Dwarves like sad songs.

The Axes and Anvils Kickstarter was going to put out a playtest document on Wednesday. Instead, there will be dribbles of rules flowing out on the forum. This is slightly maddening, but that is in part because I am already in a somewhat unhinged mental state as a ruthless game tinkerer, and easy to provoke with bits of RPG mechanics.

Mike Nystul asked if backers were excited about the Hobbit coming out. I would think dwarf fans would be unhappy about a 3 part Hobbit movie. This is Peter Jackson, after all; let’s see how he man-handled Gimli.

  • Humans and elves trotted along casually, and the DWARF was WINDED. Normally this works with long legs tiring faster, so it evens out. But they had longer legs, and substantially greater stamina than the dwarf. Huh.
  • Dwarf tossing? Really?
  • Hilarious joking about dwarven women with beards right before Gimli is completely surprised by elves.
  • Gimli pinned by a dead worg.
  • Gimli needs a box to see over the rampart.
  • Hah! Human chainmail is silly on a dwarf! Ha!

You combine this sort of dwarf-bashing with the useless dwarves in the Hobbit, and I think a fan of dwarves might like screen shots, but not want to endure the endless mockery of dwarves as comic relief.

I posted this on the forum, and I hope there is a response to it in the game’s design.


“Dwarf” is a term for something that is smaller. I cannot imagine that dwarves would call themselves “dwarf” as a default. I really like the idea of them having a name for themselves, and outsiders calling them “dwarves.”

In one setting I’ve got they are Stonatch, their priest caste is Ghim. In another setting they are fey, so they are all part of the Fair Folk and they’ve got secret names. In another setting they are Stone People (humans are Sky People, elves are Earth People, etc.)

We would not call ourselves “Retarded” even if we were standing next to an inhuman genius race. So what shall the dwarves call themselves?

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2 Responses to Dwarves like sad songs.

  1. E. Wilson says:

    I find it fascinating that there are more people interested in all-dwarf games than in games based on a party of all some other type of non-humans (with maybe drow a close second). When has anyone ever called for an all-halfling game?

  2. fictivite says:

    I bet Matt Jackson would! And in the 2011 Secret Santicore there is a great family tree for the rulers of a halfling clan, it is good stuff.

    I don’t feel more strongly about dwarves than other races. I think people are drawn to the alcoholism, violence, competence, and grumpiness. That’s more appealing to many than more ethereal or friendly attitudes.

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