar (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Alignment Lawful Evil

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the duergar (/ˈdɜːrɡɑːr/ DEW-uhr-gahr),[1] or gray dwarves are a cruel and evil subrace of dwarves.

Publication history[edit]

The duergar are named after the dvergar of Norse mythology, who were the builders of Gleipnir. The Duergar (folklore) are also Northumbrian dwarves associated with the Simonside Hills.

The duergar first appeared in the first edition in the original Monster Manual II (1983). The duergar appeared as a player character race in the original Unearthed Arcana (1985).

The duergar appeared in the second edition in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[2] reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). A psionic duergar variant was first presented in The Complete Psionics Handbook (1991).[3] The duergar was presented as a player character race in The Complete Book of Dwarves (1991) and Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995).[4]

The duergar appeared in third edition Dungeons & Dragons in the Monster Manual (2000),[5] and in the 3.5 revised Monster Manual (2003). A psionic duergar variant appeared in the Expanded Psionics Handbook (2004), which also detailed the duergar as a player character race.[6] The duergar was further detailed in Dragon #325 (November 2004).[7]

The duergar appeared in the fourth edition in Monster Manual 2 (2009).

The duergar appeared in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in the Basic Rules free PDF (July 3, 2014) as a side panel on page 13. The duergar appeared in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in the Player's Handbook (August 19, 2014) as a side panel on page 20.



Duergar typically make their homes in the Underdark, a vast web of interconnecting tunnels and caverns.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

Short and strongly built, duergar stand about 4½ feet tall and weigh roughly 200 pounds. Their skin is usually gray to sooty black. All duergar have fiery amber eyes. An individual might alternatively have red hair as well.[8] Duergar usually dress in drab clothing that matches the color of stone.

In 4th edition, Duergar beards and hair conceal long, stiff spines that carry a burning venom.[9]


Duergar are usually hard-hearted lawful evil.


The core Expanded Psionics Handbook and the open System Reference Document identify Duergar as naturally psionic, with a racial bonus to power points. Psi-like abilities include invisibility and expansion.

The Basic Rules and Player's Handbook of Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition states that duergar can temporarily grow to giant size.


The duergar alternate between working in concert with the drow and being at odds with them, as the drow believe themselves superior even to the duergar. Duergar are stoic and hard-working, toiling under the gaze of Laduguer, their strict and unforgiving deity. They have a deep-seated grudge against other dwarven races due to their exile from their midst and legends stating that the rest of dwarvenkind abandoned the duergar to Illithid rule thousands of years ago.

Settings and sources[edit]

Duergar have the ability to become invisible in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, where they dwell in the Underdark in cities such as Gracklstugh.

Other publishers[edit]

The duergar appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (2009), on page 117.[10]


  1. ^ Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
  2. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  3. ^ Steve Winter/Winter, Steve. The Complete Psionics Handbook (TSR, 1991)
  4. ^ Niles, Douglas and Dale Donovan. Player's Option: Skills & Powers (TSR, 1995)
  5. ^ Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  6. ^ Cordell, Bruce. Expanded Psionics Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  7. ^ Scott, Amber. "Ecology of the Duergar." Dragon #325 (Paizo Publishing, 2004)
  8. ^ See The Halfling's Gem by R. A. Salvatore, in which the character Bruenor Battlehammer, a surface dwarf with red hair, is able to impersonate a duergar simply by using ash from a fireplace to grey out his skin.
  9. ^ Mearls, Richard Baker, Mike (2008). Thunderspire labyrinth : an adventure for characters of 4th-6th level (1. printing. ed.). [Renton, WA]: Wizards of the Coast. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7869-4872-7. 
  10. ^ Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)