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Dwarven Sayings

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First Post
"They will all look up to us after their legs are chopped off," pretty clear.
"Go dig Karst," basically 'go f___ yourself' for dwarves it's a formation type in which valuable or useful materials are seldom found.
"Do Not Mine a Volcano" warning to lay off anything sensitive and likely to cause an explosion both figurative and literal.
"Blood calls for blood and retribution in full kind" pretty clear, Dwarves can really hold a grudge after all especially against non-dwarves.
"When humans and their gold are swiftly parted look to your money purse" everyone knows that dwarves always have a little extra just in case, that doesn't mean dwarves want to give it up.


A (human) bard of mine under the effects of a philter of glibness once convinced a court offical that he was 1) an envoy from the dwarven kingdom to the north and 2) that "Top of stone to ya!" is the dwarven equivalent of "good day".

Anti-Sean said:
"No ale for me, just some wine, please! Don't I look pretty in this dress! Tra la la!"

That might just be how I play dwarves, though...

"That chainmail looks so hot with your beard Miss Thang!"

"Oh. My. Forge. I can't believe you're wearing newbuck after Throngar Day. You are so fired missy!"


"Orc-forged" being their way of calling something "crap." As in "You're not hunting any trolls with that orc-forged helm!"

"Were you born in a slag-heap?" is as good as being born in a barn.

"Well, shave my beard and blunt my axe..."

"I'd rather mine coal than..." to head the list of things that dwarves would rather do, coal-mining being thought of as the province of dwarven clans facing hard times or are poor.


Staff member
"Gneiss!": a relatively soft stone used for decorative work. As such, it is used as a minor complement, or if said with vigor, a backhanded complement/minor insult. To say someone is gneiss is to say they look good or put up an attractive façade, but are of little substance.

"Schist!": used same way as gneiss, above, for the same reasons.

Since these words are "false friends"* to words in Common, their use sometimes leads to misunderstandings...

* "False Friends" are words that sound like words in another language or dialect, but have completely different meanings. Example: "rubber" in standard British use means "eraser", but in standard American slang means "condom."


Steeliest of the dragons
I've had a dwarven thief playing in my game who has put forth a few...colorful sayings.

His favorite/most common: "Kiss my bearded arse." or (sometimes) "Kiss my bearded dwarven arse."

One I particularly like:
"Well, ain't he the bellows?" Used about someone believed to be full of "hot air"...the dwarven equivalent of saying someone's "full of s***".

"May your forges burn hot and your ales run cold." a general parting of good will/well wishing. Also, in the same vein, "Hot forges and cold steel to you."

"Orcass!" general curse that gets applied in pretty much all situations. (I very much like the recommendation of "Shale!" as a similar exclamation.)


First Post
"A man tests his own steel before he allows an enemy to test it."
-(Two fairly obvious meanings).

"A bite hurts more when there are a thousand teeth"
-Referring to dwarven togetherness/cooperativeness.
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Staff member
"Weak as a goblin's heart"- not macho, lacking in Dwarven courage.

"Cold as a mind-flayer's kiss"- calculating, Machiavellian

"Like a drow's arse in a coal mine"- 1) extremely black/dark or 2) vanishingly rare

"When my great-grandfather's beard was soft as an ermine's pelt"- a long, long time ago

"Don't tell me how to dig a hole!"- stop telling me how to do things I already know how to do far better than you do.
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"It 'twer halfling-made" - dwarven phrase to referring to stolen goods

"A stone face makes a poor door" - about being uncoperative

"A lone column supports nothing" - about teamwork

"The stouter stone shatters the lesser" - stoicism in the face of adversity

"shale and (moon)shine" - worthless

"elf-crafted" - a decorative item with no useful purpose

"grave-stone" - an unsupported or unsafe structure


I like the nonhuman races to be a tad inscrutable. Maybe you could use ideomatic quotes that doesn't translate well into Common?

Somewhere I've seen a Dwarven inn in a human town named: "Rock, Rock, Rock". Like the Inuit and ice; how many words do Dwarves have for rock?

Or maybe a dwarf reacts to a character's statement with: "Aye, he be speaking of rock, when stone will do!"; the second dwarf in the party nodds knowingly while the other party members shrug and look at each other uncomfortably, mumbling "What did he mean?"...



The large number of words for snow is mostly a myth.


I like the "its talc to me boy" one


Staff member
"Stalagmite" Male Dwarven sexual euphemism (good)

"Stalactite" Male Dwarven sexual euphemism (bad)

"Geode" slang for someone of hidden value or importance.

"Nugget" 1) a young but promising Dwarf or 2) a non-Dwarf who nonetheless is very Dwarf-like.


"A good blade is differently tempered" (I am willing to be flexible, but keep in mind that I am essentially resolute and stiff-spined; tell me things I want to hear and we may be able to work together)

"Field of grain" (riches that are really nice and admirable, but in a situation that has little appeal otherwise to you, something you otherwise have no use for, such as the farmed goods that grow in open, non-dwarvish country) e.g. "The courage of humans is a field of grain, but still no match for dwarven fury."

"Orciron" or "orcwrought" (something indisputably serviceable for its purpose in a minimal fashion, yet loathsome and artless at some level) e.g. "This alliance with the elves is orciron, yet without them the gnoll invasion could cost us dearly in blood and gold." "Breakfast in a war camp is all orciron after the first three days." "You have little skill and less muscle, but fight like you were made of orciron and you might have a chance; just keep swinging, boy, and don't back down."


Staff member
"You've Gnomed it up"- to take something- a mechanism, a plan, a meal, a relationship, anything- and make it needlessly complex. (It may or may not still be functional.)

"You're just poking the troll" a reference to trollish regenerative capabilities, it means to use a temporary solution to a problem.

"All ale and no ore" someone who talks a lot about his wealth but seemingly never has any, a miser, mooch or con

"All ale and no steel" someone who can talk a good fight- especially in a bar- but is a poor combatant, a blowhard coward

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