Half Dwarf

Half-Dwarves: And Why Not? by S. J. McKenzie (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/php4/archive.php?sectioninit=FE&fileid=342&watchfile=0

The existence of ‘half’ races in fantasy worlds presupposes functional sexual
relations between humans and their demi-human counterparts. In the case of
half-elves, that idea seems to be something that we (guys) are all comfortable
with. Not for nothing were Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchette chosen to play
elvish princesses. The existence of half-orcs is also something we can get our
heads around – in that case, conception is assumed to be so infrequent that it
becomes excusable (and may not involve consent in any case). But the idea of
a rational and mutually satisfying relationship between a human and a dwarf is
so immediately repugnant that the creators of Dungeons and Dragons and
other game systems seem to have blanked it from their minds. Can you play a
half-dwarf? No, you can’t.
Well, not according to the Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks, at least. And
half-dwarves aren’t common fantasy fare, either. There is some support for the
notion of half-dwarves in C.S. Lewis’ novel Prince Caspian (Caspian’s tutor,
Dr Cornelius, was a half-dwarf), but other than that, the ledger is blank. There
is a Dungeons and Dragons racial statistics block at the end of this article,
spelling out what a half-dwarf would be like, if you want to go that far. But
it’s unlikely the number of half-dwarves in play will increase as a result of
their presentation here. The real question is, why are there no half-dwarves?
Are dwarves and humans incompatible?
Why There Are No Half-Dwarves
The real reason that there are no ‘half-dwarves’ is because of the perceived
‘hierarchy of racial attractiveness’ that exists in the generic fantasy realm,
which is, from top to bottom:
1. Elves
It is a testament to the strange combination of arrogance and insecurity that
marks the human race that we have created an archetypal fantasy
environment in which human beings are the second most attractive,
powerful, charismatic and intelligent humanoid race. Elves are at the top
of the tree. We desire them always, and sometimes they deign to marry us,
knowing that if things don’t work out they’ll only have to put up with us
for a comparatively short time.
2. Humans
According to our own analysis, many of the other races are attracted to us
because of our power and beauty, and our options for making half-human
offspring with other races are numerous. However, as it turns out, elves are the
only other race we are actually attracted to, leaving members of the other races
to fantasize about what might have been, had they been born ‘Aramil Felosial’
instead of ‘Boddynock Nackle’.
3. Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings
To these races we have attached the trappings of inferiority in all our
descriptions of them; they are short, uncharismatic, hairy, and either boring or
very irritating. Despite this, they are useful, being good at inventing and
manufacturing things, leaving to us and the elves the nobler arts and magical
pursuits. We are not attracted to them for the same reason that we are not
attracted to boring, ugly, hairy, servile people in the real world.
4. Giants, Orcs, and other Monstrous Races
Questions linger as to whether these creatures qualify as people. Certainly we
are not attracted to them, and nor is anyone else in the racial attractiveness
hierarchy. We are not attracted to them for the same reason we are not
attracted to dangerous and destructive wild entities such as lions, or termite
colonies. The real danger of conception lies not in mutual consent, but in their
frequent and violent incursions into our border farming communities.
Thus, there are no half-dwarves because humans don’t like dwarves ‘in that
way’, and dwarves don’t pillage in human lands, so chances for conception
between dwarves and humans are limited. However, the story of the halfdwarf
does not end there, as we shall see.
What is a Dwelf?
When reading descriptions of the half-races in the Dungeons and Dragons
Player’s Handbook and elsewhere, our smug ‘humanocentrism’ creates the
unspoken assumption that the ‘half’ that is not demi-human is ‘normal’, and
therefore, must be human. Another option remains unexplored – that the other
‘half’ of a half-elf is actually dwarvish, and that the character in question is a
‘dwelf’, the offspring of the improbable union between a dwarf and an elf. It is
doubtful that you will find anywhere a rulebook that tells you that the two
races are incompatible (all that the Player’s Handbook has to say on the
subject is that the two races do not get on together, something that they have
in common with countless real-world married couples). And therefore, why
not?
If there is a thought more repulsive than the lovechild of Gimli and Eowyn, it
is surely that of Gimli and Galadriel. Who asked whom? And who said yes?
Once again, it doesn’t bear thinking about. A statistics block for a ‘dwelf’
(dwarf-elf) is found below, for curiosity’s sake more than anything else. In the
long run, the ‘dwelf’ is bound to suffer the same fate as the ‘half-dwarf’ –
deemed a temporary distraction, but no fun to play in the long term.
Other Crossbreeding Options
Looking back to the ‘racial attractiveness hierarchy’ above, we see that our
next option for a new crossbreed race comes from a union between a dwarf
and another type 3 demi-human. A statistics block has been provided below
for a ‘gnarf’ (a gnome-dwarf). Here, we are on slightly more believable
ground. For a start, gnomes and dwarves are known to get along well, and
may even be distantly related, so the idea of the two races sharing a bed
doesn’t raise the bile quite as much as some of the other matches discussed
earlier (although it still doesn’t bear thinking about too hard). The
personalities and appearance of the two races are more compatible too. In fact,
the whole notion is so easy to grasp that it fails to produce a crossbreed that is
noticeably different from either of the two parent races; a bit like playing a
high-elf / wood elf crossbreed.
So finally, we come to our last and most appealing option – the fruit of a
union between a dwarf and a ‘type 4’ humanoid, namely, an orc (a ‘dwarfgiant’
was ruled out for reasons of simple logistics). And here the result is
something distinctive, powerful, and truly different from either parent race.
Dwarves and orcs, at loggerheads throughout history, have had the occasional
period of peace, during which limited trade and other tentative relations
sprang up. And from such unlikely circumstances comes the Wild Dog Dwarf
(don’t call them ‘dworcs’ – they won’t like it). The final statistics block gives
details on these fine creatures.
The Racial Compatibility Matrix
A whole range of other options for half-breed characters remain to be
discussed. To save time, here is a simple matrix showing the compatibility of
the six basic races in the Dungeons and Dragons system (including orcs),
noting the kind of half-breed they might produce. GMs might also wish to
include giants, ogres and other creatures to add additional options.
Human Elf Dwarf Gnome Halfling Orc
Human – ½ elf ½
dwarf
note 2 note 1 ½ orc
Elf ½ elf – ‘dwelf’ note 4 note 4 note
3
Dwarf ½
dwarf
‘dwelf’ – ‘gnarf’ note 1 wild
dog
dwarf
Gnome note 2 note 4 ‘gnarf’ – note 2 note
2
Halfling note 1 note 4 note 1 note 2 – note
2
Orc ½ orc note 3 wild
dog
dwarf
note 2 note 2 -
Note 1. References to ‘Stouts’ and ‘Tallfellows’ (halflings with dwarvish and
human blood, respectively) are already present in Dungeons and Dragons lore.
Note 2. Gnomish and halfling sexual behavior is something of a frontier
science (in the sense that it is something no one wants to know about). If a
possible crossbreed is marked ‘note 2’ on the matrix, it might be worthy of
further study, but no information is currently available.
Note 3. Elves are not compatible with gnomes and halflings. We have to draw
the line somewhere.
Note 4. A ‘half-orc half-elf’ might well make an interesting addition to any
party!
Four New Racial Variants
The statistics presented here were designed for Advanced Dungeons and
Dragons 1st edition but can be adapted for other versions.
1. Half-Dwarf (Human-Dwarf)
 +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma
 Medium Size
 +1 to saves vs. enchantment
 Base Speed 30 feet
 Darkvision to 60 feet (can see in total darkness).
 +1 bonus on saves vs. poison and spells
 +1 bonus on attacks against orcs and goblinoids
 +2 dodge bonus against giants
 Favored Class – Rogue
Many half dwarves are generally surly and bitter about their appearance, and
the way they are normally treated. With an appearance always bordering on
the ridiculous, a true half-dwarf (50% of each race) stands at about 5 ¼ feet
tall and is heavy set, although with gangly limbs and oversize knees and
elbows. Their hair and eyes are nearly always a drab brown. Half-dwarves in
dwarven lands favor huge bushy beards, while those in human lands go cleanshaven,
albeit under large wide-brimmed hats. They can live to an age of
about 250 and reach adulthood at about age 30, but tend to remain immature
in character throughout their lives.
Dwarves shun half-dwarves as an abomination. Humans treat them much as
they do normal dwarves, and elves can’t tell the difference between them and
normal dwarves at all. Gnomes and halflings sympathize with them, and halforcs
don’t care much either way. Half-dwarves often opt for the life of an
adventurer because they figure they haven’t got anything to lose.
2. Dwelf (Dwarf-Elf):
 +1 Dexterity, -3 Charisma
 Medium Size
 Base Speed 30 feet
 Lowlight vision (can see 120 feet in low light)
 Darkvision to 30 feet (can see in total darkness)
 +1 bonus on attacks against orcs and goblinoids, +1 dodge bonus
against giants
 Immune to sleep spells, + 1 on all spell saves, +2 on Enchantment saves
 Favored Class – Rogue
Nothing can prepare you for the ugliness of a dwelf. They have the almondshaped
eyes and pointy ears of elves, which appear hideously incongruous in
their otherwise broad and hairy faces. They are often mistaken by town guards
and the like as elves posing as dwarves, or vice versa, and many is the time
that someone has attempted to pull off a dwelf’s beard, assuming it to be false.
They stand at just under 5 feet tall, on average, and are usually slender but
with wide shoulders, thick necks and large pot bellies, and commonly have
purple or greenish eyes and curly red-white hair. They achieve adulthood at
around age 70 and can live to be 500, although few make it that long, as they
live disordered and dangerous lives. A dwelf will attempt between four and
eight hours of ‘trance’ per evening, often giving up in frustration, or falling
asleep in the middle of the attempt.
A dwelf is always found in human lands. Dwarves and elves both shun them,
although both the pure races may make use of the talents of the half-breed
during adventures. Gnomes and halflings get on well with them, and half-orcs
find them amusing. They take to adventuring for the same reason that halfdwarves
do. Dwelfs are born sterile (like mules), which is a good thing for all
concerned.
3. Gnarf (Dwarf-Gnome):
 +3 Constitution, -1 Charisma, -1 Strength
 Medium Size
 Base Speed 20 feet
 Lowlight vision (can see 120 feet in low light)
 Darkvision to 30 feet (can see in total darkness)
 +2 on saves vs. illusion, +1 vs. other spells, +1 on saves vs. poison
 +1 bonus on attacks against kobolds, orcs and goblinoids
 +4 dodge bonus against giants
 Speak with a burrowing mammal once per day, as per Speak with
Animals spell
 Favored Classes – Rogue, Illusionist
A gnarf is welcome as a curiosity in either dwarvish or gnomish communities
but they tend to prefer life among gnomes where their ‘great height’ gives
them a feeling of superiority (they stand at a towering 4 feet tall). Gnarfs have
neat beards and bright, inquisitive eyes, but slightly misshapen lips and noses
and broad foreheads. They live to the same age as dwarves (about 400), and
reach maturity at age 50. They inherit the love of gold and gems from both
parents and are thus perhaps the greediest creatures on earth, hence their
fondness for adventuring. Their dwarvish blood overrides the gnome’s natural
spell-casting ability, although the affinity with burrowing creatures is retained.
They more commonly display the characteristics of the gnome (curious and
mischievous) than the dwarf (dour and taciturn), and tend to play up the
gnomish side of their heritage when questioned by outsiders. Incidentally,
most other races can’t tell them apart from gnomes and would assume that
they were simply a tall and ugly example of the gnomish race.
4. Wild Dog Dwarf (Dwarf-Orc):
 +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -1 Intelligence, -3 Charisma.
 Medium Size
 Base Speed is 30 feet
 Darkvision to 60 feet (can see in total darkness)
 +1 bonus on saves vs. poison and spells
 +1 bonus on attacks against orcs and other goblinoids, elves and
humans
 +1 damage on all unarmed combat attacks
 Favored Class – Barbarian
Wild Dog Dwarves are aggressive and destructive by nature, but are not
without a certain animal magnetism. Their appearance is so appalling that
after a while, observers tend to forget about it (in the same way that people do
not keep noticing that gorillas are no good at chess). The stand at about 5 ¼
feet tall, and are heavy-set and very muscular. Their grayish, warty skin and
fangs of the orc do not mingle well with the thick dwarven hair and bulbous
nose. These creatures smell as bad as they look. They have powerful arms,
complete with talons, and many do extra damage on unarmed combat attacks
for this reason. They reach adulthood at age 30, or even earlier, and can live to
be 150, but frequently die much younger.
A Wild Dog Dwarf can be found almost anywhere, as they are prone to
wanderlust (and no one else likes them hanging around either). Most civilized
races fear them, and will try to kill or capture them unless they know they are
friendly. Orcs and half-orcs like them and will try to befriend them. Elves
detest them and may leave any adventuring party that includes one. They take
to adventuring because they are fond of violence, and because they are often
arrogant and foolish enough to believe that it will bring them easy money.

Half Dwarf

Kumari Campaign Jcooley