Saturday, 20 September 2008

WFRP: Atypical dwarfs (2)

Welcome to the second installment of Atypical Dwarfs, a series of posts examining dwarf demeanour and offering alternative personalities for dwarf PCs and NPCs.

Click here for the first installment!

I’ll kick this thing off by looking at the basic dwarf traits, and how to interpret them. I don’t want to recast the dwarfs as something entirely different as much as look at them in a different light. The following keywords define a dwarf in most fantasy settings, as well as in WFRP.

Short – Alright, it’s difficult to interpret this as anything other than ”dwarfs are short”. They are, it’s in the name of the race. This is one explanation as to why dwarfs have such a great need for asserting their competence and status in relation to the other races. This manifests in a tendency to never give up, and never back down from a challenge.

Beard – Face it, a dwarf has a beard. It’s a defining trait. The beard is a symbol of status, and is often groomed and adorned with gold or silver trinkets ... erm, jewellry. Whether or not female dwarfs have beards is open to individual interpretation.

Stubborn – Dwarfs are stubborn and they never give up. This means that they spend a lot of effort and time to figure out how things work, and their patience while investigating, researching or studying is as great as their pride in their finely cultivated beards.

Good memory
– They never forget a wrong doing, carrying Grudges forever and ever. But they also carry the memory of a friend, or of a drawing of a bridge. Or the complex secret password to open the sealed door of the hidden dwarf stronghold.

Humourless – Dwarfs don’t tolerate nonsense, and are very focused on obatining the facts of each situation. This means that they are viewed as devoid of humour by the other races, but to the dwarf this is compensated by the fact that they very, very seldom are tricked or fooled, neither by a prank or a con.

Careful – No dwarf is ever sloppy. Or maybe more accurately, those who are sloppy don’t survive in the deep mines where the slightest mistake can be fateful. Dwarfs are careful and painstakingly thorough. This also manifests as an intense dislike of any form of chaos.

Eager to learn – Dwarfs want to know how things work. They are bad at understanding how people work on a psychlogical level, but outstanding at figuring out how things fit together and what makes them tick. They spend a lot of time observering how the world is out together to try to figure out how to control it.

Love of metals – Their love of gold is the stuff of legends, but the fact is that dwarfs love all kinds of metals. They are endlessly fascinated by gold, silver, iron, steel, all sorts of minerals and what you can do with them.

Mechanical aptitude – Dwarfs love to create mechanial contraptions. This does not necessarily mean that they things they create are complicated. They us basic physical and magical laws to create simple but effective machines and tools. For example, they prefer crossbows over a simple bow.

Okay, that’s the basic personality traits of a dwarf. So what can you do with this? Amazing things actually. The next installment will tackle the first atypical dwarf personality ... so stay tuned to this channel some time next week.



  1. Thanks for this its really intresting and about to be very useful in the campaign I am GMing as we are heading for the Grey Mountains.

    I've always had difficulties portraying Dwarves - the rest of the races no problems, but Dwarves they seem the most infelxible of races.

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for the comment, I'll make sure to prioritise the rest of the series!