Dwarf

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Fig. 1.1: A dwarf. Note the prominent beard, the ornate axe, and the helmet covering everything above the ears.

A Dwarf (or more properly, Dorf) is a short guy who is made of muscle and beard and alcohol and awesome. No member of dwarf society can function without alcohol. Even their infants are made to chug a whole keg of ale down before Mommy ever lets the baby near her nipples (although, given the liquor intake of the average dwarven mother, she probably lactates eggnog). They like to live in fortresses. Dwarf characters should have one or a combination of the words "beer", "beard", "bronze", "stone", "Urist", "Mc/Mac", "iron", "hammer", or "axe" in their names. A good example would be Hammer McShieldbearded. They are one of the most iconic non-human races in fantasy media, alongside their eternal rivals, the elves. Popularized by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Gary Gygax, dwarves are fundamental to most fantasy games and have earned themselves a place of eternal love on /tg/.

Dwarven Physiology[edit]

Let's start with the obvious; dwarves are most readily distinguished from humans by their stature, being notably shorter than the human average. Over the editions, this has fluctated somewhat, but in general dwarves have a height range between 4 and 5 feet - which still makes them taller than gnomes and halflings, who average closer to the 3ft-4ft mark. Combined with their strong builds and stocky frames, dwarves are technically considered Medium creatures rather than Small ones, although usually they're slower than "full-sized" Medium races.

Dwarves are noted for their rugged natures; their Constitution is higher than average and even beyond that, they're inherently resistant to poisons. This, incidentally, may play a part in their famous love of alcohol. In earlier editions, dwarves are also strongly resistant to magical energy, due to a combination of physical and mental fortitude; this aspect has died away over the editions as it was mostly used to justify dwarves not being able to play wizards or bards.

One of the most famous aspects of dwarven physiology is the beard. Dwarven men are prone to male pattern baldness, but compensate for it with the ability to readily grow thick, luscious, bushy beards and/or moustaches. Why? Well... because dwarves are just associated with beards. You can have cleanshaven dwarves - in fact, the dwarves of Dark Sun are naturally hairless - but the image is quite subversive.

Dwarves are often depicted as having difficulties reproducing - they may not be formally considered a "dying" race, but they often have either a slow population growth rate, or a dearth of females, if not both. In the Forgotten Realms, traditional lore states that not only do dwarf men outnumber the women (only 3 in 10 dwarves are female), but also that 55% of the total population has fertility issues so bad tht they might as well be sterile when interbreeding with each other.

Mind you, Forgotten Realms actually gives a reason for this in the "Spawn Wars"; an ancient dwarven civil war where the dwarves used aberrations called Deepspawn to produce huge armies of clone soldiers. When the war ended, they were left with not only a surplus of males, but interbreeding with these clones (and clones of clones of clones) damaged their genetic stock, leaving the dwarves with their current damaged fertility.

Until 3rd edition basically retconned all the damage away, at least.

As part of this, dwarves usually aren't depicted as being capable of crossbreeding with other races, as elaborated on the half-dwarf page.

The Bearded Females Debate[edit]

If you bring up dwarves anywhere, chances are, you'll hear somebody mocking them for the idea that their womenfolk have beards. This stems from Tolkein, whose works established that dwarven women visually resemble dwarven men to the extent that human eyes can't tell them apart at a casual glance.

To be fair, in the earliest days of D&D, dwarf women did grow beards. But it wasn't long before TSR realized that, really, this was a silly idea. It was hastily retconned that in both Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms that some (or even all) dwarf women could grow beards, but they usually preferred to shave. In Dragonlance, it was established that female dwarves don't grow beards proper, but instead merely have very bushy sideburns.

When WoTC took over, they did their best to sweep this under the rug. When Eberron was released, it was eplicitly stated that the native dwarves do not have bearded women. When 4th edition was rolled out, female dwarf beards were officially striken from the canon of D&D - they even devoted a section of "Wizards Presents: Races & Classes" to it - and this seems to be one 4e change that has since been preserved by 5e.

As an aside, 4th edition actually made its female dwarves surprisingly attractive, which, given that muls also lost their grimderp "sterile and usually kill the mother in birth" lore, should have made human/dwarf relationships a lot more common...

Dwarven Psychology[edit]

Dwarves are generally described as a naturally Lawful race, if you put stock in alignment. Specifically, dwarves tend to be focused, discplined, organized, and naturally driven. When they start something, they devote their whole attention to it, and they hate to either leave something unfinished or give it anything less than their best. Furthermore, dwarves tend to be deeply conservative; they don't like change very much and are deep believers in the importance of tradition.

In contrast to the elves, dwarves are usually described as being a very stoic and emotionally closed off sort of race. Which is rather weird given how cheerful and friendly the dwarves are in Tolkien's original "The Hobbit" - most sources try to rectify the discrepancy by claiming that dwarves are naturally suspicious and so only let their hair down around people they feel they can truly trust. All of these factors combine to form the stereotype of the dwarf as a grumpy, surly, hard-working yet unpleasant little bugger. Two main failings are known to plague dwarves; the first is avarice, with dwarves readily succumbing to the siren call of greed, and the second is arrogance.

Dwarven Culture[edit]

Dwarf culture is usually described as fairly monolithic, although settings do play around with the basics - Dragonlance in particularly gives dwarves a very fleshed out history and culture.

Typically, dwarven culture is clannish, where extended family groupings form the foundation of greater dwarf society. Clans may be independent nation-states in their own right, or they may be used to form specific divisions of skill in dwarf society as a whole; for example, one clan may actually mine the ore, a second smiths it, a third trades with other races, and a fourth clan produces livestock.

Dwarven leadership is usually a form of parlimentarian monarchy, with clan-chiefs forming councils that advise but ultimately answer to a single reigning dwarf king. Dwarven culture may also have some aspects of a gerontocracy, although being a full-fledged case of "rulership by the eldest" is actually rarely seen.

Because dwarves don't like change much, dwarven society is usually depicted as being at best conservative and at worst stubbornly hidebound. Whether this is admirable, a surmountable issue or a fatal flaw tends to depend on what the setting designer thinks of dwarven conservatism.

Mining and smithing are usually portrayed as hugely important to dwarven culture, which is mythologically true. Of course, in the hands of some authors, this can be taken to silly extents - in Mystara, originally, the Dwarves of Rockholm valued mining and smithing so much that the single clan responsible for herding livestock and farming was considered second-class and literally treated as a bunch of near-criminals. This was ultimately retconned via a case of reality ensuing, when the farmer-clan barricaded the smiths in their underground tunnels and told them "Okay you shits, let's see you eat that fucking gold!" As the smiths learned they couldn't actually eat gold, coal or iron, and so they were forced to admit that the farmers actually were an important part of the dwarven society.

In general, dwarf culture usually borrows a lot of themes and concepts from Nordic cultures, seeing as how the fantasy dwarf is most closely derived from the Nordic dwarf. Depending on a DM's taste, they may supplement or replace this influence with Germanic, Scottish or Welsh attributes.

Dwarven Flaws[edit]

Many people, particularly on /tg/, have no problem whining about elves being gay, nature-loving, Mary Sues, but they forget Dwarves have problems too. In nearly every depiction of them, dwarves are greedy, unforgiving, racist hypocrites (Not an argument you pathetic Pansy Elf lovers) who lie about their history (they omit mistakes and people they're ashamed of from it) and fear innovation (Dwarves in some fictional universes practically consider "progress" and "change" to be dirty words). They're also emotionally weak; if a human or an elf fails at something, they usually get back up and try again. If a Dwarf fails at something, they get depressed and never try again and get drunk. Worse, they may get obsessed and turn deathseeker over it, inevitably dragging countless others into a long, tragic saga over a relatively trivial matter.

Finally, Dwarves also have an annoying tendency to brag about being an "Elder Race" and demanding respect for it, yet Dwarves show no respect to races older and more long-lived than they are, such as Elves (Which is strange, since they always complain about these traits in other races, such as the Eldar).

Dwarven Diplomacy[edit]

Dwarves are said to lean mostly toward the Lawful Good alignment. In practice, this essentially means that they prefer to swindle other good-aligned creatures, spit on neutral creatures for being pansies, and kill anything that annoys them enough to be labeled "evil," but only after swindling and/or spitting on them. As of this writing, all sentient beings and most species of tree have been classified by the Dwarven Diplomacy Board as members of the last category (except humans; usually because most humans are sufficiently awed by Dwarfish technology to respect them, other humans are usually smart enough not to provoke Dwarves, and those that aren't are quickly killed off by the Dwarves).

Basically dwarves let their axes (and Celtic accents) talk for them. Fuckin' hardcore sons of bitches, they are.

Dwarven Religion[edit]

Dwarven religion usually centers around implicit or explicit ancestor worship. Dwarf gods tend to exemplify what dwarves consider both the proper way to behave and the iconic virtues of their race. In D&D lore, the traditional leader of the dwarf gods is Moradin (or Reorx, on Krynn); a gruff, no-nonsense creator-deity obsessed with making stuff and ensuring the multiverse is filled with creation.

Other deities tend to be subordinate to Moradin and usually a lot more forgettable, being just "dwarfy" takes on standard archetypes like the War God or the Love Goddess.

Dwarves vs. Gnomes[edit]

Casuals who stumble across Dungeons & Dragons may find themselves wondering why there are two races of mechanically adept, artist, short hairy men in the game; the dwarves and the gnomes. Well, the answer is fairly simply.

See, in mythology, "dwarves" and dwarf-like beings cover a wide spectrum of critters. They're usually considered a kind of faerie, and thusly in many cultures, dwarves are depicted not as the stern, grim, magical craftsmen of Viking lore, but as surprisingly down-to-earth people, but possessed of many magical abilities. There are many stories of dwarves in European cultures weaving illusions and changing shapes and otherwise performing all manner of mystical feats. Now, Gygax and his buddies were big mythology buffs, and they knew these stories. But, at the same time, they were also huge Tolkien fans, and their vision for the prototype of D&D was to use the Tolkienian model for dwarves. So, in the end, they said "fuck it", and just brought the magical yet down to earth dwarves of Europe into D&D as gnomes, whilst dwarves in the Tolkien model were allowed to retain their name. And it has continued ever since out of tradition.

The highlight of this has to be found in Mystara, the very first campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons. In this setting, originally, the dwarves were a people known as the Kogolor, who dwelled in cities they established on the mountains. Physically and mentally, they were more like the gnomes of the present day; outgoing, cheerful, talkative and gregarious. They had no particular resistance to magic or toxin, nor any great focus on craftsmanship, although they were (and remain) great brewers of liquor. During the Great Rain of Colorless Fire, their numbers began to drop rapidly, as the poisons released by the Blackmoor disaster devastated their number. An Immortal named Kagyar decided that he could use the dwarves to create a race to his design; one shaped to survive against future disasters of this scale. He took the hardiest of the Kogolor and made them tougher still, granting them resistance to magic and toxin. He filled their minds with an obsession to craft lasting works in stone and metal - things would survive the passage of time - and made them feel an instinctive yearning for the shelter of deep caves, that they would naturally gravitate towards homes that doubled as fallout shelters. He made them stubborn, conservative, and xenophobic, inclined to shun others and to cling to tradition above all else, that they would not stray from this mold. Satisfied with his work, he dubbed them "dwarves" and returned them to claim the mountains of Mystara, whilst the Kogolor he absent-mindedly swept away and discarded in the Hollow World. This did not sit particularly well with one of Kagyar's students, Garal Glitterlode - the prototype for Garl Glittergold, himself an ascended Kogolor. Since his former people were gone, he recreated them, this time shaping them to be smaller and more flexible, to seek out shelter in forests as well as mountains, and thus were born the first gnomes, as a more "true to the original" descendant of the original Kogolor.

Variant Dwarfs[edit]

Though the above is pretty much the standard template for dwarves, some settings have shown some deviance from them... usually in the form of sub-races or offshoot clans.

  • Duergar are the most famous, having originated in the Forgotten Realms setting. Essentially the dwarf equivalent to Drow, they have been typically characterized as joyless pricks who hate sunlight, ornamentation, all other races, and pretty much anything other than working themselves to death, to the point their racial patron doubles as a god of slavery and toil (appropriate given their frequent use as slave labor by the drow). Except in 4e, where they were diabolists who interbred with devils and gave themselves big sharp poisoned quills in their beards.
  • The other big name in alternate dwarves are the Derro, who are basically completely bug-fuck insane dwarves who dwell in the Underdark.
  • Innugaakalikurit, or "Arctic Dwarves" are white-haired, live on the surface in the Arctic tundra, wield harpoons and bows instead of axes and picks, are immune to the cold and love to suntan themselves until their skin turns red.
  • Wild Dwarves live like feral headhunting pygmies in the jungle and use poisoned weapons.
  • Desert Dwarves are native to Maztica, they use stone tools instead of iron.
  • Dragonlance divided its dwarves up into Mountain and Hill clans, with the addition of "Dark" clans who lived alongside the Mountain Dwarves and were really weird - the Daewar, for example, were all sorcerers. This setting also introduced the abomination of the Gully dwarf species; filthy, stupid, ugly, smelly, disgusting abominations that are the bastard offspring of dwarves and gnomes.
  • Kogolor Dwarves are technically the oldest dwarves in all of D&D; native to Mystara, these dwarves are literally the ancestor species of the modern dwarf, and are much more like gnomes in behavior. Most notably, they lack the dwarven knack for craftsmanship - save in brewing beer, ale and wine - and are cheerful, outgoing, friendly and welcoming. Also, absurdly Swedish, to the point of dressing in lederhosen and having a special proficiency in yodelling. Because of the Rain of Colorless Fire and the intervention of Kagyar the Artisan, they only survive in the Hollow World, having been abandoned there after being replaced with "conventional" dwarves.

Elemental Dwarves[edit]

Since the dawn of the game, the Elemental Plane of Fire has been home to Azers, who look like bronze-skinned dwarves with great flaming beards & hair. For most editions, they have been officially classified as "not dwarves", with Pathfinder describing them as a race of elemental constructs who just happen to look like dwarves (a step 5e basically stole). 4e, however, went and said "yes, they're dwarves; at the dawn of time, dwarves were slaves to giants (who're elementals) - the ones who didn't get away in time eventually became elementals themselves".

There's also the oft-forgotten Earth elemental the galeb duhr, who became a rock-elemental dwarf in 4e, the never-made-it-out-of-2e Urdunnir/Sonsannan (a gem-eating grey dwarf with innate earth walk, shape stone and shape metal at-will spell-like abilities) and the 4e-exclusive Eisk Jaat (ice dwarf).

Dragon Magazine #383 contains the rules for Forgeborn Dwarves, a dwarfin variant representing clans who didn't quite get away from the Giants in time. They basically took a racial feat that gave them resistance to Acid, Cold, Fire and Lightning damage and let them deal bonus elemental damage whenever they hit someone once per encounter.

Unique Dwarven Strains[edit]

For obvious reasons, this page has mostly talked about dwarves as depicted in Dungeons & Dragons, which is the most widespread of /tg/ games and thus the most iconic depiction of dwarves. But, there are other games on /tg/ that have more unique depictions of dwarves...

The dwarves of Warhammer Fantasy have their own page, but in a nutshell can be described as taking the D&D dwarf stereotype and cranking the knobs up a couple of notches. They are Grudge-obsessed, culturally unchanging, and absolutely racist fucks who only barely tolerate humans and hate every single other thing, especially each other when they have a reason, to varying degrees. They almost wiped themselves out just out of their inability to resolve conflicts such as those caused by an insult given by accident ten generations ago while a third invading force was on the march causing a three-way fight where the Dwarfs could only lose. But out of sheer tenacity and refusal to admit weakness or being wrong, they managed to make it to the death of the setting as a powerful force.

Their cousins, the evil Chaos Dwarfs, force magic into their own bodies unnaturally (as Warhammer Dwarf bodies and minds resist and nullify magic) which slowly turns them to stone. They have an intense hatred of all other races, to the point of being like their kin with an even bigger Grudge. They are based on Mesopotamians, and the size and type of their hat is more important to them than a beard.

In Shadowrun, the dwarven fondness for crafting and artisianship has led to them mostly abandoning old-fashioning smithing and turning to cybernetics and digital engineering - the iconic dwarf is a cybered-up hacker, not a warrior or a smith. Also, beards are basically unimportant to dwarves, but the males usualy wear beards in order to stop humans from mistaking them for children.

In Castle Falkenstein, dwarves are an all-male race of artificers, who do the mining and smithing thing mostly to support their love of being mad scientist engineers. In fact, they used to be magical fairies, but they gave up their magic and their immortality (although they still like a long time) to be able to work with iron. They couldn't give two shits about their beards, are immune to fire and magic, are superhumanly strong, have goose-like feet (which they're very embarrassed about, so don't mention them), and reproduce by interbreeding with female fairies; sons are dwarves, daughters are fairies. Incidentally, this is why they tend to be so obsessed with making their mark on the world; this is the only way they can change their name to what they want, instead of being stuck with a typical fairy name like "Morningblossom" or "Buttercup". Also, rather than an axe, an angry dwarf will usually try and club you to death with a fuck-off-huge wrench.

Dwarf PCs Throughout History[edit]

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Basic D&D (todo)[edit]

Advanced D&D[edit]

The dwarf PC first appeared in the AD&D Player's Handbook, specifically with the classic subraces of Hill Dwarf and Mountain Dwarf. Rules would later be expanded upon with their own dedicated sourcebook, the Complete Book of Dwarves, which provided not only a collection of dwarfin cultural notes, but also dedicated dwarf kits and complete ability score writeups for the six extant dwarven subraces of the time; Mountain Dwarf, Hill Dwarf, Deep Dwarf (a non-evil Underdark-dwelling dwarf, which would be phased out in subsequent editions), Sundered Dwarf (surface-dwelling culturally shattered dwarves), Gully Dwarf (degenerate and stupid dwarf-kin originating from Dragonlance), and Duergar.

Dwarven Hardiness: All Dwarves receive a bonus to their saving throws against poison and magical attacks determined by their Constitution modifier; +1 for Con 4-6, +2 for Con 7-10, +3 for Con 11-13, +4 for Con 14-17, and +5 for Constitution 18-19.
Racial Enmity: Ogres, trolls, oni, giants and titans suffer a -4 penalty on attack rolls against dwarves. Dwarves receive a +1 bonus to attack rolls made against orcs, half-orcs, goblins and hobgoblins.
Magical Interference: When a dwarf attempts to use a magic item that is not either specifically intended for the dwarf's class or else a weapon, shield, armor, gauntlet or girdle, there is a 20% chance that it will instead dramatically fail. A check is made each time the dwarf attempts to use an item; if it fails one time, it may work the next, and vice-versa.
Stonecunning: Dwarves are naturally adept at surviving underground, and can attempt to identify specific aspects of their environment by rolling a d6. A dwarf can detect the gradient or slope of a passage on a 1-5, detect new tunnels or other construction on a 1-5, identify sliding/shifting walls and rooms on a 1-4, locate stonework traps/pits/deadfalls on a 1-3, and estimate just how deep underground they are on a 1-3.
Dwarves have a base movement rate of 6, and encumbrance affects their movement rate as follows: Light (None), Moderate (-1/3rd), Heavy (-1/2) and Severe (-2/3rds).

Hill Dwarf:

Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma
Ability Score Minimums/Maximums: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/17, Constitution 11/18, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/17
Infravision: 60 feet
Class/Level Limits: Warrior 15, Priest 10, Thief 12
Thief Skill Adjustments: +10% Open Locks, +15% Find/Remove Traps, -10% Climb Walls, -5% Read Languages

Mountain Dwarf:

Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma
Ability Score Minimums/Maximums: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/17, Constitution 11/19, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/16
Infravision: 60 feet
Class/Level Limits: Warrior 16, Priest 10, Thief 12
Thief Skill Adjustments: +10% Open Locks, +15% Find/Remove Traps, -10% Climb Walls, -5% Read Languages

Deep Dwarf:

Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma
Ability Score Minimums/Maximums: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/16, Constitution 13/19, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/15
Infravision: 90 feet
Special Advantage: +1 to the dwarven saving throw bonus against poison and magical attacks.
Special Disadvantage: -1 penalty on attack rolls when within Sunlight or Continual Light spells.
Class/Level Limits: Warrior 14, Priest 12, Thief 10
Thief Skill Adjustments: +5% Pick Pockets, +10% Find/Remove Traps, +5% Hide In Shadows, -10% Climb Walls, -15% Read Languages

Sundered Dwarf:

Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma
Ability Score Minimums/Maximums: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/17, Constitution 11/18, Intelligence 3/16, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/16
Infravision: 30 feet
Special Disadvantage: Sundered Dwarves are Claustrophobic; they must successfully save vs. death in order to overcome their fear before they can enter any underground locale, be it a dungeon, cave or tomb. Furthermore, when underground, a sundered dwarf suffers a -2 penalty to its attack rolls. Each day they remain underground, they must make another save vs. death to master their claustrophobia; if they fail, then their attack penalty increases by -1 for each additional day spent underground. Once a sundered dwarf has panicked like this, the saving throw vs. death to try and master its claustrophobia takes a penalty equal to the attack roll penalty.
Class/Level Limits: Warrior 14, Priest 10, Thief 15
Thief Skill Adjustments: +5% Open Locks, +10% Find/Remove Traps, +5% Move Silently, +5% Hide in Shadows, -10% Read Languages

Gully Dwarf:

Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, -2 Charisma
Ability Score Minimums/Maximums: Strength 6/18, Dexterity 6/18, Constitution 8/16, Intelligence 3/12, Wisdom 3/14, Charisma 3/12
Infravision: 60 feet
Special Advantage: Gully dwarves excel at the art of groveling, and can attempt to avoid being attacked by mock-fainting or putting on a pitiful display of pleading. All hostile creatures must succeed on a save vs. spells, with a penalty depending on the gully dwarf's level (-2 at level 5-8, -3 at level 9-12, -5 at level 13+) or be incapable of actually harming the gully dwarf, though they can still capture or otherwise restrain it.
Special Disadvantage: Gully dwarves are legendarily stupid, and even if a gully dwarf PC is uncommonly smart for its kind, it should still be portrayed as a dimwitted simpleton. Additionally, gully dwarves are so wretched that magic items have a 40% chance of failing to work for them, rather than the normal 20% chance.
Class/Level Limits: Warrior 8, Priest 8, Thief 16
Thief Skill Adjustments: +10% Pick Pockets, -5% Open Locks, +5% Find/Remove Traps, -5% Hide In Shadows, -5% Climb Walls, -25% Read Languages

Innugaakalikurit (aka "Faerunian Arctic Dwarf"): Whilst not presented in the Complete Book of Dwarves, the Innugaakalikurit did receive a brief PC writeup in "The Great Glacier", a guide to the pseudo-Arctic Circle region of the Forgotten Realms released for AD&D.

Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -1 Dexterity, -1 Charisma
Ability Score Minimums/Maximums: Strength 14/18, Dexterity 3/16, Constitution 13/18, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/14
Special Advantage: Arctic Dwarves are Immune to Cold, including magically generated cold such as spells or the breath of White Dragons.
Class/Level Limits: Fighter Unlimited, Ranger 8, Thief 8

3rd Edition[edit]

In 3.5, dwarves changed a little from their 3.0 selves, mostly in the form of tightening up their rules, but the end-result was fundamentally the same.

+2 Constitution, -2 Charisma
Humanoid (Dwarf)
Medium
Base Speed 20 feet, but ignore the movement penalties from medium & heavy armor and loads
Darkvision 60 feet
Stonecunning: This ability grants a dwarf a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
Weapon Familiarity: Dwarven Waraxes and Urgoshes count as Martial Weapons for a dwarf, rather than Exotic Weapons.
Stability: +4 racial bonus on checks made to resist being Bull Rushed or Tripped when standing on solid ground.
+2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like effects.
+1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids.
+4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against creatures of the Giant type.
+2 racial bonus on Appraise and Craft checks relating to stone or metal.
Favored Class: Fighter

This version applies to both Hill Dwarves and Mountain Dwarves equally. However, myriad dwarven subraces exist in 3.5, and they all tweak the formula in some way.

Aquatic Dwarves were underwater-dwelling versions of the dwarf introduced in the 3e Unearthed Arcana sourcebook. In addition to the normal dwarven statblock, they gain +2 Strength, suffer -4 Dexterity, and possess the Aquatic subtype, the Water-Breather racial trait (breathe water instead of air, can survive out of 2 rounds per Constitution point before starting to suffocate), a Swim speed of 20 feet, the ability to "run" whilst swimming, +8 racial bonus on Swim checks and the ability to Take 10 when swimming.

Arctic Dwarves, also from the 3e Unearthed Arcana, gain +2 Strength and suffer -4 Dexterity in addition to the normal dwarf modifiers, and tweak their statblock in various ways. Their racial attack bonus is against kobolds and goblinoids instead of orcs & goblinoids, they also apply their Appraise & Craft check bonus to ice, they have the Cold Endurance trait (+4 racial bonus on Fort checks against cold and exposure), and the Icecunning trait, which is literally "Stonecunning but with Ice". This is a generic version of the arctic dwarf, and not based on the original Innugaakalikurit, who hail from the Forgotten Realms.

Badlands Dwarves are a version of dwarf that has adapted to life in the hot, barren badland regions - essentially a more focused and arguably better designed version of the Desert Dwarf from Unearthed Arcana. These guys appeared in the Sandstorm splatbook, and mostly change their racial traits; they lose Stonecunning and gain Waterwise, which is essentially Stonecunning but for finding water and water conduits, and lose their Appraise & Craft bonuses in favor of Heat Endurance and the ability to go for 2 days + Constitution score hours before thirst starts affecting them.

Deep Dwarves, the non-evil Underdark dwarves mentioned above, appeared in the 3.5 Monster Manual, and have the most meager changes of any dwarven subrace; their resistance to poison and magic increases to +3, their Darkvision increases to 90 feet, and they gain the Light Sensitivity trait.

Desert Dwarves are another of the many "environmental variant" subraces to appear in 3e's Unearthed Arcana. These dwarves trade their Charisma penalty for a -2 penalty to Dexterity, lose Stonecunning, change the target of their racial attack bonus from orcs & goblinoids to reptilian humanoids & dragons, change the target of their racial defense bonus from giants to dragons, change their bonus to Craft checks for a +2 bonus on Knowledge (Architecture, Engineering & Dungeoneering) and Profession (Miner), and gain the Heat Endurance trait.

Dream Dwarves are a mystical, sagely dwarven subrace introduced in Races of Stone. These dwarves lack the inherent craftsmanship or warlike skills of their kin, but are valued for their innate magical powers and spiritual connection to the earth. Dream Dwarves trade their -2 Charisma for -2 Dexterity, increase their Darkvision to 90 feet, and trade their racial saving bonuses, Craft bonus, Appraise bonus, attack roll bonus and dodge bonus for +1 Caster Level with Divination type spells, a +1 racial bonus to Diplomacy checks against Earth subtype creatures, and the ability to see ethereal creatures at will. Additionally, their favored class is Druid rather than fighter.

Frost Dwarves, introduced in the Planar Handbook, are a race of planetouched dwarves native to the icy layers of the Abyss. The ability modifiers for these dwarves is +4 Constitution, -4 Charisma, they gain the Extraplanar subtype, their Darkvision increases to 120 feet, and they gain Cold Resistance 10, +4 to Move Silently checks, Light Sensitivity, and the ability to cast Chill Touch and Obscuring Mist 1/day each at Charater Level +2 (minimum of 3rd). Needless to say, these dwarves get a Level Adjustment of +1.

Earth Dwarves are, as the name suggests, planetouched dwarves with earth elemental ancestry, and are yet another Unearthed Arcana variant. They get +2 Strength and -2 Dexterity on top of the normal dwarf ability modifiers, their Stonecunning modifier is +4, their Stability modifier is +8, they change the target of their racial attack bonus from orcs & goblinoids to creatures with the Air subtype, their Appraise & Craft bonuses increase to +4, and their racial saving bonus against spells is replaced with a -2 racial penalty on saving throws vs spells, spell-like abilities or supernatural abilitys that either have the Air subtype or come from a creature with the Air subtype.

Glacier Dwarves are, like Badlands Dwarves, a second attempt at an environmental based dwarven subrace in the wake of those done by Unearthed Arcana. They're closer to the Innugaakalikurit than the Arctice Dwarves are, but still not a perfect conversion. Appearing in the Frostburn sourcebook, Glacier Dwarves replace Stonecunning with Icecunning (same thing, but using ice instead of stone), change their Appraise & Craft bonuses to applying to ice, snow & other frostfell materials, trade their save bonus vs. poison for a +2 racial bonus on saves vs. cold damage & cold-based effects, can comfortably survive in conditions ranging from "severe cold" to "hot" without needing a Fortitude save, and are always considered to have the Cold Endurance feat in order to meet prerequisites for feats & prestige classes.

Gold Dwarves appeared in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and represent either dwarves at the very height of their power, the ancestral form of dwarves, or some other form of deep-dwelling dwarf-kin. The only real changes they make are suffering -2 Dexterity intead of -2 Charisma, and changing their attack roll bonus target to aberrations instead of orcs & goblinoids.

Jungle Dwarves are the last of the environmental variants introduced in Unearthed Arcana. These dwarves lose Stonecunning, downgrade their Darkvision to Low-light Vision, trade their Craft bonus for a +2 racial bonus on Heal, Knowledge (Nature), Spot & Survival checks, and switch their favored class from Fighter to Ranger.

Seacliff Dwarves are coastal dwarves introduced in the Stormwrack sourcebook, and are essentially an alternative to Aquatic Dwarves, like the Badlands & Glacier Dwarves before them. These dwarves lose their racial attack roll bonus and instead gain the Strong Swimmer racial trait; +2 racial bonus on Swim checks and the ability to hold their breath for twice their Constitution score.

Innugaakalikurit, or Faerunian Arctic Dwarves, appeared in the Races of Faerun sourcebook. These have the normal abilities of a dwarf, even though their traditional lore says they shouldn't have Stonecunning, but their ability scores are +4 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution and -2 Charisma, they are Small instead of Medium, they are Immune To Cold, their Favored Class is Ranger, and they have a Level Adjustment of +2.

Urdunnir are Planetouched, or at least very magical, dwarves native to the Forgotten Realms. Presented as a PC race in Races of Faerun, Urdunnir have all the normal dwarven racial abilities, but their saving throw bonus against Poison is increased to +4, they have the Stone Walk supernatural ability, can cast Stone Shape and Shape Metal, both at-will and with the power of an 8th level sorcerer, their favored class is Expert, and their Level Adjustment is +4.

Wild Dwarves are feral dwarves native to the tropical jungles of Chult in the Forgotten Realms and appeared in Races of Faerun alongside the Innugaakalikurit and the Urdunnir. These dwarves are Small, are affected by medium/heavy armor & loads, replace the standard dwarven weapon familiarity trait with free prociency in the handgun and blowgun, have the Poison Use trait, have Fire Resistance 5, have a +3 bonus to saves against poison, are immune to Wild Dwarf Knockout Poison, have a +4 racial bonus to saving throws against disease, lack the Stonecunning trait and the bonuses to Appraise and Craft, and their Favored Class is Barbarian.

Pathfinder[edit]

Pathfinder, for obvious reasons, mostly used the 3.5 version of the dwarf, but tweaked it, predominantly with the idea of variant racial traits you could swap in for more unusual versions of the dwarf. As a core race, these alternate traits are everywhere; the Advanced Race Guide, Inner Sea Races, even Horror Adventurers had a few dwarfin variant abilities.

+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
Medium
Slow & Steady: Base speed is 20 feet, but medium/heavy armor and loads don't affect this speed.
Darkvision 60 feet
Defensive Training: +4 Dodge bonus to AC against Giants.
Greed: +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks made to determine the price of nonmagical goods that contain precious metals or gemstones.
Hatred: +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against Orcs and Goblinoids.
Hardy: +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells and spell-like abilities.
Stability: +4 racial bonus to Combat Maneuver Defense against Bull Rush and Trip when standing on solid ground.
Stonecunning: +2 racial bonus on Perception checks made to notice unusual stonework, and can make a check to notice such things whenever they pass within 10 feet of them.
Weapon Familiarity: Proficient with Battleaxe, Heavy Pick and Warhammer, treat any weapon with "Dwarven" in its name as a Martial Weapon.

4th Edition[edit]

Iconic, well-defined, and readily adapted, the dwarf took pride of place in the very first Player's Handbook, where they were the second PC race option only because Dragonborn alphabetically precedes them. This version of the dwarf didn't have the flashy racial powers that most other races of the edition had, but emphasized its traditional strengths with lots of racial traits, which made them one of the hardiest races in the game, and yet also surprisingly good at being Clerics, Shamans and Druids.

Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom (or +2 Strength, post Essentials Update)
Size: Medium
Speed: 5 squares (25 feet)
Vision: Low-Light
Skill Bonuses: +2 Dungeoneering, +2 Endurance
Cast-Iron Stomach: +5 racial bonus on saving throws against poison.
Dwarven Resilience: Triggering 2nd Wind only costs you a minor action.
Dwarven Weapon Proficiency: You have proficiency with the throwing hammer and the warhammer.
Encumbered Speed: You ignore the normal movement penalties caused by armor or carrying a heavy load.
Stand Your Ground: You can choose to reduce the effects of all forced movements (pull, push, slide) by -1 square; this can negate an effect that would normally only move you 1 square. Additionally, you can immediately make saving throws against attacks that would knock you prone.

4e also introduced the concept of subraces in two different ways.

Dragon Magazine #383 introduced the Forgeborn subrace for dwarves, representing dwarves whose ancestors hadn't been freed from their slavery to the Primordials before elemental energy had contaminated them, turning them into essentially the dwarven equivalent of genasi. This version of a subrace took advantage of the plethora of feats that 4e characters received. A forgeborn dwarf was defined by taking a normal dwarf and then taking the Forgeborn Heritage feat; this gave them the Elemental Legacy racial power (1/encounter, when you hit an enemy with an attack, inflict +3/tier Acid, Cold, Fire or Lighting damage - your choice of which element) as well as minor resistance to Acid, Cold, Fire and Lightning damage simultaneously. Not much - 2 points of damage resistance, increasing to DR 3 at 11th level and to DR 5 at 21st level.

Of course, the racial feat Iron Hide Resilience boosted this damage resistance to 5 points per character tier; still inferior to the fire resistance of tieflings or the cold resistance of winterki eladrin, but hey, you're getting four types of damage resistance for the price of two feats; don't get greedy!

Other forgeborn feats include Ancestral Wrath (+1 speed when bloodied), Keen Hatred (using Elemental Legacy grants a +2 bonus to your next attack roll), Wrathful Legacy (Elemental Legacy recharges the first time you are bloodied), Improved Legacy (boosted damage with Elemental Legacy) and Wrathful Resurgence (gain temporary hitpoints when you use 2nd Wind).

The forgeborn also have a racial Paragon Path in the Fireforged Champion, which is very focused on withstanding and dishing out fire damage - very reminiscent of the azers.

The Neverwinter campaign setting was much simpler, instead presenting alternate racial traits that a dwarf could simply "swap in". Gold Dwarves could replace Cast-Iron Stomach with Cast-Iron Mind (+5 racial bonus to saves against ongoing psychic damage) and could change their dwarven racial proficiency from hammers to the war pick and the maul. Shield Dwarves were even simpler; they could trade their racial proficency with hammers to proficiency with either handaxes & battleaxes or light shields.

5th Edition[edit]

Your trusty dwarf, of course, once again appeared in the Player's Handbook, with the Mountain Dwarf and Hill Dwarf subraces. The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide added the Duergar subrace as well.

  • Ability Score: +2 Constitution
  • Typical Alignment: Favor Lawful Good.
  • Size: Medium. Listed as being between 4 and 5 feet tall, and average 150 pounds.
  • Speed: 25 feet
  • Darkvision
  • Dwarven Resilience: Advantage on saving throws against poison, and resistance against poison damage.
  • Dwarven Combat Training: Proficiency with Battleaxe, Handaxe, Light Hammer, and, of course, Warhammer.
  • Free tool proficiency with choice of smith's, brewer's or mason's tools.
  • Stonecunning: Double Proficiency bonus when making history checks on the origin of stonework.
  • Languages: Common and Dwarvish.

Of course, subraces get their own bonuses.

Hill Dwarf

  • Ability Score: +1 Wisdom
  • Dwarven Toughness: Free +1 max hp every level.

Mountain Dwarf

  • Ability Score: +2 Strength (only subrace which allows you to start with two +2 bonuses)
  • Dwarven Armor Training: Free Proficiency with Light and Medium Armor.

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide also gave info on the Duregar subrace, the dour, evil cousins of the dwarves that inhabit the Underdark.

Duregar

  • Ability Score: +1 Strength
  • Superior Darkvision (120 feet max instead of plain Darkvision's 60 feet)
  • Duregar Resilience: Advantage on saves against illusions and being charmed or paralyzed.
  • Duregar Magic: Free Enlarge/Reduce at 3rd level, and free Invisibility at 5th level, but has an interesting limitation: they cannot be cast when you are in direct sunlight. The spells still work while you're in sunlight if you cast them somewhere else, but while you're in the sun, nada. Both spells recharge on a long rest, and use Intelligence as their spellcasting Modifier.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity: Disadvantage on attack rolls and Perception checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you're trying to perceive, is in direct sunlight.
Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races
Basic Set: Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human
Creature Catalog 1: Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
Creature Catalog 2: Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
Creature Catalog 3: Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie - Triton
Dragon Magazine: Cay-Man - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
Hollow World: Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan
Krugel Orc - Kubbit - Malpheggi Lizard Man
Known World: Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-Kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Races
Player's Handbook: Dragonborn - Drow - Dwarf - Elf - Gnome
Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Dungeon Master's Guide: Aasimar - Eladrin
Elemental Evil Player's Guide: Aarakocra - Genasi - Goliath - Gnome (Svirfneblin)
Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide: Duergar - Ghostwise Halfling - Svirfneblin - Tiefling Variants
Unearthed Arcana: Changeling - Minotaur - Revenant - Shifter - Abyssal Tiefling- Warforged
Volo's Guide to Monsters: Aasimar - Bugbear - Firbolg - Goblin - Goliath - Hobgoblin - Kenku
Kobold - Lizardfolk - Orc - Tabaxi - Triton - Yuan-Ti Pureblood
Plane Shift: Amonkhet: Aven - Khenra - Minotaur - Naga
Plane Shift: Innistrad: Human
Plane Shift: Kaladesh: Aetherborn - Dwarf - Elf - Human - Vedalken
Plane Shift: Zendikar: Elf - Goblin - Human - Kor - Merfolk - Vampire
The Races of Pathfinder
Player's Handbook: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Advanced
Race Guide:
Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
Bestiaries 1: Aasimar - Drow - Gnoll - Goblin - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Merfolk - Tengu - Tiefling
2: Fetchling - Dhampir - Grippli - Ifrit - Oread - Sylph - Undine
3: Catfolk - Ratfolk - Suli - Vanara - Vishkanya
4: Changeling - Gathlain - Kasatha - Kitsune - Nagaji
Samsaran - Trox - Wayang - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
5: Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid
Ghoran - Orang-Pendak - Reptoid - Shabti
6: Monkey Goblin - Munavri - Naiad - Rougarou - Yaddithian
Inner Sea Races: Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
The Races of Starfinder
Core Races: Android - Human - Kasatha - Lashunta - Shirren - Vesk - Ysoki
Expanded Races: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling

Dwarf Fortress[edit]

This is how Dwarves appear in Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarven Physiology[edit]

KHALID OAKDICK, BEARDKING OF THE KINGBEARD CLAN!

Dwarves typically consist of seventeen main organs: The beard (yes, female dwarves have these too), the boozehole, the gratuitous Celtic accent, 13 livers and an axe. Many outsiders erroneously dismiss a dwarf's axe as an implement of the most common trade, but recent experiments probing into dwarven society (and consuming dwarven booze) have revealed that it is in fact a rare biological example of a fully detachable organ.

The beard is used primarily for attracting mates, and probably something to do with converting argon gas into vitamin C. I mean, these guys live on mead and rocks, so they gotta get antioxidants somehow, right? We'll just go with that. The only notable thing to remember about dwarf beards is that when a pansy human and a dwarf argue over whether or not shaved chicks are better, they're probably not on the same page. The thirteen livers do the same thing as a human liver, just thirteen times better (equaling 169 times the alcohol). Maybe other shit, too, but dwarves don't have time for boring biology crap. Moving on. Boozeholes are for booze. There's other shit you can throw in there too, but those things mostly just act like a sponge, hampering the booze-absorption process. If a particularly whiny dwarf feels the need to "not starve to death," he can fill his empty boozehole with some nice non-porous rocks, or maybe a stack of five wine and rendered fat biscuits if he's really desperate. The accent is used for interrace relations, since dorfs typically spice up their sentences with foul swears and oaths the incomprehensibility of the accent is the only reason a dorf-notdorf alliance was ever made.

Dwarven Mating Practices[edit]

The dwarven male touches the female and promptly impregnate them. She then immediately falls in love with the dwarf male (love was originally something created for record keeping but has evolved into the ability to share one's room) and has a baby nine months later. Then the baby dies on a goblin's -copper spear-

Dwarfs do not interbreed with the other races. Dwarf sperm is too corrosive to fertilize any woman that doesn't have +4 save vs. poison, and dwarven wombs don't even acknowledge the weak spoor of even the most fecund of human gigolos. The only half-dwarf is a bisected dwarf, likely from an unfortunate axeident.

Dwarven Society[edit]

Dwarven cities, called "fortresses", are underground. Now, we're not talking nice little hillside retreats full of plenty of free cake and fat, chain-smoking midgets. I'm looking at you, "Ring Bearer." No, dwarves live in mountains they carve out themselves with their bare fucking hands. I kid you not. Those *copper picks* are purely status symbols.

Your average dwarf spends his free time wishing he had more to do or, ideally, has no free time. If a dwarf ain't busy building something huge, epically awesome and dwarfy, he ain't happy. Idleness in dwarves has been medically proven to result in depression, erectile dysfunction, chronic sobriety, facial pattern baldness and pointy ears.

Other honorable pursuits among dwarves include digging, metalworking, stoneworking, brewing booze, killing goblins, killing kobolds, thinking of new ways to kill giants, tragically neglecting safety protocol when visited by elven liaisons, swindling gullible elves and humans, and drinking contests.

Dwarven politics are a funny thing, even if they are obviously superior to all that sissy tall people "let's talk about our problems" bullshit. Upon visiting a dwarven stronghold, you will notice a perhaps disproportionate number of dwarves running around draped in purple velvet and pimpin' bling. Absolutely fucking useless.

No, if you want to find the guy in charge, whip out your measuring stick, 'cause the largest beard you come across is likely attached to the boozehole giving the orders. The owners of these beautiful, shaggy neck blankets often go for bonus points by decking out their beards with thick braids and two-ton cast iron phallic symbols and whatever else their presumably dwarfy square jaws can support. If you need a question answered, these are the guys who'll tell you "no, fuck you, we're doing it my way."

Dwarven Religion[edit]

Dwarves will build elaborate floodgates and use them as weapons, even as their clothes rot from their bodies.

In a time before time, the god of blood (no, not that one... at least probably not) created the universe on a colossal anvil, and then molded the first dwarves with earth, blood, and magma. He also molded the other races out of mud and dust, but he was less than pleased with them. Then He sat back, and as the universe grew older and more peaceful, He grew bored.

He called his children around Him, and said. "Dwarves. This universe grows boring. I will remake it on the forge of creation, unless it becomes less boring"

The dwarves were obviously terrified. And then Urist, the firstborn and the bravest of them, had an idea. He asked His god how could they possibly make the universe less boring for Him.

So He gave His chosen people, the dwarves, their holy mission: to make this world a world of everlasting conflict, so He may escape divine boredom. He gave them their tools of war : the axe, the hammer, the floodgate and the lever, so they may shed blood and magma in His name.

Dwarves worship the stone and earth that surrounds them. Each strike of the pick is a psalm, and each tunnel is a sacrament, and the miner is the dwarves's priest.

Dwarves worship the fiery magma that they were made of. Magma is a purifying force and therefore they pour it on elves, kobolds, goblins and other less worthy creatures.

Dwarves also worship blood, as one of the elements of life, and shed the blood of lesser creatures because it pleases Him, else the universe will be set upon the anvil of creation to be reforged.

Everything a dwarf does is to please their god of blood.

The song of the pick and of the battle axe is music to His ears. The magma-charred corpse of an elf is food to His hunger. The spilled lifeblood of goblins is drink for His insatiable thirst.

PRAISE ARMOK! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

Historical Comparison[edit]

On the whole Dwarves across fiction tend to have the following tendencies...

  • Are typically employed in metal related artisanry rather than as agricultural workers
    • Additionally in fantasy settings with technology on higher level (warhammer fantasy is a good example) Dwarves are typically the ones with the most advanced. If any one has gun powder, they do.
  • Tend to live in tightly-knit relatively insular communities and have interconnected extended families.
  • Despite that, these communities work in conjunction and are dependent on other peoples (ale is made from barley, which - like all plants - tends not to grow well at the bottom of a mine without sunlight) which generally outnumber them, trading their metalworks and other products in exchange for food.
  • While they can speak the languages of others that surround them quite well, they usually use their own language amongst themselves
  • Are conservative (in that their society is the way that they like it, thank you very much, and seldom change it, if ever)
  • Tend to put a great amount of emphasis on the written word
  • Often have their communities come under assault by stupid brutish morons
  • Grow long beards (depending on the universe, women included)
  • Generally are a declining race having suffered some disaster at their golden age and are slowly dying off.

As such, if one thinks in terms of historical analogues, Dwarves come across as early Germanics, Australians and, in a more Tolkien-influenced work, Jews. Tolkien said that his "dwarves of course are quite obviously - wouldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic." The comparison was largely a stylistic choice - semitic languages are quite different in structure from Indo-European languages (being a linguist, he put a lot of thought into his made-up languages), while thematically, the loss of Erebor and the exile of Thorin's people resembled the plight of the post-Roman Jewish diaspora. Of course, some people suggest that the real reason for the comparison was racist in nature - both dwarves and the stereotype of Jews are that they're greedy. Tolkien however made it a point that his characters, while just as fallible as any other human being, were ultimately heroic and honorable.

On the other hand, much of Dwarven culture, like most aspects of Tolkien's major races, derives from early Germanic culture - Tolkien's Dwarves are even named after Dwarves from Norse mythology; nearly all dwarven names come directly from the Norse Eddas. In many fantasy universes, they tend to ape Scandinavian culture much more directly, which is fitting, considering the mythology they come from. Even if there are already Scandinavian people in the setting.

Another common historical analogue are Celts, in particular Scots, living in clans, in the mountains, full of berserker rage when angered, hospitable when not, gruff, wear horned helmets, are drunkards, short, grippy with money, brew the strongest ales, skilled artificers and usually starters of anything remotely resembling industrialization, are fond of Celtic knotwork and of course speak in Scottish accents like many depictions of dwarves.

Of note is is the spelling: Dwarves VS Dwarfs. when in doubt, look for how it's used in the setting involved. Nearly everyone uses the first spelling when regarding the fantasy creature. The Dwarfs variation is mainly used in astronomy, biology (dwarfism), the Snow White animation movie, and the WFB race. The latter is actually the original, more common version. Tolkien viewed 'dwarfs' rather unsightly, and coined 'dwarves' (paralleling elf-> elves, and wolf -> wolves. Related: milf -> milves). Usually, Dwarf is the singular, Dwarves is the plural.

The most common name for a dwarf on /tg/, however, is Dorf (plural: Dorfz), which results from psudophonetics, as do many /tg/ related words and memes.

Monstergirls?[edit]

LamiaMonstergirl.pngThis article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.

Whether or not dwarves can be monstergirls is an issue of.. some debate on /tg/. See, whereas the elf races have always been portrayed as full of beautiful women, and female elves are the archetype for elfin characters, dwarves are considered an incredibly masculine race; can you name a dwarf character who wasn't male? Add to it the ancient lore of dwarven women being bearded, and female dwarves have generally been in the sad position of being considered less inherently fuggable than female goblins and orcs.

But this is /tg/, and fantasy has moved on. As editions have gone past, D&D dwarves have gotten hotter and sexier, their bearded past consigned to one particular comic relief section of fantasy and the desks of the most hardcore grognards, and /tg/ has slowly begun to open to the idea that dwarf women can be hot.

The monstergirl dwarf typically fills what is called the shortstack niche; small yet truly curvaceous women (which was actually the canon direction D&D 4e took for them) who let their stature work for them in terms of being sexy. The modern iteration of the dwarf monstergirl often incorporates aspects of either the musclegirl (a strong yet sexy woman), the ladette (a hot woman who nonetheless acts like one of the guys), or both; the end result is a hard-playing hot woman who will sit on the couch with you, nestled neatly into your lap as she cheers on the wrestling or the monster trucks of whatever, eating spicy wings and chugging beer by the gallon, and who'll then drag you into bed and fuck you until the bed breaks afterwards, all whilst being the perfect height you can pick her up and carry her around. Or she can give you a blowjob without even needing to bend down.

Or there's the Japanese take on the idea, where your female dwarf is a spunky, super-strong loli with an elaborately oversized hairdo, as seen in hentai like Queen's Blade.

A third option is the dirndl-clad traditional lady, often carrying several large tankards of ale for the thirsty men. This plays more to their German roots and caters to an entirely different kind of taste. Incidentally, male dwarves wearing the tracht that form the counterparts of said dresses (think something like lederhosen) is rather uncommon.

See Also[edit]

Gallery[edit]