Hello! I'm Matt, and Ive played Lotro for 3 years, and have mainly roleplayed dwarves since the beginning. I was a Tolkien fanatic in High-school and am now, the dwarves being my favorite race. So, with out further adieu, for those who would like tips for role-playing dwarves:
Matt's Handy Dandy Dwarf guide:
Side Note: Dwarves have an average lifespan of 250 years.
I.)Heritage: Decide which Clan your dwarf is a part of first and for most. There are seven established clans, excluding the petty-dwarves of the first age. There are the Longbeards/ Durin's Folk, the most prominent and powerful of the dwarf clans(Dwarves of Erebor, most of the dwarf NPC's in Lotro) the *Broadbeams, the *Firebeards, the Stiffbeards, the Ironfists, the Blacklocks, and the Stonefoots. For the most part, Tolkien wrote little on the other dwarf clans, save the Longbeards, Firebeards, and Broadbeams. So for the lesser-known clans, I would take some principles from the established dwarf clans, (Remember: The dwarves are very private. They wouldn't marry with men, elves, or hobbits, or go out telling all their private Khuzudul names.)
I.*) The Firbeard and Broadbeam dwarf fathers were awoken in the Blue mountains, and went on to form the powerful dwarf cities Nogrod and Belegost, which were destroyed in the war of wrath. These cities were home to the GREATEST smiths in all of Middle-Earth. The dwarves of Nogrod being the greatest, followed closely by the dwarves of Belegost. Tolkien, however, never specified whether the Broadbeams were dwarves of Belegost, and vise versa. Most say that the Dwarves of Belegost were the Broadbeams and the dwarves of Nogrod were the Firebeards. My thoughts? B-b-broadbeams, B-b-belegost, and the Dwarves of Nogrod were the greatest smiths ever, and what could you associate smithing with? Fire. Hence,Firebeards. You may ask does it really matter? Yes. Very much so, which is what I'm getting into in number 2. Here. we. goooooooo!
Longbeards/Durins Folk: The most detailed, described Clan by Tolkien. Almost all the dwarf characters he wrote of were Longbeards. Notable Dwarves include: Durin, Thror, Thrain, Thorin II, Dain Ironfoot, Thorin III Stonehelm, all the dwarves of Thorin II's(Oakenshield) Company, save Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur, Gimli. Notable Kingdoms: Moria(Khazad-Dum), Erebor, Thorin's Hall, The Iron Hills and Gundabad(Lost).The Longbeard Dwarf father, Durin the Deathless was said to be reincarnated six times from the original dwarf, adding up to seven dwarves. The Original Durin, Durin I or Durin the Deathless, was said to have also lived a very long life. He was awoken in the mountain Gundaband, which then became extremely important to the Longbeards, until it was overrun by goblins and lost.
Broadbeams: (From this point forward I will go on with my thinking that the broadbeams are the dwarves of Belegost, and the Firebeards are the Dwarves of nogrod) The Broadbeam father was awoken with the Firebeard father in Mount Dolmed, in Ered Luin. Mount Dolmed was mostly destroyed by the Gulf of Lune as a result of the war of wrath, but a small portion remained in tact and could possibly be inhabited by either or both clans. The Broadbeams went on to build the City of Belegost, called Gabilgathol by its residence. The dwarves of Belegost held close ties with Dwarves of Nogrod, due to their fathers being awoken together, and their close proximity (http://www.tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Belegost). Though bested in smithing only by the Nogrodians, their greatest accomplishment would be the invention of chain-mail. The dwarves of Belegost also held close ties,perhaps closer, with with the Elves as well. Thingol, King of Doriath, had the Dwarves of Belegost built Menegroth,perhaps the jewel to fit in the crown of Doriath. As payment he gifted the Belegostians with the Nimphelos, a huge pearl the size of a Doves Egg(this is like the arkenstone for Broadbeams). A Broadbeam Dwarf-Lord Azaghal was rescued by Maedhros the Elf after being way-laid on a dwarf road in Beleriand. For Saving his life, he gifted Maedhros with his helm, the Dragon-helm of Dor-Lomin, which eventually came to Turin,son of hurin, in the events of the First Age.Proud soldiers, who answered the union of Maedhros, and fought in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears along Elves and Men. Lord Azaghal and his dwarves covered the retreat of the sons of Feanor by surrounding Glaurung, father of dragons, scourge of the first age, and hewing him with their mighty weapons. Glaurung's scales could not withstand the the blows, and infuriated, he struck Azaghal down. In an act of defiance, Azaghal took his final breath, and plunged a dagger into Glaurung's side, causing him to flee, with many dismayed beasts following in suit. The surviving soldiers picked up their fallen Lord, and bore him to away to Belegost, chanting deep hymns, not a single soul daring to attack, fearful for retribution. Notable dwarves: Azaghal. Kingdoms: Belegost(destroyed); went on to join the dwarves in Khazad-dum, or build settlements of their own in the Blue Mountains.
Firebeards: The Firbeard Father was awoken with the Broadbeam Dwarf Father. They went on to build the City of Nogrod, home to the greatest smiths to ever have lived. Called Tumunzahar by its inhabitants. Some notable Dwarves include Telchar, who forged Angrist, the knife that pried the simaril from the iron crown of Melkor, Narsil, the sword of Elendil, and the Dragon-Helm of Dor-Lomin. Another notable dwarf was Gamil Zirak, who Telchar apprenticed under. Nogrod, like Belegost, was destroyed in the first age as a result of the war of wrath. The Dwarves of Nogrod held close ties with the Dwarves of Belegost, perhaps up until the point where they asked for assistance in sacking Doriath, and the Broadbeams refused, and attempted to dissuade them. Though they held no original animosity towards the Elves at first, bonds became broken after Nogrod craftsmen murdered Thingol over possesion of the Simaril. Thingol originally hired the dwarf craftsmen to forge Nauglamir(necklace of the dwarves) which was crafted out of sone of the finest treasures in Menegroth. Thingol prized this above all his other material treasure, save the Simaril, which the Dwarves became enthralled with as well. They demanded it as payment for their service, but Thingol refused, and sent them away without pay(before you think Thingol was being a jerk, though he was not perfect, the simaril was a reminder of his lost daughter Luthien, and her lover Beren, whom he dissaproved of greatly). This led to the Dwarves of Nogrod forming an army, Led by their king Naugladur, consisting of much of their population, and undertaking The Sacking of Doriath. After Storming Menegroth, they murdered Thingol, and took the Simaril along with all the riches of Menegroth. This slowed their pace immensly, which led to their demise. When they reached the river Sarn Athrad, Beren Erchamion arrived, leading an army of Elves and Ents, and butchered the entire army, not a single dwarf escaping. Notable Dwarves: Naugladur, Telchar, Gamil Zirak. Kingdoms: Nogrod(lost)-Any surviving dwarves would leave for Khazad-Dum or attempt to form settlements in the Blue Mountains. *The Firebeard Clan would be very small after the massacre at Sarn Athrad, and the destruction of Nogrod. It would've taken a while for the population to rise again.
As for the other Tribes very little is known, but that offers the best opportunities.
Stiffbeards: Awoken in mountains to the East. Possibly Paired with the Ironfists. Possible that they aided in the War of Dwarves and Orcs.
Ironfists: Awoken in mountains to the East. Possibly paired with the Stiffbeards.Possible that they aided in the War of Dwarves and Orcs.
Blacklocks: Awoken in mountains to the East. Possibly paired with the Stonefoots.Possible that they aided in the War of Dwarves and Orcs.
Stonefoots: Awoken in the mountains to the East. Possibly paired with the Blacklocks.Possible that they aided in the War of Dwarves and Orcs.
III.) Profession: Your career choices influence your dwarf's attributes. Remember, Dwarves aren't only Smiths and Soldiers. Some professions could include:
There are many possibilities.
Your Family history means everything.Poor or Rich? Notable or Forgotten? If you do choose to have relations to some dwarf-lord, do note that you wouldn't just greet people as a dwarf-lord or tell them off the bat.
There is no real mention of structured religon, but the Dwarves worship Aule, the Valar who created them.
Though the movie popularizes the dwarves as Scottish, that is not the case. Tolkien was a Philo-semite(he loved the Semitic culture, and had many Jewish friends) and based the dwarven culture more or less, off their culture. (Proud to be Jewish moment!) If anything, their accents and languages would sound like the Hebrew Dialect, or Nordic, as that was where the dwarves were created in fiction. This is just for fun, really, if you see the dwarves as Scottish, so be it.
I hope this helps, and I am excited for your feedback! Any added notes would be much appreciated!