ACE Tuesday #04 "Concerning Dwarves"

Hello, everyone!
I’m glad to be back with yet another installment of the ACE Tuesday - now about our friendly compulsive diggers, the dwarves!

Please note that this is a highly conceptual ACE Tuesday since most of what is discussed on it is either not yet implemented or just lore/logic stuff… So please don’t expect much new stuff (visually), I shared some cool concept art from other universes/games/movies/etc that are being important during some of the creation processes and to not say nothing new is being shown, I also do “showcase” a couple of new things although I don’t talk about them, so I’ll just let you all figure some of them out! :merry:

Oh, I’ve also promoted @paulthegreat 's newest mod (What’s stuck?) by accident - but you should definitely check it out!

Anyway, without further ado… Here it is!
Hope you all enjoy it! :heart: :merry:

Transcription from the video:

  • Hey everyone! Welcome to another ACE Tuesday!
    First off, I’m personally sorry about last week - due to unforeseen issues I wasn’t able to finish a video on time - and ended up scrapping it anyway. So I’m back this week for a slightly different video! So far we’ve talked a lot about the project, the main goals and the features being worked on… We’ve showed you things that are happening and explained how they are happening - but for this week’s video, we’ll go over things that are still going to happen!

  • The subject of today’s adventure is one that is not yet complete and will probably still need a while to be really complete and filled with all its content. We have just the foundation for it working and there’s still a lot being designed… So get ready for some inspirational and reference images, because today’s episode is about our hairy little buggers… The Dwarves!

  • So, dwarves in Stonehearth have been a long time coming. They were one of the most successful Kickstarter stretch goals when the game’s project was first announced and a lot of people - and I’m pretty sure Tom and Tony as well, since one of their greatest inspirations for Stonehearth was Dwarf Fortress - were really eager to put their hands on them. I was really eager for that myself, actually - and even risked myself on Qubicle free trial for the first time long ago, because of dwarves!

  • That was actually before dwarves were even announced as a stretch goal on Kickstarter. Was it a prophecy? Bad luck? Or maybe I’m just thinking about dwarves too much? … I know, I know. Crazy, right? Well, a big fantasy favorite, it is sad that in the end their legs were a little too short to make it to release and–Hah, haha. Hahahahahah… Sorry. (Editor’s note: I’ve heard transcriptions have to be literal so I included this really bad joke)

  • Anyway, it is sad that they couldn’t be included in the final version of the game but it is also an incredibly challenging and fun moment for the community: to give life to Stonehearth’s dwarves!
    When I first came up with ACE, I knew that showing up empty-handed wouldn’t be much inspiring or convincing enough to gather the community together for that purpose. So I needed something to offer, even if it was just an initial, rough idea. So I wrote down a very basic summary of everything that ACE could tackle and a large chunk of this summary was basically, well… Dwarves.

  • It’s very nice that as the project advanced and things started growing, pretty much most of what I originally wrote or came up for the whole game has evolved and changed - this is great because it shows how much the collective effort can improve upon an idea! But at the same time, I do appreciate the fact that dwarves have remained more or less unchanged through that process since - as mentioned - I also have a personal admiration of dwarves, especially their mythology, and it is nice to know that the original ideas for them were interesting and nice enough to have been kept - and are now being constantly improved upon by the whole team and the lore team!

  • So, dwarves in ACE are a struggling faction. In trying to come up with a different take on them, something that felt new but also without walking too far from their more usual depictions, I came up with this idea of having the dwarves be on a very unique moment of their history when the player gets to control them. Like their fellow undergrounders, the rabbits of Clan Amberstone, the dwarves have also mastered geomancy - and living in relative isolation has allowed them to literally shape their world and their society to a bountiful, natural prosperity. But, you know… dwarves.

  • So with the rise of industry and metal, their twitching minds started uncovering the mysteries of the underground through fire and steam, they created machines and perfected their metal smithing abilities, they became very proficient miners and masters of their crafts. And it all starts going down when they start mixing things up, engineering and magic.

  • What are the limits of magic? What should - or should not - be done? This is the crossroads at which the dwarves find themselves now. Do they limit themselves to more “natural” uses of magic and go down a more meditative, peaceful road - trying to avoid the same fate of others that got seduced by the geomancy power like the Phoenix Empire? Or do they go full steam ahead into technological and magical progress, achieving mechanical wonders and magical monstrosities born out of metal and hearth essence? That breaking point will be presented to the player through the township quests for the dwarven faction, and it will be up to you to choose what path will your band of dwarves follow and how much they’ll influence the rest of the dwarven society as a whole. As the quest starts, the high-king that united all dwarven clans will have recently died - and new elections are soon to be held. In our mythology, dwarves have an advanced, strong democratic monarchy.

  • Throughout the story, you’ll be presented to different clans that represent the different ways of thinking within the dwarven society. Choose the path of nature and you’ll have plenty at your disposal to thrive upon. Seek the perfect balance between nature and industry to try to get the best of both worlds. Or surrender yourself to power and mighty, building wonderful automatons powered by the hearth itself, to serve and fight for you as you shape the land around your town.

  • Besides that, Dwarves will also have different interactions with some of the quests we already know, like Clan Amberstone. Sharing the same great power and also living underground, it is only natural that those two peoples have had their specific story together… And it might not have been the nicest! Clan Amberstone is very aware and severe on the use of Geomancy and the challenging of the natural order… Be mindful of that when making your own choices!

  • Due to their nature, the dwarven jobs are slightly different than the regular human kingdoms’ jobs. Dwarves start with a blacksmithing hammer and will have metal furniture tiers specific to them, but most prominently they’ll have three new jobs that are the gameplay definition of the basic foundations of their society: Artificers, Growers and Magmasmiths.

  • We’ll not go into details on each one today, but as a summary, this is what could be said of each one: Artificers are a mix of engineers and geomancers. Skilled crafters that can come up with mechanical wonders or machine horrors like automatons! Inspired by the artificers of Eberron, from Dungeons & Dragons lore, wise gnomish inventors and magicians that combined their magical prowess and engineering skills to keep their highly technological towns functioning. Added to that, you can definitely find some inspiration in the dwemer peoples of the Elder Scrolls universe or even the ingenuity of dwarves and gnomes from Warcraft and all their combined magical and mechanical wonders. The Growers are herbalists with farming abilities, but not really, specifically good at farming itself. Their actual most valuable skill is creating and tending underfarms, mushroom farms that can be planted underground or on rock surfaces. And finally we have the Magmasmith, which will be an “enchanter” of sorts, greatly improving upon existing items and equipment and creating new amazing things with the power of magma essences they harvest from the bedrock itself.

  • Finally, what about the other factions? It is traditional for Stonehearth that different factions can, some way or another, achieve basically the same capabilities - never really restricting the possibilities of the player. Because of that, although most of the specific gameplay will be locked for Dwarves due to their quite specific nature, you’ll be able to somewhat obtain most of these features through special dwarven quests that will exist for the others - similarly to how you obtain geomancers now. You’ll be able to get your own dwarven magmasmith, your farmers will be able to learn how to create underfarms and if you’re friendly enough, you might even get an automaton or two!

  • That’s all! There’s a lot more to be said about the dwarves but we’ll have more weeks for that. Next week we might go into more details from each of the new jobs or perhaps a new video from someone else from the ACE Team! Thanks for watching and make sure to follow our communication channels here, in the forums and on Discord for more news! Good bye!


I love how the main lore of the dwarves tackles the question of how responsibly you use your technology, and how far you will go to harness it’s consequences, good or bad benefits. Seeing as it is a question that will face/ is facing humanity in the near future/now, I like how that is made into a quest line for the dwarves.

One might even argue that this is an artifact of the time we live in, we will tell stories that face to perils of our time. We talk about the use of technology, while peoples from two centuries ago might have talked about devastating plaques, wars and famines.


There will be more coming towards it in regards to lore than just that, there is going to be history as to why they are like this, how they were before and how the different clans got to it :smiley:

But… that’s for another Ace Tuesday~


I know I sound like a broken record, but you folks are awesome!


Really awesome! Keep up the work, really glad to see the community working on things like this!

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I’m probably alone in my voice, but I very much dislike the noses. It feels too out-of-style with Stonehearth’s base game.

I took a look at Radiant’s modeling guide which the ACE team is using and it does say “no noses on hearthlings because they’re distracting.” Not even the big burly orcs have noticeable noses, and the only humanoids to have noses are the kobolds (which imo is also ugly, but they’re supposed to be).

I know the official concept model had noses, and that looks okay, but I think the outfit + hat is a big reason why it looked so good.


You’re hardly alone in that, to be honest. The dwarven noses have been somewhat controversial for some people indeed :3 But also really appreciated by others. So it’s complicated.

In the end, it’s a matter of opinion that in Stonehearth can easily be solved since the game is so open to modding :slight_smile:

The noses problem is that it is too detailed. It is not consistent with the rest of the body. The only nose that looks good is the one in head2.qb, the smallest and simplest in shape.

I appreciate the efforts of all those with this ACE project. Here is some pics of another take on dwarves from Final Fantasy 4. I have fond memories of this game, and I also like this style more than the LOTR style. I agree with others that the noses look a bit strange on the current models that you’ve made. Maybe there can be a compromise somehow?


Although some people dislike them, many also like them (arguably more); I agree that the detailed ones might not be so good though (albeit inspired by the original design) and the “tall one” is really awful :joy:
What will probably happen is that there will be a “nose-less” option and the other will be “smoothed” out but will remain :slight_smile:

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So like select-a-nose option in hearthling customisation :p?


Also a female beardless option, please :stuck_out_tongue: :smile:

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heresy :stuck_out_tongue: ! (but no seriously options are usually good)

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That is already in :smiley:

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I know I’m late to the party, but just want to say how cool I think this all is, with all the thought and work being put into the whole project. I think some level of inspiration from World of Warcraft for the dwarves, with their technological inclinations and all, feels very appropriately Stonehearth-y while still providing a new and unique experience for playing the dwarves compared to anything else in the game! As for their appearance, I just hope you guys plan on staying true to all the official concept art of the dwarves, as well as that official work-in-progress model of a dwarf we know exists. I’m sure following the path Radiant set as faithfully as possible will result in a good final product, whatever it is. Keep up the good work!

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Oh and of course I’m also overjoyed to hear of the Dwarf Fortress and Dungeons & Dragons influences, since those were both definitely major inspirations for Stonehearth in general! :+1:

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