Friday, September 25, 2009

A Quick Poll

If you were asked what animal you'd associate with dwarves, what would be your answer?

Update: "Badger" is the clear winner, followed by ponies/mules. That answer solved the problem I was having and I'd like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts in this matter. I had dismissed the badger early on because I associate them more with gnomes (the whole "burrowing mammal" thing), but it seems I'm in the minority. Badger it is then. Please continue to leave your comments if you so desire.

42 comments:

Zarkonnen said...

Spontaneous free-association produces small pale salamanders.

rainswept said...

Badgers.

jason said...

i'm going with badgers as well.

jamused said...

Rats, but that probably means I've read too much Discworld

Rognar said...

I grew up in a region with a lot of coal mining. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, they used to use ponies in the mines. They called them pit ponies. They spent their whole lives in the mines. I always figured dwarves would use something similar, though maybe a bit tougher, like donkeys or mules.

2eDM said...

Badgers, Giant Worms, and Giant Beetles if approaching from a traditional old school D&D approach. Bears, Boars, or little fluffy Rabbits from a modern, World of Warcraft influenced approach.

JB said...

An armadillo?

I can't say I really associate ANY animal with dwarves. For some reason I think "ferret" when I think of gnomes, but dwarves have never (in fiction, lit, mythology) been associated with a particular animal that I can think of.

The Devil's Janitor said...

Ponies, definitely Ponies.

Al said...

Cave bears.

blizack said...

Naked mole rats.

mhensley said...

bears

lige said...

Badgers and Mules

Derek said...

Mule first, badger second. Hedgehog popped in after a moment or two.

Jeff Rients said...

Burros popped into my head.

Jonathon said...

I thought 'badgers' before opening the comments, and apparently I wasn't the only one.

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought badger, then thought mole.

Talysman said...

Connect to with metaphor, or add as an accessory?

Metaphorically, dwarves are badgers or moles, to me. But what animal would I expect to see in a dwarven camp? Mules. Actually, mules might apply metaphorically as well. Stubborn dwarves...

John Miskimen said...

In my campaign world, Dwarves are renowned for the quality of their mead, thus I associate honey bees with them.

Yesmar said...

Badgers.

David V.S. said...

My wife says "rates", probably because she reads a lot of Discworld. Then, after a few minutes "bats" and "badgers".

I'll nominate canaries (always company of miners) and ground squirrels (hoard and love shinies).

Alan said...

War ponies.

Vic Palisades said...

Rhino.

The Pretentious Fool said...

Like so many before me, I would say badgers.

Chris said...

Badger, followed by mountain goat.

And Brock is an obviously dwarven name.

thegreenman.us said...

moles and or gophers

thegreenman.us said...

and groundhogs and stoats, can't forget stoats.

Ragnorakk said...

mules. don't know why.

ckutalik said...

Hedgehog or javelina

Mark J. Brenton said...

Badgers, moles, or other subterranean rodentia.

David said...

Hamsters

jaerdaph said...

Badgers. And beware of dwarven werebadgers!

Marcelo Paschoalin said...

Bears are the first to come to my mind.

Adam Thornton said...

Dragons.

Yeah, not going in quite the same direction, I know.

Adam Thornton said...

Although there was that 3E or 3.5E supplement (was it Manual of the Planes?) that had the race produced by the coupling of, uh, dwarves and celestial badgers.

No, I'm not making this up. I'm going to go look right now.

All right, here it is. It's the Planar Handbook:

"Some instead mingle with the beasts they will one day become, creating new races that are perpetually half-animal, half-humanoid. Prominent among these are the wildren, beings descended from the union of partially transformed dwarf petitioners and celestial badgers."

Yeah, you heard it from Wizards of the Coast first: if you're a really good dwarf, then after you die, you get to fuck a badger.

And they say Carcosa is transgressive. Pfah!

Sham aka Dave said...

English Bulldog.

The Pretentious Fool said...

"Yeah, you heard it from Wizards of the Coast first: if you're a really good dwarf, then after you die, you get to fuck a badger."

Adam Thornton, that is one of the funniest things I have read in a while.

Mark J. Brenton said...

You know, after reading a bit, I noted that someone said mountain goat. That's really an even better choice than badger (my first inclination).

Mountain goats, bearded, ornery, and accustomed to mountain living... yeah, maybe mountain goats.

Maroon said...

"Badgers, moles, or other subterranean rodentia."

Actually, badgers are carnivora and moles are insectivora.

I don't associate badgers at all with dwarves. If I associate badgers with anything, I'd associate them with Bill Oddie (who really is more of a gnome). Badgers live in forests. They don't usually burrow through solid rock, so how'd they get to the dwarves in the first place?

The animal I'd link to dwarves is the raven, like in The Hobbit, where the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain use them to send messages to distant dwarven strongholds.

Mark J. Brenton said...

"Actually, badgers are carnivora and moles are insectivora."

I stand corrected.

Actually, badgers are Mustelidae, but who's checking?

myrystyr said...

Wolf, riding lizard, giant ant, talking wolf, raven. At least, in my campaign world, wolves are sacred to dwarves...

1d30 said...

The problem to me is that Dwarves live underground in the mountains, right? There just aren't many underground-dwelling animals. We can expand the list with common D&D tropes though.

Bats? Lizards? Pale cave fish?

Then again, maybe we can think about mountains outdoors. That makes me think of eagles or hawks, maybe go so far as a Roc.

But you need something tough. A honey badger is undeniably tough. But I think more of the badger climbing trees, digging in the dirt, and ranging over a huge territory of dry badlands or prairie. Badgers can't dig through stone.

Maybe we can expand this into D&D monsters. But that gets kind of funky.

The source material appears to assume that a Dwarf and a Gnome were very similar, if not synonymous, in many cases. Gnomes were just as much about stone as they were about earth and roots and mossy undergrowth.

I'd say warthog but Orcs have that nailed down.

If we include monsters I'd suggest the D&D Basilisk. Badger seems like a surprising symbol for some very militant Gnomes, rather than the standard Dwarf tough-guy.

Rob Iannacone said...

Carp. And subsequently, rivers running red with dwarven blood. But that's because of the game Dwarf Fortress. There was a bug in there that gave carp a bite attack as strong as a blow with a short sword.