Dwerrow Zharr - The Forgotten Bretherin

Welcome weary traveller to a brand new hobby blog and showcase. I have recently been interested in square based wargames but I will not rebase my big hat army, mostly because the bases took longer to paint than the miniatures!

But how can I get into a new game system and not have a chaos dwarf army? Answer: I can’t.

However, re making an army identical to my AOS army but in squares feels like retreading the same ground. So I knew whatever I did I had to do something chaos dwarf, but something new. That is how the “Dwerrow Zharr” began manifesting in my mind.

The thought occurred, why not chaos worshiping Viking dwarfs? The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. A second chaos dwarf army that is a complete antithesis of my original chaos dwarf army. The great cities, high technology and lava field loving dwarfs and my new low tech, ice cave dwelling barbarian dwarfs.

What follows here will serve as a hobby blog, miniature showcase and lore library for a new faction born of my own imagination But influenced by countless fantasies and historical settings and people.

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The Dwerrow Zharr

History Part 1: The forgotten brethren

Summary

“You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?” A quote attributed to Xarathustra , Dawi Zharr prophet and philosopher of note.

In centuries past a great slave trade route was established from Zharr Nahgrund, through the Vale of Woe and deep into the inhospitable lands of the Kurgan.

Trading posts and outposts were established in the frozen wastes maintained with a string of supplies sent forth from the great city and paid for with human and greenskin slaves sourced from the nomadic tribes that dwelt in this place.

A time came when the supplies no longer came. Had the commanders of these outposts fallen out of favour? Had power struggles and political upheaval in the city caused their existence to be forgotten and lost in the harsh Byzantine bureaucracy of the Dawi Zharr?

The slavers had become enslaved to an unforgiving environment, surrounded on all sides by enemies with no hope for reinforcements. They were assaulted, raided and all but destroyed by ravaging hordes and daemons. Of the thousands who had set up these communities, soon only 100 survived.

But these were Dawi-Zharr and once they bent their will towards an aim, nothing would stand in their way.

The dwarfs dug deep into ice caves and fortified their position. With ever dwindling arsenals of black powder weapon they embraced a simpler form of subsistence living - relearning the ways of their ancient ancestors who thought with spear and bow. In order to live the unlearnt much that they had known and relearnt much that had been forgotten.

A few sorcerers were counted amongst the number of those who survived. These soon rose to prominence in this newly forming society. They used the gifts of fire to keep the dwarfs alive through the bitter winters, brewed the deadly decimator poison to dip their arrows in giving them the edge against raiding Norscans at a distance, and used their powers to enchant the minds of lesser creatures such as giants and ogres and press them into service.

After many centuries these Dawi became known as the “Dwerrow Zharr” or “Dwarfs of Zharr Naggrund” by the tribes they fought despite the fact that none now lived who had seen the great spires and ziggurats of their ancestral home.

The worship of Hashut is still maintained by the sorcerers of the Dwerrow Zharr. His altars still demand blood sacrifice and his hunger can never be satiated. However the form of worship that this takes would look alien to the eyes of a “civilised” Dawi Zharr. Tribalistic and unnervingly “Norscan” have become the traditions and ways of the Dwerrow Zharr due to their near constant interaction with the tribes of the chaos wastes.

Religion:

Summary

The Dwerrow maintain a form of Hashut worship although it is in a form that most Dawi Zharr would simply not recognise. Instead of iconography related to bulls and fire they focus on Hashut’s aspect as a Father of Darkness. The night time is his realm and in deep and dark places one can be close to him.

The tradition of blood sacrifice is practiced normally through ritual beheadings and is accompanied by drinking, dancing and music. Fellow dwarfs who fail in duty or are found wanting are often sacrificed although greenskin and Norscan slaves are far more routinely killed in this way.

Dwarfs that show rampant mutation are sacrificed and burnt. There is no celebration due to the great shame that it causes the Dwerrow Zharr.

The Norscans:

Summary

Dwerrow Zharr have been culturally contaminated by their close contact with Norscan tribes. To an untrained eye, they appear to dress and conduct warfare much more like the marauders of chaos than the legions of the Dawi Zharr.

Their exchange with Norscans has frequently been antagonist, with slave raids, attacks and counter attacks being relatively regular. However they have been known to fight alongside human chaos worshipping tribes in order to lead raids upon “civilised” lands or even in an alliance against another larger tribe.

The very land and walls of reality are constantly shifting in the chaos wastes. It is of little wonder that the politics between the people’s that inhabit it are less than stable.

Mutation:

Summary

Mutation is extremely rare in Dwerrow Zharr society as all dwarfs are naturally resistant to the effects of magic and mutation.
Occasionally dwarfs are born with small horns and most are born with either tusk like teeth or sharpened fangs. Dwerrow Zharr tend to have Snow White beards in contrast to their forebears who usually have coal black hair. The Dwerrow are also slightly taller than most dwarfs, yet almost always shorter in height than an average man.

Bull and boar centaurs are rare in all of chaos dwarf societies and are examples of a relatively stable mutation. They are even rarer in Dwerrow Zharr communities. The reason is that once a mutation has begun, it is much more likely to spiral out of control and create a dangerous abomination. This is due to their proximity to the northern most pole of the world.

When a dwarf shows mutations at birth, or later in life, these are monitored very closely. Any sign that the mutation may progress beyond slight physical differences such as fangs or horns or the creation of centaur, it will result in the dwarf being destroyed and their remains burnt.

Greenskins:

Summary

“… Goblins? They did not hate dwarves especially, no more than they hated everybody and everything, and particularly the orderly and prosperous; in some parts of the chaos wastes wicked dwarves had even made alliances with them.” An excerpt from There and back Again, a Halflings journey into the Chaos Wastes. Altdorf press IC 2145

Dwerrow have a complete contempt for all other races, much like their Dawi Zharr cousins. They too will enslave those that they can and force some to fight. Disconnected as they are from the wider world, their choice of greenskin slave soldiers is somewhat less varied than other chaos dwarfs. In the ice tunnels and caverns that they call home, they have occasionally uncovered small primitive societies of frost goblins. These creatures most resemble the Great Goblins of the badlands in size and stature, standing just smaller than a man and of similar size to a dwarf.
The harsh ice cave environments have caused these beings to lose their large noses which would be a liable to become frost bitten. Their skin is a slickly hue and their faces are grotesque and malformed.
These goblins were existing in an extremely primitive state when they were discovered. They were not clothed, had only a basic grasp of stone tools and fire and their language was base and simple.
Once enslaved, they were given clothing, armour and arms. As well as this they were given the opportunity to fight the Norscans whom they had long been envious of.
These creatures go into battle in large massed ranks, often guided by a Dwerrow to keep them in check. Occasionally they will mount great arctic wolves, which they have not so much tamed, as trained to attack enemies instead of friends.

Dwerrow Zharr and Daemons

summary

Lacking the technological level of development of their Dawi Zharr cousins, the Dwerrow have increasingly looked upon daemonkind as a source of power, weaponry and labour.

In the chaos wastes such things slither, crawl and stride as freely as a man may move through the empire. Without the need to summon daemons, they are instead hunted and captured in the same way that a wild beast may be cornered, harnessed and controlled.

Many daemons are bound into weapons and armour, others are drained of their energies and used to power spells of the sorcerers, and others are enslaved and forced to fight.

Least fortunate of these creatures are destined to become the daemon cannons of the Dwerrow Zharr. These beings are chained to a mobile platform or simply bound and carried to a battlefield. A sorcerer then casts a dark spell upon them forcing them to excrete a potion of their power in great painful and explosive blasts. Every burst of energy drains the miserable creature of its life force but unleashes a deadly barrage of magic explosive projectiles upon the enemy. Rarely will a daemon survive the battle, it’s body a withered smoking husk and it’s life force spent.

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Forces of the Dwerrow Zharr:

Black souls:

Summary

So named for the fact that each warrior of the Dwerrow must have his soul examined by the sorcerers of the tribe and be found to be as dark and the depths of hell. Any sign of compassion or kindness results in the aspirant being sacrificed in a ritual to Hashut conducted by his peers. This ensures that compassion is weeded out and brutality and discipline are maintained.

Decimators:

Summary

The ranged infantry of the Dwerrow Zharr. Lacking black powder weaponry for generations, these Blacksoul warriors are instead trained from an early age to use bows and arrows for hunting and warfare. When marching to war each arrow is bathed in the Decimator poison brewed by the tribal sorcerers. The poison is so named because all black souls who wish to use the poison upon the battlefield must first drink cup of the foul toxin and survive. One in ten do not live but their deaths are celebrated as the weak are routed out and the strongest survive.

Immortals:

Summary

Always numbered at 100, the number of original survivors of the slave colony that was abandoned by Zharr Naggrund, the immortals are chosen from the greatest among the Black Souls and serve as an elite fighting force. Each warrior bears a skull mask representing the soul of one of the original lost brethren whom they fight for by proxy today.

Beserkers:

Summary

The chaos Wastes are a land of ever shifting landscapes, unspeakable monsters and daemons infiltrating reality. It is of little wonder that many Dwerrow lose their minds altogether. These “berserkers” withdraw from society and live like animals, clothing themselves in nothing but occasional animal furs and eating the raw meat of that which they can catch. When called to war, large numbers of these deranged dwarfs can be amassed and sent towards the enemy with brutal effect. What they lack in armour and tactics, they make up for in ferocity.

Ogres and Giants :

Summary

Moving slowly and dazed as if in a dream, these creatures have had their free will stripped from their minds and are pressed into service through foul magics. Only the presence of a sorcerer can push them into moving faster than a shamble and into a murderous rage.

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Original Concept sketches

Summary

First colour scheme mock up

Summary

Second colour Scheme mock up

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Dark Soul Warriors:


Frost Goblin slaves:

Sorcerer :

Sorcerer 2:

Slave giant:

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Very cool idea, when I saw these miniatures from Macrocosm I had the same idea. Only since I already own 2 different Dawi Zharr troops (one on corner bases and one on round bases) I was able to hold back. :skull2:

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First update to this project.

I have bought a load of Oathmark dwarfs.

I managed to nab 60 for 30 pounds. There are enough arms and heads for many more, so I’ve also been using some LOTR plastics and historical miniature
Models bodies to help the parts go further. The LOTR minis are so small compared to warhammer scale and these Oathmark dwarfs are kindve tall so it works quite well. Attached below: my first unit of decimator archers and black soul spearmen. Also below an example of using a LOTR miniature to “fill out the ranks” as it were.

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@Zanko - cheers mate! I’ll have a look

Interesting idea. When you said Viking themed dwarfs I was expecting you to go with one of the lost vanilla dwarf holds in Norsca (iirc in earlier editions dwarfs were split into two or three factions and one was the Norse Dwarfs).

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Yes I read a few bits about these. But I figured if I made up my own faction, I’d be more free to make up whatever crazy stuff I like later on down the line :slight_smile:

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1st off i love your original idea. I hope you can barbarize it up a bit. So far it looks a little saxon-like to me. The way you paint stuff anything is possible :cd1980:
I was thinking you would use some troll slayers as beserkers and also thought of the macrocosm models zanko posted as soon as i saw your sketches. (I heartily recommend anything from that company).

Seeing your oathmark dwarfs i think neither of the above options will scale well.
Mantic stuff is taller. They have beserkers too.

Im so glad you have seen the light and are switching to squares :smiley:

I will be watching with interest :hashut:

Any cavalry planned? Might work well in this army. Bear riders? Dwarf chariot? A crazy altar? Stone throwers, dwarf bolt throwers? Siegetower as juggernaught? Grenadier do a really cheap one on ebay. Grenadier do a nice dwarf barbarian like giant too. ( forlornhopegames)

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Not yet @Zoddtheimmortal - gonna smash out these troops and a few characters and plan from there.

I’m hoping to emphasise the barbarian look through paint definitely :slight_smile:

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Ten more built last night.

Having a lot of fun “evil”ing up these good guy dwarfs.

I’ve been been thinking about how to make them a little more “norscan”. I’ve decided, in order to match my Concept sketches a bit closer, they could do
With some fur. Maybe not all Of them but certainly some of them.

I’ve got some putty in the post and will attempt a bit of sculpting soon.

I’m building an army here, not a small
Warband, and I like to work quickly. Fur I think is a good choice because it will add some variety, reinforce the norscan aesthetic and it is dead simple and quick to sculpt.

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This project is really interesting. I’m excited to see how this project develops. Thematically, I’d be interested to see how additional units could be added to coincide with the lore and feel for the army. Chaos Dwarfs are pretty much associated with fire, industry, bulls, etc. This all translates into the units they have. Could something similar happen with your new faction?

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@theafrochemist

Where I’m building this army for kings of war, I feel many of the units in the rule book will dictate what I can and can’t do. That being said there’s still lots of room for creativity.

For example the golems and greater golems in the army list will be mind controlled giants and ogres. They have the slow shambling rule but a spell caster can use a spell called surge to push them forward. So in my mind these will be drooling brain dead creatures and when the sorcerer commands they get angry and charge forward.

Now the big lava rhino thing in kings of war. Surely that’s begging to be a mammoth?

I think the siege machines could be one of two things. They could be catapults and ballistas or they could be more ogres and beasts that are able to hurl great boulders.

There will totally be hobgoblins (or slave orcs for kow). The oathmark goblins and wolf riders would need little to no conversion.

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Those naked guys from that kickstarter would fit in with this force i think

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100% getting those.

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@Zoddtheimmortal

I’ve just had an idea for norsing up some of these models too. You did chaos warrior head swaps on yours and they looked badass. I might have a play with that too. Not all of them - just maybe one in ten or something. Just so the occasional totally historically accurate Viking horns pop up from time to time in the unit. You did green stuff beards on them didn’t you? Just to kind of sell the fact it’s a chaos dwarf not a short marauder haha

Yeah i think its a good idea, as much variation as possible. Ive since been playing around with adding different horns to heads. I added green stuff beards when i remembered yeah haha.
You could also vary the posture and height of a few with hunch back cw heads. The oldest gw plastic drastic dwarves have nice horned heads too.
Im guessing you ll add random tattoos and warpaint to make them look more feral.
The addition of the skulls looks good. You definitely have an original concept here. Watching with interest.

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Yes I’ve got a few old school plastic CW helms left somewhere too actually.

Tattoos / war paint would be cool yeah.

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