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Gazetteer 6 – The Dwarves of Rockhome

Basic Dungeons and Dragons

  • Publisher: TSR
  • Rules: Dungeons & Dragons BECMI
  • Developer:
  • Reference: gaz6 9227
0e-gaz-06 Rockhome
0e-gaz-06 gaz6 D&D BECMI Rockhome

Dwarves have a reputation that is both good and bad. On the good side, they are known as loyal, hard-working, dependable, and fierce defenders of their homes. On the other side, they are condsidered…well, a little dull.

No longer. The Dwarves of Rockhome, the latest Gazetteer for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS games system, gives you a complete, in-depth look at a vibrant, living, anything-but-dull society. Included is information on the history, government, economy, and geography of Rockhome, as well as entries on the major cities and towns, and biographies on dozens of important figures. For the first time, learn the truth about dwarven magic-users, clerics, and religions! And like the other Gazetteers, the Dwarves of Rockhome not only includes complete adventures, but background information for home-hewn plots. And of course, there are the high-quality, detailed four-color maps you’ve come to expect. The Dwarves of Rockhome is the sixth in this popular series, providing a rich tapestry of background material for player and DM alike.

Product History

GAZ6: “The Dwarves of Rockhome” (1988), by Aaron Allston, is the sixth book in the “GAZ” series of Gazetteers for the Known World. It was published in April 1988.

Continuing the “GAZ” Sourcebooks. Two months after the publication of GAZ5: “The Elves of Alfheim”, “The Dwarves of Rockhome” appeared, offering a nice complement as a second racial/geography book for the Known World. Like its predecessor, it mixes together player info, gazetteer info, and adventures. In fact the player information has actually grown from the 8-page pullout in “Alfheim” to become an integral part of the book that’s almost 40 pages long! This foreshadowed GAZ7: “The Northern Reaches” (1988), when the Gazetteer would be entirely split into player and DM books.

Expanding D&D. As with a few of the other early Gazetteers, “Dwarves of Rockhome” offers a variant class: the dwarf-cleric. It also continues the focus on skills for Basic D&D.

A History of Dwarves. Dwarves stand shoulder to shoulder with elves as one of the major fantasy races, but they’ve never gotten as much love. Oh, sure they debuted in OD&D (1974) as one of just three non-human races, but after that Dragonlance (1984-1986) was the only setting to give them much attention. But, it was a lot of attention! DL4: “Dragons of Desolation” (1984) detailed no less than seven(!) types of Krynnish dwarves; that probably influenced the similar categorization of hill, mountain, and gray dwarves in Unearthed Arcana (1985).

That was it for TSR in the ’80s, but a few other publishers were making dwarven inroads. To start with, early adventures like Wee Warrior’s “The Dwarven Glory” (1977), Judges Guild’s “Glory Hole Dwarven Mine” (1981), and Integrated Games’ “The Halls of the Dwarven Kings” (1984) were set in dwarven ruins. Meanwhile a few sourcebooks appeared including Dwarves (1982) for Mayfair’s Roleaids line, Moria: The Dwarven City (1984) for ICE’s MERP, and Dwarven Halls (1985) for Sustare & Henricks’ short-lived Swordbearer (1982, 1985) RPG. These more expansive books still described ruins, but they gave some attention to dwarven society too.

Following the publication of “The Dwarves of Rockhome”, there would be a little explosion of dwarf sourcebooks for D&D, including FR11: Dwarves Deep (1990) for the Realms, PHBR6: The Complete Book of Dwarves (1991), Dwarven Kingdoms of Krynn (1993), and finally Player’s Secrets of Baruk-Azhik (1996) for Birthright … but after that it would fall to other publishers to carry the dwarven torch (especially in the d20 days).

Expanding the Known World. “Dwarves of Rockhome” continues the exploration of the Known World by detailing the dwarven homeland, which had otherwise received little attention. As with many of the Gazetteers, “Dwarves of Rockhome” doesn’t present a monolithic society, but instead divides it into clans. There are seven total: a clerical clan, an aristocratic clan, an isolationist clan, a technology clan, a mining and trade clan, a warrior clan, and a farmer clan.

The technological clan (the Syrklist) deserves some additional commentary because they’re related to a short discussion of “dwarven science”. “Dwarves of Rockhome” suggests that dwarven mechanical devices can be use for comedic effect — essentially giving the Syrklist the role of Tinker Gnomes in Dragonlance. It was probably natural to have dwarves fill the tinker gnome niche in the Known World, as gnomes barely had any presence there until he advent of the skygnomes in PC2: “Top Ballista” (1989).

“Dwarves of Rockhome” also details Dengar, the capital of Rockhome, and gives some attention to several other sites, most notably the city of Stahl.

About the Creators. Allston was perhaps Basic D&D’s most notable writer in the late ’80s and early ’90s, from GAZ1: “The Grand Duchy of Karameikos” (1987) to Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991) and Wrath of the Immortals (1992).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons – a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

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By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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