DH Background & Artwork

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  • DH Background & Artwork

    In the absence of a standing thread on this topic:

    Gycinn over on Deviantart has kindly allowed T9A to use this artwork:

    Gycinn wrote:

    This one is okay to use, if you want

    Furthermore, please know that T9A may use these two artworks by our good artist @forgefire (check with him if unsure, this is from private correspondence). Northern Dwarf artworks:

    Dwarf Berzerker

    Dwarf on Skis

    Also, no mountain range is safe from the axes of the Dwarves! Which means T9A obviously must have Ethiopian fantasy Dwarves down in Kegiz Gavem and all her holdings. First, three commission pieces donated by me to T9A.

    By Sergio Artigas:

    By Matthew Klaas de Witte:

    By Mitchell Nolte:

    And some quick concept doodles of my own:

    Please add background discussion and artwork donations of your own, or from other people!

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

  • @infamousme: I guess that it may be a combination of ink and pencil shading. The grey tones couldn't be done in ink, or am I wrong? Not used to that medium.

    Artist Matthew Klaas de Witte over on Deviantart accepted a commission from me to draw us his own vision of a Kegiz Gavem Hold Guardian for the Ninth Age. Be welcome to leave a comment for him under the artwork on Deviantart. de Witte has a deft hand at playing with historical styles in fantasy artwork, as can be seen in his gallery!

    Proposal: The Dwarves of Kegiz Gavem are masters of stone, more so than of metal, and their splendid architecture in stones laid upon stones or cut out of the living rock is a testament to their engineering capabilities and sheer mastery of shaping such hard matter. Dwarf lore in far-flung Holds record how Gavemite stoneworking secrets and arcane techniques of magical stone-carved runes were transmitted from the fabled lands of the Ras, through overwhelming dangers during long ages of chaos, by brave adventurers, heavily armed trade caravans and Dwarven pilgrims seeking the rocky cradle of their first ancestors. One such secret from the Runecarvers of Kegiz Gavem is asserted to have been the creation of Hold Guardians out of stone. It is disputed whether all similar constructs in distant Dwarven Holds originate from the secret lore and crafts originally developed by the Gavemites, or if parallell and mutually isolated instances of invention took place over time in several different beleaguered Holds.

    Be that as it may, most Dwarves of learning recognize that the Runecarvers of Kegiz Gavem were the first ones to fashion stone-faced Hold Guardians to protect their settlements and forest-surrounded shrines. The sturdy Hold Guardians of living rock have been a staple sight in Gavemite settlements since ancient times. And for many ages of ravages, loss and bitter reconquest have these statuary protectors of Kegiz Gavem been seen among the ranks of her armies, striding heavily into battles beyond counting, ever unchanging of expression, and ever serving their creators unquestioningly by crushing their foes.


    Mountainous Kegiz Gavem have long fielded a considerable navy to safeguard its share of the Southern Ocean's trade. Likewise, the ancient naval traditions of the Gavemites have allowed them to strike unexpectedly by landing forces on the coast and overtaking their foes from the rear. Most famous of all of Kegiz Gavem's naval affairs, however, is the ages-long tug of war fought against the despised Infernal Dwarves over the Sacred Coast overseas.

    Zalaman Tekash the Great and all her baleful holdings is undoubtedly the stronger power of the two rivals, yet the core realms of the Infernal Dwarves are much more distant from the Sacred Coast, compared to the Gavemites. For where their benighted cousins face a primarily overland logistical nightmare to wage distant wars, the Gavemites with their easier access via the sea can reinforce, supply and outflank their enemies with a speed that has frustrated Infernal Dwarf efforts through a long succession of conflicts. Such have long been the state of affairs of wars fought for the Sacred Coast beyond the Southern Ocean, with Gavemites having the upper hand in most clashes.

    Yet nothing lasts forever.

    The Ninth Age has seen a great number of grudges recorded by the dour Gavemites against their hateful adversaries to the northeast, for Zalaman Tekash is once again on the rise, with an unrelenting hunger to dominate and reshape the world in its image. For the demented minds of the Infernal ones' artificers are putting out an endless stream of inventions, which is slowly giving these infamous Dwarves a technological edge of increasingly acute sharpness. And so their manufactories and shipyards glow and echo to the birth of ever deadlier weapons of war, and woe betide whosoever will stand against that ravenous will to power which drives Zalaman Tekash to rebound and reforge itself from disasters that would have toppled lesser empires.

    As a hereditary arch-enemy to the south of the Infernal Dwarves, the warriors of Kegiz Gavem and her colonial possessions has borne the brunt of this renewed Infernal onslaught. Where once her fleets ruled virtually supreme upon the waves, now the northwestern sections of the Southern Ocean has become a truly contested battleground, and the naval supremacy of the Gavemites have vanished in the face of Infernal technological advances. The trend is a dire one, yet the outcome of this naval warfare is still in doubt and far from being predestined. As such the devout folk of Kegiz Gavem turn to the Heavenly Light on high for guidance, call upon their saintly ancestors, and gird themselves for war. For nothing alive can be more stubborn than a Dwarf in the face of adversity, and the sworn admirals and mariners will serve their Light-touched Ras unto death, no matter come what may.

    The legend of the Sunken Souls will serve as an illustration of the difficulties that beset the Gavemite navy. It tells of a recent grudge by Dwarven standards, and follow the exploits of a dogged crew upon the Southern Ocean.

    The fleets of Kegiz Gavem are led by finely carved stone vessels that are the marvel of the seas, and the subject of fanciful sailor's tales the world over. Gavemite lore holds that it is only by the blessing of the Light that these ships of rock may float. Their ornate hulls and interiors are evidence of a mastery of stonecarving far beyond the ken of Human hands, and their surfaces are bedecked with sacral runes and iconographic fresques. Each stone ship is a massive monument wrought by the hands of Kegiz Gavem's Runecarvers, and each vessel hewn out of the mountain is an incredibly costly crafts object, and an overbearingly powerful instrument of naval war. The loss of a single stone ship is a disaster, for it is the equivalent of seeing a giant obelisk or fortress sink to the bottom of the ocean.

    The vessel known as the Radiance Upon Akurem was carved out of the naval quarries of Kallugiz Marak, south of Kegiz Gavem. Naval stonecarving is a most demanding craft, and the Runecarvers and quarrymen of this fortified stone shipyard toiled for years to fashion her into a smaller class of warship known as a Vrek within the Gavemite navy, to serve as a squadron leader for one of the many small patrol units who are the day-to-day workhorses of the fleets of the Ras Taphria. The timbermen of the Mastmaker Guild equipped her stony hull with stout wooden masts. The seamstresses and tailors of the Clothier Guild made for her durable sails, both of leather and of linen. The Ropemaker Guild crafted her rigging, and the Blacksmith Guild made all her details, implements and ornaments that were forged out of metal. And the Armsmith Guild provided the ship's mariners with an armoury of spears, sickle-swords, axes and many other weapons.

    When the Radiance Upon Akurem was launched, she rocked heavily seven times to the chanting of clerics and assembled worksfolk alike, as well as by a masked member of the royal clan. And they all rejoiced and sang hymns of praise, for the Divine Light had approved of their arduous efforts and found it to be good. The Vrek did not sink, but proved herself well carved to handle waves and winds, as well as to withstand ship-to-ship battles and sea monsters. The Crown was in possession of a resilient weapon of war, bedecked with a roaring lion's head of grey stone at both bow and stern.

    For four centuries and three decades did the Radiance Upon Akurem serve the Ras of Kegiz Gavem, and for four centuries and three decades did she protect Gavemite interests and thwart Goblin raiders, Human pirates and Infernal Dwarf battlegroups. The Radiance Upon Akurem was usually deployed in a squadron with four or eight wooden vessels of war attendant, or in convoy duty to escort merchant vessels and pilgrim ships, and at a few occassions did the Vrek earn her honours in large naval battlegroups facing full enemy fleets.

    Her many captains served with distinction, and the stone ship was well cared-for, and proved herself well able to sail for extended periods between drydock refits. Runecarvers would occassionally board her with their apprentices, as part of instructive inspections, where the novices of the secret craft would observe firsthand the handiwork and test of time in the field of the fruits of their Guild's labours. Master Runecarvers always brought up the Radiance Upon Akurem as a fine example of naval stonecarving done right, as opposed to other stone ships where cracks and repairs were regularly required from the wear and tear of mere sailing service.

    But all tales of success and fortune must come to an end, for the career of the Radiance Upon Akurem ended in fatal disaster by the hands of the hated Infernal Dwarves. Yet another war for the Sacred Coast erupted during her 437th year of service, and the stone ship left the grand royal harbour of Kegiz Gavem as part of one of two relief fleets that would reinforce and supply the realm overseas, intercept enemy vessels and seize any opportunity to land forces and strike from the rear. The voyage began under ill omens, for dark clouds blocked out the sun at the very moment the masked Crown Admiral blew out the signal for departure. Heavy rains drenched the sailors on deck, and fierce winds began tugging at sails to rock ships in the water. Then, lightning struck. First once, then thrice, then a hundred-fold. Thunder rolled ominously while the Gavemites prayed beneath deck and toiled sourly without complaint on deck and in masts, and over fifty sailors were struck by lightning in that hell-spawned storm, of which three Dwarves died.

    Nevertheless, the Light shielded its devotees from the worst of the storm, and both fleets emerged quite intact out of the harsh weather. Half a week of repairs was called for by one of the admirals, yet the leader of the Radiance Upon Akurem's relief fleet had to stop for a whole week out at sea. During this time, the admiral in charge held his fleet together, anchors down, sails rolled up and vessels moored to each other in squadrons, while sailors and timbermen toiled night and day to restore the damaged ships' rigging and sails, and replace broken masts. At last, this second relief fleet set sail anew, yet soon hit dead in the failing wind and found itself stranded on an uneerily calm sea without a single gust of wind blowing.

    Three weeks passed in this manner, and ships' clerics organized penitent masses to appease the Heavenly Light. The mariners asked each other what they had done to so anger the Light, and they repented of sins and prayed earnestly. At last, after a time of fruitless waiting that was torture to the soul, did the winds pick up again, and the second relief fleet sailed straight for their destination with great speed from strong winds.

    Yet even this stroke of luck turned out a curse, for it led the sail-borne Gavemite fleet straight into the clutches of an Infernal Dwarf trap close to rocky Cape Myrrh. Out from a cove did the steel behemoths churn through the turqoise waters, unfettered by wind and spewing black smoke from their spiked chimneys. Steam enginges gasped and clanked and creaked, and harsh voices rang out upon rivetted decks, to the cracking of whips and screams of slave flesh. The brisk winds had taken the Gavemite fleet into the worst possible position, and every squadron was out of position to respond to the lumbering metal monsters of the Infernal ones, for the enemy was close by and quickly upon them.

    The Infernal Dwarf ships fired mortars and rockets as their armoured hulls cut through the waves in spite of the wind direction, and Volcano Cannons unleashed their searing flames at close range while steel rams crashed into the sides of wood and stone. Sharks gathered to feast upon the doomed in the brilliant waters. The Infernal fleet had struck without a single sail unfurled, but had waited behind rock formations and pounced with their hot engines from a spot by the coast where sailing ships could not have hoped to do so and catch their prey. It was a slaughter, and Gavemite ships sank into the salty depths.

    This battle was to be the last of the Radiance Upon Akurem, for its captain, Avrakam Palebeard son of Rezilak, managed to steer it around to come back upon the Infernal Dwarf fleet, bearing down upon a three-chimneyed warship with full ramming force from the side and buckling her plate hull so badly the Infernal vessel sank within half an hour. This loud impact of stone upon twisting metal gained the attention of Bazerak One-Eye, the commanding Lord of Fire in the Infernal fleet, who commanded a handful of his steamships to deal with this flanking threat. The Radiance Upon Akurem managed to catch and crush a slave galley filled with shrieking thralls while this response force was incoming, yet the Infernal Dwarf steamships were too quick, and they bore down upon the Gavemite Vrek from all sides, putting their paddle wheels in reverse gear and striking the Light worshippers again and again with their rams.

    The crew of the Radiance Upon Akurem fought off their attackers as best they could with bolt throwers, crossbows and composite horn bows, yet their stone ship's hull cracked in places from the repeated ramming blows, and its deck was awash in the vomit of Infernal fire weaponry and guns. Finally, the Might of Azhebarak landed a titanic hit upon the weakened rock hull, and the Gavemite stern broke apart as the jagged metal ram ground into the Radiance Upon Akurem. Most of its crew abandoned ship and leapt overboard as their marvellous stone vessel sank, yet their chances of survival by escaping upon flotsam or their own rotund Dwarf guts were grim indeed. Infernal Warriors scoured the surface of the sea with blunderbusses and gouts of flame that even burnt underwater, and many sharks gathered to the shipwreck, throwing themselves at Gavemites in a frenzied bloodfeast. Captain Avrakam Palebeard is said to have been finished off by a shoulder-launched red rocket that blew his head clean off while he led a desperate boarding party who tried in vain to conquer a nearby steamship with grappling hooks and sickle-swords, and thus secure their escape upon captive enemy hull.

    Yet the sacrifice of the Radiance Upon Akurem and her dutiful crew were not in vain, for the diverting action of Avrakam's manoeuver saved half the Gavemite relief fleet from destruction, and allowed them to limp into harbour on the Sacred Coast. The survivors of the ambushed fleet repaired their crafts and spent the rest of the war making Infernal Dwarf naval squadrons pay dearly for their cheap victory early-on, for these sailors of fabled Kegiz Gavem struck with holy vengeance to avenge the Grudge of Sunken Souls.



    Display Spoiler
    Border Rosary: Attempt at geometric base.

    Border: Anyone may copy and use it for their own iconographic drawings, no need to ask for permission. Credit is nice, but not a must.

    Lineart: The clutter of details loosened the paper fibres and made it fold.

    The post was edited 3 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

  • Brainstorming thread for Dwarves of the Wrathful Mountains in Virentia is up now! Check it out and please participate with ideas and criticism. :)

    Are these Dwarven Holds or Infernal Dwarves? An open question!

    Concept art:

    The post was edited 4 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

  • @Little Joe: Thank you kindly! :)

    Artwork by Igor Levchenko, being a concept for geological patterns of body paint of Gavemites, whose affinity to stone is renowned.

    Check out his Deviantart gallery!

    Artwork by DracarysDrekkar7, being a Dwarf axeman concept for the Ninth Age.

    Check out his Deviantart gallery!

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

  • Dwarves Everywhere

    Aye, the more the merrier! :)

    Brainstorming thread for Easter Island Dwarrows up here. Check it out and contribute your own ideas: Lost Islander Dwarves

    Brainstorming thread for primitive Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold up now. Take a look and share your own thoughts: Cave Dwarves

  • Warmly recommended. Golden inspiration source for Dwarves: The Seven Houses of the Khâzad, by Sergio Artigas

    @Pellegrim @Little Joe @xaby86

    Display Spoiler
    Ladies and gentlemen, I want to share something extraordinarily well crafted with you. It is a true gem of fantasy, carved by the skilled hands of master artist Sergio Artigas (whose gallery is well worth a look). Here, you will find a learned and imaginative exploration of Middle-Earth's Dwarves like you never have seen before. It is magical, and it is golden, and it is true to the spirit of the setting.

    If ever you are looking for inspiration to craft historically based fantasy settings, then this is a source of purest water to drink from.

    If ever you wanted to see the Dwarrows of Tolkien's world brought to life and carefully expanded upon the canon Legendarium, then this is for you.

    You have found the Halls of Stone.

    J.R.R. Tolkien in his epigraph for the Lord of the Rings wrote:

    "Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    The seven houses of the Khazad.
    An enduring theme in my mind that intrigued me from the first time I read Tolkien’s work.
    I have been developing this idea for years now and it is with great satisfaction that I present you my take on the seven clans of the dwarf kind.
    There is hardly any information to be found on the books though, so I had to ground my designs on what could be guessed from their names and the sparse information you have from canon material and also by loosely comparing their rough geographical location on ME with real word maps and cultures and of course filling the gaps with a lot of guess work and plain imagination.
    I imagine them as portrayed here to be somewhere on the second age, and wanted to give hints of their cultural traits and location through their looks.
    I did an extensive research for that, specially maps, but they are very confusing and sometimes contradictory or incomplete, so any critics from my lore master friends are most welcome.

    The guide I wrote myself and followed for their tribes is, as follows:

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Longbeards: Noble and wise rulers, originally from the northern part of misty mountains on Mt. Gundabad (under which Durin himself is said to have awaken) and later on its southern ranges where they founded the great city of Khazad-dum, dug under the three peaks- Barazinbar, Zirakzigil and Bundushathûr. Regal, prosperous and traditionalist, they are the righteous heirs of Durin I The Deathless, and are therefore the supreme rulers of the dwarf kind. The Longbeards are held as a divine and sacred lineage by the other clans and command great power.

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Ironfists: Proud, strong and fierce, the Ironfists are renowned for their formidable warriors of noble descent and their military might. Hailing from far up north on the Orocani mountains and near the gulf left by the now extinct sea of Helcar, they are said to be the first to unveil the secrets of Iron and Steel, which they brought to Durin as their gift when they answered to his call. They are a very warlike and greedy people though, and are accounted to have been involved in many shameful minor wars against other clans, particularly with the Firebeards, to whom they bear a grudge and consider to be their rivals. It is also with great difficulty that they accept to be ruled over by the Longbeards, and despite recognising their authority as rightful rulers of the dwarfkind, they take every opportunity they can to act independently. They were the third to come to Durin.

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Blacklocks: Great architects and Jewell makers that made their homes in the Mountains of Shadow’s far eastern side (Ered Glamhoth), among the remnants of Hildórien in the arid lands scorched by the never-ending sun. They were the first to develop civilization and are prodigiously rich and unbelievably proud. The Blacklocks are very famous for their wealth and the beauty of their women, considered by many to be the most beautiful of the dwarf-kind, and they guard both with extreme avarice. They were the last to answer Durin’s call, but were also the ones to bring him the most precious gifts when they finally came.They are also accused of being the “black sheep” of Durin’s folk and of being greedy and selfish, as well as of worse things such as dealing with orcs and perhaps even Mordor. Unfortunately, many times those accusations bear more than a hint of truth.

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Firebeards: Hot-headed, warlike and tough, Firebeards came from Nogrod (Tumunzahar) in the Blue Mountains. Supreme metalworkers, they are said to have invented maille. They are also hailed as the greatest Blade-smiths among Dwarves, and naturally many of the best came from their ranks, such as: Gamil Zirak (said to be the greatest of all times, maker of the knife Angrist, the sword Andúril and the Dragon-Helm of Dor-Lómin), as well as the legendary Dwarf-smiths Telchar and Garmur. They befriended the elves with whom they traded profusely, and were commissioned by King Thingol of Doriath to delve Menegroth as well as to create treasuries and weapons for him. The necklace Nauglamír was their greatest creation for the King, and the cause of equally great woe. They were the second to answer Durin’s call, and brought with them copper as a gift to the father, making them the first to understand the mystery of metal.

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Broadbeams: Great merchants from Zirakbhund (Mallost) and later Mount Dolmed in the Ered Luin, they were Founders of the great city of Belegost (Gabilgathol). The Broadbeams are well known for their wealth, their prosperity, and the formidable fortresses they have built. They are also widely respected for their military might, and in particular for their legendary Dragon-Warriors. They are also considered the greatest armourers the dwarves had ever produced and were the creators of the fearsome Dwarf-Masks. Most prominent among the Broadbeams was King Azaghâl who wounded Glaurung the Dragon, and whose Dragon-helm was later passed down to Turin Turambar as part of his family heirloom.

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Stonefoots: They are the somewhat less developed branch of Durin’s folk, widely regarded as great miners, gem cutters and delvers. They are otherwise considered by many to be quite simple-minded, stubborn and difficult to deal with, but despite that they are greatly favoured by the Longbeards, which hold them in high regard as dependable and trustworthy allies, for they were the first to answer Durin’s call, bringing with them nothing but their loyalty. They dwell on the southern part of the Orocani on the east side, near the pinewoods and shores of the sea of Rûn.

    Sergio Artigas wrote:

    Stiffbeards: Renowned Craftsman, they make their homes in ice caves on the vast frozen lands up north, starting around the ice bay of Forochel and all the way down in between the mountains of Angmar and the grey mountains (Ered Mithrim). Very secretive and peaceful, they avoid taking part in any troubles from the outside world at all costs. Despite their secretive ways, they are also accomplished merchants, and regularly travel vast spans of the frozen lands to trade with many diverse cultures. The items they create from exotic materials such as Ivory and bones from sea monsters are very sought after, in particular their fabled toys. Stiffbeards are ultimately free spirits, lovers of music, stories and the tribe above everything else.

    Be welcome to leave master Artigas a comment under the artworks on Deviantart, and stay tuned for something special... ;)

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

  • Just plain amazing.

    Is there an attempt at a worldwide cohesive story for the dwarves? T9A offers more than one continent and if there is a race with a long memory then it should be dwarves. They would remember and know up until contact might have been lost.