April 7, 2011

Dwarves... what to say?

Sometimes I ask people what I should blog about, but then I get suggestions like dwarves.  And not any elaboration on that.  Just: "Dwarves".  And I take it because I really want to write something, I'm just not sure what.

What is there to say about dwarves really?  Well I guess there are a few things...

We need to decide as a nerd collective whether or not dwarven women have beards.  Seriously, I'm tired of this insinuated guessing game.  Many places decide they dont (Dragon Age, Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder) but it's still alluded to time and time again.  Let's get consistent on that.  Either give them beards or have them be beardless.

Dwarves, I think of all the fantasy characters, tend to be the most consistent with how they're perceived.  Elves may possibly be more popular, but they get a reboot from time to time.  Dwarves are almost timeless.  As soon hear dwarf you know immediately they're short and broad and probably making something out of stone/metal, or defending the honor of something.

However, dwarves are the ones you'd least expect in the future.  Maybe because we tie them so close to the earth, that anything above that gets "unbelievable.  I do use that term loosely, since we're talking about fantasy.  But imagining dwarves in space is (funny and) incomprehensible.

Alright, I've rattled on enough aimlessly about dwarves.  Do you all have anything to add?


  1. Dwarves will always be my first choice of race in D&D. I think Dwarven women will have the option to keep their beards or choose tom shave them of just like men (and some times women)shave their beards. As far as Dwarves in space goes they belong there (imo). When ever I play a dwarf I try and hold a grudge against them but we always seem to get on well and work together.


  2. I don't see a lot of value in nailing down the archetypes too firmly. Any fantasy setting is pretty much a collection of cliches at this point, perhaps with some variance (like Privateer Press' Iron Kingdoms/Warmachine interpreting Dwarves somewhat differently, losing the beards entirely.) Defining that set of cliches and using it well is what makes a fantasy setting compelling to me. Too many elements or too few rules (for lack of a better word) and the setting becomes too unpredictable. (I suppose I'm talking about fiction now...) When absolutely anything is possible, there is no real sense of tension or danger because there are a dizzying number of impossibly improbable solutions.

    I should probably drink more coffee before responding to things. ;-)

  3. Dwarves make some sense in a space station where room is at a premium and corridors are short... it'd be just like the tunnels back home. Plus they are often mechanically inclined (especially in settings without gnomes) so space-dwarves seem logical.

    Of course being in low gravity would cause them to attenuate...

  4. My dwarf women have beards - it takes them forever to style their hair and face on a Friday night as they get ready for a date. I should mention this in a future review.