Dwarven Holds of the Sky Foothills

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    • Dwarven Holds of the Sky Foothills

      Ladies and gentlemen, let us better not leave eastern Augea without some Dwarven presence: That would be all too predictable run-of-the-mill poor form for a fantasy setting. Although the equivalent of Korea could work well as a basis given their history of innovation (most famously with the turtle ships employed during two 1590s Japanese invasions of Korea), the lack of mountains for its equivalent on T9A world map would seem to advise to leave Korea be for fantasy Human duty (and likewise we cannot infringe upon the equivalent of Japan/Nippon, wa or not). As such, let us instead turn to the highlands of Southeast Asia with its hill tribes, who can serve well as basis both for Human, Dwarf and Greenskin peoples in this region of the Ninth Age World. In the case of the above concept drawing, the Akha has been used for aesthetic inspiration, along with the bronze age Dong Son culture and the distinct Shan Wei Kai type of armour from Song dynasty China.

      Here is a background proposal to get the ball rolling:

      During the long First Age, the Saurian Ancients of great Aotarakoa imported and bred Dwarf Slaves, whom they drove by whip and claw to mine the southern Sky Mountains for valuable minerals. The Skyhammer that set all slaves free did likewise in these parts of Augea, and these easterly Dwarves eastblished kingdoms all along the range of the southern Sky Mountains, and very slowly their prospectors and settlers began to work their way northward, under this massive mountain range. However, the ages of chaos and barbarity that followed, took a heavy toll on the Dwarrows of the Sky Mountains, and through many millennia of ceaseless back-and-forth warfare (filled with setbacks and temporary reconquests) they were eventually driven out of almost all their ancestral holdings. Refugees fled east, away from the overrun Holds and into the Sky Foothills that extended in a southeastern spur from the mountains, and bolstered the small and humble mining and hunting colonies which settlers had already established in these highlands. What had once been their backwater periphery, now became their living homeland, and the Dwarves of the Sky Foothills fought tooth and nail to defend their kin and survive out in these harsh environs. At length, their industrious work and relentless warfare halted their long and steep decline, and at last these easterly Dwarves were reasonably secure in their fortified foothill Holds.

      Their legends abound with the great and lost splendour of the southern Sky Mountains which their ancestors once peopled, though in truth the Dwarves of the Sky Foothills have managed to carve out respectable Holds in their own right, filled with the brilliance and ingenuity which Dwarven hands have wrought, and sporting large underground halls and tunnel networks. Despite their living glory, these Dwarves consider themselves petty for having been forced out of the soaring Sky Mountains and forced to live in their shadow. In their hearts smoulder a desire to reclaim their lost kingdoms or at least find their lost treasures, and occassionally small bands of adventurers set out westward during times of strength, plenty and booming population. Most such expeditions do not return, but disappear amid the fabled peaks that spear the underbelly of the sky, brought low by much the same savages that conquered their original homeland.

      The most northerly of the Sky Foothill Dwarves have been pulled strongly into the orbit of Longjing. Although their instinct to resist the Human expansion at all costs was strong and initially resulted in some fierce highland wars against Tsuandan frontier armies, the bitter wisdom learnt from the humiliation and catastrophic loss of their ancestors contributed greatly to these northern hill Dwarves eventually kowtowing to the Emperor, accepting the suzerainty of a Human overlord, with some retained autonomy of their own. Occassionally, heavily armoured contingents of vassal Sky Foothill Dwarves can be seen marching with the Imperial Banners of Grand Tsuandan, and more than one host of foes at distant frontiers have been annihilated amid their surprise at facing the pent-up wrath of these warlike and unexpected Dwarf auxiliaries.

      Many centuries of constant warfare have shaped the culture of these highlander Dwarves into a martial one. Their boys and menfolk practice violent forms of wrestling and boxing to build up strength and better overcome enemies in a tight struggle, and their heavily fortified Holds and clan outposts resound to the weapon practice of young and old alike. For the Dwarves of the Sky Foothills know all too well that war may utterly ruin the losing party. And so they fight to live and live to fight, and harbour hateful grudges indeed against those filthy hordes that overran their ancestral mountain homes.

      As of late, these old scars have been opened raw anew. For the Dwarven Holds of the Sky Foothills were outraged at finding their benighted cousins from the west construct the Steel Road right through the heart of their lost homeland. As the Steel Road gnawed closer to their highlands, many Holds (both independent ones and those under the formal yoke of Tsuandan) have repeatedly sent money, arms and contingents of vengeful warriors, who band together in the westmost Sky Foothills and set out to attack the Infernal Dwarves that build and guard the infamous Steel Road. The slavemasters have found themselves bogged down in this area, being forced multiple times to repair sabotaged sections of track, replace lost slave labour and send out armies to safeguard the Steel Road and strike preemptively at the tenacious Dwarrows of the Sky Foothills.

      Please share your ideas, comments and criticism for this quick Dwarven culture proposal. :)

      Reference images:

      See also:
      Dwarven Holds of the Maidens (T9A Celts)
      Dwarven Holds of the Crimson Peaks (T9A Celtiberians)
      Nekoshim: Dwarven Holds of the Copper Mountains (T9A Nabateans)
      Dwarven Holds of Aseadal Peaks (T9A Gaya Confederacy)
      Dwarven Holds of the Wrathful Mountains (T9A Inca)
      Lost Islander Dwarves (T9A Rapa Nui)
      Karuits: Polar Dwarves of Remotest Silexia (T9A Inuits)
      Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistorical)
      Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys (T9A Moche)
      Borean Elves (T9A Finno-Ugrians)
      Saurian Ancients of Aotarakoa (T9A Indonesia)

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

    • Iron, bears, beards, cold north, marginalized. Yes, I'm well aware of the Ainu, and they will fit the bill. That'll also give Lemniskate a point in an ongoing guessing game. Damn it! :D

      Can't have too many Dwarves.

      @Ghiznuk, how about some Muay Thai Dwarves?

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

    • Oh, are we talking about mountain rice-paddies here ?

      Yeah, yeah, agreed, all those people from Yunnan and surrounding region of Northern Vietnam/Lao/Thailand/Burma are very dwarvish. All those Hmong people and so forth.
      Golden Triange and so on.

      By the way, that area is considered as the home of the Thai-Kadai language branch, ie. pure Thai language, not the one from Thailand, that suffered a lot from Indian influence.
      Could be something interesting digging here.

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    • @Ghiznuk: Mountain rice paddies for sure! Golden Triangle needs some Dwarves in T9A. Nice idea with the Thai-Kadai lead.

      Uther the unhinged over on Chaos Dwarfs Online had ideas to share (yaks are not southeast Asian creatures, but poetical fantasy license could have yaks brought down from the Sky Mountains, and maybe bred for shorthaired versions in the highlands):

      Uther the unhinged wrote:

      Their peak weapon could be a mechanical Chinese dragon. Could be a golem pr part armoured personnel carrier, winding across the battle field breathing fire then disgorging dwarves to assault the enemy.

      If you want a a less tNot sure of the History and geography here but would they have Yaks? Armoured Yaks would be awesome. Certainly mountain goats could provide cavalry with crossbow wielding dwarves on their back. These would be perfect for the hit and run warfare against the infernal dwarves. The repeating crossbow was a Chinese inventing so might be appropriate too.

      Gunpowder would fit. To distinguish them from their infernal cousins no fire arms or steampunk but how about hand held bombs, the old cartoon round things with fizzing fuses. Rockets too, but small scale easily portable. Maybe mortars but again small scale. I am thinking of the old ?3rd ed chaos dwarf 2 man(dwarf) mortar team.

      The thinking behind this (other than the dragon) is that their traditional homelands do not lend themselves to large scale open warfare. Similarly any attempt to hold back the massive imperial armies from the Easton open battle would have been catastrophic. Therefore these mountain dwarves would have developed a style of warfare(above ground) of rapid hit and run guerrila style. Think of the wars in Afghanistan over the centuries. So you would have fixed phalanxes of heavy armoured dwarves for below ground warfare but rapid moving/mobile forces above. Goat riding cavalry, hopefully an excuse for yak residing heavy cavalry. Grenadiers, small 2dwarf mortar or rocket teams, maybe with a goat or yak attached so the could fire and move rapidly to new positions

      What do you think? I could be biased in my thinking coz I want yaks!
    • It is definitely lovely to see more Asian themed factions, not just because I am Asian myself but mostly because seeing variety in lore and design is really cool imo though I still like generic Warhammer/western fantasy Dwarf.

      @Karak Norn Clansman

      Korea not being Mountainous? I personally thought the pennisula was pretty mountainous considering how the 70% of place is covered with mountains ?(

      Although you get more flat land toward South-west of country I guess. But still most of our strategic locations are mountainous so we usually prepare and do drills for mountain warfare, not to mention most of the important battles we had in our history happened on or near mountains.
      Also, I got this interesting quote from wiki about Korean armor that pretty much sums up history of warfare that happened on Korean pennisula:

      " Korean armor was largely focused on protecting against missile warfare, since the mountainous terrain made field battle relatively rare in comparison to other countries; taking fortifications was the typical way of warfare. Metallic armor was relatively widespread during the Three Kingdoms period due to constant warfare, but its usage declined when Korea was united. By the Joseon Dynasty, common provincial troops were equipped with padded armor while central units could afford metallic armor.

      Korean warfare was often based on harsh terrain and the firepower imposed on the enemy from high ground usually in the form of composite bows and later gunpowder weapons, while cavalry superiority was favored against the constant Jurchen raids during the Joseon dynasty. Fighting against much larger forces as China and Japan, Koreans favored mobility and ranged tactics which limited the reliance upon vastly armored units despite a strong inclusion of melee training. "

      source :en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_armour

      Although I am not really sure if Dwarf is best representation of Fantasy Korean faction in T9A world. Perhaps you are right that human or even elf(maybe Highborn or Sylvan elf to represent archery and reliance on mobility and firepower) might fit them better.

      Anyway, keep up the good work! Really enjoying seeing your exotic dwarf factions!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by YKK ().

    • @YKK: Cheers! Thanks, good information. :)

      I'm well aware of Korea's rough terrain in reality (which makes it tempting to have them as Dwarves), though my hasty mention of no mountains on the world map was just in regards to large mountain chains on the 9th age world map, which however must be expected to deviate the more from reality the farther one get from Sonnstahl. A couple of Dwarf culture concepts had already been proposed for non-mountainous areas on the world map, so it seemed best to aim for big mountain chains visible on the world map.

      But even more, gut feeling said to let Korea be, and probably be human. Since Tolkien there's a persistent Age of Men theme running through fantasy, so in the west you have a large cluster of human countries (Destria, city states of Arcalea, Equitaine, Sonnstahl etc.) whose international relations very much revolve around each other in this human core area. The same should be true in the east, with the equivalents of Japan, Korea, China and probably also Vietnam being human, in a human arena. Dwarf duty is usually better for mountain peoples on the margin in such human core regions, which Korea isn't.

      Though of course, one could still have a 16th century human fantasy Korea, with Dwarven Holds in some mountains based on ancient Korean bronze age culture. Eat the cake and keep it. Warhammer needed more ancient and dark age stuff, and basing many (high-tech) Dwarf cultures aesthetically on older cultures and styles is one way to pull it off. Need to check how distinct the styles of ancient Korean archaeological finds are.

      Another reason to run with (predominantly) human fantasy Korea is because Perry Miniatures already sport a great 28mm historical range! :)

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

    • I like the idea of guerilla dwarves. Make it a full rangers army.
      No armour, only cool headscarves.
      Crossbows that March and Shoot and Quick Fire ? Not repeating, but highly mobile.
      Hand bombs are cool. Very damaging against charging enemies. Can trigger Panic Tests very easily (probably with -1 Dis).
      Can scout in Hills or around Impassable Terrain. (find some appropriate rule).
      Generally poorer in Close Combat than other dwarves.

      YKK thanks a lot for your insight on Korea !!

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    • @Karak Norn Clansman
      I agree that Korean bronze age culture or ancient Korean kingdom themed Dwarf factions would be cool! :D
      Although it is quite a shame that we still don't have enough archaeological findings and records(by ancient Koreans anyway) compare to ancient European and Chinese civilizations.
      I knew about Joseon miniatures by Perry miniatures and I agree that they look awesome! I am planning to get horse-archers and heavy infantry models just so that I can paint them, but unfortunately I don't really have enough free time and space to paint and store them in my barrack, so I guess it will happen in far future ||


      Thanks! I am glad that I could be a help!
      Hopefully, we will have more opportunity to discuss and share about Korean-themed faction to match Nippon and Tsundan
      but I guess that's for another time(or thread)

      Would love to share more sources and materials with you guys in the future, as an history buff and a nerd :D
    • @Ghiznuk: Guerilla rangers with handgrenades! Wonderful image and army vision.

      @YKK: I'm on it. Might have something up late tomorrow or in 3 days' time with a bit of luck. Looking forward to see you share your treasures of knowledge!

      We need a working name for fantasy Korea. Got any ideas right off the bat before I write a thread opening? (As a draft, I'm at the moment clunkily calling the geographical entity - not the 9th Age Human dynastic state - "Peninsula of Morning Serenity" for the work folder's name.) :)
    • Karak Norn Clansman wrote:

      @Ghiznuk: Guerilla rangers with handgrenades! Wonderful image and army vision.
      Yup. That should be the main concept, all the rest is there to support them, lol :thumbsup:

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      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • YKK wrote:

      @Karak Norn Clansman

      Cool! There are some names that pops up on my mind though I am not sure if any of them are good

      1. Cauli - got this idea from Marco Polo
      2. Solho, Solongos - names given to us by Machus and Mongolians.
      3. Asadal - name of mythical city of ancient Korea
      4. Corea - pretty generic name just different spelling
      5. Shilla - name of ancient kingdom of Korea
      I'm quite partial to Asadal.