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Author Topic: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)  (Read 148 times)

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

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Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« on: March 28, 2019, 01:01:59 PM »

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 Frřlich'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. :)

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)

Offline Zygmund

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 03:09:14 PM »
So essentially Druedain?

But if they descend from miner slaves, they surely knew about mining? With centuries passing, they would very likely see and hear about metalcrafting. Why wouldn't they mine & use metals? A religious bias?

-Z
Simulation over gaming. Because fantasy matters.

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 03:18:15 PM »
Religious reasons (Amish?) seem most likely, though the original ancestors may not have known about anything of the sort. Imagine a few wounded adults dying off one-by-one, leaving only a few children large enough to fend for themselves, but not schooled.

Offline Zygmund

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 03:29:46 PM »
I've likely read too much cultural anthropology, archaeology, sociology, history and economy to buy that.  :icon_lol:

A culture that reproduces for centuries and even millennia must be flexible, forward-looking and usually has the ability for technological innovation, or at least imitation. Even if the setting is magical, I would presume such developments also in the mundane.

-Z
Simulation over gaming. Because fantasy matters.

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2019, 04:22:13 PM »
Then how about the deep isolation from the outside world? Living essentially trapped (and probably willingly) in some cave systems and nigh-inaccessible mountain areas.

The Paleolithic and Neolithic ages went on for an astoundingly long time, and some fringe groups of hunter-gatherers were still living like their distant ancestors did, in some marginal places, right up to the 20th century. They were always capable of innovation, but on a much more humble level then civilized peoples would be accustomed to.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 04:24:57 PM by Karak Norn Clansman »

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 10:22:21 PM »
Gargolock on CDO had these ideas to share:

Quote from: Gargolock
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.

Offline Zygmund

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2019, 03:42:07 PM »
Then how about the deep isolation from the outside world? Living essentially trapped (and probably willingly) in some cave systems and nigh-inaccessible mountain areas.

The Paleolithic and Neolithic ages went on for an astoundingly long time, and some fringe groups of hunter-gatherers were still living like their distant ancestors did, in some marginal places, right up to the 20th century. They were always capable of innovation, but on a much more humble level then civilized peoples would be accustomed to.

Yes, we can find these kinds of examples, but they're all on islands or continents (South America, New Guinea, Australia, the Pacific), where there was no neighboring culture with knowledge of advanced ironworking. Nor much in the way of bronze. On the T9A map, the Mountains of Gold are not that far away from that other Dwarven homeland, and the High Elves sail their ships around the coast. Two highly advanced metal-working cultures.

Add the "Egyptian" undead, or what they were in the past. Perhaps add the lizardmen (if they inhabit the region.) And who named the mountains after gold? Surely if the mountain range has valuable deposits of gold, there would be some mining going on still, or at least attempts to mine.

To my mind it is more complicated to explain the metalcrafting away than to yield to the economic and technological patterns already written in the setting.

So perhaps not the Mountains of Gold, but some other location?

Despite my nagging, it's definitely a cool concept!  :::cheers:::

-Z
Simulation over gaming. Because fantasy matters.

Offline Gankom

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Re: Cave Dwarves of the Mountains of Gold (T9A Prehistoric)
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2019, 04:10:16 PM »
What about as some kind of sub species? I'm thinking about the petty dwarves from Lord of the Rings for example. They seem very similar to the cave dwarf theme going here. In the Simlarillion they were relatively primitive, hunted as vermin by other factions, etc. Maybe being so close to some of the other factions went really bad for these guys. High Elves and other slavers frequently raided their villages and small holds, dispersing them and forcing them to live off the land. After a few centuries things started to go downhill.

Edit: As for Mountains of Gold, I think it would be neat if it turns out there is no gold there. They just look gold because of the rising sun striking big seams of quartz or fools gold. Could lead to another reason no one goes there. initial prospecting found nothing of value. The cave dwarves couldn't mine anything because valuable iron and metal is to deep, and surface level stuff just isn't any good.