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Old 01-13-2013, 07:18 PM   #31
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Originally Posted by Spudzill View Post
I suspect human beer is way too weak for them. And if someone starts a distillery Dwarven Spirits may be too potent for humans to consume.
Beer is beer; it's the result of fermentation, and limited by the toxicity of ethanol to the organisms that excrete it. And I believe distilled spirits go up to quite high proofs—absinthe is 70% ethanol, and neutral grain spirit is 95%, the physical limit. Though I suppose if dwarves drank neutral spirits a lot of humans wouldn't be able to cope.

Or perhaps dwarves can produce Essential Booze, which is not subject to the limit of 95% for magical reasons. But really the difference between 95% and 100% doesn't seem likely to matter much.

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Old 01-13-2013, 07:28 PM   #32
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Or perhaps dwarves can produce Essential Booze, which is not subject to the limit of 95% for magical reasons. But really the difference between 95% and 100% doesn't seem likely to matter much.
Unless essential Booze manages to get 105%! this is magic after all.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:32 PM   #33
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Beer is beer; it's the result of fermentation, and limited by the toxicity of ethanol to the organisms that excrete it. And I believe distilled spirits go up to quite high proofs—absinthe is 70% ethanol, and neutral grain spirit is 95%, the physical limit. Though I suppose if dwarves drank neutral spirits a lot of humans wouldn't be able to cope.
Or they could drink alcohols other than ethanol, which would make it rather toxic, though we don't have evidence for dwarven metabolism being different enough for that to make sense (and I have no idea what, if anything, the mind-altering effects of other alcohols are)

Last edited by Anthony; 01-13-2013 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:33 PM   #34
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Beer is beer; it's the result of fermentation, and limited by the toxicity of ethanol to the organisms that excrete it. And I believe distilled spirits go up to quite high proofs—absinthe is 70% ethanol, and neutral grain spirit is 95%, the physical limit. Though I suppose if dwarves drank neutral spirits a lot of humans wouldn't be able to cope.

Or perhaps dwarves can produce Essential Booze, which is not subject to the limit of 95% for magical reasons. But really the difference between 95% and 100% doesn't seem likely to matter much.

Bill Stoddard
Essential Booze is the best Spell name Ever!
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:50 PM   #35
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

Am bemused by the correlation between my sig text, and the discussion of dwarven beverages in the stead of guilds, governance or property rights.

Not that I am complaining. Any detail can be squirreled away and at some point in the future put to use in a campaign setting. And I must admit I do like my beer. AND discussion of hypothetical legal and political structures is, well, dry at best.

As opposed to just looking at the alcohol content, maybe there is an aspect of flavour that is central to dwarven beer. For instance I like SE Asian pilsners, but I can envisage dwarves drinking ales with high specific gravities, or even stout*. Can a home brewer or someone with similar expertise elucidate on flavour, ingredients, and biochemistry?

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Essential Booze is the best Spell name Ever!
Agreed :)


*Yes, there is a pun in there. Moving on....
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:33 PM   #36
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307 Ale by Tom Smith.

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There's many drinks you'll drink, me lads, but this one beats them all:
One hundred fifty-three and one-half percent alcohol,
A beer, brewed in a tesseract, that'll shoot you through the roof --
And if you don't believe me, I've got lots and lots of proof.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:43 PM   #37
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Beer is beer; it's the result of fermentation, and limited by the toxicity of ethanol to the organisms that excrete it. And I believe distilled spirits go up to quite high proofs—absinthe is 70% ethanol, and neutral grain spirit is 95%, the physical limit. Though I suppose if dwarves drank neutral spirits a lot of humans wouldn't be able to cope.

Or perhaps dwarves can produce Essential Booze, which is not subject to the limit of 95% for magical reasons. But really the difference between 95% and 100% doesn't seem likely to matter much.

Bill Stoddard
How you make your beer and what you put in it, as well as the strain of yeast used, can make beer anywhere from 0.5%ABV to 25%ABV...
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:42 PM   #38
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

The last time I ran a (french) vanilla (with sprinkles) fantasy campaign, I started with the question, "Why do humans inhabit the fertile valleys, while elves, dwarves and orcs inhabit the deep forest, high mountains, and waste places respectively?"

Since this was a world without strong proof of creator or interventionist gods, I figured that all the demi-human races were in fact other species of genus Homo, or other genera of family Hominidae, that were better at competing against sapiens than IRL hominids were (and thus surviving until historical times) but still got pushed out to the lands Homo sapiens didn't want.

The Dwarves were, therefore, a cave-dwelling impoverished mountain tribe until relatively recently in campaign history -- in the last 800 years or so they absorbed and/or invented enough technology to get really good at hard rock mining and discovered that they were sitting on top of an enormous mother lode of metals (an asteroid strike, pushed up by plate tectonics to the top of a mountainous plateau).

That's when the ancient Dwarven Kingdom took over the entire plateau for a few centuries, and when the stereotype of the gold-hoarding dwarf was first set. The entire economy of the plateau changed as high-quality metals (ore at first and then processed goods) flooded out and crafts, technology and luxury goods poured in. After a while, humans started migrating up into the mountains to try to get at some of the riches themselves, and at the same time one of the great orcish overpopulation surges happened and orcs in great numbers rampaged through the plateau and forced the Dwarven Kingdom back onto its heartland and the dwarves themselves into a more defensive underground existence.

Therefore: (1) there's no reason to assume that dwarves prefer to live entirely underground, and certainly not in working mines; (2) they must have had a means of subsistence before they learned to dig deep; and (3) their subsistence had to be something they could grow at high altitude and in the cold. Meat was from guinea pigs, marmots, or other furry rodents, specially bred to large size and higher meat content.

I see dwarven cave complexes dug into high inaccessible mountainsides surrounded by terraced fields of turnips, carrots, or other roots (I wasn't sure whether potatoes existed on this continent or not), supplemented by berries and oats and barley where they would grow. High valleys would be heavily fortified at their mouths by means of walls, hanging reservoirs set to flood, deliberate avalanche setups, etc.

I figured that each major mountain/valley complex would be the home of a major dwarven clan. Orthogonal to the clans would be a guild system of occupations; clan exogamy would be accomplished by joining a guild according to interest and aptitude and marrying within it.

That part of dwarven society that had moved permanently underground would also have fungus chambers, rodent warrens, and blind-fish lakes. I joked that dwarven traveling rations were "pressed fungus and rat jerky."
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:15 AM   #39
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

So far as law goes, it seems that dwarves are going to need uniform legal rules at least for who owns which mine and who is entitled to dig underneath an existing mine; otherwise they're going to have violence and disasters. Each dwarven community will have to have judges who follow common rules, accept each other's rulings, and share records of decisions. This might look something like an Icelandic thing, or might be closer to a royalist setup of some kind. Premonarchic Israel might also be worth a look.

I suspect that dwarven law might be fairly uniform across different communities, subject to slow mutation through local judges making different rulings. Dwarves are pretty conservative, and might well not go in for much in the way of legislation.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:18 AM   #40
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I suspect that dwarven law might be fairly uniform across different communities, subject to slow mutation through local judges making different rulings. Dwarves are pretty conservative, and might well not go in for much in the way of legislation.

Bill Stoddard
This is especially likely to be true if Dwarvish lifespans are as long as Tolkien-influenced fantasy tends to make them. If your influential people can live to the age of 200 or so, it's a lot harder for new blood to move things along a different course (or for old traditions to be forgotten).
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