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Subverting dwarves


Dwarves represent a "race" of little people and they are the only "race" of little people I have.
Similarities with the Norse myth dwarves or Tolkien's dwarves are in name only.
Dwarf is used a epithet and a noun for short people and animals, for example dwarf elephants.


- Dwarves are not the underground race, demons are the underground race (not red horny devils, more like orcs).
- Not all dwarves have facial hair.
- The climate they inhabit ranges from Mediterranean climate to tropical climate like Indonesia.
- A good portion of dwarven population lives in a pastorialist society where shepherds and goatherds are a dominant class (Tolkien did not had the idea of making dwarves self-sufficient, but I have), therefore they have a way of feeding themselves, unlike LotR dwarves who need to trade with humans and elves to obtain food. Also those who live near the sea have access to fish.
- The majority of the population of dwarves could live on islands and island archipelagoes and that could explain short stature, see Insular dwarfism or Homo floriensis on Wikipedia.

I am curious why exactly did living on a island make species such as Homo floriensis short?

Any more ideas?
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Myth Weaver
I don't think it is so much short as small.
And I don't know definitively why dwarfism of species sometimes occurs on islands but I think it has to do with food supply and the environment. It takes [proportionally?] more food to keep a big thing alive than a small one. So if there is not enough food for a big thing it will die but a small one may survive. And also if the environment doesn't suit being big, small may be better. Heavily forested and jungle areas may just be better for smaller more nimble things.


I had a thing where the Dwarves lived in rainforests, built pyramids, were ruled by mortal avatars of nature spirits, could talk to ghosts, battled giants and had plants for hair. But they were still short.
That's the thing: as long as they're short, they can be Dwarves.

Anyways, it's believed that humans having somewhat long legs and standing upright came about as a result of evolving in the savanna/desert/steppes. I can buy that, in a different environment, humans would evolve to be shorter.
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Well, I went with three types. Still, slightly short, not necessarily stocky. The types are Orchard, Nomadic and Delver. And, because I read Mr. Welch's list, I wanted cajun dwarves. So, yes, there are Cajun dwarves. They have more pointed ears and look more then a little like slightly short elves, though, they are Fea. With the facial hair varying a bit.

The Orchard Dwarves:Currently eclipsing the Delvers as the dominant dwarf type. They are slightly migratory, tending the orchards and forests of Eld. Though they move at about a decade to a couple of decades from place to place. Not exactly the most warlike of the dwarf types, this doesn't stop them from having a fair bit of war history. They are also most likely to have the cajun dwarf type. Most likely to be rangers, scouts and healers among the militaries. Nothing set in stone obviously.

The Delvers: Currently the dominant rulers, though so divided over the Triple Alliance, if they weren't always holed up underground, they'd be having a civil war. The most xenophobic of the bunch and more in line with the classic dwarf. They like their ale, they hate their goblins and orcs (and elves, especially drow) and well, pretty much every one else with or without a pulse. Most, any within the White City and their colonies are more lax, leading to the divide in their race at the current time. Thankfully for pretty much everyone involved, they prefer to be holed up. Military wise, they have the contraptions and tinkers and the heavy infantry.

The Nomads: The dwarves with the connection to the Gruff Goats and something of a grudge against the bridge trolls. Think Huns and Mongels, but as dwarves. So war like, they willingly side with the wood elves, if only so they can fight them when the war they joined in on is over. They are currently the least populace of the dwarves, though working on getting it back up. Their grudge with the bridge trolls has lessened some, they still won't pay the troll toll without putting up a row. Obviously, the calvary for the armies. With goat archers and heavy calvary.

And these are mine, for the most part. However, one can find a Delver on a pirate ship as easily as an Orchard type mining. The three categories are just the broadest sort of it and Eld is to subvert fantasy things. Or run away with the cliches.


I think for me, the main things about Dwarves that make me think Dwarf have little to do with size. If it was simply size, why draw a line between Dwarves and Hobbits? Or Dwarves and Gnomes?

For me the main things that make me think Dwarves are -

Craftsmanship - From the earliest myths to just about every modern representation, Dwarves are known as crafters
Conservatism - I think Dwarves are usually presented as a race that clings hard to the traditions of their fathers and often have ancestor worship; also, strict honour laws
Resilience - Both extremely physically tough and insane courage
Beards - Don't you dare take the Dwarves' beards away.


Article Team
The dwarves in my setting are a type of fungus. To be more precise each individual dwarf is the fruit of a specific fungus and belong to that fungus' colony.

For the most part they look like the "traditional" dwarves with their big beards and stocky features.

Initially, the dwarves lived in underground tunnels with no contact with the outside world. However, once the dwarves connected with the humans and began trading, the average life span of the dwarves increased significantly. This gave many dwarves the opportunity to travel and to see the world and explore it for their colony.

When a dwarf is due to expire they return to the fungus they sprouted from and merge with it. When doing this, all of the dwarf's memories is merged with the fungus, and any new dwarf that sprouts from the fungus will have access to those memories. As such, any dwarf will have access to all of the memories of all of the dwarves that came before it. They don't share the memories of current experiences with other living dwarves though.

One of the moral implications of this is that each dwarf is very keen on not bringing shame to themselves, as any dwarf coming after them will have to bear that shame with them. Being a dwarf is serious business.