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1 Votes - 5 Average   The Temple Marriage Market
Author MessageThe Temple Marriage Market
Admiral
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Post: #1
The Temple Marriage MarketAdmiral 01-29-2015

The Temple Marriage Market


The Chaos Dwarf empire of fire and ash lies sprawled and scattered over much of the Dark Lands. For millennia it has endured and prospered, always ascendant again and again after major setbacks such as the Black Orc rebellion, always regaining power, always regaining dominance over the warlike and numberless Greenskin hordes, and various other enemies. This vital endurance of the Dawi Zharr empire would not have been possible without a society rigged for maximizing births, especially since Dawi Zharr, as fundamentally Dwarfs, have several times more men than women in their population.

Both male and female Chaos Dwarfs belong to their clan, and the clan belongs to its Sorcerer-Prophet liege. To be Dawi Zharr, whether male or female, is to live a harsh and demanding life, where your culture and your entire way of living is geared toward furthering the might and longevity of Hashut's domain in the Dark Lands. The norm of life consists of toil and struggles in all their forms; cruelty both received and acted out; total subservience to authority; and a crushing expectation upon married Chaos Dwarfs to produce scores of children. Without this cultural system, Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the great and all her holdings would have disappeared long ago amidst the grind of war, in much the same way as the uncorrupted Dwarf cousins of the Dawi Zharr currently face decline and extinction.

Even when accounting for the relatively small portion of females within the population, it is far from all Chaos Dwarf males that get to marry. This is because the devotees of the Bull God are not strictly monogamous, like their uncorrupted cousins in the World's Edge Mountains are. The Dawi Zharr elite, and particularly the Temple priesthood, virtually live to amass wealth, status and power, and this include wives and concubines and all offspring they may conceive with their harems. This ideal is anchored in mythology upon Hashut's herd of numerous consorts.

Because of the Sorcerer's Curse, the priestly, sorcerous elite generally face a career of ascendance through the ranks, where the succesful will get to marry many females and have many children within a quite short period of time, relative to the long life cycles of Dwarfs. Sooner or later will the Sorcerer's Curse gnaw its way far enough into a Chaos Dwarf sorcerer to render him incapable of producing offspring. Indeed, a common lament amongst the priestly, sorcerous caste may be gleaned from the words expressed by the now dead Sorcerer-Prophet Hazhrakk Blackeye:

"Woe unto me! My phallus have turned into granite. When my beard is petrified, and when my tounge also becomes stone, there will be but one worldly joy left in my life: To bring agony and destruction to slave and foe alike."

In this situation, the stricken male's harem will be dispersed. Though the Chaos Dwarf elite certainly contains egotistic individuals that would like to hoard the harem as their property for the rest of their lives, the dictates of the Cult of Hashut are particularly harsh concerning such wanton greed for wives and concubines. Fertility and life does not last forever. As such, the harem's male offspring will generally be allowed to sink down the social ladder with a splendid pedigree to aid them in their careers, while the consorts of the killed or semi-petrified sorcerer will be returned to their respective fathers, or sold off if the father has died.

Not unlike other cultures, marriage in Chaos Dwarf society is very much a business contract between clans even more than between individuals. While female commoners retain a degree of independence and will remarry the common way when widowed, wives and concubines of the Dawi Zharr elite may face an entirely different prospect when widowed or rendered husbandless by the Sorcerer's Curse. Since the founding of Zharr-Naggrund, the Temple of Hashut has secured a recycling of elite consorts with dead fathers, through the means of the infamous Temple Marriage Market.

One primary reason for this institution's existence is the wish of semi-petrified males to compensate their great loss through further accumulation of wealth and power, though the heads of the women's respective clans gain a percentage of the proceeds. To bolster the number of females on offer, any of the deceased or petrified sorcerer's unwed daughters are likewise sent to the Temple Marriage Market. A petrifying sorcerer who sells his consorts at the Temple Marriage Market will usually only lament the loss of his harem as a loss of status symbol, since the petrification process dulls the desires of his flesh.

These auctions are watched over by idols of both the Father of Darkness and His shackled consorts, and exists not only in the Dawi Zharr capital, but also in all the major fortress strongholds throughout the Dark Lands, including Uzkulak. Here, at the Temple Marriage Market, husbandless and fatherless elite consorts are auctioned off to the highest bidders. The majority of these bidders consists of elite males (warlords and members of the sorcerous and engineering priesthood) seeking to start or expand their own harems. Only a few winning bidders are ever of lower stock. The males bidding highest for the wives of a petrifying sorcerer tend to be his rivals, since it gives them a sense of superiority over their rival to be the new master of his ex-consorts.

At the Temple Marriage Market, the living objects of the auction are closely inspected, questioned and put to various work tests in order to discern disease, physical and mental faults, and to ascertain the women's skills and talents in crafts and slavedriving. No self-respecting Chaos Dwarf man would ever like to be married to a witless wife without skills in any of the crafts, or without any competence as a cruel taskmaster, for overseeing and punishing slaves is as much a female task as it is a male chore amongst the Dawi Zharr. Furthermore, the value of the women will be adjusted according to the potential and capabilities of their offspring. Having talented offspring will improve the Temple Marriage Market value of the bloodline.

Varied are the fates meeting the consorts auctioned off in this way. Some ladies, with short-lived or quickly-petrified husbands, have lived through several auctions at the Temple Marriage Market. The lot of these hardened veteran consorts are rarely spoken of in the presence of menfolk.

Yet the worst destinies face those captured slave women of uncorrupted Dwarf stock, who are carried off in chains as spoils of war to the Chaos Dwarf realm, where they are shunned by all and sold off as status symbols and ill-treated slave concubines at the Temple Marriage Market. The bastard offspring begat upon these enslaved Dwarf women are similarly looked down upon, yet these children at least have a chance at a future of their own since their Dawi Zharr fathers' blood also flow in their veins. Their mothers' fates are invariably bleak, not least because the unbending Dawi sense of honour and stubborness means they never completely submit to their misery, and will always remain a most dangerous plaything to their tormentors and captors. These slave women are true property, unlike the Dawi Zharr consorts of powerful men.

Such is the Temple Marriage Market of the Blacksmiths of Chaos.


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This post was last modified: 05-29-2018 06:46 AM by Admiral.

01-29-2015 08:31 PM
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Admiral
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Post: #2
RE: The Temple Marriage MarketAdmiral 01-29-2015

This fluff piece is based upon the ancient Greek author Herodotus' description of the Babylonian marriage market, made famous through this piece of art. Whether or not it existed in reality, is is certainly an image of Babylon that has stuck with people through the years.

Now, here's the logic: Chaos Dwarf warlords and priesthood members should have harems, because that sets them so far apart from their uncorrupted Dwarf cousins. And because it rhymes well with the ancient Mesopotamian inspiration source of 4th edition Chaos Dwarfs in particular.

After that, we have the Sorcerer's Curse, which turn a Dawi Zharr magic-user to stone. This is not good for your family luck. Then what happens with the harems when the Sorcerer-Prophets and Daemonsmiths petrify enough to render them useless for fathering more children? Well, it's an obvious spot to make use of Herodotus' marriage market.

Thoughts? Ideas of your own? Protests?


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And thus there was Chaos. And Squats. Hobby Group Auxillia Work. On Dark Tides. Miscellaneous Commercial Sculpts. Flayman Tutorial.
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This post was last modified: 01-29-2015 08:52 PM by Admiral.

01-29-2015 08:38 PM
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Abecedar
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Post: #3
RE: The Temple Marriage MarketAbecedar 01-29-2015

Yes, this works well.  
Only quibble I'd have is with "the relatively small percentage" of females.  Definitely less just how much less I'm not sure where to draw the line.
In my writings I've had one lady taken to another clan as a part of the deal in the making of an alliance.  Her bloodline was considered of very high quality and thus demanded a high price.  And with her offspring showing great potential and calibre as they matured only making her bloodline more valuable.  But in no means was the deal making her any sort of chattel or owned (at least not literally).  I think I'm hedging at a simple explanation of all the males and females belong to the clan and the clan belongs to the Sorcerer Lord.   There would be of course other powerful (but lesser) individuals within the clan whose "rights" would have to be considered.


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This post was last modified: 01-29-2015 09:36 PM by Abecedar.

01-29-2015 09:34 PM
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Dînadan
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Post: #4
RE: The Temple Marriage MarketDînadan 01-29-2015

Overall looks okay.  Only possible modification I can think of (if any necessary) is something like

A) the 'widows' become the 'property' of their fathers again and only go to the marriage market if said father is dead.  To bolster the number of females on offer any of the deceased/petrified sorcerer's unwed daughters are also sent there.
or
Cool the eldest (living) son inherits the wives and it is up to him to oversee the auction with the Temple of Hashut and the head of the clan taking a percentage of the proceeds.



Also, maybe a line about how a petrifying sorcerer's rivals will tend to be the ones who bid highest for their wives because it gives them a sense of superiority over their rival to be the new master of their ex-wives.



Actually, as I type another modification occurs to me - maybe include something about how petrifying sorcerer's only lament the loss of their wives as a loss of status symbol/property and don't really care about the loss of a source of 'pleasure' because the petrification dulls their senses 'down there' and kills off their sex drive.


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01-29-2015 10:20 PM
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Admiral
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Post: #5
RE: The Temple Marriage MarketAdmiral 01-30-2015

Very good ideas, Abecedar and Dînadan! The above fluff piece was written half in haste at a late hour to pen down the idea before going to sleep, so some of the intended nuances got lost. You certainly helped fix that, and expanded and improved upon the intended-but-not-written-down nuances with your ideas.

Updated as per your suggestions.

Thanks a lot! Takes Hat off


News on CDO: Artisan's Contest XXV - Voting Deadline 13th of September ...  Admiralty Miniatures Blogshop

And thus there was Chaos. And Squats. Hobby Group Auxillia Work. On Dark Tides. Miscellaneous Commercial Sculpts. Flayman Tutorial.
Chaos Dwarf Writings: Fables. Songs. Sayings. Quotes. Monumental Inscriptions. Religious Texts.
There's fourteen ways to skin a dwarf. Path to Glory: Chaos Dwarf Warband Rules.

This post was last modified: 01-30-2015 07:23 AM by Admiral.

01-30-2015 07:22 AM
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