Our Dwarves Are All the Same

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Standard Issue Dwarf.

A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry.

You know them. Gruff, gold-loving, blunt-speaking, Scottish-accented, Viking-helmed, alcohol-swilling, Elf-hating, ax-swinging, stout, long-bearded, stolid and unimaginative, boastful of their battle prowess and their vast echoing underground halls and mainly just the fact that they are Dwarves.

Ever since Tolkien did his thing with some modified Norse myths, the Dwarves have been rolling off the assembly line as the same basic model. (Although many "Tolkienesque" Dwarves are more like the Theme Park Version.) Since The Film of the Book(s), they now even all talk the same. A lot of dwarves are Scottish, Irish, or Russian. An entire race of miners and blacksmiths, with names like Dwarfaxe Dwarfbeard and Grimli Stonesack, who are overly sensitive about any perceived slight, always spoiling for a fight, unable to speak two sentences in a row without calling someone "lad" or "lass," and possessed of a love of gold and jewels that drives them to dig deep and greedily (often with catastrophic results). Expect dwarf-tossing jokes.

In the last couple of decades, they will often be depicted as more technologically minded than other fantasy races, verging on (and sometimes overtaking) Steampunk, but this is in keeping with their engineering and crafting skills both from the classic Fantasy depictions and from actual mythology. Very often they will simultaneously be depicted as one of the most conservative races socially, although their overall similarity with humans compared to more outlandish races means the two are usually familiar with each other if not outright bros.

Despite his small stature, the dwarf will often serve as The Big Guy of a fantasy Five-Man Band, especially since his Weapon of Choice tends to be either an axe or a hammer. If they use any ranged weapons at all, expect a crossbow to be the most popular choice (if there aren't any guns, at least).

Often treated as a functional One-Gender Race; one of the only widespread (but not universal) novelties is what the women look like. Even then, the most common ones seem to veer somewhere around "Grandmother from The Old Country,"/"adorable" (depending on age) or "you're looking at one now" (referring to an otherwise typical Dwarf).

See also Five Races, Elves vs. Dwarves

Examples of Our Dwarves Are All the Same include:

Franchises that use this ready-made model of Dwarfdom

Anime and Manga

  • Record of Lodoss War had a handful of dwarf characters. The most notable was Ghim from the first series, who played the role of Older and Wiser mentor to the hero, Parn; he was grumpy, fought with an axe, had a beard, and possessed incredible stamina, like you expect from a dwarf.
    • The sequel, Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, introduced a dwarf priest named Father Greevas, who subverted the trope by being quiet, gentle, and fatherly, with a bowl-cut and goatee instead of the standard bushy beard.


  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is the origin of the trope. Interestingly, in an attempt to make them sound fundamentally different from other races, Tolkien's Dwarvish language is constructed along the lines of the Semitic languages; none of them ever speak with a Scottish or Welsh accent at all. When you combine the quasi-Semitic language with their lost homeland and usual status as a minority in lands ruled by other races, many writers have compared them to analogues to the Jews (an allusion that also comes up in the Discworld series). Tolkien himself alluded to the idea in response to allegations that it was a negative depiction; he was particularly sympathetic given the time he was alive. His dwarves are different from dwarfs of folklore and fairy tales primarily in that a lot of them are warriors in addition to being miners and craftsmen. They of course, pay tribute to their roots, being quite Nordic in culture (Rohirrim are primarily Saxon-land-Vikings, an Gondor has a Nordic vibe too), and having names stolen from the Poetic Edda. A thing that Tolkien long regretted as it forced him to come up with an explanation why a Real-world language such as Old Norse would exist in a Fantasy world.
    • Tolkein's background notes reveal the reason Dwarves are so different from the other races: that they were made by Aule, one of the Valar - not Eru Illuvatar himself, although after the fact Eru gave them the spark of free will that Aule couldn't provide. Since he knew that Morgoth was loose in the world, Aule designed the Dwarves to be able to resist suffering and evil - a fact that came in handy millenia later, when Sauron offered them seven golden Rings of Power.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia features dwarfs, but depicts them as a race that is almost Exclusively Evil. While there are good dwarves (the "red dwarfs"), who are grumpy but good-natured, the majority of them (the "black" ones) are ruthless, greedy, traitorous bastards. The black dwarfs eventually renounce Aslan's existence, and are duly punished with being blind/insane and abandoned to grovel away at each other (they are, of course, Lewis's allegory for atheists).
    • Interestingly, many black dwarves resemble mongol raiders in the movie adaptation.
  • A brief mention in Gnomes by Wil Huygen and Rein Poortvliet. Quote: "An almost extinct species of the male sex." (Could there be a connection there?) "Height 1 metre 20 cm, often smaller. Can still be found in the middle of inhospitable forests and in the mountains. They dig for gold and silver in extensive mines; they are masters of metalwork. They are good-natured except for a solitary few who are capable of ugly deeds. If a dwarf falls into human hands, he buys his freedom with gold. They do not have beards."
  • Likely influenced by Dungeons & Dragons, the dwarves that appear in Raymond Feist's Riftwar Cycle follow this trope.
  • Meredith Ann Pierce had no problem with "dwarrow" in The Darkangel Trilogy. The duaroughs (yes, that's basically pronounced "dwarves") are basically Tolkienian, except sunlight temporarily turns them to stone, forcing them to wear heavy, enveloping garments if they go aboveground during the daytime.
  • David Weber's Bahzell trilogy has dwarves. Heavy emphasis on mining and living underground, technology better than anyone else's, and an absurd emphasis on family and clan that no other race can even follow.
  • Discworld plays with the trope (when doesn't it?) by having this as the traditional Dwarven image that most Dwarfs aspire to, but many were born and raised in cities and work in factories.
    • This is partly a parody of the way that an ethnic group will rhapsodise the old country more as they get further away from it. No-one in Scotland habitually wears tartan, for instance. Thus, it's noted that dwarfs who led quiet and respectable lives in the mountain mines reach Ankh-Morpork and are seized by a compulsion to dress in armour, carry battle-axes and drink like crazy.
    • Further, extremely fundamentalist dwarfs attempt to never emerge aboveground. If they're ever forced to, they wear garments that completely envelop them so they don't have to look at sunlight; the in-story explanation for the outfit, aside from the fact that they abhor sunlight because of beliefs established in their folklore, is that it's a ceremonial version of the protective clothing worn by dwarfs who do the important but extremely deadly job of dealing with gas pockets in mines; originally, the dwarfs who occupied this position in society would have been members of this profession who survived long enough to retire.
      • Though, when you catch that the headgear comes to a point, you see a nice allusion to Klan-wear. Especially when one of the deep-dwellers likes to give speeches on how it isn't murder if its a troll.
    • Pratchett also subverts the trope with dwarf characters such as Casanunda, the world's second greatest lover (We Try Harder), and Hwel, the Discworld Shakespeare. Also Carrot, the seven-foot dwarf (by adoption), and the openly female Cheery/Cheri Littlebottom.
      • To explain, Discworld Dwarves take the 'Females have beards' thing even further. All Dwarves are considered male unless otherwise specified. And they only specify otherwise to their spouse, and even then only after a lengthy courtship (as in decades). For Cheri to act and dress openly female on duty is like a Human police officer turning up to work in lingerie. And even in her case, "act and dress openly female" mainly means putting rhinestones on her axe holster, wearing chainmail fitted like lingerie, and grooming her beard differently.
        • She also wears a leather skirt, welds heels onto her boots and drinks sherry instead of beer.
    • Also, a nod to the 'craftsman' stereotype in that they are good at any craft. Mostly the typical metalworking and stoneworking, but they are very good at anything. In particular they are as good at baking as they are at metalwork and stonecarving. However, their bakery is mostly good for weaponry. They grind down rocks to make the flour. The best way to enjoy Dwarfbread is to keep it uneaten, so that any other food will taste good by comparison. The "Scottish" stereotype is brought up here as the Low King (low being better than high for a mining people) of the Dwarves being crowned on the Scone of Stone. In Scotland, Kings were always crowned on a giant stone called the Stone of Scone (pronnounced Skoon) because it was held in Scone Abbey, Perthshire.
      • They also practically monopolize the cosmetics industry, most likely because they have real chemistry instead of alchemy..
    • Dwarf folklore is an interesting deviation; it holds that dwarfs and trolls are diametric opposites and will forever hate each other. Thud! takes it a step further by introducing what may be the oldest of dwarf folklore, the story of the creation of dwarf, man, and troll. The story goes that Tak, a very laid-back not-quite-deity ("Tak doesn't require that we think of Him, only that we think") created a stone egg in a cave, which hatched and released two brothers; one left the cave and found the things that made him man, while the other ventured deeper within and found the things that made him dwarf. Then, unbeknownst to Tak, the stone egg came to life and became a troll, but without Tak's blessing, it was an agonized half-life, without thought, creation, or virtue, such that killing it is not murder, but mercy (the citation when this story is first told mentions that in the original document, the passage about trolls appears to have been added later by a second author). Later, we're given a new version of the troll passage; Tak did notice the egg trying to come to life, and he was overjoyed by it, giving it the last little push it needed to become a troll (this one was recited by a pair of diplomats trying to establish peace between trolls and dwarfs, and insofar as either version belongs with the rest of the story, this is probably the one, considering the book's message).
  • Dwarves of The Inheritance Cycle are polytheistic and devotely religious people who pretty much play the trope straight in all other respects. Paolini makes a point of mentioning dwarf women, but doesn't detail much about how they differ from dwarf men. They have some cities underground, but also some aboveground, even with a Lampshade Hanging when Eragon is surprised to find that Dwarves have open surface cities just like everyone else, and a dwarf tells him that they like the open air as much as anyone else. They also have seven toes, and two dwarves hold a bet on whether or not humans actually have only five toes. According to history, they are the oldest of sentient races, and lived in Alagaesia before the elves or humans arrived.
  • The dwarves of The Fionavar Tapestry pretty much fit the mould except for the One-Gender Race, and the one dwarven main character being more of a The Quiet One. Dwarf women in Fionavar are sylph-like and graceful; as one character admits to herself, she should no more reasonably expect them to look like their men any more than she herself resembles her male companions.
  • Kage Baker may have slightly different dwarves in the "Company" series, although they are more a subspecies (or rare parent species??) of humans. They are partway between Tolkien-standard elves and Tolkien-standard dwarves: small, cranky, subterranean, and complete geniuses of invention; but pale, shy, and weak.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, on the world of Pryan, Dwarves are played straight. On Chelestra, they're less xenophobic and more friendly, especially in regards to other races. And on Arianus, they live in devotion to something called the Kicksey-Winsey Machine, which their entire lives revolve around. They're dead on Abarrach.
  • Dwarves in the Harry Potter books at least follow the blunt-speaking and stolid parts, which caused Hilarity To Ensue when Gilderoy Lockhart hired a bunch of surly dwarves for Valentine's Day. Lockhart dressed them up like cupids and set them up working as letter-carriers, which they did not seem to enjoy and nor did anyone else, least of all the other teachers. However, that's the only major appearance of dwarves in the entire series.
  • Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy features two races that could qualify as Dwarves, both of whom (intentionally) avert the typical stereotypes. The Qanuc are actually referred to as Trolls and borrow many aspects of Inuit culture while living in snowy mountains and taming sheep for mounts. They do brew a mean liquor, though. On the other hand, the branch of the Tinukeda'ya that went underground became known as Dwarrows—superb stonemasons and crafters, they were once the artisans of the Sithi and helped build many of their great cities, but had a falling out over their treatment as little more than slaves. They are most definitely not warlike, shrinking from any sort of combat and trying their best to stay out of the grand conflict with the Storm King. However, when provoked, they are fearsome fighters due to their strength and endurance from millennia of delving in the earth.
  • Markus Heitz's Dwarves manages to play this trope perfectly straight, yet gives each character enough Character Development to be an effective character, rather than just the trope. Not surprising, since all main characters are dwarves.
  • Invoked in the Council Wars series. Dwarfs are humans who have used advanced technology to deliberately change themselves into the standard representation of Fantasy Dwarves.
  • Notably averted in Terry Brooks' Shannara series. Brooks's dwarves not only live above ground, they hate being underground or in caverns, and are famous for their gardeners and foresters. Though they are also noted as the greatest builders in the world, creating intricate bridges and a massive collection of locks and dams to control the seasonal flooding of the Silver River.
    • While detesting being underground and their love of woodlands separates them from the norm, other than that they play this trope straight, especially when it comes to being The Big Guy in any group there in.
  • Gnomes in Chronicles of the Emerged World are basically traditional dwarves. However there are some original exceptions, including two Master Swordsman warriors (Ido and Dola) and even a sorceress (Reiss).
  • Alexey Pehov's The Chronicles Of Siala series has bog-standard dwarves, except they wouldn't be seen dead in a beard (to avoid looking like gnomes).
  • The dwarves get very little "screentime" in The Sundering, but don't appear to deviate from the standard model very much, and given that the story intentionally resembles The Lord of the Rings a great deal...
  • In Chris Evans Iron Elves trilogy Sergeant Yimt is a Boisterous Bruiser Sergeant Rock. The only other dwarf met in the series is a veteran turned unscrupulous merchant. Dwarves were once enslaved by the Empire and brought to it from across the sea, resulting in a a racial claustrophobia of being inside ships. Due to the racial habit of chewing crute, a metal infused spice, most Dawrves are literally Made of Iron, or at least their bones are. While they do use axes other common weapons are the drugar, whose description sounds a lot like a machete, and the shatterbow, a cross between a crossbow and a shotgun that fires explosive bolts.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek has the Tellarites, one of the founding members of the Federation. They had a fierce rivalry with the Vulcans, are stubborn, undiplomatic, and generally have the competence to back up their boasts, all dwarven hallmarks.
  • The Seven Dwarves in Once Upon a Time. Grumpy gets the most screen time for some reason and fits the trope to a T.
    • Later appearances of the dwarves in the series show some more unusual characteristics, one of which is the fact dwarves aren't born, they're hatched in eggs.

Oral Tradition, folklore, Myths and Legends

  • Norse Mythology—here's where it all started. Though they were somewhat varied, the basics of common lore goes back to mythology. The long beards, skilled at metallurgy, lived in caves, etc. They also turned to stone (sometimes temporarily, sometimes not) when exposed to sunlight. There was also discrepency amongst how long they lived, some myths had them be an adult at three years old and an old man by nine, some myths had them always looking old but being immortal. They had coal-black hair, extremely pale skin, actually were a type of elf and were human-sized at first, but Memetic Mutation changed them a lot even during the Viking era. By the late Middle Ages, they were much closer to the Dwarves we'd recognize today. In Norse Mythology, dwarves were originally endoparasites. Like tapeworms, living in the intestines of some of the first giants.
    • In one version, they first appeared as maggots in the corpse of Ymir, whose body was then made to form the earth itself. In this light, the stated origin for the dwarves seems an appropriate metaphor, what with their penchant for tunneling and living beneath the surface of the earth.
    • Marvel Comics' use of the Norse Mythos (via the super-hero The Mighty Thor) have Dwarves that look like the modern model but otherwise are more like their ancient inspiration. In effect, they are cave-dwelling magical gadgeteers.
    • Tapeworms aside, it should be mentioned that they usually appeared as cave-dwellers forging weapons and jewelry. Sometimes with remarkable results. It was cavedwelling dwarves who made Thor's hammer (always hits, destroys its target, returns to the user), Odin's spear (always hits its target), Freya's necklace (shining like the sun), and the nine golden rings (give birth to new rings). Thus the legend of the stunted master forgers in the mountains was born.

Newspaper Comics

Tabletop Games

Card Games

  • Dwarves have appeared sporadically in Magic: The Gathering, though the game designers seem not to like them much. They live in the mountains and like to fight so they belong to the Red color/philosophy, but the stoic and orderly culture of traditional fantasy dwarves is more White, not to mention how goblins hog all the slots for person sized red creatures, so they're sort of an odd race out. MtG did shake up the usual dwarf formula in the Odyssey block, where the dwarves were portrayed as passionate artisans and warriors with a strong affinity for fire magic. Later in the game's history, the kithkin in Lorwyn were portrayed as sort of a cross between hobbits (which is what they were originally intended to be called) and dwarves, combining the Little Folk's general smallness and pastoral living with the Stout Folk's tenacity and well-organized communal defense; the kithkin become even more dwarflike in Shadowmoor, where they have abandoned their country villages for heavily fortified castles and become rabidly xenophobic.
    • The Eventide expansion to the Shadowmoor block added actual dwarves known as duergar, with affinities for both white and red, and modified the design of dwarves to axe the hair and make them up more pasty. These creepy dwarves are based on the folklore of Britain.

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons & Dragons—not surprising, given how much it was originally based on Tolkien.
    • One widely used D&D addition is the idea that Dwarves are inherently more resistant to magic, being that they're all stolid and stony like the earth and all. Yet in the original myths, dwarves produced all manner of magical artifacts for the Aesir. Even Tolkien's dwarves managed to make mithril, the local Unobtainium. That said, they were resistant to The Corruption.
      • Seemingly because they love gold and cunning more than they love power.
      • D&D has shown an interesting evolution in the question of Dwarven females. In the oldest editions, the race was essentially monogendered. Later on their women became more feminine—but still had luxurious beards. In the latest edition they just look like very muscular Halfling lasses—albeit generally Badass ones.
      • There's other differences as well. Dwarves are noted as being good with Divine magic, and they're one of the go-to races for Clerics. (see: Durkon). And players and Game Masters, of course, can play with or subvert the definition all they wish.
      • Interestingly, the Races of Stone Supplement for 3.5 provides a special Prestige Class that allows the casting of spells in armor, providing a description that's best summed up as "Nobody thinks there's any Dwarven Wizards because they wear Armor like the rest of the Dwarves". Of course, this is still entirely fitting with this trope.
    • Even Eberron - the setting that brought you good undead, necromancer elves, intelligent giants (granted that's ancient history), removed alignment restrictions, among other things - cannot escape this. Its dwarves are pretty much the same, except that they are also bankers, and tend to be more corrupt more often.
    • Forgotten Realms with its dazzling level of diversity and details subverts this trope a few times with sub-races like the wild dwarves and arctic dwarves, plus Gray Dwarves (duergar). Shield dwarves and gold dwarves are closer to the stereotype, as a beard-combing grimly determined Proud Warrior Race Guy is never too far. Gold dwarves tend to be tradition-bound, suspicious, greedy, obscenely rich and almost as haughty as elves, though trade with humans and other folk a lot. Shield dwarves are split. Some are "The Hidden", isolationist clans. Most are "The Wanderers" who got a clue from all those empty clanholds that dwarves aren't too far from extinction, and see interacting with the world proactively as they duty. These are borderline Boisterous Bruiser sort, allying with anyone up to elves and half-orcs if necessary, adventuring, working as smith in non-dwarven cities. They are fairly traditional, but marry whoever they like including humans, gnomes or halflings instead of checking exact age, social status and opinions of all elders in both clans before starting a family.
    • Dragonlance played with the trope a bit. They had the Hylar, Niedhar, and Daewar clans of dwarves, all of which were in the general neighborhood of Lawful Good, and the Daergar, who were Lawful Evil. But they also had the Thiewar, a Chaotic Evil, magic-loving clan, and the Klar, a clan with insanity in their genetics, making them Chaotic Neutral when not being manipulated by the Daergar and Thiewar. Which, sadly, happened a lot.
    • Mystara uses this trope 100% straight with its Rockhome dwarves, then subverts it with their Kogolor predecessors, who lived aboveground and mostly raised goats for a living.
      • It also plays with the idea that dwarves are always craftsmen by including a clan of dwarf farmers, descended from criminals who'd been sentenced to the "humiliating" task of growing food. The Wyrwarfs, tired of being treated like riffraff, voice their discontent by threatening to withhold food from the other clans: if they're unwilling to acknowledge the farmers are equal to the miners and artisans, the rest can huddle down deep with their trinkets and eat rocks.
    • The largely forgotten Chainmail D&D Miniatures game (The early 2000s relaunch, not the classic 60s version that inspired D&D) ended up using pretty standard D&D dwarves, but oh What Could Have Been. The original design specs called for a dwarf faction that had deposed their king, abandoned faith in their god, and become communist factory workers and miners. The Dwarves would have dressed like something out of a 30s era Soviet propaganda poster and built mecha golems.
    • Just like elves, dwarves in D&D have a subterranean Evil Counterpart: the Duergar, or Gray Dwarves, who are built on the folktales of dwarves as nasty schemers with supernatural powers. The Duergar have limited Psychic Powers and have a grim, humorless society based around slave labor and constant toil.
    • Athas' Dwarves play this straight, except for few noticable differences. They're completely hairless, and they have a tradition of working toward short and longterm goals that only they know of.
  • Changeling: The Lost has the Wizened, humans who were made to work as the Gentry's craftsmen and servants. Like dwarves, there's usually something "diminished" about them (sometimes size, sometimes muscle, sometimes social presence), they tend to be cranky (see "diminished social presence"), and they're very, very good with crafts.
  • Winterweir's Bathas are evil sociopathic slavers but still live underground and have an interest in wealth. They also invent things.
  • Dwarves in GURPS: Banestorm are a race of natural artificers and merchants. All adults have at least one point worth of signature gear.
    • In the GURPS predecessor The Fantasy Trip, dwarves are straight out of the Tolkienian mold. However, some details (mostly concerning dwarf women) are left unspecified, meaning that players will form their own conclusions.
  • Burning Wheel not only plays straight dwarf stereotypes but even builds upon the tale of Moria from The Lord of the Rings by working an attribute called "Greed" into the rule system: all dwarves are covetous. The higher a dwarf's Greed, the more likely they are to betray others, or even go Ax Crazy, in the pursuit of possessing objects of high value and/or craftsmanship. They get bonuses to rolls done in the pursuit of wealth. However, if the Greed attribute reaches its maximum through indulgence of the vice the dwarf hides himself away with his hoard of goods in paranoid seclusion never to be seen again.
  • The Jotun of New Horizon were once compared to dwarves, except being huge wafans instead of short humans. Subsequently a group of dwarves raided the forum, decapitated the person who made the claim, and told everybody never to compare them to war machines again.

War Games

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle plays them straight , but once upon a time, had the Chaos Dwarfs, which were based on ancient Mesopotamia of all things and diabolic slavemaster warlocks with cloven hooves and addicted to Black Magic. Sadly, their army nearly dropped off the face of the earth, and the few new Chaos Dwarfs we've seen (as crew for a war machine model) seem very much standard, if eviler-looking.
    • The Gotrek and Felix novels play with the accent, as most Dwarfs have the typical slightly-Scottish speech that is still easy to understand. Then they introduce a Dwarf character whose speech is much closer to a real Scottish brogue, and even the other Dwarfs can't understand him half the time.
    • To clarify, the Dwarfs of the southern kingdoms have an accent described as something more resembling German, rather than Scottish. (which makes sense, considering that they influenced the language of the humans who would found the Empire, based off Renaissance Germany) It is the northern Norscan Dwarfs who speak in a thick Scottish brogue.
    • Also, these Dwarfs have guns. (No Fantasy Gun Control here!) And cannons. And helicopters. And Ironclad submarines.
      • And they eat "rock bread"!
      • They have ale that is so filled with nutrients that they can literally survive on it alone.
        • They distill their helicopter fuel from it!
      • Mmmmm, beerfood.
    • Interestingly, while the individual Dwarf in Warhammer Fantasy Battle is fairly slow (it's the little legs), Dwarf infantry is effectively among the fastest in the game. This is because the game mechanics say that you can't march (read: move at double your normal speed) when there are enemies within 8". Dwarfs, by virtue of being Determinators, can ignore that rule, and effectively always march. Apart from when they charge. The result is that army of short bearded guys is going to tactically outmanoeuvre you by landing their gyrocopters 7" behind your lines and so suddenly everyone but your cavalry is being ourpaced.
    • Warhammer 40,000 once had the Squats, which, naturally, were Dwarfs IN SPACE, but the designers couldn't quite decide on their overall theme. Some models were straight Dwarfs, while others were more like really short Biker Dudes IN SPACE, so they got removed from future editions—i.e., they Dropped A Hive Fleet On Them. However, the "space Dwarfs" concept, if not the models, seem to be returning in the form of the Demiurg (Greek for "craftsman"), a mercenary alien race that has worked for both the Imperium and the Tau in the past.
    • The Tau themselves seem to fulfill some of the functions of dwarves in the 40,000 Verse. They are shorter and stouter than humans, they have a weak presence in the Warp (meaning they're not very magical), they have a highly ordered and stratified society, and a strong warrior culture.
      • A strong warrior culture? Really? They're perhaps the least war-like race in Warhammer. And it shows, heavily. Even by other standards, they'd be rather peace loving.
      • The Fire Caste are known to be very warlike and bloodthirsty. The implications are however this is only evident in comparison to other tau, who lack any aggressive traits whatsoever. It doesn't help that the Fire Warrior's two main doctrines of fighting largely amount of "set a trap, camp, then shoot them to hell", which is a lot less Ax Crazy than everyone else, especially since everyone else who have these traits tend to jump in your face with some sort of superpowered death-sword/blade/axe.
  • The now-defunct Mage Knight minatures game had standard Tolkieny dwarves. All male, all bearded, all craftsmen and miners (some not by choice), and their craftiness led to literal Steam Punk tech such as Steam (mecha)Golems and steam-powered mounts.
    • There are some differences from the standard model here. They are actually shorter lived than humans, an elderly dwarf being about 30, and they play up the resistance to magic. They were actually forced by The Empire of Atlantis into slavery, mining for magic Phlebotinum because they were immune to the deadly radiation. They joined the Black Powder Rebels in order to free their comrades from this slavery.


Video Games

  • In Dwarf Fortress, every single dwarf has a description listing, amongst others, physique, hair style and colour, eye colour, facial features, interpersonal skills, age and fondness for giant toads. The last line of every description, however, is that they "must have alcohol to get through the day". (Or, depending on how the fortress' alcohol stocks are doing, something like "must have alcohol to get through the day, and has gone without a drink for far, far too long.") It's a biological necessity, even for babies and children; lack of alcohol causes them to work slowly and inefficiently.
  • Puzzle Quest Challenge of the Warlords: Khrona doesn't hide her most obvious gender identifiers, but still sports a nice, long beard.
  • Guild Wars mostly follows the standard, although the dwarves come off a bit more Scandanavian than Scottish. This trope is partly averted by the Stone Summit clan, a bunch of xenophobic slavedriving hatemongers, then it gets taken to its conclusion at the end of the Eye of the North expansion pack. The dwarves seek to awaken the Great Dwarf to battle the destroyers pouring out from beneath the earth. What happens is that they become the Great Dwarf, their bodies turning to solid stone and their hearts consumed with an eternal thirst for battle, so they can fight the destroyers for eternity.
  • They have appeared sporadically in the more High Fantasy installments of the Final Fantasy series, with the only distinction being that their catchphrase is "Laliho!"
  • Final Fantasy IV plays it straight, and heck, so do most dwarves in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. However, Luca keeps herself clean-shaven (other female dwarves in the game have beards) and doesn't have much love for dwarven fashion. The one thing she gets right is a love of technology, with two custom-built clockwork dolls at her command, but she'd rather study under the human Cid than other dwarves.
    • The Lilties of Crystal Chronicles also fit the archetype fairly well, but in appearance resemble childlike humanoids with plant features (besides Crystal Bearers, in which a wide variety of Lilty types appear). A big difference is, before they began weapon smithing, they were primarily alchemists. And while they've always been mediocre at using them, they were experts at creating the Green Rocks required for spells.
    • Moogles in the Ivalice Alliance games are also fairly dwarf-like: short, mechanically inclined humanoids.
  • Played mostly straight (mostly since it's set in the gameworld's Steampunk 1880's so they wear tailcoats as well as armor) in the RPG Arcanum, including what may be one of the earliest examples of the now-standard Scottish accent as spoken by NPC Magnus. Females are never seen, so all dwarves are the same; bearded stocky men.
  • The Witcher may differ considerably from the Medieval European Fantasy archetype, but the Dwarves are still all the same. Short, broad and muscled, have a high tendency to be blacksmiths. The only difference is that they're second-class citizens and may sympathize and collaborate with Elves to the Humans Fantastic Racism against "Otherlings."
    • They do have a few notable differences from the norm. Sure, they're skilled craftsmen, but in this world that speciality goes to the gnomes. Dwarves are known to be shrewd and cunning businessmen, and many prominent Dwarven characters are bankers. There's also a law firm run by Dwarves that specialised in winning cases by making witnesses disappear and arranging mysterious 'accidents' for the enemies of its clients.
    • Since the universe of The Witcher is based on both medieval European cultures and typical fantasy and fairy tale beings, dwarves in this world are the real dark fantasy successors of Tolkien's creation and have gone from proto-semetic to the stereotypical medieval conception of the Jewish people. Which might make the concept of them classified as low-grade beings by the ruling humans much more uncomfortable.
      • Except that it's not depicted as fact, but plain, old-fashioned racism. It's supposed to make the reader or player feel uncomfortable.
  • Two dwarves appear in Tales of Symphonia, with one of them being the foster father of the hero, Lloyd Irving. In Tales of Phantasia, which takes place about 4,000 years after Symphonia, dwarves are extinct, though their ruins are intact.
    • A skit in in Tales of Symphonia mentioned that the majority of the dwarves are hidden by Cruxis somewhere in Derris Kharlan as they use them for maintaining machinery, so they may have still be living on the comet.
  • In Mace: The Dark Age, a Soul Edge style weapons-based 3D fighter for the Nintendo 64, the dwarves are represented by hidden character Gar Gudrunnson. His people are mountain-dwellers enslaved by despotic Lord Deimos (think Nightmare with his own kingdom) to build his weapons of war. Gar is among a handful of rebels, and his weapon is an enormous steam-powered Warmech, ironically making him the largest character in the game and one of the few who are original. He's rather overpowered though, and is more on par with sub-boss Grendal due to his enormous strength and the fact that he can't be thrown or Executed. The mace enslaves him and the other dwarves and it motivates them to wage war on mankind.
  • Averted in Kingdom of Loathing, where dwarves are 7-foot tall miners. They are all the same, but not like dwarves in other fantasy fiction.
  • Golden Sun's dwarves, in the Loho mining camp from The Lost Age, probably don't have Scottish accents, since Funetik Aksent is used for the two humans with Scottish accents but not the dwarves. Additionally, some are historians, which is why the dwarves are in Loho, excavating the ruins there. However, they all have awesome facial hair and a love for digging-- "If you live in Loho and don't dig, you just don't belong"—and the only visible female in town is the human innkeeper, so they otherwise fit this trope perfectly.
  • Played mostly straight in Bungie's Myth series of fantasy games. Dwarves there are short, construct underground cities, are good with gadgets, greedy, and have chemistry far beyond that of the other races leading to them becoming explosive and demolition experts. However, instead of sounding Scottish, they are voiced to sound more like crabby old men.
  • Two "Dwarven Swordsmiths" appear in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. They are the only dwarves to appear in the entire Zelda series, and nothing is made of their presence in a village otherwise made up entirely of Hylians.
    • However, the Gorons of later games have pretty much all of the traits of dwarves, except instead of having full beards, they have goatees.
  • Lampshaded in Lusternia. The dwarven race were originally called the Clangoru (having descended from the Elder God Clangorum); when the humans arrived in Lusternia from a different dimension, they puzzled everyone by calling the Clangoru dwarves. They did this because the Clangoru - alone of every other mortal race - were recognisable to the humans, being indistinguishable from the dwarves of their native dimension.
  • Dwarves are a recurring race in the Shining Force series, at least in the older games. They follow the Tolkien/D&D model fairly closely—most dwarves are axe-wielding warriors. A notable exception, though, is that the first dwarf you meet, Luke/Lugh, is young, cheerful, and beardless (but still an axe-wielding warrior). They are not slowed down by hill terrain, which makes them surprisingly mobile.
    • It's because Luke from Shining Force is a hobbit, Gort is a Dwarven Warrior, but Luke is a hobbit. Jaha in Shinning Force II is also a Hobbit, but Gyan and Randolph are Dwarves, funny because Randolph is beardless.
  • In both Neverwinter Nights games, this is both played straight and averted. When it's played straight, it's hilarious. When it's averted, it's averted hard.
    • Averted: Neverwinter Nights features the possible henchman and later a boss in an expansion Grimgnaw. He's a Monk of the Order of the Long Death, which as you can guess from the name, isn't exactly a nice group. He's the only henchman with an Evil alignment, and has a fascination with death that is damn creepy. He isn't loud and boisterous, is bald and has no beard, and doesn't need a giant hammer or axe to kick some serious ass. He loves to send people to the Silent Lord, often in the most violent way possible.
    • Neverwinter Nights 2, on the other hand, features Khelgar Ironfist, who is a stereotypical dwarf to the extreme, drinking lots of ale without paying, being very loud and fantastically racist, and is easily provoked and will start a fight with a group of drunk sailors just because one of them agreed with him. Ironically enough, Khelgar also can become a monk, just like his polar opposite Grimgnaw, a possible reference to NWN1.
      • NWN2 does make one minor modification to the standard model though: all the dwarves speak using American accents instead of Scottish. Of course, so does the entire rest of the cast...
  • Master of Magic has a fairly stereotypical dwarves: tough, hard-working, good at mining and climbing mountains, but not fond of ships. They also make golems and steam cannons.
  • The Mountain Dwarves in Dungeon Crawl are standard issue. Deep Dwarves are different, though: see below.
  • In RuneScape, the Dwarves are short, live in mined out caves, are the major source of ore (aside from the players), are extremely fond of beer and kebabs, and pretty much the only way you can tell it's gender are whether it has a beard and/or helmet or not.
  • Subverted by the Rune Factory games. The first has a human blacksmith who was trained by a dwarf, and matches all the standard dwarf traits so well that you can't help but imagine his mentor looked that way too. However, when dwarves actually make their debut in the forth game the only dwarf trait they have is that they mine and forge (with one character claiming he wouldn't be much of a dwarf is he hadn't made is own weapon). Only one of them is even a fan of forging, and if you mention the common dwarf idea to the other, he'll get offended and call it a ridiculous sterotype.
  • While no actual dwarves, or any other conventional race, appear in the series, the Godom of Paladin's Quest certainly invoke this archetype. They're a subterrainian race who excell in weapon smithing and explosives, but are generaly bad at magic. Their appearance, on the otherhand, is anything but. They actually resemble large bipedal dinosaur, insect, ram... things.

Web Comics

  • Twice Blessed has Vadim as a main character, who meets most dwarf stereotypes, but comes from a Russian-type culture and has a matching accent, drinks Vodka, uses the word "brother" in place of "laddie", and never seems to feel the need to point out that he is a dwarf.
  • Dominic Deegan has recently added Dwarves to its array of races, and from their first appearance, we have bearded females, and a long-standing rivalry with Halflings. Mostly over beer nowadays.
  • The Dreamland Chronicles Just look at them

Web Original

Real Life

  • Yes, they're short humans rather than a Tolkienesque race, but it's worth a mention: the Mississippi state legislature has considered giving dwarfs a special dispensation to use crossbows—a stock fantasy-world dwarf's favorite projectile weapon—to hunt deer in archery season, as short limbs really do impede the use of conventional bows.
  • Gold-smithing in Ancient Egypt was often carried out by dwarf artisans, who were favored vassals of the royal household.

Franchises that customize the model

Anime and Manga

  • Senshi from Delicious in Dungeon breaks the norm for dwarves, at least as far as he is concerned. Sure, he's a Proud Warrior Race Guy with a Badass Beard who swings a mean axe, but he has no skill in blacksmithing or mining (having difficulty even telling valuable ores apart) his specialties being cooking, hunting, and farming. This did cause other dwarves to regard him as something of an oddball.

Comic Books

  • Gold Digger Dwarves have optional beards on both sexes, no specific accents, aren't all short tempered and have plenty of non-miners, but otherwise fit the mold. A female Dwarf villain, G'nolga, insists that the beauty of dwarf women is legendary. While she and other dwarf females definitely don't look bad, one does wonder how much of this comes from her being acknowledged as one of the ten strongest fighters on the planet.
  • In Elf Quest, even though they're called trolls, they're identical in every way (except being green) to stereotypical Dwarves. However Two-Edge, a half-troll half-elf looks identical to a typical dwarf but is bat-shit insane.
  • Dwarves of The Lands of Arran are short, resilient, strong, violent, often greedy, good at working stone and metal, don't like elves and orcs, have an orderly caste-based society (at least, theoretically) and their pantheon is more or less an abridged and cooperative Expy of the Norse. They have some berserkers (though obvious ones are exterminated, as a heretical legacy of a defeated old faith) and minor rune magic is common, but no other (at least, currently by "proper" dwarves). Then again, they as a rule don't live underground (though they mine a lot), consider an axe an improvised weapon or a substitute for those prohibited from possessing swords, and there are dwarven farmers, dragon riders, assassins and Magnificent Bastards.


  • The film version of The Hobbit is taking pains to avert this trope. The dwarves are all short, hairy, and crusty, but they have great variety in their faces, beards, clothing, body types, personalities and weaponry.


  • Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have tried to avert this. The Death Gate Cycle was basically about what happens to Tolkienesque races' cultures when put in completely different worlds, and The Sovereign Stone Trilogy recast them as Mongol-style nomads (the Elves were Japanese). Didn't really work, because the dwarves always got the least characterization, but they tried.
  • The Shannara series has dwarves mutated from human stock (like most of the races of the books) but with the added caveat that, due to their ancestors' millennia of hiding in shelters, they are claustrophobic and dislike going underground. They actually appropriate the typical elven skill in that they are skilled woodsmen, and their crafts are mostly carved from wood rather than stone.
  • Flint Fireforge, from the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy, was originally going to be a well-dressed fop. Eventually, though, they decided against this, and just made him the standard dwarf. The well-dressed fop concept later became the preferred mortal guide of Reorx, god of the forge.
  • The Valerians of the Lensman series are a race of strong, tough, axe-wielding proud warriors, but they're really human Heavyworlders, not fantasy dwarves. Also, the shortest Valerian described stands at above 7 ft tall in his stockinged feet.
  • Dwarfs in Narnia are expert archers, a trait more commonly associated with elves. Just so happens that there aren't any elves in Narnia, or at least not the Tolkien sort, so dwarfs got to appropriate one of their talents. The dwarfs as a rule are cynical and suspicious—even the good ones—and seem to be a stand-in for skeptics, agnostics, and/or atheists.
    • They also come in red-haired and black-haired models. And it's explicitly mentioned that Trumpkin (red) smokes and Nikabrik (black) doesn't, which kind of sticks out as a way of acknowledging personal preference, since pipe-smoking is usually right up there with drinking as the substance abuse of choice for dwarfs.
  • Possible example: Gregory Maguire's Mirror Mirror, in which the eight (yep) dwarves are, at least initially, shapeshifters. They're also far more, well, mineral than your typical humanoid character.
  • In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series Beetle-kinden are essentially clean shaven dwarves in a Clock Punk/Steampunk setting. Short, stocky, technological and capitalistic with the Collegium beetles emphasizing the tech side and the Helleron Beetles emphasizing the capitalist side.

Tabletop Games

  • The Mountain Folk of Exalted draw heavily on the Norse Dwarves for inspiration, but two of their castes (Artisans and Warriors) are actually human-sized; the Artisans are tall, beautiful super-geniuses, and their warriors look like neanderthal space marines in power armor.
  • Mike Pondsmith's Castle Falkenstein roleplaying game (from R. Talsorian Games) had dwarves based more on the ancient Germanic myth model—supernaturally strong and resistant to fire, with chicken feet (which they hide by wearing big boots), and no females at all. When they marry, they marry Faerie women -- the male children are more Dwarves, the girls are Faeries like Mom. They do have the whole mining and beer obsession, but are more likely to fight with big wrenches than axes as they are the master technologists of their world.
    • Falkenstein's Dwarves started out as more typical Faerie, but gave up most of the classic traits thereof in exchange for the ability to handle iron with impunity.
    • Young Falkensten dwarves are also raised and named by their mothers. Their main drive toward industrialism and workmanship is so they can make or discover something impressive enough to make a name for themselves with, so they don't have to introduce themselves as "Buttercup" or "Morningblossom".
  • There are two common stereotypes for Dwarves in Shadowrun; they're all good with machinery, and they all have major Napoleon complexes. The average dwarf has a tendency to get loud and belligerent when either of these stereotypes is applied to them. This does not change the fact, however, that the dwarf willpower bonus is so useful to certain professions that almost every rigger you'll find is a dwarf.
    • Of course, that just fits the stereotype all the more. Riggers are the nearest thing you will find to a blacksmith or miner in the setting.
    • Dwarves in the setting grow beards simply because they get sick of being treated like children (which a lot of people think they resemble as adults due to their height) without them, which may explain why the stereotype of the "hot headed halfer" came about (as one dwarf tells you in Third Edition in the Dwarf racial description, "you spend a day getting patted and pinched and see how calm you are.").
      • Subverted by 'Chucky', a Dwarf with dwarfism who wore hooks on his ears to make his beard look fake, and pretended to be a Human child in order to be ignored by everyone, PC and NPC alike.
  • In Talislanta, the Yassan and Vajra races are both short, stocky artificer/miner types—in other words, indubitably stouts. However, this being Talislanta, the Vajra are scaly, ovoviviparous, and have a berserker rage ability (which can usually be used exactly once), and the Yassan are silver-gray, six-fingered, and flat-faced. Additionally, both races are hairless and closer to the short end of average human height.
  • As mentioned above, Dungeons & Dragons has produced a few dwarven subraces that break the mold.
    • The wild dwarves from Forgotten Realms are barbarians who live above ground in jungles and hunt with poisoned blades. Still very gruff and loyal, though.
    • The derro are a race of insane sorcerers with traces of human ancestry. They have bluish skin, blond hair, and huge pupilless eyes, and many go beardless. (In Pathfinder, though, they are actually evil fey with no connection to dwarves.)
    • Several dwarven subraces in Dragonlance. Clan Daergar resemble common dwarves in appearance and culture, but are ruthlessly evil. Clan Theiwar are an Expy of the derro who look similar to other dwarves but retain the derro's affinity for magic. Clan Zakhar are hairless, diseased outcasts. Finally, Clan Aghar, more commonly known as gully dwarves, are diminutive idiots who serve as Comic Relief.
    • 3.5 presented several environmental variants with only minor differences from the standard hill dwarf. Desert dwarves are gruff miners who are good at finding water. Glacier dwarves are gruff miners who are good at surviving in the arctic. Seacliff dwarves are gruff miners who are good at swimming. And so on.

Video Games

  • The Dwarves of The Elder Scrolls were a breed of elves, roughly human-sized, with a material culture like that of ancient Mesopotania with a hint of classical China. And yet, they lived in fortresses under mountains, tapped magma to power their forges, were masters of metalworking, made really high-quality beer steins, developed technology millenia ahead of any civilization before or since, had huge beards, were reclusive, hated (other) elves, and finally dug too deep and vanished from the face of the earth. Though neither Scottish nor Norse in the least, they were, unmistakably, Dwarves.
    • Of course, they didn't hate other elves for anything like the usual reason—they hated anything other than Dwemer, viewing other beings as at best potential slaves or experimental subjects, with few exceptions (a brief alliance with the Dunmer, for one). They also eventually annihilated themselves by trying to use the heart of a dead god to become gods themselves.
    • We're told that the term "dwarf" is a common misconception. The actual name of the race is "Dwemer"...which basically amounts to dwarvish elves (it's meaning is along the lines of "deep-dwelling elves). It's a bit played with: the elvish bit shines in the fact that they were also masters of magic, which is not a common interpretation of dwarves. Beyond these differences though, they are, for all intents and purposes, dwarves. One author in Skyrim even calls them such in his book after saying it's an improper term just because everyone does it.
    • There is a book which says that the Dwemer were called "dwarves" because they looked small next to the Giants.
  • Partially subverted in the Lineage MMORPGs: The male dwarves are about what you expect, but the female dwarves resemble cute elves, only half the size.
  • Age of Mythology goes back to the roots of Norse myths, making Dwarves simply good craftsmen and gold-diggers. They don't use axes, except for gathering wood or when transformed into Heroes of Ragnarok by the Ragnarok godpower.
    • Eitri uses an axe to fight in the campaign, though he can use it to cut wood. His brother Brokk has a hammer instead.
  • Warcraft is an interesting case. For most of the RTS games, this was played straight, but right before World of Warcraft hit, dwarven miners unearthed (no pun intended) evidence that linked them to the titans—specifically, being created by the titans. This caused a surge in the interest of science and knowledge in dwarven society; King Magni Bronzebeard even ordered that the main dwarven industry switch from mining to archeology. Now you'll find just as many explorers, scientists, archeologists and scholars among the dwarves as you will miners and blacksmiths.
    • Female Dwarves are quite common in dwarf settlements and for the most part look like short, stout women of average attractiveness. However, among the player base they are quite rare (perhaps in part due to the fact they are just plain looking compared to other races). Lore mentions bearded women and are considered quite beautiful among dwarves, however, none are shown in game.
    • Warcraft also features a few subraces for dwarves:
      • The main playble race is called Ironforge dwarves, who live in the city of Ironforge and follow the above information. Most Ironforge dwarves belong to the Bronzebeard clan.
      • The next is the Wildhammer dwarves who live above ground, live at peace with nature, fly gryphons as a major part of their culture, and are slightly Ax Crazy. Until they actually joined the Alliance they were fairly neutral and had good relations with the Horde-allied Tauren.
      • On the other end of the spectrum are the Dark Iron dwarves, who were until recently enslaved by a massive fire elemental (that they summoned in a failed attempt to destroy the other two clans). They're pyromaniacs and were Exclusively Evil, live deeper underground than their Ironforge cousins, are much more educated in magic, and are slightly better suited for stealth, but otherwise largely resmble what the Ironforge dwarves would be if they were evil. There is one group of rebel Dark Irons that can help playable characters, but even they are listed as being always lawful evil, and are motivated purely by greed. Dark Iron dwarves have black skin and red eyes. The fact that the queen-mother of Ironforge was married to the Dark Iron emperor, and that her son, the future king, is half-and-half, has caused much consternation.
      • Beyond this you have earthen, which are stone-flesh creations of the titans that the dwarves evolved from, but besides being made of stone pretty much fit this trope to a tee, and...
      • The frost dwarves, who are the frozen counterparts to the Wildhammers. They are descended more directly from the Earthen as indicated by their proximity to the Titan Architecture found around their homeland.
      • And then there are the iron dwarves, which serve as Mecha-Mooks for an Eldritch Abomination.
    • Additionally, the technology aspect of the dwarves exists in some forms, but for the most part, this is taken up by the Dwarves' roomates, Gnomes.
      • The technology basically breaks down into two categories: anything that can be made reliable, cost-effective, and useful on the battlefield will be adopted by the Dwarves, i.e. tanks, guns, gyrocopters. The Gnomes manage the overly-expensive, unreliable and quirky technology, as per their Mad Scientist hat. If it's cheap, unreliable, and dangerous, that's Goblin territory.
    • Prior to Cataclysm, Dwarves mostly fit into the melee archetype, with their only available classes being physical damage dealers and tanks, with the exception of Priests and Holy Paladins. But after the expansion, Dwarves gained the ability to be Mages, Warlocks, and Shaman (explained in lore by the Wildhammer and Dark Iron clans joining Ironforge, with the Wildhammer teaching Shamanism and the Dark Iron bringing arcane and dark magic), making them the most versatile Alliance race (they can be everything but Druids), and make perfectly viable casters in addition to brawny melee and hunters, though their passive racial bonuses still favor melee more than magic.
  • In Magical Starsign, dwarves are basically tiny balls of fluff who consist mainly of a beard with hands, feet, and beady little eyes. Not much is made of their physical prowess, but they're the best starship engineers in the galaxy.
  • In Class of Heroes, dwarves have the same typical culture of other dwarves, but they look more like beastmen. Or furries.
  • Even Kingdom of Loathing doesn't stray from the path too far. Yes, their dwarves are 7-Feet Tall, but other than that they act exactly the same as here.
  • A few deviations by the dwarves in Dragon Age: Origins. Dwarves speak with American (and Cockney in Bodahn's case) instead of Scottish accents, and are often mustachioed or even clean-shaven instead of bearded. In addition, dwarven alcohol is brewed from dirt and lichen and apparently tastes awful, to the extent that the one dwarven party member, Oghren, much prefers surfacer booze. Finally, dwarven women are readily distinguishable from the men and often quite attractive. They're also not especially honorable, or even fair, given one of the two remaining examples of their native society has many of them incredibly obsessed with status and rank. They still seem to take honor seriously, but if you can get away with poisoning or undermining rivals cleanly then they pretty much encourage it, similar to MANY cultures with strict honor codes and insular tendencies). In other regards, they play the trope dead straight, with a closed, insular, hidebound society (they have a rigid caste system); elaborately braided beards among the upper class; great underground halls; skill at mining and smithcraft; axes, hammers, and crossbows as their preferred (though not only) weapons, and heavy plate as their favored armor; squarish, angular motifs in their equipment and architecture; a fondness for ale; and so on and so forth.
    • The character of Varric from Dragon Age II seems to be a deliberate aversion of this trope; he's a clean-shaven, sophisticated, charismatic urbanite who loves the surface, hates the underground, and is a crossbow-wielding rogue. His brother Bartrand, on the other hand, is as traditional as can be.
      • In general, surface dwarves (like Varric) are usually the opposite of underground dwarves, meaning for example that they do not follow a caste system or value "dwarven tradition" as much as underground dwarves.
  • Delve Deeper. It's played mostly for laughs, but they're about as generic as it gets.
  • In Battle Fantasia, Donvalve is the biggest character in the game and he's dressed in a very Steampunk-ish armor.
  • Rune Factory 3 introduces two dwarves. One is a craftsman and blacksmith—downright obsessive and extremely talented—but is incredibly friendly and laid-back, to the point that he considers his job as a blacksmith to simply be a hobby. The other is your typical belligerent warrior dwarf. Both are human-sized and beardless, with pointed ears—the warrior complains that the whole "short, bearded man" thing is simply a racist stereotype.
  • Rift's dwarves seem to be rather more inclined towards magic use than the usual, and don't always have beards. Also, the women are ridiculously cute.
  • The dwarves in Diggles are a bit skinny and less grumpy, but borrow heavily from the dwarf stereotype.
  • Deep Dwarves in Dungeon Crawl are a variant. Unlike the Mountain Dwarves (who are typical), they never left their underground homes. They are highly resistant to damage, but lack the Healing Factor all other species have. They are not as battle-skilled as mountain dwarves, though they are still good with axes and crossbows. They have better survival skills, such as Stealth. Though they are only fair with spellcasting, they are good with necromancy and translocations and very good with earth magic, more than can be said for mountain dwarves. They are also a lot better with invocations and evocations than their cousins.
  • The Dwarves of the old Might and Magic verse customized their dwarves by removing one of the traditional details: rather than hating elves, they were allies (up until Heroes IV). Well, except for Might and Magic VIII, but the Dark Dwarves of that game customized the model by being xenophobes to the point that no one is really sure if they are allies or servants of the Earth Elementals instead.

Web Comics

  • Twice Blessed has Vadim as a main character, who meets most dwarf stereotypes, but comes from a Russian-type culture and has a matching accent, drinks Vodka, uses the word "brother" in place of "laddie", and never seems to feel the need to point out that he is a dwarf.
  • Unforgotten Realms averts this about as far as is possible. Any character which isn't obviously another species is invariably a Dwarf. Probably the only character who even has a beard is Sir Schmoopy of Awesometon, one of the two main player characters.
  • The Dwarves in Looking for Group are either classic axe-brandishing, hard working sort exceptionally skilled architects, blacksmiths, and sappers. Or the other sort (Clan Breem aka "Diggers") - evil, pierced punks wearing black leather with spikes, who are very, very good at digging and artillery.
    • And Pella is quite shapely and fan-servicey, not fat and dumpy like dwarven females are so often depicted as.
  • Although we have not actually met any dwarves in Digger, they seem to go at least a little off model - they apparently use large amounts of magic in the construction of their underground cities. Digger the wombat does not approve, as that magic tends to wear off after a while if not carefully maintained, leaving abandoned dwarf cities as veritable deathtraps.
    • Come to think of it, the wombats seem to fit the traditional dwarf mold pretty well, themselves.
  • Goblin Hollow features a girl who revolts at her dwarf character's having a beard
  • Angus is a retired adventurer who now works as a pub chef, but otherwise fits the trope straight. So straight that the Scottish creator of the comic gave Angus (and Angus alone) a Scottish Funetik Aksent.
  • Flintlocke, of Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth plays around with this one. While he adheres to several Dwarf stereotypes, including a love of combat, boisterous loudness, a strange sort of Scottish accent, a few demonstrated instances of marked greed, and some impressive facial hair, he also happens to be something of a cross between a Gadgeteer Genius and a Mad Bomber, and where most of the other Dwarves are shown as sensible individuals, Flintlocke is about as dumb as a pile of hammers. On more than a few occasions he's managed to outwit himself. It gets to the point that the Spirit Healer had to get a word in.

Spirit Healer: Dumbass.

  • In Vanadys: Tales of a Fallen Goddess, dwarfs (note the plural spelling) are the second most numerous race in the world next to humans, and live and work close to humans. The stereotypical dwarf is a keen businessman with a great talent for making money, and many human businesses employ a dwarf, or several, to handle their finances. Berrok, the main dwarf character in the comic, is a trenchcoat-clad Deadpan Snarker with a shady past.

Web Original

  • Dwarves in Tales of MU mostly follow the model, with a few additions. Their names have a Germanic flavor, they count in base seven, and while they seem like a One-Gender Race, it's been explained that male and female dwarves just don't get along. The one full-blooded female dwarf who appeared was not described with a beard. MU dwarves have a strong disposition for secrecy and privacy, though the college-going ones are willing to make exceptions for attractive women of other races. One recurring minor character, Gebhard, shows a somewhat fussy and fastidious nature.
  • Limyaael suggests that customizing the model is a really good idea.
  • The dwarves in Arcana Magi are techno savvy. One dwarf is on the Board of Directors for Avalon Tech Enterprises as head of the metal works division. One dwarf works there in the technology department.

Parodies and radically different versions

Anime and Manga

  • It's becoming increasingly common in anime-derived art, including some video games, for female dwarves to be portrayed as cute young girls (often straying into Lolicon territory). Ymir from Queen's Blade is a prime example.
    • Lineage II uses this
    • The Japanese pen and paper RPG Sword World does this, with the female dwarves looking more like Gnomes than anything else.
  • Slayers: When Lina first meets Prince Philionel, she wonders whether this mountain of a man could be a dwarf - implying that dwarves in her world are not known for being short.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? plays with the trope. Gareth, one of the three leaders of the Loki Familia (the most powerful adventuring group in Orario), is about as stereotypical a Dwarf as one can find. Mia, the owner of an inn, is tall, beardless, and obviously female... but still wants her patrons to order a lot so that she gets plenty of money, and can break a wooden bar with her fist.
  • In One Piece, dwarves seem more like traditional pixies or fairies, being Lilliputians in size, but each as strong as a giant. (In one notorious scene involving them, Robin was a victim of a Gulliver Tie Down.) Most of them have cute, chibi-like features and only the oldest ones have beards. They also have long, furry tails. Natives of Totto Land (in the Dressrosa Arc), their skills unfortunately make them valued by slavers, having been a Slave Race in Dressrosa until being liberated via Donquixote Doflamingo being overthrown.


  • Discworld (where it is spelled "Dwarfs", just like Tolkien noted in the preface to later editions of The Hobbit). Vimes' experience with them points to countryside dwarfs usually being quiet industrious types who don't cause trouble, and putting on airs of being rowdy and violent seem to be trait only annoyingly common in his city. This is probably because, unlike their home mines, the city won't cave in on their heads if they're noisy, and there's more beer available. Also they are German and Welsh as well as Scottish. Interestingly, given the Semitic roots of Tolkien's dwarvish language, there are theories that Pratchett's dwarfs are Jewish-ish (quiet, hard-working, thrifty, very respectful of ancient traditions that they don't feel they necessarily follow as closely as they're supposed to...).
    • The above description also fits many other ethnic and/or immigrant groups besides Jewish-ish.
      • The "Dwarfs as Jews" group-think probably came from that one Watch book that had multiple jokes about Dwarfs being in love with gold. "What? No, we only say that to get it into bed."
      • One should note, however, that somewhat similarly to Judaism, where it is forbidden to destroy a text that mentions the name of God, for the dwarves it is forbidden to destroy any text at all.
      • The love of gold, of course, is very probably from the miner/craftsman aspect (especially since it is often compared to their love of iron) making things seem very recursive. The Dwarfs seem to have the tendency of being put in the place of any immigrant ethnic group whether black (in Soul Music they come up with "Rap" or "Rat" music) or Muslim (Thud) or yes, Jewish. Trolls on the other hand, seem to be just be sentient rocks.
        • Trolls and Dwarfs do share a tradition of "Hole Music".
    • Dwarf women are also often seen - however, they are physically indistinguishable from male Dwarfs. This has had an effect on their culture somewhat, in that many Dwarfs do not use female pronouns, courtship is largely devoted to finding out what sex, under all that leather and chainmail, the other Dwarf is, and a Dwarf identifying herself as female is treated akin to coming out as gay in a conservative society.
      • Exemplified by Sergeant Cheery Littlebottom of the Ankh-Morpork Watch, who "comes out" as a female, wearing leather skirts, high-heeled boots, and makeup, much to the chagrin of other dwarfs; but is never without her iron helmet, battleaxe, and beard.
      • This undergoes a change during the novels - in Guards! Guards! it's mentioned that part of a dwarf courtship is carefully finding out which gender the other dwarf is, while in Raising Steam the Low King announcing that she's female and thus the Low Queen, while important to the dwarfs concerned, is presented as a minor plot point.
    • Being a dwarf also seems to be more a matter of certain actions and traditions than a biological thing, as Captain Carrot is technically a dwarf despite also being a nearly seven foot human.
      • Carrot's making a nature/nurture point - culturally he's a dwarf. He was raised as a dwarf, by dwarvern parents and went through all the normal process of growing up as a dwarf. He may not be as hardline dwarfish as the Deep Uberwald dwarves - mainly due to coming from a surface dwarf community near Lancre - but is still more dwarfish than many an Ankhmorpork city dwarf. He questions the relevance of being (genetically) human in the light of all this.
      • It's pointed out several times that according to dwarf law and custom, Carrot actually is a dwarf. This tends to disturb other dwarfs meeting him for the first time, because they know something's not right but can't quite put their finger on specifically what it is, since their definition of "dwarf" doesn't actually say anything about height.
  • And about as averted as you can get in Artemis Fowl where Dwarves are human/mole/earthworm hybrids with Prehensile Beards that burrow through the dirt by eating it and then crapping it out as fast as they do. Also, they can suck in water through their skin (a dehydrated dwarf can use this to Wall Crawl!), and their saliva is a fast-hardening, glow-in-the-dark anesthetic.
  • Niven and Barnes were probably playing homage to this trope with Mary-Martha "Mary-Em" Corbett, an eccentric live-action Gamer from the Dream Park novels. Though human, she's 4'1" tall, is built like a muscular fire hydrant, wields a halberd (~battleax), is The Big Guy of her adventuring party, guzzles beer like a pro, calls a spade a spade, and sings repetatively while she's marching. Although her songs tend to be a hell of a lot raunchier than this trope usually allows.
  • The Soddit, being a parody of The Hobbit, starts by taking the traditional portrayal of dwarves up to eleven and then some, although with ludicrously exaggerated Welsh accents, rather than Scottish ones (well, what would you expect a race of miners to sound like, look you, bach?). It's revealed early on, however, that dwarves hate having beards, it's just that they're allergic to shaving soap. Later, when Bingo Grabbins questions how they could have possibly carved the great caverns of the Mines of Black Maria with hand-axes (or, as the dwarves themselves claim, trowels), they're forced to admit that they didn't; all the mountains in Upper-Middle Earth are naturally hollow. And at the end of the book it turns out that dwarves are the larval form of dragons.
  • In the Dragaera novels written by Steven Brust, Easterners, who are identical to real-world humans, are sometimes called "dwarfs" by the tall, elf-like Dragaerans. Easterner society is based on medieval Eastern Europe rather than anything resembling Celtic or Nordic. The Serioli come a bit closer, living underground and forging powerful magical weapons, but are otherwise completely different.

Live-Action TV

  • In Once Upon a Time, dwarves are always "male", are asexual, and are hatched in groups of 8, fully grown (and fully clothed) from eggs. Their names are magically given to them by their pick-axes based on their personality, and it's their job as a species to crush diamonds into fairy dust.

Tabletop Games

  • Matt Cavotta, art director for Magic: The Gathering, wrote a column about the lack of dwarves in Magic. He starts with the stereotypical red dwarf and changes it step by step into the ideal, red dwarf. Results are ... interesting.

Video Games

  • Overlord deliberately exaggerates all dwarf stereotypes for comedic effect. Drinking, mining gold, hoarding gold, doing something altogether unsanitary to gold, sporting gigantic beards, wielding enormous axes, and harassing elves is basically their entire function. They have even less personality than the elves, which is impressive considering that the elves spend all their lives bewailing their lot and talking about how awesome they used to be. In fact, the only sound you get from a dwarf is a grunt. Followed by axe swing/flamethrower.
  • Aside from alcoholism and beards, Dwarf Fortress lets you play them however you want.
  • The Ura of Bastion are an odd combination of dwarves and Wutai.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant features a monster called Duergar [1] that was once a stereotypical Dwarf but his hatred of humankind warped him into a creature resembling a bug-eyed alien of some sorts.
  • Valhalla Knights Have Dwarves who are tall and have somewhat dark skin, they also have alot of Markings/Tattoos and the males don't sseem to have anything more then a goatee if even that. According to the manual, although the Males are still stereotypical Bruisers, Females have increased intelligence and resistance, which is lead to believe they can be farily good spell casters, although they are still great front liners (which when you think about it, means they'd probably be the least 'Squishy' Spellcaster.). They also don't appear to have any issues with Elves.

Web Comics

  • The Order of the Stick -- Lampshaded in the quote on the quotes page. Further, Durkon's accent is so inseparable that it even appears in his written speech; though Roy is confused by it, it could be assumed that the dwarves he is writing his letter to would find it natural.
    • Also, Durkon gets along about as well as anyone does with their resident elven Insufferable Genius, Vaarsuvius. He is, however, deathly afraid of trees.
  • In DM of the Rings, Gimli brings up the characteristic of dwarves. Aragorn, Legolas, and the DM mention a handful of other things than what he meant.
    • While looking upon the door to Moria: "Should've been a hammer dwarf rather than an axe dwarf."
      • I believe[please verify] that was Balin 'Uncle Bally'‍'‍s sarcophagus.
  • Thunderstruck

Sharon: So you're a dwarf? You're taller than I expected, um, you get that a lot don't you?

Web Original

  • This motivational poster, depicting a Lineage dwarf.
  • It may be difficult to find these days, but an old Gamespy comedy feature article were two writers comparing various things (like sorcerers versus warriors) and once, Elves vs. Dwarves came up. They pointed out that there are many different depictions of elves, but dwarves tend to all be the same.
  • In Tales of the Questor dwarves are practically blind, their toes are prehensile, and their beards are actually a thick coat of fur sprouting out of their chests

Western Animation

  1. Duergar is the Norse name for dwarves