A staple of fantasy fiction, dwarves are hardy, durable folk who are often fond of crafting. The Dwarf’s Ancestry Feats and traits emphasize this durability, making the Dwarf an excellent choice for durable front-line characters. Remember that a dwarf gets a clan dagger for free by default.
Dwarves also saw a lot of attention in Guns and Gears, so they have access to a number of ancestry feats related to firearms and explosives, as well as some feats related to fighting undead, which is a common challenge for the golarion dwarves in Dongun Hold and Alkenstar.
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
Dwarf Racial Traits
- : The most hit points of any ancestry.
- : Medium. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
- : At just 20 ft., the Dwarf has the lowest speed of any core ancestry. Strongly consider the Fleet feat.
- : Constitution and Wisdom work great for Clerics, Druids, and Monks, and the Charisma Flaw has little impact for many classes. Even without a direct dependence on Charisma, one Free Boost is enough to make the Dwarf and excellent choice for nearly any class. Any class which doesn’t directly depend on Charisma works great with the Dwarf’s default boosts/flaws, but you can still bring the Dwarf’s durability to other classes thanks to the Alternate Ability Boost rule.
- : Racial language plus Common is standard.
- : 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.
- CRB: 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 actions for some reason. It’s a Circumstance Bonus, and those the most common temporary bonuses, so you may have trouble with stacking. A +1 bonus is mathematically impactful in PF2, but as a Reaction it’s just too costly and limited to be really good.
- CG: An easy go-to for any character planning to invest in crafting, such as alchemists and inventors, but otherwise not worth your Heritage.
- CRB: Situational.
- CG: The AOE is small enough that only melee characters will be able to use it reliably, but it’s a good option for characters who might otherwise struggle when facing numerous small enemies.
- CRB: Scaling resistance to fire damage. Fire damage is common, so any amount of resistance is excellent.
- CG: Very situational.
- CRB: Too situational, and being pushed or knocked prone is rarely a significant hindrance.
- CRB: Resistance to poison damage and better recovery from the additional effects of poison.
- GG: Visual effects include some illusions, but effects impacted by this feat are still very rare. The effect is good, but it doesn’t apply often enough to justify the feat.
- CG: You generally want to not need this. The benefits are great, but how often do you expect an ally to almost die?
- GG: The Clan Pistol is basically a Dueling Pistol with better range, making it a decent go-to weapon for firearms users planning to use a pistol. It’s mostly useless for everyone else, but that’s due to the challenges of using firearms rather than anything wrong with this feat.
- CG: Three Actions for the price of 2. Usually you don’t get that sort of efficiency until high levels. Not every character will want to use this, but if you’re building to fight with two weapons or if you have a big damage boost like Sneak Attack or Exploit Weakness, it may work very well for you.
- GG: Too situational, even with two skills.
- CRB: Situational, but fear is common and if your Will saves are low, this could help mitigate a common debuff.
- CRB: Proficiency in Crafting, Religion, and Dwarven Lore. Crafting is useful for a variety of classes like the Alchemist and the Ranger (if you’re using Snares), and Religion is just a generally important skill in Pathfinder 2e.
- CRB: The Dwarven Waraxe is tempting for a Duelist fighter, but otherwise dwarven weapons are terrible. The Clan Dagger is a worse Main-Gauche (though you do get one for free, and it’s a Simple weapon rather than Martial like the Main-Gauche), and the Dwarven Waraxe is only useful so you can have a Battleaxe and Greataxe in one weapon. Still, if you’re limited to Simple weapons but still want to use weapons, access to the Dwarven Waraxe can be a meaningful improvement over your existing options.
- GG: You’ll fall behind on proficiency quickly, and you can’t upgrade to Explosive Expert until level 13. Consider an archetype instead.
- CRB: Too situational.
- GG: Too situational. How often do you plan to be lit on fire?
- CG: Effectively the Fast Recovery feat. Potentially useful on a front-line character who’s likley to be impacted by poisons and diseases since poison is common for melee enemies.
- CRB: Difficult terrain imposed by rubble is common in many environments.
- CRB: 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.
- CG: Not enough for an Ancestry Feat.
- CRB: 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.
- CRB: 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.
- GG: Too situational. The impacted are extremely rare in most games.
- CRB: 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.
- : A helpful way to protect your frail allies, but rarely worth the Action cost to do so. If you need to protect them, stand between them and whatever you’re fighting.
- CRB: Even if you personally swear off using magic, your allies are still free to use it. The ability to capitalize on magical darkness without blinding your entire party is a massive tactical advantage that’s effective at every level.
- CRB: Too situational.
- CRB: Some critical specialization effects are worthwhile, 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.
- CG: Potentially great for characters who can make Clan’s Edge work. Rogues don’t typically use shields, but this provides as much AC as Raise a Shield, making you much more durable.
- CRB: Situational. The effect is good, but you can’t always count on having a suitable wall around, and if you’re the sort of front-line melee character who would consider this, spending a fight backed against a wall means that you’re abandoning one of your biggest tactical responsibilities: standing between big, scary, toothy things and your soft, squishy friends which the toothy things want to eat.
- GG: Just bad all around. The damage isn’t enough to justify both a feat and an Action with a duration so short, even if you totally ignore the self-inflicted damage.
- CG: Not very useful in most campaigns, but if your DM pulls out Book of the Dead, give this another look.
- CG: By this level a +1 potency rune is inexpensive and you likely have them on all of your relevant gear.
- GG: Suddenly blowing up your problems is a much more viable tactic outside of combat. If you have the ability to craft bombs for free, this is definitely worthy of consideration.
- CG: Basically Fireball centered on yourself. The damage and AOE are great, but remember thaty it’s only once per day.
- CRB: Certainly better than trying to Seek if you’re facing hidden or invisible enemies, but Tremorsense is still very limited in a game where magical flight exists, and the fact that this only works on stone/dirt is very limiting.
- CG: Heroism is a decent buff. Status bonuses are much less common than Circumstance and you likely have Item Bonuses to the things affected by Heroism, so the stacking is good. The temporary hp is nice, too, but try to avoid needing this in combat. But it’s a 3rd-level spell that won’t scale and it’s only once per day.
- : Too situational. You need to have your Reaction available and be targeted by a divine spells and critically fail your save for this to have any effect at all.
- CRB: Combined with Toughness you’ll have a huge pile of hit points and you’ll be able to stabilize easily while dying.
- CRB: A Returning Rune costs just 55gp and doesn’t require an extra Action to attack.
- : Very situational, but you may be able to produce your own smoke effects to put this to good use.
- CRB: Only a 1-in-5 chance, but if you’re a front-line martial character you’ll suffer a lot of critical hits over the course of your career so you’ll get plenty of chances for this to pay off.
- CRB: Hide inside a rock to cast buff spells or rest, then dismiss the spell to exit on the other side of a wall.
- : Really cool, but not good enough to be limited to once per day.
- CRB: 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.
- : Take an archetype instead.
- : Great in an undead-heavy campaign, but otherwise it’s too situational.
- CRB: Not a lot of damage, and at this level you may frequently find yourself fighting in weird places where this won’t apply like on sand or in mid-air.
- GG: Good, but probably not good enough to only work once per day. This could be good for characters who rely on big single attacks, such as a sniper gunslinger, but again: it’s only once per day.
- CRB: Walls are a real pain, and the ability to walk through them makes it very hard to keep you out of places. This won’t be as effective as casting the spell, but it’s still great for getting through castles, dungeons, and similar structures.