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September 25, 2012, 9:56 pm

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Dwarven proverbs, sayings, quotes, anecdotes and euphemisms


Looking for Dwarven proverbs, sayings, euphemisms, quotes, and anecdotes? We are too!  Please help the fledgling Dwarven Guild in its infancy stages! Looking to make a list of 101+ with the help of our beardless brethren!

1. Drinking contests with humans are unbearable. They drink, they collapse, and we have to drag them back to their homes. The next day they never remember losing.

2. Pride and Anger are good for the soul

3. We can’t bring a troll to the fire, but we can bring the fire to the troll

4. Never turn down an ale, who knows if it may be your last

5. We do not fornicate wildly like the humans and hares. Thus, our children are born ever so rarely. But when a dwarf *is* born, the very mountains shudder and the skies spit lightning! (Excerpt taken from the Ironbook, which speaks of what it means to be a dwarf. All dwarves can recite the passages verbatim from an early age.)

6. Ten seconds more…(and I will smash ye into nothingness!) A popular quote attributed to a legendary dwarven warrior. Now used euphemistically, “ten seconds more” implying, I’m losing my patience, and you are about to feel my wrath. Good tip to back off, if you ever hear a dwarf say that to you in the tavern one night.

7. A pebble will stay dry inside, no matter how long it is submerged in a pool of water. (perservere)

8. Her beard is winking at me

9. Leave iron to rest before you hammer it

10. The smallest pebble was once the biggest stone, the biggest stone was once bigger.

11. Guard your life, guard your gold, guard your beard. In that order. (a popular saying among clan-less, traveling dwarves)

12. You are softer than sandstone and drier than talc (an obviously disparaging remark)

13. Wherever there are elves, there are lies

14. “A hundred able dwarves…” As in, give me a hundred able dwarves and I could conquer the empire, or, give me a hundred able dwarves and I would build a city upon this mound in a fortnight! And so on. Used to denote the solid reliability and can-do attitude of each and every dwarf.

15. Cave-toads speak little, but when they do, listen.

16. Never answer a question when you’re dreaming (implying superstitious fear of witchcraft)

17. “We still hone the axe" (the full expression being, “We still hone the axe which slew your kin. Tis’ still sharp and ever-ready”) A warning the dwarves will use—we still hone the axe—to denote a second or third attack on goblins or orcs who didn’t learn their lessons the first time the dwarves attacked.

18. Schist! (a poor, flaky mineral—the equivalent of saying S**t!)

19. The Humans have a saying. The nail that sticks out gets hammered. We have a saying too. Shoddy work! Not a single nail should be sticking out.

20. I swear by my forge (obviously a serious oath)

21. You can kill a dwarf, but you can never vanquish one

22. Nothing a hammer can’t solve

23. It is easy to fool a goblin, but even easier to kill one. (Don’t bother with complex solutions, when simple ones will do)

24. The best place to hide something precious is in your beard. (Because no one will think to look in the obvious place)

25. Evil breeds in the guts of the lazy

26. Rest your shields, lean on stones, listen and always remember, long are the arms and legs of men, yet still longer, the Dwarven members! (a battlefield limerick meant to relieve stressed-out dwarves, usually exclaimed by leaders and commanders whenever the outlook is otherwise grim)

27. Touching is believing (as opposed to seeing)

28. The stones will sing if you let them (do be quiet)

29. Marriage is like an anvil. It is always there. It is solid. It is quiet. Like a husband. (Dwarven matrons have been overheard telling their daughters)

30. Dwarven women are like axes. As dangerous from the back as from the front

31. The first prisoners always killed are the cowards. Only then, the traitors. (being cowardly is very, very bad)

32. The hungriest troll will eat (implying that the more desperate and motivated enemies can sometimes prevail)

33. A spear is not a dwarven weapon, but it will kill all the same (in times of need, improvise)

34. A pebble will roll, but so will a boulder (don't underestimate the power of elbow-grease)

35. Axes and hammers have slain many more, than swords and spears have slain. (a dig at "other races"--humans mainly-- and a testament to the ideal dwarven weapons)

36. The more goblins there are, the easier they are to kill. (famous quote attributed to King Gruen Steelbutter. Supposedly he uttered these words, seconds before collapsing an entire cavern system upon a hapless "goblin city" of thousands.)

37. He barely has a beard, what can he know? 

38. Dragons never bother the Dwarves. They just want to compare hoards. (the dwarves are not resentful of the wealthy)

39. One meal a day, but make that one a feast (Dwarves tend to eat rarely, but do possess a gluttonous streak, and will often consume the equivalent of three meals in one sitting.)

40. Have you ever seen a worm fidget? (often spoken between dwarves at those rare times when they attend human or elven events, where dancing is involved.)

Additional Ideas (7)

41. Dwarven women are like a good hammer. Always ready for work, and just as able to smash a head as hammer a sword.

42. Only a fool tries to poison a dwarf. Our womans cooking could kill an Ogre, your poison is dressing to us.

43. You can't milk a stone for water, but you can crush a goblins head with one fist. (A saying that states never try to do the impossible and that killing goblins is always possible.)

44. A mead in the hand, is worth two goblin heads in a bush. (Meaning a strong drink is as good as dead goblins any day, and even better with a strong drink while doing it.)

2012-09-25 09:59 PM » Link: [6992#83518|text]
45. Better to walk a dark tunnel. (Approximately "I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole," though the Dwarven phrase carries heavy connotations fell magics.)
46. He's got no dust in his beard. (Said of someone who is a layabout and worthless to society at large.)
47. You're burning your beard. (The equivalent in English would be telling someone their pants are on fire or that their nose has grown a couple inches.)
48 He could steal the braids from your beard. (Used to describe an extremely cunning dwarf.)
49. We've gone down the shaft. (Equal parts "point of no return" and "out of the frying pan and into the fire")

2012-09-26 03:30 PM » Link: [6992#83556|text]

50. Life is a gem. Hard, multifaceted, and tough to hold on to

51. Make sure its charred and bleeding (expression used at one time for troll-slaying, but now refers to making sure any adversary is truly dead or dying. Strangely, also used to describe the dwarven preference for charred and rare meat.)

52. Does he seem chalky to you? (pale, disheveled, nervous)

53. You can tell a lot about a dwarf from his helm

54. Wear the rings you don't mind losing on your fingers (don't exhibit your wealth foolishly)

55. Make the tunnel come to you! (uttered by the legendary dwarven hero, Burdodd the Belcher, to a fellow sapper during an underground assault on an enemy castle, implying the dwarven superiority in sapping and mining.)

56. Clanging axes scare off ghosts. (Another example of dwarven superstitions regarding ghosts and other undead.Loud noise scares the undead.)

57. Touch my gold and die! (A tongue-in-cheek reference to dwarven hoards often being coated with poison, as a last resort at thwarting tomb-robbers)


2012-09-28 01:01 PM » Link: [6992#83601|text]


 Lo, there do I see my father. Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers. Lo, there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call to me. They bid me take my place among them. In the halls of Valhalla (the Forgefather). Where the brave....may live...forever.

If that doesn't give you that dwarven tingle...nuff said.



2012-09-28 04:28 PM » Link: [6992#83607|text]
God I love that part of the movie.

2012-09-30 01:14 AM » Link: [6992#83638|text]

59: The Earth never forgets.....and neither do we.
60: Gold may shine, but steel smashes, rips and chops (Reminding dwarves what is important)
61: Baths are for Elves
62: Ax beats all (also applies to hammer and mattock)
63: Bows are for cowards ( see rule 31 in relation to cowards)
64: Mind your head ( a warning that an area or activity is dangerous, inspired by idiot dwarves who would knock themselves out in a low tunnel)


2012-09-29 09:49 PM » Link: [6992#83632|text]

65. There are no Dwarven ruins (you may find cities abandoned, but dwarven architecture and masonry is too superb for ruins.)


2012-10-18 09:49 PM » Link: [6992#83925|text]

66. Even a beardless one can give good advice. (Everything's possible, you know?)

67. Even the rat has courage in her den. (Equally about desperation giving power, and knowledge of a locale giving defenders an edge.)

68. Sleeping on a stone is easy with a clean conscience.

69. A dog knows who feeds him. (Multiple interpretations, mostly insulting; may be a hint the dwarf knows about your true loyalties, or is about to rent your services. Can also refer to the cunning of some creatures or their surprising loyalty.)

70. The belly is the best clock there is.

71. Can't buy honor in the market. (Obvious meaning; but also a sigh of some itinerant clanless dwarves that wish for a more proper life.)

72. The more you put in, the more it burns. (Feeding the wrong thing, arguments, hate, etc.)

73. Tall stairs make for heavy falls. (About the occasional tendency to overreach.)

74. A dwarf is a dwarf while he keeps his word.

75. Goblins took it. (It won't ever come back, at least not in the same shape.)

76. What he builds with one hand he breaks with the other. (Fool, incompetent, but also someone capable working against himself.)

77. Master of nine crafts makes poverty his tenth. (Can't be good at everything, those who try fail.)

78. Good work praises itself.

79. Keep to the new road and an old friend.

80. Eat the mushrooms but know their names. (Know what you are getting into.)


2014-03-28 06:44 PM » Link: [6992#90887|text]
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Comments ( 15 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted axlerowes
September 25, 2012, 23:14
Only voted
Voted Mourngrymn
September 26, 2012, 7:29
Only voted
September 26, 2012, 11:09
Only voted
Voted Strolen
September 26, 2012, 14:21
I will flip #11 entirely around. I think they are in the wrong order. :)

I love this idea. I would have given a +1 magic sword of fairy slaying to have this list back in the day to add so much flavor to the Dwarves. I want to play one now just so I can chime off some of these!
Voted caesar193
September 26, 2012, 15:20
This reminds me of a terry pratchett quote on dwarves- "When his hands are higher than your head, his groin is level with your teeth."
Voted Pariah
September 26, 2012, 15:31
Silly dwarves, language is for tall people :P
Voted Dossta
September 26, 2012, 19:28
Fantastic. This adds so much flavor to dwarfkind that, for the first time, I am sorely tempted to join your illustrious guild. If I ever play a standard fantasy setting again, this will be on a printed sheet at my elbow.
Voted Riggnarock
September 28, 2012, 0:54
Only voted
Voted Cheka Man
September 28, 2012, 0:58
Only voted
Voted valadaar
September 28, 2012, 21:36
A great list that helps paint the culture of these folk. Ill add some to this list once the fog lifts.

Until then, let your shieild be unsundered and your axe ring true!
Voted Dozus
November 5, 2012, 15:02
Love it! A fine compilation.
Voted manfred
March 28, 2014, 18:45
This needs to be a 101, people!
Voted custos
May 20, 2014, 10:08
Only voted

Link Backs



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Scrasamax

Expansion from the Horse Brass item: Specific Armor charms.

Cooling Touch Charm: protects horse against extreme heat, and fire, magical and mundane

Jove's Favor: tin charm shaped by a lightning bolt that protects a horse primarily from natural lightning, but also potentially from lightning based attacks. In real life, lightning kills quite a few horses and cattle a year.

Hermes' Blessing: gold charm that grants the horse magic resistance, and perhaps immunity to cantrip level magics.

Vulcan's Steed: This large iron charm in epic fashion renders the steed invulnerable to iron weapons. Such things clatter off of the animal's hide like twigs.

Ideas  ( Items ) | June 7, 2004 | View | UpVote 0xp

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