Dwarven Focus? What happen?

(Zeque) #1

Hi all.
I’m wondering, what happen to dwarf minds once they accomplish their focus?
I have two dwarf characters in my game. Earth Cleric and Druid (custom earth druid). Both of them finished their focus: created a weapon for a champion and kill a defiler.
Do they continue with more complex tasks? Like kill a Sorcerer-King? They become “sane” people? They explode?

(Brent Welborn) #2

As I understand it, Dwarves need a focus in their lives. They should choose a new focus.

(Zeque) #3

Yes I know. But also they become Banshees if they didnt accomplish their focus when they die. That’s just weird or there is something I’m not seeing.

(Brent Welborn) #4

I agree, it is a little weird. I always played it that a Dwarf had to be doing something to complete his focus in order to not become a Banshee. However, I know the rules don’t say that.

I would suggest a time frame for the completion of a focus and the start of another, where Dwarves are free to die without fear of returning as a banshee. Something along those lines.


One could say as long as they completed at least one focus in their lives, they were free from the Banshee curse. Those dwarves that could not complete ANY focus were doomed. That’s just a suggestion and not canon anywhere.

When you say created a weapon for a champion, do you mean a Sorcerer-King?


The focus didn’t make sense. Because dwarves always have a focus, the final focus will remain incomplete by definition.

I believe the intention is that the dwarves should pursue their focus. Only in abandoning their focus might they become banshees.

(Zeque) #7

Wow. Great answers. I think they there is not something like a “canon” answer. Maybe @redking answers is the one that fits the most with canon. I’ll talk with my players. Thank you. :slight_smile:

(Esteban García) #8

How personal is a focus? Can you pass it on like… in your deathbed? Who to? To a dwarf, to someone in your family, to a party member? Do they have to take it?

‘My father charged me with the focus of drinking in every tavern in Athas.’

How does a dwarf know when the focus is accomplished?

(Joshua Slane) #9

To me, part of it is how you are looking at the focus. If you put the focus as “Do X” then it will have to be incomplete at death. So I try not to do that.

“Protect my village, even to the death.” is a focus that wouldn’t automatically leave a banshee, but still leaves open an option for failing.

I want to say the dwarf Caro in Verdant Passage had a focus like that, to serve the noble house Asticles so it has precedence.


While it’s not necessarily cannon, I always worked with dwarves only becoming banshee’s if they turned their back on their focus or believed they could have done more to fulfill his focus, kinda self fulfilling prophecy. Dwarves can have times without a focus, that’s when they throw a party. There’s also been cases that I remember where a dwarf doesn’t have a focus at all and refuses to choose a new one (I can’t remember where I saw it though).

It also looks like Mind Lords of the Last Sea has dwarves without a focus, so it may be something specific to the Tyr region dwarves (same as hair). We also know that magic/psionics can release a dwarf from their focus. I could easily see it being something almost like a magical compulsion. We have the hair loss from “By our beards, Kemalok will not fall!” (taken to the logical dwarven extreme) and could easily do something along the lines of “Even death itself will not release us from our task.” If the King had the authority to swear an oath for his people, and his people were duty bound to fulfill it, that could explain both dwarven peculiarities.

It’s it’s something that’s always been a dwarven trait, I could easily see the ancient dwarves burial rites including a priest/psion who released the dwarf from his focus (unless he was being punished). If the rites weren’t completed before sunrise after the dwarf’s death, the banshee was created.


My take on the whole dwarven banshee thing is that banshees are an example of a ghost revolving around a very important piece of unfinished business that any race could end up as and dwarves were just more likely than most to become banshees.

Even then the vast majority of dwarves don’t end up as banshees, but especially tragic or emotional circumstances regarding the dwarf’s death and their focus might cause them to return as one. For instance if a dwarf’s focus revolved around finding a new water source for his home only for him and his village to die, the shame of his failure may make him return as a banshee wandering the wastes, seeking a suitable oasis or well for his long dead family.

If a dwarf’s focus revolved around finishing the completion of a hammer and he died before that happened he is unlikely to be a banshee, but if he focused on creating the perfect hammer out of the finest materials and his focus consumed him so dearly he shunned his friends and family to pursue a focus turned obsession and he is killed by raiders before he finishes that hammer, there is a chance he might end up a banshee. It isn’t what the focus is so much as how the focus fits into the dwarf’s life.