Overall, the dwarven personalities that I've described here are slightly more friendly to heterogeneous adventuring parties than the elven ones were. Other than Thorin Oakenshield
, dwarves are generally portrayed as being less insufferable than elves, because no one
is more insufferable than elves; instead, dwarves are Proud Warrior Race Guys and mostly more likable.
On the other hand, I love this line by Balin in the films:
It appears we have lost our burglar. Probably for the best. The odds were always against us. After all, what are we? Merchants, miners, tinkerers, toy-makers. Hardly the stuff of legend.
It's a reminder of the often-overlooked variability of Tolkien's dwarves. Yes, they fight when Thorin calls them, but they aren't professional soldiers the way Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, and Éomer are. 5e is great
at reflecting this in real gameplay terms, too - Guild Artisan and Guild Merchant are very good fits for most of Thorin's Company, and maybe Entertainer for a few of them (since Tolkien specifies their musical instruments of choice), or Outlander (because they are
all exiles). Movie-Thorin is clearly a Noble, while book-Thorin might be a Folk Hero.
Meta-Commentary on Monoculture
Kainenchen has correctly pointed out the fundamental laziness of monoculture - not just that I
am implicitly treating all dwarves as being a single culture, but that D&D does so, at least along subrace lines. We don't accept this for humans, which is part of why we treat them as "the most adaptable ones," and it's why I won't be attempting to cover humans in this series - it wouldn't mean anything for most
campaign settings, and I would do more harm than good by defining the outer boundaries of what is human
. Hypothetically, I could write a personality breakdown for Cormyr, another for Sembia, a third for the Dalelands, and that would at least mean
Hmm. I like that Backgrounds are as culture-neutral as they are, and you don't need
four traits, two ideals, two bonds, and two flaws. Maybe we could approach cultures as informing Backgrounds by adding a single chart: one that includes traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws all mixed together. The player takes the normal list of personality features for her Background, and adds one item from the culture's table. If that's still too much - or if it leaves players of human characters wondering why their race doesn't have a personality - then... uh... I dunno. (Rewriting humans to have subraces
is my personal preference.)