Shield of the Stiffbeards

His helm was crested with an eagle of the mountain peaks

The Dwarves of Middle-earth were divided into seven lineages, each descended from one of the original Dwarves given physical shape by the smith-Vala Aulë, and given life by Eru Ilúvatar. These seven Fathers of the Dwarves were set to slumber in separate locations around Middle-earth until the Elves should awaken, for Eru would not suffer his adopted children to come before his intended Firstborn. When it came time for the Race of Dwarves to enter the history of Arda, each of the seven Fathers awoke in their respective places deep beneath the earth, and awakening alongside each dwarf-sire was a dwarf-dam; except for the eldest, Durin, who woke alone. Durin founded the line of the Longbeards, and two other lines arose in the Blue Mountains, the Broadbeams and the Firebeards. The other four lines arose far to the east of the known lands of Middle-earth and do not come into the tales recounted in the Red Book of Westmarch.


This dwarf is one of the eastern Dwarves, of the house of the Stiffbeards. Dwelling in the mountains of Rhûn, his folk remain enigmatic to the peoples of the West. He is clad in a coat of lames, polished to a gleaming white finish and cinched around the waist with a silken sash. His helm is crested with the form of an eagle of the mountains, and his beard is braided into two stark forks, the hallmark of the Stiffbeards. His most important possession, however, is his great shield, forged in the shape of a sunburst. Not only does it serve him well in battle, for the Dwarves of all the houses have ever had their share of foes, but by holding it aloft so that its burnished surface catches the rays of the sun, it can also be used to signal his kinfolk from across mountain valleys or chasms.

Mountains of the East

Tolkien never did explain why the Stiffbeards were so named, nor did he explain the names of any of the houses of the Dwarves. Another mystery is just how Durin founded the Longbeards when he alone of the Dwarf-fathers did not awaken with a spouse! In addition to the Stiffbeards, the other mysterious eastern houses were the Blacklocks, the Stonefoots, and the Ironfists. They are only obliquely mentioned in the histories of Middle-earth; warriors from all seven houses took part in the attempt to reclaim Khazad-dûm from the Orcs. I was inspired to put together an outfit for an eastern dwarf by the chest piece that I used in this outfit. Something about it, perhaps the lamellar design, seems vaguely eastern to me. The protruding rear neck-guard of the helm (a little difficult to see on a stout dwarf-model) gives a similar impression.

Coat of lames

  • Head: Himhar (quest reward — epic [4o] Volume 1, Book 4, Chapter 8: The Unmarked Trail), umber
  • Shoulders: Leather Shoulder Guards of Vigour (looted — world drop general; or purchased — Esteldín medium armour vendor), washed
  • Chest: Wildermore Armour (crafted — metalsmith T8/Survivors of Wildermore reputation), umber
  • Hands: Skirmish Gauntlets of the Westfold (crafted — tailor T9/Helmingas reputation), white
  • Feet: Skirmish Boots of the Westfold (crafted — tailor T9/Helmingas reputation), white
  • Shield: Noble’s Heavy Shield (crafted — metalsmith T6)

Tips: A ceremonial version of Himhar is available for purchase from the LOTRO Store.

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6 Responses to Shield of the Stiffbeards

  1. gloredh says:

    Baruk Khazad! 😀 this is a majestic dwarf! The second screen with the shield held high is a great shot also that make the dwarf look mighty! The eastern look does suit the history of these far away houses, the chestpiece too looks surprisingly well on a dwarf build

    • Yes, I really like this chest on Dwarves, the skin seems to fit them much better than the Westfold armour, which looks very plump around the middle on any Dwarf. Even though some animations got removed with the trait trees, at least we did get some new ones like this guardian skill where they raise up their shield and smash it into the ground. Glad you liked it, thanks Gloredh!

  2. Nathrien says:

    Starry, this is truly exceptional! I am absolutely terrible with outfitting Dwarves, which is why I’ve never bothered to post them on my blog. I can definitely see the eastern clans garbed in armor like this in browns, coppers, and golds.

    And it’s also wonderful to be reminded that there were seven Dwarven clans. It’s a shame little is mentioned outside of the Longbeards, Broadbeams, and Firebeards. I’ve always wondered what kind of cultures that the Dwarves of the Orocarni had, but I suppose imagination and conjecture will have to do!

    • Thanks Nathrien! You’re so right, it’s always the little-mentioned lore-fragments that are so mysterious and intriguing. I guess because, like you say, they invite our imaginations to roam free. Glad you liked this fellow, cheers! 🙂

  3. Harrison Dansie says:

    A very curious design, with an interesting feature to go with it (the shield-signalling). Well done! May I ask, is this part of a series, like, designs for other lineages?

    • I have thought about making this the first in a collection of outfits for the various Dwarf-lineages. I don’t have anything prepared for that (yet?) but if something suggests itself I would definitely continue with the theme. Thanks very much for your kind comment Harrison!

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