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Why so bearded?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, the subject of bearded female dwarves within the current pathfinder campaign I am in has come up.
Where is the origin of this bearded female dwarf thing?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My original red box D&D described them as bearded.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

As far as Golarion is concerned, dwarf women are beardless.

Bearded dwarf females is a Tolkien thing, IIRC.


forgotten realms dwarfs had sideburns
lord of the rings movie made that joke, but I can't remember from the book.
Terry Pratchett Discworlds uses all those racist dwarfs jokes. All dwarfs are also implicitly male unless stated otherwise.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

It's just an old description that has long been abandoned by most campaign settings since before I got into the game. No female dorf I've seen from 2E material on up to Pathfinder had beards that I remember.

Sideburns maybe.

James Jacobs has said that it's canon that female dwarves in Golarion don't have beards. Good call, IMO.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I remember no bearded female dwarves in the Tolkien books. I believe the movie referenced something else.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I remember no bearded female dwarves in the Tolkien books. I believe the movie referenced something else.

While implied in the books, it was later canonically confirmed via Word of God.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The DM in a current non-golarion pathfinder game has ruled that all dwarves have beards. I was not pleased. I do not find it funny, especially as it was revealed later in the campaign.
I wanted to know where it came from.


Actually, there seems to be no reason bejond sexual selection that human (and we can only say for certain for H. sapiens) females (normally) have far less facial hair than males. So there is no reason for this sexual dimorphism to apply for different species. So the question if and why you should use human sexual dímorphism on other species is at least just as good a question as if or why they do not have the same sexual dimorphisms as humans.
(Of course, this is applicable for quite many issues than sexual dimorphism).

Osirion

The first reference I remember was in Roger Moore's dragon article on the Dwarven pantheon, where Berronar Truesilver was described as having a short beard divided into four braids.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Knowing that I was playing a Pathfinder game, and pathfinder female dwarves have no beards, I was caught unawares. This was not even written in his detailed description of the race, racial variants, culture, and society. This is not a automatic assumption of all traditional fantasy dwarves. This is unless society has kept a secret from me my whole life.
Have they?


I really of like the ”all dwarfs have beards”-norm, as for me it is something that make them less of just short humans that like beer. Personally, I do not see it as a funny thing or comic relief but something that helps me immerse in the world.

So why NOT bearded?

Cheliax

Christopher Tolkien writes in The War of the Jewels that Dwarven women have beards, and in his fathers notes that it states that most Dwarven women are bearded but not all, and that they mostly lack the mustached' part of the beard, unless said Dwarves were of royal or ancient lineage, in which case they do have full beards.

But there are less than one Dwarf female for every Dwarf male, and that Dwarf woman was worth more that her weight in gold because of this, therefore no Dwarf women were allowed to leave their clan holds, leading to the belief that there were no Dwarven women at all.

Shadow Lodge

baron arem heshvaun
"But there are less than one Dwarf female for every Dwarf male"

And there is less than one human male for every female on earth as females are genetically more common so thats not that rare. Or was that a typo. As for the topic why not assume a female dwarfs beard is a fashion statment all dwarves have the ability to grow full beards but some don't because it's not a social stigma for females to be beardless like it is for males.


I just say no to the concept. It was funny when we were aged 9.

Grand Lodge

I kind of like the way Pratchett did it, even though I am perfectly aware he did it to be satirical and was completely tongue-in-cheek, just sayin'...

as for the bearded dwarf thing, that might actually be a dig back at old mythologies. I never looked into the origin of dwarves, but it just so happens that, being not-human creatures, if they were anything but spirits of earth or fey of some kind, it may very well be true that in the original Germanic or Norse myths, dwarven women were indistinguishable, if they even existed at all (since there are plenty of myths about single-gender creatures in mythology. For example, the Slavic Firebird is always portrayed female, although that might be grammatical convention more than a thing, but still...)/ Tolkien was probably the first to introduce it in the context of a literary trope, though, since he pulled a lot of stuff out of old myth that had been forgotten by everyone except the most obsessive historians and brought them back into the light...dwarves possibly included. It seems worth looking into, that's for sure...to wikipedia!

EDIT: a quick read-through has turned up little, except a reference that outside of Germanic myth (which is very old and confused on the matter), the dwarves appeared in the Norse Poetic Edda, so that might hold clues.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

the idea that female dwarves dont have beards just sounds like a copout to me. The only reason I can think of as to why people want them beardless is that it makes the male dwarves less manly, but the whole race is built on being more man then any other race, so...

BEARDS FOR EVERY ONE!!!!

YOU GET A BEARD!

YOU GET A BEARD!

YOU GET A BEARD!

EVERYONE GETS A BEARD!!!


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Why is this even a discussion? Everyone knows there is no such thing as a female dwarf....dwarves propagate by kidnapping gnomes at a very young age, and immersing them in the magical equivalent of Rogaine.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can agree with Evil Dave on this.


Beard

Explains everything I ever suspected about Dwarves.

Living in a mine? Closet perhaps.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

shifty, you shame the dwarves on too many levels.


They don't have many levels, stunty runts are hard pressed being knee high to a grasshopper.

Why should the dwarf in the party wear a flat helmet?
So the rest of the party has somewhere to rest their beers.

Shadow Lodge

Dwarven wedding

"Why's me bride standing on the grooms side of the isl..ah crap. "

Qadira

Why SHOULD fantasy races live up to human standards of beauty? Why NOT have such differences? I like the idea of fantasy races finding other traits more important, especially in females, than skinny and hairless. I like the idea that a dwarf would laugh at the human fawning over the elf girl why getting turned on by the stocky hairy bar maid "been away from the mines too long, this human lass is startin to look like my ex....)

Andoran

I am suprisied the humans on here cared so much about dwarven beards.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed an over-the-top post.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

The real question is...

*notices Ross' post, backs slowly away*

Osirion

This just in, elven males, like elven females, *don't* have beards, in flagrant violation of the 'men must have beards, women must not have beards' rule.

The horror!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You should all try to find a copy of A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity" and pay attention to the pre-generated tournament characters, and associated artwork.


Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

2nd Edition Demihuman Deities there were pictures of bearded Dwarven women. Haela Brightaxe is bearded on page 51. Berronar Truesilver on page 79. Sharindlar on page 83.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
The Drunken Dragon wrote:

I kind of like the way Pratchett did it, even though I am perfectly aware he did it to be satirical and was completely tongue-in-cheek, just sayin'...

as for the bearded dwarf thing, that might actually be a dig back at old mythologies. I never looked into the origin of dwarves, but it just so happens that, being not-human creatures, if they were anything but spirits of earth or fey of some kind, it may very well be true that in the original Germanic or Norse myths, dwarven women were indistinguishable, if they even existed at all (since there are plenty of myths about single-gender creatures in mythology. For example, the Slavic Firebird is always portrayed female, although that might be grammatical convention more than a thing, but still...)/ Tolkien was probably the first to introduce it in the context of a literary trope, though, since he pulled a lot of stuff out of old myth that had been forgotten by everyone except the most obsessive historians and brought them back into the light...dwarves possibly included. It seems worth looking into, that's for sure...to wikipedia!

EDIT: a quick read-through has turned up little, except a reference that outside of Germanic myth (which is very old and confused on the matter), the dwarves appeared in the Norse Poetic Edda, so that might hold clues.

Correct. Basically, according to what little surviving, non-Christianized Norse myth I can find, there were simply no women in the dwarf race. The initial ones were originally fleas that lived on the skin of Ymir, the primordial giant, the first living thing in the universe, and that were transformed by Odin and his brothers. Afterwards, when the dwarves wanted to propagate, they were forced to chisel new ones from the stone and somehow bring them to life. This is why dwarves would turn into stone if exposed to sunlight, much like trolls do (though in some myths the trolls just exploded). This was unfortunate for one poor dwarf who wanted to court one of Thor's daughters. Thor didn't want his daughter marrying a lowly dwarf, but couldn't just toss out a guest in Asgard's halls. So he agreed, on the condition that the dwarf recite a really long set of poems. The dwarf was a masterful orator, having practiced for just such an occasion, but he didn't notice the sun rising and turned to stone, sparing Thor the shame of marrying his daughter off to such an ugly creature.

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