Pathfinder 2e - The Dwarf Handbook
Last Updated: August 20th, 2019
I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
Dwarf Racial Traits
- Hit Points: The most hit points of any race.
- Size: Medium. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
- Speed: At just 20 ft., the Dwarf has the lowest speed of any published ancestry. Strongly consider the Fleet feat.
- Ability Boosts: Constitution and Wisdom work great for Clerics, Druids, and Monks, and the Charisma increase has little impact for most classes. Any class which doesn't directly depend on Charisma works great with the Dwarf's ability boosts.
- Languages: Racial language plus Common is standard.
- Senses: Darkvision is really good, and since it's part of the base race you don't need to spend your Heritage or a feat to get it.
- Ancient-Blooded Dwarf: A +1 bonus that never scales and requires you to use your Reaction to activate it, so you can't count on it if you're using your Reaction for other things or if you can't take actioins for some reason. It's a Circumstance Bonus, and those are rare for most saving throws (Take Cover can grant a Circumstance Bonus to Reflex saves, but I can't think of other go-to examples) so it will stack with nearly anything, but I'm not convinced that a +1 bonus remain meaningful at all levels in a game where bonuses in excess of +30 are not only possible but totally normal.
- Death Warden Dwarf: Situational
- Forge Dwarf: Scaling resistance to fire damage. Fire damage is common, so any amount of resistance is excellent.
- Rock Dwarf: Too situational, and being pushed or knocked prone is rarely a significant hindrance.
- Strong-Blooded Dwarf: Resistance to poison damage and better recovery from the additional effects of poison.
- Dwarven Lore: Trained in three skills is pretty good for a single feat.
- Dwarven Weapon Familiarity: The Dwarven Waraxe is tempting for a Duelist fighter, but otherwise dwarven weapons are terrible. The Clan Dagger is a worse Main-Gauche that costs more, and the Dwarven Waraxe is only useful so you can have a Battleaxe and Greataxe in one weapon. Unlike other racial weapon familiarity feats, Dwarven Weapon Familiarity doesn't change the proficiency type of affected weapons, so unless you already get proficiency with the weapons you'll never get past Trained until you get Dwarven Weapon Expertise.
- Rock Running: Difficult terrain imposed by rubble is common in many environments.
- Stonecunning: Situational, but dungeons with stone walls are commonplace in Pathfinder, and without DnD's concept of "Passive Perception" you're normally forced to Seek constantly.
- Unburdened Iron: Dwarves seeking to fight in melee are heavily hindered by their 20 ft. speed, and any reduction to that already limited mobility is a serious problem.
- Vengeful Hatred: Not a lot of damage, but if you make a lot of attacks (monks, rangers, rogues) it might be worthwhile after you suffer a critical hit.
- Boulder Roll: This isn't significantly better than using Athletics to Shove the target, and Shove only takes one action. Both Shove and Boulder Roll pit your Athletics against the targets Fortitude, so mathematically they're the same. However, Boulder Roll doesn't require a free hand and has the potential to deal damage, which might be enough to make this appealing if you don't typically have a hand free.
- Dwarven Cunning: Some critical specialization effects are worthwile, but I don't know if they're worth taking two feats to get this if you weren't already going to benefit from Dwarven Weapon Familiarity.
- Mountain's Stoutness: Combined with Toughness you'll have a huge pile of hit points and you'll be able to stabilize easily while dying.
- Stonewalker: Hide inside a rock to cast buff spells or rest, then dismiss the spell to exit on the other side of a wall.
- Dwarven Weapon Expertise: If you took Dwarven Weapon Familiarity and don't already get better proficiency from your class, you'll want this so that your dwarven weapon proficiencies don't fall behind all of your other weapon options.