Dwarves

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Dwarves

Postby Havard » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:12 pm

How many different groups of Dwarves are there in Middle Earth?

I know not everyone is a fan of the Hobbit films, but I did like the way the first movie emphasized how the Dwarves were a people without a country and how this had affected their culture, making them a race of mercenaries, travelling craftsmen and traders.

The Vala Aulë created the Dwarves. Do they worship him as a God? Or even talk about him?

What do you like about Dwarven characters in your Middle Earth games?

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Re: Dwarves

Postby Boneguard » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:46 pm

Aulë is the Valast who created them, he isn't worship...there no such thing really in Middle-Earth but he is Honored above all Valar.

There used to be 7 Dwarven clan (excluding the petty-dwarves) with the first 3 still around d during the time of the Hobbits:
Longbeards aka Durin's folk (who founded the city of Khazad-dûm and Lonely Mountain and the Iron Hills)
Firebeards (who founded Nogrod in the Blue Mountains)
Broadbeams (who founded Belegost in the Blue Mountains)
Ironfists
Stiffbeards
Blacklocks
Stonefoots

Physically though, they are pretty uniform.
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Re: Dwarves

Postby The Dark » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:05 pm

All or almost all of the dwarfs appearing in Tolkien's work are Longbeards. It seems the Firebeards and Broadbeams moved to Khazad-dum after the end of the First Age, then returned to Ered Luin after the Balrog was released, so they were in the far West. The other four clans were in the far East. The Longbeards' wandering nature was due to the fall of their strongholds at Khazad-dum and Erebor, and the War of Dwarves and Dragons in the Grey Mountains (which drove Gror to head to the Iron Hills and Thror to return to Erebor).
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Re: Dwarves

Postby Big Mac » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:53 am

Here is what Tolkien Gateway has on the Dwarven clans (or Khazâd in their own language):
  • Longbeards - Durin's Folk were the Longbeards (Sigin-tarâg in Khuzdul), one of the seven kindreds of Dwarves whose leaders were from the House of Durin. Their first king was named Durin, who was one of the seven Fathers of the Dwarves.
  • Firebeards* - The Firebeards were one of the seven houses of the Dwarves. They were originally paired with the Broadbeams. The ancestor of the Firebeards was among the oldest (together with the ancestors of the Broadbeams and Longbeards) of the Seven Ancestors of the Dwarves.
  • Broadbeams - The Broadbeams were one of the seven houses of the Dwarves. They were originally paired with the Firebeards. The ancestor of the Broadbeams was among the oldest of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves (together with the ancestors of the Firebeards and Longbeards).
  • Ironfists - The Ironfists were one of the seven houses of the Dwarves that dwelt in mountains of the East of Middle-earth. They were originally paired with the Stiffbeards.
  • Stiffbeards - The Stiffbeards were one of the seven houses of the Dwarves that dwelt in Mountains of the East. They were originally paired with the Ironfists.
  • Blacklocks - The Blacklocks were one of the seven houses of the Dwarves that dwelt in the mountains of the East. They were originally paired with the Stonefoots.
  • Stonefoots - The Stonefoots were one of seven houses of the Dwarves that dwelt in the mountains of the East. They were originally paired with the Blacklocks.

There are also the Petty-dwarves, who were believed to be made up of exiles from various dwarven clans in the Eastern lands. They seem to be shorter than other dwarves. The elves originally thought they were animals and hunted them almost to extinction.

In the Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game (by Decipher Inc. in 2002) the following dwarven house names (equivalents of "Durin's Folk") were added:
  • The Firebeard House is called: Úri's Folk,
  • The Broadbeam House is called: Linnar's Folk,
  • The Ironfist House is called: Sindri's Folk,
  • The Stiffbeard House is called: Thulin's Folk,
  • The Blacklock House is called: Var's Folk,
  • The Stonefoot House is called: Vigdís's Folk

The Petty-dwarves are also known as: "Bar-en-Nibin-noeg", which means "The House of Petty-dwaves". They are supposed to be extinct now, but I'd be tempted to scatter small isolated groups of them around, if I ran a Middle-earth game.
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Re: Dwarves

Postby agathokles » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:53 am

The Dark wrote:All or almost all of the dwarfs appearing in Tolkien's work are Longbeards. It seems the Firebeards and Broadbeams moved to Khazad-dum after the end of the First Age, then returned to Ered Luin after the Balrog was released, so they were in the far West. The other four clans were in the far East. The Longbeards' wandering nature was due to the fall of their strongholds at Khazad-dum and Erebor, and the War of Dwarves and Dragons in the Grey Mountains (which drove Gror to head to the Iron Hills and Thror to return to Erebor).


The Petty-dwarves (Mim) and the dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost (Azaghal) actually appear in the Silmarillion.

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Re: Dwarves

Postby agathokles » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:00 pm

Big Mac wrote:The Petty-dwarves are also known as: "Bar-en-Nibin-noeg", which means "The House of Petty-dwaves". They are supposed to be extinct now, but I'd be tempted to scatter small isolated groups of them around, if I ran a Middle-earth game.


"Bar-en-Nibin-noeg" is Mim's dwelling. The petty dwarves themselves are just known as Nibin-noeg. They should indeed be extinct: IIRC, Mim says he and his sons are the last of their kind, and they all die during the events of Turin's cursed life.

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Re: Dwarves

Postby Falconer » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:30 pm

Havard wrote:How many different groups of Dwarves are there in Middle Earth?

I’m going to start by saying TWO, because I think it’s the most helpful way of looking at it. In the first edition of THE HOBBIT, we get the following quote: “‘Durin, Durin!’ said Thorin. ‘He was the father of the fathers of one of the two races of dwarves, the Longbeards, and my grandfather's ancestor.’” And: “In ancient days [the elves] had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure … though Thorin’s family had had nothing to do with the old quarrel”. The name of Durin comes from the Old Norse ELDER EDDA, from this passage:

here was Motsognir the mightiest made
Of all the dwarfs, and Durin next


Putting together all of the above, we start to get a clear picture of the two races of dwarves:

1. The Nauglath, Motsognir’s Folk, the more thieving, quarrelsome sort from THE NAUGLAFRING
2. The Longbeards, Durin’s Folk, the more noble, friendly sort from THE HOBBIT

Even after Tolkien came up with the idea of the Seven Houses of the Dwarves (no doubt because of the “Seven for the Dwarf-lords” of the Ring-verse), he still reintroduced the dichotomy thus:

1. Great Dwarves (of the Seven Houses)
2. Petty-dwarves (Nibin-noeg; Mîm’s folk)

Under this model, the original “thieves,” the folk of Nogrod, later named Firebeards, are considered Great Dwarves, larger and mightier in smithcraft than the Petty-dwarves. Although they are still mainly known for the Sack of Doriath and the slaying of Thingol, they are also known for their great smith, Telchar, forger of Elendil’s (later Aragorn’s) sword Narsil, as well as Beren’s knife Angrist which was able to slice through the Iron Crown of Morgoth — but was also said to be cursed due to the inherently treacherous nature of the Dwarves of Nogrod.

The Broadbeams of Belegost we know less about. They were called Longbeards in Tolkien’s earliest writings (before THE HOBBIT), and their king Azaghâl was recorded as doing multiple noble deeds, so, from what we know they were pretty noble. The name “Broadbeam” seems to me a reference to fat Bombur, and since it is mentioned in the canon that Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur were not of Durin’s Line, I assume them to be of this folk. Glean what you can from that.

Mîm and his family are likely dead in the Third Age. MERP had a strain of them survive, but that seems far-fetched — which I don’t have a problem with in an of itself, but, it’s also unnecessary. There are four Dwarven Houses that we know nothing about, who could be like anything. Pretty much any dwarf you find who is not a Longbeard or Broadbeam can be assumed to be “lesser” in some fashion. Some of them fought for Sauron in the Last Alliance. I myself invented a group called the Mud-dwarves who were outcasts from a Southern House, who had picked up some strange religions and sorceries from the Haradrim.

The Vala Aulë created the Dwarves. Do they worship him as a God? Or even talk about him?

They definitely know about him. They name him Mahal (the Maker). To me, though, considering how much they talk about their fathers, I would prefer to see more of an “Ancestor-worship” style religion, if anything (worship being too strong a word for non-evils in Middle-earth), especially venerating THE Seven Fathers (each house revering its own Father).
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Re: Dwarves

Postby Falconer » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:43 pm

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