This June, we offer a series of Dice Vaults inspired by various types of dwarves drawn from all realms of fantasy; dwarves have a rich and storied history, and their impeccable craftsmanship and mastery over rock and metal make them near and dear to our hearts. And, need we even mention the beards?
While most dwarves, despite their tendency to labor and toil underground and in dusty, dirty workshops, are generally regarded as a benevolent people, there are also dwarves of a notably darker disposition… evil dwarves can possess hearts as hard and dark as any anvil. We’re proud to offer options for fans of both this June.
Dwarven runes are carefully inscribed on five different Dice Vaults, with a range of materials honoring the crafting prowess and rugged manner that gives the dwarves their enduring appeal across cultures and genres: Choose your favorite:
- The Mountain Dwarf, in Rock Maple with Dwarvish Engraving
- The Hill Dwarf, in White Oak with Malachite Inlay
- The Battlerager, in Padauk with Jet Inlay
- The Deep Dwarf, in Wenge with Turquoise Inlay
- The Thane, in Macassar Ebony with Brass Inlay
No matter your choice, the Dice Vault will include an engraving or inlays of a message of your choice, translated into Khuzdul (technically, Neo-Khuzdul – see below). These translations are being carried out by none other than the Dwarrow Scholar, Linguist & Tolkien-language scholar. His website contains valuable resources for those seeking to know more about the language and translations.
Below is some information courtesy of the Dwarrow Scholar, for those seeking more specific details on our promotion and the translations themselves.
What is Khuzdul?
Khuzdul is a fictional language created by J.R.R. Tolkien as the language of the Dwarves in Middle Earth. Tolkien based Khuzdul on Semitic languages (primarily Hebrew), though Germanic influences are also clearly present in the language. According to Dwarvish lore it was created for them and taught to them by The Great Smith, whom they call “Mahal”. The language is largely kept secret and private by the dwarves.
What is Neo-Khuzdul? What’s the difference between Khuzdul and Neo-Khuzdul?
A translation labelled “Neo-Khuzdul” (or Neo-Dwarvish) means that J.R.R Tolkien did not provide the translation and that someone else did. As such, any Khuzdul not directly attested by Tolkien is considered Neo-Khuzdul. All of the Dwarvish heard in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies is Neo-Khuzdul, and so are the translations that will be provided via this offer. If you want translations in Tolkien’s Khuzdul, there’s no way to get them without using Neo-Khuzdul (or perhaps working with a very high level Cleric). In addition, the limited original vocabulary of Tolkien’s Khuzdul would not allow the creation of most sentences, unfortunately.
What is Cirth?
Cirth (meaning “runes”) is a runic script based on historic runic alphabets invented by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was adopted by the Dwarves to write down both their Khuzdul language and the language of men. Khuzdul (unlike the language of men) is written in the Moria variant of the script – which, as a result, is also the variant that will be used for these translations.
What is translation? What is transliteration? What’s the difference?
A translation tells you the meaning of words in another language. A transliteration doesn’t tell you the meaning of the words, but it helps you pronounce them. Transliteration changes the letters from one alphabet or language into the corresponding, similar-sounding characters of another alphabet. As such, if you text contains names it will be transliterated into Cirth (Moria variant), not translated, while the rest of your text that is not names will actually be translated into Neo-Khuzdul and transcribed in the Cirth Moria variant.
Why will names be transliterated instead of translated?
Translation concerns the transfer of meanings from one language to another. Names often have meanings lost to time and therefore can often not be translated. They could be elaborate puns, or reference real places or sacred deities, none of which will carry over, so cannot be translated. Sometimes the problem is the exact opposite: they have dozens of potential meanings and translations, and there are too many to make translation viable. Due to all of these complications, names will be transliterated for consistency.
Can I see a preview of my translation before I order, or before my piece is engraved?
No, unfortunately – we apologize for any inconvenience. There’s only one way to see how a translation will appear – actually going through the two-step process of translating into Dwarvish, then transliterating it into the appropriate font. Due to the time and work involved with this process, it is not feasible for us to offer previews of desired engravings prior to creating them if we’re to deliver your order on time. However, you can consult the photos for examples. We’re confident that you’ll love the results, and whatever your message, it will look great – perhaps even more so since it will be a surprise. Thank you for understanding.