I've never played a Dwarf

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Well as the title says, I have never played a dwarf as a Player Character. Sure, pleanty of times I've played a Dwarf NPC as am primarily a DM, but one of the players in my group whom I trust, asked if he could DM once we hit the paragon level, right after a dramatic death of his character. Of course I said ok and immedentally looked at our party's structure, which is currently:

A Dragonborn Fighter
An Eladrin Ranger with multi-class into Rogue
An Eladrin Wizard
An Elf Paladin of Bahamut
A Tiefling Warlock (the player that will be dieing)

So I decided this party is far too elf heavy, but that also happens to be my faveroite race. I also notice that the doomed warlock is also the semi-leader of the party, with a good deal of attention being focused on her based on some earily in-party decisions. So with the new PhB infront of me I went to work. I decided that a halfling rogue wouldn't help as the ranger already has multi-classed into it and a Cleric would help but as the stone cold athiest I am I have trouble getting into the whole, devouted to a religion. Therefore I decided on a Warlord, as I took intrest in a class that doesn't only help themselves yet isn't just a healer. So then came race, and suddenly it hit me, I have never played a dwarf PC. Furthermore, most of the dwarves in our group over the time have been, well to put it bluntly their first name with FI, last name TOR. No personality just a big axe and a red beard. So I wanted to make a dwarf that would encourage better role-playing. Now to do this I feel it is a good idea to look into dwarf society but frankly the 1 page in the PhB isn't enough for me. I know the whole, ansestry and "We love rocks" things but I'm looking for some smaller customs, something to add that edge to this race that I have 0 experience playing.

Thanks for the advice,
-Aise.
Dwarves, in addition to respecting their ancestors often put a lot of emphasis on proper respect to elders and "betters". As a dwarven warlord, your character probably served in some form of militia and will likely have strong feelings about his former comrades, even as he goes on to adventure. As a product of their living very close to one another, dwarves also tend to like their emotional "space", since physical space is hard to find when the rest of the clan is breathing down your neck.

I've always imagined that most dwarf societies are ruled both by a variety of (probably ancient) laws, and a variety of social pressures that encourage young dwarves to behave properly. Things like shunning, banishment, and being stripped of one's family name are all things your character has likely witnessed happening to the dregs of dwarf society-what is his/her response to that?

I'll try to think up some more stuff later...
Alcohol. Dwarves love the stuff in all forms, but especially ale. You don't have to play a raging drunk, but you should have some strong opinions about drinking. Perhaps you're a connoisseur, or maybe you like to challenge people to drinking contests. Also remember that alcohol is technically a poison, so dwarves should be very resistant to its effects. Meaning if you want to be drunk, you're going to have to drink a lot more than a human.
A fine dwarven ale could be a symbol of racial pride. Festivals might take place around brewing and tasting the stuff. Maybe the ale brewer is a rich person in dwarven society, so it is a job with a bit of prestige? Perhaps the only good ale is made by carefully following tradition and knowledge of ale making, so it also comes with a bit of cultural status?

Maybe the ale has some significance as well, and sharing ale would be the equivalent for him of sharing salt/bread. So, he wouldn't drink dwarven ale(And it MUST be dwarven ale) with just anyone, but once he did, consider that person a comrade in arms.
For a primer on the speech patterns of Dwarves, watch "Dr. No", "The Untouchables" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". :P

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Dwarves, much like humans, can be very different. In fact, the most fun can be had when playing dwarves that still embody major characteristics of dwarves, with one or two tweaks.

How your dwarf works with the party is key, since a fun (and helpful to the DM) approach has dwarves close to their allies, much as kin. I think of the bonds of Gimli with Legolas as a good benchmark toward working well with Elves and their more "airy" ways while you tend to be more "grounded."

Since the warlord primary helps the defender, the relationship with the dragonborn should start off on the right foot. Again, I think it's the strong bonds with other PCs that make the dwarf special.

That and of course, the alcohol.
And don't forget:

Saddest. Comic. Ever.
Whatever you do DON'T speak with a Scottish accent. Australian, East Indian, Spanish . . . anything but Scottish!!! Please. Every time a D&D player speaks in a Scottish-for-Dwarven accent somewhere a spleen explodes. Please, save the spleens!!!

Seriously, though, the whole Scottish Dwarf accent thing is a total cliche that needs to end.
On with more helpful stuff.

Here are some of the qualities that I see in Dwarves that can be expanded on to really flesh out a personality.

Practical: Dwarves are the embodiment of practical. This could mean a character that carries more gear than normally expected. It could mean that every time the party encounters a problem the dwarf asks, "Is there a simple solution to this." It could make him ruthless. It could make him an incesant problem solver.

Clanish: Life is clan! Dwarves will value teamwork and contribution from everyone (nice fit with the Warlord). A dwarf might believe that he does not need to see the big picture, it is just important that everyone do their part. This might make him willing to undergo missions and adventures with less explanation.

Materialistic: Some would say greedy. Either way, a dwarf pursues wealth. He might have pure motivation, such as providing for kin and clan. He might just want to be rich. He could be a conassuer of fine art or other such thing. He could be a collector. Often dwarves are craftsmen, taking the ore of the earth and making tools to sell.

Work: Dwarves believe in hard work. A dwarf might have an 'earn what you need' mentality with little room for pity for the downtrodden. He might be very demanding of other party member, insiting that all contribute. Or, conversly, he might work so hard that no one else need do anything.

Law: Dwarves like rules and structure. Does your dwarf demand strict behavior from his comrades? Maybe he is constantly coining little life rules as the result of his experiences, "If it breathed fire, don't look it in the eye!" Dwarves give and take orders well.

As a final note, I usually envision Dwarves as pipe smokes. Their music as very chant-like with heavy beats. Dancing is mostly of the march style. Oh yeah, I don't know if anyone else mentioned it but they like beer.:P
Dwarves don't just like beer and ale, they like it thick, earthy, hearty... more along the line of malt liquors, full of grain and other goodness that puts hair on your chest, or in the case of dwarves your everything. The same goes for food. On the topic of potent potables, dwarves can also dig on the harder stuff.

A dwarves materialism is seldom rooted in the monetary value of what they hoard. A dwarf is more likely interested in a functional axe than an artsy one full of glitter and gold filigree, mining the softer ores only to trade for more practical stock. When a dwarf collects gold he tends to collect it for a purpose, like restoring his clanhall to its former glory.

There are infinite ways to expand on the dwarf and typical dwarf culture, you may want to ask your DM how dwarves and dwarven culture function in his campaign world before taking any suggestions from here all too seriously.
On the topic of potent potables, dwarves can also dig on the harder stuff.

Hee, hee. My current (new, actually . . . 4e and all) is a dwarf wiz taking up adventuring in his retirement; about 100 years old. As part of his back story he has been married several times. His 3rd marriage was to two elf girls during his 'academy' years. As he always says, "In my own defence . . . I did not know that the elf ceremony was a wedding, nor did I know that two elven women could choose to have the same husband, and frankly it wasn't exactly tobacco in my pipe in those days! That being said, those were good years."
I think it was Scott Kurtz in the PA/PvP podcast that said all Dwarves need alliterated names.

And whoever said that Dwarves need to stop having Scottish accents is a bad person. Ye cannae have a Dwarf withoot a Scottish accent! How can ye hav' any puddin' if ye don' eet yer meat!?

on a (slightly) more serious note: Someone mentioned the word Pride. Dwarves are proud creatures. Anything that has ever been done in all of history, has already been done by a Dwarf and done better.

Be manly. Even if you're playing a female Dwarf. You have to be the toughest there is. Grow a big beard and take pride in its maintenance (braids, oils, maybe even colouring and fragrances? Manly fragrances though...). Drink everyone else under the table (so, down to your eye level), then start a fight.

Take offense at everything. Come up with reasons why just about anything is an affront to Dwarven culture. Basically, your way (the Dwarven way) is the best way to do everything. No exceptions.

and the most important thing: remind the elves that they are a bunch of pansy-ass sissy girls. Can't stress that enough.
Female Dwarves with beards is a horrible cliche that needs to die a quick yet horribly painful death. Its like that horrible joke that you've heard several dozen times from a dozen people that wasn't even funny the first time it was told. There is numerous art done of non-bearded, attractive, female dwarves that still manage to fit into the dwarven feel.
Dark Sun DM starting October 18th 2010 Level 4 Tiefling Orbizard Level 3 Tiefling Telepath Psion

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What your forgetting is a mighty dwarven name i will bestow one upon you!


Axebeard Mc Beardaxe!
What your forgetting is a mighty dwarven name i will bestow one upon you!


Axebeard Mc Beardaxe!

It has to be alliterated!
A better one would be Axebeard Anvilarse
I stand corrected
in our current 3.5e game we're currently holed up in a Dwarven city. All signage for buildings involves something on an anvil being struck by a hammer.

Armoury/Blacksmith = a Shield/Sword on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
Tavern = mug of ale on an anvil, being struck with a hammer
Library = a book on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
Bakery = a loaf of bread on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
mens/ladies restrooms = man dwarf/female dwarf on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
Toolmaker = an anvil being struck by a hammer on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
in our current 3.5e game we're currently holed up in a Dwarven city. All signage for buildings involves something on an anvil being struck by a hammer.

Armoury/Blacksmith = a Shield/Sword on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
Tavern = mug of ale on an anvil, being struck with a hammer
Library = a book on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
Bakery = a loaf of bread on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
mens/ladies restrooms = man dwarf/female dwarf on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.
Toolmaker = an anvil being struck by a hammer on an anvil, being struck with a hammer.

Ooooh, my sides hurt.