T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts


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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:05 am

T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

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Khuralshki Dwarves

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to go weird! To the hilt. It's time to inject OIdhammer into the Warhammer Fantasy legacy setting the Ninth Age:

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As you can see here (and as Oldhammer people are well aware of), 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

Macrocosm

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 over on Chaos Dwarfs Online, 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.

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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.



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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! :)

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

Cheers


Reference Images:

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See also:
Dwarven Holds of the Maidens (T9A Celts)
Dwarven Holds of the Crimson Peaks (T9A Celtiberians)
Nekoshim: Dwarven Holds of the Copper Mountains (T9A Nabateans)
Dwarven Holds of the Sky Foothills (T9A Akha)
Dwarven Holds of Aseadal Peaks (T9A Gaya Confederacy)
Dwarven Holds of the Wrathful Mountains (T9A Inca)
Lost Islander Dwarves (T9A Rapa Nui)
Karuits: Polar Dwarves of Remotest Silexia (T9A Inuits)
Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistorical)
Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys (T9A Moche)
Infernal Dwarves of the Barren Mountains (T9A Hittites)
Borean Elves (T9A Finno-Ugrians)
Saurian Ancients of Aotarakoa (T9A Indonesia)
Last edited by Karak Norn Clansman on Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:24 pm

Re: T9A: Khuralshki Dwarves

Your love for chaos dwarves leaves me speechless... ;)

Keep up the quality work and keep feeding us!
Et à ce j'ajouterai, santé!

http://plaiecivile.blogspot.ca
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:59 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

OK, you asked for it, Plaiecivile. ;)

I'm turning this thread into a long-running thread on all new fantasy culture & faction concepts I'm involved in over on the Ninth Age!

All Warhammer spirit; historically based fantasy smörgåsbord, much like in the '80s. You might want to subscribe. Strap in tight!

It's on. 8-)


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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.

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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. :)

Reference images:

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Last edited by Karak Norn Clansman on Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:01 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

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"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

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you all to participate in a brainstorming for this new concept, courtesy of Uther the Unhinged: Fantasy South American evil Dwarves!

I'd like to scoop up all wild ideas you have. Let's have some fun! :)

You don't have to know anything about the Ninth Age (T9A) to participate. Just assume it's the Warhammer world, with different names and lots of more stuff in it. It's a dark fantasy smörgåsbord based on history. I'll sift through ideas here and present them oo T9A, due credit and quoting given. In this instance, we're concerned with a cousin of Lustria, but with something more than Lizardmen to speak of on the continent. There's gotta be Dwarves...

Ready? Then let's travel to faraway Virentia, over whipping seas, steaming jungles and Wrathful Mountains, and emerge onto a desert coast beyond the edge of the mapmaker's knowledge...

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

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.

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.

...Anyway if we don’t do something our hated vanilla cousins will steal all the glory!


Now, 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?

Now let's pool all our ideas! :cheers

Here are some video/audio links for those who want to listen and learn while working or driving. Documentaries:

Moche Tombs of Sipan

Treasure and Secrets of a Moche Tomb


Lectures:

Warfare and Human Sacrifice in the Moche World: New Discoveries and Continuing Debates, by John Verano

Recent Research on the Moche, by Richard Stutter

Tales of the Moche Kings and Queens: Elite Burials from the North Coast of Peru, by Jeffrey Quilter


Reference images, primarily of Moche and of various coastal Peruvian cultures, mainly drawn from the master artist Coricancha's gallery:

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Igor Levchenko over on Deviantart had an idea for our Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys:

Igor Levchenko wrote:Gigantic andean condor will make a good mount for infernal dwarf.


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While Uther the Unhinged on CDO had some evocative writings to share:


Uther the Unhinged wrote:I like the idea of separate city states against imperialist power. Yet I still yearn for one god (my Hashut complex). How about the Quezcuz Unite as an imperialist power and move against the various independent Hazcuz city states. These fall one by one survivors fleeing to the greatest city fortress Hazcu Pizcu. When the Hazcuz retreat from here they go as one nation. On finally reaching the safety of the Torture valleys they split into their original groupings. Each representing one of the founding rebellions.

If you did this then you could develop their mythology along the following lines:
One of the many rituals of Haztec . This excerpt is from the ritual performed at the first new moon after the Spring solstice.


Priest of Haztec:
Hearken one, hearken all! Know that the words I speak are the truth: hotter than fire, sharper than flint and harder than stone. So it is recorded. So it is written.

Devoted of Haztec:
So it is written!

Priest of Haztec:
In the beginning there were the two who were one. Haztec and Queznir, the brothers. Together they spoke. Together they ruled. All the other powers bowed to them.

Devoted of Haztec:
All bowed to them!

Priest of Haztec:
Yet Queznir grew jealous of his brother. He coveted his greater strength and his wisdom. He plotted with the lesser powers and turned them from their true master.

Devoted of Haztec:
They turned from their true master!

Priest of Haztec:
Lo, they came in friendship. False smiles upon their faces and treachery in their hearts.

Devoted of Haztec:
Treachery in their hearts!

Priest of Haztec:
Unknowing Great Haztec opened his arms. They seized him. They bound him. They cast him out from the realm beyond the stars. In fire and pain He fell!

Devoted of Haztec:
In pain he fell!

Priest of Haztec:
In flame He fell. In anguish He fell. Yet even in His fall he brought succour to His children.

Devoted of Haztec:
All praise His name!

Priest of Haztec:
Like a thunderbolt He hit and His fall shocked the world. Like fire He hit and His fall burned the world. Like a fist He hit and His fall shook the world.

Devoted of Haztec:
His fall shook the world!

Priest of Haztec:
His fall shook the world. His fall shook the temples of the oppressors. His fall shook their false gods. His fall shook their empire. All felt His fall.

Devoted of Haztec:
All felt His fall.

Priest of Haztec:
Through the earth He fell in fire and anguish. Through the earth He fell and the earth closed above him.

Devoted of Haztec:
The earth closed above him.

Priest of Haztec:
In darkness and in fire He lay. In darkness and in fire He nursed His anger. In darkness and in fire He grew strong again.

Devoted of Haztec:
He grew strong again!

Priest of Haztec:
In the depths of the mountains His children heard His voice. In the depths of the mines His children heard His voice. In the depths of their despair His children heard His voice.

Devoted of Haztec:
We heard His voice!

Priest of Haztec:
Of fire and stone he spoke. Of blood and runes He spoke. Of power and Freedom He spoke.

Devoted of Haztec:
Of power and freedom he spoke!

Priest of Haztec:
We learned of magic from Him. We learned of strength from Him! We learned of vengeance from Him!

Devoted of Haztec:
We learned of vengeance from him!

Priest of Haztec:
Thus with His help we rose against the oppressors and drove them from our homes. With fire and stone, we drove them from our homes. With blood we won our freedom.

Devoted of Haztec:
With blood we won our freedom!

Priest of Haztec:
With blood we won our freedom. With blood we praised His name! With blood we show our thanks.

Devoted of Haztec:
With blood we show our Thanks.

Priest of Haztec:
With blood we show our thanks.
With blood we praise His name.
With blood we will set Him free!

Devoted of Haztec:
With blood we will set Him free!

The sacrificial offering is ritually opened and his heart removed and shown to the devoted.

Priest of Haztec:
All tremble at his name!

Devoted of Haztec:
All tremble at His name!

Priest of Haztec:
With fire we won our freedom.
With fire we praise His name.
With fire we show our thanks.

Devoted of Haztec:
With fire we show our thanks!

Priest of Haztec:
With fire we show our thanks.
With fire we praise His name.
With fire we will set Him free.

Devoted of Haztec:
With fire we will set Him free!

The sacrificial heart is ritually cast into the fires of Haztec that burn in idol cauldrons atop the step pyramid.

Priest of Haztec:
All tremble at His name.

Devoted of Haztec:
All tremble at His name!

Priest of Haztec:
Remember the treachery of Queznir!

Devoted of Haztec:
We remember!

Priest of Haztec:
Remember the whips of the oppressors.

Devoted of Haztec:
We remember!

Priest of Haztec:
Remember the voice of Haztec.

Devoted of Haztec:
We remember!

Priest of Haztec:
Obey the will of Haztec.

Devoted of Haztec:
We obey!

Priest of Haztec:
Obey the law of Haztec.

Devoted of Haztec:
We obey!

Priest of Haztec:
Obey the chosen of Haztec.

Devoted of Haztec:
We obey!

Priest of Haztec:
Go in the Blood of Haztec.
Go int the Fire of Haztec .
Go in the Will of Haztec.

Devoted of Haztec:
All tremble at His name!

Priest of Haztec:
All tremble at His name!

Devoted of Haztec:
All tremble at His name!

Uther the Unhinged wrote:I see
Vanilla dwarfs (Quezcuz in my head) riding giant condors, with smaller(!) giant humming birds (as fighters to the bomber) supporting them (got to leave our hated cousins something). The Hazcuz (evil stunted) could ride giant feather winged serpents (Aztec mythos ) to fit with more arid climate where they have been driven. Possibly giant two headed ones as the bigger version.



Wonderful ideas from Ghiznuk over on T9A. We're on a roll:

Ghiznuk wrote:Condor is such an overused trope, it seemed pretty obvious for me from the beginning lol

Yeah, let's go for a full flying army for those dwarves.
See them how they carved fortresses out of the flanks of the mightiest peaks, with wide openings on the side. In that enormous cave that is actually the entrance to the hidden fortress, countless preying birds are perched.
The dwarves routinely ride them for any errand they are sent to.

We can have full condor dwarves unit, much like Equitan pegasus knights.

Local Infernals on the other hand use a mightier technology, such as magic-propelled zeppelins, to ride between the sharp needle-like peaks.

All this, because those mountains are so high and sharp, that the valleys below are extremely narrow and dark, some of them full of strange water and slime, and scary monsters without a name, much like the fish from the deepest abyss.

You know, mountains like this :
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On such heights, not much rain, but our dwarves grow food on terrasses on the very mountain top, catching the humidity from the clouds by ingeniously crafted « fog nets ».
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For Infernal zeppelins (without steam-power), get some cues from comic series Thorgal. The country named « Qa » is more Aztec in style, fighting against the local Pueblo indians, but you get the idea ;)
(scenario by Jean Van Hamme drawings by Grzegorz Rosiński)
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Energic brainstorming is taking place on Chaos Dwarfs Online:

Uther the Unhinged hooked onto the flying Dwarf concept:

Uther the Unhinged wrote:Flying dwarves are cool and yes condor squadrons of ‘bombers’ protected by giant humming bird ‘fighters’ with the hero’s on huge Harpy eagles.

Zeppelins are a nice idea but a bit close to old world tech and would be ripped to pieces without protection from guns or ‘fighters’ . Therefore you could have zeppelin bombers ?pulled by flocks of flying foxes/bats and protected by ‘fighters’ . I like to think of dwarves on cockatrices (coz I love the figure from GW) the feathered nature and chaos would fit well. Oh and I have still not given up on feather winged snakes. Oh Oh Oh can we have flying monkeys???? Pleeese I want flying monkeys then we can get the vanilla dwarfs and their little llamas too!



While Gargolock had a lot of fertile ideas:

Gargolock wrote:The Moche made a lot of pottery. I can imagine infernal dwarves bearing saurian equipment with vast bags of pottery. They could use them like Molotov’s filled with fiery daemonic fluid then then shatters on the enemies heads. A sort of infernal grenadiers.
The Moche also made lots of fine golden things. These could be reflected as magical artefacts of power, these infernal dwarfs of the torture valleys could be very adept sorcerers and have a heavy reliance on sorcery and artefacts in their military. They could have a Totem Of Adamant stone which could improve the armour of the wielded or something of the like.

I like the idea of tons of independence in these infernal dwarfs of the toture valleys. I think the idea of many city states possibly constantly at civil war could work or them united under a religious task like bringing pain to everyone. I think I prefer them being completely united under the cultural mechanic that they all must serve a higher purpose to a god.

Another wacky idea is that the sorcerers shouldn’t be in charge as rulers. To mix it up a bit the torture valleys could have cruel “Painbringers” as their rulers and government and have tons of adept sorcerers leading campaigns in the name of these lords of suffering. They could reverse the thinking of traditional infernal dwarfs and alter it to create a more unique society.

I think armies reliant on a magic and artefacts with very elite, glass cannons without much armour is a nice divergence and suits the Moche theme. Possibly having a society were strength and ability to inflict torment upon others dominates is fitting for the cruel inhabitants that live in the area. I also think the idea of sorcerers being born to serve as special chosen to try to advance the pain brought to everything rather than chosen leaders sounds interesting and could work.

They could worship an aspect or a divergent god that is more focused upon pure pain and torture than anything else, they could have a philosophy that believes that something bad happened (there is tons of events that could possibly fill this role, maybe the torture valleys had a mighty capital that the saurians burned, maybe a few saurians used to worship this pain god then revolted and decided to burn the capital. Maybe these dwarfs and some saurians lived in relative peace a long while ago.) only because the world resisted worshipping their god and now them as the sole worshippers of this god believe the must punish the world for abadoning him. They could have a complex built into their culture were they all serve to make the entire world suffer. Maybe the sorcerers could be chosen to ensure this happens? I am just spattering on here but there is tons that could be done. This is an excellent idea for infernal dwarfs.

As for the airship idea, I think the sorcerers could be given fleets by the Painbringers. Maybe it is a birth right of a sorcerer to be given the tools of war to inflict pain upon everyone by his Painbringer. I think these airships could be covered in painful weapons, like chains that get shot down with blades on the end (triangle shaped, barbed blades to cause maximum devastation). Or maybe fiery oil to sear the enemies. I am just thinking of war crimes now.



And finally Uther the Unhinged have some more ideas (he is explicitly giving reference homage to WHFB's Hashut, which is fine for his good headcanon but not advisable for T9A, so please look instead to what materials are of good use for our purposes and don't catch on quirks), and the first ever miniature conversion for the Torture Valleys!

Uther the Unhinged wrote:The Hazcuz are known to be a very devout culture. This combined with their worship of a single ruling Deity would be expected to provide a strong unifying force. Little could be further from the truth. During the age of awakenings (rebellions against the saurian) Each mine developed in a fair degree of isolation from the other. Different dialects, different customs and different rituals arose. There was a brief joining and cross-fertilization of cultures during the 'Long Trek'. Since then the different groups split up and settled their own city states. These have been regularly at war almost ever since. Conflicts driven by competition for land, resources, slave and such doctrinal issues as the correct spelling of their deities name. Much blood has been spilt over whether it is Haztet, Haztec, Haztek, Hazteq or Hazteg. Such is the fervor and violence of the Hazcuz and their Painbringer priests. Indeed it is known that the only thing that can unite these warring cities is the Quezcuz.




Like all Dawi societies the Hazcuz are obsessed with Hierarchy. However where as usually it is beard length ard greyness, or in the case of thequezcuz gold ornamentation, the Hazcuz are different. The practice of curling and dyeing their beards means this is not an option. Thus the Hazcuz demonstrate hierarchy by their Headgear. The bigger the headpiece the more important the individual. Of course being a cult of pain blood fire and death many cities have skull themened Headgear either with 'naked' skulls or gold plated skulls dependent upon the individual caste and city.

Had a bleb of greenstuff left over soooo.....
Here is a very VERY roughmock up of a kigh caste Hazcuz warrior

PS Sorry Skink


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Uther the Unhinged over on Chaos Dwarfs Online continues with his grand vision for the Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys. Check it out!

Uther the Unhinged wrote:The Hazcuz outlook is similar in many ways to other dwarf cultures. Their defining outlook is one of bitter grudges, the overthrow of the rightful ruler Haztec, their oppression by the saurians and their persecution by the Quezcuz. Indeed their seminal national myth is the heroic ‘long trek’ from their mountain home to the Torture Valleys. This gruelling march assailed by the Quezcuz and harried by saurians, greenskins and beasts is the defining moment for them. It is seen as a trial survived by grim determination, stoicism, strength and ruthless dedication. There is however only partial truth to this. The survival of the Hazcuz actually owes much to their saurian enemies (though they would never admit this). The Quezcuz only called off their pursuit of the Hazcuz when faced with a massive assault by their former masters. The subsequent war lasted nearly two centuries. Finally exhausted by war the two sides ceased hostilities and the Quezcuz concentrated on rebuilding their shattered cities. The Hazcuz were forgotten, a footnote in the history of the war. So it would remain, but not forever.
The Quezcuz resemble the Hazcuz in many ways. They too believe in brother gods Queznir and Haztec. However in their telling Queznir was the elder brother. Haztec jealous of his brothers power rebelled against him. Queznir quelled his treacherous brothers rebellion and bound him. Then he sent forth his servants to find a prison to hold him. Thus it was that Queznir learned of the world. Incandescent with rage at the treatment of the dwarfs by the saurians Queznir smote the saurians with fire and rock. Having shattered their empire he sent his servants forth in secret to aid the dwarfs and bring them the knowledge oh his glory. Haztec he buried deep beneath the earth in his eternal prison.
Like the Hazcuz the cultures of the Quezcuz arose separately in their isolated mines. Like the Hazcuz they would unite against common foes. However between these brief respites the Quezcuz return to low level hostilities between the cities. That is they did until Dakhaztutek Hinkha. Dakhaztutek was the priest king of Khazkho a powerful Quezcuz city. Yet Dakhaztutek was not satisfied. It was he who first learned to tame the great condors that roosted in the high peaks. It was he who stole the eggs of the giant hummingbirds and raised the chicks bent his will. It was he who used these great beats to bring war to the other cities and bind them to him. Thus it was that Dakhaztutek became the first Hinkhan emperor. The cult of Queznir in his incarnation as the sky father spread through the wrathful mountains and drove the other sects out. The priest kings of Khazkho tolerated no deviation from their strict interpretation of the Quezcuz religion and used it to bind the satellite cities tightly to them. In only a few generations the Hincans had United all the wrathfull mountains and began to look further afield. They Braganza to look west to the Torture valleys....
To be continued


Some great brainstorming from Uther the Unhinged over at CDO. To Uther, the Hazcuz are the Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys, while the Quezquz are the Dwarven Holds of the Wrathful Mountains. The Hinkha are the imperial expansionary DH of said range:

Uther the unhinged wrote:Ok a bit more. Tried to assimilate Gargolocks ideas in as well. Hope you like.

The great condors of the Wrathful mountains have long dominated the skies there. Indeed their very presence had long benefitted the Quezcuz as the flying reptiles of the saurians avoid the territories of these great birds assiduously. However it was the taming of the great condors by the Hinkhan Quezcuz that proved decisive in their development. The condors provided control of the skies allowing the Hinkhan Quezcuz to project power. They could outmanoeuvre their enemies on the field of battle and when the other Quezcuz retreated to their cities they allowed the Hinkhan to control the terraces that produced their food eventually forcing them to come to terms. The condors also allowed the Hinkhan to control their vast empire once it was established. Only the great condors could travel easily between the isolated Quezcuz cities situated high on their mountain peaks.

It was under the young priest emperor Khuaynir Khapaz that the Hinkhan began to look beyond their traditional mountain territory. The great condors soared high scouting the land below. So it was that the Quezcuz discovered the lands of their despised cousins once more. Their scouts watched the Hazcuz cities from afar not wanting to alert them to their peri. Confident in their power the Hinkhans prepared for war.

The Hinkhan army approached slowly from the North east. Above it squadrons of the great condors circled ready to swoop over the enemy troops to spread fear and panic. However the lands they advanced over were eerily deserted. As the force approached the great city the infantry found itself increasingly confined to the wide roadways that converged on the city and its great stepped pyramid, by the numerous irrigation channels and canals that criss crossed the wide valley.
The Hinkhan had split the infantry into three columns that aimed to converge on the city itself. The foremost of the columns was still 5 miles out from the city when it came across the first signs of life. The Hazcuz had lined the roadway with stakes on either side. ImpLed upon each stake was the still writhing form of a slave. Human, green skin even dwarf prisoners moaned they final agonies, forming a grisly honour guard for the advancing Hinkhans. The groans of the dying and the foul buzzing of flies accompanied the final advance of the Hinkhan infantry upon the forbidding city.

The three columns were still a mile out from the gates when the first sign of opposition was seen. In silence the three great gates opened an ranks of Hazcuz warriors field out in silent phalanxes to block the roadways. The Hinkhans pounded their war drums in challenge but not counter challenge came. The Hazcuz stood in eerie silence. Inexorably the Hinkhans advanced stopping 300 yards short of their foe. The traditional challenges were made, the ritual insults hurled, the Great War drums sounded. Yet no answer came. The Hazcuz ranks stood in silence, their reptile skin shields locked and their war clubs readied.

The Great War drum of the Hinkhan general Akhuwalka started a slow beat. This was picked up by the drums throughout the three armies. Then the elite warriors of the Hinkhan vanguards began to beat their shields in unison to the drums. Slowly but surely the tempo of the drums picked up following the generals war drums’ beat. Then the Hinkhan Vanguard began their advance. In perfect lockstep to the beat of the drums. Each step echoed by the clash of war gear. Slowly the beat picked up. Slowly the advance quickened. At 300 yards they stepped. At 250 yards the vanguard started to chant. At 200 yards the were marching. At 100 yards they were trotting. At 50 yards the roared and charged. The drums beat a mad tempo and a thousand elite warriors raced upon the Hazcuz. Who never moved. Who never spoke. Who never flinched.

The Hinkhan charged the last 100 yards. They never noticed the small lines of stones stretched across the roadway. Each stone daubed in colour on the side facing the Hazcuz, each line a different colour. At 40 yards the saw the strange darts rise from the 3rd and 4th ranks of Hazcuz. Squat javelins 2ft in length, with feathered canes and flint points. They saw the bulbous pottery weights set on the shaft back from the points. But their wicker shields were strong and they raised them as they ran and roared their defiance. The darts struck the shields. Their points stuck futilely in the wicker. Very few found their mark. Many crashed to the floor harmlessly. The impact of the darts barely slowed the charge as the pottery weights slid down the shafts and smashed. At 25 yards the front ranks of the Hinkhan vanguard erupted in a sheet of flame. It was the first time the Honkhan has come into contact with the sticky combustible fluid known as Zanghazteg (the’blood of Haztec’). It would not be their last.

The swooping five of the condors has been timed to perfection. Aiming to hit the rear ranks of the Hazcuz just after the vanguard hit. The wall of flame that burst upward spooked the great birds. Most banked away but several were caught either by the updraught or stray darts. Suddenly aflame they panicked desperately seeking to escape their own immolation and disrupting the careful formations of their riders. Amidst this chaos hundreds of diminutive winged forms rose like gnats from their cages hidden behind the city walls. Strange stunted creatures, greenskins but tailed like monkeys with wings like bats. In swarms they assailed the great birds. Though tiny and feeble compared to these masters of the skies their sheer numbers proved decisive. Overwhelmed several birds wheeled from the city only to crash into the wide grasslands that surrounded it, great lions overwhelmed by termites. Other birds sought height fleeing their tormenting enemies.

On the ground the Hinkhan advance was in chaos. Pressed forward by the masses bodies behind them the vanguard was forced into the burns he’ll in front. Wave after wave of the dreaded darts (Tuskhazteg ‘teeth of Haztec) rose and fell. The great drums rapidly began to beat the retreat.

From the city walls great balls of twisting daemon in flames rose at the behest of the priest sorcerers of the Hazcuz. Many vanished harmlessly as the spell eaters of the Hinkhan battled this foul magic. Yet enough found their mark, burning and twisting the Hinkhan warriors they touched.

Focussed on the disaster unfolding in front the Hinkhan generals did not see the threat from the rear. Far out across the grassland strange shapes sprang from hidden ditches. Great flightless birds ( Hreaz) streaked across the ground to the Hinkhan rearguard. Leaping the irrigation ditches and narrow canals that watered the lad with ease the giant birds closed on the Hinkhan. Atop each bird sat a Hazcuz warrior. The nobles of their race. Too late the Hinkhan realised their danger. Yet the rear ranks turned well and locked their shields. The ranks behind the readied their javelins. But the shock of the charge never came. 30 yards out the Hazcuz released their Tuskhazteg and wheeled away. Carried by the momentum of their steeds the darts rose and fell with a terrible inevitability engulfing the rear ranks in flame. Again and again the Hreaz charged and their riders released their deadly gifts just out of javelin range.

Assailed from front and rear, their great condors harried and in disarray and with flames spreading to either side through the grasslands, the Hinkhan broke. Their famed discipline gone they fled. Many died in the fires that raged around the roadways. Others trampled by their comrades and drowned in the irrigation ditches. Others still hunted down and clubbed to death by the Hazcuz nobles on their great Hreaz. Few escaped save those condor riders that had survived the initial assault above the city walls. Great Alhuwalka was led in ropes from the field. The priest king of the Hazcuz city is said to have used him bound as a mounting block for his Hreaz for years afterwards.

The disaster of the torture valleys shook the Hinkhan empire. The myth of their invincibility was shattered. The empire was convulsed by rebellions and civil war for decades after. Eventually order was returned and the Hinkhans ventured once more to the Torture valleys. This time there were to be no easy victories for either side. A state of perpetual low grade war has existed ever since

The great victory of Mokhe field is celebrated by all Hazcuz city state for all sent troops. The Quezcuz may have forgotten the Hazcuz in their struggles against the saurians And long wars of empire. The Hazcuz never forgot. For years they had watched the eastern approaches. The first scouting flights of the condors had been marked and plans laid. Hreaz from all city states had been gathered. As had the strange Ghordhuz, the Simi Yate vicious winged greenskins that had surprised the great condors. These are bred in great numbers by the Hazcuz and used as slaves messengers and scouts.


The great birds are based on South American Rheas

The teeth of Haztec are based on roman plumbata with pottery weights carrying Greek fire
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:02 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

Highborn Elf Concepts

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Eagleshaven Elven city map concept (2017)

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Elf Heavy Archer (2016)

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Face of a Killer (2016)


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.

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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!"


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
Last edited by Karak Norn Clansman on Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:05 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

Frost Elves: Northern Sylvan Elves Based on Finnic Tribes

Frost Elf Kantelist

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

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.

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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.

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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

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

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Hercalaxë Reference Images, by assorted artists

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Kalevala Reference Images, by assorted artists

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Ideas, feedback and criticism are of course welcome!
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:06 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

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!

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Please share ideas of your own for this exotic colony faction!
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:06 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

Koghi Empire of Gold

There has been a lot of brainstorming and homebrew development for the Ninth Age's version of the rich empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai in West Africa, all ruled from the saddle by mighty warriors and slavers. This is one example of something that might have chafed for a community project to introduce into Warhammer Fantasy.

If you like the sounds of salt, gold, slaves and lordly riders, then check out the link above!

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.

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Please share ideas of your own for this great Southron power!
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:08 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

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Conversion Ideas For Byzantine Vermin

The Vermin Swarm of the Ninth Age is based on the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantines or Rûm, the surviving Roman state in the east which centered on the nigh-impregnable crossroads city of Constantinople and which survived century upon century of battering attacks from foes assailing it from every direction, in a mind-boggling display of grand strategy clawing the city-state empire back from the brink to great power again and again. While still a formidable foe for much of its history, the mediaeval Romans were no longer the unstoppable force that had once steamrolled the entire Mediterranean after conquering its only true lethal rival in ancient times: Carthage. The well-organized Byzantine military in its heyday won renown with its Theme system (local garrison troops of farmer-soldiers), mounted Thagmata elite regiments (mobile field army), use of mercenaries, [url='http://allthatsinteresting.com/greek-fire']Greek fire[/url], siege engineering, strong navy, Varangian Guard and network of fortified cities to fend off often superior foes at more fronts than the empire could usually handle. Yet ultimately, treachery from within would undermine the army in battle again and again (for Byzantium was rife with vicious power struggles), and cowardice would rear its ugly head all too often: It was not easy to be a soft and rich urban realm confronted by a wide range of hardier and less sophisticated enemies who were out for your lands and riches, in a cutthroat world that was a pale shadow of the Roman Empire at its absolute height, centuries before.

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Sounds like an interesting historical basis for the dastardly ratmen? Hungry for retaking Avras? Fancy a different aesthetic to your Skaven models? Then let's dive right into it!

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By Eldan

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The most distinctive feature of Byzantine soldierly gear were the common pteruges: Leather flaps hanging over the upper arms at the shoulders, and from the waist, forming a kilt. An obvious hark-back to ancient Greek and Roman styles, the pteruges grounded this mediaeval army with an aesthetic piece from out of antiquity. For the most part, one would keep it simple and go up to step 3 below, perhaps adding some waviness, wrinkles and fraying. To emphasize the Vermin's decaying ways, perhaps many flaps could be torn, gnawed or missing altogether? Note that all below tutorials show stuff that are intended to be sculpted directly on the model:

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Next up is scale armour and lamellar. The latter is difficult to sculpt, so one may want to go for a simplified look with scales instead. Just do the scales with rounded edges instead of angular, and perhaps have them pointing upward instead of downward. You can also sculpt [url='https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambeson']gambeson[/url] (no tutorial at the moment):

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Likewise, some frayed chainmail can be attempted, including trying out some weird chainmail veil/face cover on some ratmen. A tip would be to leave tears and holes in the mail. Rats don't do things too tidy. If doing chainmail over the torso, then why not chuck in the Byzantine "bra", or rather leather harness to keep armour in place, on some models? Probably borrowed from Persians:

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A minor detail for some rabble troops could be to add a few wickerwork shields:

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And finally, some opulent pearls and large gemstones (painted sickly green?) add such an ostentatious finish to the leaders. Here's a simple tutorial, but more complicated things can obviously be tackled:

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And here is a random idea for some Vermin Swarm symbol: The last human Emperor of Avras quartered by four Vermin Hulks:

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Do you have more ideas to share here? Or modelling attempts to show? Then please do so! :)

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Didn't have time to make a wicker shield, but here are some conversions for the heck of it. Attacking cloth and leather surfaces with a needle can help give a frayed look, and is quick work:

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We all know that Skaven was an original invention by Games Workshop, one which gained a lasting popular life unlike their Zoats and Fimir. Before Warhammer, there were no elaborately developed fantasy ratmen to speak of. After Warhammer, they are a new archetype.

The Ninth Age, being the spiritual successor of Warhammer Fantasy with its historically based model, did manage to find a real life historical culture to base their Vermin Swarm upon, one which sports flamethrowers, treachery, cowardice, cunning and brutality alike: The mediaeval (Eastern) Roman Empire, known as Byzantium after its fall. In case anyone is interested in getting their hands on more knowledge about this nigh-forgotten Roman realm, to get more resonance out of their reading of future Vermin Swarm background, you will get some tips below. Mainly documentaries, lectures and podcasts, since rat players can be expected to have their hands and eyes busy with painting hordes of Vermin miniatures.

Please share your own, whatever finds you can recommend!

Intro 1: The Rise & Fall of the Byzantine Empire (5 minutes)

Intro 2: Engineering an Empire - Byzantium

If one truly wants to start from the beginning, then Mike Duncans podcast, the History of Rome, can be recommended. It ends with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which is to say roughly around the start of what is usually coined Byzantine history. (Youtube videos which compile the many episodes.)

John Romer did great documentaries, and his production on the Byzantine Empire is warmly recommended.

As to reading, the blog Byzantine Military is a nice one. Jumps between various topics.

Lecture series on the Byzantines.

Video series on Byzantine Emperors & Varangian Guard


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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.

Please share feedback and ideas of your own!



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Catarat

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. 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...
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Post Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:08 pm

Re: T9A: Fantasy Culture Concepts

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 aardvak. 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 where 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:

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Reference board:

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