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Author Topic: What it is to be a Dwarf  (Read 4498 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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What it is to be a Dwarf
« on: October 22, 2012, 01:35:11 PM »
There are plenty of people who will tell you what it means to be a dwarf. You'll hear quotes about axes, fires roaring in stone hearths, red meat on the bone and huge amounts of ale.

The folk are full of Elfs**t.

Where to start, the best place is with the name Dwarf.

We aren't dwarves. A dwarf is a human who is half sized. We are not half your size human, you are twice our height. When we speak of going to war and killing giants, we are talking about going to war with humans, and killing humans. Do you understand this? There are few enough True Giants left in this world, and we have little quarrel with them and theirs. We are dwarves because it is easier for your soft skull to hold than trying to explain to each of your great blubbering idiots that we are the Dhuer, the Dhuergh, the Svartalfar, the Duergar, Uliduer, Draenuer, Karak and Barak, Khazad, Augrim, Naugrim, and Stonekin. But, no, to you humans, we are ALL dwarves.

Now the matter of weaponry, we all tromp about with axes. We carry no more axes than any other kin or kith. You want to know what weapon we use the most? We use the best weapon for the job. We use hammers and swords, spears, and crossbows. We are not favorable towards traditional bows and arrows, those are weapons for longer limbed races. But with some metal and wood and a bit of twine we make crossbows that do well enough for our needs. Hammers and axes we do use, and most often we use them against your kind Long Legs. You clad yourselves in armor, and the best tool for cracking the steel to get the meat inside is the ax and the hammer. When we go to war with the greenskins, we use spears and swords because they seldom wear more than leather armor, if that. They are braver than your kind. Not smarter, but certainly more courageous.

Fires in stone hearths, because we all live in great mountain lairs, tunneled out like great ant mounds. Now there are certainly great dwarven fortresses, hollowed out mountains, yes. But they are castles that just happen to be inside mountains. By your own logic all humans live in giant stone towers. Our kind live in cities and towns like almost all other kith and kin do. We farm, we raise animals, we make things. We don't all live in dirty holes in the ground, nor do we have any magical connection to the earth. We know it, we know it well. Guess what, elves know the forests but that doesn't make them half tree. They just know their land, and we spend more time closer to the earth. We do mine, we do treasure metal and jewels, but who doesn't? Oh we are hoarders of wealth and precious things. Tell you something else there, name me a race that doesn't treasure gold. Tell me what kith doesn't understand the value of gems, doesn't know that silver and platinum aren't valuable?

When you make claims about how wealthy my kind are, all you show is your own greed, your own empty hands.

On to red meat. That goes back to raising animals. My kind raise animals for labor, for their products, for their meat. Red meat, yes we do enjoy that. But do you know what we prefer above that? Fresh fruit. Fresh fruit and hot bread. The lands we live in are not the most productive in terms of growing things. The giants drove us from the green lands years ago. That would be the humans, your kind. We seldom waste what space we have on things like fruit trees. Instead we grow grains, wheats and winter wheats. Do you know what comes from wheat?

Beer comes from wheat. Without the fields, without the farmers and their oxen tilling the fields, there would be no beer. We don't drink ale, ale is a top down wild fermented beer. That is what elves and humans drink, spicing it with various things since they can't appreciate something for what it is. Everything has to be dressed up, covered, spiced, spiked, flavored and fussed with. My kind prefer lager, its fermented from the bottom up, by the yeasts we select, and then it's stored. Our lager can keep for a long time, while your ale sours in a matter of days.

Then there is the issue of our women. The lusts of the Giants are well known, aren't they. A giant will @!#$ anything that moves, be it another giant, an elf, or my kin. Where do you think the Halflings came from? They are the bastards of humans and my kind. Yet, so many humans assume ridiculous things, that our women are bearded, or just as ugly as we. Our women are to our men as your women are your men. Seems so simple doesn't it. I'm going to tell you a horrible secret, the same applies to the greenskins. The only thing you get right there is that they are green skinned.

So there you have it Giant. We are who we are.


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Offline Strolen

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 04:48:03 AM »
Hear, hear!!

<Bangs full flagon of ale on table repeatedly, sloshing the contents everywhere>

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Offline axlerowes

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2012, 07:13:46 AM »
The dwarves of the dwarven guild are all retro-fits or modifications.   The zeitgeist of  on-line and table top role-playing has given us a very Tolkenesque idiom.   Therefore, the worlds and plots we create are much more accessible when tuned to match the wavelength of this Jungian archetype of a dwarf.  By full filing the requirements of genre we can develop an easy repartee with the other members of the table and other fans of the ilk. However, I hope we are not inspired to role-play or write because of a sequacious connection to the material.  I assert we are not ritualists.  Having reconnoitered the essential dwarf, we found more depth than limits.  The delineation of the dwarf supplies us with a small parcel of what a dwarf is and a large scope for what a dwarf is not, but more than anything it gives us an end point: our goal.  We know what we should have at the end of our creation, but how do we get their?  "How" is the core of genre fiction.  In your game and your writing ask not what a dwarf is, but what made a dwarf a dwarf.  We will know a dwarf when we see it.   Let your yarns of dwarvness take us home.  Great home comings are not about what you expected to fine, but they were made when you saw something or smelled something that was always there, that you were always aware of, but you never appreciated, or you had forgotten but on this day you saw it anew. 
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 12:47:27 PM by axlerowes »

Offline axlerowes

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 10:49:27 AM »
Also the absence of gnome

Offline Murometz

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 10:54:42 AM »
Feel the need to chime in...

See, I always (since the late 70's) thought of gnomes as dwarven cousins, a branch so to speak, and NEVER as "tinkering" effin kenders.

Just had to get that off my chest.
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Offline axlerowes

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 11:01:40 AM »
An interesting suggestion, I guess from the folklore stand point elves, gnomes, goblins, kobolds and dwarves could be interchangeable. 

Offline Cheka Man

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 01:12:02 AM »
Tell it like it is. :)

Offline Dossta

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 11:31:21 PM »
You know, statistically speaking, 6 out of 7 dwarves aren't happy. ;)

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013, 04:44:01 AM »
Would these dwarves be living above ground then? The whole red meat thing, if it's below ground, I always figured they would eat insects, bats and rats, maybe the odd subterranean worm or the likes. Makes em a bit more exotic at least. Not to mention there isn't a whole lot of grass below ground...

I've always hated the fact that there seem to be so little separating the various fantasy races, other than appearances and a gimmick or two. But that's the thing, you can't move too far away from what makes a bipedal intelligent humanoid, then you end up with something that's unplayable. Take a look at 4E, there isn't a single playable creature larger than Medium sized, heck, in 4E, even the dwarves count as Medium.
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Offline Strolen

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Re: What it is to be a Dwarf
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2013, 11:47:37 AM »
That is an interesting point. And eating bugs and rats makes waaaaay too much sense. Maybe potatoes and mushrooms? But that is a super valid point. What an opportunity missed with all the fantasy meals described through the ages!

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