Dwarf pets

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I love giving characters pets, and I was thinking about what kind of pet a dwarf would have. Of course there is no such thing as a race specific pet, but still, I'm thinking of what would be common among them. Also, what would "fit", in your opinion.

Things that come to mind are dogs, ponies (though maybe more of a mount than a pet), some sorts of birds, burrowing creatures, ferrets and similar creatures...

Can you think of any creatures, natural or fantasy, that would be cool for a dwarf? They don't have to exist in the Monster Manual, of course.
A bat. Bats are awesome. Also, I've always considered that dwarves living in mountain fortresses could do worse than to tend flocks of bats - they shelter in caves, and their droppings make an extremely potent fertilizer. This dwarf could have brought his beloved pet bat from the cave-farm back home.
badger, badger, badger
Pet rock Never leave your mountain halls without it !

That piece of humor aside, I'd imagine dwarves being a truly industrial sort of buggers that don't usually take a liking to small, fuzzy, adorably cute things.
Their pets should serve some specific purpouse, and not just loiter around and poop on their backyards.
If it cannot be ridden, eaten, or provide some other use it's just a freeloader.

Deep underground, where fires may cause a suffocation hazard, and fuel is a rare and expensive commodity.
Fungus (althoug not strictly a pet as much as a decorative plant) and fishtanks can provide illumination (I imagine a white, nearly blind fish wich uses a natural "lantern" to lure its prey close to its mouth or to scare off predators)

Insects might be used as "watchdogs" or even beasts of burden if they are large enough, and again illumination is a possibility with insects as much as fish.
Just because its of a monsterous size doesn't automaticly make it a "monster".
Although the thought is slightly alien and possibly "off-fantasy", I can envision domesticated giant beetles pulling ore carts and dwarven riders. Or even be used in the mining process itself if it where to poop out the ores/gems and digest the rock (think purple worm MM p.214 or similar) or just plain tunnel building.

However we might not want to step into Drow teretorry here (I'm not very experienced with any AD&D setting yet so I'm not sure whats kosher)

Other, more mundane species of worm are great to make useful soil out of nasty sewage wich might otherwse be a enviromental hazard (clogging tunnels, causing poisonous gasses, or pollute freshwater sources)
Certain types of cavernous lizards could perhaps be used as "pidgeons" to carry messages between the halls or as "canaries" for mining purpouses.

Bats, goats and other mountainous "livestock" like ponies, yak's and llama's could be found in settlements closer to the surface. The bats are a particularly nice idea that I used for quite some time (not to take credit from Great_Zamboni).
I imagine them a common ingredient in the dwarven culinary arts. And young dwarves often go "fishing" for them with net, sling and spear.
But deeper under the mountains all of those animals would be outside their natural habitat, and getting food for them might be more of a hassle than its worth, especially if kept in flocks or herds.

If these suggestions seem to "flintestones" for you, perhaps you'd like a more "warhammer" flavour, consider mechanical constructs, or perhaps stone golems in unorthodox shapes.

Hope this was useful !
I'm a big fan of dwarves myself, and quite curious what others might come up with
I am White/Green
Damn, I came to this thread hoping it was about keeping Dwarfs as pets.

But, if you're looking for the types of pets Dwarf miners may keep, how about birds to check for poison gas... or maybe moles, woodchucks (groundhogs) or hedgehogs? Porcupines, gophers, prairie dogs, weasels, skunks, foxes, and group squirrels somehow seem appropriate too if he's surface dwelling, which dwarf adventurers often are, if you'll pardon my poor english.
Skunk would work really well, with the tunnels limited breeze (or constant breeze, depending on the tunnel) their stink spray would either linger for a long while quite effectively as a 'wall' of poison gas or pass away in the next round acting more like an 'attack' of poison gas. A giant skunk would of course be better as they are able to be mounts as well at that point.
badger, badger, badger

Myconid! Myconid!
Hmm...Is it just me being inexperienced with AD&D settings vs general fantasy settings here ?
All these suggestions sofar strike me more as something a halfling/hobbit type would agree with, as they are mostly woodland or field dwelling creatures.
Not saying they are bad suggestions though...They just strike me as odd is all.

I'd guess Dwarves away from home would keep the same type of animals humans do...As dull as that may sound.
I am White/Green
There aren't a whole lot of creatures that Dwarfs would be exposed to that other races wouldn't.

Since Dwarves tend to be practical types, most of their pets should serve a practical purpose - guard dogs, small birds and pack animals. Rats could also be a possibility, depending on how you view Dwarves. If they don't like rats, then cats are a certainty. Personally, I favor dire moles though.
My favorite pet as a dwarf seconded as my mount...it was a giant lizard...I had a Dwarven Ranger TWS...high levels in riding. Picture a giant lizard barreling towards you on the ceiling of the cave, with a Dwarf on its back, battle axe in one hand and hammer in the other. Scary sight.
In my opinion dwarves are by nature gruff, no nonsense, practical beings. If you want a pet I would go with a beast of burden, a donkey/mule, or if your in the underdark a large insect or some sort of underdark work animal. Could have fun with a mule because dwarves are by nature stubborn so you could have fun arguements when your mule decides he wants to stay where he is, or does odd things that irritate the dwarf, making him threaten to have the mule for dinner.
Okay. If we're being serious here, then there is one creature that stands out head and shoulders above all others for being the most obvious candidate for domestication by far.

Umber Hulks. They're strong, their relatively dense and can tunnel through rock! I can't think of any creature that would be more useful to a dwarf than an umber hulk except either a beholder (levitate and disintergrate) or xorns. The first of which will eat you, and the second of which will eat your gems and gold (if I remember correctly). There are old-school Earth Elementals, but they're not exactly creatures, per se.

Umber Hulks. Sturdy, useful and if you specifically want one as a pet, then I think a baby umber hulk would make a fantastic one. Any of our local artists want to take a stab at drawing a chibi-hulk? ;)

I'm really serious here!
I'm thinking that Rottweilers would be the quintessential 'Dwarf' dogs.
Okay. If we're being serious here, then there is one creature that stands out head and shoulders above all others for being the most obvious candidate for domestication by far.

Umber Hulks. They're strong, their relatively dense and can tunnel through rock! I can't think of any creature that would be more useful to a dwarf than an umber hulk except either a beholder (levitate and disintergrate) or xorns. The first of which will eat you, and the second of which will eat your gems and gold (if I remember correctly). There are old-school Earth Elementals, but they're not exactly creatures, per se.

Umber Hulks. Sturdy, useful and if you specifically want one as a pet, then I think a baby umber hulk would make a fantastic one. Any of our local artists want to take a stab at drawing a chibi-hulk? ;)

I'm really serious here!

I am shocked! That is such a good idea!
I'm thinking that Rottweilers would be the quintessential 'Dwarf' dogs.

Wow. Good call on dog breed. Miss my rottie.

I don't think any creatures listed so far are too "foresty" or "non-dwarven," with the exception of birds and fungus. Birds would be useful for mining, but I can't see a dwarf keeping one as a pet unless it's a hill dwarf. Bird + cage + underground =/= pet. Heh...well it could, but I guess don't really jive with the idea without a really good story!

I assume you're talking "pet" like a familiar or companion you can adventure with, as opposed to something you keep at home, right? Burrowing creatures and rodent types (ferrets, badgers, stoats, etc.) are probably the "cutest" I'd go with for a regular dwarf. I'd open it up to your everyday mage familiar types (squirrels, birds, a mangy cat) for hill dwarves that live out on the surface.

Ha...a mule could be great story! That's the biggest I'd go for unless you meant a pet that stays at home, though.

Oh, and someone said insects, but also spiders might work. Especially if your character is a DragonLance dwarf (no drow here).

Edit: Hey, what about a bear?
A goat, or a ram might make for a fun dwarven pet.

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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I'd imagine dwarves being a truly industrial sort of buggers that don't usually take a liking to small, fuzzy, adorably cute things.
Their pets should serve some specific purpouse, and not just loiter around and poop on their backyards.
If it cannot be ridden, eaten, or provide some other use it's just a freeloader.

I totally agree. Rather than pets, I see dwarves keeping livestock and beasts of burden. Remember in Sojourn when Bruenor seriously considers eating that guy's dog? On that note, however, there are plenty of qualified candidates.

Pigs/Dire Boars: According to the 4e MM, p. 35, dwarves domesticate dire boars for use as mounts (and presumably as beasts of burden) and refer to them as "thundertusks". Plus, pork is delicious.

Sheep: As handy sources of red meat and wool, you can't go wrong here, and they can be easily kept and herded in highland areas.

Goats: Got milk? Goats are an excellent source of dairy and are better suited to mountainous terrain than cows.

Rothe: let's not forget the beef of the underdark. I'm sure rothe steak is found on more than a few dinner tables in the deeper dwarven communities.

I know some of these suggestions have already been thrown out there, but I just wanted to toss in my two cents.
I am shocked! That is such a good idea!

Yeah. I'm not really known for good ideas. ;) :D

L.
I could see something like a mole getting along well with a Dwarf. I also second things like a monstrous spider or bat, it all depends on where this Dwarf comes from though.
I totally agree. Rather than pets, I see dwarves keeping livestock and beasts of burden. Remember in Sojourn when Bruenor seriously considers eating that guy's dog? On that note, however, there are plenty of qualified candidates.

Pigs/Dire Boars: According to the 4e MM, p. 35, dwarves domesticate dire boars for use as mounts (and presumably as beasts of burden) and refer to them as "thundertusks". Plus, pork is delicious.

Sheep: As handy sources of red meat and wool, you can't go wrong here, and they can be easily kept and herded in highland areas.

Goats: Got milk? Goats are an excellent source of dairy and are better suited to mountainous terrain than cows.

Rothe: let's not forget the beef of the underdark. I'm sure rothe steak is found on more than a few dinner tables in the deeper dwarven communities.

I know some of these suggestions have already been thrown out there, but I just wanted to toss in my two cents.

I believe Bruenor did eat... some of the dog.

And to add to the dire boar comment... Bacon is good, Pork chops are good, MMMM Ribs, I could go on. Bar-B-Q is kinda big here.
A Dog - they're very loyal, will guard your home and family, watch over you while you sleep, and are well suited for work. Its like a dwarf, in animal form!



I imagine that a dwarf would be like a gruff farmer (thinking of my grand father there). His favourite animals would be his loyal dog and his trusty horse, and he'd give these the most attention of all his animals.

He'd have a cat for keeping the rats away, but he probably wouldn't fuss over it too much.
IMO, dwarves are too pragmatic to keep pets. Guardian creatures, mounts, & animals that could work by pulling a wagonload of ore or something like that, sure. But you're never gonna see a dwarven fishtank or a female dwarf carrying a small dog in a handbag like a short & stocky Paris Hilton.

In other words, if it ain't useful in some way, a dwarf isn't gonna waste precious resources feeding & housing it.
IMO, dwarves are too pragmatic to keep pets. Guardian creatures, mounts, & animals that could work by pulling a wagonload of ore or something like that, sure. But you're never gonna see a dwarven fishtank or a female dwarf carrying a small dog in a handbag like a short & stocky Paris Hilton.

In other words, if it ain't useful in some way, a dwarf isn't gonna waste precious resources feeding & housing it.

I think you're pretty spot on in summary here except for the "never" part. That's a bit strong I think. I mean, a dwarven wizard with glowing fish as a living room light source? That sounds pretty interesting story-wise to me. Not to mention kinda pimp. :D

Ha...and who's to say they don't eat 'em once in a while, too! That kills the frou frou element right there, in a succinctly dwarven way, even. The elf exclaims at how gorgeous the fish are and the dwarf says, "Yeah, they taste good too!"
I think you're pretty spot on in summary here except for the "never" part. That's a bit strong I think. I mean, a dwarven wizard with glowing fish as a living room light source? That sounds pretty interesting story-wise to me. Not to mention kinda pimp. :D

Ha...and who's to say they don't eat 'em once in a while, too! That kills the frou frou element right there, in a succinctly dwarven way, even. The elf exclaims at how gorgeous the fish are and the dwarf says, "Yeah, they taste good too!"

Glowing fish sounds a little gnomish to me. The D&D lava lamp.
a female dwarf carrying a small dog in a handbag like a short & stocky Paris Hilton.

AH, My Mids eye, it burns! They said female dwarfs dont have beards in 4th edition!
I've got one better than the Umber Hulks:

Take one Hormunculous. Make it out of gold and / or silver. Ta da! One gloriously wealth-flaunting, always loyal pet. I can just see some great dwarf merchant, rubied fingers and silk cushioned, sitting in his litter with a golden snake coiled contentedly in his lap.

Come on - can't people step outside their Gimli steretypes for just one second and play a dwarf with a pet? :D
Pigs/Dire Boars: According to the 4e MM, p. 35, dwarves domesticate dire boars for use as mounts (and presumably as beasts of burden) and refer to them as "thundertusks". Plus, pork is delicious.

since someone else brought it up, I'd like to point out that pork is not kosher.


and I personally could totally see giant beetles as beasts of burden for dwarves.

they're tough, stupid, and dirty. sorry, I confused myself for a second. couldn't remember if I was talking about the dwarves or the beetles.
Good to see that my thread has been popular.

I like the homonculus idea for a rich/flamboyant dwarf. The Umberhulk doesn't fit in my opinion. Aren't they huge, untameable and very dangerous beasts? doesn't sound like a pet to me.

I don't agree about dwarves being too pragmatic. Sure, they are down to business, but that doesn't mean that some of them have a soft side. Birds and ferret-like animals are good too. Badgers are ok, but somehow they make me think of gnomes. I don't think moles would work, since they spend all their time in the earth. Keeping one out of the ground would be to rob it of its natural habitat. It would get sick or die. I think.

My favourites so far are ferrets, foxes, dogs, small birds, as well as beasts of burden. Rats are cool too, if the dwarf isn't afraid or disgusted by them.
What about bears? Large, dangerous, you dont need a bedroll as long as you can curl up next to them, easily trainable, good trackers, will eat the goblins you just killed for clean up. And if they happen to die, you got a whole bearskin to make clothes from and meat for a month!
Gnomes.
Bears are a good idea, but it makes me think of WoW Dwarf Hunters with bear pets.

Damn my brain for being able to associate!
If anybody could domesticate badgers, it'd be the dwarves. I could also get behind dwarfish war boars ('cause as bad as the smell would be, it'd beat getting in front of 'em).

If you were thinking smaller, rats might be a good idea. Once you get over the whole vermin thing, they're intelligent, hardy creatures.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
As a Wizard or Sorcerer dwarf I often had a frog/toad familiar, seems like there could be some subterainian frogs or toads. Especially nice if the frog is poisonous as it has a very practical use also nice for keeping the bugs away.

Course the best pet for a dwarf IMHO would have to be a Crocodile, its tough, rugged and low to the ground just like dwarves. Now I know what your thinking, Crocs live in swamps not in caves, dungeons, or mountains but this is after all fantasy. Who's to say there are no Cave Crocs, or Mountain Crocks. Let your imagination be your guide here. Any pet could be the pet of Dwarves in your setting, in mine it would be Crocs.
Loath as I am to go with a WoW-based idea, I'd also suggest rams for Dwarven mounts/pets (I actually thought it was a good flavored idea back when I first saw it in the game as a player...)

Dwarves are of course the mountain/hill-based folk, and rams/mountain goats are animals from the same general kind of habitat.

Plus there's that whole surefooted and stubborn/headstrong thing-- literally in some cases, what with the whole putting-down-your-head-and-cracking-your-skull-against-the-other-guy thing :D

Guess they're not so dissimilar after all... :P
pigs!
id sy a gote...or if you want to way out there a tiny/snall earth elementel.

undestandebel right.
I could see dwarves keeping pets, but I do agree their aesthetic would be totally different. I gotta' imagine they would abhor a cute, pampered, useless pet. They would love a big, grouchy, mean, thick pet. Something that takes itself seriously. I could see them breeding bears down to a smaller size and keeping them as pets. I love the idea of boars and warthogs--especially if they were trained to sniff out edible food. Badgers and wolverines, definitely. They've got all the attitude a dwarf would love. Big bulldogs and wolves are another fun pick. I'm a little loathe to go into the weirder pets, since having too many big bats and giant beetles tends to make dwarven society a little too weird for my tastes, but I could still see giant toads as a pet. That would be cool too!
Now with 100% more Vorthos!
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