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FR11 Dwarves Deep (2e)

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This sourcebook is one of a series that belongs on the bookshelf of any dungeon master exploring the rich lands (and dark under-realms) of the Forgotten Realms. It presents as introduction to the Deep Folk of Faerun, three unique races of dwarves. Virtually all of the famous "dungeons" of the realms, explored by adventurers seeking treasure, magic, and lore, were built - and in most cases, once occupied - by the dwarves. Learn their ways and unlock their secrets.

In the pages of Dwarves Deep, readers will find:

  • Dwarven spells of earth and fire,
  • Dwarven magical items of rare quality and power,
  • Details of the dwarven clans, priesthood's, and adventuring brotherhoods,
  • Details of dwarven lands and settlements, including the fabled riches, ways and armies of the Great Rift, the Deeps and the Lost Kingdoms,
  • New monsters and notes on dwarven half-breeds and special powers wielded by dwarven High Old Ones,
  • Special metals and alloys used by the dwarves to hone the blades that slay their enemies, Dwarven beards?and much, much more!

Product History

FR11: "Dwarves Deep" (1990), by Ed Greenwood, is the eleventh book in the "FR" series of sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms. It was released in October 1990.

Origins. Greenwood was asked to write a book about the dwarves of the Realms, and he seized on the topic happily, as he wanted to expand them beyond the stereotypes. As usual, he fought with the word count while trying to get in as much detail as he could; unfortunately, he had to leave out material on dwarves using xorns as a transport mechanism.

Continuing the "FR" Sourcebooks. "Dwarves Deep" was a bit of a change for the "FR" series. Though it gives some attention to a major dwarf realm called The Deeps, for the most part it was a general sourcebook on dwarves. The was the first racial splatbook ever seen for the Realms — though not the first such product at TSR. Previously TSR had produced several racial-kingdom splatbooks for the "GAZ" line of Known World supplements, starting with GAZ5: "The Elves of Alfheim" (1988). There'd even been a dwarf book, GAZ6: "The Dwarves of Rockhome" (1988), and Greenwood himself had authored a halfling book GAZ8: "The Five Shires" (1988).

Changing Realms. If you just counted up the "FR" supplements for the year, 1990 would have looked like a bad year for the Realms, as the previous volume, FR10: "Old Empires" (1990), had been put out way back in February. However the truth is that TSR was changing what it published for the Realms by moving toward more adventures — something that had been neglected during the Realms' 1e days. As a result, a total of seven Realms adventures were published in 1990: the "FRA" Empires series (1990), FA1: "Halls of the High King" (1990), and three Kara-Tur adventures — the last of which even used an "FR" prefix. There were also two major sourcebooks outside of the traditional "FR" series: the hardcover Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990) and the boxed Horde Barbarian Campaign Setting (1990).

Expanding the Realms. The major focus of "Dwarves Deep" is on detailing the dwarves of the Realms. It describes four races of dwarf: the shield (northern) dwarves, the gold (southern) dwarves, the gray (duergar) dwarves, and the wild (jungle) dwarves. Of the four, Greenwood wasn't entirely pleased with the jungle dwarves: he was asked to include them and thought they didn't feel very "Realms". There's also a very brief reference to a "dwelf", a little-known dwarf-elf hybrid, who might be considered a fifth race. While detailing the dwarves, Greenwood also describes their runic alphabet, which he'd previously written about in "Runestones" for Dragon #69 (January 1983).

Geographically, "Dwarves Deep" reveals the Great Rift in Eastern Shaar and the Deeps that lie in the Underdark below it. It also details the lost kingdoms and modern-day dwarves of the northern Realms.

Whoops! On the map, Rimmato should be Rimmator. In the descriptions of metals, adamantite should be the raw ore and adamantine the usable alloy.

Future History. Dwarves would get more detail in a player's splatbook the next year: PHBR6: The Complete Book of Dwarves (1991). Meanwhile, a sixth sort of Realms dwarf, the arctic dwarf, wase introduced in FR14: "The Great Glacier" (1992); they would receive quite a bit of attention years later in the Year of the Rogue Dragons novels (2004-2006).

Other parts of the Realms Underdark that was introduced here would be detailed in FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark (1991) and Menzoberranzan (1992).

About the Creators. This was Greenwood's triumphant return to the "FR" series, following his work on FR1: "Waterdeep and the North" (1987). Of course, he'd been very busy with other works such as Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), FA1: "Halls of the High King" (1990), and his last non-Realms work for TSR, SJR1: "Lost Ships" (1990).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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This title was added to our catalog on July 29, 2014.