For me Dwarves are more about flavour than anything - I have no problem with them RAW.
Dwarves have always been "basically fighters but different" as far as I am concerned in most D&D and fiction generally.
Did a lot of thinking about this at work today (there honestly isn't really anything else to think about where I work). Also, I consulted TvTropes, which conjured up the following: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... AllTheSame
I think you're really right, Max-- Dwarves as we know them have always been about gold-mining-axes-hammers-industry-beards-etc. While I originally wanted to make the Dwarf more unique, I'm now realizing that there's really no reason to do this: Dwarves are, in traditional fantasy settings, not unique.
Still though, I feel like the Dwarf deserves a little boost. Dwarves are basically Warriors who didn't choose to be Warriors-- what I mean is, a human with 18 Intelligence can choose to be a Wizard instead of a Warrior, but a Dwarf with 18 Intelligence is doomed to be a Dwarf forever.
I think the dual mechanic for luck burn is a bit complex and is likely to yield errors and perhaps confuse inexperienced players.
How about giving dwarves an increasing saving throw die instead? Say:
level 1-2: d24
level 3-4: d24+d2
level 5-6: d24+d3
level 7-8: d24+d4
level 9-10: d30
You're probably right about confusing players, and I think this accomplishes my goal better than my original idea did. And, while you were nice enough not to mention it, your idea isn't quite as similar to a certain Thief ability...
What about 2d12 instead of 1d24?
This is also a good idea. Giving the Dwarf some amount of bell-curve to his saves accomplishes the 'resilience' idea much better.
I think I'm going to use some amalgam of Skyscraper's and Rostranor's ideas for future games I run. Maybe 2d10, then d10+d12, then 2d12, and so on. I might also give my Dwarf players a minor free bump to their stats-- upon reaching level 1, a Dwarf gets his Strength OR Stamina (not both) boosted up to a minimum of 9, if it was lower than that. Hopefully, this will moderately cheer up new players who realize their Dwarf is being forced into pseudo-Warriordom. If not, they can rest assured that the poor fellow will probably be killed unceremoniously by a pit trap and replaced by a more 'playable' PC...
Apart from all that, I'm intrigued by the ideas about treasure-smelling. It never came up in my games, because my Dwarf players basically ignored/forgot the ability. In the future, maybe I'll put it back into the game by force-- "you smell an extremely enticing scent in the room to the West", until the Dwarf player catches on.