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Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 08-22-2017 05:01 PM

Highborn Elf Aesthetic Advice on T9A

Shared some tips for T9A team, since art informs miniatures. There are lots of things to improve upon with the GW Elves, if one is willing to tap into more Lotrish reference sources as well. Copy-pasted just in case it is of interest for anyone around here.

Anyone with ideas for improving artwork designs or suchlike in fantasy, with GW Warhammer designs as a starting point, should share their ideas over on the Ninth Age. They're still in early steps. Many factions, many opportunities to influence the future course of the ship...

Use of Different Shield Designs for Highborn Elves

Scalemail Highborn Elf Design

Use of Swans and Dolphins in Highborn Elf Designs

Use of Abstract Symmetric Heraldry Devices for Highborn Elves

RE: Highborn Elf Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Grimstonefire - 08-22-2017 05:14 PM

I'm presuming the links are all dead for anyone who isn't a member of the forum.

If people are looking to redesign the highborn elves (presuming that's High Elves), you need look no further than 5th Ed.  For pretty much all races actually.


Whilst I can't see these, I think unicorns, griffons and Dragons are all valid ideas.

RE: Highborn Elf Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 08-22-2017 05:32 PM

Ah, damn. They've got member-only forum areas now that you mention it. Problem is, their site writes in strong [lexicon][/lexicon] tags and other random stuff, so it can be a hassle to clear all those out from a longer post when copy-pasting to other sites. Might fix this later by that route and just copying the posts into this one.

Yep, those creatures are all valid. But since they're already part of the GW High Elf palette I didn't touch on them. T9A started as a Warhammer legacy movement, but can become more than that. Happy

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-14-2017 05:27 PM

Shot them a proposal on Avras in T9A. If you've got any ideas of your own, then join in that thread.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-21-2017 03:45 PM

Originally posted here.

One way to reinforce the non-Human impression of Highborn Elves, is to break away from long-standing real life Human design forms in architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture and the like. Stark and simple geometric designs are standard when Humans map out buildings and street networks: There are squares, rectangles, circles, octagonals and a combination of such simple geometric forms. Parallell lines are a favourite.

Fictive Elves on the other hand usually go well along with flowing lines, leaf forms, wave forms, perhaps simplified shapes borrowed from bottle-nosed dolphins, birds such as swans, swallows or eagles, and other elegant creatures and plants. In order to set Elves apart, one would expect that this plays true not only in surface decor but often also in the layout of buildings, gardens, streets, canals, road networks and modified landscapes (perhaps surrounding a mansion). One wouldn't expect Elves to resort to a mere gridwork, since that would be for Dwarves in their simpler moments or Humans when they can bother to even make an effort at urban planning. Instead, one would expect the layout of Elven cities, villages, farmed landscapes and so on to share some elements from their ornamental patterns.

Below are some quick experimental doodles to try out some of the proposed design principles, depicting map details of Elven roads or street networks, or perhaps canals? Nothing refined and perhaps nothing worth using, but maybe something to get the ball of imagination rolling:

And this doesn't even touch on such things as walkways, fountains, potential street lights, possible elegant and sweeping mosaic patterns inlaid into the road/street pavement, flanking statues, greenery and ways in which surrounding terraces, triumphal arches, buildings, bridges between towers and topography play into the overall impression of which this 2D layout is only a part. One would expect Elven urban planning and architecture to produce an artistic effect both on the ground and on the map. Likwise, Elven settlements would often be expected to make dramatic or soothing use of the landscape, often but not always favouring climbing heights or rolling hills over mere flatness, perhaps remodelling the landscape where necessary to better please their eyes (though not necessarily the cart-drivers!).  Within reason, Elven practicality would probably often be adapted around the artistic layout of towns, buildings or roads, rather than the other way around. (Related to a fondness for slim, tall towers which look nice but leave a lot of walking up steps to reach a room.)  And often, quirky features that would seem and act as an unnecessary minor hassle in the middle of a street's flow to Humans, would have the Elven denizens long since being used to it, forming their traffic behaviour around it in seeming harmony, even if the solution is pragmatically suboptimal.

One source of inspiration could be Elven patterns like this or this. Another could be natural forms, for example a whole city whose street map forms an eagle in flight seen from the side; some kind of flower or leaf; a street network mimicking a tree branching out; or something mulilayered such as a city wall and main street map which hints at a proud, rearing horse head with throat (symbolizing victory, rising power and shining splendour), while inside this, the canal network running up from the harbour resembles a stylized kneeling Elf maid crying in sorrow, standing for loss, decline and fading glory.

Just some tips for T9A artists and background writers. With fantasy Elves, the sky is the limit. You might want to take the chance for some daring novelties.

A somewhat hasty concept map to illustrate some of the above proposals, drawn in the same quick manner and with the exact same type of felt pens which I drew city maps with as a child. Note that everything is simplified (e.g. no walkways or topography or statues), and even where the base of a building might have an odd form, the rest of the building might turn out to flow into more mundane shapes. Roads might have turned out broader than they should be since those were drawn first. Note also that the length of city wall to man and defend could have been shortened considerably with a different layout around the present head and wingtip section, but Elves aren't about minimalist practicality, Elves are about dashing beauty first and foremost ("The unadorned life is not worth living"), to which their practical solutions then have to take shape around.

My brother proposed a better city map based on an eagle shape, namely something with wings like this, where the empty space between wings and head is the city's harbour, easily sealed off by giant harbour gates at the wingtips.

Note also that this concept city have a lot of untouched marshlands close by. Elves, being resistant to sickness, would not find swamps to be an unattractive waste of productive land and den of pestilence. Rather, they would find their natural beauty appealing, not least for all the swarms of birds nesting thereabout.

As you can imagine, a lot of buildings would be tall and towering structures, meaning that a small footprint on the ground doesn't say anything about the actual space. Likewise, cellars, sewers and underground grain stores and reservoirs are not touched upon at all. A lot of roads and walkways would probably have sparse and elegant mosaic patterns inlaid into them. The military harbour is just a close copy of Carthage's. In the end, one would expect Elven cities to take on different forms than Human ones, given the different and more artistic mindset of Elves as well as the prevalence of high towers and ridden flying creatures mean that any noble worth his salt would like his city to have an appealing layout, whether mimicking the shape of objects or creatures, or having a street network based upon prismatic patterns or something else completely.

Rules of thumb:

Wide streets
Don't squash buildings together cheek by jowl
Flowing roads
Stud it with fountains like gems
Grids are for Dwarfs

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Grimbold Blackhammer - 12-22-2017 08:38 AM

Woah, that's nice!!

Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-17-2018 04:57 AM

Kegiz Gavem: Ethiopian Dwarves of Light

Rapidly pasted-together reference board, if real life Ethiopian inspiration is sought:

Shotel sickle sword for some Gavemite guard unit? Quick sketches drawn while eating Italian meat (catch the reference). The headcrest could represent blazing sunbursts, as do the shield ornaments. If one was to keep the barefoot part (even Ethiopian noblemen walked and rode barefoot into the 19th or 20th centuries), then perhaps there is a religious significance: It would be unseemly to tread the ground lit and warmed by the judging sun on high with anything but your own soles of flesh. Partake of the sun's blessed gifts. If nothing else, we note that Dwarven Holders and Infernal Dwarves as a rule always have shoes and boots (Seekers aside), so Kegiz Gavem manning up to walk barefoot sets them visually apart.

Spearman with head of fresh Feral Orc victim. Filthy heathens! Cleanse them from the sacred sight of the brilliant sun. No, body proportions have never been a strong card of mine:

Onward from devout but ultimately sinful foot soldiers to holy men of war and deepest piety. Barefoot knight? If shoes and sandals are to be used by Gavemites, then perhaps their paladins eschew footwear to trample unwarded on thorns and brambles, not to speak of ants, serpents, hot coals and grotesquely sharp obsidian shards strewn out by Infernal Dwarf hosts' sadistic Hobgoblin scouts. All endured as a penance and test of faith in full witness of the divine light on high. Paladin of Kegiz Gavem, possibly in ceremonial attire if heavier armour should be the battle norm:

Should any inspiration be gleaned from Nubia to the north? Yes or no to gunpowder weapons and advanced mechanics?

Would Kegiz Gavem's ships be of the sewn variety, kept together by ropes not nails, as was the case with ancient Egyptian and Aksumite vessels and boats in general at the Horn of Africa until recently, just of more immense fantasy scale? In real life, Aksum's navy must have been important for its dominance of overseas province in Yemen. And to borrow a page from that book, how about some holy righteousness-fuelled wars over trade routes, local minerals and luxury goods such as myrrh and frankincense against Infernal Dwarf settlers and traders and warlords?

Note that Kegiz Gavem's lines of communication over the Southern Ocean could be much faster and better than trudging Infernal Dwarf overland routes (unless they, too, sport considerable harbour facilities and fleet forces in the Southern Ocean, which are able to outmatch Kegiz Gavem), making the numerically and materially superior Infernal Dwarves in the region face a logistical uphill battle against the sea-supplied fortified coastal settlements of Kegiz Gavem in the equivalent of Yemen. And once any concerted Infernal Dwarf offensive at kicking the Taphrian rivals into the sea ebbs out and the besiegers need retreat, the overseas forces and settlers of light-worshipping Kegiz Gavem give praise to the holiness of light and can encroach once more on the turbulent hinterland of their holdings, which otherwise hugs the coast:

And to help keep night guards alert against Hobgoblin sneak attacks, the Gavemites have their secret weapon of coffee! Blessed freshness of sunlight for the body stored in beans, turning night to day for a tired sentry's senses:

Gavemite Technology - Admiral - 05-21-2018 05:51 AM

Gavemite Technology

Given the probable (but not complete?) isolation from the Vetian Dwarven Holds through many centuries of chaos, Kegiz Gavem may have been left much to their own devices as regards innovation, and one would expect them to invest more heavily in matters connected to religiosity than in advanced technology. Still, fantasy Dwarves are Dwarves wherever they live, and they need sport a higher innovation level than the real world counterparts they are based on: Ancient Celts, Norse Vikings and Babylonians didn't sport gunpowder or steam machinery, so to speak.

Dwarves have an affinity for working matter. Their craftsmen's tinkering minds and hands coupled with a long life span (boosting innovation since all that knowledge and craft skills aren't wasted on the grave as quickly as for humans) mean that their holdings will shine as beacons of advanced technology in classic fantasy settings. Kegiz Gavem being separated by distance and volatile neighbours from northern Dwarven Holds mean that they will have missed out on much of the benefits of being a close part of a wider, innovative and creative world. Less snowball effect from friendlier neighbours in the invention department.

We may however assume that long-standing rivalry with Infernal Dwarves since at least the 7th Age (of Thunder) have been driving Gavemite modern technology for centuries at this point. By capturing Infernal Dwarf equipment in war and reverse-engineering those pieces which are not corrupted by the unholy (and maybe even exorcising such gear to allow study and copy?), Gavemite engineers may have kept up the pace reasonably in the arms race, and moreover been spurred to make some inventions of advanced technology of their own to compete with the enemy. Some contact with human Augeans through trade, and maybe even sporadic contact with other Dwarven Holders in adventurous circumstances during the eras of strife (think of young engineers with mates trekking through savage countries and wastelands to reach their legendary lost brethren for thrill, glory and the betterment of uncorrupted Dwarfkind everywhere) could have played a part in Kegiz Gavem's technology.

Do they have steam machinery? Or indeed sufficient fuel sources (coal and charcoal from wood) for said engines? Do they sport Gyrocopters? Or would these things in the DH army list perhaps be Gavemites mounted on flying beasts or suchlike, Warcraft style, if they are available at all? One could imagine that Gavemite access to Gyrocopters, if they feature, could be a sign of reconnected Dwarven Holds in the 9th Age, and maybe some potent rune-crafting techniques in stone have flowed in the opposite direction?

Whether or not flying machines and steam engines are used by Kegiz Gavem, here is my take on their technology:

Developed mainly in isolation from their Vetian cousins (great stonework architecture). Picked up some Infernal Dwarf technology through reverse-engineering captured equipment (esp. gunpowder weapons), spurred to further inventions by the necessity of arms race (artillery variants, metallurgy?). Less advanced technologically than both other Dwarven Holds and Infernal Dwarves (e.g. limited clockwork, optics and printing at best), have instead devoted resources and energy to advance spiritually/religiously (and in fantasy this have potent practical payoff). Kegiz Gavem remain the most technologically advanced power in all of Taphria, and their efforts to catch up with some Infernal Dwarf technologies have aided them greatly through centuries of tug-of-war in T9A equivalent of Yemen, together with their powers of holy light. As of lately in the 9th Age, contact has been re-established with Vetian Dwarven Holds, leading to some imports of technology, yet the demented inventors of the Infernal Dwarves are ever pushing the boundaries of possibility, and in this very Age the recovering devil worshippers and heathen slavers are pulling ahead of their Gavemite rivals. At this moment, the Gavemite overseas holdings are under mounting pressure from their enemies, whose increasing naval superiority disrupt vital supply lines. The future of Kegiz Gavem's fortified coastal settlements overseas looks grim, yet the stubborn Dwarves are determined to resist with all their might. The Gavemites have redoubled their efforts in the face of rising losses on the seas and on the distant shores, trusting in their arms, the divine light, and hoping for miracles against the powerful forces arrayed against them.

Such is one of the fierce battlegrounds of the Ninth Age.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-22-2018 03:48 PM

Founding of Gavemite Religion

Ancestral memory in Kegiz Gavem could be primeval and thus revered even in other Dwarven Holds. Their orthodox self-abnegation and atonement could be a spiritually loaded imitation, commemoration and re-experiencing of the miserable drudgery and humiliating hardships of Dwarven slaves under the claws of their Saurian overlords during the 1st Age.

Chastisement of self would be reliving their virtuous and humble forefathers' suffering; a perceived punishment for primitive sins during which some of the mine, quarry and stonework-toiling troglodyte slave Dwarves in the midst of darkest despair found hope and salvation in the light. And the light delivered: A light that grew in the sky and shattered the slavers' dominion and the shackles of their slaves. The Gavemite cult could have been founded during this time in bonds, a belief in salvation, sin and higher holiness intertwined with the universally Dwarven ancestor worship.

The well-remembered founders, the martyrs and the humble endurers during this formative age of slavery and salvation are all part and parcel of the Gavemite mindset. The names, acts and travails of these righteous ancestors colour their everyday thoughts, spice their language, give shape and meaning to their innermost beliefs and echo in the dour lifeworks of each generation of devout Gavemites. Their way is a faith apart from other Dwarven Holds, although sharing many basic tenets of Dwarfkind for all their uniqueness: The ancestor cult, the rigorous engineering, the unending work, the care and precision of their crafts, the rejoicing in working matter with their hands.

Gavemites try to follow the examples set by their cult founders. There could have been especially hellish silver mines worked by slave Dwarves in Taphria, digging deep beyond the reach of the sun. Many died, yet many more were bred for the mines. The dangers were legion: Lead poisoning, earthquakes, rock falls, monstrous tunnel denizens, magma flooding and freak deluges of onrushing water from surface rainstorms escaping into mining networks. Dwarves died, Dwarves suffered, Dwarves survived by hardihood, and some survived by sheer faith. Tales tell of Dhuraz, who standing on his knees, praying to the light while a Saurian taskdriver flayed him whiplash by whiplash, found the mine he worked in collapsing when the heavenlight struck. Above Dhuraz, the ground caved in and fell hundreds of fathoms in upon itself, crushing sinful slaves and slavedrivers alike. Yet when the dust settled, faithful Dhuraz found himself still praying on the same rock, now exposed to brilliant daylight. The tonnes of crushing rocks had miraculously all cracked, tumbled and fallen to the sides of Dhuraz, swallowed by collapsing mine shafts below.

Icon of Dhuraz the Preserved. Note hand of sinful slave and Saurian tail sticking out from the rock masses.

One way in which Gavemites understand the Preservation of Dhuraz is to point to sufferers of hardship and remind them that Dhuraz was pelted and scourged with gravel and small stone shards, yet endured and saw the light on high shield him from any large rocks. The faithful must endure his woes unfailingly, no matter how harsh they seem, for by accepting the lesser evil, he will be saved from the greater evils by the light. Shoulder your burdens and suffer your pain.

For Dwarven reasons, there ought to be no single portal figure to Gavemite religion, the way Mannish faiths sometime sport one. The founder ancestors are revered as a group, an enlightened collection of saintly sufferers, legendary hard labourers, self-sacrificing fertile mothers, keepers of trust in the face of torture, seers, secret rune scribblers, revealers of higher truths, humble miracle-workers and scarred breakers of chains. A common figure is the Victim, who endures his hardships and face his cruel fate with humility. Another is the Downcast Risen, a battered survivor of woes who often wish to die, yet sees the light, hears the call and endures to wreak the vengeance of the oppressed and weak upon the mighty; a strong hero rising from the dust to save his kin and go out in a blaze of tortuous glory.

Gavemite religion is replete with the names, deeds and miracles of its cult founders. That of Dhuraz the Preserved is but one of many.

Copper Dwarves - Admiral - 05-24-2018 08:14 PM

Nekoshim of the Copper Mountains

As originally proposed here, let's spice up the map with more Dwarves! Namely, Dwarves in the Copper Mountains (Atlas Mountains equivalent). Not Vetian Dwarves, but descending from ancient Infernal Dwarf colonists fleeing ravages during gone ages and seeking wealth, who settled in the distant Copper Mountains and lost close contact with their eastern kin in the following ages of chaos. During these eras of war, the Infernal Dwarf main body to the east turned toward heinous methods to survive and even prosper in an vicious world of savage hordes and marauding tribes battering their fortified cities: They started to enslave Daemons and mortals alike, dabbling in forbidden arts and pursuing power at any cost. Power to survive, to fight back, to dominate those who once beset them with superior force.

Not so the westerly cousins of the Infernal Dwarves, who developed in isolation and claims to have never turned to arts Daemonic. While a Dwarven folk apart from Gavemites, Vetians and Northern Dwarves alike, the mysterious Copper Dwarves have also become a tribe separate from their original kinsmen in the Infernal east, an uncorrupted branch of the benighted Infernal Dwarf tree.

I've got neither intention nor time of turning this into Homebrew army book with hopes of something making it into an official Dwarven Holds army variant, but if anyone wants to do so, then be more than welcome to move this to the Homebrew section! Just want to plant this seed firmly in the minds of T9A fluff writers and readers, and advance Dwarven interests in a milieu which is usually not associated at all with Dwarves in fantasy. Hopefully this gets the ball rolling enough for the Ninth Age team to pick up on the concept.

How does their culture look like? Any defining characteristics? Would a potential Copper Dwarf army list variant sport any unique things? Got ideas of your own? Please share!

As something of a reference, we've got Nabatean Petra's rock-cut buildings. Much of the largest is in Graeco-Roman style, while other parts sport local styles familiar from Mesopotamia in particular, with a local twist (stepped ornaments).

Below is a proposal on how Copper Mountain dwellers would fit into the wider world. Amharaq in particular could hold sway over many vassal Copper Mountain Dwarven Holds by long-standing treaties realizing Amharaq's military dominance into political influence and mutual economical benefit for both parties.

The southwest could be more rowdy, with only some Holds occassionally swearing allegiance to Al-Hisn (when forced or when it suits them), but mainly staying independent or acting independently under Amharaq's umbrella. Conflicts over land and water with local human highlanders and towns repeatedly flare up in the southwest, breaking an uneasy peace of occasional raiding. Copper Mountain Holds as a whole are not a united force with anything resembling a confederation, but a scattering of mainly subterranean settlements cleaving to their own interests and doing what it takes to survive and prosper. However, a gaggle of southeasterly Holds share a long-standing alliance against incursions from Hakim Nomads (dwelling on the desert frontier of the Copper Mountains), and will often unite their forces to exert control over key points along the eastern caravan route through the Great Desert, leading on to fabled Kegiz Gavem. Fortified oasis towns with date palms serve as resupply points for desert-trekking caravans, yet rule over the oasis towns have shifted many times from Copper Dwarven to Human hands. These towns sport a predominantly Human population, yet often with Copper Dwarven garrisons and overlords.

Note that the southern-most fork of the eastern route take a long detour around Rift Daemonic lands, while the northern fork to Kegiz Gavem is in eternal danger from Orcs & Goblin raiding from out of the northern Mountains of the Moon.

The ancient sea migration is obviously a reference to Sea People resettling to the west, and more particularly to Phoenician colonies in the Mediterranean.

MM90 "Pilsner" by Clam

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Abecedar - 05-24-2018 09:13 PM

Good Idea and the available architectural / archeological references lend themselves very well.

The MM90 is a perfect desert dwarf

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-25-2018 11:05 AM

Thank you, Abecedar!

Elven Views of Marshlands

Humans, being a sickly lot with much more to gain from living in cleared-out plains near rivers and coasts, are not great fans of wetlands. Apart from some sacrifices, particularly in Celtic cultures, marshlands are generally an unproductive wasteland and den of unsavoury wildlife, disease and parasites. A place to hide out in during times of war, and something best drained (at great effort and cost) and made better use of during times of prosperous peace.

Elves, being resistant to disease and of an artistic mindset to admire nature in its manifold shapes, would not necessarily share this view of wetlands. On the contrary, Elves since the dawn of time would have observed that marshes and bogs are soft watery places where nature is particularly bountiful in its sprout of bringing forth vegetation and wildlife (including mosquitoes, flies and even Orcs and Goblins, but not all life is pleasant). How could these wetlands be anything else than expressions of the feminine force, the euphemistic wells of Mother Nature, the most female of landscapes on Earth?

Elves would be particularly prone to appreciate the rich bird life of swamps, not least swans, and this include for purposes of egg-snatching wherever and if such is done by Elven youths.

As such, there may be taboos persisting even in urban Elven cultures against draining marshlands, dumping rubble into swamps (but perhaps not organic waste?), and building them over with rude causeways. In Elven lands, wetlands may well be left alone even in breadbasket plains, with city walls skirting marshes at some length (not too shabby part of the defense, see Ravenna) and with roads curving around marshlands or, if need be, travelling above them on elegantly arched viaducts. While marshes are not the most aesthetically pleasing features of the natural world, Elves would nevertheless see a value, that Humans do not do, in preserving bogs to a large extent. You may well find some respectfully placed half-overgrown Elven-crafted stone statues or sleek stelae out in a marshy nowhere, at some spot where some Elf thought that this artwork would decorate the surroundings like a gemstone adorns armour.

Dread Elves or even Sylvan Elves, if prone to sacrifices, could very well sport traditions running after the cycle of the seasons, where they lead and prod a male animal (e.g. stallion or slave) into a deep bog where the screaming victim sinks into the swamp and drowns in the embrace of Mother Nature: A union between male and female to re-energize life itself in the world.

Conversely, Orcs and Goblins would have a much ruder view on swamps, but still connect them to bodily nature. You could well hear marsh Orcs exclaim, when declaring their home: "I grew up in my armpit!"

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Abecedar - 05-25-2018 09:01 PM

Admiral Wrote:

Humans, being a sickly lot with much more to gain from living in cleared-out plains near rivers and coasts, are not great fans of wetlands. Apart from some sacrifices, particularly in Celtic cultures, marshlands are generally an unproductive wasteland and den of unsavoury wildlife, disease and parasites. A place to hide out in during times of war, and something best drained (at great effort and cost) and made better use of during times of prosperous peace.

Don't forget the theories about the "Bog Bodies" being sacrifices when thrown in.  They were thought to be gateways and stuff

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 06-15-2018 11:04 PM

@Abecedar: Indeed!

Posted on T9A as advice for Wiegraf, given the scarcity of knowledge of how Carthaginian architecture looked:

Carthaginian Architecture & Aesthetics

Just tossing out reference material to inspire ideas, since you mentioned possible Carthaginian style terrain. So little remains of ancient Carthage's buildings (the capital city itself was razed to the ground and then later built-over by the Romans) that much is guesswork. It was a Phoenician colony, sitting close to western Greek colonies and being part of the larger Mediterranean world, which was being permeated by Greek cultural influences: See how Rome aped Hellas down to its very gods.

This may be of interest on Carthaginian architecture: The mix of styles include Greek and Egyptian. But mostly it's Middle Eastern Phoenician style incl. flat roofs and possibly also decorative crenellations on domestic houses given this surviving depiction of a Punic city (buildings surrounded by city wall?):

Possibly stepped crenellations, given Carthage's Levantine roots, under millennia of heavy Mesopotamian influence.

Carthage sported some of the world's first high-rise buildings (6 storeys tall at the main streets) and parts of the city was built in a hellenistic grid pattern. Houses sported central courtyards with narrow corridors leading into the middle.

Doing terrain with Carthage in mind would not only give you pieces that could maybe fit into the Persian world, but could even be of interest for Hellenistic scenery given the apparent mix of local styles and Greek architecture and decor for some buildings. In T9A such mixed style could easily represent Infernal Dwarf settlements in the equivalent of the Levant (with residual neighbour influences from both Avras/Rome and Naptesh/Egypt), or even Copper Dwarf above-ground dwellings, or older parts of the human city Amharaq/Carthage/Tunis).

Proto-Aeolic capital, Phoenician architectural invention and forerunner of Ionic capital:

Assyrians attacking Tyre, Carthage's mother city:

Ancient History Encyclopedia Wrote:
A helpful source of information on Phoenician architecture is the Bible’s I Kings 6-7 description of King Solomon’s temple. This was, of course, built at Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE but the architects and artists involved in its construction were Phoenician and its layout matches temple descriptions at Phoenician sites and the wider region. Its general design shows a significant influence from Egyptian architecture.

Notice the corner horns, artist's interpretation copied from altars:

The Second Temple may give further visual pointers, as a Canaanite style monumental building with Hellenic influences (note columns):

As to horned altars:

This one is not Canaanite, but Egyptian from Karnak:

Temple remnants of Phoenician Amrit, note decorative stepped crenellations on the centerpiece:

Proposed reconstruction:

A couple of 4th century BC tomb towers at Amrit:

Temple of the Obelisks in Byblos:

Phoenician ivory inlays, sporting obvious Egyptian influences:

Other Phoenician art:

The Phoenician city of Tyre, mother of Carthage:

The harbour of Carthage, a partially Hellenized Punic city:

Carthaginian buildings by Wildfire Games:

Carthaginian buildings by LordGood:

And lastly, we're fortunate to have Mr. Cyns' interpretation in model scenery of a richer Phoenician/Carthaginian dwelling:

Mausoleum of Thugga, 2nd century BC Punic monument

If hunting generically desired low shipment cost terrain, then small Egyptian and Graeco-Roman pieces seem a safe bet: Right here I won't say useful, because wargames could theoretically be played with paper-cut outs or markers, but we all want good looks, so a kit of rank and file miniatures is in the end just as useful as a piece of finely crafted impassable [lexicon]terrain[/lexicon].

You could do the Reclining Attis from Ostia:

Or Etruscan sarcophagi:

Could be good loot for tomb raiding and ever useful in both historical and fantasy collections.

You know what really is missing? 28mm scale Persian bull-topped pillars! Think of all the Achaemenid and Macedonian collections that exist out there which would hunger for some quality terrain details to build the King of King's palace. Could also be a first step toward making the Stair of All Nations. Infernal Dwarf collectors would love to have some, as rank fillers if nothing else:

You could also do a Roman fountain, like this one, but with a much fancier sculpted head and decor (otherwise it is easy to scratchbuild):

Or maybe Caryatid pillars:

Or possibly one small section of these multi-story Hellenistic buildings, as a compartment ready to be smacked onto a simple stone wall scratchbuild, and then multiplied over and over to create such a detailed facade:

Or the arched front porch of the Temple of Hadrian. Again, something that can be limited in size, have a widely desired aesthetic and be used as a smack-dab add-on decoration piece to scratchbuilt/Hirstart moulded terrain:

Here's a wild card. You won't believe it sells, but expensive resin wall relief plates actually do sell from my experience. It's not something most hobbyists can make themselves to a highly detailed degree, and something surprisingly many are willing to pay for to add into their collection. I've had to restock my Infernal Dwarf wall reliefs (holes bored through them to provide "pillars" due to mould suction over such a thin area), so that mould investment repaid itself rapidly for its limited niche:

I've no idea if you plan to make monsters, rank and file models or suchlike. But one scenery thing which might sell, would be Xerxes watching the battle of Salamis from a luxurious throne, possibly on some decorated platform or even with a pavillion, who knows?

It'd give collectors an instant Persian king [lexicon]model[/lexicon], which could be used for other ancient Middle Eastern monarchs with a bit of tweaking. If you were to make the king a separate piece from the throne, then Chaos Dwarf and suchlike collectors might find extra use for it. One could even include a servant (or Roman emperor Valerian?) acting as a footstool for the ruler to spice the kit.

Just throwing ideas at you. Best of luck whatever you do!

If shipment holds you back, then I would suggest you look into high detail intensity historical architecture and art that can cater to both history, fantasy (and the occasional 40k/sci-fi customer, imagine Norse carvings bought for spicing up a Space Wolf collection). Trust that people can build or 3D-print the superstructure themselves for all but the most complicated stuff, and provide them with surface decorations, statues, pillars and colonnaded porches to make their scratchbuilt rectangular block houses into palatial temples and monumental centerpieces.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 06-25-2018 01:20 PM

Follow-up on Kegiz Gavem: Ethiopian Dwarf by Sergio Artigas:

Artigas Wrote:
I was invited by [Admiral] to collaborate with the wargame The 9th Age with an illustration depicting a dwarf culture that would come from an area equivalent to Ethiopia.
The region was always a very interesting area, with so many ancient cultures interacting and influencing each other. There is so much to work with, but at the same time, no specific strong identity per se. I didn't want to go the somewhat popular way of simply "dressing up" a dwarf in the local attire of the native peoples, maybe even giving him black racial traits. I do not subscribe to that kind of approach, preferring instead to always mix and combine certain aspects of many cultures in order to have something recognisable yet unique. I wanted this design to be primarily dwarven looking, as I imagine the dwarven culture to be a very uniform looking one, given their rigid traditions and slow pace towards innovation and change. I also wanted it to look more advanced than the local cultures, showcasing the traditional excellence and wealth of their race. As for the racial diversity in fantasy races, even though I subscribe to a range of variation within the dwarven or elven races, I definitely do not fancy having it to be an exact mirror of human phenotypes, specially if corresponding to the exact geographical areas that you expect them to be found in. In other words, not every being that sets foot in Africa should be black, the contrast between human locals and the dwarven tribes in the area serving as a tool to further enhance the effect of having two completely different sapient beings coexisting and interacting.
My design choices that hint to the African cultures is evident on my use of colours, patterns and tattoos. The axe is also reminiscent of some of the throwing axes found all over Africa. The short sword's scabbard is decorated in a pattern that resembles a viper and the shield is fashioned in such a way that it resembles a cut gem.
I situated my design between the christian and muslim cultures that were present in that area for so long as much as the more tribal cultures of the Ethiopian men.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - tjub - 06-27-2018 04:08 AM

Wow, what a thread. Just had a quick look so far, but I really like it. So many cool ideas here!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 07-10-2018 04:33 PM

Tack så mycket, Tjub!

Vermin Anteaters

Over on the Ninth Age, there is a different homebrew ratman army book brewing: Vermin Anteaters.

As a homage to that intuitive image of bipedal anteater-men, here's an African cousin of the anteater family, an aardvark. I hope there's space enough for all manner of mammals-turned-humanoids in this shunned horde of mound-dwellers and anteaters? Dress from Dogon ceremonial warrior attire (you gotta love how less-is-more didn't count back in the day when these styles were developed). Being fantasy, the below concept takes the over-the-top step of turning ceremonial stiltwalking into a tool used by anteater monster hunters, for you need to reach high to slay those big beasties:

Reference board:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 07-17-2018 06:40 AM

Orcs & Goblins

Odd Taphrian(?) Feral Orc concept. Since fantasy so often is about taking real life inspiration and run with it one step further, you know this is destined to happen with Orcs (if their reproduction is flesh not fungus). Phallic sheath based on those of e.g. Zulu, Somba and distant Papuan koteka gourds. Made into stone-tipped spear.

Reference board (no famous Papuan gourds pictured):

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Abecedar - 07-18-2018 08:29 PM

At least some of them have "Big hats"

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 09-23-2018 05:58 PM

Lots of brainstorming has been going on over on T9A, with some further homebrew army list tweaking by Calisson.

​Random doodle of Gavemite coffee harvestrix:


RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-02-2018 03:43 PM

The Travails of Makada

In times of yore, in Iron bound, an Age of Ruin, the Fourth undone.
There rose a tide of savage tribes, of Orcs and Goblins slaying scribes.
Felling stelae, burning home, their arms too mighty, free to roam.
In ancient towns were only death, bloodied under snorting breath.
Trampled under filthy feet, toppling every marble seat.
Unspoken forefather's name, corpses lay astrewn to maim.

Her legs both broken after raid, crawled forth a despoiled maid.
Hair burnt off and flesh a crisp, no tongue even left to lisp.
Hiding 'mong the husks of kin, finding infant starving thin.
Makada took him as her son, giving milk while eating none.
Holding boy so hardly grip'd, on single arm she crawled and slip'd.
Miles and miles through ash and dust, over cliffs in windy gust.

Hiding deep mid bramble-thorn, wounds afresh and tendons torn.
Makada hugged Grumaz up close, bearing future Ras through lows.
Her pious form wild beasts would shun, and Goblin scouts the Light did stun.
Sparing both for shouldering pain, their suffering relieved by rain.
Caked in mud she reached strong walls, open gate the watcher calls!
Dying sheltered carved she rune, for fallen Mountains of the Moon.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-08-2018 04:18 PM

Kegiz Gavem Dwarves by Matthew Klaas de Witte:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-21-2018 02:32 PM

Icon of Garuvebiz the Scorched

Legends tell of a strong and warlike ancestor who was the first to explore the rich and sacred coast overseas, uncovering mysteries both occult and divine, and learning of the Heavenly Light's will for Kegiz Gavem to grasp this dry land for her own and purify it from Infernal clutches. The name of this man was Garuvebiz, a strapping fellow who dyed his beard red with henna and spilt red blood in the sands for the sacred cause of the Light. First he was to discover, and first he was to set foot ashore among a mighty Gavemite expeditionary force led by Ras Avrakam II's oldest son, Yugnaz the Stalwart.

In battle Garuvebiz was a force unto his own, for his vision became filled by the Light on high as he slayed its enemies and cleansed the promised shores from both Infernal Dwarves and their slave soldiers. Yet the sheer success of this famous champion planted arrogance in his heart, and for this sin did the Heavenly Light cast him aside into captivity and punishment at the hands of Garuvebiz' hateful foes. They stripped him of dignity and armour, and chained his wrists. A command beyond words struck into the mind of him as he lay languishing in his cell, a higher call making Garuvebiz understand that he was to lift his head during his coming torment, and never once have eyes for anything but the light above.

The shackled champion did maintain his gaze upward into the bright sky while kicks and whiplashes rained upon his gnarled hide, yet he finally faltered and looked down for but a moment as the jailors lowered him into a pit of fire. His skin was burnt to a crisp for this brief loss of eye contact with the divine, yet the Light ultimately shielded him from the worst of the flames for the sake of his repentance, and for his resumed stare into the heavens above. And so it was that the cruel and jeering Infernal Dwarves dragged Garuvebiz' twitching body to a nearby Gavemite fort, and dumped his burnt form outside its gates in order to sow terror into the hearts of their pious foes. The Infernal Warriors left their still-smoking victim with a baleful laughter at their lips.

Appalled, the garrison of the fort took their burnt kinsman inside, and eventually discovered a hidden miracle while they slowly nursed him. The hellish flames had indeed seared and ravaged the skin of Garuvebiz, akin to the burning off of superficial pride. Yet their hot bite had not destroyed the flesh beneath the hide, for penitent Garuvebiz had proven his inner spirit to be pure and humble, and thus the Light saved him from death, though not from torture and disfigurement. And so his health and beard eventually returned by the blessing of the Light, and Garuvebiz the Scorched was both able to father sons and daughters, and return to the wars against the Infernal Dwarves overseas. And amid the Gavemite hosts, he bore his horrible burn scars steadily, and once more wreaked higher judgement upon his foes in battle.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Ghrask Dragh - 10-21-2018 05:43 PM

Wow, so much inspiration from one person is quite incredible Admiral, incredible Takes Hat off

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 11-27-2018 09:45 AM

Thank you kindly, Ghrask Dragh! At your service. Takes Hat off

Over in T9A homebrew section we're crafting a rival Dwarf people for the infamous Infernal Dwarves: Orthodox pious folk called Gavemites from Kegiz Gavem. Check it out if you like.

The artist Mitchell Nolte over on Deviantart accepted a commission from me to give us his vision of a Gavemite Dwarf, preferably engaged in some activity against an Infernal Dwarf, for the Ninth Age. He drew the link to Mazdaism with its frontal clash between Ahriman and Ahura Mazda, of good versus evil, light against darkness, and set to work making some quick painterly sketches, and then set out to produce this piece of art. Be welcome to leave a comment for him under the artwork on Deviantart. Mitchell Nolte has a deft hand at illustrating historical scenes, fantasy and mythology in colourful artwork, as can be seen in his gallery!

"Swathed in heavenly radiance and girt for war did faithful Negusaz, son of Eraphram, son of Danak, son of Alemakyu, stand his ground against Azerak of the Chains.

For horned Azerak rose from out of a pit of flames beneath the shadow of his heathen idol, and he threatened Negusaz with a baleful end if he did not stand aside, and yet the son of Eraphram would not yield to let him pass.

And roaring an oath with tusked maw did Azerak tread forth from the hellfire in fury, for he brandished a twin-headed axe with murder in his eyes.

And axe of dark steel clashed with bright-lit sickle sword, locked in mortal combat.

For under the higher gaze of heaven and under the eyes of infernal idol did the warriors trade blows, where light and darkness met."

Plus Nolte's thumbnail sketches:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-19-2018 07:04 PM

To top it all off with a crown, by master Artigas:

The general concept was to follow the historical "bucket crown" style they used, and to imbue it with hot weather/ Desert climate qualities. For that I made it with an interlocking pattern, reminiscent of basket weaving, that is breathable and yet impressive and complex. The crown also sports two facing lions (the true natural King in the region) and a large sun-gem at the crest.

A splendid design, showcasing both fine Dwarven craftsmanship, wealth and ingenuity as to the airframe! Truly a crown fit for the Ras; the light-blessed monarch who lords it over Kegiz Gavem and all her holdings; the Ras Taphria who lay claim to sovereignty over all the sun-touched southern lands between the Great Ocean and the Southern Sea.

Behold its splendour and the brilliant rays reflected in its carved gemstones, and know what true kingly power in Taphria looks like. And obviously those thrice-accursed heathens, Daemon-worshippers and idolaters known as Infernal Dwarves, with their ridiculously tall headgear, are just making up for having stood inferior and unworthy in the Ras' looming presence.

Such is the crown of true kings.

And it should show up as a common emblem on Gavemite military equipment, banners and buildings commissioned by the Crown.

Historical Ethiopian reference:

An idea inspired by seeing Artigas' crown: While the Gavemite king bear the magnificent bucket crown, the heir apparent could sport a mask of humble stature, yet still of fine Dwarven craft and handiwork. As Ghiznuk kindly informed us of in his great summary (recommended read!), it was a traditional feature in Ethiopian Christian states to have all the male relatives of the emperor confined to a mountain settlement, where they would often spend their time at arts, out of reach from plotting against the sovereign. While I have a hard time seeing rock-stable Dwarves scheming and backstabbing to any extent approaching the familiar ways of Manling palaces, there could still be a reference echo to said historical practice, in that the Kegiz Gavem heir apparent is masked at all times in public, to symbolically hide which royal family member is next in line. Maybe with the extended royal family and all adult children of the royal couple living in seclusion, though probably not for reasons of the Ras' security. The heir apparent could be called the Hidden One, and this secrecy could play a great role in Gavemite epics surrounding dynastic turbulence and the ascension of a new line of kings, or the return of the rightful king, during times of extreme chaos and havoc across the land (thanks in no small part to the ever-damned Orcs & Goblins). The Hidden One revealed, the kingdom restored. That kind of thing.

Also, a couple of other ideas: To let hero characters of some sort in the army list have access to expensively imported Dwarven guildcrafted handguns. Not for any regimental unit types whatsoever, but for individual members of the wealthy elite. This would better point out the trade networks and exchange of highly expensive fine crafts items that take place between far-flung Dwarven strongholds, isolated from each other as they are by vast tracts of countries and wasteland where hostile monsters, nomads and opportunistic settled people make life perilous for merchant caravans. It would also point forward to the future, where Kegiz Gavem may be destined to emerge as a gunpowder empire. During the Ninth Age, however, firearms are still the domain of Vetian Dwarves and the hated Infernal Dwarves, with some luxuriously crafted Vetian Dwarf (and maybe also Copper Mountain Dwarf) handguns being bought at great expense by wealthy members of the Gavemite elite.

To reflect their fabled mastery over stonecarving and masonry, which Dwarves the world over hail the Gavemites for, the flagships of the Gavemite fleet could be fashioned entirely and extremely laboriously out of rock, carved with fine ornamental designs and magical runes. Although runic enchantments are involved, it is widely believed that the flotation of these stone ships occur only by the blessing of the heavenly Light, for otherwise these rock vessels would sink. All other craft in the Gavemite fleet are built out of traditional materials.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-26-2018 05:13 PM

Frost Elves: Northern Sylvan Elves Based on Finnic Tribes

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to go full circle where the Aurora Borealis dances across the sky.

JRR Tolkien, the inventor of the classic historically-based fantasy genre (that Warhammer Fantasy and the Ninth Age are both part of), was profoundly inspired by Finnish folklore and language. The epic of Kalevala (whose 1990s Don Rosa comic adaptation is, by the way, warmly recommended) was an important basis for Tolkien's own tales in Middle Earth, and his Elven languages were in no small part inspired by his studies of Finnish. Let us as such be the first fantasy setting to complete the circle, and introduce northern Elves based on Finno-Ugrians. The working name here will be Frost Elves to get the ball rolling, obviously to be changed for something better.

The basic concept is a plethora of different Elven tribes, sprinkled across the frigid lands north of Vetia and Augea. By the Ninth Age, these various peoples are the remnants from ancient days of much greater spread, but never great population density. They live sparsely, eking out semi-nomadic lives primarily as hunters, gatherers, fishers and herdsmen, moving like ghosts upon waterways and snow alike. They know these bleak forests and remote tundras and highlands better than anyone living, and they know well both how to avoid outsiders, and how to lay ambushes for intruders. To have the famous White Death (Simo Häyhä) and ski-based Finnish winter warfare during the Second World War (based upon a 16th Century Swedish captain's assault on a Russian marching column during winter) at the back of one's mind is for once not a modern burden for this particular brainstorming, but an aid. Think sisu.

Tolkien's own tales present us with two elements that may inspire this concept: First, his Avari Elves, who remained in the east of Middle-Earth and expanded across these mortal lands, until humans emerged, grew and gradually displaced the Avari natives. Second, the dead-set exodus of Fingolfin with the majority of the exiled Noldor Elves across the Grinding Ice, or Helcaraxë, in the north. Especially the latter has inspired numerous artists to depict Elves on the ice, see below.

I have no intention of turning this into a Homebrew army book, though anyone who wish to is of course welcome to do so.

Now imagine the vast expanses up in the cold north, where water and dark forests aplenty brood, home to hardy wildlife, savage tribes from various races, and not least bleak Elves, glimpsed through morning mist and snowstorms. These are the most silent and sullen Elves in all the wide world, yet they are also the living keepers of an oral culture of beautiful songs, cunning and crafty and handy with skis, boats, knives and sleds alike. They ken the ancient spirits of the harsh woods, and they share these spirits' deadly wish for solitude from a hostile world. Theirs is a cold and wind-blown life, wandering the sparse expanses, yet ancient legends tell of paths not chosen, of civilization rejected, of bonds to the Northern Dwarves broken, and of magical gold and smith's craft cast aside. The corruption of the Wasteland and the roaming followers of the Dark Gods have both taken a heavy toll on these Elves of the north, and likewise they are pressed upon by Orcs, Goblins and Trolls alike, and snorting Beast Herds can be heard stomping in the woods these wayward Sylvan Elves call home.

Captivity, by Michael Rechlin.

But these, the original tribes of the northlands, will never lay down their knives and bows, and they will never cease their fight, no matter come what may, for theirs is an unbending will, and theirs is a lethal determination to see their kin and songs live on, flushed with lifeblood, even if all the lakes and forests have to be carpeted thick with the corpses of foes. And as long as their grit and cunning win through, the magical songs of strange Elves will continue to sound among the mists and the snowfalls.

Such are the Sylvan Elves in the frozen north of the Ninth Age.

Avari Elves & Related Reference Images, by assorted artists, including Steamey

Finnic & Related Reference Images, by assorted artists, including Tuomas Koiruvinnen

Hercalaxë Reference Images, by [url='']assorted artists[/url]

Kalevala Reference Images, by assorted artists

Ideas, feedback and criticism are of course welcome!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-26-2018 06:05 PM

Dread Elves of Maphria Island

We are developing Dark Elves based on the slaving Sultanate of Zanzibar and colonial safari.

Matthew Klaas de Witte accepted a commission from me to design a Dread Elf from Maphria, with a leopard skin and an enslaved Pygmy Halfling. Gut feeling told me he was the right man to pioneer this field. Be welcome to leave a comment for him under the artwork on Deviantart. Master de Witte has a deft hand at playing with historical styles in fantasy artwork, as can be seen in his gallery!

Please share ideas of your own for this exotic colony faction!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 01-01-2019 12:22 PM

The 13th issue of the 9th Scroll webzine is out now, ready for download. It features a quick homebrew showcase of Kegiz Gavem brainstorming and artwork. Check it out!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 01-27-2019 06:46 PM

Kegiz Gavem Hold Guardian

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!

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.

Furthermore, Prince of Spires over on had some comments to share:

Prince of Spires Wrote:
I like the depth of fluff you're working towards.

The idea of using handguns for the elite as a symbol of their wealth is an interesting idea. It's sort of what's behind the magical item allowance of characters (and certain units). Though I must say, if gunpowder is actually seen as the domain of the infernal dwarves, there is an argument to be made for not allowing any firearms in an army list (or having them distrust allies with gunpowder weapons).

The hiding of the heir (and family members in general) is an interesting twist. It did conjure up an image for me of a society where this happens and the rules doesn't actually have an heir and they (try to) hide this being having different people parade around in the mask etc. There should be an interesting story there. Now, where is my pen... Wink

Icon of Sunken Souls

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.


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.

Entry in Chaos Dwarfs Online's Artisan's Contest XXVI: Mariners of Malevolence

Koghi Smalltalk - Admiral - 02-03-2019 06:18 AM

Some laidback smalltalk somewhere in western Taphria, in lands under the imperial reign of the Koghi, with a handy armrest for the brave warrior and dauntless slaver to lean on.

Entry in T9A's Art Contest II.

Vetian Vermin Guard - Admiral - 02-15-2019 06:33 AM

Vetian Vermin Guard

Concept art of guard unit for the Vermin Swarm of Avras in Vetia. Heavily inspired by the artwork of Simulayton, who mix in extra elements of ancient styles (inspired by the Macedonian renaissance) to aesthetically underline that Byzantium is nothing but Rome.

Guesswork: These Ratmen overthrew the strongest Human empire to ever emerge in temperate Vetia during ancient times, and then proceeded to lord over a shrinking realm where they tried to maintain the captive high culture and material achievements (such as architecture and engineering) of ancient Avras through a bitter cycle of ruination, repair, setbacks and decay. Through ages of struggle this mighty people lost their dominion bit by bit as they had to battle against foes beyond counting on more fronts simultaneously than could be managed. As such their history beat to a pulse of slow, drawn-out yet inexorable decline, where dips into dark ages may be followed be resurgent might and reconquest, and even brief golden ages of blossoming population, wealth and culture, only to see corruption, decadence, disease, treachery and fell fortune topple their restored ascendancy and cast the Vermin Swarm anew into a maelstrom of struggles against overwhelming odds. Diplomatic sowing of divisions abroad, choice assassinations of enemy leaders, and baffling grand strategy (centered upon their capital of Avras) all allowed the Ratmen to carry their beset empire through ages of chaos and destruction. For it was cunning, more so than raw strength, which saw them win through to survive for yet more ages of war and disasters.

Yet nothing lasts forever. Avras of the Vermin Swarm is fallen, for the fabled crossroad city is once again in Human hands for the first time in many millennia. Yet the Ratmen will never accept this loss, for theirs is the power and glory...

The overarching story of Avras in the Ninth Age is a parody of a parody. For it taps into the commonplace way in which the long history of the Roman realm, ever since the Enlightenment and Gibbons in particular, is unthinkingly wrought into a parody of the past, with half of Roman history (the mediaeval half) being artificially separated from its own antiquity by the label of Byzantine - a name which still has a good ring to it. These Byzantines then have their scandalous parts and failings highlighted, while skipping over the fact that this declining realm managed to hold on for an astounding number of centuries in the face of way too many enemies beating down upon it from too many fronts at once. The reality of the mediaeval Roman Empire is a fascinating and bitter story of a realm and culture that had long since passed its peak, yet still refused to lie down and die where greater powers of its era went under the bus. The parody version casts the Byzantine Empire as little more than a tiresome parade of monks, eunuchs, craven defeats, stupendous titles, and incessant palace murders and civil wars: And so what can be more fitting than to take hold of the parody, and run it to the hilt in fantasy fiction through Byzantine Ratmen?

After all, both Warhammer Fantasy's Skaven (the most original of Games Workshop's major WHFB armies, and one not based upon any historical culture) and the historical Romans/Byzantines do have mediaeval flamethrowers and treachery in common.

Enter, the Vermin Swarm of the Ninth Age.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 02-16-2019 06:27 PM

Frost Elf Kantelist

Light torso armour is meant to be some sort of multi-layer enchanted birch bark treated tough.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 02-19-2019 12:22 PM


In honour of a nascent tabletop scourge that brooks no challengers - namely, the infamous cowboy of Eisenhans - with a Byzantine twist: Behold the heavily armoured Catarat monstrous cavalry!

Cataphract pun. Note draco rat standard and X-shaped amulets with the symbol of the Last Human Ruler of Avras Quartered by Four Vermin Hulks hanging from the rat and human skulls beneath the ostentatious saddle. Note also rivetted metal plates strapped to the undersides of the mount's paws, to protect against caltrops. The lamellar armour of the Monstrous Rat is bedecked with a rope harness sporting tiny bells, ringing out to the enemy general or head wizard, for whom the bells toll...

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-07-2019 09:53 AM

Virentian Dwarves of the Wrathful Mountains

Ladies and gentlemen, the historically based fantasy world of Warhammer, beyond naval expeditions, found one way of pitting Dwarfs against Lizardmen. This was by the means of the lost hold of Karak Zorn in the Southlands, having Lizardmen in their southern vicinity. (Karak Zorn always had a vibe of Prester John about it, but it was ultimately not meant as a realm of Ethiopian fantasy Dwarves.) However, a brief glance at history will make it instantly clear that Warhammer (for all its brilliance) missed an open goal for pitting Dwarfs against Lizardmen, and thus missed a chance of making Lustria itself into something more than an almost purely Lizardmen continent.

We're of course speaking about the Andean civlizations, of which the Inca Empire with its well-organized army is the most famous, but which also include such cultures as the Moche, Caral and Nazca, to name a few. Lord-Triceratops on Deviantart has already dabbled some with the concept of Incan fantasy Dwarves, including their use of domesticated Glyptodons. Let the Ninth Age be the first major fantasy setting to sport Incan fantasy Dwarves: Mountain dwellers, miners and skilled metal workers who build terraces, roads and towns in stone on altitudes few other peoples would even consider to climb.

Sounds Dwarven enough? Then let's head for the Wrathful Mountains in faraway Virentia, and follow the rumours of gold!

Just to get the ball rolling, here are some proposals: The Virentian Dwarves of the Wrathful Mountains have been isolated from all others of their kin since the most ancient ages. Originally imported as mining slaves for the Saurian Ancients during the distant First Age, these Dwarrows endured a longer slavery than others of their kind, for they lived close to the Saurian power centers of tropical Virentia, and were among the few peoples who still endured the Saurian yoke for many centuries after the Heavenly Mace set others free. Nevertheless, the great comet still set in motion a long and arduous struggle for freedom, for the bands of escaped rebel slaves waged a long guerilla campaign in the mountains and in the mining tunnels.

After a long and bloody struggle, the Dwarves of the Wrathful Mountains drove out their former Saurian overlords. Freed at long last, these Dwarves peopled the long mountain chain and heavily fortified their nigh-inaccessible dwellings, building kingdoms and city-states that battled Goblins, Saurian Ancients and each other alike. Slowly, and through many blood-soaked setbacks, the Dwarves spread throughout the great Virentian mountains, and emerged from the highlands to colonize some of the coastal lowlands to the west. And to this day they will make any Saurian intruders come to regret their quest for regaining lost glory, for the Wrathful Mountains were thus named for a reason.

The Dwarves of the Wrathful Mountains are little known outside their towering homeland, yet legends speak of great realms of strong armies and finely carved stones laid upon stones, of giant mines, of master smiths toiling with copper and gold, and of great builders of roads, farming terraces and rope bridges that defy the soaring landscape. And most of all, the rumours speak of treasures beyond the dreams of mortals...

There are lots of questions, if you buy into the idea of Andean Dwarves in the first place:

Are these Dwarven Holds, or Infernal Dwarves?

Should T9A go for an all-encompassing empire like the Inca, or go for a smattering of independent Dwarven Holds?

The former conform to the Renaissance reality, the latter to the older historical reality of the Andes, and may open up for more local variation and opportunities for rowdy infighting.

How advanced are these Virentian Dwarves?

Given the Inca's comparatively sophisticated grasp of technology, torsion war machines could possibly suit their fantasy counterparts, since Dwarves are more mechanically minded than humans, and live longer thus not wasting all that accumulating knowledge and skills on an early grave, resulting in higher levels of technology. What do you think?

What about slings, spear-throwers and bows instead of crossbows as infantry ranged weapons to underline the lower level of technology compared to Dwarves of all kinds found in Vetia, Augea and Taphria?

There are many fields of opportunity to the ardent thinker here, so please contribute your ideas and criticisms to this brainstorming!

This is a natural extension of Northern Dwarves, Kegiz Gavem and Dwarves of the Copper Mountains. There can be no such thing as too many Dwarfs. Wink

Roll out your thoughts on these potato-eating Dwarves and let's make the world of the Ninth Age distinct also in this quarter!


Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - tjub - 03-07-2019 11:52 AM

Looks great, wonderful concept as well!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-09-2019 09:03 AM

@tjub: Tack så mycket! Takes Hat off

Chicha-Brewing Dwarf Womenfolk of the Wrathful Mountains

Everyday scene from the Virentian western highlands: Dwarven womenfolk brew chicha in the Wrathful Mountains, taking care to chew and spit out the raw corn drink in order for the saliva to improve the fermentation.

Reference images, including this artwork by Lord Triceratops:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 03-10-2019 06:10 AM

Cool concept. I think you could have standard and infernal dwarves in the continent. It is a big place and mines would have been well separated leading to multiple revolutionary movement. Infernal dwarves obviously utilizing fire sorcery/daemons (sorry not T9A literate) and playing up the sacrifice aspect of Incan/Aztec culture. Possibly binding daemons into animals. The standard dwarves animating statues. Again to differ from other pld world dwarves the statues could be animal/totem based snake like caymen panther jaguar etc. Longer association with saurians might have led to more magic/rune binding. You could go down the lack of iron route with rune encrusted war clubs. Obsidian daggers, obsidian encrusted clubs (for both types). As for artillery again standard torsion engines with animal totemic themes fir standard dwarves but enslaved/mutated/daemon bound animals for infernal dwarves. Like tortured bloated snakes spitting incendiary venom as counts as firearms. Sort of twisted Lizardmen technology, which would fit fluff wize.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-10-2019 06:57 AM

Bloody marvellous ideas, Uther! You truly are Unhinged, and brilliantly so! Takes Hat off

Now we need a name for the Virentian Dwarven Holds, and Infernal Dwarves, respectively. Proposals are most welcome!

One could of course base the Dwarven Holds more on e.g. Inca, and the Infernal Dwarves more on Moche or some other Andean culture. By the way, I warmly recommend everyone to check out coricancha's astounding Pre-Columbian tropical American gallery, filled to the brim with colourful illustrations and marvellous designs based on meticulous studies of archaeological finds in particular.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 03-10-2019 11:03 AM

The uprising of the dwarves would have been sporadic and disunited due to geography and a clampdown by the saurian masters. Each mine (future hold) would develop differently. All paying religious homage to ?? Queznir (I know Quetzacoatl was aztec but he was famously bearded). However secet symbols and signs were used often utilizing local animals. Over the years these took on totemiic status rising as quasi-deities themselves. The defeat of the saurians was piecemeal each hold achieving independence at different times and often facing several attmpts to retake it. Thus it was years before the dwarves (the Quezcuz as they call themselves) started to contact each other.
Magic stolen /learned from the saurians is used to infuse stone statues of their totemic animals. Arcuballistae, bows spears atlatlt stone headed tomahawk like axes and mauls. Armour rune/totem bound leather or padded cloth. Iron usage is unknown. Shields wicker?. But gold and silver adornment common. All totems are bird, mammal or fish. Reptillian and amphibian totems are taboo given the link to their hated saurian oppressors. Now contactbetween holds maintained by giant condor.

However not all mines followed the same path. Some came across knowledge of the infernal (again not sure of T9A fluff so this needs work). This great mine too eventually won its freedom using the infernal skills they had developed under the guidance of their infernal god (Haztet? Gotto reference the father of darkness somewhere). The dwarves of this mine (the Hazcuz) used magic to bind deamons into anomals to fight for them (rather than statues). With the overthrow of the saurians they used the reptiles of their previous masters as beasts of war and burden (twisting them with their infernal magic). Far from avoiding reptillian iconography the Hazcuz subverted it. Thus it was that when the Hazcuz made contact with other freed dwarves they were not greeted as long lost cousins but as evil blasphemers. Several Quezcuz holds united against these heretics and besieged them. Faced with overwhelming odds and the threat of extinction they broke out from the suege and embarked on ‘the long trek’. Effectively a running battle with pursuing Quezcuz, Saurians seeking to recapture them, grenskins and others. The trek lasted over 2
years. It did not end till the Hazcuz were driven from their mountain home to the lowland and escaped the pursuing Quezcuz in the jungle. Eventually they reached a land where they felt safe (unsure if this should be far south Terra del Fuego or Mexico). a hot forbidding land. Here they built their step puramids in memory of their lost mountain home. If you go with the Mexico option you can go full aztec.
Magic is using runes/reptillian totems to bind infernal spirits into creatures thus empowering them ?twisting? them but seriously reducing their life span (they literally! Burn out) runes/totems branded on (fire dwarves yay). Weaponry bucklers of alligator hide. Armour of toughened reptile skin. Wooden Warclubs (see plains indian warclubs) with obsidian studs/shards. ?slings? Spears. Animals adapted as weapons eg venom spitting reptile held as hand arms etc.
There that is me done. It was a long drive today.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-10-2019 02:36 PM

Outstanding brainstorming, Uther! Love it all! I'm sharing this right away on T9A and other forums, obviously quoting and naming you, due credit given. Cheers!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 03-10-2019 02:56 PM

No worries Admiral. Just hope someone likes it. To be honest it was quite fun to have a bit of a blank sheet. Anyway if we don’t do something our hated vanilla cousins will steal all the glory!
Had a look on the T9A site but not sure how to post there. Considering what figures to use you could go full Michael Moorcock Gran Bretagne. That is the evil Hazcuz wear full face helms of bronze/copper/gold in the form of their reptillian totems. Therefore you could kitbash lizardmen heads onto dwarves and paint approriately. This plus LM shields and weapons might be fun. Scalearmour painted as scales. Could work.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-11-2019 05:09 PM

Nice ideas Uther. Thanks a lot! Happy

Taphrian Wildebeest Minotaur

I recommend you to click on the link and read Ghiznuk's intro post for a great presentation of the concept: Of fantasy Bantu iron-wielder migration being met by natives turning to magic to become the beast in order to resist.

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - tjub - 03-12-2019 01:10 AM

Great concepts again! A bit odd that there isn't more done with African cultures already in fantasy stuff, at least not that I know of. Happy I feel the creative urge...

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-13-2019 06:18 AM

Tack så mycket! Yep, that's true. Give in to your urges! Big Grin

Polar Dwarf Warrior

Ladies and gentlemen, do you agree that we gotta have Inuit Dwarves for the Ninth Age?

Thickly built Dwarves are well suited to survive in extreme environments, not least by the craftiness of their hands and minds. Polar Dwarves are to be found in the inhospitable climate of remotest Silexia to the far north. They are great hunters and fabled traders of ivory who seldom encounter people from the outside world. This warrior is armoured in bone lamellar with laminar back "wings" for rear protection. Note snow goggles.

Inspired by the Stiffbeard in Sergio Artigas' Lotr Dwarf masterwork. His description for the Middle-Earth Dwarrows, for inspirational reference:

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 any 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.

I'll have to be brief for the moment being. Please share your thoughts, ideas and criticism. There are a lot of fertile historical and mythological material to tap into for brainstorming about Eskimo Dwarves, and of course wacky fantasy potential in general for the Arctic region.

Let's make this happen! Happy

A few reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 03-14-2019 03:38 AM

Ooooh can we have polar bears with tusks, pleeeeese!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 03-14-2019 04:11 AM

.........and ice golems......giant scary walrus ice golems........ and penguins (I know they are southern hemisphere, but I like them), giant penguins er just because. Tiny hairy snotling slaves riding giant artic foxes as scouts, messengers, cleaners, cooks and food if it gets too cold. Sleds pulled by white wolves (with bony spikes all over it). More penguins. I think I should go to work before I get too excited.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-16-2019 07:15 AM

@Uther the Unhinged: Haha, nice and wild ideas, as one can expect! Cheers!

Check out this Penugin rider artwork, by the way!

Any plans for a new army? Wink

For the record, here's a shortened copy of this common brainstorming thread on CDO. Please participate there if you've got ideas and feedback.:

"My reverend lord, did you bring a straw? Or how on earth will you consume the blood with that nose ornament in the way?"

"I'll drink to that!"

Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys

This concept was spawned as the fallen brother culture to these proposed Inca Dwarves. Uther the Unhinged had lots of fertile ideas.

There is a prime candidate among ancient cultures in South America that fit the bill perfectly: The Moche culture (100-700 AD). The Moche lived by the coast of what is today Peru, inhabiting nine river valleys with arid desert in between. The Moche are an archaeological culture, meaning they left no written documents behind, but they sure left behind monumental architecture, eyecatching craft objects and proof of ritual cruelty!

The Moche were fine craftsmen who produced works of art in gold for the highly elaborate dress of their elite, and they likewise have become famous for their erotic pottery. The Moche built stepped pyramid temples and practiced a warfare reminiscent of the Aztecs: They fought wars to capture enemy warriors, whom they stripped naked, bound, tortured and sacrificed to their gods. Sounds like Infernal Dwarf material?

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-22-2019 04:05 PM

Aotarakoa Saurian

The Ninth Age (T9A) concept art for fantasy Indonesian Saurian armed with copper klewang, based upon Nias warrior garb. The Nias tribe were famous headhunters and warriors who carved wooden figures and small stone monuments for their houses. Saurian inspired by the sterling sculpting work of Rikard.

The Saurian Ancients are Reptile peoples of the equatorial tropics who once ruled the entire world during the long First Age, yet their dominion was rent asunder by a giant comet followed by massive slave rebellions. The ascendant thralls of many different species went their own ways and founded civilizations and nomad hordes whose turbulent development have dominated all subsequent eight Ages. The Saurian Ancients are still great regional powers to be feared, however, for theirs is the pulsating might and olden glory of rich resources, and their claws and fangs are sharp even against foes bedecked in steel. As Vetian countries start to explore and colonize distant parts of the world during the Ninth Age, they come into frontal collision with the Saurian Ancients of Virentia, Taphria and southeastern Augea.

And this struggle between man and lizard is by no means a foregone conclusion...

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-26-2019 01:39 PM

Lost Islander Dwarf

My colleague Tjub (of the Tjublings) wanted me to draw a south sea dwarf, and so here it is! The islands of the Pacific Ocean is not the first place one would think of Dwarves for, when converting real world history to fantasy, yet the famous Rapa Nui of Easter Island did carve (and transport) Moai statues out of stone, so they, if anyone, will serve for Dwarf duty. A good distance to the west of Easter Island lie the Kiribati islands, of which the warriors of Gilbert Islands were famous for their armour (overall and cuirass) woven out of coconut fibres, which protected the warrior elite against sharp tooth weaponry during ritualized combats which were not supposed to end in the death of the enemy (which would incur a fine of lost land for the killer). The warriors also wore porcupinefish headgear to top it all off. This exotic wargear required some skilled craftsmanship to produce, which is ever a must with Dwarves. And so I present to you this concept of the Dwarves of the Lost Islands, stranded out at sea to the west of Virentia:

While by far the most of the scattered islands of the giant ocea between Augea and Virentia-Silexia are inhabited by Humans (or other sentients), a corner of this vast sea harbour a pecularity which will surprise any explorer that ever happens to come upon it. For thrown out far from land and far from other isles are to be found the Lost Islands, formed in bygone eons by volcanoes. These volcanoes deposited some rich mineral deposits on some of the islands, which the world-dominant Saurian Ancients sought to exploit during the long First Age. As such the reptilian overlords imported Dwarves from their breeding pens and silver mines in Virentia's Wrathful Mountains, and set about strip-mining the ores and gemstones. This mining operation was carried out with great investments and vigourous slavedriving, and as the skyhammer fell, the underground of the islands were all but empty of minerals. The thunderous impact of the distant comet reverberated the world over, and under the Lost Islands it pulled out reinforced masonry that held back the sea.

Enormous quantities of water crashed into the mining tunnels and devoured almost everything and everyone left down there, drowning both master and slave and dashing their corpses against the rock. Yet some Dwarven slaves survived above ground, and some others managed to find shelter in underground caves into which the water could not rise, and then succeeded in swimming out from these pockets of air. The lucky divers emerged and set their brethren above ground free, and together they drove the remaining Saurians to extinction in a vicious series of running battles. Yet this celebrated victory was also the beginning of everlasting woes, for these wayward Dwarves were lost far out at sea, with no mountains in sight and no metal to mine and forge. Thus began their long isolation, during which the Lost Islanders made do with the materials at hand, and after a fashion they crafted their items with such raw materials as coconut fibre, wood, stone, shells and shark teeth.

Although the sun warms well, in their Dwarven hearts lurks an eternal yearning for mountains, and their songs tell of their longing and plight, and their stories are filled with wondrous lands beyond the horizon, which they however cannot in reality reach.

Reference images:

See also:
Dwarven Holds of the Copper Mountains (T9A Nabateans)
Dwarven Holds of the Wrathful Mountains (T9A Inca)
Polar Dwarves of Remotest Silexia (T9A Inuits)
Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys (T9A Moche)
Frost Elves (T9A Finno-Ugrians)
Saurian Ancients of Aotarakoa (T9A Indonesia-Malaysia)

Cave Dwarfs - Admiral - 03-28-2019 08:57 AM

Cave Dwarf of the Mountains of Gold

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the campfire! How about a cup of Stone Age?

When I first glimpsed this brainstorming map for Taphrian factions here, my initial thought was roughly: "Hell no to Cave Dwarves in Kegiz Gavem! No wasting opportunity with Neolithic primitives. This will be fantasy Ethiopia in advanced splendour or bust, worthy of true Dwarves."

Still, the general idea of Cave Dwarves (with all the connotations of caveman as part of the deal) isn't without merit. It's just one that is fit for some real isolated obscure remnant duty, on whatever continent happens to fit. The above doodle is loosely inspired by Lorenz Frølich's Two Völuspá Dwarves and Sergio Artigas' subsequent Primitive Dwarves artwork. As a starting point, this is not a culture based upon any particular one in recorded history, but is instead a reference to prehistorical humans (of all species) in general, and to finds of prehistorical humans from South Africa to Ethiopia in particular. The Mountains of Gold in southern Taphria lacks a mention of Dwarven presence, and this will not do, so I propose that here is where we plant our Cave Dwarves.

The basic concept is one of a small Dwarf remnant left over from either the First Age (end of mining slavery under Saurian Ancient mastery - possibly with extermination campaigns launched from Nsisiboko to purge the nearby Mountains of Gold from all rebellious Dwarf slaves) or Fourth Age (fall of Holds). Possibly originating from a single family unit hidden away in caverns, this bottleneck event saw a virtually complete loss of accumulated knowledge and crafts, a slate wiped clean. These were the origins of the Cave Dwarves,whose existence is unknown in nought but travellers' rumours even in the closest of grand Dwarven Holds, namely Kegiz Gavem up in the Mountains of the Moon. The Cave Dwarves are a lost folk of savages to the outside world, highly reclusive and living in nigh-inaccessible parts of the Mountains of Gold and their cave systems. It is unknown why these of all the world's Dwarrows have stayed at such a primitive level of crafts, yet even their seeming wretchedness harbour a fine hand at stone tool carving, and the shaping of ancestor figurines from various kinds of rock or even nuggets of gold. This peculiar remnant seem absorbed by a life amid stone, and have a spiritual affinity in tune with the heart of the mountain, the lore of which is shrouded in mystery. A few wild tales of wanderers even speak of very rough beings made out of almost unworked stone. Others speak of cavernous cannibals little better than the most feral of Orcs and Goblins, with a passion for hunting that is only matched by their ferocity.

And so the Cave Dwarves eke out their taboo-regulated existence in kingroups, remaining virtually unknown, a curious relic from truly olden times trapped - or mayhap blessed - in remotest isolation.

Please share your own ideas, thoughts and criticism. Happy

Reference images:

See also:
Dwarven Holds of the Copper Mountains (T9A Nabateans)
Dwarven Holds of the Wrathful Mountains (T9A Inca)
Lost Islander Dwarves (T9A Rapa Nui)
Polar Dwarves of Remotest Silexia (T9A Inuits)
Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys (T9A Moche)
Frost Elves (T9A Finno-Ugrians)
Saurian Ancients of Aotarakoa (T9A Indonesia-Malaysia)

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Gargolock - 03-28-2019 02:44 PM

Admiral Wrote:
Ladies and gentlemen, do you agree that we gotta have Inuit Dwarves for the Ninth Age?

They could have inukshuk stone war golems. Normally the Inuit would build inukshuks as land marks so they could find their way, so maybe the inukshuk golems could guard and mark important roads or paths belonging to the polar dwarves. They could be monstrous or human sized depending on the stones they are built with.

As for the cave dwarves they could have a lot of javelin type weaponry. Maybe a very crude javelin thrower just using the elasticity of animal hide to inaccurately launch a sharp stick with an obsidian shard on the end. They could also have a tribal, violent system of leadership. Where the strongest one semi leads them and if a stronger one challenges him they can take leadership. There is a lot that can be done with cavemen and I think they are a good idea for dwarves. They could also chuck flint shards through the air to try to kill their enemies.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-30-2019 08:28 PM

@Gargolock: Aye, great ideas! Inukshuk stone golems are a must, and good stuff for the cave dwarves. I've shared them on other forums, duly linked, quoted and credited to you of course. Happy

Dwarf of the Maidens

The Maidens mountain range in Equitaine may be a reference to the Massif Central of France, moved up northwest and stretching into the equivalent of Brittany. At a guess, the Maidens from foothills to mountain tops may harbour settled Equitainians and human brigands alike, as well as monsters in general, Greenskin highlanders and some minor Dwarven Holds (because it would be a wasted opportunity to not have some living Dwarven presence here, aside from ruined overrun Holds). As to Dwarves, let's take these mountains as an open invitation to propose that the most Celtic-based of Vetian Dwarves live in the Maidens, and possibly the Dwarves of the Maidens could be the closest link in the occassional and fragile contact between Vetian and the Northern Dwarves. The Dwarves of the Maidens, being peripheral compared to the Dwarrows of the White Mountains, would not be a particularly strong driving force in the Vetian Dwarves' innovations and scientific discoveries, though they would fully partake of this culture of shared knowledge and technology, and their arsenal would essentially be the same. The aesthetic style and dialect, however, would be distinct.

As of present, Westwind Productions' Dwarf Wars range (both Shaven and Scots) contain some kits that could be of interest for anyone wishing to inject even more Celtic styles into their Dwarves, and there are probably other models in a similar vein from other companies.

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

Reference images (concept drawing partially inspired by Sergio Artigas' Lotr artwork of Firebeards):

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Zanthrax - 03-31-2019 08:14 AM

Thanks for a great read - I always thought the west wind Celtic dwarfs were excellent.
Also my favourite vanilla dwarf minis come from black tree design who also had some not slayers in kilts which appear to have disappeared of their website

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-02-2019 04:10 PM

@Zanthrax: Cheers! Wild, hairy and Dwarf goes well together.

Nekoshim Dwarf

Nekoshim Dwarf of the Copper Mountains with axe based on tabars and angular ornaments based on Persian patterns famous from Isfahan. This Dwarf's overall shape and pose is a reference to an MM90 miniature (as best seen here; "Pilsner" painted by Clam), while his helmet design is inspired by this artwork of DracarysDrekkar7.

The Nekoshim of the Copper Mountains are a proposed Nabatean fantasy Dwarven culture of ancient cousins to the Infernal Dwarves, speaking a brother tongue of the Blasted Plains language. In ancient times, the Nekoshim migrated west across the seas to the Copper Mountains, and thus never experienced the dreadful plight which befell the Infernal Dwarves and led them to embrace dark forces in desperation and ruthless hunger for power and vengeance. While the Nekoshim have experienced their share of setback and loss, they have never become corrupted, or so they claim, and their numerous, disunited Holds remain a living part of the landscape. In the wider world of Dwarfkind, the Nekoshim are the link between the Vetian and Gavemite Dwarves.

Reference images:

Artwork by DracarysDrekkar7, being a Nabatean fantasy Dwarf concept for the Copper Mountains of the Ninth Age. This artist has a deft hand at illustrating fantasy, capturing both an impression of rugged life and craft refinement in fine detail.

Check out his Deviantart gallery and leave him a comment! Happy

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-04-2019 05:01 AM

Dwarf of the Crimson Peaks

The Crimson Peaks of southwestern Vetia in the Ninth Age, corresponding to the Pyrenees mountain range, is a chance to once and for all correct Warhammer Fantasy's error of having virtually no Dwarf presence at all in the mountains of their version of Iberia, namely Estalia. These wild mountains could be filled with Human highlanders, monsters, Orcs & Goblins, and minor Dwarven Holds. The Dwarrows of the Crimson Peaks could be based on the ancient Celtiberians (connecting to the Celtic basis of many Vetian Dwarves), whose lengthy resistance to Rome finally ended with the great siege of the oppidum Numantia. Like the Dwarven Holds of the Maidens mountain range, the Crimson Peak Dwarves would be on the periphery of Vetian Dwarfkind, yet fully part of this region's culture of shared Dwarven technology, having thus essentially the same equipment for war. The aeshtetic style and dialect of the Crimson Peak Dwarves would however be distinct.

Just remember that relentless Dwarves do not even know what siesta is!

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

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-04-2019 02:56 PM

The celtiberians were famous for their falcata the very heavy curved swords (curved opposite to scimitars). These swords were heavy chopping weapons and would be very suitable for dwarfs. Indeed it was the Romans experience of falcatas that led then to start binding the edge of their shields with iron!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-06-2019 05:15 PM

@Uther the Unhinged: Very true! A most Dwarven-befitting brutal weapon. Cheers!

I actually drew a Falcate handle on that Dwarf, but the scabbard is hidden behind the shield, and the handle itself disappears in the mass of details because I tried to draw a stylized scaled dragon on it.

Dwarf 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 there on the 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 anad 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 fronties 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. Happy

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-07-2019 03:44 AM

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!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-07-2019 06:16 AM

@Uther the Unhinged: Great ideas! The armoured dragon APC made me think of Tolkien's at Gondolin, by the way.

I like yaks as well and really like the ideas! Sure, they're not southeast Asian creatures, but they could have been brought along into the Sky Foothills and bred for shorthaired variants down in the highlands. Passing on your ideas to other forums at once. Happy

Highborn Elf Concepts

Great Eagle (2019)

Eagleshaven Elven city map concept (2017)

Elf Heavy Archer (2016)

Face of a Killer (2016)

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-09-2019 07:03 PM

Dwarven Holds of Aseadal Peaks

As was discussed here, let's propose T9A to have both a fantasy Human Korea (quite much a given, to be expected) with a few Dwarven Holds in its numerous mountains (not a given). Let's pick Aseadal as a working name for this land, for the moment being; by taking Asadal (the name for the mythical first Korean city, founded by Dangun, a God-King descended to Earth) and inserting "ea" from the end of Korea for a mash-up. In the concept drawing above, the Dwarves of Aseadal Peaks take aesthetic cues from both Korean bronze age culture (especially the Liaoning type dagger), and the ironworking Gaya confederacy (42-562 A.D.) of the Three Kingdoms era, with its famous plate armour suits. The hexagonal shield shape is borrowed from Baekje, contemporary of the Gaya in the peninsula.

To distinguish the more heavily armoured Dwarrows of T9A's fantasy Korea from the proposed Sky Foothill Dwarves, all Dwarven Holds within Aseadal ought to be independent of the Human kingdom surrounding them, as is the norm for isolated Dwarven Holds elsewhere in the world. Having Dwarven Holds within the borders of Grand Tsuandan be subject to the Human Emperor is one way to play up the sheer exceptional power of Tsuandan (able to cow even Dwarves bunkered up in their heavily fortified highland Holds, and thus field some Dwarven auxiliaries in her armies), while the Aseadal Dwarves face a normal separated situation visavi the Humans around them.

And now, I hope @YKK will enlighten us on Korean history and share rich knowledge with which to craft a fantasy Korea. The name of this thread can with ease be changed to Aseadal (or some other name) in general to fully include discussion on the Humans of this peninsula (for which Perry Miniatures sport a great historical Joseon range), just say the word!

Please share your ideas, comments and criticism for this background proposal, folks. Happy

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-10-2019 01:32 AM

The Koran’s famed for archery therefore the dwarves would need to counter this. One way is heavy plate armour. Another would be wall shields (stretched hexagonal). They would need missile weapons too. To distinguish them from other dwarves maybe no set firearms but hand held miniature rockets launched along a wooden track like a cross bow without the bow. You could have a series of these ranging all the way up to large rocket batteries. Crossbows too could be used but stylistically with Korean heavily recurved bows.  Maybe phalanxes of spear wielding heavy infantry protecting rocket batteries and lines of heavy armed half held rocketeers. You could convert crossbowmen with removing the bows adding a rocket and a backplate behind it. These guys would need beard plates and face armour. Possibly the stylised face plate of late shogun era. They would need protection from the air... what about leaders on winged Kirin?  Magical horned winged goats of the Mountains.
The independence of these holds could be maintained similar to the Swiss of the 16th century. Too much effort to conquer and happy to be hired as mercenaries by the empire to the west. Whilst acting as a barrier to that empires expansion into the human lands of the peninsula to the east

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-11-2019 06:26 PM

Wonderful ideas as usual, mr. Unhinged! Thanks a lot for sharing. I've spread them to other forums. Happy

Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains

Ladies and gentlemen, can you sense the smell of the Inferno in the air? What weird, wonderful and horrible realms and peoples could be found in the benighted east? Enter, if you dare trek across the Barren Mountains on your way to reach the infamous city of Zalaman Tekash...

Let's give spice to the setting with a reverse image of the Nekoshim Dwarven Holds of the Copper Mountains: Where the Nekoshim are descended from the same stock as the benighted Infernal Dwarves in the east, and speak a cousin of the same language, they are uncorrupted, or so they claim.

As such, in the Barren Mountains could be found Dwarves of the same language family as those of Vetia, but corrupted to the core. These highland Infernal Dwarves would be a reference to the ancient Hittites of Anatolia, famous for their monolithic stone architecture, early smithing of iron, larger chariots, and being the Egyptian's great imperial enemy in the Battle of Kadesh. The Vetian Dwarf language of these Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains would be a reference to the Hittites speaking an Indoeuropean language.

The cursed Dwarrows of the Barren Mountains could have had a golden age of mighty empire long ago, which they remember with longing and festering hunger for power. Yet this Infernal Dwarf people of the highlands and their distinct culture remain for all their losses and and disasters, while the bite of their steel weapons tend to be directed by their suzerain overlords in Zalaman Tekash. They have sworn to reconquer the entire Barren Mountains range, which is now largely infested with barbarian Orc and Goblin tribes. While peripheral to the juggernaut power centre and hub of invention that is Zalaman Tekash, the benighted Dwarrows of the Barren Mountains still partake fully in the shared technology, science and forbidden lores of the Infernal Dwarves; sporting essentially the same arsenal and much the same ways of war. The Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains still build in an archaic style of monolithic stones true to their ancestors of dark glory, and they have likewise preserved bull chariots for more than just ceremonial and luxury usage. For occasionally their hosts will field mighty trundling bull chariots, side by side with smoke-belching Infernal Engines and other modern mechanical contraptions.

It has been remarked, by nasty people, that Dwarves are a pest impossible to exterminate. And so the world of the Ninth Age sport an intoxicating myriad of wildly different Dwarf cultures, whose penchant for preserving ancient traditions is only matched by their innovative craftsman minds and hands. The hard-bitten Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains are living proof of this.

Please share your ideas, comments and criticism for this quick background proposal, folks. And especially in this thread, if you please. Happy

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-11-2019 06:50 PM

More Dwarfs!!!!

I’d only just finished this fluff for the polar ones.

The Khinqwit dwarves of the far
north claim to be the oldest of the free races. They are certainly one of the hardest. They call themselves ‘the people’ and regard all others as enemies and slave races. Their myths go back to a time long before the sky hammer, hen their saurian slavemasters first took them to the mountains of the north to toil for the metals and gems they coveted. Stories tell of repeated slave breaks. How bands of desperate dwarves would force or tunnel their way to freedom. How the saurians would hunt them down, drag them back and butcher them in front of their comrades.
The myths also speak of Hakhawazharr of the Hard Path. Their first leader and founder of their race. They tell of his great escape with a large part of his people. They tell of how he planned it for mid winter when the saurians would be at their most sluggish. Hakhawazharr led his people north hoping to escape the pursuit. He chose the highest passes, the coldest tracks, the hardest paths.

The saurians disabled by the cold sent their hunters, trusted slaves trained in the recapture and execution of escapees. Bartered by the weather, harried by the hunters Hakhawazharr led his people ever northward, seeking for the Shackleless Land. The Shackeless Land where they would be free. The Shackleless Land where their enemies would not, could not follow.  The Shackleless Land where only the hardiest, only the hardest could survive.

Hakhawazharr was never to see his promised land. He died saving his people and avenging his wife, squeezing the life from the last of the hunting packs that had followed them. In his passing he urged them ever northwards and taught them the mantra of trust:

Trust not the Lizard, he will enslave you.
Trust not the Elf, he will ensnare you.
Trust not the Green of Skin he will savage you.
Trust not the Manning, he will betray you.
Trust not your weakling brethren, they will seek to profit from you.
Trust only in the people, they will save you.

The people of Hakhawazharr took his words as stone and turned their faces from the sun. Northwards they went till they reached the Shackleless Land of ice and snow where no Lizard could and no Hunter would follow them. Into the white desert they went trusting to the words of Hakhawazharr. Builders that they were they cut blocks from the ice and snow and huddled inside whilst hunters searched for sustenance in that white desert. Yet even with the meagre food they would have perished were it not for the first Shaman, Azthrogeh. It was he who went into the blizzard that night. He went to sacrifice himself. He went so there would be more food for the others. He went to find peace. He found fire! None know the truth of it. Or none will tell, for it is one of the great mysteries of ‘the people’. Yet it is said that Azthrogeh found the ‘Eternal Flame’, and that this entity that the people revere as a god taught Azthrogeh the secrets of sorcery so he might bring warmth to  ‘the people’s side they might live.

Little is known of the religion of the Khinqwit, for it is taboo to write the truths down and punishable by death to reveal them to others. That they worship fire in some form is known. Yet unlike other races they do not use it in warfare. Fire is regarded as a sacred thing and to knowingly extinguish a flame is a great sin. That they have magics to create and maintain fire is also known but they would never ‘bless’ an enemy by bestowing this gift upon them. That their god requires blood is also known only too well by those unfortunates who have the misfortune to fall into their grasp, The north is a hard place and it breeds a hard people. Weakness is death, pity is weakness, only the strong survive up there.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-11-2019 06:57 PM

Brief thoughts on benighted dwarfs. I suppose the easiest way to approach this is to think of the classic infernal dwarves as LoA steampunk and the benighted dwarves as a throwback to a golden age of ..... Big Hats! The Babylonian feel would fit. Not skullcracker steam engines but big hatred bull centaur driven whirlwinds and tenderisers. Not Dreadquake tech mortars but daemonic ass cannons. Now just need to find a home for 1st 2nd and 3rd ed cds.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-12-2019 10:26 AM

More polar dwarf stuff

By reason of their geographical position and self imposed isolation the Khinqwit dwarves of the North developed separately from others of their kin. This and the sheer lack of mineral resources mean their technological level is far behind most races. This has led many to foolishly and indeed fatally underestimate them. Their animal skin clothes serve not only to keep them warm but provide remarkable protection. This is thought to come from the many small symbol carved ivory and bone charms stitched carefully into them. These are thought to provide both increased warmth but also magical protection. Similarly the long ivory knives and short bone spears should by all rights shatter against the armour of more modern cultures. Yet just as water can be hard as iron when frozen so these symbol carved weapons have a strength and sharpness well beyond that which they should. Woe betide the foe who comes across one of their leaders with bartered or stolen metal weapons! These are bedecked with charms and symbols rendering them truly terrifying in combat. Many Khinqwit carry short bows of surprising power. These symbol carved bone and sinew  creations fire barbed shafts of bone with deadly accuracy over short distances. Worse still the tips are coated with some unknown poison which chills the blood of the victim. This will often kill smaller victims with just a scratch and several hits will slow even the great giant walruses that frequent the icy shores.
These ‘backward’ dwarves have been forced to find other ways than technology to survive and as such are possibly the most accomplished of all their kin in the mtstic arts. Each group of warriors or hunters will contain a shamatheh, a lesser shaman. These shamatheh draw on the combined power of the charms in the group to weave a storm of ice and snow round them to hide them from missiles and chill their enemies. With enough warriors gathered together the shamatheh can direct blasts of icy shards at their enemies. The full shamen, the shamanatheh can whip up blinding snows or devastating ice storms, where lumps of ice as big as a helmet can crash to the ground pulverise their enemies.
However the greatest weapon of the Khinqwit is their ferocity. Warriors have been known to fight on with horrific wounds driven by a frenzy of hate.

Most contact with the Khinqwit is by the few hardy traders that travel to the edge of the Shackleless land. There they will barter metal goods for the ivory and skins the Khinqwit hunters bring. Few ever see the scattered settlements of the Khinqwit that dot the ice. Yet stories abound of great settlements far to the north of great ice carved walls and terrible rituals. Few scholars credit these wild tales. How could that desolate waste support a large population? They are only a few scattered tribes, they say. But spend time in the north among the people’s who live close to the ice and you will hear tales. Tales of the darkest winters, when the wind blows from the north and the trees burst with cold. Tales of Khinqwit marching in dreadful silence. Led by Shamanatheh atop huge tusked white bears. Tales of hunting packs of great white wolves. Tales of Khwinqqigo. Terrifying creatures of snow ice and hate. Khwinqwigo, said to be the daemonic souls of Khinqwit driven to cannibalism in life called back to serve the shamanatheh. You will hear the names of settlements that were thriving before the winter snows cut them off and were found in Spring shattered empty shells, lifeless and silent. It is a tribute demanded by their god the eternal flame some say. There is nothing to be done. It is just the way of things. Anyway it is only in the coldest of winters......

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-16-2019 07:02 PM

Okay. Admiral wondered about Ural dwarfs in T9A. The Ural would have been situated on the wasteland created by the infernal dwarfs.

So here is some fluff ( for all you cd renegade and 1st to 3rd ed lovers.

There have been dwarves in the Khuralsh peaks for as long as anyone can remember. They were never renowned for their riches or their technological advancement. Instead they were renowned for their stubbornness and alcohol tolerance. Interestingly attributes valued equally or even slightly more than the others by dwarfs. Indeed it was said that only a Khuralshki dwarf would be drunk enough to start a starinrg contest with a statue. And only a Kuralshki dwarf would be stubborn enough to win it!
As such it was no surprise to anyone that the infernal dwarves made no progress whatsoever in their attempts to move northward through the mountains. Implacable resistance met every attempt. In the end the infernal dwarves turned their attention to easier prey.

However all that was before catastrophe that led to the waste. The infernal dwarves disastrous meddling with infernal powers devastated the land around, creating the wasteland. Sadly that was not all. The magical energies infused the great roiling dust clouds that formed. Some of these settled on the wastelands. Fine dust particles coated the Khuralsh peaks. Indeed for years afterwards the winds would sweep across the wastelands. The air would climb the the Khuralsh slopes and deposit the dust in the regular rains that watered those high peaks.

The catastrophe and the devastation it caused cut links from the outside world to the Khuralshki dwarf holds. Indeed it was well over two centuries before traders began to tread the old roads into the Khuralsh mountains from the north. What they found shocked them.

When the dust had first started to fall the Khuralshki locked their holds and huddled safe inside. Trusting to the stone and tuned to protect them. They were right to. The infernal energies saturating the dust poisoned thousands of creatures, devastating the gains of the area. Over the following months much of the Flora was affected too. The weaker annual plants just died. The hardier ones either failed to thrive or became twisted parodies of their former selves. Safe within their walls the Khuralshki ran down their stores and waited.

Eventually the dust clouds passed and life began to return to a semblance of normal. Still many of the weaker plants would not grow., or grew and died rapidly. Animals from the northern peaks and eastern slopes repopulated the area. The Khuralshki emerged unscathed. At first. Dwarfs are a resistant race, but they are long lived. Over the long years that followed the Khuralshki could not avoid the poisons that had sunk into the earth, entered the water and built up in the tissues of the animals of the Khuralsh. Even their precious ‘water of life’ (the terrifyingly strong liquor the drank from childhood) was affected. A less hardy race would have perished. A less stubborn race, left. The Khuralshki did neither. But they did change. Confidence became arrogance. Grudges became hatreds. Independence became rebellion. The great holds were riven first by factions, then by war. Kingdoms split into territories of rival warlords. What had been a disdain for other races became a disregard. The focus of their culture became war and violence. Age was no longer revered, just strength, and alcohol tolerance of course (they were still Khuralshki after all).

Their technological advance halted as civilised society collapsed. Then the mutations began to be noticed. At first small changes, often hidden by parents. Sometimes the child was killed or abandoned in the wilds. Some changes were merely cosmetic. Others not compatible with life. Others were useful! Khuralshki arose who could master magic. Others with abnormal strength, or speed or healing. But always with the mutation came lust for power.

The collapse of order amongst the Khuralshki should have made them weak. It should have left them ripe for conquest by their infernal brethren. Easily beaten or co opted to their cause. Such ran the arguments in Zalaman Tekash. Such was the logic that drove the invasion. Their organisation, their technology, their power would crush the opposition they told their legions. Unfortunately they failed to tell the Khuralshki.

More to come later.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - tjub - 04-17-2019 12:08 AM

Wow, well written Uther! Takes Hat off

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 04-17-2019 06:14 PM

Tjub, glad you liked it. Hope you caught the polar dwarves above as well.

Round 2 now. Little update before the big event.

Unlike their southerly cousins the Khuralshki did not seek infernal power. They gloried neither in its evil nor the effects it wrought upon them. The hate that seeped into their souls they directed outwards in all directions, elf, man, greenskins or dwarf, it made no difference. Yet a special hatred was reserved for the architects of their downfall. The infernal dwarfs would find no allies in the Khuralsh mountains. True they abandoned their old gods, much as they themselves had been abandoned. Yet though their new deities gloried in warfare and bloodshed they were Khuralshki to their core. They would bow to no other. They sought not just the destruction of their traditional enemies. They sought the destruction of all powers and dominions, divine or infernal. All must be brought to glorious ruin. An eternal hate (and alcohol) fuelled storm of violence. A beautiful combat where only the strongest of will would dominate. Where the Kuralshki would stride through the chaos, masters of the revels. It was into this culture the infernal dwarfs marched so confidently.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 04-30-2019 06:18 AM

Absolutely wonderful ideas, Uther! Cheers! Takes Hat off

Impressive to boot! You really have the vision to flesh out a full bizarre army in little time. Great brainstorming of concepts!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it's high time for the unhinged one. You can find a thread dedicated to the below concepts here in Chaos Dwarfs General Discussion:

Khuralshki Dwarves

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to go weird! To the hilt.

As you can see here, the first Chaos Dwarf concepts of the 1980s had a distinctly twisted bend, and this style has been followed up by many different miniature manufacturers who have all given their very own interpretation of this evil Dwarf aesthetic, first pioneered by Citadel Miniatures. Such as:

Darkling Games

Clam's Ewal Dvergar

Four A Miniatures


Oldhammer Miniatures by Andrew Taylor

Ral Partha

Wood Axe

Oldschool Miniatures

This style is only loosely based on historical armour suits and weapons, and is not founded on any particular culture. This won't do for the Ninth Age, and so here is a proposal from me: But much more from Uther the unhinged, who is a true fantasy visionary that can imagine whole bizarre armies filled with strange units at sweeping pace, and moreover have the writing skills to describe them in a thrilling manner. We both would like to see Oldhammer style Infernal Dwarves given a place of their own in the rich Ninth Age setting, and so we have gripped a crowbar to get one in on the map, in the hopes that T9A background developers picks up on it.

The basic concept is one of a tragic post-apocalyptic landscape in the heart of the Wasteland, and of a mountain range that has been all but forgotten it existed by other races than Dwarves. The historical basis is loosely that of Udmurts and the Chuvash people of the Urals, and of Russia in general, though truly Dwarven in possessing full plate armour and other technologies. I will let Uther describe the strangeness:

Uther the unhinged Wrote:
There have been Dwarves in the Khuralsh peaks for as long as anyone can remember. They were never renowned for their riches or their technological advancement. Instead they were renowned for their stubbornness and alcohol tolerance. Interestingly attributes valued equally or even slightly more than the others by Dwarves. Indeed it was said that only a Khuralshki dwarf would be drunk enough to start a starinrg contest with a statue. And only a Kuralshki Dwarf would be stubborn enough to win it!

As such it was no surprise to anyone that the infernal dwarves made no progress whatsoever in their attempts to move northward through the mountains. Implacable resistance met every attempt. In the end the Infernal Dwarves turned their attention to easier prey.

However all that was before catastrophe that led to the waste. The Infernal Dwarves disastrous meddling with infernal powers devastated the land around, creating the wasteland. Sadly that was not all. The magical energies infused the great roiling dust clouds that formed. Some of these settled on the wastelands. Fine dust particles coated the Khuralsh peaks. Indeed for years afterwards the winds would sweep across the wastelands. The air would climb the the Khuralsh slopes and deposit the dust in the regular rains that watered those high peaks.

The catastrophe and the devastation it caused cut links from the outside world to the Khuralshki dwarf holds. Indeed it was well over two centuries before traders began to tread the old roads into the Khuralsh mountains from the north. What they found shocked them.

When the dust had first started to fall the Khuralshki locked their holds and huddled safe inside. Trusting to the stone and tuned to protect them. They were right to. The infernal energies saturating the dust poisoned thousands of creatures, devastating the gains of the area. Over the following months much of the flora was affected too. The weaker annual plants just died. The hardier ones either failed to thrive or became twisted parodies of their former selves. Safe within their walls the Khuralshki ran down their stores and waited.

Eventually the dust clouds passed and life began to return to a semblance of normal. Still many of the weaker plants would not grow, or grew and died rapidly. Animals from the northern peaks and eastern slopes repopulated the area. The Khuralshki emerged unscathed. At first. Dwarves are a resistant race, but they are long lived. Over the long years that followed the Khuralshki could not avoid the poisons that had sunk into the earth, entered the water and built up in the tissues of the animals of the Khuralsh. Even their precious ‘water of life’ (the terrifyingly strong liquor the drank from childhood) was affected. A less hardy race would have perished. A less stubborn race, left. The Khuralshki did neither. But they did change. Confidence became arrogance. Grudges became hatreds. Independence became rebellion. The great holds were riven first by factions, then by war. Kingdoms split into territories of rival warlords. What had been a disdain for other races became a disregard. The focus of their culture became war and violence. Age was no longer revered, just strength, and alcohol tolerance of course (they were still Khuralshki after all).

Their technological advance halted as civilised society collapsed. Then the mutations began to be noticed. At first small changes, often hidden by parents. Sometimes the child was killed or abandoned in the wilds. Some changes were merely cosmetic. Others not compatible with life. Others were useful! Khuralshki arose who could master magic. Others with abnormal strength, or speed or healing. But always with the mutation came lust for power.

The collapse of order amongst the Khuralshki should have made them weak. It should have left them ripe for conquest by their infernal brethren. Easily beaten or co opted to their cause. Such ran the arguments in Zalaman Tekash. Such was the logic that drove the invasion. Their organisation, their technology, their power would crush the opposition they told their legions. Unfortunately they failed to tell the Khuralshki.

Unlike their southerly cousins the Khuralshki did not seek infernal power. They gloried neither in its evil nor the effects it wrought upon them. The hate that seeped into their souls they directed outwards in all directions, elf, man, greenskins or dwarf, it made no difference. Yet a special hatred was reserved for the architects of their downfall. The Infernal Dwarves would find no allies in the Khuralsh mountains. True, they abandoned their old gods, much as they themselves had been abandoned. Yet though their new deities gloried in warfare and bloodshed they were Khuralshki to their core. They would bow to no other. They sought not just the destruction of their traditional enemies. They sought the destruction of all powers and dominions, divine or infernal. All must be brought to glorious ruin. An eternal hate (and alcohol) fuelled storm of violence. A beautiful combat where only the strongest of will would dominate. Where the Kuralshki would stride through the chaos, masters of the revels. It was into this culture the infernal dwarfs marched so confidently.

The catastrophe that created the wasteland virtually cut off the Khuralsh mountains. As the world reeled from the disaster the Khuralshki Dwarves were forgotten. Indeed the younger races even began to leave the mountains off their maps. Soon only the Dwarves remembered their kin (there were grudges to settle after all). Even their cousins did not think the Khuralshki could survive. Surrounded by the wasteland. Assailed by daemons. Cut off by the followers of the Dark Gods. Surely they could not survive. Surely even the Khuralshki would have to leave their homeland or perish. When no Khuralshki came out the worst was  assumed. But as Wartrob Iron Tooth (the legendary Orc big boss) once remarked after a failed Waaaargh against the Khuralshki: “Dem stunties is too stoopid to no wen dey is ded.”

The Khuralshki did not flee. They did not die. But they did change.

The fate of the Khuralshki was unknown until fairly recently. Traders seeking a northerly route to the east (avoiding the Infernal Dwarves) came across the northernmost Khuralsh peaks. These seemed to be spared from the devastation of the wasteland to the South. Explorers began entering them to see if the could provide a route south and east into Augea. Few came out. Those that did spike of the change wrought in the Khuralski and shivered at the thought of a return. This was no safe route to Augea and Tsuandan.

Thus it was that their infernal cousins learned of the Khuralskis' survival. Surely theses Dwarves could be cajoled or forced to join the empire. A bastion of Infernal Dwarves in the Khuralsh could make the Wasteland passable. The lure of access to the sea of storms and the possibilities that it raised were tempting.

The plan was long in formenting. Access through various Ogre Khans' territory needed to be negotiated. Favours offered, bribes paid. Similarly deals were struck with various warlords sworn to the Dark Gods. This did not prevent all skirmishing or indeed Daemon assaults. Yet it was enough to allow the army access across the narrow stretch of Wasteland and the relative sanctuary of the lower Khuralsh slopes.

Their first objective reached, the Infernal force paused. Earthwork fortresses were constructed. Their Daemonic machines repaired and stores established. All the while the higher peaks overlooked them in inscrutable silence.

To be continued.

Great Eagle Assaults Khuralshki Dwarf

Uther the unhinged Wrote:
Couple more thoughts on Khuralski sorcerers:

They Khuralshki refused the daemon binding route taken by the ID. Instead they chose a different route. The Sorcerors developed tunic collars, placed round a slaves neck they provided control. The simplest constrict on a command word and are made by the acolytes to control and train the great bears, trolls and skin wolves. The more complex made by the Soulbinder sorcerors are linked to golden runic  bracelets. These allow construction but also a degree of direct control telepathically. These are used for the ogres and captured sorcerors of the dark gods. This enables Khuralshki Soulbinder sorcerors to wield great power and avoid the sorcerors curse. Of course only lesser sorcerors can be so controlled and only one per Khuralski lord. Death of the lord frees the bound souls but they are too damaged by the trauma and are driven mad lashing out at friend or foe or just sitting stuporose.

What do you think?

Please share your thoughts, ideas and criticism for this corrupted Dwarf proposal! We'd love to hear it.

I have neither time nor intention of turning this into a Homebrew army book, though others are of course more than welcome to do so! Happy

And now, get thinkin', and get thinkin' in weird ways...


Reference Images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-01-2019 09:09 PM

Twin posting in this thread, which is dedicated to the discussion of Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains and their vicious sidekicks. Wink

Kundrocerian Hobgoblin Wolf Rider

My colleague tjub asked for Hobgoblins to go along with the Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains, so here goes a remnant of fantasy Cimmerians, with cues taken from the Andronovo and Koban archaeological cultures, settled in the fantasy equivalent of the steppe inlands of Anatolia (which attracted Turkic nomads following the battle for Manzikert):

The steppes of Vetia and Augea are nowadays largely dominated by Makhar Humans and Ogre tribes, with Hobgoblins being a persistent but minor part of this volatile, shifting landscape. It was not always such. The very first true lords of the steppes were Hobgoblins, for it was they who first mastered mounted combat and spread terror far and wide with their wolf chariots and riders. The Fourth Age, that ruinous age of iron and barbarity, saw Orcs and Goblins rise like a savage tide in Vetia, and their Hobgoblin cousins were likewise ascendant on the vast steppes in the inlands of Vetia and Augea. Later on, the Hobgoblins were overshadowed by Ogres and Humans, but the Fourth Age were their absolute peak of dominance on the steppes. Yet Hobgoblin ascendancy predates this age, for the very first hordes of mounted steppe nomads appeared during the late Third Age, when their chariots and later wolf riders struck terror into western Augea and pillaged far afield. The warlike exploits of these most ancient of Hobgoblin tribes were the subject of alarm and fear during their heyday, and echoes of this chaos and scare still lives on in scattered legends and surviving writings, in the shape of odd tribal names and short descriptions of war and fabulously unlikely conquest of cities by cunning Hobgoblins armed with bronze weapons.

While the original tribal confederacies that ravaged the late Third Age are long gone, leftovers from this initial age of greatness still lingers in the steppe-like inland of Minor Augea, for here the Kundrocerian Hobgoblins roam the small steppe, serving as vassals to the Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains and clashing with local enemies such as Vermin Swarms, Orcs and Goblins, as well as Avrasian and Chiomarean Humans.

The many varied landscapes of Minor Augea are home to several archaic remnants from earlier ages, who have managed to preserve much of their ancient way of life and war. The Kundrocerians are the most archaic, and their tribes are still alive and kicking as ruthless slavers, raiders and ambushers; an echo of great invasions during bygone ages of ruin, still sporting wolf chariots and ravenous riders with devious cunning in their quivers and cruelty in their eyes.

Please share your thoughts, criticism and ideas on this Hobgoblin sidekick proposal for the fantasy Hittite Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains. Happy


Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-02-2019 04:38 AM

The Infernal Dwarf Captain and the Stone Ship, by Karhemaq Telltongue

There was once an Infernal Dwarf captain serving aboard an ironclad warship. He was a cruel soul hungering for the chance to domineer and crush others underhoof. He was also known for his tenacity, and many believed that he would let nothing stop him once he had put his mind to the task.

One day, the lookout of this Infernal Dwarf's ironclad caught sight of one of our stone ships, flying the banners of Kegiz Gavem in broad daylight. The captain of the steel ship was gripped by a desire to board or sink this enemy vessel, and so he roared out orders on deck and set to the task of sea warfare with vomiting smokestacks. Paddle wheels steamed him closer, swinging in for a broadside, and he ordered his crew to open up with artillery fire.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this duel, and our barrage worsted him. And so he roared out orders to board us. Paddle wheels steamed him closer, and grappling hooks gripped our stout railing. And he ordered his crew to assault us.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this combat, and our warriors worsted him. And so he roared out orders to disengage and ram us instead. Paddle wheels backed water for him, and then steamed him onward at full speed. And he ordered his crew to brace for impact.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this ramming action, and our rock hull worsted him so badly that his metal hull creaked and ripped open as rivets popped. And the whole ironclad sank with all hands, except for the Infernal Dwarf captain.

And so he swam toward us, and our merciful warriors produced a rope-ladder for him to climb and thus save his life if he swore to surrender to the victors of naval battle.

Yet the enraged Infernal Dwarf captain refused this offer, and instead started to crash his horned head against our carved stone hull like a mad bull, throwing himself against floating rock again and again until his horns broke and his skull cracked and his brains burst. And so we left the Infernal Dwarf's corpse dishonourably for the sharks to devour. For stubbornness is a virtue, but stupidity is a sin.

- The Infernal Dwarf Captain and the Stone Ship, by Karhemaq Telltongue, mutilated war veteran and author of fables in Kegiz Gavem

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-15-2019 12:56 PM

Dwarf of Nevaz Derom

Ladies and gentlemen, let's sprinkle some gold into the world of the Ninth Age. Glittering gold.

Eastmost of the three great Dwarven Holds of the White Mountains in Vetia, we find Nevaz Derom. Given its location, which corresponds to the Carpathians of Europe, I propose that the Dwarves of Nevaz Derom and all her daughter holds in the area be based on ancient Dacians. This historical people were famous for their gold mines, their mountain fortresses, their curved falx swords, their wolf-topped draco standards and their wars against Rome which have been immortalized in Trajanus' triumphal column.

Aesthetically, basing Nevaz Derom on ancient Dacia brings with it advantages outside the scope of the Dacian basis in and of itself: For the prevalent scale armour, high helmets and curved swords all nods to the Infernal Dwarves farther east, which ought to suit the easternmost of the three great Dwarven Holds in Vetia. It also give a good excuse for wolf pelts and fangs, and lupine iconography in the Dwarves' handicraft designs. Moreover, with ancient Dacia being stylistically influenced by the Roman and Greek Mediterranean world, we find here - if anywhere - a decent Dwarf culture candidate to feature designs reminiscent of the ancient (or mediaeval) Roman Empire, particularly given Nevaz Derom's close proximity to Avras. As with the proposed Dwarven Holds of the Maidens (T9A Celts) and the Crimson Peaks (T9A Celtiberians), Nevaz Derom is fully a part of the Vetian Dwarves' world of shared high technology, and moreover Nevaz Derom would be a bustling industrial centre of science and invention in its own right unlike the two mentioned peripheral regions. So its arsenal would be the standard Dwarven Hold one.

And of course, Nevaz Derom would be famous for its gold mines and its goldsmiths, and its people and warriors would sport plenty of golden art about their persons.

Dînadan on Deviantart this proposal to share, which makes a lot of sense given Nevaz Derom's proximity to Avras:

Dinadan-Ermorfea Wrote:
One idea - how about instead of wolves they use something like moles or other such subterranean creatures in their iconography?

Not up on 9th Age lore, but does there exist the same animosity between dwarves and ratmen as between WH Dwarfs and Skaven?  Maybe they could even be ratman pelts?

While Mercenary Armies on T9A had this to share. Seeker nest like Karak Kadrin ahoy?

Mercenary Armies Wrote:
I wrote this about Nevaz Derom

"4. The Gates of Nevaz Derom

The old great iron eastern gates of the white mountains are still able to protect the Nevaz Derom pass and access to the heart of the territories of the strongholds.

At the time of their construction, the gates were able to open mechanically and were heavily armed. Despite the extraordinary structural defense, the gates fell against the astuteness of the Rat Legions. The gates serve as a wall and fortress, no longer moving, and as a stronghold of the Path of Revenge, the famous crested dwarf brotherhood."

. it fits with a Dacian style, defeated by romans / rats legions.
for me is a good starting point. we should try to find a name and a good bg for characters. Decebalo but dwarvish version.

the Path of Revenge is a project to make an army out of Fireslayers/Seekers

While Thunderförge on Bugman's Brewery had this idea:

Thunderförge Wrote:
I wonder if the concave blade could be applied to an axe in the Dacian style? Like back to back crescent moons with a handle?
I’ve always considered that axes are such a deep part of dwarf psyche that they transgress cultural stylings.

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

Reference images:

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 05-18-2019 09:38 AM

Dwarven Hold of Nevaz Barim

The central of the three great Dwarven Holds of Vetia's White Mountains, namely Nevaz Barim and her surrounding lesser daughter Holds, could be based on south Germanic tribes. Both Celtic and Germanic styles have always went along well with Dwarven designs, and the sheer warlike nature of the ancient Germanic tribes will always make for a ferocious combination with wrathful fantasy Dwarves. Nevaz Barim's arsenal would entirely be that of the bread and butter Dwarven Hold army list, yet the craft designs would be distinct from its neighbours. Suebian knots would certainly feature! Ancient south Germanic tribes did not sport as strongly distinctive styles of their own, as the Nordic peoples of Vendel and Viking age Scandinavia did. South Germanic tribes sported visual influence from Celtic, Dacian, Roman and, to a lesser degree, later also Hunnic styles. Still, some distinctive styles can be picked up along the way, ready for fantasy duty in Dwarf armour: Some Marcomannic shields shapes, Migration Era Germanic shield bosses, ornate Anglo-Saxon helmets (based on spangenhelms) and some Merovingian jewelry.

Nevaz Barim could have a close ancestral connection to Northern Dwarves, made distant by the passage of many Ages, to the point where their Northern kin view them as but yet another southerner people of Dwarrows, with no special bonds between them. The Dwarves of Nevaz Barim (and her daughter Holds) could have a particularly warlike reputation, sporting an unusually large number of Grudge conflicts with other Dwarves, and indeed with each other, aside from a bloodthirsty record of wars again other races. They are fractious yet strong. Foreigners who have come to know the denizens of Nevaz Barim closely, all tend to conclude that these Dwarves are not primarily interested in gains and victory at the end of the day, but instead they wage war for the sake of war itself.

Nevaz Barim could be particularly famous for its iron mines, steel works and mighty fine weaponry; while its eastern neighbour Nevaz Derom is best known for its gold.

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

Reference images (concept drawing partially inspired by Sergio Artigas' Lotr artwork of Ironfists):

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 08-01-2019 01:11 AM

These artworks have been kindly created for T9A by Igor Levchenko, being a concept series of Gavemites. Igor Levchenko has a deft hand at painting suggestive concept artworks full of vigour and an antique painterly impression.

Check out his Deviantart gallery and leave him a comment if you like!

Kegiz Gavem Concept Artwork by Igor Levchenko

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

Kegiz Gavem Concept Art by Igor Levchenko: C Series (Robes)

C Mood Painting: Proclamation Against Infernal Dwarves

Concept C1

Concept C2

Concept C3

Concept C4

Kegiz Gavem Concept Art by Igor Levchenko: D Series (Sickle swords)

D Mood Painting

Concept D1

Concept D2

Igor Levchenko Wrote:
Yes, that's a vertebra-shaped pommel, supposedly made from colorful stone.

Concept D3: Stepdance

Igor Levchenko Wrote:
I envisioned him as a sailor, a naval [artilleryman] dancing his victory dance after scoring a hit on an enemy vessel.

Concept D4

Concept D5

Concept D6

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-12-2019 11:00 PM

Tribal fight in the northwest Barren Mountains

The Caucasus Mountains are famous for harbouring many different peoples since ancient times, with tribes barely being in contact with the others in the next valley. While the open steppes of Central Asia provided the perfect stomping grounds for nomadic conquerors to forge new peoples through an ethnogenesis of the winners take it all (for as long as they keeps winning), mountainous Caucasus instead provided shelter for the weak, and preserved them for long ages in highlands which were hard to access and easy to defend.

In the Ninth Age world map, we may note that the Barren Mountains project straight west across the peninsula which we for the moment will call Minor Augea, terminating but a short distance from Avras (it is warmly recommended to check out the environs of Avras map by HKYUGOK). Taking a cue from the Caucasus' conserving effect and taking it two steps further, it may be proposed that the Barren Mountains host a plethora of different tribes and realms (the strongest of which would be the Hittite-equivalent Infernal Dwarf kingdom of the Barren Mountains), many of which have preserved not only their lives, identity and language, but also many forms of dress and warfare which have elsewhere long since become outdated.

The region is fractious and warlike, with endless feuds, cattle raids and petty conflicts brewing between tribes and states. Here is a proposal for some tribes and statelets which could be found in and around the northwestern Barren Mountains, and on the northern peninsula, which could be a local Human strongpoint in a region not at all dominated by Humans. By no means an exhaustive list, this is more to get the ball rolling and hopefully flesh out more later on:

The three particular tribal groups from the northwestern Barren Mountains, depicted in the drawing up top, are the Human Chiomareans (T9A Galatians), Orc & Goblin Karkuwiyans (T9A Karians) and Vermin Swarm Ezorians (T9A Isaurians), who all have survived through the ravages of warlike ages in their respective mountainous landscapes, ever poor highlanders and martial raiders. At the very least they could be recycled for Fourth-Fifth Age duty, but the primary intent here is to spice up the Renaissance setting with more ancient and dark age stuff on the periphery (something which Warhammer Fantasy has too little of, brilliant as it otherwise is).

The Chiomarean Human tribes in this proposal are fantasy equivalents of the Galatians who migrated into Minor Asia after taking part of a lengthy bout of conquest and raiding through what is now the Balkans. These famously warlike Celts were employed as mercenaries in the Hellenistic successor states, and particularly so in Ptolemaic Egypt, which has been brilliantly illustrated by the late master Angus McBride. Being an ancient remnant sheltered in poor highlands, such Chiomareans could be an excuse for those wanting to whip out an ancient Celtic Human fantasy army in the Ninth Age (see de Witte's ongoing Albion marathon for Briton WHFB inspiration).

The Karkuwiyan Orc & Goblin tribes are in turn based on the Karians of southwestern Minor Asia. Greeks described Karians as inventors of vertical crested helmets (jocularly branding them as cocks) and the shield handles which the ancient Hellenes themselves used, as well as skilled metalworkers and weaponsmiths. The fractious Karians (possibly descendants of Luwians) once inhabited the rich coastlands at the Aegean Sea, but were pushed up into the mountains by Ionian settlers. Derided as typical barbarians by the Greeks, we can take the Karians and make an Orc & Goblin fantasy version of them. Indeed pushed out into the highlands, and with a richer past golden age to look back to, the Karkuwiyan remain fierce warriors and rather skilled craftsmen for making their instruments of war, especially so by Orc & Goblin standards. This is a chance to get some ancient Second Age (Bronze Age) flowering of Orc & Goblin high culture under Akrübad the great Orc into the setting's history, still hanging around up in the highlands as a tribal remnant.

The Ezorian Vermin Swarm tribes are in turn based on the Isaurian highlanders of southern Anatolia, who proved a raiding bandit nuisance to Roman Anatolia even through late antiquity. The Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th century risked becoming too dependant on Gothic manpower for its armies in the long wake of the disaster at Adrianople, yet emperor Leo I solved this issue by turning to the realm's native Isaurians instead (afterward, Illyria, and then Armenia provided the bulk of military manpower for Constantinople's Roman armies). Poor, warlike and used to harsh living like almost all highlanders, the Isaurian tribesmen were perfect recruits for the Eastern Roman army. Given the Byzantine link, it's a given that the Ezorians should be tribal and impoverished Vermin Swarm living on marginal land, happy to raid and ever a supply of martial manpower for Vermin Tyrants. Much of their dwellings and territory could be subterranean, but there are nevertheless always bounty and land to be had on the surface of the world as well.

There are a lot of colourful warlike peoples throughout history which are begging for a fantasy treatment in the most detailed historically based fantasy setting ever conceived to this day. The Ninth Age have the chance to grab them and make for a truly caleidoscopic patchwork setting, that will keep people coming back looking for more: More small-scale down-to-earth fiction (in comparison to more high-flying magitech settings), but also more over-the-top fantasy concepts rooted in history, folklore and mythology. My firm advice is that you grab the torch carried by Tolkien and Warhammer with a strong hand, and run much further with it than has ever been seen before.

Please share your ideas, comments and criticism for this quick background proposal, folks. Happy

Reference images:

See also: New Faction Proposals

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-17-2019 03:20 AM

Dwarf of Nevaz Vanez

The westmost of the three great Dwarven Holds in the White Mountains is Nevaz Vanez. This Dwarven powerhouse, along with its surrounding lesser daughter Holds, could be based on the ancient Celtic tribe of Helvetians, and by extension Switzerland. This proposal is borne out of Nevaz Vanez' location in Vetia (T9A Europe), and is likwise the logical conclusion of this proposal arc for the White Mountains, with the eastmost Dwarven Hold, Nevaz Derom, being fantasy Dacian, and the middle Hold of Nevaz Barim being south Germanic . That leaves the western slot of the White Mountains on the world map as Celtic, or Swiss. Preferably both.

Nevaz Vanez could have a close ancestral connection to the (smaller) Dwarven Holds of the Maidens (T9A Celts) and the Crimson Peaks (T9A Celtiberians). Furthermore, Nevaz Vanez would be particularly famous for its copper mines, bronze casting and proficiency with spears in war. In peacetime, it is also known among Human merchants for its finance and banks, and indeed Nevaz Vanez is in more frequent contact with outsiders than any other Hold in Vetia (though it is still highly insular with letting foreigners into the Hold proper ). Nevaz Vanez is situated on a mountainous, and partly subterranean, crossroad between Equitaine, Sonnstahl and western Arcalea, from which it derives some wealth as an overland trading hub despite the arduous ascent. The warriors of Nevaz Vanez are often busy patrolling these trade routes, manning fortified waystations and scouring the mountainsides (often on skis) in order to keep the routes secure for caravans.

The Dwarves of Nevaz Vanez sport state of the art engineering and precision craftsmanship second to none, being the original inventors of both mail armour and clockwork mechanisms. All three great Dwarven Holds of the White Mountains are hotbeds of industry and advanced engineering, and the engineers of Nevaz Vanez have a reputation for being the very best and most creative inventors, albeit they are also known and scorned for being the most eccentric and prone to come up with newfangled designs of dubious merit in the eyes of their fellow Dwarves.

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

Reference images:

See also: New Faction Proposals

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 10-17-2019 01:05 PM

Ok, given other areas probably most fun in going down the Swiss route

Therefore spear phalanxes tick
Crossbows tick

Super accurate clockwork powered over complicated clockwork crossbows much better than dark elf but more likely to just explode in shower of cogs tick

Small dwarfs with massive oversized two handed axes hidden like gob fanatics in spear phalanxes ready to jump out and create minor havoc tick

Giant clockwork ‘ornithopter’ birds ( May look a bit like cuckoos?) to carry begoggled rider heroes tick

Clockwork animals (cows) that charge into the enemy causing huge damage then explode for some more (mobile mines) tick

Dwarfs atop stepladders to blow obscenely huge alpine horns for massive morale effects tick

Massive clockwork over complicated bizarre terrain piece multifaceted Miri pendulum clock that can affect the very running of time (eg double move, double attack/ half move half attack ) or alternatively just explode under the weight of its own impossibility. Tick

Just some ramblings

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 10-29-2019 03:49 AM

@Uther the unhinged: Nice ideas as ever! Shared them on T9A. Happy

Preamble: The ancient Roman army is well renowned for its professionalism and organization, which included milites medici, that is field surgeons and medical staff. These medical services ensured that Legionnaires sported an average longer lifespan than most people in the classical empire, with most Legionnaires surviving their long service to settle down in veteran colonies.

Although horribly battered by plagues, invasions, depopulation, loss of provinces and constant war on multiple fronts, the mediaeval Roman (Byzantine) civilization still carried this torch of professionalism, its flame diminished but unquenched. The Romans alone trained their armies professionally in an age when all of its foes depended on a core of warrior nobles and levies (or a steady stream of religious fanatics come to attack infidels; see Cilicia), and as such the Byzantines were capable of a far wider repertoire of practiced military maneuvers than any of its enemies were. The ancient Roman practice of constructing marching camps was likewise kept up, albeit not to the old high standards and not as frequently; as was the imperial riding courier system with its stables and remounts; as well as the new institution of warning beacons atop mountain tops capable of warning Constantinople of enemy raiders at the border in record time.

One such streak of ancient Roman professionalism which survived the decline and ravages of the Dark Ages was its field surgery and military medicine. Indeed the Byzantines further developed this classical heritage by pioneering hospitals, and we know that their armies included deputatoi, that is paramedics whose duty it was to take wounded soldiers back to the field surgeons rapidly. I once stumbled across an intriguing mention that at least some deputatoi sported horses with a ladder hanging down one flank, for the injured to grab hold of as he was rushed back to camp from the battlefield.

Which takes us to this proposal for the Ratmen of fallen Avras, of no interest for army lists but for background stories:

Vermin Swarm Medical Deputy

The Vermin Tyrants would seem to be callous about spending their teeming manpower given its high rate of renewal, yet in fact a common medical institution exist among the Vermin Swarm of Vetia which tend to dampen the very worst die-off from attrition and battle. Highly trained specialists such as Rakachit Machinists and professional soldiers such as Vermin Guards are given the highest priority by the Medical Deputies who retrieve wounded warriors from the field, with lesser Vermin often left to die or to be eaten by their hungry kin when casualties are overwhelming. Part of the camp followers but much more prestigious than porters, Medical Deputies can be seen tugging along abominable rats almost the size of cattle. These beasts sport a harness with a short ladder to which wounded can cling (or be bound)), as the Deputy runs alongside his pack animal at high speed. In this fashion Medical Deputies transport wounded from the battlefield to the camp surgeons, thus saving many Vermin lives by their swift actions.

Yet sinister rumours claim that many wounded rat warriors who are written off as dying en route back to camp, or while being administered medical treatment, are in fact smuggled out to shady meatsnatchers. Some claim that corrupt Medical Deputies sell off their wounded on the side, while others claim that both doctors and runners are in on the clandestine action. Whatever the exact nature of this trade in injured bodies, the main suspects as to buyers are those flesh-wreaking freaks who will balk at nothing to acquire living matter for their next insane experiment. It is much safer for the Medical Deputies to sell off wounded Slaves, Rats at Arms and similar low-priority personnel, than to snitch more high-ranking Vermin. Yet even so, greed and daring sometimes combine to see a respectable Rat finding himself shackled on the madman's table, or in his breeding pens...

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 11-15-2019 10:36 AM

Vermin Swarm Mutiny

Vermin Tyrant Etzakoulos Skritchattik the Perfect was torn apart by his own troops following a lost battle east of fallen Avras. The majority of his forces managed to retreat most shamefully intact, outrunning their Human pursuers during a lengthy chase. When Etzakoulos finally had rallied his exhausted and ragged soldiers, he proceeded to high-handedly harangue them and blame the entire defeat upon their cowardice and moral flaws. The fuming Etzakoulos went on at length, and after a while he started to relish the sound of his own voice chittering with righteous fury. And so he speaked, and speaked, and speaked, heaping abuse upon his entire army and singling out every single unit under his command to criticize them in particular in scornful detail.

Inititially, the wet and stinking Vermin were overcome with shame and self-loathing, but this soon changed into indignant wrath at the presumptuous and insulting speech of their commander. Glares and angry hisses shot out from the armed crowd, growing more numerous and threatening by the minute. Yet no one dared to lift a finger in defiance while Etzakoulos​ Skritchattik the Perfect stood surrounded by his lethal Vermin Guard, who knew their continued high pay and outrageous privileges depended upon the survival of the warlord. Yet Etzakoulos​ managed to trample even his fierce bodyguard under his waggling tongue, spitting toward them and calling them the "gilded scum of the earth, those pampered litter-kin gelded of both manhood and tail."

After exchanging murderous sideway glances, the Vermin Guard suddenly​ stepped backward and left a wide, open semicircle around the babbling Vermin Tyrant Etzakoulos. Taking this cue, the rank and file Rats-at-Arms immediately seized the opportunity to rush forward in a screeching wave and tear their hated leader to tiny bits, which they then fed to a swarm of Giant Rats, who were then maimed of all four legs and piled in a heap. This nightmare mound of screeching rodents containing the devoured remains of Etzakoulos​ were then scorched to cinders and blackened bones by Naphtha Throwers, and their ashes were heaped in a dung pit.

Thus perished​ Vermin Tyrant Etzakoulos Skritchattik the Perfect​ by the hands of his own host.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 11-16-2019 07:43 AM

Cool ratty story. I like the idea of byzantine rats. Does T9A have ratty cataphracts, heavy armoured ratkin on heavy armoured giant/wolf rats. They would be cool.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 11-16-2019 08:45 AM

Cheers Uther! I originally tossed a proposal of Byzantine remnant Humans at T9A after seeing their new world map with Avras as a crossroad city... only to discover to my surprise that the Rats would be the Byzantines.

Of course: Mediaeval flamethrowers, backstabbing and infighting, and segmented plate armour and metal helmet crests. Plus that backstory for Skavenblight in a Tilean city surrounded by swamps, that is, a Ravenna equivalent. Skaven in Warhammer apparently were Romans all along! Big Grin

So the Ninth Age drew inspiration from this and simply plan to ratchet it up several notches. There's even a company, Dragon Claw Miniatures, that recently released Republican Roman ratmen through Kickstarter.

There's not much revealed on the Vermin Swarm in the Ninth Age yet, so I've repeatedly got the itch for some ratty concept doodles to try out the Byzantine rodent look (blank canvas opportunity), and hopefully give better artists who are actually involved in T9A team some ideas for where they could go, if they like. All I've seen in my limited readings of T9A fluff are their involvement in the fall of Avras (Rome) during the Fifth Age, from the World Hymn.

I sure hope they will have Cataphracts! I actually drew a Catarat for the sake of a pun, but I had to wrack my brain for what it should be. Would it be ratmen mounted on heavily armoured wolf rats? Or on the shoulders of armoured rat ogres? But of course, there is already a mounted rat in the army list!

Forgeworld sports a Brood Horror mounted by a Skaven leader. This has made it into the Vermin Swarm army list as a Monstrous Rat mount for Vermin Tyrants. A mate of mine fields one equipped with some tricky magic items that make this "cowboy" into a deadly surprise for his opponents. Rats can ignore challenges you see, so the usual ploy of challenging with a champion to save one's characters from the enemy's murder hero don't work against ratkin.

So the Catarat idea is for monstrous hero cavalry at the moment:

Would love to hear if you have any unhinged ideas for Byzantine ratkin, by the way!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 11-16-2019 10:50 AM

Byzantine armies not my historical forte but the did use quite a lot of horse archers. Now bows not very ratty are they bu many many many years ago I had a English civil war cavalryman (Roundhead) figure with a small blunderbus. I could see lightly armed vermin atop wolf rats with firearms. However rather than firing bullets/shot which may need to be accurate they could fire canisters of Greek/vermin fire. Short range but high damage. If combined with a fire retreat ability .... devastating. That is of course if they don’t just blow up in their faces.

Also a few years ago (pre LoA) I converted my goblins to Hobgobs. Just added head gear (I am not Xander). I was left with three 90s fanatics. So I added head gear, painted the non spiked balls black and added fuses. Thus they became ‘lobbers’, hiding in units then popping out (toa safe distance) and lobbing the bomb at the enemy like throwing the hammer (an Ancient Greek weapon). Of course in my rules it did not always go to plan. I could see big vermin or even rat ogres armed like this. The rat ogres with bigger range could be shielded by units of vermin.

Anyway just some thoughts.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 11-27-2019 10:03 PM

@Uther the unhinged: Nice idea! Thanks. Here's a quick on-foot or rather on-paw version for the time being. Hope to tackle a mounted naphtha slinger eventually.

Lovely lobbers! You don't happen to have any photos around, by any chance? Big Grin

Vermin Swarm Grenadier

Skirmisher slinging naphtha pots aflame at the foe.

Reference Images

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 11-28-2019 08:36 PM

Cool rat grenadier!
Sorry I don’t have pictures of the lobbers. I still have the minis stored somewhere and I’ll try to get some pics up.

Of course now I’m thinking is there scope for rat pole vaulters to leap barricades? Maybe living plague bombs pole vaulting over front lines to infect/explode the foe. Not sure how practical but could be quite a cool mini.

Also could go for a rat Testudo old roman shield tortoise. I could see this crawling across the field releasing rat swarms from beneath the takin shields.

Lastly but not least who could be the Varangian guard. The elite Viking force of mercenaries? Ogres possibly but in chain mail with BIG axes. How about them being led by a half giant (ogre giant cross) modelled on Harald Hardrada.

Drat, had wine again.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-02-2019 12:01 AM

Wonderful ideas, all of them, Uther! I've been doodling non-stop in my spare time ever since I read your post here. You apparently should drink wine more often! Big Grin

Good idea for the Varangian guard! I've pondered them for a long time, and that may indeed be the best solution. Great ideas, please keep 'em coming!

Vermin Swarm Testudo

A truly ancient tactic long used by the Vermin Swarm is the unleashing of rat swarms from infantry units packed close in tortoise formation. No one knows how the ratmen manage to control most of the small rats massed around their paws until the moment they are released. Some speculate that Rats-at-Arms carry with them bags filled with small rats which are emptied at a signal from the commanding officer, yet most eye-witness accounts attest that many Vermin Swarm infantry formations are accompanied by a chittering mass of small rodents at all times on the battlefield. Whatever the exact workings behind this mystery, the symbiotic relationship between animal rats and sentient ratmen remain a primary reason why their ilk is called the Vermin Swarm.

The sudden onrush of bestial rat swarms from out of cohorts of Rats-at-Arms has time and again swayed battles in the Vermin Swarm's favour. It is especially useful as a surprise to disrupt enemy charges before they reach the shields of the Rats-at-Arms, or to buy time for the warriors to make their escape from a losing fight. The combination of rat swarms and closely packed infantry formations have also been used to soften up an enemy and give the Rats-at-Arms a much needed edge in combat. Even at the best of times, the questionable discipline and combat performance of Vermin Swarm infantry has long required an array of innovative tricks up their Tyrants' sleeves, including attached weapon teams, rat swarms and concealed flanking units to assist the mainstay Rats-at-Arms in the bloody grind of melee before their vermin nerve gives in. Such are the crooked tools with which victory is clawed into the grasping hands of chittering warlords, the true rulers of fabled Avras.

This concept is all Uther the unhinged's idea of a Vermin Swarm testudo formation unleashing rat swarms from under its shields, from over on Chaos Dwarfs Online. The drawing itself is heavily based upon AMELIANVS' drawing of Narses overseeing training. The kite shields are to aesthetically tie in with Mediaeval Roman Skoutatoi troops, while the shield designs are based off Roman ones from Classical (both Republican and Imperial) and Late Antiquity. The helmet and spear designs are likewise plucked from all over the Roman timeline, and include both a rat-adapted Apulo-Corinthian helmet and some headgear based on horse armour. The signum standard is topped by the symbol of the Last Human Ruler of Avras Quartered by Four Vermin Hulks.

Reference Images

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Dînadan - 12-02-2019 01:20 AM

Why is it that I can only see this ending up with the ratmen tangled up into the mother of all rat kings? 😜

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-05-2019 07:59 AM

@Dînadan: Haha, an unavoidable accident for sure! It's even in their insignia:

Vermin Swarm Scholar

Sizeable parts of the learning of ancient Avras of the Humans have been carried on by the ratmen that claimed supremacy over its fallen civilization. Much of the ancient heritage of literature, science and wisdom has been lost to the teeth of time, yet what remains of the old lore in the frayed and treasured libraries of the Vermin Swarm has been expanded with new works and new insights gained through the ages. Many classical works survive only in parts as excerpts or quotations in ratmen's compilations, while only a few books remain of many multi-volume works. Often the final loss of books have been due to starved vermin kin gnawing up parchment and papyrus in a mad scavenging for food, or due to rat swarms finding a tiny entrance into lead-sealed scroll containers. Such constant danger to the corpus of hand-written tomes only increase the value and prestige of owning books, and commissioning them to be written.

The upper classes of the Vermin Swarm are strongly classicizing in their approach to higher culture. Understanding ancient languages and being versed in the classics is an important element in what sets them apart from the teeming plebeian masses below, and from the barbarian nations outside. Scribes and scholars who come into the favour of Vermin Tyrants enjoy lavish privileges and access to slaves and resources which most ratmen could only dream of. Such succesful learned ratmen tend to grow proud and arrogant toward underlings, and are in turn despised by commoners as a result. A persistent strain of self-important philosophers among the Vermin Swarm finds a perverse joy in writing abstract treatises on liberty with one clawed hand, while whipping their slaves harshly with the other. Consequentially, many a renowned ratman scholar's career has ended abruptly when he was torn apart by his long-suffering household slaves, or lynched by offended commoners or Rats-at-Arms in his master's employ.

Drawn at the request of piteglio.

Reference Images.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 12-05-2019 05:10 PM

Love the hypocrisy of the scribes. Excellent fluff.

By the way to stimulate your creative juices Manticores do a rat king figure. It is part of their sci-fi ratkin range the Veer-myn, called a Veer-myn Tangle. Just thought you could come up with something for  T9A

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-11-2019 03:02 AM

Thank Uther! Lovely idea there. Cheers!

Doodled some quick Infernal Dwarf technical schematic advice for Mad 'At (text in Swedish):

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 12-31-2019 10:33 AM

Tk'ya'pyk over on Lustria Online have an idea for Dreadmill circus racing:

Tk'ya'pyk Wrote:
So traditionally, the Byzantines were big into chariot racing, hired "barbarians" as mercenary troops to supplement their core regiments, and fielded a strong navy. What would you recommend as comparative Skaven choices? I have to admit, the idea of Doomwheel racing teams amuses the heck out of me.

Vermin Guard Centurion

Vermin Guard Centurion of fallen Avras, leading his soldiers onward against the barbaric foe. Note the ridged kite shield with plumbata darts and AVRAS​ sign on its inside. Note also the Mediaeval Roman lamellar armour, paramerion scimitar, pugio dagger, the spear's sauroter spike counterweight as well as the ruined Roman brickwork.

Sculpted at the very end of 2019 AD as a practice model for posing, shield and spear sculpting. I am currently looking for a casting/miniature company willing to adopt this random character sculpt into their permanent range. My go-to caster for single miniature moulds currently do not make new moulds.

You can find tutorials for how to sculpt lamellar armour, skull, string bow knot, pteruges and much more ​here.

Happy new year!

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 12-31-2019 02:22 PM

Lovely centurion. So many details, awesome.

On a less sane point.. Doomewheel racing is good......but not as good as two Doomwheels chained together (alongside each other) pulling an unpowered ‘chariot’. Like the kids race in ‘Phantom Menace’. For cheaper doomwheels the manticores veermyn version would be ace.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 01-19-2020 05:58 AM

Marvellous idea, Uther! Cheers!

Lord-Triceratops over on Deviantart has drawn these concept images for his own historically based fantasy setting, which happens to sport Incan Dwarves much like these proposed ones for the Wrathful Mountains in T9A. The parallells are obvious. I would like to share them here, along with his thoughts, to inspire:

Scene from the Incan Dwarf marketplace

Lord-Triceratops Wrote:
I read an article in the December issue of Archeology magazine (the magazine about old stuff with advertisements for old people, to make you feel even older) about the abandoned Incan city of Huánuco Pampa. Sad story. It used to be a thriving commercial hub for the empire before the Spanish arrived. The centerpiece was the market square/government plaza, where dignitaries from the provinces and regional tribes would gather and not only shop, but debate and spread the news about their corners of the world. Each representative would have his or her section of the plaza to demonstrate not only their local goods, but also any news and reports to the emperor if he was in town. Huánuco Pampa was more centrally located than the capital of Cusco. Plus the Incas kept sophisticated granaries and food silos there to distribute the year's harvest fresh. Every morning, according to Spanish missionaries and now archeological evidence, the market would open by an announcer blowing into a conch shell at dawn and ringing a bronze bell. The illustration I used for reference (by 16th century artist Felipe Guaman) seems to show the announcer wearing a feathered hat. I guess so he'd be more visible to the shoppers.

Then tragedy struck as the Spanish not only captured the last emperor Atahualpa, but also spread smallpox through the empire. The last signs of life in Huánuco Pampa are the crumbling silos, market square, and a half-finished temple that still stands. I know it's a depressing note for the season and I'm sorry, so I wanted to draw my dwarven people starting their day in the market. I also want to admit that I have no idea how to draw a conch. I could have looked it up online, but I was watching another Christmas show while I was drawing.

Giant Ground Sloth Puppet

Lord-Triceratops Wrote:
I made this one before I made "Incan Dwarf Theater" because I wanted to understand how a life-size ground sloth puppet would work. Basically, it's a movable parade float operated by a puppeteer inside, She operates the arms with sticks, the head with a rope (the neck is just a hinge), and moves the whole thing with her feet. Then someone puts a massive wool cape over the whole thing to complete the effect.  

Incan Dwarf Theater

Lord-Triceratops Wrote:
This one banged around in my head ever since i read about the Incan ruins, and other sources. The first one, oddly enough, was the CGI movie Beowulf. Personally, I didn't like the movie, but one scene stuck out for me. Years after he killed Grendel, Beowulf and his buddies are chilling in Heorot Hall, and there were a pair of midget (is that the correct term? Sorry if it's not) reenactors showing Beowulf defeat a puppet Grendel. The Grendel puppet was made of an ox skull, while the actor for Beowulf was a ripped little dude with big pecs. Now skip ahead a decade or so, and I read about the theater/market square in Huanoco Pampa. Well if it's a theater then there have to be performances there, right? And what better way to bring in the crowds then a story about a hero fighting a monster? Or you could show nudity, but I don't want to do that. Anyway, in this world the dwarves live alongside Pleistocene animals like saber tooth tigers, glyptodonts, and giant ground sloths. Plenty of inspiration for monsters, especially for a society of short people.

Furthermore, BondageGoatZombie over on T9A forums had these thoughts to share:

BondageGoatZombie Wrote:
I've been thinking a bit about this. A bit rules oriented.

If we say the QQuezcuz (using above mentioned name for the Inca dwarves) do not have fun powder, we should give them something else.

What would a society that lived under saurian threat for the longest time specialize in? Ie what are saurians good at that needs to be countered and what is their weakness?

Mastery of magic comes to mind thinking about cuatls. So the Quezcuz could be heavier anti magic that other DH.
What should Quezcuz magic look like on the other hand? Same as DH? The totem system of beasts would also fit. Or even the totem animal mechanic of saurian warriors?

As for runes, I think we should keep them, that's just so typically dwarven.

Another saurian strength would be armour. So we could give the Quezcuz more AP base.

I actually can't pinpoint any real weakness in SA as hoc, maybe someone else can enlighten me.

Seekers could be re-modelled as dinosaur killers, removing eg yer comin with me with lethal strike.

If we have the Quezcuz low tech in general, we could give them bows instead of crossbows, or throwing weapons of course. slings maybe as well?

However keeping stone throwers and ballistas would be nice, to have at least some war machines in a dwarf army. But if they can build ballistas they can surely build crossbows, can't they?

Poison would also be a fitting option for some of the army at least.

Generic plate armour would be replaced by scale armour, which is the same except for some additional effect. Hard target maybe? Or what else could scales do?

Can someone think of a themed buff wagon Inca style?

Do you have any thoughts and ideas of your own, mayhap? Please share, if so. Happy

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 01-19-2020 07:00 AM

Makhar Confederacy

Art Contest III saw new artworks created for the Makhar Confederacy, the Ninth Age's fantasy Magyar steppe nomads. This army is a spin-off cavalry variant of Warriors of the Dark Gods (much like Åsklanders are a spin-off barbarian variant of WotDG), complete with two-handed kontos lance cataphracts and giants armed with bows.

Artwork by Chevalier Rouergue2:

Artwork by a20t43c:

And my own doodle:

Makhar Flayer

Among the Makhar, some follow a darker path. That of the Flayer. Where the herdsman is content with his horses and sheep, the Flayer seeks more exotic and sometimes dangerous pastoral beasts. Chimeras, turuls, karkadans, and in rare cases humans; the more dangerous the herd, the more prestigious in the eyes of a Flayer. To control these perilous and unpredictable herds, Flayers mount the most spirited creatures: Shadow Chasers.

Makhar Flayer riding atop a Shadow Chaser, which I have interpreted as a large, feathered raptor. Primordial creatures could do with more use outside of tropical climes for fantasy. The mount in this drawing is probably too small to support its rider's weight, or at least so for any extended period of time. Perhaps it is a young one being broken in and trained? The depicted rider is female, as a reference to ancient Scythian and Sarmatian warrior maidens. Said reference may be wasted for Hobgoblins, many tribes of whom are based on Scythians, so better make use of it elsewhere on the steppe. Note the skinned arm in the grass.

Ninth Age fantasy Magyar rider drawn for Art Contest III.

Reference pictures

Do you happen to have any thoughts and ideas of your own to share? If so, please do! Happy

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Uther the unhinged - 01-19-2020 06:45 PM

Feathered raptor is good. I think they believe a lot of dinosaurs were feathered now so giant feathered velociraptor could be spot on.

Good to see Incan dwarves are still in the mix. I love the giant ground sloth.

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-21-2020 10:29 AM


A Tale of Opulence and Plague, by Akitku

Akitku Wrote:
Finally managed to finish my commission for KarakNornClansman based on his work of the Ninth Age system!! I'm so proud of it. I think it's one of the most complex things I've ever drawn. It was so much fun. Also, fun fact: as a teen I used to play Skaven...

Commissioned art piece, created by Akitku. Check out her Deviantart gallery. Happy

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Admiral - 03-26-2020 09:47 AM

Return of the Koghi

This is a commissioned illustration by Mitchell Nolte for Ghiznuk's story Return of the Koghi, featuring a fantasy Ghana empire for the historically based setting of the Ninth Age. For more brainstorming on the Koghi faction, see here.

« A big noise was heard from behind the trees. It grew louder, into the voices of many men, with the bellowing of beasts and the whining of horses. Young men came running to the chief, while the women deposited their jars on the ground and went in excitement in the direction from where the noise was coming, children following them, scaring dogs and chicken away. The whole village resounded with one echo, one chant : « Kooooghi ! Kooooghi ! Kooooghi w'o da ! Kooooghi w'o da ! »

Their leader came mounted on a fierce monoceros, a terrific beast with a huge, heavy horn like a tree trunk on its nose, sustained only by the beast's powerful neck. The animal was covered under a quilted pelt reinforced by leather patches and iron plates nailed directly into his powerful body, criss-crossed by strings of talismans and amulets, including worn out parchment covered in script. Sitting astride the monster's hunched back was a fierce-looking warchief, a kêlêtigi, carrying long iron swords on his side, as well as the beautifully carved bow that was the mark of his rank and status.

All the while the children were watching and singing around them, with the women and a growing crowd of curious villagers standing behind and around, looking either afraid or wondered, chatting excitedly among each other and clapping their hands in joy. »

RE: Background & Aesthetic Advice on T9A - Abecedar - 03-30-2020 07:36 AM

I just found a Rhino in my O&G box. Not quite that big though.