Artan Keybreaker

Dwarven Assassin


Artan dresses in the style of the nobility and affects the air of a soldier or professional mercenary. His regular attire frequently involves casually worn pieces of armor such as bracers or pauldrons, but no major pieces. He keeps his black beard neatly trimmed and braided, and his black hair is worn short. His favorite colors are black, dark blue, and silver. He is soft spoken but serious and has cultivated a taste for wine.

High ranking and wealthy clans have ‘Viednavak‘, negotiators or problem-solvers, people who collect debts, and deliver punishments for not keeping their words or paying their bills. Humans call these people assassins. Artan was raised to be elite, polite, and efficient. Work for the clan is rare, as dwarves rarely break their words. His work on the side is to maintain his skill, and to provide for him a luxurious lifestyle unenjoyed by most dwarves. It is very common for the position of Viednavak to be in absentia, to prevent the negotiator from developing an emotional connection, and thus remaining an outsider.

Shadowbind - With a thrown knife, Artan can fix a target in one location, by pinning their shadow to the ground. This requires the target have a shadow, and a basic attack roll. The target can change their facing, but are rendered immobile until they remove the dagger from their shadow.

Dual-wield - Artan favors daggers, and keeps a number of them on himself.

Rogue Skills - Skilled with picking locks, hiding, and moving silently. He is not a thief and doesn't pick pockets.

Divination - mundane skill.


Fancy clothing, assassin's garb, a large number of daggers, both mundane and magical, currency is carried in the form of jewelry and letters of credit. A set of 'dragon bone' dice that are used to cast fortunes. Using the dice is much like the I Ching, and Artan is very meticulous when it comes to his horoscopes and divining his fate.


Artan enjoys wine, music, and the company of attractive women, but sees nothing wrong with enslavement of non-dwarves, murder or genocide against non-dwarves. In public he is a patron of artists and musicians, frequenter of gambling halls and brothels. When he practices murder, he is silence.

Most of his kind dislike him for his ‘cowardly' ways of fighting and his soft hands that have never held a forge hammer or ax. To other dwarves, he is a pariah figure. He need only mention ‘Viednavak' and other dwarves will know that they are in the presence of an assassin

? Responses (7)

Goto Author

Yet another uncommon assassin specimen, liked the use of headers to make the sub have a more structured feel (I'm just a structure person).

Goto Author

Best part is your take on the dwarven assassins 'guild', special abilities spell out was also nice 4/5

Goto Author

Another wickedly cultured killer, a fun play on this trope of dastardly dangerous yet dapper would be to write a finishing school for killers. . .perhaps something french...then you could throw in a Pygmalion element in there and have of one of the trainers fall in love with a recruit once he/she transitions from feral killer to a wine sipping stylish slayer.*

As to this particular dwarven incarnation of the smooth criminal, I like the bits and pieces you have put together here. The superstitions (or are they?), pro-establishment justifications of his actions and the descriptions of his weapons (that peter pan trap dagger he has is really cool).

What is interesting is that your write up suggests he was raised in high society, but he dissliked by most of his kind. This would suggest that high dwarven society is very undwarven. You given us bit of the Continental fop archetype: soft hands, likes the arts, wine....etc. In gilded age america you could very well suggest that high society was unamerican in that it emulated european culture, but can you do the same for the dwarves. Where did the dwarves develop this foppish standard for their 400? Don't tell me rich dwarven heiress will be marrying titled but penniless Elves.

*Le Femme Nikita

Goto Author

I like the Viednavak aspect to this. Agree with axle about the dagger being really cool. There is certainly enough here to use this NPC.

Goto Author

I second that Viednavak is a fun concept here!! Interesting dwarven 'thing'.

Goto Author

Insert a dwarf doing that fingers to the throat gesture Viggo Mortensen does in Eastern Promises

Goto Author

This is a good one! The shadowpinning dagger is great!

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