It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we’ll visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content every Monday that you can drop into your own campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration for your game, each Midgard Monday!
The Kobold Press Tome of Heroes is full of player options for any 5E D&D game. Several subraces in the book have sidebars describing their place in Midgard. However, some do not!
One subrace missing a Midgard description is the spindrift dwarves. Taller and slimmer than their land-dwelling cousins, these dwarves have a bond with the ocean and spend their lives at sea.
They’ve never appeared in any Midgard product . . . but where could you find spindrift dwarves if you wanted them in your Midgard game?
Spindrift Dwarves in Midgard
Look to the oceans and seas of Midgard to find the waters where these dwarves sail.
Spindrift Dwarves of the Middle Sea
Clans of spindrift dwarves are found throughout the Middle Sea. Most frequently, they are in the waters around and ports of the peninsula the Seven Cities call home. Some of their finest shipwrights call Capleon home, crafting fine vessels for both war and trade in the shipyards of Raguza. Spindrift dwarf ships also sail with the Triolan galleys. Having a spindrift ship traveling with a galley is a sign of good luck.
Spindrift warships also sail as privateers, under letters of marque from Triolo. These privateers usually target Mharoti merchant vessels, selling their plunder at ports in the Seven Cities and the isle of Kyprion.
Facts about Middle Sea Spindrift Dwarves
The Middle Sea spindrifts maintain a port called Stormhaven. This floating island is cobbled together from pieces of flotsam, jetsam, and cannibalized ships captured from enemies. Priests and mages of Stormhaven conjure water elementals to move it about, and to act as a final line of defense against attackers. Stormhaven moves according to a predetermined course, known to spindrift dwarf clan leaders and ship captains alone. Only the most trusted outsider allies are allowed to set foot on Stormhaven. Even then, they are never allowed to see their arrival or departure from the place.
When individuals or groups are unable to resolve their differences, a ship’s captain can declare a deck brawl. The ship’s crew clears out, assembling against the rails or in the rigging to watch the proceedings, taking all weapons with them. The conflicting parties are then given free rein to fight, using whatever they can find on deck as weapons—capstan bars, ropes, hooks, and other ship’s equipment—until one side concedes. The captain then declares the winner and brooks no further pursuit of the argument by either party.
Kaelysta Maelstrom is an infamous pirate of the Middle Sea. She stole a fortune from Mharoti merchants over three decades of marauding, until her ships and clan were destroyed by the Dragon Empire’s armada. The location of her treasure hoard is an open matter. Many spindrift dwarves make extra money selling maps to the supposed location of her treasure. These maps are often genuine locations where Maelstrom is known to have resided. This simply means, however, that these locales are likely dangerous and full of traps, as Kaelysta was notably paranoid whenever she spent more than a day and night on land.
Spindrift Dwarves of the Tethys Ocean
Communities of spindrift dwarves sail throughout the Tethys Ocean. They have established settlements along the Corsair Coast, the Spice Coast, and on the Free Islands of Tethys as well.
Several ships also sail from the port of Mhalmet, pirate clans that freely raid the slaver vessels of Shibai. Given the clannish nature of the spindrift dwarves, they seldom take freed slaves onto their crews. Liberated slaves are instead taken back to Mhalmet. The exception are fellow spindrift dwarves, who are offered the chance to join the crew, should they have no home to return to or clan with which to reunite.
Facts about the Tethys Ocean Spindrift Dwarves
Spindrift dwarf slaver raiders have an uncanny knack for tracking and striking Shibai slave ships, often hitting the same ship multiple times in the course of a year. Unlike other raiders, they do not capture or scuttle slaver ships, but let them drift and be retaken by their former owners. What the slavers of Shibai do not realize is that the spindrift dwarves carve magical runes onto the ships, in hard-to-see areas like dark corners of the ceiling in the cargo hold, the bilge, or in the hull below the waterline. They then use magical scrying censors that alert the user when such a marked ship comes within two miles, providing distance and direction to the marked ship.
Those freed from the slaver’s chains are never asked for recompense by their spindrift dwarf saviors. However, the dwarves keep to a tradition known as Freedom’s Price. Should a freed slave ever be in a position to provide aid to the captain responsible for their freedom, or to any member of the captain’s crew, they will not fail to remind the freed slave there of their obligation to repay that debt. Whatever service can be provided is usually only asked for once, and in situations of duress. Once Freedom’s Price has been paid, it is never called upon again. If a spindrift dwarf is known to have leveraged this debt more than once, they are held in contempt by the community at large.
Spindrift dwarves of the Tethys Ocean prefer light, fast ships. Their speed is a matter of pride, and they often race to determine whose ship and crew are swiftest. A sure way to acquire a spindrift dwarf captain’s possessions is to challenge them to a race and request any desired items as the wager. However, be ready to win, as the captain will surely ask for something of at least equivalent value in return.
Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press. A more focused start is the Zobeck Clockwork City Collector’s Edition! This detailed sourcebook gives plenty of room for your players to run, and includes a set of adventures all set within the Clockwork City itself!