The Dwarven Personality

The Dwarven Personality

Humph! Get lost!
—Dwarven Maxim

Dwarves are not humans with short legs, broad torsos, and long beards. They are another race entirely, with distinctive personality traits and beliefs that set them apart from humans.

Dwarven personality is molded by many factors. They see themselves as a proud and noble race, maintaining their own ways. This is not because they are stubborn, but because experience has taught them that their ways are best. They do not understand why other races consider them dour and taciturn. Believing that there is a time and place for everything, dwarves approach work seriously, with an attitude of commitment. Dealing with other races is always seen as work and dwarves always work solemnly.

While this has led to false portrayals, dwarves don’t care. They know they are superior to all other races. If others fail to recognize this, it is not the dwarves’ loss. They are content to leave others alone, unless they are in direct conflict or competition for living space or resources. When attacked, the entire stronghold will fight.

The Dwarven Personalities

The following personalities are provided as spurs to the imagination. They are intended as concepts to be used and developed by players with dwarf characters. Each personality provides a framework for the character’s role playing personality, and can be amended, added to, or combined with other personalities. Players are encouraged to alter and modify the personality types in any way they like. Characteristics can be combined to create new types.

The Glory Seeker
The Glory Seeker hopes to become famous by performing heroic deeds. She dreams of becoming one of the heroes of legend whose deeds are still sung though the hero died a thousand years ago. Lawful and good alignments are best for a Glory Seeker, but chaotics may also fill this role.

Combat Situations: She fights for glory, reveling in the action, and dreams of her portrayal by storytellers to generations yet unborn. Her love of action causes her to take risks, but she will try to avoid endangering her companions. She will place herself in grave danger to protect others or to rescue them, or even just to see if she can survive it, if that action alone would be heroic.

Role-Playing Situations: She enjoys being the center of attention, but is not necessarily a skilled speaker. She may recognize this weakness and allow others to lead in negotiations. She wishes only to be acknowledged for the hero she is. When dealing with dwarves, particularly if she is the only dwarf in a party, she will take command of the situation, or at least make it clear that she is the leader of the party, even if she is not. She wishes others to see her as an epic figure.

The Grumbler
The Grumbler loves being unhappy. Nothing satisfies him. It’s either too damp, too dark, too smelly, too cold, too hot, or simply wrong. There is never a right. He may grudgingly admit that things are not too bad, but they are bad enough. He is only happy when he has something to be unhappy about. He is not always vocal about his unhappiness. A few well-placed moans may be the best protest, as long as everyone knows that he is not happy. The real key to playing a grumbler is remembering that he actually enjoys what he does, he just never admits it.

Combat Situations: The Grumbler may approach combat as just another chore to be done, or as an opportunity to take out his unhappiness on others. He may approach combat with disguised zeal, never admitting his enjoyment. Taken to extremes, the Grumbler will complain about the sloppy fighting methods of his opponents, or their treachery, which caused him injury.

Role-playing Situations: He fits the stereotype of the dour, taciturn dwarf. He only speaks to complain, and something as simple as ordering a room at an inn sounds like a complaint (“And don’t stick me in a room infested with lice, I want a decent one—make sure it isn’t over the common room or I won’t get any sleep”).

The Hoarder
This character is obsessed with acquiring, hoarding, and counting wealth. She never spends it if she can avoid it, and she is always the first one to search the pockets of vanquished opponents. In her spare time she counts her gold and polishes her gems. She takes the race’s love of wealth to an avaricious extreme, and may become violent if someone even looks at her treasure. She doesn’t like talking about it because talk arouses others’ greed. She covets any treasure that isn’t hers, and is often spotted eyeing it enviously. Other party members can easily manipulate her by offering gems and other material rewards.
A good character will be a private individual who doesn’t want others prying into her affairs. She won’t steal from other party members, but she is not averse to pocketing an odd gem or trinket found on an enemy or in a treasure haul (especially if no one else noticed it). She readily rationalizes why she should have things that aren’t currently hers. Neutral characters are more likely to steal, but they are smart enough not to be obvious. Leave one of them alone with a treasure chest and she is guaranteed to rifle it, pocketing the choicest items. This is the wrong character to leave guarding the packs.

Combat Situations: The Hoarder is often a determined fighter who realizes that the quickest way to get more loot is to take it from people or creatures who no longer need it (i.e., dead ones). Her greed can lead her to be foolhardy, or to go off on her own in dangerous areas. The sight of a beautiful gem in the eye of a statue, across a chamber full of orcs, is likely to lead a Hoarder to fight her way to it, or leave her companions to fight while she sneaks around the edge in the hope of pocketing the gem in the confusion.

Role-playing Situations: The Hoarder is always looking for the best deal in any situation. Unlike the Statesman, she is frequently not very good at getting it; her greed is so apparent that others can easily manipulate her and strike hard bargains.

The Optimist
The optimist is an outgoing, cheerful character, always looking on the bright side, even when circumstances are dire. To the optimist, there is always a brighter and better tomorrow, and even the worst situation can be turned to advantage. Ideally suited to players who wish to play cheerful characters. Taken to its extreme, an Optimist can be as much an irritation as a Grumbler. Instead of finding fault, every situation has a redeeming quality.

In Combat Situations: The Optimist is no fool. In combat he is capable of weighing the opposition and acting to ensure the best possible result. He is not given to rushing into combat, but neither will he shirk his responsibilities. He may counsel a timely retreat or a rear-guard action, rather than a frontal assault, but when the chips are down, he’ll meet his fate with a grin. He genuinely believes that any odds can be overcome with the right plan.

Role-playing Situations: The cheery good nature of the Optimist suits him well. He enjoys meeting people of other races and he often changes the opinions of those who think all dwarves are dour.

The Paragon
The Paragon takes racial pride to the extreme. Dwarf achievements are the highest possible and no other race can hope to measure up to the standards dwarves have set. She finds fault with others, especially other races, but she can just as easily find fault with other subraces. She is always comparing the lifestyles and actions of others to her own way of life, and they rarely, if ever, match her standards. To this character, elves are flighty and apathetic; orcs are wretched, brutal, and depraved; humans and halflings too easily distracted; and gnomes are obsessed with the wrong things.

Lawful good Paragons will be helpful and offer unwanted suggestions of how others can improve themselves and benefit from being lawful and good. Chaotics will simply be showoffs and fault finders. Neutral characters can be vindictively opinionated and callous about others.

Combat Situations: Paragons can always find reasons to be in combat. “Pah! They need a dwarf in there to show them how it’s done; humans and elves got no idea.” They can just as easily find reasons not to get involved; “Don’t see why I have to fight ‘em; it’s a human problem, not mine!”

Role-playing Situations: A bad choice for a diplomat, it’s too easy for her to be obnoxious and rude to others. Given the will to remain silent, she’s still likely to open her mouth and cut loose with barbed comments. In everyday situations, she is likely to make more enemies than friends. She creates friction among fellow party members, particularly if there are other races present, with her opinions.

The Pragmatist
In any given situation, the pragmatist knows what has to be done and does it, ruthlessly and efficiently. He takes only calculated risks, and is never foolhardy. Pragmatists are only suitable for neutral characters. Good characters suffer from having to do the right thing; Pragmatists do the required thing.

Combat Situations: He prefers to weigh the odds before committing to combat, considering weaknesses and opportunities that may be exploited to best advantage. Once engaged, he will fight to eliminate his opponents as quickly as possible, by any means, however ruthless or underhanded.

Role-playing Situations: A Pragmatist can be gruff and taciturn, or he may be more open, even happy and gregarious. In negotiation, he pushes for the best deal, but he also knows when he has achieved all he can.

The Statesman
The Statesman is concerned with getting the best deal for her clan, stronghold, and race, in that order. She exudes natural leadership, or at least likes to think that she does. This may be a result of her birth, her upbringing, or her own inflated opinion of herself. She takes charge of most situations, acting in a decisive and imposing manner. The statesman is best suited for lawful or neutral characters; chaotic characters are usually too carefree or self-centered to make good Statesmen.

In Combat Situations: She would rather engage in diplomacy, but if that fails she may try to take command of a party. Her success depends on whether she is also a competent commander.

Role-playing Situations: In these situations, she is at her best. She loves to present her credentials and debate issues and try to obtain the best deal. She tends to become the mouthpiece for a party, negotiating for necessities.

The Dwarven Personality

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