Telling the difference between this human and a dwarf?

50 posts / 0 new
Last post
So, I made a character who is a cleric of Moradin. He is 4'11" tall, 220 lbs, is very stocky, very burly, and has a nearly 3 foot long beard. He wields a big hammer and will sing the praises of Moradin when given even the smallest excuse.
Care to guess what his character sheet says for race? Nope, not dwarf. He's a human. (And don't tell me that humans can't be 4'11" without suffering from dwarfism. I know 4'11" people in real life who aren't LP's.)
The character, Fordahdin Hammerthrow, actually even thinks he's a dwarf. He was adopted by a dwarven family, and though he is slightly taller than most dwarves, as described above, he looks and acts like a dwarf in almost every other way. He can't quite see as well in the dark, and can trip a bit easier, but he just thinks he has bad eyes and is clumsy.

So my question to you is, do you think other dwarves would even notice that this is actually a human? Should I be making bluff [disguise] checks (keep in mind that Fordahdin truely believes he is a dwarf)? Should a nature check reveal him to be a human? I'm curious if Fordahdin would truely blend in with a dwarven society, or if this is like an odd version of the movie Elf, where its just a big secret that nobody wants to let the guy in on.

Really, appearance-wise, what is it that sets a dwarf apart from a short burly bearded human?

Update:
Ok, first off, this is how the character has been played at his first two RPGA games:
He introduces himself as Fordahdin Hammerthrow, devoted priest of Moradin. He is playing in an all Moradite party, the "Anvils of Justice" (you can guess by the name we don't take ourselves too seriously), which consists of two dwarves, a minotaur, a goliath, and me. At first, I was just assumed to be a dwarf, until I was knocked prone and didn't get a saving throw. Some of the players asked "you're not a dwarf?" to which I replied "I'm a 4'11" burly bearded human who looks about as much like a dwarf as a human can naturally look. Maybe even a bit more so." The kenku pc who had joined us rolled a 3 on a self-imposed nature check, and said "looks like a dwarf to me. 'Course you hairy humanoids all kind of look the same to my kenku," and the dwarf avenger's player said "well, he's a Sonnlinor at any rate, so I pay him respect and don't question it too much."

Based on the feedback I've received, this is the backstory I think I'm going with. Let me know what you think:
At ~3 months old, Fordahdin was left at the doorstep of Clan Hammerthrow in a basket containing himself, a bag of gems, and a note asking that the dwarves raise him as one of their own. Not much is known of Fordahdin's real parents, except that they apparently were fans of hackneyedclichés.
The clan elders decided to honor the request, and declared that all in the clan should treat him as any other dwarf. They gave the responsibility of raising the child to Grisselspit Hammerthrow, a retired paladin of Moradin who had lost his own wife and child decades ago. Fordahdin grew up in the Dwarven tradition,  having the values of Moradin drilled into him while he performed the duties of a young Dwarf (assisting the smiths, assisting the miners, learning basic hammer and axe-fighting skills, learning sacred traditions, etc.) 
Fortunately for Fordahdin, he was of short human stock, and so he had little trouble with cramped Dwarven tunnels. He grew burly as he took on mining and smithing responsibilities. He was provided with Brogane, a special dwarven tonic to promote beard growth, so that he too could have a fine dwarven beard. Grisselspit always told Fordahdin that he had the heart of a true dwarf, and so young Fordahdin believed himself to be a true dwarf.
When Fordahdin turned 14, he was recruited by the Clan Hammerthrow Sonnlinor. They trained him further in the arts of combat and prayer, including their unique hammer-throwing fighting style (most of them being hybrid cleric/seekers). Fordahdin eventually had to come to terms with the fact that he was something other than a dwarf - he couldn't see as well in the dark, he wasn't as sturdy, and he didn't have quite as strong a stomach for Dwarven ale. His father, Grisselspit, confessed to him that he had the heart of a dwarf but the blood of a human, and Fordahdin, having learned about half-elves and half-orcs in his studies, decided that he must be a half-dwarf. Though none in the clan had ever heard of such a thing (except a few who had heard absurd rumors of such a union resulting in a seven-foot tall, hairless humanoids), they couldn't convince Fordahdin that he wasn't a half-dwarf. After all, no one really knew who his parents were.
At the age of thirty, Fordahdin decided it was time for him to travel the world, to fight the enemies of Moradin and protect and teach his followers. With a pair of hammers engraved with the symbol of Moradin, the blessings of his father, and a three-foot long beard, Fordahdin set off for adventure...
Really, appearance-wise, what is it that sets a dwarf apart from a short burly bearded human?


Size and weight.  Height only tells part of the story.  Dwarves aren't simply built like shorter humans. They're heavier, broad of build, and with a lower center of gravity, especially compared to a human of similar height.  Compare the average heights and weights of humans and dwarves.  An average human is about 5.5 to 6ft tall and weighs 130-190lbs.  Dwarves are shorter than humans by about 1.4-ish feet, but their minimum and maximum average weight is actually more than a humans, by about 30lbs. 

A human standing at the same size as a dwarf is going to look very scraggily by comparison. 


Edit:  I realized I didn't answer your other questions.  Bluff checks shouldn't be necessary.  Bluff is used when you're purposely trying to protray yourself as something you're not, and your character is not trying to fool anyway.  Of course, that doesn't stop others from recognizing that he's not a dwarf, or at the very least is an unusual dwarf.  Though depending on the individual NPC's knowledge of dwarves and interest in the subject, they may just simply accept is assertion at face value. 

A nature check should be able to reveal that his race is a dwarf should someone take the effort to make one.  Though the strength of your character's stance on the position as well as having a more dwarf-like build might be enough to make someone reconsider, or at least place doubt on, what knowledge they obtain from the check.

Both are aspects that your DM should probably play by ear.

As for blending into dwarven society, that depends on the society in question.  Dwarves tend to be a slow to trust, but fiercely loyal people under most interpretations.  If the dwarven society he was raised with has accepted him as a dwarf or a "dwarf," then a dwarf he be; if only in spirit.  That may or may not fly with other dwarven societies or naysayers in his own community.  And whether or not all of the other reindeer let Fordahdin in on their little secret is something that should be worked out between you and your DM.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Even if the human is short and stocky, a dwarf is likely to be broader than a human of the same height.  And 4'11" would be tall for a dwarf since their average is up 4'9".

And a 4'11" human may not be a dwarf but they may be classified as something else. One of my wife's cousins recently was declared by her doctor to officially be in the midget category since she is at her adult height and falls within the range.  I can't say what her height is off the top of my head, I believe she's shorter than 4'11".
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Really, appearance-wise, what is it that sets a dwarf apart from a short burly bearded human?


Size and weight.  Height only tells part of the story.  Dwarves aren't simply built like shorter humans. They're heavier, broad of build, and with a lower center of gravity; Especially compared to a human of similar height.  Compare the average heights and weights of humans and dwarves.  An average human is about 5.5 to 6ft tall and weighs 130-190lbs.  Drawves are shorter than humans by about 1.4-ish feet, but their minimum and maximum average weight is actually more than a humans, by about 30lbs. 

A human standing at the same size as a dwarve is going to look very scraggily by comparison. 

I also said he is also stocky and burly by human standards. Humans can be very stocky and burly. Go check out a Scottish caber tossing contest sometime ;) manolomen.com/images/big-hair-caber-toss...
Even if the human is short and stocky, a dwarf is likely to be broader than a human of the same height.  And 4'11" would be tall for a dwarf since their average is up 4'9".

And a 4'11" human may not be a dwarf but they may be classified as something else. One of my wife's cousins recently was declared by her doctor to officially be in the midget category since she is at her adult height and falls within the range.  I can't say what her height is off the top of my head, I believe she's shorter than 4'11".

If that is really what the doctor said, I'd suggest finding a better doctor. There is no "midget" category. They used to say that you suffered from dwarfism if you were under 4'10", but there is much more to it than that.

I also said he is also stocky and burly by human standards. Humans can be very stocky and burly. Go check out a Scottish caber tossing contest sometime ;) manolomen.com/images/big-hair-caber-toss...


Perhaps, but there's only much of a differentiation you can make between normal human builds, bearing unusual genetics.  I'm fairly sure that, given that all dwarves are famously hard to move, that their skeletons and musculature are shaped and distributed differently.  Or at least, that's the impression I get from looking at 3e and 4e dwarven art.  They're upper-to-lower body ratios, for example, seem closer to being equal, whereas in humans, the lower body is a tad be longer.

Or if you want a more dwarven response: [Kelgar]"Yer trying to call that pint-sized human a dwarf?  Why, I'd call it an insult.  My grandmother stirs soups with sticks bigger than the twig that human is struggling with.  Now I'm not trying to be insultin', but that be no dwarf.  And I should know!"[/Kelgar]



Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
I also said he is also stocky and burly by human standards. Humans can be very stocky and burly. Go check out a Scottish caber tossing contest sometime ;) manolomen.com/images/big-hair-caber-toss...


Perhaps, but there's only much of a differentiation you can make between normal human builds, bearing unusual genetics.  I'm fairly sure that, given that all dwarves are famously hard to move, that their skeletons and musculature are shaped and distributed differently.  Or at least, that's the impression I get from looking at 3e and 4e dwarven art.  They're upper-to-lower body ratios, for example, seem closer to being equal, whereas in humans, the lower body is a tad be longer.


I see what you're saying. I guess he'll just think he's a gangly dwarf.
Or if you want a more dwarven response: [Kelgar]"Yer trying to call that pint-sized human a dwarf?  Why, I'd call it an insult.  My grandmother stirs soups with sticks bigger than the twig that human is struggling with.  Now I'm not trying to be insultin', but that be no dwarf.  And I should know!"[/Kelgar]


[Fordahdin]"Ya tink tha just because I'm abit tall an' gangly, tha makes me less of a dwarf than hyu?" *Taps his maul against his holy symbol of Moradin and sticks his chest out* "I promise ya, the fires of the Soul Forge burn just as bright in me belly as in yers, my hammer strikes just as true, and my beard is the pride of Clan Hammerthrow! So ye best show some respec to a true Sonnlinor!" *Snort* [/Fordahdin]
Thor_p193.jpg<- Fordahdin Hammerthrow


So, I made a character who is a cleric of Moradin. He is 4'11" tall, 220 lbs, is very stocky, very burly, and has a nearly 3 foot long beard. He wields a big hammer and will sing the praises of Moradin when given even the smallest excuse.
Care to guess what his character sheet says for race? Nope, not dwarf. He's a human. (And don't tell me that humans can't be 4'11" without suffering from dwarfism. I know 4'11" people in real life who aren't LP's.)
The character, Fordahdin Hammerthrow, actually even thinks he's a dwarf. He was adopted by a dwarven family, and though he is slightly taller than most dwarves, as described above, he looks and acts like a dwarf in almost every other way. He can't quite see as well in the dark, and can trip a bit easier, but he just thinks he has bad eyes and is clumsy.



I think there's a couple of obvious issues:
Racial abilities. Dwarves have innate resistances to poison, especially of the ingested kind. They can't be pushed around. Dwarves who constantly get drunk after the 1st glass of Dwarven Ale aren't going to get very far in life.

Proportions. Dwarves are made to be proportioned that way. Humans who are 4'11", even the stocky kind, aren't shaped like a Dwarf is. He's going to have oddly long arms, his face is going to look very human - unless he's suffering from Dwarfism, he's going to look like a short, stocky human with a beard.

Unless he's actively disguising himself as a Dwarf, most characters should recognize him as a human via an easy nature check.
So, I made a character who is a cleric of Moradin. He is 4'11" tall, 220 lbs, is very stocky, very burly, and has a nearly 3 foot long beard. He wields a big hammer and will sing the praises of Moradin when given even the smallest excuse.
Care to guess what his character sheet says for race? Nope, not dwarf. He's a human. (And don't tell me that humans can't be 4'11" without suffering from dwarfism. I know 4'11" people in real life who aren't LP's.)
The character, Fordahdin Hammerthrow, actually even thinks he's a dwarf. He was adopted by a dwarven family, and though he is slightly taller than most dwarves, as described above, he looks and acts like a dwarf in almost every other way. He can't quite see as well in the dark, and can trip a bit easier, but he just thinks he has bad eyes and is clumsy.



I think there's a couple of obvious issues:
Racial abilities. Dwarves have innate resistances to poison, especially of the ingested kind. They can't be pushed around. Dwarves who constantly get drunk after the 1st glass of Dwarven Ale aren't going to get very far in life.

Proportions. Dwarves are made to be proportioned that way. Humans who are 4'11", even the stocky kind, aren't shaped like a Dwarf is. He's going to have oddly long arms, his face is going to look very human - unless he's suffering from Dwarfism, he's going to look like a short, stocky human with a beard.

Unless he's actively disguising himself as a Dwarf, most characters should recognize him as a human via an easy nature check.

I don't think the drinking will be that hard for a human with decent con who is trained in endurance.
I buy the proportions problem, though I think its less noticable for a burly short human in heavy dwarven armor.
I don't buy the facial difference. Human faces very considerably, and I don't think the typical dwarven face is outside of human facial variety. Just look at the face of John Rhys-Davies.
I don't buy the facial difference. Human faces very considerably, and I don't think the typical dwarven face is outside of human facial variety. Just look at the face of John Rhys-Davies.



He doesn't look like a Dwarf in real-life. He looks like that when he's been whacked with CGI and makeup...
I don't buy the facial difference. Human faces very considerably, and I don't think the typical dwarven face is outside of human facial variety. Just look at the face of John Rhys-Davies.



He doesn't look like a Dwarf in real-life. He looks like that when he's been whacked with CGI and makeup...

I know they used makeup on him but even without it:
JohnRhysDavies.jpg That is a dwarven-looking face.
We had a very long, very contentious thread about this subject last year (a guy was interested in choosing the stat line of one race but playing as another race for all roleplaying purposes).  The consensus was more or less this in the end:

You can have whatever appearance you like.  However, regardless of this appearance, NPCs (and other PCs) will be able to instantly and without error recognize your actual race unless you are actively attempting disguise (Bluff).

[Fordahdin]"Ya tink tha just because I'm abit tall an' gangly, tha makes me less of a dwarf than hyu?" *Taps his maul against his holy symbol of Moradin and sticks his chest out* "I promise ya, the fires of the Soul Forge burn just as bright in me belly as in yers, my hammer strikes just as true, and my beard is the pride of Clan Hammerthrow! So ye best show some respec to a true Sonnlinor!" *Snort* [/Fordahdin]
<- Fordahdin Hammerthrow




[Kelgar]Bah!  And I'm Brad Pitt. You kids today think you can tap away on those new fangled tubeboxes, pull up up some pretty pictures, and pass yourself off as a dwarf?  I hear plenty o' boastin', but ye got fire lad, I'll give ya that.  But can ye prove it? *Passes you both a flagon caustic stuff that man was not meant to drink*  I hope you optimized your con, lad.[/Kelgar]
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
It could be worse. You could be a 6 foot 6 human that insists that he's a dwarf.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot_Ironfounder...




-karma
LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric
We had a very long, very contentious thread about this subject last year (a guy was interested in choosing the stat line of one race but playing as another race for all roleplaying purposes).  The consensus was more or less this in the end:

You can have whatever appearance you like.  However, regardless of this appearance, NPCs (and other PCs) will be able to instantly and without error recognize your actual race unless you are actively attempting disguise (Bluff).


Well you can with a DC 10 nature check, anyway.
I also said he is also stocky and burly by human standards. Humans can be very stocky and burly. Go check out a Scottish caber tossing contest sometime ;) manolomen.com/images/big-hair-caber-toss...



I don't envision that picure as dwarf like burly-ness.  The PHB describes them as "... very broad, weighing as much as an adult human."  I take that to mean Dwarves would out burly the burlyest of burly-men.

If that is really what the doctor said, I'd suggest finding a better doctor. There is no "midget" category. They used to say that you suffered from dwarfism if you were under 4'10", but there is much more to it than that.



Well, I'm no doctor and that's how she reported it.  She may have been calling herself a midget.  I have better terms for her that would get a slap from the wife. 
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Btw, this is the character portrait I use for my character. If this guy was 4'11" and looked exactly like this (except wearing more armor), would you mistake him for a dwarf?:
Thor_p193.jpg
Btw, this is the character portrait I use for my character. If this guy was 4'11" and looked exactly like this (except wearing more armor), would you mistake him for a dwarf?


Honestly?  No.  The beard and nose fit the bill, but his body structure doesn't conform to what I'm used to envisioning of D&D Dwarves;  The waist is too narrow, torso too trianglar, and the legs and arms are too long (more so the legs than the arms).  All in all, that's simply not the traditional barrel-shape of D&D dwarves.  Burly?  Yes.  Dwarven-ish?  Yes (particulary his face).  Dwarf?  Not to me.  YMMV though.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Btw, this is the character portrait I use for my character. If this guy was 4'11" and looked exactly like this (except wearing more armor), would you mistake him for a dwarf?



Not nearly enough back, stomach, arm and thigh hair.  Also missing much thicker midsection that would be associated with being classed as "stout".  He mostly resembles (to me) "human barbarian" 

I think the problem with this concept is that given the very strong clannish nature of dwarves, and their customary forthrightness, even his adoptive parents would make sure that he understood exactly what he was - a human adopted by dwarves.  Any foolish notion that he was other than that would have been rectified much earlier in life - if not by his parents, then by the dwarven children in the clan. 

"ooh - look there's little johhny human.  Always picked last in gut punching games.  Thinks he's a dwarf.  Quick boys, beat the crap out of him. "

While a human raised by dwarves might grow to be loved and respected by his clan, I really can't see the clan playing along with any nonsense that he was actually a dwarf.

I'm trying to actually picture any human being raised by non-humans and allowed to grow up thinking that he was of that race.  Not having much luck.  I once played a kobold who was convinced that he was a real dragon (wyrmling), but I played him as mildly insane and had no illusions that people would see him as anything but daft. 


So, does this mean I can play a Warforged but pretend I'm an Orc?
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
So, does this mean I can play a Warforged but pretend I'm an Orc?

Well, I guess the real question is are warforged even legal in LFR?

*Dodges rotten tomatoes*
So, I made a character who is a cleric of Moradin. He is 4'11" tall, 220 lbs, is very stocky, very burly, and has a nearly 3 foot long beard. He wields a big hammer and will sing the praises of Moradin when given even the smallest excuse.
Care to guess what his character sheet says for race? Nope, not dwarf. He's a human. (And don't tell me that humans can't be 4'11" without suffering from dwarfism. I know 4'11" people in real life who aren't LP's.)
The character, Fordahdin Hammerthrow, actually even thinks he's a dwarf. He was adopted by a dwarven family, and though he is slightly taller than most dwarves, as described above, he looks and acts like a dwarf in almost every other way. He can't quite see as well in the dark, and can trip a bit easier, but he just thinks he has bad eyes and is clumsy.

So my question to you is, do you think other dwarves would even notice that this is actually a human? Should I be making bluff [disguise] checks (keep in mind that Fordahdin truely believes he is a dwarf)? Should a nature check reveal him to be a human? I'm curious if Fordahdin would truely blend in with a dwarven society, or if this is like an odd version of the movie Elf, where its just a big secret that nobody wants to let the guy in on.

Really, appearance-wise, what is it that sets a dwarf apart from a short burly bearded human?

I'm gonna answer this in a meta sense, rather than the RP sense.


If I were playing a dwarf character and you told me your character was a dwarf, but he was really a human, I'd might be kind of peeved. You're saying I'm so stupid I can't tell if someone's the same race as I am? That's a bit insulting, even if you don't mean it that way. It's like telling me that your PC is going to put something over on mine, and there's nothing I can do about it.


On the other hand, if you say "hey, my PC is a human who thinks he's a dwarf, but you can tell he's a human if you think you should be able to do so," it's fun and it's something I can play along with. It becomes a bit of characterization that you're sharing with your table, rather than something you're forcing on your table. Think collaborative; think giving the other players choices.

So, I made a character who is a cleric of Moradin. He is 4'11" tall, 220 lbs, is very stocky, very burly, and has a nearly 3 foot long beard. He wields a big hammer and will sing the praises of Moradin when given even the smallest excuse.
Care to guess what his character sheet says for race? Nope, not dwarf. He's a human. (And don't tell me that humans can't be 4'11" without suffering from dwarfism. I know 4'11" people in real life who aren't LP's.)
The character, Fordahdin Hammerthrow, actually even thinks he's a dwarf. He was adopted by a dwarven family, and though he is slightly taller than most dwarves, as described above, he looks and acts like a dwarf in almost every other way. He can't quite see as well in the dark, and can trip a bit easier, but he just thinks he has bad eyes and is clumsy.

So my question to you is, do you think other dwarves would even notice that this is actually a human? Should I be making bluff [disguise] checks (keep in mind that Fordahdin truely believes he is a dwarf)? Should a nature check reveal him to be a human? I'm curious if Fordahdin would truely blend in with a dwarven society, or if this is like an odd version of the movie Elf, where its just a big secret that nobody wants to let the guy in on.

Really, appearance-wise, what is it that sets a dwarf apart from a short burly bearded human?

I'm gonna answer this in a meta sense, rather than the RP sense.


If I were playing a dwarf character and you told me your character was a dwarf, but he was really a human, I'd might be kind of peeved. You're saying I'm so stupid I can't tell if someone's the same race as I am? That's a bit insulting, even if you don't mean it that way. It's like telling me that your PC is going to put something over on mine, and there's nothing I can do about it.


On the other hand, if you say "hey, my PC is a human who thinks he's a dwarf, but you can tell he's a human if you think you should be able to do so," it's fun and it's something I can play along with. It becomes a bit of characterization that you're sharing with your table, rather than something you're forcing on your table. Think collaborative; think giving the other players choices.


Who said I wasn't?

I'm gonna answer this in a meta sense, rather than the RP sense.

If I were playing a dwarf character and you told me your character was a dwarf, but he was really a human, I'd might be kind of peeved. You're saying I'm so stupid I can't tell if someone's the same race as I am? That's a bit insulting, even if you don't mean it that way. It's like telling me that your PC is going to put something over on mine, and there's nothing I can do about it.


On the other hand, if you say "hey, my PC is a human who thinks he's a dwarf, but you can tell he's a human if you think you should be able to do so," it's fun and it's something I can play along with. It becomes a bit of characterization that you're sharing with your table, rather than something you're forcing on your table. Think collaborative; think giving the other players choices.



I agree with this. Playing one race and calling it another (even if you're not doing it purely because the race you picked has better bonuses for what you want to do) is certainly unfair to the players that are actually playing that race (after all, we choose our races for style as often we do for mechanical benefits, if not more often).


However, if you make it clear that your PC is a member of his actual race, and you have some interesting backstory behind it, then it's all in good fun. I actually appreciate these sorts of things.


My friend plays a dwarven cleric of Garl Glittergold who was raised by gnomes and claims he's half-gnome. He isn't, but he thinks he is.


I play a warforged that resembles a dwarf (i.e. a dwarforged). His backstory is that he is actuallyone of the first self-forged and was a dwarf before the spellplague.

Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Who said I wasn't?


Nobody said you weren't; nobody said you were. You didn't specify NPCs vs. PCs in your post, so I thought I'd talk about how I felt about it from a PC angle.


Some of my comments still apply -- I can pretty easily imagine a dwarf player who doesn't like the idea that all NPC dwarves will be fooled, since it still reflects on his or her race. A lot is going to depend on the table. The important thing is that IMHO you should be making the decision based on what your fellow players want, rather than asserting realism.

Well you can with a DC 10 nature check, anyway.

... which, considering that initial monster recognition checks are specifically called out as something a DM can have done passively, limits the universe of those who do not immediately recognize you as human to 1st level PCs/NPCs with a Wisdom below 10 and no training or bonuses to Nature.  At a quick glance at the list of usual PC races, it does not seem possible for even the most inexperienced and unwise members of twelve of those races (dwarves being among that number) to fail to recognize a human.

I'm completely fine with the idea of "Hey, guys, my character's a human who was raised by dwarves and considers himself one."  Or, even, simply describe him as a short, burly, bearded Moradin worshiper with a hammer who likes his ale, and let others fill in the gaps if they don't bother asking directly.  (Though, you will want to make sure the DM knows, since your actual race is likely to matter at some point.)

Among my usual group is a changeling PC who, so far as the characters know, is a dwarf ("Durgin Stouthammer of the East Rift Stouthammers" hasn't failed a Bluff check yet).  There's also an elf fighter that is clearly and obviously an elf, but due to some backstory is roleplayed as a dwarf to such a degree that it's common for most of the table to forget his actual appearance.  Those are both perfectly fine character concepts.

Where you run into problems is on the "My character thinks he's a dwarf, and your character does too" level, as that's just not supported by the rules.

Ok, first off, this is how the character has been played at his first two RPGA games:
He introduces himself as Fordahdin Hammerthrow, devoted priest of Moradin. He is playing in an all Moradite party, the "Anvils of Justice" (you can guess by the name we don't take ourselves too seriously), which consists of two dwarves, a minotaur, a goliath, and me. At first, I was just assumed to be a dwarf, until I was knocked prone and didn't get a saving throw. Some of the players asked "you're not a dwarf?" to which I replied "I'm a 4'11" burly bearded human who looks about as much like a dwarf as a human can naturally look. Maybe even a bit more so." The kenku pc who had joined us rolled a 3 on a self-imposed nature check, and said "looks like a dwarf to me. 'Course you hairy humanoids all kind of look the same to my kenku," and the dwarf avenger's player said "well, he's a Sonnlinor at any rate, so I pay him respect and don't question it too much."

Based on the feedback I've received, this is the backstory I think I'm going with. Let me know what you think:
At ~3 months old, Fordahdin was left at the doorstep of Clan Hammerthrow in a basket containing himself, a bag of gems, and a note asking that the dwarves raise him as one of their own. Not much is known of Fordahdin's real parents, except that they apparently were fans of hackneyed clichés.
The clan elders decided to honor the request, and declared that all in the clan should treat him as any other dwarf. They gave the responsibility of raising the child to Grisselspit Hammerthrow, a retired paladin of Moradin who had lost his own wife and child decades ago. Fordahdin grew up in the Dwarven tradition,  having the values of Moradin drilled into him while he performed the duties of a young Dwarf (assisting the smiths, assisting the miners, learning basic hammer and axe-fighting skills, learning sacred traditions, etc.)
Fortunately for Fordahdin, he was of short human stock, and so he had little trouble with cramped Dwarven tunnels. He grew burly as he took on mining and smithing responsibilities. He was provided with Brogane, a special dwarven tonic to promote beard growth, so that he too could have a fine dwarven beard. Grisselspit always told Fordahdin that he had the heart of a true dwarf, and so young Fordahdin believed himself to be a true dwarf.
When Fordahdin turned 14, he was recruited by the Clan Hammerthrow Sonnlinor. They trained him further in the arts of combat and prayer, including their unique hammer-throwing fighting style (most of them being hybrid cleric/seekers). Fordahdin eventually had to come to terms with the fact that he was something other than a dwarf - he couldn't see as well in the dark, he wasn't as sturdy, and he didn't have quite as strong a stomach for Dwarven ale. His father, Grisselspit, confessed to him that he had the heart of a dwarf but the blood of a human, and Fordahdin, having learned about half-elves and half-orcs in his studies, decided that he must be a half-dwarf. Though none in the clan had ever heard of such a thing (except a few who had heard absurd rumors of such a union resulting in a seven-foot tall, hairless humanoids), they couldn't convince Fordahdin that he wasn't a half-dwarf. After all, no one really knew who his parents were.
At the age of thirty, Fordahdin decided it was time for him to travel the world, to fight the enemies of Moradin and protect and teach his followers. With a pair of hammers engraved with the symbol of Moradin, the blessings of his father, and a three-foot long beard, Fordahdin set off for adventure... 


Ok, first off, this is how the character has been played at his first two RPGA games:
He introduces himself as Fordahdin Hammerthrow, devoted priest of Moradin. He is playing in an all Moradite party, the "Anvils of Justice" (you can guess by the name we don't take ourselves too seriously), which consists of two dwarves, a minotaur, a goliath, and me. At first, I was just assumed to be a dwarf, until I was knocked prone and didn't get a saving throw. Some of the players asked "you're not a dwarf?" to which I replied "I'm a 4'11" burly bearded human who looks about as much like a dwarf as a human can naturally look. Maybe even a bit more so." The kenku pc who had joined us rolled a 3 on a self-imposed nature check, and said "looks like a dwarf to me. 'Course you hairy humanoids all kind of look the same to my kenku," and the dwarf avenger's player said "well, he's a Sonnlinor at any rate, so I pay him respect and don't question it too much."



That sounds pretty damned funny and I hope I get the chance to play with you sometime. Fun party, too.
"Ah, lad, many humans I count amongst me friends. And many a short race, such as gnomes or the half-folk. Some come to learn of our ways. Me friend Olek brews ale with the help of an Elf that worships the Shalm. A gnome surveyed the traps in me inn. A human helped free me Clan's hold. And yet, they be not dwarves. Dwarves are dwarves, born of stone and earth, strong of will and body, forged by the All-Father. A human is not these things. He is a fine thing, and capable of being friend. But he is not dwarf. In some ways, this difference be not of matter. In other ways it be, the difference unbreakable, unyielding."

- Krelor Deepforge, Cantrev of Ystrad Cloer, Duchy of Geoff

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

"Ah, lad, many humans I count amongst me friends. And many a short race, such as gnomes or the half-folk. Some come to learn of our ways. Me friend Olek brews ale with the help of an Elf that worships the Shalm. A gnome surveyed the traps in me inn. A human helped free me Clan's hold. And yet, they be not dwarves. Dwarves are dwarves, born of stone and earth, strong of will and body, forged by the All-Father. A human is not these things. He is a fine thing, and capable of being friend. But he is not dwarf. In some ways, this difference be not of matter. In other ways it be, the difference unbreakable, unyielding."

- Krelor Deepforge, Cantrev of Ystrad Cloer, Duchy of Geoff

Yeah, got that. Hence the new backstory of thinking he's "half dwarf"

"Ah, lad, many humans I count amongst me friends. And many a short race, such as gnomes or the half-folk. Some come to learn of our ways. Me friend Olek brews ale with the help of an Elf that worships the Shalm. A gnome surveyed the traps in me inn. A human helped free me Clan's hold. And yet, they be not dwarves. Dwarves are dwarves, born of stone and earth, strong of will and body, forged by the All-Father. A human is not these things. He is a fine thing, and capable of being friend. But he is not dwarf. In some ways, this difference be not of matter. In other ways it be, the difference unbreakable, unyielding."

- Krelor Deepforge, Cantrev of Ystrad Cloer, Duchy of Geoff

Yeah, got that. Hence the new backstory of thinking he's "half dwarf"



"HALF-DWARF? I'm sorry, lad, never heard a such. Sounds like somethin' the giants might try... They didn't do this to ya, did they? I'll punish them for it, mark me words."

OOC: I'm totally with you. Just saying, them dwarves is fixed on their ways. Ain't no half, no like, no almost, no similar. Unyielding like stone. (Come to think of it, that OOC comment sounds like a dwarf... I better roll up another one.)

Edit: and just to be really clear, I totally dig your idea. I've seen a few players either play gnomes/humans that want to be dwarves or play the rare dwarf that shaves their beard (gosh, that was hard to type... whew) and wants to... be... human. (those people are insane). In all cases, the end result was very fun.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Dwarves are awesome, I can see why the human would want to be one =)
Blah blah blah
The story is a fine one, just be straight up about what the character is and don't be sneaky about it. The other characters might be fooled if you go down the bluff path but, the DM and other players should always be clear about what your character is.

As soon you begin to try to fool the players or derive some sort of game advantage from it, you have crossed that line and become cheesey and arguably outside the boundaries of the rules.

If some ones asks, tell them you are a Human Cleric of Moradin and then go into your richer description.
Since we mentioned J.Rhys-Davies can I work Brian Blessed in here?

Knighthood for Sir Brian!

Gordons Alive!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rlefXQYaO0&NR=1 
"HALF-DWARF? I'm sorry, lad, never heard a such. Sounds like somethin' the giants might try... They didn't do this to ya, did they? I'll punish them for it, mark me words."

OOC: I'm totally with you. Just saying, them dwarves is fixed on their ways. Ain't no half, no like, no almost, no similar. Unyielding like stone. (Come to think of it, that OOC comment sounds like a dwarf... I better roll up another one.)


Offcial FR cannon (2nd edition) actually mentions the existence of human-dwarf parentage in the FR. For all intents and purposes these are dwarves although they are a bit taller and leaner then the average dwarf. I am not sure whether the Time of Troubles and the Spellplague would have changed the rule, but it is there ;)

Personally I like such characters, hack, I play an eladrin raised by elves in a home campaign, although he is fully aware he is an eladrin (although he has know idea how eladrin culture is like - and since this is Eberron the difference between a Phiarlann elf and an eladrin culture wise is rather big). Although it can get a bit cliche rather quickly, especially if several people in the same region get the same idea at the same time.

If you sit at my table and say "I'm a cleric of Moradin, I look like a tall dwarf."  I could give a rats ass if you were a hobgoblin bugbear or bullywug mechanically.

In other words, you're doing it right.  Having fun, and roleplaying.  Which is more then half these posters can claim.  "Waaaah he's claiming to be a race he's not and my character would know better!" 

Who cares.  He's short, he's burly, has a beard, whorships moradin, carries a hammer, and talks with a scottish accent.  "I look like a dwarf" is more information then you need when asking what race he is.
"I look like a dwarf" is more information then you need when asking what race he is.



"I look like a dwarf" == good.

"I am a dwarf" == bad.

End of discussion from my perspective.
"HALF-DWARF? I'm sorry, lad, never heard a such. Sounds like somethin' the giants might try... They didn't do this to ya, did they? I'll punish them for it, mark me words."

OOC: I'm totally with you. Just saying, them dwarves is fixed on their ways. Ain't no half, no like, no almost, no similar. Unyielding like stone. (Come to think of it, that OOC comment sounds like a dwarf... I better roll up another one.)


Offcial FR cannon (2nd edition) actually mentions the existence of human-dwarf parentage in the FR. For all intents and purposes these are dwarves although they are a bit taller and leaner then the average dwarf. I am not sure whether the Time of Troubles and the Spellplague would have changed the rule, but it is there ;)

Personally I like such characters, hack, I play an eladrin raised by elves in a home campaign, although he is fully aware he is an eladrin (although he has know idea how eladrin culture is like - and since this is Eberron the difference between a Phiarlann elf and an eladrin culture wise is rather big). Although it can get a bit cliche rather quickly, especially if several people in the same region get the same idea at the same time.



2E canon includes bearded dwarven women (which I am all for), yet removes it in later editions. What is and isn't canon just isn't sacred enough in FR. There have been many cooks in the kitchen. Another example for any edition/setting is dwarves living underground and the near-insane change in the races book (released early in 4E) that says dwarves are now re-envisioned as surface dwellers (explaining the loss of darkvision).

Regardless, for both bearded dwarves this is a cosmetic effect in all cases. My female dwarves are bearded, which is no biggie. For someone wanting to play a dwarf that comes from mixed-human/dwarf parentage, that is fine, but it should be RP. There is no canon dwarf-human racial hybrid, so you must choose to be one or the other. And, because dwarves are way stubborn, my guess is they would refuse to acknowledge any of the non-dominant strain, no matter what you say.

I'm dwarf with x% human = No, you are a dwarf, stop saying crazy things. Keep it up and lose your beer privileges.
I'm human, with x% dwarf = No, you are a human, we will now stop talking to you. Keep it up for an axe to the head.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).


I'm dwarf with x% human = No, you are a dwarf, stop saying crazy things. Keep it up and lose your beer privileges.
I'm human, with x% dwarf = No, you are a human, we will now stop talking to you. Keep it up for an axe to the head.


...aren't you kind of contradicting yourself here? So now you're saying that in-character, I shouldn't call myself a half-dwarf and just a dwarf?
And if I introduced myself as a human with dwarf blood, I find it reallly hard to swallow that they would talk to a Sonnlinor in the way you described, no matter what he claimed to be. (Unless he was like... an orc Sonnlinor, in which case I imagine them having trouble believing he was a Sonnlinor at all.)
I specialize in contradicting myself, given enough time.

That said, what I was trying to capture was the generic stubborn dwarf's reaction, which is always adjusted for the reality of the situation. A generic dwarf would probably dislike the idea of any human anything being in a dwarf. So, if it is a dwarf (mechanic dwarf) and says it has human blood, they would likely call him crazy and tell him to stop saying that. If he kept doing it, they apply pressure until he stops talking about it. Eventually they might shave him and throw him out of the clannhold. This is the kind of thing elves love to talk about (except they do it too...)

A human (mechanic=human) that claims to have dwarven blood is likely treated as being crazy, or over-selling himself. I mean, the chances a dwarf really fell for some human and 'gifted' this human with dwarven blood is ridiculous. "Har, har. Clearly the human must be daft, even if sincere. If the human would stop talking about it, all would be well. Maybe this axe would help. Hey, he worships the Soul Forger? Ok, just a warning."

I would adjust this for the actual event. As a DM, it could be very cool to have the PC prove himself, win their understanding, etc. The religion, social skills, historical/cultural knowledge, etc. could all help. In a home campaign, the length of time I would take to approve it would be based entirely on how fun it all played out - keeping the player trying to get approval might be a lot of fun for everyone.

In LFR, it depends. As a DM I am weary of the idea of "hey, my backstory is X, they auto-like me." (I should probably be less jaded). The newer the player, or the more I know them to be an RP-centered person vs. a cheesemonkey (of which I personally do both), the more I tend to provide a benefit. But, it is all a judgment call based on the situation. I've seen many a mod where I worshipped X but received no love from my deity's followers (real-life parallels abound). Dwarf just makes it harder - especially if you are claiming a blood tie. Elves, who value family lines and lineage, probably feel the same. In contrast, a halfling or gnome village would probably love a human coming along and saying they are half-them. (Gnomes might think it a prank, but regardless a lot of fun). Pixies would probably call their friends over and make you a flying chariot made of pixies.

My general rule of thumb for my PCs is to assume that I need to earn everything the same way anyone else does - the fun is RP, not entitlement. Again, a lot of it is attitude. If the player assumes something, my red flag comes up and I get suspicious. This is similar to the player responses - if you tell players you are a dwarf, that conveys a mechanical truth. If the reality is otherwise, it feels underhanded. Telling players the metagame truth and RPing is likely to gain a lot more acceptance.

None of my rambling should be taken as any negative comment on the concept. I'm just talking about how I see the racial world and what the reaction would likely be - from my viewpoint. I like the concept.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Isn't that a bit of a cliched reaction for dwarves? Them being stubborn proud warriors and smiths with a strong dislike for anything non-dwarven? You are describing the gold dwarves, but not the shield dwarves of the north. The shield dwarves have mostly been living above ground since their strong decline during the heydays of ancient Netheril and the gold dwarves have been forced out during the Spellplague. The shield dwarves have also always been described as much more open and accepting to outsiders then the typical dwarf. FR material made it very clear worthy people can join dwarf clans and be fully accepted and treated as family. Now, I know this has not been mentioned in 4E material, but unlike the beards and loss of darkvision, neither has it been specifically contradicted in newer material.
In other words, you're doing it right.  Having fun, and roleplaying.  Which is more then half these posters can claim.  "Waaaah he's claiming to be a race he's not and my character would know better!" 



[VCL HAT ON]
I would remind you not to make attacks in your posts, whether it's a sweeping generalization or personal.
[/VCL HAT OFF]
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf