Dwarf Lode – Saving Throws

When I started developing my idea for an all dwarf RPG, I decided that the entire system should be approached from the viewpoint of a dwarf. I felt this was the only way to really evoke the sense that the game was all about dwarfs. If you’re gonna go demi-human, you gotta go full demi-human.


At the same time, Saving Throws appear to be the most malleable of sacred cows in D&Dish-inspired games, so I went full throttle on re-imagining saving throws for Dwarf Lode just as I did with Ability Scores. Here they are:

Saving Throws

Instead of the usual saving throws regarding poison, death, and dragon breath, the saving throws in Dwarf Lode are designed to better reflect the stuff that life throws at a dwarf. Below is a description of each type of saving throw and examples of situations in which a dwarf might be called upon to roll such a save.

Level Fire! What Ails Ye Grudge Curses Gettin’ Outta the Way
1-3 12 13 7 12 14
4-6 11 10 10 10 12
7-9 10 7 13 8 10
10-12 9 4 16 6 8



It’s hot, it burns, and you can choke on the smoke, it’s fire! A dwarf will be called upon to roll this saving throw whenever he’s avoiding being set on fire, resisting the choking or irritating effects of smoke, or attempting to put out his beard after he got too close for comfort to forge or campfire.

What Ails Ye

Dwarfs are, by tradition, if not genetically, a gloomful and surly people, and as such among their numbers are the greatest complainers in the annals of history. A dwarf might be called upon to save against What Ails Ye whenever he’s at risk of catching a disease, been poisoned, or suffering from madness. To be certain, dwarfs are stouter and meaner by far than other races, but What Ails Ye isn’t only for catching disease or being poisoned, it’s a save against the psychosomatic aspects of being diseased or poisoned such as wailing and carrying on about one’s impending doom. Basically, it’s a save against grumbling. Fortunately, dwarfs are masters at concocting the perfect remedy for What Ails Ye: booze!


Whenever a dwarf is wronged, or at least, more importantly perhaps, perceives himself to have been wronged, he may be called upon to roll a save against Grudge. (Players can request a save vs. Grudge, as well, if they feel their character perceives himself to be wronged. ) Success would mean that he’s the bigger dwarf (ed. Sorry!) and forgives the slight, but if he fails the save, then BY THE SURLY BRAIDED BEARDS OF MYRRG AND DOOG THE RAUCOUS THEY SHALL FEEL YER WRATH! Whenever a dwarf fails a save versus Grudge, he is overcome with a need to seek revenge against those who have (allegedly) slighted him, and for a dwarf, revenge is so deeply rooted, so infused into their bones, so epigenetically entwined with their seminal fluids that if the dwarf does not have immediate means to exact his vengeance, the grudge risks becoming ancestral. Treat having a grudge as being under the effects of a Geas spell or the like but less severe, initially. Eventually, the grudge becomes seething. Unlike other saves, a dwarf finds it more difficult to pass a Save vs. Grudge as he attains levels. This is because a dwarf has to maintain his respectability in the face of perceived wrongs the more famous he becomes; otherwise, other dwarfs will start saying things to his face normally reserved for behind his back.

[Note: Grudges play a larger role in Dwarf Lode for calculating experience points and determining the fate of the dwarfs’ clan, part of the domain-level phase of Dwarf Lode campaigns.]


Anything and everything magical is, to a dwarf, a curse. Of course, there are potentially “magical” things that dwarfs don’t consider magical, such as magic weapons and armor and potions at least of 4.6% alcohol by volume (saves called upon to deal with the effects of alcoholic potions are handled under What Ails Ye, but everything else is a Curse and saves against such sorcery (and non-alcoholic potions) are rolled as such. The other exception to this is when magical fire is involved, at which point a save against Fire! must be rolled.

Gettin’ Outta the Way

A dwarf makes this saving thrown when he, well, needs to get out of the way of anything he doesn’t otherwise believe he should stand his ground against.



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