Following this improvised mini-series of text walls about fluff in the AoS (in another place and time, really), I’d like to write a bit about dwarves (or duardin in the new setting, I’d bet it’s formed by simply altering the original words like it was with the dwarves themselves. A little history here — the english word “dwarf” is the english version of the german word “Der Zwerge”, which in turn is the german version of the old scandinavian “dwerg” (and it’s not saying who they originally were — it is too ancient for us today, but maybe someday… Who knows). The plural form “dwergar” is what likely GW used to make their new fancy “duardin”, and it is exactly this word (“dwergar”, that is), that is used in D&D to describe evil and dark dwarves living too deep underground in the Forgotten Realms setting). In the new world there are currently two sub-factions of this race — the Fyreslayers and the Dispossessed. Let’s start with the second one for today.
The so-called Dispossessed duardin are the sons of Grungni, the god-smith of the duardin. In the Age of Myth there was a whole duardin empire, Khazalid, but now it’s naught but a bunch of strongholds in Azyr — all who managed to escape the onslaught of the Chaos Gods. Of course, there can be also several cities in the other realms, but they are few, no doubt. The embittered Dispossessed, as these duardin are known now, fight for the forces of Order, and they wish naught but revenge on their enemies. Eventually all, who owe them in blood, will be repaid in full. Be assured of that.
When they go to war, the ground trembles with thudding of heavy boots, for these guys don’t use light infantry at all, and not that fond of the medium infantry as well. No, they like marching in tight blocks of the heavy shield wall, backed up by crossbows and fearsome looking flamethrowers (called “drakeguns”, by the way, and rightly so). Although all their artillery along with the gyrocopters is now a part of the Ironweld Arsenal, the Dispossessed are still a force to be reckoned with. They are led to war by mighty warden-kings and supported by runes of their runelords, and it’s quite often enough for everyone facing them.
They also tend to live, as it’s mostly so, in the underground fortresses replete with high walls, deep mines and complex mechanisms. You know already the basic principles which to based your own fluff on, but what about something specific for the duardin? Well, I’d suggest the following. First, decide how technologically advanced are your brave dwarves. Do they use and invent new things or still prefer to cling to the good old ways? A new fancy flamethrower or steam drill is all good and such, but there is nothing an axe or hammer can’t achieve! My duardin (living in mountains in Chamon, the Realm of Metal, I must admit) are not that advanced as it could be (and is in some other settings), but they use powder, steam, complex contraptions and machines like elevators and mine cars on railways.
Second, decide, what resources they use and where they get them. Do they use lots of metal and so mine them deep underground? Or, maybe, they don’t have plenty of this and use instead wood and stone which can be taken from the mountains and the surroundings without the need to tunnel too deep (for who knows, what things lurk beneath the earth)? Maybe your mountains (or hills, for that matter) can’t boast precious metals or jewels but instead have plenty of copper, iron and / or coal? Everything can be of use! And what you don’t have you can certainly buy or exchange, can’t you. The third thing to be considered is if your dwarves are isolated from the other denizens of the realm or have some trade routs and connections? They can have metals not that much, but they can probably trade it for, say, stone or gems. Dwarves often prosper from the trade, so why not?
And some fluff I came up with (for now, at least). My dwarven stronghold is situated in the Argent Mountains in Chamon (well, this name can be changed later, but now it seems not that bad). They endured the Age of Chaos and defeated all armies that had tried to besiege them, from the local ogor tribes (aye, the former ogre kingdoms) and the Ironjawz to the roaming Chaos warbands. Their fortress is built mostly under the mountain, but the main entrance is set up quite over the long, elaborate and winding stairway which will force the invading force to spread dangerously thin. The main gates are thick, iron and protected by the quarrelers and thunderers, ready to rain fire from lots of small windows on anyone who gets too close. The gates are also backed up by the main garrison of the stronghold — hundreds of resilient and grim warriors, armed with hammers, axes, shields, drakeguns and some other devices. This garrison also protects the war level of the city — the first of the three levels forming up the whole enclave. It is on this level that all the barracks, training grounds and armories are located.
The next level is the living quarters. There live and toil all who are not warriors and miners, from street cleaners, traders and artisans to poets and architects. There sits the king on his high throne, ruling all over his subjects, in the great magnificent palace in the heart of the mountains. It is on this level that all the treasuries, tombs, workshops (like forges) and houses are located.
And, the last but not least, is the mine level. It’s the deepest of them all, and here my duardin mine most of the resources — iron, coal, silver and gold (and sometimes gems as well). There is a plenty of them but quite often the dwarves have to fight the Moonclan grots, also living there, and occasional skaven raiding parties in order to extract them (not to say about things like giant worms, ants or spiders. It’s natural). All resources are mined and then sent to the second level via mine carts and elevators (which, along with the guarded stairways, connect all there levels, by the way). All this stuff is used mostly by the dwarves themselves, but some products from them like weapons, instruments and jewelry are sent to different human states (well, mostly human) in the area (and also my Scourge Privateers who have a coastal fortress not very far from the mountains). This is possible because of the great underground lake, the source of fresh water and way to send goods on metal steam ships across the river which goes from the lake through the mountains to the coast (which forced my duardin to build good docks on this lake, I must say). These goods are exchanged for mostly food, wood, animal skins and such.
And so it is. We will see what the future (I hope, at least) Dispossessed battletome will bring, but for now we can have a plenty of freedom for our angry bearded stunties. May your axe stay ever sharp and your grudges avenged!