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Do dwarves need eyes?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Svrtnsse, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    Recently I shared a short piece in the showcase forum, and it began with the following line:

    The dwarves grew under the roots of the mountains. Present since the dawn of time, they remember everything.

    Thinking back on that bit, it got me thinking about how the dwarves developed and evolved down there.
    Down under the mountain, there's no light, so there's no need for them to see, and there's no need for them to have eyes as we know them.

    So, how do they see?

    There are plenty of ways for things in the real world to navigate in complete darkness (citation needed?), so it shouldn't be too hard to come up with something. Then again, it's a fantasy world, so let's add in some magic.

    What if the dwarves use the aether to "see?"
    The ather is the fuel for magic, and it's kind of like a secondary atmosphere,

    In order to use magic, the aether must be manipulated in some way, but what if the dwarves have some kind of sensory organ that interact directly with the aether, kind of like our eye interact with light (if that's how it works?).

    What if the dwarves see with their beards?
    I've already decided they have to have beards. Partially because they're dwarves, and partially to catch and filter the mineral dust they need for sustenance.
    Or maybe the beards serve the same purpose as the big fluffy thing on a microphone - to reduce uptake of wind-noise or something like that. Perhaps they need the beards to avoid sensory overload?

    Also, what if the beards cover their entire head and face on all side, so they're just like a humanoid with big hairy ball on its shoulders.

    Or I could just make them "regular" dwarves and be done with it and no one would bat an eyelid.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    While I love this image, it sounds a bit like Cousin It from The Addams Family. But I love where your thinking is going with this. We're writing a lot of dwarves right now and they're pretty run of the mill (the light under the mountains comes from fire and bioluminescence). This sounds like it's leading to a very interesting take. I can see your dwarves using the aether to gauge the temperature of their forges by the flame's color, which is kind of how we do it traditionally, only they can do it with greater accuracy (assuming you want your dwarves to be smiths).
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  3. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    So a beard made of antennas? I hope for their sakes you don't put any nerves in them, but I like the idea. If you make them partially movable antenna, you could even have the beard be used as a balancing organ, and of course as a cushioning organ if the dwarf happens to slip and fall.

    While you're at it, how would the other senses of a dwarf work? I'd imagine their noses to be long, perhaps snout-like, to allow for air to be filtered of dust more thoroughly (or in your dwarves' cases, catch it for sustenance). And their ears? Echolocation in the deep dark would be a great boon, just look at those floppers bats carry. However if these are the mining type dwarves they might want to protect these ears from the loud noises of their picks, meaning that you could create a type of ear that can close in on itself for protection like a tent flap or a venus fly trap.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    They can always have all blind eyes, though as they come from the earth, might be a bit of problem. Or not. They could use their beards more as whiskers or as you said, a sort of magic thing. Like a divining rod. Let's them find their gold and such.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  5. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    I had to look this up, but from what I'm seeing, it's pretty much what I was thinking, except the beard/hair might not be quite as long. I was thinking waist length at most.
    This is a great idea, and not something I'd considered myself.

    Antennas to me are pretty stiff, and I'm picturing the bear hairs more like actual beards. The principle is kind of the same though.
    I like this, but I don't think it's a way I would go with it, even if it's pretty cool. They might just have prehensile beards, kind of like Bayonetta.
    I was pondering this as well. They could have ears and noses just like you describe, but since they're using the aether to see, they might be able to use it for scents and sounds too.

    This actually brings up another interesting possibility...

    The aether is most easily described as a kind of magic atmosphere, but there's nothing to say it can only exist where there's air. It's everywhere, including within solid objects, like mountains. So if the dwarves can use the aether to see, there's nothin to prevent them from seeing through solid rock, or through anything else that would normally block light.
    As such, they'd be able to tell where in the rock there are precious metals, and they'd be able to find where the easiest digging is.

    Another thing I thought about is how dwarves would appear when traveling the word and meeting the members of the other races. Humans etc might find it a little bewildering to talk to someone with no eyes, or not even a face at all. I was thinking the dwarves could be using hats and glasses to sort of simulate a face. :)
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  6. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    If they are truly underground creatures, without eyes, perhaps a form of clairvoyance would be interesting. Something monkish.

    I suggest this because when you use echolocation for example and all of a sudden you are above ground, you would be extremely lost until you figure things out.

    It could also help in combat, if you have a sort of sensory system that doesn’t revolve around sound. I imagine a city would be a very noisy place, or a combat situation involving several different people.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  7. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    If I remember correctly, in Norse Mythology Dwarves started out as the maggots infesting the corpse of the giant Ymir whose body was turned into the world. That can be used as inspiration for something like this.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.

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