Dwarves have been a staple in fantasy fare since the days of Grimm’s fairy tales and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I can remember many a fine Saturday afternoon playing Dungeons and Dragons with my crew and role playing Kahstan’dur, a dwarf fighter with a penchant for two-handed attacks and strong ale. What fantasy dwarves lack in height, they more than make up for in physical strength, stamina, and skill at arms. Dwarves are an awesome character race in fantasy fiction and role playing games, so why can’t you be a dwarf in Skyrim?
History of Dwarves in Skyrim
Despite the fact that you can’t officially be a dwarf in Skyrim, this special race does make its presence known throughout the game. In Skyrim, the Dwemer (commonly referred to as dwarves), are a lost race whose incredible ruins and machinations can be found throughout Tamriel’s northern province. What happened to the Dwemer? No one knows for certain. Before they disappeared the Dwemer established a technologically advanced civilization, becoming masters of stonecutting, engineering, and metalwork. Dwemer ruins are beautiful and mysterious — they’re some of the most exciting places to explore in all of Skyrim.
Besides exploring the Dwemer ruins, players can begin crafting their very own dwarven weapons and armor at level 30 with the Dwarven Armor Crafting perk (see the Skyrim Fansite’s A Guide To All Skyrim Perks for more information). Dwarven weapons and armor are both strong and artfully fashioned, their golden hue a direct result of the dwarven metal ingots used to forge the pieces.
Be a Dwarf in Skyrim
Dwarven ruins, weapons, and armor exist in Skyrim, but dwarves aren’t a playable race in the game (they’re a lost civilization after all, so this makes sense). With that said, if you’re itching to be a dwarf in Skyrim you can do so with a good imagination and a few carefully selected choices when creating your character.
Note: The Dwemer in Skyrim are more closely related to Elves in both appearance and height (pointy ears and elf-sized), than traditional dwarves found in fantasy RPGs and fiction (short, stocky, long beards, etc.). While the Dwemer are known as “dwarves,” they’re also known as “deep-elves.” For the purpose of this article, the character build I’m describing is for that of a Traditionaldwarf commonly found in fantasy works. While this character build may not be lore-friendly, it’s a lot of fun to play.
Primary Skills: Smithing, Two-Handed, and Heavy Armor
Advice: The traditional fantasy dwarf is strong, tough, and a master of two-handed weapons. Dwarves are also expert blacksmiths, and have a fondness for gold and treasure. If you want to be a dwarf in Skyrim, the Nord is the best race to start your character build — not only for the sake of physical resemblance, but because of the Smithing and Two-Handed racial bonuses of 20 and 25 respectively.When you select your character’s features, opt for a pale complexion, heavy weight, heavy jaw, and thick brow. Choose a bushy, long beard for facial hair.
To be a dwarf in Skyrim means that your character is going to be a tank, ready to bash heads and soak up damage. Concentrate on building your character’s Health and Stamina, and forgo Magicka entirely. Raise your Smithing skill to level 30 as quickly as possible so you can begin crafting dwarven weapons and armor (see the Skyrim Fansite article here to learn how to raise your Smithing skill fast), while concentrating on Two-Handed and Heavy Armor. Yours is the path of the warrior, so get out there and start kicking butt!
Dwarf Friendly Mods
If you’re a PC gamer, there are a few Skyrim mods that will help make playing a dwarf a more immersive experience. The most notable is Dwarf Race (Not Dwemer Race) by Nomadic Lizard Pigmy available on Steam. This mod allows gamers to select Dwarf as a playable race, and does a great job resizing the character.
Another favorite is Dwarven Half-Plate by camoboy that allows you to craft dwarven half-plate armor so you can create a cool, dwarven kilt. This kilt allows your character to have a tough, bare-chested look without sacrificing the protection level granted by dwarven armor.
Lastly, there’s Role Play Houses: Dwemer Researcher’s Home by hudson684. With this mod you can have a dwarven house of your dreams located outside of Whiterun right next to Chillfurrow farm. The mod does an outstanding job capturing Skyrim’s dwarven architecture and is a great place to recoup after a hard day dungeon diving and collecting lost treasure.
So how about it? Would you like to be a dwarf in Skyrim? Share your opinions in the Speak Your Mind section below. Also, be sure to tell your friends about the Skyrim Fansite. Our purpose is to celebrate the Elder Scrolls franchise and provide useful information for gamers just like you!
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Shane Scarbrough is the founder of the Skyrim Fansite. He's a business owner, video game journalist, and role playing game aficionado. When he’s not working he enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games. He's currently on his third playthrough of Skyrim, and is playing as a Templar in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can find Shane on Google+ and FaceBook.