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General Should Bearded Female Dwarves be the Default?

Should Bearded Female Dwarves be the Default?

  • Yes

    Votes: 28 19.3%
  • No

    Votes: 41 28.3%
  • A possible trait, but not universal

    Votes: 62 42.8%
  • No opinion

    Votes: 14 9.7%

  • Total voters
    145

Hexmage-EN

Adventurer
So after getting the Wildemount book I decided to read summaries of past Critical Role episodes. In the course of this I've discovered that in the world of Exandria it is apparently the norm for female dwarves to grow beards, which I'll admit is a detail I'm not a fan of. Personally I preferred the 4E take, where female dwarves often had very long and ornate hair styles. It also kind of bothers me that the short and stocky race is the only one whose females are bearded by default.

Out of curiosity, how do you all feel about this topic?
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So after getting the Wildemount book I decided to read summaries of past Critical Role episodes. In the course of this I've discovered that in the world of Exandria it is apparently the norm for female dwarves to grow beards, which I'll admit is a detail I'm not a fan of.
Why not?

They aren't human, why should they have the same standards?
 

I mean, women (NOT ALL) sometimes have slight mustache hair at times.

Plus I think the bearded Dwarven women idea is a kind of a concept/joke in Lord of The Rings too.

So it's not really TOO outta norm for dwarven women to grow beards in that case.
 


Why not?

They aren't human, why should they have the same standards?
It's obviously up to individual tables, but its not the norm in 5E (or indeed, any recent edition) as a default, because in general (individual exceptions apply) female players don't particularly like the idea that if they play a female dwarf, they should have a beard, which is typically regarded as a male secondary sexual characteristic/identifier. It's pretty much equivalent to all male elves having small-but-noticeable and feminine boobs as a default. Yeah, some people would be down with that. Some people would think it was awesome (and not necessarily the people you might expect), but some people would not enjoy it. And the default design of 5E is intended to make the game fun for the players, not to cause giggles for people not playing those genders of characters.

But to be clear, it isn't the default in 5E outside of Exandria. There may be specific settings where it is, but they're an exception to the default. I've literally heard people ask "why do so few female players play dwarves?" and pretty much everyone I've ever come across asking this has then admitted that they make female dwarves have beards in their campaign, and it's like, hmmmmm, what an astounding mystery. One for Sherlock Holmes for sure.

I mean, to be totally honest, I think it would be fine, but I think if you go there, you should really "blow the lid off" things in terms of races not being just "different-looking humans who live really long". All elves being able to change gender (even if they choose not to) is always cool. Dragonborn can lose their dragonboobs. And so on.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It's obviously up to individual tables, but its not the norm in 5E (or indeed, any recent edition) as a default, because in general (individual exceptions apply) female players don't particularly like the idea that if they play a female dwarf, they should have a beard, which is typically regarded as a male secondary sexual characteristic/identifier.
Anecdotal, but this is not consistent with my experience at all. IME, women tend to find the idea of bearded female dwarves awesome, and men tend to find it off-putting.

At any rate, the idea is popular enough I think it should be an option, but it is polarizing enough it shouldn’t be universal.
 

Anecdotal, but this is not consistent with my experience at all. IME, women tend to find the idea of bearded female dwarves awesome, and men tend to find it off-putting.

At any rate, the idea is popular enough I think it should be an option, but it is polarizing enough it shouldn’t be universal.
Yeah, I've come across that, but surveys I've seen of female players (years ago, admittedly), and asking real female players their opinion suggest it is a minority opinion among female players (at least the ones I've played with in the UK and US and Australia). And loads of male players think it's awesome - wildly outnumbering the few it makes uncomfortable. I've also seen several female players play dwarves, including in editions where it was beard-optional (rather than beard-never), and funny how not a single one of them had a beard, whereas a couple of male DMs I've played with, literally ever single female dwarf NPC has a big bushy beard because the DM thinks its hysterical (don't play with either of those guys any more, maybe they grew up eventually).

But yes as you say, it's polarizing enough to warrant not being universal (similarly to how having an elf that can change gender is a special choice).
 

Minigiant

Legend
I go by the "Female Dwarves can grow beards but modern ones shave."

Basically

  1. Traditional Female Dwarves grow out their beards and look like males when in armor or thick clothing. In their society, a dwarf is a a dwarf.
  2. Modern Female Dwarves shave their beards and grow out long hair. Female and male dwarves have different gender roles and the hair symbolizes it.
  3. Surface Female Dwarves that live with humans wear human hair styles. Dwarves that live primariliy with other races take on the hairstyles and grooming of the majority dominant race and culture.
 


Well, that's kind of creepy. Dragonboobs for dragonmilk, because reptiles give ... eh.

I honestly don't mind either way, but I prefer non-humans to be non-human, as opposed to "Sexy human/animal hybrids."
I am definitely biased against dragonboobs. I always liked playing lizardfolk and it's like, they're reptiles or something close, for gods sake, not mammals, the entire category of creatures named for their mammary glands! I get all the "but dragonborn aren't dragon-relatives!" but they really should be I mean come on. The no tails this is also silly (and given how many people draw their dragonborn with a tail I know this is not a rare opinion).
 


I am definitely biased against dragonboobs. I always liked playing lizardfolk and it's like, they're reptiles or something close, for gods sake, not mammals, the entire category of creatures named for their mammary glands! I get all the "but dragonborn aren't dragon-relatives!" but they really should be I mean come on. The no tails this is also silly (and given how many people draw their dragonborn with a tail I know this is not a rare opinion).
I'm for Lizardfolks not having boobs, but perfectly fine with Dragonborn and Dragonboobs.

I mean, if your character scores with a hot female Dragon who in a humanoid form, I'm pretty sure those dragon ta-ta's in said humanoid form AREN'T fake.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yeah, I've come across that, but surveys I've seen of female players (years ago, admittedly), and asking real female players their opinion suggest it is a minority opinion among female players
Well, old data beats current anecdotes, though I’d be interested to see if that has changed more recently.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm for Lizardfolks not having boobs, but perfectly fine with Dragonborn and Dragonboobs.

I mean, if your character scores with a hot female Dragon who in a humanoid form, I'm pretty sure those dragon ta-ta's in said humanoid form AREN'T fake.
By that metric though, shouldn’t wizards have echidna dongs, cause if they polymorphed into echidnas they’d have “real” ones?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
This is very much in the if that's what you want, great camp for me. I don't know that mandating it one way or the other outside of a specific game is useful. I think what the player of the specific female dwarf thinks about the idea would be my guide. There's enough negative imagery around bearded ladies and body hair in general that I wouldn't force lady beards on someone.
 


jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
From what I understand, the idea of female dwarves being bearded started as a joke. It came from a combination of basically no female dwarves ever appearing in fairy tales and a throwaway line in the appendices of Lord of the Rings about female dwarves being rarely seen and often mistaken for males (without specifying the reason for this; it could just as easily be that their faces were rarely seen). I don't think a fandom joke needs to become the canon standard for everything everywhere.

That said, if it floats your boat, have at it for your table.
 

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