Deep Gnomes, Stone Holders, Bearded Ones, The Lost, Northern Clans…

The lost Dwarven holds of the North have long been a subject of deep speculation.

This is a working article discussing some of the ideas you could develop into a Warhammer campaign.

- Physically larger then their ancestral cousins of the South, but similarly proportioned.
- Beards and hair are dynamically diverse in color. Red and blond seem to be the most common, however the full spectrum of color exists from deep black to thick white, there are even some off colors such a blue.
- Their basic social structure is somewhat different. The traditional family and clan relationships exist and are a key part of social structure, marriage, etc. However the reduced population after the great cataclysm that separated them from the the Southern holds. Created an atmosphere where new social structures had to be developed in order to survive as a civilization. This gave birth to the Cults. Each hold has its own set of Cults, however almost all holds will have some or all of the cults outline below. Clans/Family/Tribe still dictate marriage and social standing for the most part, however the Cults are the basis of government and politics. Cults grew out of the necessity to ensure talents and crafts did not go extinct as the Northern Holds tried to adjust to be cut off in the North. Many families and guilds were so broken and tattered that traditional social roles could not be maintained by the clan/tribe. So, liked mined craftsman formed even deeper bonds which stepped in to replace traditional family roles. Most Holds have a governing council that is lead by a semi-hereditary leader and his chief councilor. Size and membership depends on the the Hold.

- A non-comprehensive list of cults:
– Cult of Warriors – Normally the leadership, guards, and police of a Hold. The most family oriented of the Cults. Traditionally they take the seat at the head of the council.
– The Cult of Fire – The most controversial, secretive, feared, and misunderstood of the cults. The members of this cult resemble the Fire Mages of the Empire, or the Priest of ____ in the _____. The members of this cult at a certain level don special garb, have wild red hair and beards, and have demonstrated, but only rarely in public, the ability to control fire. Normally they are hailed as bringers of the earth’s heat, demonstrating the intensity and power of the forge and the ultimate forge – the earth itself. [Game Note] Their magic should be handled in a very similar way as Ice Mages, not like that of the Fire Mages of the Empire, and their magic is always fire-related. The Cult of Fire traditional holds the second most powerful chair in the council, that of the Chief Councilor.
– The Cult of the Rune Smiths
– The cult of the Traders and Merchants
– The Cult of the Miners
– Cult of the Brewers (not just beer makers, but farmers and herders also)
– Cult of the Smelters
– Cult of the Stone Workers
– Cult of the Craftsman
Inside the home family and clan ties are the absolute authority and will trump Cult affiliations and mandates, however government dictates and execution is the realm of the Cults and the cults play some hard politics indeed.

Most holds have driven deep into the ground due to violent Chaos infested world above them. Although, the cold and hard climate is reverenced above all. The continual conflict with Chaos and its agents is respected, hated, and fought at every level. The threat of Green Skins is still felt, but Chaos is the larger threat, and Skaven are only entrees in the Book of Grudges. Despite the epic and continual struggle with Chaos and its human minions. Mutants (be them very rare) are not immediately ostracized. If they can continue to add to society, they are tolerated, if not they are killed or become the equivalent of Slayers and unleashed on the world above to reek as much havoc as they can on Dwarven enemies until their death.

Some holds have limited trade with human tribes on the surface, but these are few. Most holds are deep, with highly fortified entrances and exits. Most have ability through underground networks to maintain communication with one or two other holds, a few are isolated, yet can speak through some means with neighboring holds. There are a few holds that have remained completely isolated from their brethren, and any attempt to maintain contact is rebuffed.

Game Stats – These Dwarves should have a slightly higher Chaos Resistance than the norm for Dwarves. There should also be an increased intolerance of Chaos, and certain xenophobic tendencies above the norm for Dwarven culture.

Myths – The Hold of the Dead – Potential for a Dwarven Ghoul Hold

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