I am currently playing a Lawful Good Hill Dwarf Cleric in a DnD 5e campaign. The campaign is Princes of Apocalypse and I do not find information about how they interact with other races in there. Dwarves have a reputation of hating goblins and orcs, as well as the stereotype being that they seldom make friendships with short-lived races, but I have not found anything more in-depth.

For example in my group there is a Firbolg (from Volo's guide) Druid character. I do not know how to use the Dwarvish stereotype to inform how I roleplay my relationship with that character, apart from being suspicious.

So my actual question is where can I find information on how dwarves are depicted interacting with other races in general, especially those with whom there are historical grievances in the lore? Are there some useful guides out there, or lore in other books? (Maybe in previous editions, if 5e is incomplete.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome! If you have time you can take the tour to find out more about the site. This question seems a bit broad as it is right now. If you have a specific setting you are playing and to avoid the question being based on opinion you could ask something like "Where can I find more about how dwarves interact with other races in <setting>". Also you specified dnd 5e but since the question is more setting dependent you may also accept material from previous editions related to that setting if you want. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Jun 11, 2018 at 11:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage Well my question was not just for Firbolgs really. Though how dwarves see other races or what relationships exist among them. Though of course Firbolgs were the hardest race to get info about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Horsy
    Nov 20, 2021 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related Question: What is the relationship between dwarves and elves in the Forgotten Realms? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2021 at 2:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've made two edits, one minor and one major - I've had feedback that the initial question phrasing sounds like it assumes that all dwarves act the same and interact with individuals from other races the same. I've pivoted your question to say "How can I use lore to inform my roleplay?" So you reserve the choice to follow or push against stereotypes. Please do rollback the edit (by looking at the revisions and clicking 'rollback') if you disagree, or edit the question again if you want to keep most of my changes. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2021 at 12:15

2 Answers 2


The Princes of the Apocalypse adventure takes place in the Forgotten Realms by default, so I'm going to base my answer on that setting. If your DM has significantly changed that default, some of the following may not apply.

The 5th edition Player's Handbook has a sidebar for each of the common races with a brief description of the common attitude of that race towards each of the other basic races. This helps in the case of elves, halflings, and humans, but not firbolgs.

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide has a section on each of the races from the PH, and may give some insight into the general attitude of dwarves, but the book focuses less on interracial interaction and probably won't help much.

Volo's Guide to Monsters is the only 5e source of information about firbolgs that we have. Unfortunately, the firbolg section only mentions elves and gnomes, if I remember correctly, and makes no reference to dwarves.

Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes has an entire chapter about dwarves, including significant treatment of dwarven attitudes and outlooks. While it doesn't detail their views on every race, it could provide enough foundational material to let you make significantly more informed guesses.

As for pre-5e materials, I'm afraid I'm only personally familiar with one novel that has a firbolg, one of the Cleric Quintet novels by R. A. Salvatore. In it, the protagonist and his two dwarven friends run into a firbolg. The dwarves have an inkling of dislike for the firbolg due to the race's relation to giants, but they remind themselves that firbolgs had also sided with dwarves in the past against evil giants, and so were willing to look past the lineage and treat him about the same as they would a human.

It is important to note that while dwarves have been portrayed fairly consistently in Forgotten Realms materials for some time, firbolgs underwent significant changes in 5e compared to older editions, and looking at old material for specific interracial preconceptions may be less useful than extrapolating details from current general information on 5e lore, such as that found in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This touches on what I view as the right answer - specifically MToF has enough information on 'How Dwarves Think' that after reading that through you should be able to put yourself in the mind of a Dwarf and judge each individual you encounter based on those values. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 12, 2018 at 19:24

The Forgotten Realms wiki is a great resource for this kind of thing. The section on interracial relations on the Dwarf page covers many races, but unfortunately no firbolgs. Although, since firbolgs are giant-kin you may want to think about how they treat giants; "few dwarves had forgotten their ancestral hatred of the giants who'd once enslaved them".

The other race relations are, to sum up:

  • Gnomes: "Dwarves and gnomes had a history of cordial relations, mutually seeing each other as family, however distant"
  • Halflings: "Dwarves had a fondness for halflings comparable to an older brother's concern for a smaller, more awkward sibling"
  • Humans: "[Dwarves and Humans] had always been cordial neighbors at the very least, and when humans modeled their societies after dwarves, it was a source of pride and joy. However, humans were so morally and ethically flexible that they could also be almost elf-like, seeming flighty to their slow-paced ways."
  • Elves: "Dwarven and elven relations were infamously volatile, their vastly disparate perspectives on the relationship between the individual and society resulting in countless misunderstandings and feuds."
  • Goliaths: "Though primitive to their eyes, dwarves regarded goliaths as kindred spirits, followers of Moradin's ways even if not consciously aware of it."
  • Goblins and Orcs: "Dwarves did not forgive past wrongs easily and the entire race had more or less declared war on goblins and orcs as a whole, wiping them out where they found them."
  • Drow and Grimlocks: "many dwarves viewed drow and grimlocks with a similar hatred [to goblins and orcs]"
  • Giants: "few dwarves had forgotten their ancestral hatred of the giants who'd once enslaved them."
  • Kobolds: "The anti-social sentiments and persecution complex of the kobolds made diplomacy difficult, and while the two didn't always attack each other, neither side needed much provocation to start fighting."
  • Half-Elves: "Dwarves had few set opinions on half-elves, each being a reflection of whatever culture they were raised in."
  • Half-Orcs: "Given the racial enmity between dwarves and orcs and the importance dwarves placed on lineage, it was easy to understand their temptation to hold distrust and resent half-orcs. ... Dwarves were predisposed to letting those so inclined prove themselves, and the two could be surprisingly staunch companions, to the point that less traditional clans would adopt particularly worthy half-orcs, demonstrating the possibility for even the oldest grudges to be wiped clean."
  • Others: "In regards to their distant cousins the azers, duergar, and galeb duhr, dwarven opinions varied."

There is a page on Hill Dwarves with a relationships section talks about similar races, so again no firbolgs.

There's an article on firbolgs. Again, this is fairly sparse but we do get 2 mentions of dwarves:

the firbolgs of the Moonshaes believed that Grond carved them from stone and that the dwarves were the result of the "leftovers" of this process.


In -5000 DR, in a great conflict with the land's dwarves, Grond Peaksmasher was imprisoned on Oman's Isle beneath the great Ice Peak. Without his guidance, the firbolgs of the Moonshae Isles over time degenerated into a barbaric culture little better than that of hill giants, engaging in violent raids against the humans of the islands.

As for other races;

  • Elves: "Gold dwarves in particular looked down upon the Tel-quessir, whom they loathed in part due to their ancient enmity with the drow."
  • Monstorous races: "Of the monstrous races, the gold dwarves' opinion was even lower."
  • Goblins, Orcs, and Half-Orcs: "But this did not mean gold dwarves enjoyed the company of goblins or orcs, whom they lumped half-orcs in with."
  • Humans and Planetouched: "... gold dwarves had an atypically high value of humans and their planetouched kin for non-human races"
  • Halflings: "Similarly, gold dwarves were, as a rule, rather fond of strongheart halflings, seeing them as kindred spirits for their propensity for industriousness and honor."

I said at the start that the FR wiki is a great resource for this kind of thing, but unfortunately there isn't too much to go on. Firbolgs have a tumultuous past with multiple overhauls, so their lore is a lot more fickle than the mainstream races like Elves and Halflings. The wiki supports Derek Stucki's answer, especially his reference to the Cleric Quintet novels by R. A. Salvatore:

The dwarves have an inkling of dislike for the firbolg due to the race's relation to giants, but they remind themselves that firbolgs had also sided with dwarves in the past against evil giants, and so were willing to look past the lineage and treat him about the same as they would a human.


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