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Your Dwarves

Discussion in 'World Building' started by S.T. Ockenner, Jun 9, 2021.

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  1. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    My dwarves all have facial hair from birth, called their 'Birth Beard' that cannot be shaved off , since it is part of their soul given form. The rest of their beard is made of normal hair. All dwarves* have facial hair, most have long and braided beards. They're short, and tend to have small tails.
    What are your dwarves like?

    *Yes, including women. ALL dwarves.
     
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  2. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    It depends on which setting my ADHD brain is working on at the moment.

    In my Science Fantasy setting Dwarves took to space really well. Adaptation for underground life ensured that they didn't get cabin fever from the tight confines of early space stations or ships and they were generally hardy enough that they had an easier time colonizing planets. While advancing tech eliminated many of these advantages they had enough momentum built up by that point that they were one of the leading races in the galaxy.

    Then the gods went to war with each other and as the heavens burned none of the races of the galaxy were left untouched.

    For the Dwarves in particular their tragedy was a horribly virulent engineered plague that turned the dead into ash statues which collapse at the slightest touch.

    From this great race they were on a slow and tortous decline. Several of their traits developed in a response to this plague. They adopted armored environmental suits to try to protect themselves from the plague and cloning to help combat population loss.

    Finally, recently* a new Dwarven hero has done the impossible and stopped the plague. With something that has defined who they are as a race for so long removed they are left at a crossroads. Where do they go from here?

    *Recently in this case being something like a century ago.
     
  3. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    My dwarfs (I will not use the Tolkien spelling) are nothing more (nor less) than Neanderthals, as is the closely related troll lineage. Sizes vary—the 'classic' dwarf stands four foot tall or so. There are 'wood dwarfs' who are perhaps half that size on up to big trolls that tower over most 'humans.' Most males can grow luxuriant beards but no more so than many humans. Both dwarfs and trolls tend to have big honkers of noses, not unlike their Neanderthal ancestors. They tend (the classic dwarfs) to hide away somewhat in the mountains, which has led to many adopting mining and metal work as a trade but they have no natural proclivity for it. Some remain the hunter-gatherers their forebears were. And, of course, they are somewhat adapted to life in cold climates.

    Although they have no 'magic' in their ancestry, some infusion of human (and maybe Fay) genes over the millennia has led to the very occasional sorcerer/shaman popping up. Culturally, they vary as widely as we do, existing in many places in many worlds, but the classic dwarfs I've slipped into my novels have a paternalistic tribal organization, with many taboos about the roles of male and female.
     
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  4. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    I don't think I've ever used Dwarfs in my Fantasy novels or elves or dragons. I don't even know much about them. But I do enjoy researching mythology and there are other's I have used like Banshee's but I tend to create my own species because they need to fit into their environment.
     
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  5. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    I can definitely vouch for the facial hair and I'm as female as they come!
     
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  6. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    In my work in progress there is a race of what could be called dwarves. Not in the Tolkien or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves sense of the term. They're a race of short people who average around four foot six but a few do become as tall as five feet. In the Tarakan Empire they tend to be called "little islanders" not because of their height but because they are mostly found on small islands. They live in villages run by an elected raja (chief) and a council of awak (crew).

    The culture of "little islanders" is referred to by the Empire as Syndicalist as their raja and awak are elected by the people of the villages and only serve as long as the villagers want them there. The raja and the awak get a higher proportion of food and loot to reflect their responsibilities but their combined proportion of both never amount to more than a quarter.

    "Little islanders" are feared even by the Imperial Navy because they are both very aggressive towards those who aren't "little islanders" and they're excellent pirates. A well-trained pirate crew could seize even a large naval vessel if they have the numbers and appropriate equipment and weapons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
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  7. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Do you have a beard? If so, I am quite glad that you do, since beards are awesome.
     
  8. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    I notice a lot of people making Dwarves beings that evolved from humans or other humanoid Earth species that are similar such as Homo Neanderthalensis. My dwarves are 100% their own species that most certainly did not share any common ancestors with humans (other than apes, I suppose)
     
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  9. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    If I don'y pluck it out! It's not like Gandalf or anything.
     
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  10. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Does it grow into a full beard, or is it just a bit of wispy hair here and there? Because if it can grow into a full on beard, you could try growing it out, and doing crazy things with it- goatees, mustaches, horseshoe mustaches- and I suggest reading beard articles on the internet that will tell you how to groom your beard.
     
  11. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    I wanted them to be able to freely interbreed with humans of (more or less) our sort. Same with the varied races of Fay (elves, goblins, ogres, etc) and the Merfolk.
     
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  12. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    It depends which beard we're talking about.
    Rainbow colours might work nicely
     
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  13. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    My first dwarves were clean-shaven woodworking people who inhabited the hills and their culture was broadly based on Hawaiian culture. Averaged about 4 1/2 feet tall with a stocky built. Very cosmopolitan - often mingling with humans or forming communities in human-dominated nations.

    In my current setting, dwarves are a hairy blue-skinned ape-like off-shoot of proto-humans known for digging trenches and battling giants and/or dragons. Like the orcs and dragons of that setting, they’re long extinct.

    I noticed that even though I tend to like dwarves on a surface level, I don’t find them particularly interesting or much fun to work with. I guess maybe because there’s few elements of dwarves (goofy beards, short, industrious) that can’t be applied to a human culture. Or goblins who have the benefit of being more biologically distinct from humans than dwarves are.
     
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  14. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    "GOOFY"? "Goofy beards"? Do you have something against beards?
    Answered my own question
     
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  15. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I just like my beards a little more understated - reasonable length, no beads or braids. I’m old-fashion like that.
     
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  16. jacksimmons

    jacksimmons Scribe

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    My dwarves are called the Ithen and by the time of most of my stories they are long dead. They were a spacefaring, high-technology race that mined out planets to creat huge installations like O'Neill Cylinders and Dyson Spheres. Most of these installations have fallen to ruin; the Ithen were engaged in a century-spanning war with another ancient alien civilisation called the Qiv'Yar. These beings defeated the Ithen and through regressive evolution engineered them into a slave race, removing much of their higher consciousness, their eyes, mouths, reproductive organs etc. and also made them extremely long lived. When the Qiv'Yar died out, the remains of these twisted slave Ithen were left in their ancient cities, though they are closer to beast than man.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
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  17. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Altearth dwarves are still cooking, but they've made a few appearances so far, so I can say a bit.

    Clan and canton is a phrase often heard. Dwarf families are organized and delineated by their clans, which form the core of their identity. Clans in turn formed into cantons very early, and is the only form of political organization they know or recognize (other than the Empire).

    Equally important, though in a different way, are the ancestors. Dwarves are intensely traditional, and honoring the ancestors is how order and law are kept within clan and canton. They honor old ways and look with deep skepticism upon new: perpetuation over innovation.

    Clans (and cantons) are self-contained and self-sufficient, or so they wish to believe and portray. Of course this isn't really true. They rely on the Empire to keep a more general peace and to serve as a point of appeal. They rely on gnomes for most of their farming and livestock needs, as well as much of the woodwork. But dwarves regard gnomes as an integral part of their society--feet to their hands, as it is sometimes put. Dwarves will build for humans, and will create a work camp for the project. Otherwise, dwarves are rarely found dwelling in human cities.

    Dwarves do not say they do magic. What they create, for themselves or for others, is called a craft, even though a human customer might point to an object and say the dwarf made them a magic hammer. Dwarves don't have much patience for such quibbles. Craft belongs to clan; there are no guilds among dwarves. Crafting involves secrets layered upon secrets, from the individual to the family to the clan (canton is more a political and cultural construct).

    Dwarves harbor ancient mistrust of elves, but can work with them and do not make war with them. They hold a natural affinity for humans and gnomes, and hold nothing but hatred for orcs, trolls, and other wild folk. Dwarves can be ruthless should any of these disrupt a canton, and dwarves willingly serve in human armies that campaign against the Imperium or the Five Kingdoms. But then they go home again.

    Dwarves live a bit longer than humans and are markedly shorter. I'm still not sure how to distinguish them visually otherwise. I'll puzzle that out should it become necessary; otherwise I leave that as an exercise for the reader. <g>
     
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  18. JC Hendricks

    JC Hendricks Acolyte

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    The humanoid species in my world all come from a common ancestor; humanity. The dwarves were bioengineered in an earlier age to terraform hyper gravitic planets. Their short, stout figures helped them cope with the heavier gravity, while their engineering skills were included in their genetic makeup as a type of 'ancestral memory'. Both genders have full beards, and they use them as oxygen scrubbers. Their beards host a plethora of microbial life, fungi, etc that actively clean their oxygen as they breath, and can produce enough oxygen to keep them alive in a vacuum. (There was a post running around years ago about beards functioning as oxygen scrubbers, I just ran with it.) Their young are kept in marsupial like pouches until they have grown enough of a beard to survive on their own.

    After that, they were cursed in the last millenia. Their race is cursed to be unable to grow; their population is controlled by the curse. If more souls are used than are available, they produce a type of evil soulless dwarf. This curse affects their entire culture, and they've developed a lottery system to determine who, if anyone, has to die, and who is legally allowed to reproduce.
     
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  19. Avery Moore

    Avery Moore Scribe

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    The story I'm working on right now is a world where magic is slowly dying and science is taking over. Most of the mythical races are gradually disappearing. For instance, elves eventually stopped breeding and just died out, dragons have been hunted to extinction, and dwarves have become so interbred with humans that they essentially don't exist any more. You just tend to find that humans who live around mountainous regions and notably smaller, stockier and hairier than your average human. :p
     
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  20. Stevie

    Stevie Minstrel

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    I'm still trying to work out why all the dwarves in The Hobbit and LotR movies had Scottish accents (except Thorin, who was obviously from the posh end of town. He's probably from the Bearsden or Morningside part of the clan). I don't remember Tolkien saying anything about that in the books. And I resent the implication that Scottish men are all wee, hairy, beardie guys who spend all their time guzzling ale and hording their loot (although, to be fair, some of that is pretty close to the truth).;)
     
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