|Art by Beastysakura|
However, I find it incredibly annoying how dwarves seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes interesting reimaginings. Besides the occasional exception, almost every published campaign setting I've ever read has dwarves acting exactly like the ones found in Tolkein's works.
So, I think its time to change that.
I've been toying around with different ways to make dwarves a little more unique and different while keeping the core elements that make dwarves what they are. That's when it hit me. Why not make them pseudo-elementals?
Long ago, when the world was young and life was still new, the deities that had created the mortal realm decided to create a handful of races that would act as guardians and caretakers of the world. The dragons were giving dominion over the skies, the fey were given the forests and fields, the mermaids would watch over the oceans, and the giants were given the mountains.
While the giants were content at first to spend their days watching over their rocky domain for their divine masters, they eventually grew tired and wished to create servants of their own. Using powerful, primordial magics, the giants forged a species from stone and gave it life through divine fire. This race was the dwarves. Although the dwarves were excellent servants at first, they started to rebel agaisnt their giant overlords because the giant wizards had overlooked something when working their magic: they didn't realize the magic would continue to evolve and would eventually give their creations free will.
Now, thousands of years later, the dwarves are no long under the control of the giants. While their kingdoms have risen and fallen during the ages, the race continues to remain strong and refuses to let their failures break them. After all, they were forged from stone itself and a literal fire rages inside of them. Dwarves are strong and solidly built, with skin colored stoney shades of black, brown, gray, or white. While all dwarves appear vaguely earthly, a few bear more pronounced signs of their elemental heritage skin that shines - like polished onyx or rocky outcroppings protruding from their flesh. The most pronounced physical feature of dwarves are the flames that extend from their heads like hair. While a warmth radiates from these flames, they strangely do not burn those who touch them. Dwarves usually possess eyes that are as black as obsidian or a fiery red.
I admit, the "forged from stone" part isn't the most original origin for dwarves. However, I feel like you have to have that be apart of their origin if you want to make them pseudo-elementals. I basically took the physical descriptions of Oreads (earth elemental planetouched from Pathfinder) and azers and combined them for these dwarves. Mechanically, they are the same as your standard dwarf.