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Ritual Life: Everyday Life of the Dwarves

Ritual Life: Everyday Life of the Dwarves

dwarvesThe dwarf cantons of the Iron Crags are so successful, one might be forgiven for believing subterranean life is easy, no harder than a surface dweller’s existence on the farm or in a city. Of course, dwarves are not solely an underground race—they cultivate the land and hunt and fish in the sunlit world—but most of their life is spent in their stone halls. In times of danger or war, a dwarf might spend years inside.

To make subterranean life possible, dwarves rely heavily on rituals.  Not just the whiz-bang magic of removing diseases or raising the dead, but rituals enabling everyday life to carry on. Call of Earth and Stone grants knowledge about practical matters such as hazards, depth, and what monsters lurk in the ever-dark. Cave Light helps dwarves find their way in the subterranean labyrinth, for even members of that stout race can get lost in the network of tunnels and caves beneath the mountains. Part the Earth opens passages either to expand dwarven holdings or to discover new sources of rare metals. Rock Garden allows a dwarf to feed himself when food is scarce, and Shape the Stone works stone into useful items…

Call of Earth and Stone

The circle of runes fills with a dim, reddish light, and the heat of the deep earth seeps beyond the protective markings. The creature inside the circle is angry you have dragged it from its underground home, but it is compelled to answer your questions.

Level 10
Component Cost 400 gp
Category Divination
Market Price 1,000 gp
Time 10 minutes
Key Skill Arcana or Nature
Duration Special or 10 minutes

You summon the closest earth spirit and can ask it a number of questions based on your Arcana or Nature check.

Check Result (Number of Questions)
9 or Lower (One)
10-19 (Two)
20-29 (Three)
30-39 (Four)
40 or higher (Five)

For each question you ask, make a Dungeoneering check with a +10 bonus. The result is the information the earth spirit imparts to you about a bit of lore or information regarding topics normally revealed with a Dungeoneering check.

The ritual ends when you receive an answer to your final question or after 10 minutes, whichever comes first.

Cave Light

A glowing ball hovers just beyond your reach. “Lead me to the dwarf city of Rock Hold,” you say. The orb slowly drifts down a passage, its pale light revealing ancient worked stone you hadn’t noticed before. You follow.

Level 14
Component Cost 700 gp, plus one healing surge
Category Binding
Market Price 2,220 gp
Time 1 hour
Key Skill Arcana
Duration Special

This ritual only functions underground. You summon a minor earth spirit to guide you to a specific underground location. The spirit hovers at head height, sheds the light of a torch, and is immune to all damage and effects.

While performing the ritual, you name a unique subterranean location. The spirit will lead you to the place, if it exists, by the shortest route possible. This means the spirit may take you through dangerous areas or tunnels too small to accommodate you. If there is no underground route to the named destination the ritual fails and the components are expended.

The destination cannot be described in general terms, such as “the nearest dwarf canton” or a place unknown such as “a dead dragon’s secret cache.”

Your Arcana check determines how long the ritual lasts.

Check Result (Duration)
19 or Lower (1 hour)
20-29 (2 hours)
30-39 (8 hours)
40 or higher (16 hours)

The earth spirit stays within 6 squares of you until you reach your destination, the ritual ends, or you take an extended rest.

Part the Earth

With a wave of your hands, the solid rock opens likes a book, allowing your party to escape from a cavern the derro thought was a dead end.

Level 14
Component Cost 1,000
Category Exploration
Market Price 4,200 gp
Time 10 minutes
Key Skill Nature
Duration Permanent

When performing this ritual, you open a tunnel in natural stone or dirt (but not worked stone). The tunnel is 2 squares wide, 10 ft. high, and extends in a straight line from a point no more than 3 squares away from you. Your Nature check determines the length of the tunnel.

Check Result (Distance)
19 or Lower (10 squares)
20-29 (20 squares)
30-39 (40 squares)
40 or higher (80 squares)

The tunnel ends if it intersects worked stone or some other material such as steel, even if your check would normally allow you to create a longer tunnel.

The tunnel is permanent.

Rock Garden

Barren rock sprouts lichen and mushrooms. The very stones are edible.

Level 1
Component Cost 15 gp
Category Exploration
Market Price 50 gp
Time 10 minutes
Key Skill Nature (no check)
Duration Instantaneous

You cause all bare rock within 10 squares of you to sprout a thick carpet of edible subterranean flora. All loose stones in the area also become edible. This ritual produces enough food to feed five people for a week.

Shape the Stone

The underground river is a roaring, impassable torrent. After a few minutes speaking strange syllables and shaping clay from the bank, you touch a massive stalagmite. The rocky pillar bends as if made of the same clay, bridging the foaming water, and allowing your party to cross.

Level 6
Component Cost 70 gp
Category Exploration
Market Price 400 gp
Time 10 minutes
Key Skill Arcana
Duration Permanent

Shape the Stone allows you to manipulate stone as if it were clay. You can make doors, walls, statues, and even weapons out of natural stone. Fine details and moving parts are not possible.

The maximum volume of stone you can manipulate is based on your Arcana check.

Arcana Check Result (Volume)
19 or Lower (2 cubic squares)
20-29 (4 cubic squares)
30-39 (8 cubic squares)
40 or higher (16 cubic squares)

You touch the stone you intend to shape after the ritual is cast. The affected stone instantly takes on the shape you desire.

Focus While casting the ritual, you must mold a small amount of clay into the shape you want the stone to take.


Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go… in the electron mines.

Send all correspondence by way of the designated slot below. Stop.

9 thoughts on “Ritual Life: Everyday Life of the Dwarves”

  1. I don’t know about Cave Light.

    Do Dwarves have darkvision in 4th? Does torchlight mess with it? If so, maybe it would be better at a candles strength with the distance directed by the caster so he can be in it’s area or not at his need.

  2. Sorry about this blantant bit of self-promotion, but if people would like more 4e rituals they should check out Azagar’s Book of Rituals from Goodman Games. It contains over 300 rituals, including over 30 rituals from your’s truly.

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