Dungeons & Dragons' New Rules Could Lead to a Golden Age for Mountain Dwarf Characters

mountain dwarf hed
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

Dungeons & Dragons powergamers are eyeing a lot of character builds involving mountain dwarves thanks to a new set of variant rules. Earlier this week, Dungeons & Dragons gave players a possible peak at a new set of variant rules designed to separate ability score increases and other traits from races, in order to provide players with the ability to create characters that don't conform to traditional fantasy stereotypes. One part of these rules allows a player to move their racial ability score modifiers to any ability score, provided that a player doesn't use more than one ability score modifier on an ability score. It's believed that these rules will be repeated in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, giving players an additional way

The new rules seem reasonable enough, but min/max players are already looking at creating mountain dwarf characters to gain an edge. Mountain dwarfs are the only D&D races that has two +2 racial ability score modifiers. Traditionally, these +2 modifiers are added to a character's Strength and Constitution scores, but the new rules allows a player to instead move the modifiers into any ability. Using a standard array of points, this means that a Level 1 Mountain Dwarf will have +3 modifiers in two different ability scores. A mountain dwarf comes with other optimal racial modifiers as well, such as a natural proficiency with both light and medium armor. This means that there's nothing to stop a wizard from having a default AC as high as 16, or perhaps a Warlock with 11 HP at Level 1. These are little advantages, but they can make all the difference in close combat scenarios.

Ultimately, using the new variant rules should be about creating a character that feels unique and matches the ideal vision of a player. While some players will certainly use it to create an optimized mountain dwarf caster, most players would rather use to make characters that don't fall into typical norms. However, don't be surprised if you see more mountain dwarf characters pop up in Adventurer's League or games where min/max characters are the norm, especially if the new variant rules remain the same in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything.

We'll find out more information about the new variant character creation rules when Tasha's Cauldron of Everything comes out in November.