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So. Dwarves!
Posted on March 28th, 2014 by Douglas McKnight

Gotta say, it DOES feel pretty good to be posting about something other than my impending absence. Now, I couldn’t quite remember if the idea was to present our various world building ideas here or in the chat next week, but I had some ideas now, and I figured I’d throw them out now, while they were still relatively fresh in my mind.

So, like I said, I’ve got it in mind to play a dwarf, and as far as the race goes, I’m thinking to go the “Holy crap, dwarven technology!” route. Basically, in possession of technology significantly more impressive than your typical medieval-esque society. Most fantasy settings I’m familiar with tend to portray dwarves as somewhat limited in number on account of lower birth rates and the tendency to have at least one implacable enemy, so that seems a reasonable way of keeping them relatively balanced. And Ian, I know you expressed some interest in playing a dwarf yourself, so if you’re thinking to play the more traditional, Tolkien-esque sort, I’ve got some ideas on how that might work too.

So, setting-wise, what I have in mind is that these dwarves make their homes largely above ground, but WAY above it, in metallic towers that dominate the landscape. There wouldn’t be too many of these things, mind you. I imagine each one as being gradually built up over the course of a century and more, but each one is both a town and a great fortress. At ground level, they wouldn’t even have doorways. Maybe several stories up, there could be some sort of elevator system that would enable entrance and exit to the surrounding countryside, but primarily, I envision to and from traffic is done by air, the top of each tower serving as a docking area for great floating airships. Like they once had planned for the Empire State Building, or…if anyone ever saw Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow, they had a scene like that.

These great dwarven towers could conceivably be found in fairly far flung locations, but I picture the main dwarven “homeland” as a place of wide and relatively flat grasslands, receiving a generous share of rain and thunderstorms…basically, so these things could also take advantage of their status as natural lightning rods for power. They could trade with local farmers and the like for food, grains (What’s a dwarf without his beer?), etc. Basically, I see these folks as taking advantage of air travel not so much for warfare, because I haven’t given much thought to that aspect of things yet, but for trade. Essentially, dwarven merchants operate all over the place, potentially across the entire planet we set this thing on.

My idea for the backstory of all this…well, if anyone else has ever played Dragon Age at all, I suppose I’m borrowing from that a bit. Basically, the dwarves originally had this widespread, awesome underground kingdom, but over the course of hundreds, maybe even thousands of years, they’ve been fighting some numerically superior enemy for control of it…orcs, maybe? Some cities may have held out better, but as others gradually began to lose ground and conclude that they’d eventually be strangled and crushed, they made the decision to consolidate their resources, and escape this fate by building upward, trying to rebuild their strength in the surface world, and eventually retake the entirety of their former territories.

My character idea is to play sort of a dwarven mad scientist…a short Tony Stark, you might say. He doesn’t actually live in one of these great dwarven keeps, on account of a tendency to work on things that, while brilliant and innovative, can’t necessarily be relied on not to explode at inopportune times. But he dreams of one day developing and perfecting designs that will finally give his people the edge they need to return to the Deeps in force, and drive out the green-skinned filth once and for all. So, if he were to travel, if would be by large wagon at the very least, a mobile workshop where he can constantly tinker with and add to a boiler powered suit of armor he’d field test in battle. He probably lives outside some human town, in some house/lab on the hill. You know the type of place. But, being a dwarf, he’d surely have some local tavern he likes to visit. These D&D things always start in a bar.

I’ll get to work in some sort of bio, if we want to do that, but in the meantime, that’s Thorin Hammerhelm. Like I said the other night, the name is blatant theft, but I’ve loved it since the first time I saw the 70s animated Hobbit as a kid.

So…what have YOU folks got? I must know!

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  • Atlantis Patch Persephone Busard says:

    So, Halflings. Tolkien wrote Hobbits, but my idea for Halflings is pretty different. I think of Halflings as this world’s gypsies, but their origins (as far back as they remember) lie on the sea. Most Halflings live on man-made islands close to trading ports, roughly built like a spiderweb, with circles connected to circles. Those halflings that choose to go on land often join large caravans, town-like in population, that migrate from the outskirts of one city to the next.

    I picture them operating on a mostly oral history, which has led, for reasons I haven’t thought of, for pieces of their history to be “lost to ages”, as you might say. They do pride themselves, however, on having the finest storytellers (and stories, some might claim with a mischievous glint in their eye) in the world. They’re a very resourceful people, and as such are best suited to working with whatever they can scrounge up, be that information, herd animals, or technology.

    So…my character would be Melinda…haven’t figured out her last name yet. Likely nature related, because she is a ranger and guard on one of the caravans. Best with a bow, she has a tendency to travel from treetop to treetop ahead of the caravan, keeping a lookout for bandits and such. Of course, once the wagons circle and she’s off-duty, the silent sentinel disappears and the bawdy wench makes herself known. She’s a scourge to taverns, and when in cities loves nothing more than to point out that she’s “just the right height, if ye know what I mean”.

    Aaaaand, that’s it for me! Let me know what you guys think!

  • Atlantis Patch Ian Blackthorne says:

    Fantastic ideas!

    I’m not sure what I’d play. I do like dwarves as I’ve mentioned. My goto lately in fantasy games is a human (or Nord, in Skyrim) female rogue that’s a sarcastic smartass.

  • Atlantis Patch T'Kirr says:

    Dwarven engineer and Halfling ranger, hm? I like what’s being imagined right now by you two. Both are full of flavor and ready for stories. My own I suppose would be an elf, as I’ve said. My first inclination would be the route of the classic ranger type, but if I were to round us out, I like the idea of a healer. My question is, would there be magic in our world to support that, or would it be a bit more down to earth? Other than that, I haven’t filled in specifics for a character yet.

  • Alexis Wright says:

    So for the purposes of character creation for those of us who are wanting to do it the more traditional D&D rulebook method, what level are we considering our characters to be? Are we level 1 nubcakes, level 5 more experienced nubcakes, or level 10+ epic nubcakes? Something in-between?

    I’m thinking we should probably be early epic-level characters. That would mean that we would probably be known among our peer communities and that in a sufficiently large crowd it’s in the realm of possibility that some people may have heard of one or more of us.

    We probably wouldn’t have to worry much about money unless we were talking about extravagant amounts. We would have reputations to uphold or defend. We would be able to pull off some stuff requiring specialized skills and talents because we’d be experienced enough in our roles to have spent time training and honing specific specialized skills and talents. We could face a much more interesting array of challenges and foes because we’d be powerful enough to handle them.

    What do you all think? Or would you prefer to begin as much lower-level, inexperienced characters?

  • Atlantis Patch Ian Blackthorne says:

    I could go either way. It really depends on how long we want to run this kind of game, though. Whether we want to start out as badasses or grow into it.

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