Pinned Background & Art of Fantasy Battles: 9th Age (T9A)

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    • Background & Art of Fantasy Battles: 9th Age (T9A)

      As our staff begin to work on the background for the respective factions it is important to maintain strong links with our community and the prevailing feeling within it.

      For this to be feasible, we need to gather a general sense of the community into a digestible thread. Therefore, I ask that you restrict your feedback here to answering only the questions posted. Once you post a reply, please update it when new questions are added rather than creating another post.


      The information we are looking for are these:


      If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?

      What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?

      What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?


      So please just state your opinion in a single post. In case you remember some things at a later time, just edit your post.


      Thank you!
      T.
      Former Rules-Team Support,
      Former Infernal Dwarfs Army Support
      Former Empire of Sonnstahl Army Support
      Current High School Teacher
    • If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?

      Indomitable
      Malevolent
      Stoical
      Slavers
      Inventive


      What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?


      Drazhoath the Ashen (only option - would love to see some new ones)


      What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?

      I love the fluff regarding the creation of the Black Orcs and their rebellion. However I don't like the part about them giving up after only one attempt, it just doesn't sit well with their inventive nature or ambition. I always picture Saruman's Urukhai as to how the Chaos Dwarves took the basic Orc and made him bad ass! The creation scenes from the Two Towers film is how I imagine the process went. (Also a departure from GW IP)
      I would like to see them have tried again, perhaps not create a leader carde for them (game wise only core troops with no heroes) who could be blamed for the major rebellion.
      Some minor rebellions could occur, which would add a layer to the fluff, akin to the Roman Empire and the three Servile Wars (Spartacus was number 3).
    • The slaver aspect is the most important to me.

      The goblins are used to bulk out what is by its nature a smaller race of infernal dwarfs who saw the light/ sold their soul as a matter of survival. The black orcs creation story always intrigued me but was never fully explored on the table - perhaps using b orcs comes with inherent risk and/ or the potential for rebellion when using them.

      But the key has always been the delicate balance of sorcery added to devastating war machines.

      I always thought a revised astrogoth would be cool but a new Zhatan the black with his eternal hatred combined with a slaver mentality is needed.

      Keep up the great work bros.
    • You are free to use any and all of my stories and background material as basis for your background. You are also free to use any and all Warhammer illustrations of mine straight off, should you find anything useful. You'll find the most dense pieces written by me and others in here, and the rest in the other links in my (Admiral's) signature on CDO. And don't miss Thommy H's army book or Grimstonefire's WIP Liber Chaotica: Hashut.

      My tip is to make your own background as rich as possible, with as many possibilities for players to fit in their own strongholds and themed armies as you can cram into the fluff. There should be a bewildering plethora of different cults and sects worshipping different aspects of the same god, and even, heretically, different gods. There should be lots of nods to the wider otherworldly realm of Daemons, and lots of ties-in to your version of Chaos and Daemons. These are Daemonsmiths and enslavers of Daemons, and this should show in their mythology and permeate their worldview.

      Likewise, their brutality and ravenous hunger for power, slaves and conquest shall be the lead words. Theirs is an imperial society built upon domination and the trampling of the weak; upon cruelty and fell deeds to make a heart of stone bleed. Their religious practices are ritualized cruelty, their language is harsh, their treatment of slaves and others is abominable. Their Dwarven roots are still apparent in their craftsmanship, their hardiness, their stubborn nature, their conservativeness, their loyalty to clan and kin, and their inventiveness; but theirs is a corrupted nature, a twisted nature, one defiled and violated by an unyielding and oppressive (bull) god demanding sacrifices, wars and great labours and monuments to be erected in His dark glory, to praise His might and virility, and to stamp His dominion and His chosen tribe's dominion over lesser mortals and over life and nature itself. Theirs is a worldview of mysticism, of dark omens and of the capricious will of cruel gods on high. Theirs is a dark empire, a realm of shadow and flame, of ash and slag, of smoke and molten rock, of metal and soot, of enormous slave plantations and hellish manufactories and (primarily) open-pit mines scarring the face of the earth itself. They are a mysterious people, an enigmatic race, one obsessed with order and chaos alike. Their culture would be strictly patriarchical (in contrast to uncorrupted dwarves), with harems and polygamy where their distant, hated cousins are monogamous, and their entire lives would be geared toward producing as many children, slaves, crafts objects, great works, conquests and heinous new discoveries as possible. Theirs is a realm of wastelands, but not bereft of navigable rivers and coastlines. Always leave room for lots of naval combat, and the ability of powers to reach across the globe with fleets and battle all other factions!

      Make abundant use of ancient historical sources in Mesopotamia in particular, but also in surrounding bronze age territories such as Anatolia where appropriate. Learn from Assyrian cruelty and propaganda, and from both Assyrian and Roman ingenuity, warcraft, industrious nature and brutal conquests. Learn from their systems of slavery, of their deportations and killings and maimings and flayings and geldings. Know that the Infernal Dwarves' worldview is one of strength and weakness, of master and slave and of soaring ambitions carried on the broken backs of foes and slaves alike; not of right or wrong or good or evil. Their morality is entirely different. Ancient pagan/polytheistic religions will serve well as a basis here, not least in their mythology. Yet learn also from the 19th century industrial revolution, and make a twist for the darker, with uncounted masses of Orcs, Goblins, humans and others trapped in the treadmills of infernal industry. And by no means ignore Tolkien's ingenious showcase of Mordor Orcs' slavery in that nightmare landscape. And do not shy away from tying your version of Chaos Dwarfs well into the wider Chaos, as is right and proper.

      Just a tip. Feel free to explore mine and others' writings on CDO to see for yourself. :)

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

    • ...Pretty much everything that has been said so far. One more thing though; I ike to think at IDs as a twisted version of regular dwarfs. A few examples:

      -Dwarfs' fascination for precious metals becomes greed beyond control,
      -Their skills for masonry & mining becomes ruthless spoilage of the lands in which they live (a wasteland ravaged by industry),
      -Their hate for greenskins becomes enslavement,
      -Their general belief of being "the best" turns into utter contempt for every other living creature...

      ...BUT! They are still dwarfs. They still have martial pride and skills, they are still master crafters, they are still highly organized, utterly obedient to their rulers, and take oaths (or slights) very seriously.

      Ah, I also like the fact that they were seen as "few in numbers", but "thriving and slowly expanding". Also, they are not yet another race of Chaos Gods worshippers. They have their own pantheon, and their own religious ceremonies. In fact, they actually see the Realm of Chaos as yet another expendable resource to use as they please. Finally, the mindless rampage and pillage of Northern men & Beast Herds is not for them, but slow and careful expansion.

      What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
      I liked the few background snippets we had on Gorth the Cruel. He was serving Astragoth like all other Sorcerer Lords, but in truth he was waiting for the old man to succumb, subjugate the temple, and become the ultimate ruler of Zharr Naggrund. He managed to obtain lots of support already, including Zhathan the Black's.

      What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
      The fact that they couldn't travel far from home. In the old background they had barely made it to Kislev and the world's edge mountains. I mean, I know I said that they should be "slowly and carefully expanding", but at least they should be able to send around the world scouts, enslaving parties (armies), or fleets from a few ports. Especially because, how can you carefully expand an empire without gathering knowledge on the surroundings???
      Hashut! Vorgrund! Zharr Naggrund!

      The post was edited 5 times, last by Skink ().

    • Skink wrote:

      What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
      The fact that they couldn't travel far from home. In the old background they had barely made it to Kislev and the world's edge mountains. I mean, I know I said that they should be "slowly and carefully expanding", but at least they should be able to send scouts or enslaving parties (armies), and fleets from a few ports. Especially because, how can you carefully expand an empire without gathering knowledge on the surroundings???
      The Chaos Dwarfs actually did gather a fair bit of knowledge through trading with Ogres and Norsemen/Chaos dudes and we did invade the Empire, quite succesfully (from out slave-taking Point of view, Before retreating, undefeated) as part of Tamurkhan's Horde.
      As well as the Empire again, though this time in Archaon's paid army, in return for slaves.

      So we're actually one of few factions to mount invasions of the Empire form both sides, North and South, though never as our completely own force.
      I haz a blog! the-ninth-age.com/blog/index.p…-the-moment-aslo-batreps/.

      Mostly KoE and ID stuff. Now also some Void
    • Petterwass wrote:

      he Chaos Dwarfs actually did gather a fair bit of knowledge through trading with Ogres and Norsemen/Chaos dudes and we did invade the Empire, quite succesfully (from out slave-taking Point of view, Before retreating, undefeated) as part of Tamurkhan's Horde.

      Yep, but in Tamurkhan it's also said that that was the the first time IDs traveled that far, and in fact Drazoath was in shock at seeing the Empire's steam & gunpowder technology. Also, he was an outcast, sent by Astragoth to run what basically was a barrack/outpost far away from the political scene of the capital, and knew that whether he was going to go back home empty handed, he would have faced the wrath of his peers.
      Hashut! Vorgrund! Zharr Naggrund!
    • Skink wrote:

      Petterwass wrote:

      he Chaos Dwarfs actually did gather a fair bit of knowledge through trading with Ogres and Norsemen/Chaos dudes and we did invade the Empire, quite succesfully (from out slave-taking Point of view, Before retreating, undefeated) as part of Tamurkhan's Horde.
      Yep, but in Tamurkhan it's also said that that was the the first time IDs traveled that far, and in fact Drazoath was in shock at seeing the Empire's steam & gunpowder technology. Also, he was an outcast, sent by Astragoth to run what basically was a barrack/outpost far away from the political scene of the capital, and knew that whether he was going to go back home empty handed, he would have faced the wrath of his peers.
      That is also true.
      I too would prefer the new ID to be somewhat more cosmopolitian, though still pretty xenophobic and insular.
      I haz a blog! the-ninth-age.com/blog/index.p…-the-moment-aslo-batreps/.

      Mostly KoE and ID stuff. Now also some Void
    • Keeping the Infernal Dwarves less secluded and more outgoing into the wider world is a must, though remember that they would still be enigmatic creatures of exotic mysteries and dark secrets to outsiders unfortunate enough to encounter them, and rarely would anyone have the odd fortune to hear an Infernal Dwarf willingly tell you anything about his race, his beliefs, his crafts-secrets and so on.

      In my own writings, I've tried to stress the expeditionary nature of Chaos Dwarfs, being able to send out fleets across the world down south via the River Ruin and from the north via Uzkulak, and having the ability to mount long-lasting land campaigns of slaving, raiding and warfare with mechanized war caravans. All the disparate playable factions are supposed to be able to fight against one another, and contacts between them should be built into the world's maps and background. Having lots of navigable rivers used by raiders and traders will aid that.

      It the same vein, don't be shy with underlining the far-reaching trade conducted by the greedy Infernal Dwarves, selling arms, armour, infernal devices, heinous talismans and whatever to whoever pays best across much of the known world. Protecting far-reaching trade interests give Infernal Dwarves another reason to venture out into the world, and make a mechanized war caravan an obvious theme for many players' armies. (See Up North.)

      Also, having several different kingdoms of Infernal Dwarves could work, particularly if some of them are a bit scattered. Then you could still have them culturally unified albeit with local variations, and have several independent realms engaging in commerce, warfare and alliances with and against each other, with one ancestral centre and population hub in some ziggurat city being the pivotal religious site for all Infernal Dwarves and the major powerhouse on the scene. That way you could have important citystates occasionally conquered by the main power, yet fiercely opportunistic with rebellion to regain independence and prominence, should you wish to mimic subdued but defiant Babylon in the Assyrian empire. Or even go for a parade of empires and imperial capitols, with one Infernal Dwarf kingdom ascending and succumbing the others in a succession of violence, akin to Akkad's conquest of Sumer, Assyria's conquest of Babylonia and Babylon's conquest of the Assyrian empire. Just leave the former imperial cities intact and thriving enough with lavish monuments and temples from their great past, to remain bitter and proud and vengeful, lusting for a resurgence of empire and to throw off the yoke of their upstart neighbours.

      You could even throw in a long-standing rivalry between the main Infernal Dwarf kingdoms and a strong neighbouring kingdom, maybe Infernal Dwarf with some heretical beliefs and gods of their own, maybe uncorrupted Dwarfs, human or elsewise; this could culminate in a grand destruction, the apex of the army book's history of Infernal Dwarves. This would be the equivalent of Elam, who for so long was an arch-enemy of a succession of Mesopotamian realms until finally the Assyrians laid waste to them in an orgy of death and destruction, thereby creating a vaccuum into which the tribal Persians migrated to people fertile lands and threaten Mesopotamia. (See also this.)

      Or just go for GW's take of one empire, many vying factions in the elite. But you do want to stamp your own mark on the succesful and rich fantasy world concept pioneered by Warhammer, right?

      The post was edited 7 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Also, palace coups here and there. In ancient Mesopotamia, the name Sargon meant "rightful king", a surefire sign something fishy was in the waters for someone's accession of power. You had this occuring a lot in Assyria, with fratricide and vicious plots in the palace and harem. (Quite a constant theme in the region throughout the millenia.)
    • I have no experience with the original fluff whatsoever. However, the rules have been giving me the distinct impression that the dwarves and the goblins are working together on whatever their evil plans are.

      This is based entirely on the fact that the slave orcs will run away if they are not near either a dwarf unit or a goblin unit. But the goblins don't have that problem. So, they may have been slaves in the old fluff (maybe? I dunno), but the goblins are definitely on a much higher level than the orcs are.

      Maybe the goblins joined up with the dwarves because they didn't like how they were being treated by the orcs over in the OnG army. They led a bunch of their "friends" into a dwarf ambush in return for being vassels of the dwarf state.

      That explains why the goblins don't run, but at the same time, the dwarf engineers aren't going out of their way to help the goblin war machines.


      I personally hope the new fluff matches this (at least a little), because having fluff match mechanics is always a really neat trick when it is pulled off.
    • @SlaveToThePyre: Epiphany should work. I've never seen anyone carry on with the reed basket connection to Moses in a fantasy Sargon, but boy can it be made well and malignant.

      @lawgnome: Thanks to grand treachery which left them hated forever by other Greenskins during the failed Black Orc Rebellion, Hobgoblins in the Dark Lands earned themselves a dubious though privileged position as a middlehand slave caste, above the teeming masses of lesser slaves. There, they thrived as slavedrivers, scouts, raiders, outriders and expendable cannon fodder. But it was a deal with the devil, for should the Chaos Dwarfs ever fall, all the Dark Lands Hobgoblins would be hunted down and slaughtered by their vengeful Greenskin cousins, which they themselves had betrayed and aided in oppressing sadistically for centuries upon centuries. That's the WHFB fluff.

      For 9th Age, I personally don't think Hobgoblins should be given a more glamorous role than as privileged slaves, above the lesser rabble of Orcs, Goblins, Gnoblars and others, but not free folk. Just as in WHFB, It explains their better battlefield discipline, since they have a stake in the Infernal Dwarves' realms and some autonomy under their rule, but it doesn't make them anywhere equal to the ruling tribe of Infernal Dwarves, and still makes them fully legitimate subjects to their masters' capricious viciousness and willful brutality. Of course, it would be possible to introduce alliances or a freer vassal system, but the middlehand slave caste worked so brilliantly in Warhammer, it may well deserve to be carried over into the 9th Age. But I have full confidence in the background's writers to execute whichever route they choose well.

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

    • Just to keep you guys on the right track. The B&A will not be making midget Assyrians/Sumerians/Akkadians. What we are do is take certain elements from Bronze/Iron Age Middle East as inspiration but they will stil first and foremost be Dwarfs.

      Background Team

      Rules Team

      Conceptual Design

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- :BH: :DL: :DE: :DH: :EoS: :HE: :ID: :KoE: :OK: :O&G: :SA: :SE_bw: :VS: :UD_bw: :VC: :WDG:
    • But the political landscape of the Infernal Dwarves can as well be one of several independent kingdoms, as it can be one of a single unified empire, correct? Then what better chance to tap into historical references than this? Thommy H managed some striking background with his Zhargon stuff (widely appreciated by CD collectors), and that potential is far from exhausted. The ID's Dwarven nature, their obsession with fire and lava, their fanaticism, their daemonsmithing, their steam warmachines and their original chaotic ingenuity as pioneered by GW is pretty much assured anyway given the army list, so injecting a small dose of midget bronze age Middle-East won't hurt at all, though the similarities would be superficial for the most part. (It couldn't e.g. ever result in an Infernal Dwarf archer unit for an Achaemenid Persian theme - that's not the point.) Please think on it.

      Also, having several dynasties and kingdoms goes toward indirectly acknowledging the wildly different styles of evil dwarf miniatures produced so far, and not all of them have much if any ancient Middle Eastern styles in them whatsoever. There are many advantages with the many-kingdoms approach, with avenues opened up not closed in the setting.

      The post was edited 6 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().