Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Generations of Feuds

In certain sorts of post-Tolkien fantasy, it's become popular to ascribe to Dwarven cultures certain traits in common with the Scottish - the highland accents and love of strong drink come immediately to mind. Strangely, to my admittedly incomplete knowledge, although Dwarves are often portrayed as "clannish", these clans hardly ever end up feuding with each other, only with Elves and Orcs.

Thankfully, this oversight has been corrected by Trey(EDIT: Upon re-reading the original post, I have discovered that the author of this is not Trey, but Thomas Molyes) of From the Sorcerer's Skull, who has not only written up a handy list of inter-Dwarven feuds, but created a random generator to whip up even more of them. It's a 3d10 chart, so let's give this thing a spin:
  • Level of Animosity: 8 - Vicious - Any meeting between representatives of the clans will eventually result in violence unless a third party mediates somehow. Both clans are actively scheming to attacking/weaken the other clan, with multiple dwarves having lost their lives recently.
  • Reason for Feud: 8 - Differing (and often trivial) interpretations of one section in the extremely lengthy and boring dwarven legal codes, often relating to dwarven brewing laws.
  • Flavor: 5 - One clan is suspiciously tall for dwarves.

The impression I get from this is that what might have been a fairly innocuous difference over brewing standards has mushroomed into violence, probably based on accusations by one clan of Dwarves that the others are "No True Dwarves" at all. Heck, they might even have a point - if human armorers on the Discworld can try to take advantage of the perceptions of "Dwarven Quality", why couldn't brewers? I'm also reminded of Doctor Cornelius in C.S.Lewis' Prince Caspian - he was a half-dwarf who was sneered at by some of the other dwarfs.

So, let's roll with that: a violent feud between a clan of Dwarves, some of whom have intermarried with local Human populations, and another clan not so interbred, ostensibly over an arcane point of brewing law - perhaps, say, whether certain kinds of booze can be sold "outside the family"?

I like it, and it happens to fit in with a fantasy setting I've been toying with recently, so I'll hang onto it until later. It does have an undercurrent of racial animosity that could lead to some . . . unpleasant real-world associations, but I believe I'll let that lie as subtext. Overall I think the generator worked rather well - I enjoy a focus on Dwarves in this genre, so I can see myself coming back to this one. Thanks, Trey (EDIT: Sorry, Thomas)!

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