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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:42 pm 
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It occurred to me today that, as far as I can recall, we do not have a Dwarf planeswalker.

Would anybody be interested in trying a community build of one?

We would need the essentials, of course (name, gender, home plane, color identity, power set, eventual position in the M:EM High School...) as well as basic personality stuff and presumably a backstory of some kind. And, if we're really lucky, maybe even a story to go along with the character.

If there is no interest, that's fine, but it's been a long time since we've done a community project, and character development isn't usually too taxing, so I think we can do it. If people are interested, of course.

Any takers?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:46 pm 
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Strike the Earth!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:54 am 
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Aye! They'll sing tales of our exploits!

Of course, in the same breath, I'll forward a question: How dwarvish are we thinking?
Cause I'm all for subverting Tolkien, but there should be at least something fairly trope laden with a dwarf.

And admittedly, I've got a good idea we can start with.

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Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:31 am 
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I have actually been meaning to put a dwarf out there for a while, I just never have the time and energy to write these days. But hopefully I'll get to it soon. Just need to finish the story I've been looking at for like two years first, because they are in the same arc. But hey, it could happen!

I'll gladly take part in this project at the same time though, there's plenty of space for multiple dwarves in the multiverse.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:02 am 
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Always up for throwing in my two cents when I have enough time and energy :)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:23 am 
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Strike the Earth!

You strike at the Earth. It has an AC of 17 because portions of it is covered in metal.

Sadly, you roll a 1, and manage to miss the Earth, your strike somehow falling through the vacuum of space.

:D

Aaarrrgh wrote:
I have actually been meaning to put a dwarf out there for a while, I just never have the time and energy to write these days. But hopefully I'll get to it soon. Just need to finish the story I've been looking at for like two years first, because they are in the same arc. But hey, it could happen!

Cool. Well, we should be able to construct a character that doesn't step too much on the toes of your plans!

Aaarrrgh wrote:
there's plenty of space for multiple dwarves in the multiverse.

~trying not to make the joke~

~trying not to make the joke~

Well, they don't take up a lot of room!

~didn't try very hard, apparently...~

:D

Always up for throwing in my two cents when I have enough time and energy :)

Good deal! Let's see if we can get some activity around here!

Barinellos wrote:
Of course, in the same breath, I'll forward a question: How dwarvish are we thinking?
Cause I'm all for subverting Tolkien, but there should be at least something fairly trope laden with a dwarf.

Yeah, I think that, maybe, this is a good discussion to start off with. How much do we want to touch on Tolkien and D&D Dwarves and how much do we want to fly in the face of expectation? I definitely don't just want to load up file Gimli2.0.exe and import him in, but some trope touchstones are probably in order.

What do people think? Which elements of fantasy dwarves do we want? Which do we want to avoid? What are the tropes to begin with?

Barinellos wrote:
And admittedly, I've got a good idea we can start with.

Cool. What have you got?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:33 am 
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I'm all ears for Barin. If that weren't the case (or if it turns out to be a compatible notion) I think I would go about this by inventorying the tropes of dwarvendom and deciding which line items we want to use, avert, or subvert.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:18 am 
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Pratchett also had quite a few interesting things to say about dwarves.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:45 am 
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I'm all ears for Barin. If that weren't the case (or if it turns out to be a compatible notion) I think I would go about this by inventorying the tropes of dwarvendom and deciding which line items we want to use, avert, or subvert.

If you wanted to start compiling a list, by all means, go ahead. I consider you an expert on Tolkienesque stuff, so I would be very interested on seeing a write-up from you on the Dwarven trope, if you have the time for that sort of thing.

Pratchett also had quite a few interesting things to say about dwarves.

I've never read any Terry Pratchett before, so if you wanted to give us a few bullet points on Pratchettarian dwarves, I'd be interested in seeing what they bring to this mosaic.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:55 am 
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While we are compiling a list of various Dwarven traits across the history of Fantasy, I thought I would put together a list of the Dwarves we have seen thus far in Magic's history. Considering they occupy a decent share of the fantasy genre's world, Dwarves have been considerably under-represented in Magic, particularly compared to creatures like Elves and Goblins and the like. Gatherer lists a total of 67 cards with the subtype "Dwarf," (Rimrock Knight is listed twice) a full third of which come from Kaladesh (23), which shifted the primary color identity from (which nearly all pre-Kaladesh Dwarves are) to (which all Kaladesh Dwarves are). The Duergar Dwarves of Shadowmoor started the migration from to by making them that off-color hybrid mana race.

There are only two Dwarves in Magic's history at this point: Balthor the Defiled and Irini Sengir, both of whom were corrupted by evil forces, the former being zombified by the Cabal and the latter suffering from vampirism at the hands of Baron Sengir. There is only one dwarf: Reveka, Wizard Savant, though it is worth pointing out that this card is from Homelands, an old set, and has an ability (direct damage) that we would now associate with (Sorry, Tim).

It is worth noting that, though it is an allied color to both and , the two primary colors of the Dwarves in MTG, there are no dwarves as of yet.

Anyway, here is the full list, if anyone is interested:

Dwarves


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:03 pm 
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Green dwarves clash strongly with the space you'd have occupied by elves. And we know how famously they get along.

Red's interest in primal forces supersedes what they'd get from green, while white's focus on tradition, law, and community are way more strongly associated with dwarves than green's versions of such.

So, on the topic of tropes, there are two aspects I'm drawing from to inform my suggestion, one that partially subverts the tropes as well.
1: dwarves do mining and have an affinity for stones, minerals, and gems
2: dwarves are highly talented smiths and mechanics

Using those two points, my suggestion is to have a dwarven Alchemist, with a focus on alchemic mixtures and tinctures. Something more in line with an actual chemist.

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To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:20 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Green dwarves clash strongly with the space you'd have occupied by elves. And we know how famously they get along.

Red's interest in primal forces supersedes what they'd get from green, while white's focus on tradition, law, and community are way more strongly associated with dwarves than green's versions of such.

Oh, I agree. I didn't point it out to suggest that we go that route, but rather as a point of interest. Honestly, the Elf/Dwarf thing is enough to keep dwarves away from green except in a few very rare exceptions. Although, if we wanted to create a more Fairy Tale style dwarf, it could potentially work.

Barinellos wrote:
So, on the topic of tropes, there are two aspects I'm drawing from to inform my suggestion, one that partially subverts the tropes as well.
1: dwarves do mining and have an affinity for stones, minerals, and gems
2: dwarves are highly talented smiths and mechanics

Using those two points, my suggestion is to have a dwarven Alchemist, with a focus on alchemic mixtures and tinctures. Something more in line with an actual chemist.

An actual chemist? An ACTUAL CHEMIST?

An Alchemist!

It funny, because I was just thinking maybe a week ago about wanting a planeswalking alchemist (who is not a complete sociopath, thank you very much Cyrryc Adda) in our ranks. I've always been very fond of the alchemist trope in general, ever since playing Darklands back in '92 or whenever I started playing that. I'm definitely on board with a dwarven alchemist, and more or less cool with keeping it grounded in chemical reactions and hard science, though I would definitely want some magical properties/effects thrown in as well.

It would also be interesting if this alchemist had a sort of obsession with travelling the planes, hoping that minerals from different worlds reacted differently.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Well, non-earth compounds like sangrite have a clear magical aspect to them, so magical materials wouldn't keep it so totally scientific.

On the broader scale, wed also have to ask if the dwarf is a scholar or a warrior?
Given general dwarven demeanor, it would feel like it'd be naturally drawn to a more militant application for the sciences. Of course, that doesn't preclude an intellectual drive.

It's just, we have so damn many scholars...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:37 pm 
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Also, if the dwarf I have in mind materializes, it will 100% be a scholar.

But does it have to be one of those things? We have a lot of scholars and quite a few warriors, but we are a bit low on entrepreneurs and merchants (and the most prominent one we have is... Retired?) Alchemy if often about making money (sometimes in a very literal sense), so that might be a thing to consider.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:05 pm 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
Also, if the dwarf I have in mind materializes, it will 100% be a scholar.

But does it have to be one of those things? We have a lot of scholars and quite a few warriors, but we are a bit low on entrepreneurs and merchants (and the most prominent one we have is... Retired?) Alchemy if often about making money (sometimes in a very literal sense), so that might be a thing to consider.

Merchants don't answer the question of the how they deal with conflict, but the why they travel.
Firstly, I'm in no way opposed to the idea other than it perhaps strikes a bit uncomfortably to one of the uglier sides of the dwarven trope. It's just, when conflicts arrive, you tend to have only two options to deal.
Think it through, or act upon.

Fisco, as such, I'd classify as a warrior in that regard.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:21 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Merchants don't answer the question of the how they deal with conflict, but the why they travel.
Firstly, I'm in no way opposed to the idea other than it perhaps strikes a bit uncomfortably to one of the uglier sides of the dwarven trope. It's just, when conflicts arrive, you tend to have only two options to deal.
Think it through, or act upon.

I agree to a point, although it really depends on how broadly you define "act upon." I mean, fleeing is also an ordinary response to danger, but I would not classify somebody who turns and runs from conflict as a "warrior." If we do go with a merchant character, it could certainly be neutral in the extreme, perhaps even to the point of profiteering, if we go that far with it.

To weigh in, I'm in favor of the scholar thing if people like that, though I'm mostly drawn so far to the alchemy for alchemy's sake thing right now. No reason the character can't sell the stuff, though.

One really dark idea that I'm not even personally a fan of, but it ties in: Interplanar drug dealer?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:04 pm 
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I'd almost prefer arms dealer to drug dealer.
If we stay going less scrupulous, it does open up the door in some significant ways.
Albeit said, not hugely thrilled with the idea.

I mostly suggested alchemist to avoid the tinker trope but still pay homage to the silhouette of the trope at least.

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To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:03 pm 
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I've been designing a world from the other direction recently, so I think it might be worth bringing up this for discussion now:

What kind of dwarf, physically are we aiming to design here?

Like, is this going to be an old Norse-style Duergar dwarf that ultimately descended from giant maggots and as such is kind of awful and maybe evil? Is it more of a modern Tolkien-esque burly, industrious human, but shorter and stockier? Is it some weird variation on what we think of as dwarvish, like the Monster Hunter Wyvarans, with goblin-like features?

I think that deciding on a silhouette, so to speak, will help inform the character, as it could tell us a lot about where they come from.

On that note:
Pratchett also had quite a few interesting things to say about dwarves.

I've never read any Terry Pratchett before, so if you wanted to give us a few bullet points on Pratchettarian dwarves, I'd be interested in seeing what they bring to this mosaic.

The number one thing I know about them is that even the women dwarves in Discworld grow magnificent beards, and that confuses humans. That is, unfortunately, about all I know about them.


Barinellos wrote:
Aaarrrgh wrote:
Also, if the dwarf I have in mind materializes, it will 100% be a scholar.

But does it have to be one of those things? We have a lot of scholars and quite a few warriors, but we are a bit low on entrepreneurs and merchants (and the most prominent one we have is... Retired?) Alchemy if often about making money (sometimes in a very literal sense), so that might be a thing to consider.

Merchants don't answer the question of the how they deal with conflict, but the why they travel.
Firstly, I'm in no way opposed to the idea other than it perhaps strikes a bit uncomfortably to one of the uglier sides of the dwarven trope. It's just, when conflicts arrive, you tend to have only two options to deal.
Think it through, or act upon.

I'm not sure I agree with that statement, at least in this context. As Raven already said, running away is part of the actual two responses to conflict (fight or flight), but that doesn't really fit with either the idea of a warrior or a scholar. A scoundrel character might talk their way out of a bad situation, but that wouldn't make them a scholar just because they didn't attack. Likewise, many mythological warriors throughout the many cultures of the world, even when they had the strength of divine parentage like Heracles/Hercules, often used their wits to solve problems that their brawn couldn't, and that doesn't make them scholars. On the other end of the scale, I wouldn't count someone who starts throwing the stuff in their backpack at the enemy as a warrior just because they didn't have a plan going in. Or, to use a different anime as an example, someone who never shoots to kill isn't automatically a warrior just because they're always on-guard and quick on the draw.

The point is, I don't think the choice here is binary, and boiling it down like that does a disservice to the actual variety and diversity of our own roster of characters.

I will give you, however, that "merchant" is not an adjective one equips to the "combat prowess" slot.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:35 pm 
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It was an extremely simplified means to further the conversation, not meant to be an all encompassing way to convey every scenario. I've had an extremely **** past few days, so please cut me a little slack.

There's a type of dwarf that I'd kind of like to see, but I've already contributed one portion to the discussion, so I don't really want to monopolize the design discussion.

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Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 12:25 am 
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Some random musings...

Dwarf: A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry

In my opinion, the "Drink" part is optional, but "Industry" is core to what I would consider the identity of dwarvendom. They are industrious in some degree. Some dwarves are inventors, some dwarves are laborers, some dwarves are merchants, scholars, and so on... but dwarves take to their work with something between gusto and determination. A dwarven scholar will skew studious. A dwarven merchant will be precise. A dwarven miner, well, we all know they're quite content swinging their pick for long hours. In any case, the way I see it, a dwarf's vocation is generally going to be a huge part of that dwarf's identity, a source of pride and accomplishment. When I, personally, think about dwarves I think about them at work and steady in their field. Not that dwarves cannot revel and make merry, but it is not their first and foremost state.

When I think of the vices dwarves are inclined to, the foremost would be greed and wrath. Indeed, cupidity seems very natural, and that may be the reason why a dwarven merchant (though not related to the artisan-and-blue-collar image associated with many dwarves) seems very natural and fitting. The image I, at least, have of a dwarf (at least one that exists in society) is of a being that skews to the thrifty and away from the charitable. A dwarf may live only a modest or austere life, with a great deal of material wealth kept secreted away in the form of negotiable assets. In terms of wrath, I tend to think a specific subset. Dwarves do not naturally have a predilection towards berserk, hot anger; rather their wrathful inclination is manifest in the form of grudges and hatreds. Dwarves to do not forget easily, and they sure as hell don't forgive. On the positive side, it seems no more dwarfy to forget a debt the dwarf owes (in money, honor, favors, or such) than it does to forget one owed to it for better or worse.

When I think of the stereotypical dwarf, I find it is often left with an expectation of a certain conservatism. Even at their most inventive, dwarves would be disinclined to act like tinker gnomes or smarter M:tG Goblins. They would craft, refine, perfect, and slowly grow the orthodox rather than reinvent the wheel. Dwarven progress is steady, inexorable but slow, building bit by bit upon a solid foundation of theory and practice, with comparatively little owed to the sudden and revolutionary spark of genius. I will say, though, I've enjoyed some subversions of this: for instance, dwarves in Dwarf Fortress can enter a "strange mood" and be spontaneously inspired to create an incomparable artifact out of genuinely whatever happened to be at hand (And probably some things that aren't, like shells). And the dwarves as a whole just sort of accept that some day at random someone may snap and spend the next month without food, drink, or sleep creating the greatest bed ever dreamed of out of cat bones, alpaca wool, and boulders of lignite.

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I have a blog. I review anime, and sometimes related media, with an analytical focus.

I'm a (self) published author now! You can find my first book, The Accursed, on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback!


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