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Archmage of Nowhere
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USA
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Posted - 29 May 2018 :  13:59:39  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So as the title says I am currently interested in what the community thinks would be the "Traditional" Dwarven play.

I have a player that aspires to be a playwright and I thought it would be a good idea to have a by race and region breakdown of the performing arts traditions ready.

Humans and Elves (and various subtypes) came pretty easy but dwarves have sort of got me stumped.

I have considered the idea that they have no theatre tradition as it is a looser art than what is normally depicted for dwarves. Yet they also give the impression of passing knowledge down as much through Oral Tradition as physical means. Their reputation as excellent storytellers is pretty pervasive.

Its pretty easy to match them to the stereotypical dwarven society: an exercise in endurance, almost like putting 2 or 3 plays in length; Offscript or improve would be harshly viewed; Topics of loss, enduring hardship, or overcoming overwhelming odds through hard work and determination would dominate the landscape.

However just aligning the plays 1 to 1 to dwarven society seemed like reaching for low hanging fruit so I wanted to get some ideas going from the community as to what they would consider a "Traditional" Dwarven Play.

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 29 May 2018 :  14:49:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd not expect dwarves to be into plays at all... It involves sitting and doing nothing productive for a span of time, just to watch people pretending to do stuff.

So it's not enduring like the metal or stone that dwarves prefer to work in, presenting a play is effort that could be directed towards something more productive and permanent, and the same applies to watching it.

Songs, at least, can serve a function: rousing the spirit, providing a rhythm, and conveying information -- and you can sing or listen to music while doing something productive.

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Archmage of Nowhere
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Posted - 29 May 2018 :  16:48:49  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In general I agree that plays seem a mismatch to dwarves and probably not the norm. However I really like the idea that Productivity & Permanency need to be of foremost importance to the function of the play as well as the content.

So a shift from Plays as art to Plays as education seems natural if I wanted to explore the idea, mismatched as they may be.

Seems there could be a opening in the general education of all Dwarflings. as dwarves seem to:

A. All have a shared knowledge of their clan's history and major historical figures as well as songs and stories.
B. Have a general aversion to paper and less permanent mediums for keeping history.

It could be a neat variance in a clan that during the early years of education, just before or during their apprenticeship, dwarves learned of their history in this manner. Songs are sung and the enduring tales of their ancestors recited. That way it services Permanency and Productivity as they are learning and committing those stories to heart and deed going forward.

So the idea of a fictional tale being told through the medium would be baffling to a dwarf who grew up in that manner.

Already helpful, thank you!
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sleyvas
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Posted - 30 May 2018 :  00:16:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, since dwarven males are needed to do so much of the heavy lifting, etc... are dwarven females prone to playing male roles in dwarven plays (similar to how young males in Shakespeare's time played the females)? Would outsiders detect the difference? Given that the females WOULD be responsible for much of the teaching of history and such, it might make sense if they put on plays of this sort for the youths. They might also use this as an opportunity to teach moral lessons such as the ant and the grasshopper (or in their instance, perhaps the dwarf and the lazy hill giant/orc/goblin/elf).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Lord Karsus
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3191 Posts

Posted - 30 May 2018 :  00:44:46  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Recital of clan history with reenactment seems pretty Dwarveny.

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moonbeast
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USA
472 Posts

Posted - 30 May 2018 :  01:29:56  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, even the Klingons (macho warrior society) had their Klingon opera, does anyone remember that from Star Trek?

But yeah, plays and theatre (or opera) might be too "foofoo" for Dwarves. But staged combat re-enactment fused with narrative story-telling might be something they would have done? Something like Dwarven Military Kabuki?

Or maybe just a Dwarven version of what we call our modern "military history re-enactment" just like our Civil War re-enactments in the USA. The dwarves would enjoy participating in that!
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Archmage of Nowhere
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Posted - 30 May 2018 :  12:33:40  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

So, since dwarven males are needed to do so much of the heavy lifting, etc... are dwarven females prone to playing male roles in dwarven plays (similar to how young males in Shakespeare's time played the females)?



I actually love this! I was thinking that they would be directed by the educators, but making them mostly female and take part in them would be a great addition and it would give me the pleasure of making scenes where characters literally cant tell the difference.

I also agree that in addition to history, moral lessons (perhaps with a younger age group) could be the focus.


quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

Well, even the Klingons (macho warrior society) had their Klingon opera, does anyone remember that from Star Trek?

But yeah, plays and theatre (or opera) might be too "foofoo" for Dwarves. But staged combat re-enactment fused with narrative story-telling might be something they would have done? Something like Dwarven Military Kabuki?



Ya I do remember that, its actually why I really wanted to make something work for dwarves because of how much I loved Klingons being deadly serious about Shakespeare.

I actually like mixing the stage re-enactment with normal plays. This would make the martial training of dwarves pretty clean as they start very young having fun "light" combat practice for re-enactments and just keep going throughout their lives simply increasing the difficulty slowly. Its a nice progression for them and is a easy way to drill habits into the dwarvlings making later martial training easier.

On a side note I hadn't really considered opera but thinking about it I could imagine there being quite the prestigious position amongst a Dwarven Hold for tenor. An all male choir would be a given but amongst dwarves there must be some truly powerful Tenors. their equivalent to Domingo or Pavarotti would probably even be appreciated by other races as powerful or outstanding and would be a special honor reserved for nobility or favored guests of a hold.
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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 30 May 2018 :  21:20:55  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Archmage of Nowhere

On a side note I hadn't really considered opera but thinking about it I could imagine there being quite the prestigious position amongst a Dwarven Hold for tenor. An all male choir would be a given but amongst dwarves there must be some truly powerful Tenors. their equivalent to Domingo or Pavarotti would probably even be appreciated by other races as powerful or outstanding and would be a special honor reserved for nobility or favored guests of a hold.


-I'm 65% certain that I stole the idea for my homebrew world from a Forgotten Realms book: check Demihuman Deities, I vaguely remember something about a Hall of Song for one of the Dwarven gods/goddesses. Something like always a funeral dirge being sung.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

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Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Archmage of Nowhere
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USA
48 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2018 :  02:42:48  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus
-I'm 65% certain that I stole the idea for my homebrew world from a Forgotten Realms book: check Demihuman Deities, I vaguely remember something about a Hall of Song for one of the Dwarven gods/goddesses. Something like always a funeral dirge being sung.



I'll look into it, I don't remember that but its a excuse to crack open the book and reread it. In either case making the project a combined initiative of the Churches of Berronar Truesilver and Dugmaren Brightmantle suits me.

I had all but forgotten these two really, but I like the idea that it is one of the minor/major (depending how you look at it) duties of their clerics to manage this system. Probably not the majority of the faculty but at least one or two Priestesses of Barronar at all times and a revolving door of interested sages from Dugmaren Brightmantle with portions of the donations of each church going to the maintenance of the education system.
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moonbeast
Senior Scribe

USA
472 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2018 :  06:42:38  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, like Lord Karsus said…. Dwarves in fantasy have been referenced to have "funeral songs" or dirges. In fact, now I recall that this is somewhere in one of the Tolkien books.

And here it is: referenced in one of the Tolkien wikis (from the Silmarillion): http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Azaghal


quote:
Azaghâl and his Dwarves joined the Union of Maedhros and during the Nirnaeth Arnoediad the Dwarves of Belegost covered the retreat of the Sons of Fëanor by surrounding the Dragon Glaurung. They hewed at him with their axes, for his scales were not strong enough to shield him from the blows of Dwarven axes. In his rage Glaurung struck down Azaghâl, and crawled over him. With his last breath Azaghâl drove a knife into Glaurung's belly, so wounded him that he fled the field with many of the dismayed beasts of Angband following.

The Dwarves raised up the body of their lord Azaghâl and bore him away; and with slow steps they walked behind singing a dirge in deep voices, as it were a funeral pomp in their country, and gave no heed to their foes; and none dared attack them.


A dirge as described here is sung in deep low voices. Hence, tenors.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6683 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2018 :  14:38:59  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A "rich oral tradition" suggests rich skills of oration.

It may sound solemn, stuffy, dull, yawning, repetitive, and predictable to non-dwarves - but it would be filled with references and nuances which would enthrall and engage all those with a dwarven mindset (and dwarven stamina). I imagine that a skilled dwarven oratory is finely crafted, carefully structured, solid and irreproachable, it probably observes all the accepted norms and traditions in a ritualized and almost formal way, it is a celebration and an expression of dwarven art. A dwarf may recite his family lineage all the way back through hundreds or thousands of generations to Moradin Soul Forger himself ... a truly tiring and trying experience for any non-dwarf to endure ... but, if skillfully wrought (and told while sober), the tale would be delivered with masterful timing and intonation and emphasis that no dwarf could possibly resist. Perhaps the occasion would demand almost religious awe and reverence, or perhaps it would be a lewd and bawdy account enjoyed over several kegs of mead, or perhaps it would just be a "quick" salutary entertainment which serves as "small talk" to pass a few hours. Even complaints and threats and taunts and insults and dirty jokes and low-brow "orc jokes" are welcome fare which command a dwarf's rapt attention when they are wrought with style and creativity and experience.

Yes, stories and plays are performance based things, ephemeral and transient, gone the moment they're brought into being. But the good ones are remembered and repeated and passed on through generations, to a dwarf any tale that's worth telling at all has to be one that's been designed and built well enough that it shows pride of craftsmanship, it is prized (almost) like gold, it'll last longer than the stone halls in which it was first told.

All that being said, I expect most dwarven tales would probably focus on stuff like dwarven moral lessons, the activities and mythologies of dwarven deities, loyalty to the stronghold and clan, glorious battles and victories (and heroes) facing against dwarven enemies, unspeakable treacheries and deceits (and conceits) of dwarven enemies, legendary dwarven items crafted by legendary dwarven smiths. The other races have their own modes of storytelling, and the attentive dwarf can always learn a few interesting/useful new tricks of the trade from these, but while such passing entertainments have novelty value they also lack lasting value.

A human tale might describe a hero's quest for a magical sword, and the tests or ordeals he must endure to obtain the special/exotic items needed to reforge it, etc. But a dwarven tale might gloss over such mundane things and instead describe the thoughts and methods of the smith during each strike upon the anvil.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 31 May 2018 15:03:19
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Archmage of Nowhere
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USA
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Posted - 31 May 2018 :  15:29:25  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Figured I'd bookend the topic with what I ended up going with. I really liked where this went, thanks for the input!

Through a combined effort of the Churches of Barronar Truesilver and Dugmaren Brightmantle the Deep Realm, home of the Gold Dwarves, instituted the Home and Hearth Public University. Established only a few centuries after the formation of the Deep Realm around -7400 DR the institution has a long history providing a mostly unequaled level of education to the general populace of the Deep Realm.

Initially it was one centralized campus, but over the millennia the growth of the Deep Realm has lead to several smaller campus spread evenly amongst the sprawling districts. Basic education including Arithmetic, Geography (Subterranean), Linguistics and more were staples of the program most of which were done similarly to other universities. Yet it was their History course that deviated drastically from the norm. Wishing to instill a true respect and investment towards the accomplishments of their people, The Great Reenactments were established as attempt at a more immersive learning experience.

The faculty take part as actors, educators, and directors often taking small parts and the primary lead position making the class act out the important positions around a historical figure. In this way they hoped that the class would be able to directly empathize with the feelings and perspectives of their ancestors in these pivotal moments in history. In other cases they were made to conduct battle reenactments having to be trained extensively for safety this also doubled as a Beardling's first introduction to martial training.

The plays were carefully selected to educate intellectually and morally, reinforcing cultural ethics such as the value of hard work; importance of endurance; and the need to adhere to traditions and ancestors. The accuracy and dedication to playing the part with no personal deviation was a point of pride for the university and they would enforce this with the Beardlings strictly. To that end every campus would employ the services of a Xothor,(Specialty Priest of Dugmaren Brightmantle)to help educate and hopefully excite the Beardlings to learn more than they ever actually wanted to know about these historical figures and the struggles of their time.

It is in this way the Gold Dwarves of the Deep Realm have maintained a constant state of collective pride and greater educational average for their citizens for millennia.
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sleyvas
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USA
7432 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2018 :  16:51:46  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love the addition you did of the youths taking on certain roles in the plays "in order to make them understand their ancestors better". That can kind of take care of the "women taking on the men's roles" in EVERY situation... maybe they only do it for the lesser roles that still need filling (i.e. a farmer coming to their king, or the king's assistant, etc..)... meanwhile the youths learn the main roles, including how to lead, how to fight, how to craft, testing their endurance in taking on a role and actually performing certain physical acts that will make them appreciate their ancestor, etc....

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Archmage of Nowhere
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USA
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Posted - 31 May 2018 :  17:17:32  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I love the addition you did of the youths taking on certain roles in the plays "in order to make them understand their ancestors better". That can kind of take care of the "women taking on the men's roles" in EVERY situation... maybe they only do it for the lesser roles that still need filling (i.e. a farmer coming to their king, or the king's assistant, etc..)... meanwhile the youths learn the main roles, including how to lead, how to fight, how to craft, testing their endurance in taking on a role and actually performing certain physical acts that will make them appreciate their ancestor, etc....


Thank you I'm pretty partial to that point as well

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

A "rich oral tradition" suggests rich skills of oration.



This was a great read! I really like this as a higher art form of the concept. Looking into the topic as it seems to fit well with the grave and solemn lives of the Shield Dwarves. Especially thoughts between hammer strokes on a anvil that is awesome!


On a side note I plan on considering the topic for other groups of dwarves particularly Shield and Duergar as they seem the only other off shoots that could potentially have plays. I am still open to ideas or variations on the topic!
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sleyvas
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Posted - 31 May 2018 :  21:37:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also, since this WOULD typically involve the children essentially putting on a "class play"... I could see the adults (much like human adults) showing up to watch these plays and not finding it a "waste of time". They may feel its instrumental to let their children of the community know that even the adults still respect "the old ways" and hope to see the next generation follow in their footsteps. Heck, it might even be a "grand compliment" for certain adults of the community to be asked to join in on the play as well (for instance, maybe having the son of a tavern owner stepping in to play the role his own father once had in real life if they're performing a history). It may even be a grand family tradition that family members vie for the right to act as one of their ancestors once a decade in some reenactment or other that is put on for the whole colony. For instance, maybe in years to come some members of the Pwent family will vie for the right to represent Thibbledorf Pwent in "the History of King Bruenor Battlehammer of Mithril Hall".

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Archmage of Nowhere
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USA
48 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2018 :  22:52:17  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Also, since this WOULD typically involve the children essentially putting on a "class play"... I could see the adults (much like human adults) showing up to watch these plays and not finding it a "waste of time". They may feel its instrumental to let their children of the community know that even the adults still respect "the old ways" and hope to see the next generation follow in their footsteps. Heck, it might even be a "grand compliment" for certain adults of the community to be asked to join in on the play as well (for instance, maybe having the son of a tavern owner stepping in to play the role his own father once had in real life if they're performing a history). It may even be a grand family tradition that family members vie for the right to act as one of their ancestors once a decade in some reenactment or other that is put on for the whole colony. For instance, maybe in years to come some members of the Pwent family will vie for the right to represent Thibbledorf Pwent in "the History of King Bruenor Battlehammer of Mithril Hall".



I was thinking along the same lines actually. I was mulling over the idea that ALL children of every social status attend the university. So normally the most important position (King, Hero etc..) would be played by faculty to ensure they are done justice in the production but if a direct descendant was in the class they would play it instead. Forcing them to fill the shoes of that important figure in the eyes of their community and clan at the actual event.

Having clan specific traditions regarding the Reenactments; Major honors bestowed on people to play parts; Collaborations with other artists such as the choir or Tenors mention above would all be the minutia of the world that I would write if the campaign ever took place there, but I don't want to shift the topic of the thread too much towards the social aspect of the plays as my playwright might not care.

But I'm there with you man, lol.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7432 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2018 :  23:44:04  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I could see it being something where the son of the King has to play his grandfather during "the battle of stinky goblins", and the king actually considers it his responsibility to show up before the whole cast and help show his son the right way to act (humbly and with honor and respect). The side effect of this is that his fellows see their young comrade being put in much more stress than they are and handling it, and thereby the new generation of dwarves grow up with a modicum of respect for their new king... and they also equate him as being as powerful as their ancestors.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

827 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2018 :  11:19:47  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Beardo and Aleit.

Beardello.

A Tale of Two Beards.

A Midsummer Night's Drinking Contest.

King Beard.

The (Beard)Ring Cycle.

Edited by - LordofBones on 01 Jun 2018 11:22:59
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moonbeast
Senior Scribe

USA
472 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2018 :  18:04:27  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But don't forget the epic favorite, beloved by all Dwarven gem-smiths…. The Lord of the Blings

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7432 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2018 :  19:29:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Story of Gaybar the Queer Little Dwarf and his Magnificent Beard

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

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31515 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2018 :  21:21:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm personally not sold on the play idea, but I think major battles, tales of heroes, and tales of the gods would be the primary focus of dwarven plays.

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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1390 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2018 :  12:28:38  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Complete Book of Dwarves is a great resource on the Stout Folk. It is not Realms specific, but still one of the best. Dwarves Deep is good too, that one is Realms specific.

Edited by - Eilserus on 02 Jun 2018 12:29:02
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Archmage of Nowhere
Seeker

USA
48 Posts

Posted - 04 Jun 2018 :  12:27:15  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Beardo and Aleit.

Beardello.

A Tale of Two Beards.

A Midsummer Night's Drinking Contest.

King Beard.

The (Beard)Ring Cycle.



quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast


The Lord of the Blings



Just to let you guys know I have stolen these and will pass them off as mine.

You can't stop me!
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