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Dwarven Hold of Kegiz Gavem (T9A Ethiopia)

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Karak Norn Clansman:
The Ninth Age, being a Warhammer legacy wargame project and a Warhammer clone background world of historically based fantasy, do sport its own Karak Zorn (Kegiz Gavem) in Taphria, T9A Southlands/Africa. Karak Zorn always had a vibe of Prester John and Ethiopian rock-carvers surviving in isolation with their distinct traditions, though it's doubtful whether Games Workshop would have pursued an Abyssinian direction had Karak Zorn been fleshed out further. T9A, on the other hand, would seem to incorporate all the historical elements of Warhammer Fantasy plus some more, as Avras (Constantinople equivalent) and the location of Kegiz Gavem at the Taphrian east coast hint at.
 

 
Any Dwarf fantast and anyone with ideas is welcome to partake of the ongoing brainstorming, which aims to flesh out what will become a subfaction in the Dwarven Holds army list:
 
Kegiz Gavem: Ethiopian Dwarves of Light
Here are my own proposals thrown into the mix:
 
Rapidly pasted-together reference board, if real life Ethiopian inspiration is sought:
 

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

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

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

Should any inspiration be gleaned from Nubia to the north? Yes or no to gunpowder weapons and advanced mechanics?
 
Would Kegiz Gavem's ships be of the sewn variety, kept together by ropes not nails, as was the case with ancient Egyptian and Aksumite vessels and boats in general at the Horn of Africa until recently, just of more immense fantasy scale? In real life, Aksum's navy must have been important for its dominance of overseas province in Yemen. And to borrow a page from that book, how about some holy righteousness-fuelled wars over trade routes, local minerals and luxury goods such as myrrh and frankincense against Infernal Dwarf settlers and traders and warlords?
 
Note that Kegiz Gavem's lines of communication over the Southern Ocean could be much faster and better than trudging Infernal Dwarf overland routes (unless they, too, sport considerable harbour facilities and fleet forces in the Southern Ocean, which are able to outmatch Kegiz Gavem), making the numerically and materially superior Infernal Dwarves in the region face a logistical uphill battle against the sea-supplied fortified coastal settlements of Kegiz Gavem in the equivalent of Yemen. And once any concerted Infernal Dwarf offensive at kicking the Taphrian rivals into the sea ebbs out and the besiegers need retreat, the overseas forces and settlers of light-worshipping Kegiz Gavem give praise to the holiness of light and can encroach once more on the turbulent hinterland of their holdings, which otherwise hugs the coast:
 

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

Artobans Ghost:
Iím in! This is bloody awesome!

Il Condottiero:
Zoinks - I REALLY like this!

Go crazy with the shotel dwarf warriors! While utterly different, I'd dig it [heh] if the Kegiz Gavem dwarves still had some sort of iconic/religious link towards the other dwarf holds [a parallel to how ethiopians developed links to christianism orthodox/coptic and emulated imperial paraphernalia from Byzantium in titles, names and cult].

Gankom:
I like seeing an army with a different real world inspiration like that. It looks pretty good thematically. Are you going to try and keep some kind of mining/digging influence with them as dwarves?

Perhaps as well as their sea influence they have access to certain luxury goods that make kicking off a full war unappealing.

Karak Norn Clansman:
@Artobans Ghost: Nice!

@Il Condottiero: Thanks! Good idea. The connection must be there.

@Gankom: Good ideas! Possessing luxury resources may often make you an inviting target, on the other hand. Yes, the digging aspect must be there given the basis (rock-cut temples connects well with Dwarves):



Gavemite Technology


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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