Nothing’s uglier than a dwarven inferiority complex. We can thank Peter Jackson for this one. When the opening voiceover tell us that the elves are, “Immortal,
wisest, and fairest of all beings,” it’s hard not to want to punch the closest Nordic dude in his smug face (assuming you can jump that high). And then, insult to injury, the dwarves are thrown a bone for being “great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls,” only to have it ripped away by the lore. They’re forever second best in their trademark thing, trailing Mr. Silmaril Himself in the crafting department. And even if you’re tempted to point out, “Well sure. Elves are pretty and elves are skilled. But dwarves are tough as rocks and hard to kill!” You’ll only be met with the drinking scenes in the extended editions. What unmitigated and unconscionable elf fanboyism! Let us take up our torches and pitchforks and forum posts!

But then again, I offer you this counterpoint: Who freaking cares? 

You may have guessed that we’re not actually talking about dwarves and elves here (though you can feel free to wage that battle down in today’s comments). What we’re really talking about is stepping on your party mates’ conceptual toes. My advice remains the same as before: When it comes to coexisting with other PCs, try to carve out your own little niche. You’ll be happier if you’re king of your own specialized hill.

But if you and your buddy are both out there trying to put up big damage, and if you really are doing the full on body-count competition, try to remember that a staff measuring contest is beside the point. Fantasy adventure is supposed to be a team sport. Everyone contributes to the same goal and the same story.

So if you find yourself looking up at the badass archer thinking that your thrown weapons build is underperforming; or if your charming sorcerer can’t seduce as many nobles as the bard; or if your sword-gish doesn’t have the rippling pecs of a dedicated fighting-manmaybe don’t sweat it. This is literally not a competition. Just be satisfied with what you’ve got. And remember that elves sometimes bump their heads on things, those too-tall jackasses.

So what do you say, Handbook-World? Have you ever dealt with jealousy among party members? Give us your group’s version of the old “dwarven inferiority complex” down in the comments!


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