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Thread: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

  1. #1
    Chapter Master Grimstonefire's Avatar
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    Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    To solve a fluff dispute, what do you guys think?

    Over on CDO I've been having a discussion about how the CD society works and if they have clans at all. We've basically agreed that it is a theocratic oligarchy. I.e. a highly religious state run by a ruling elite where those that are most religious hold political power, and are traditionally interested in being really wealthy (i.e. the sorcerers/ high priests). So far so good.

    We then have 3 opposing views:

    1. There are no clans or guilds. The Sorcerers own everything, and all CD are split between who 'owns' them. There are few personal possessions, everything is focused on generating wealth for the leaders and glory of hashut. They don't pay their soldiers, they don't buy war machines or weapons for campaigns (the CD make them at their own expense of time and labour), they own everything so don't need to tax. They just rule with absolute and unquestionable power. There are few (if any) social classes other than the workers and the ruling elite. No point in 99% of CD being greedy as chances are it goes to build temples or the hordes of hashut's chosen (sorcerers). Heavy communist overtones.

    2. They operate very similar to dwarfs, with clans and craftguilds. The sorcerers generate income from substantial taxes on trading activities (e.g. a VAT rate of 30% etc), but otherwise leave the clans under their influence to generate wealth as they see fit. They buy war machines/ weapons/ armour for campaigns, and compensate warriors for time away from normal work. The sorcerer class rule in all political decisions, but not with absolute power (i.e. generals and loremasters would have a political voice). The sorcerers are not always the richest CD within the clans under their influence (the richer chaos dwarfs pay more in taxes so greed at all levels of society is encouraged). Potentially heavy fascist overtones.

    3. They basically have a feudal esque system, whereby CD are born into a class within society and only the sorcerers can move up. The CD clans work for their feudal masters, again with little sense of self possessions (the 'church of hashut' owns everything, and people just buy/ rent) from it. The CD have masters (the sorcerers), who have masters (the high sorcerers) etc. Then an old guy at the top, but not a king or supreme leader. Just the most powerful and venerable sorcerer/ high priest. Basically the ruling elite of sorcerers, priests and any other nobilitty classes are traditionally uber rich and everyone else is traditionally poor (with no choice to be greedy). A variant form of theocratic oligarchic feudal system.

    Or for those who don't really care on the specifics, a simple yes or no to the clans question would be handy
    Last edited by Grimstonefire; 22-07-2009 at 21:47.
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  2. #2

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    I don't agree with scenario 1 - I don't think CD's live in a Marxist egalitarian state nor even the slave based 'Utopia' for that matter

    I would say its a combination of scenario's 2 and 3 wherein the society is HIGHLY heirachical, particular gifted daemon-engineers are commissioned to produce engines for pay, the engine is then traded to WoC in exchange for slaves, and everyone in the trading party gets a cut of coarse with the by far largest share of profit going to the CD who commisioned the engine in the firstplace. I think the administration of CD society would work exactly the same as the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Grand High Sorceror
    Supreme council of Sorcerors
    Elected leader of Citadel under approval of sorcerors and grand high sorceror
    Wealthy Slave and Forge owners
    Daemonic Engineers
    Chaos Dwarves
    Hobgoblins
    Slaves(everyone else)

    This is ofcoarse with my highly limited understandings of the functions of the society

  3. #3

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    It' hard to say without knowing the basics of CD society and interest groups, as well as an understanding of CD psychology.

  4. #4
    Chapter Master Grimstonefire's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    I made the observation on CDO that it's quite ironic that very close to the area they are traditionally based on all those thousands of years ago (mesopotamia/ iraq), there is a government in power that's quite similar in a vague sort of ideology... (I agree the iranian comparison is close).

    Building weapons of mass destruction ... hellcannons

    I really shouldn't go any further
    Looking for a Chaos Dwarf Hellsmith? I always have one or two for sale!

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  5. #5

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Ah, so that's the way the wind's blowing.

    Basically, Assyrians aren't Persians, and the Babylonian aspects were probably acquired by osmosis.

    The religious aspect would be important, but no longer have a primacy, as a realization that trade and military strength are as important as religious observances and the resulting benefits thereof.

    The Priest/Sorcerer caste would continue to rule and make decisions, but in the background, while day to day running would be in the hands of a chancellor. The mercantile and military class would be raised, and persuaded to come into conflict, by using tax policy as the bone they would fight over, the military wanting more and the merchants wanting to pay as little as possible, with the ultimate arbitrator the Sorcerers.

    Clans still exist, but the profession/guild determines one's interests, and there's a strong sense of individuality that attempts to assert itself and push one's interests at the expense of colleagues and rivals. Most common CDs hope to rise in their respective hierarchies to where they can order others around, but in the meantime, will settle for bullying their slaves.

  6. #6

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    I don't think it is as highly class focused and some believe. IIRC there was a named hobgoblin hero who was the personal assassin of some high sorcerer. The hobgoblin actually had power over choas dwarf warriors. Though it might be very rare and hard it does seem like hobgoblins can climb the power ladder higher than some chaos dwarfs,
    Will sell slaves for book

  7. #7

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    The Daemon-smiths of WHFB are the rogue russian nuclear scientists of RL roflmao

    Edit: The history of Iraq/Iran is so intertwined with thousands of years of Iraqi dominance under the Assyrians, Sumerians and Babylonians and vice versa the Persian Alchaemid, Parthian, Sassanid, Ilkharnate, Safavid, etc etc etc for time immemorium that the history of the two countries is almost one and the same.

    @Wizuriel
    The Hobgoblins arent really 'intergrated' into Chaos Dwarf society are they? I was under the impression that the Hobgoblin Khans agree to a period of servitude in exhange for money/technology/protection before returning to the Cathayan plains. IIRC there are independent Hobgoblin Khan's outside of CD influence, i know for a fact that they are almost as much of a constant headache for the Cathayans as the Hung.
    Last edited by NakedBarbarian; 22-07-2009 at 23:45.

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    Chapter Master Urgat's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Chaos dwarfs remain dwarfs, and particularly egocentric ones, for that matter, so 1) is completly out for me. I take 2, but with sorcerers keeping absolute power over the other dwarfs. Well, higher priests, let say, like during middle ages kings would have to bow to the pope, but could hang monks w/o afterthoughts.

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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Get hold of the current issue of Warpstone magazine for WFRP. It has some interesting ideas on all of this.
    Sold off my last 40k army in order to buy an empty case to put the extra Privateer Press models I'm going to buy in.

    I hope I'm part of a trend. I hope they learn.

  10. #10
    Chapter Master Grimstonefire's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Ordered. From Alfred Nunez Jr no less! I really love stone and steel.

    How many pages is this article?
    Looking for a Chaos Dwarf Hellsmith? I always have one or two for sale!

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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    25 pages including a couple of pages on "The Tainted" which is his take on fallen-mutated rather than culturally separate Chaos Dwarves. Some of that is stats for roleplay though.

    If you like Stone and Steel though there's also an article on a dwarf salt mining clan.
    Sold off my last 40k army in order to buy an empty case to put the extra Privateer Press models I'm going to buy in.

    I hope I'm part of a trend. I hope they learn.

  12. #12
    Get your custom title 'ere! RobC's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    I get the impression a lot of people are going to be unhappy, should GW ever revive the Chaos Dwarfs as a full army list. 15+ years of fan-written background based on a very scant army book means there's almost no way GW's version will match fans' hopes and expectations.

  13. #13

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobC View Post
    I get the impression a lot of people are going to be unhappy, should GW ever revive the Chaos Dwarfs as a full army list. 15+ years of fan-written background based on a very scant army book means there's almost no way GW's version will match fans' hopes and expectations.
    Like that did ever stop them.

    In the past 25 years, GW turned the entire background upside down/inside out so often that it was quite complicated for newer players like myself to figure out what was going on. Yet everyone's still here playing.

    Whenever there is a new army book, GW obviously likes to play around with entire army concepts (HE's Court Intrigue and ASF to be one example as well as VC's loss of Bloodlines and Lizard's loss of Sacred Spawnings) as well as with individual units (Salamander going from Jezzail to Warpfire Thrower). We hear wails of despair yet everyone buys new models.

    I think GW has us in a state of dependency and addiction where they can pretty much do as they please, the new Empire prices being a prime example. I bet over 50% of the people who claimed they were never going to buy a box caved in and are currently happily assembling and painting 40 Greatswords and two Steam Tanks. If they ever write a new Chaos Dwarf book and reinvent them as evil garden gnomes with Uzis, players will still deify them and unload their cash.
    Quote Originally Posted by Games Workshop
    We have a simple strategy at Games Workshop. We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever. [...] We know that [...] people who are interested in collecting fantasy miniatures will choose the best quality and be prepared to pay what they are worth. [...] We donít spend money on things we donít need, like [...] advertising that speaks to the mass market and not our small band of loyal followers.
    In case you ever wondered.

  14. #14
    Commander Lewis's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    At least in the chaos dwarf case there's been a decent period of inactivity in which to reinvent as oposed to the Necrachs just up and disappearing one day. Its like a period of mourning before marrying again: at least this time the CD's have been in the grave for a while, where as usually GW likes to have sex with its new concept on the coffin of the old one right there in the funeral home in front of an audience of family and friends.

    To be honest though I'm not bothered about reinvention so long as models don't become invalid, although that might be a big ask for CD's its been so long.
    Sold off my last 40k army in order to buy an empty case to put the extra Privateer Press models I'm going to buy in.

    I hope I'm part of a trend. I hope they learn.

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    Chapter Master Urgat's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobC View Post
    I get the impression a lot of people are going to be unhappy, should GW ever revive the Chaos Dwarfs as a full army list. 15+ years of fan-written background based on a very scant army book means there's almost no way GW's version will match fans' hopes and expectations.
    StarWars fan survived the new trilogy, I believe the CD players may achieve that too

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimate Life Form View Post
    Whenever there is a new army book, GW obviously likes to play around with entire army concepts (HE's Court Intrigue and ASF to be one example as well as VC's loss of Bloodlines and Lizard's loss of Sacred Spawnings) as well as with individual units (Salamander going from Jezzail to Warpfire Thrower). We hear wails of despair yet everyone buys new models.
    These are rules though, they didn't change the background. For bigger background changes, look at the 5th to 6th Bretonnians transition.
    Last edited by Urgat; 24-07-2009 at 12:19.

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    Chapter Master Grimstonefire's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    I fall into the category you're describing RobC. Having written my own fluff and book I've been used to seeing the CD my way for the past 3 years or so. So for me to accept unconditionally any new stuff will be very hard, especially if it is a half-hearted effort.

    As an open minded player and writer I am fully prepared to adapt to whatever they throw at us, something that may not be so easy for the die hard traditionalists.
    Looking for a Chaos Dwarf Hellsmith? I always have one or two for sale!

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    Download the 8th Ed Chaos Dwarfs errata (Ravening Hordes)

  17. #17
    Get your custom title 'ere! RobC's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    The irony, of course, is that the existing Chaos Dwarf background is some of the least developed in the setting. In my opinion it's in desperate need of a rewrite, though ideally this would have happened within a few years of the original army list to avoid upsetting the fanbase. I'm reminded of the drastic change in background from 1st/2nd edition slann to 5th edition lizardmen, though that wasn't even taking into account fan-based material.

    ULF: keep the price discussions discussions in Other GW Discussion, please. As an ex-gamer, I'm far more interested in the background than the price of miniatures.

  18. #18

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    I think it's important to remember that chaos dwarfs have an unusually small population. I'm sure there's outposts but basically the chaos dwarf nation is a city state. Every single chaos dwarf is a person of some stature, there's no chaos dwarfs working minor posts. Dwarfs might be a dwindling, dying race but chaos dwarfs never had more than one city to begin with. With a population that small there's no need for them to divide into clans or other self contained groups.

    Any kind of basic labour is done by slaves, even the lower slave overseers are slaves.

    On the top side of things, chaos dwarf religion and chaos dwarf sorcery are the same things. Sorcerers fill the triple function of political, religious and magical leaders. All chaos dwarf sorcerers suffer from the malady that slowly turns them to stone from their practices, which sets them apart from the rest of the population. Bull centaurs fill most of the important positions guarding and assisting the chaos dwarf sorcerers in their daily tasks.

    Which basically leaves the 'regular' chaos dwarves in a position where they are free from the responsibilities of higher leadership as well as filling no menial occupations. It pretty much leaves them free to work on their three most important tasks. Slave raiding, engineering and trading.

    Anyway, the short of it is I think chaos dwarfs don't have clans or family groups or anything of that kind. Their small population and lifestyle seems far more suited to a more individualistic society. Basically capitalism. Each chaos dwarf is as important as the amount of wealth, slaves and trade contacts he can garner. Groups are probably arranged for work duty such as a slave party trying to catch slaves, an engineering team working on a profitable product or the employees of a succesfull trader.
    Last edited by snottlebocket; 25-07-2009 at 17:13.

  19. #19
    Chapter Master Urgat's Avatar
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    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    Quote Originally Posted by snottlebocket View Post
    I think it's important to remember that chaos dwarfs have an unusually small population. I'm sure there's outposts but basically the chaos dwarf nation is a city state. Every single chaos dwarf is a person of some stature, there's no chaos dwarfs working minor posts. Dwarfs might be a dwindling, dying race but chaos dwarfs never had more than one city to begin with. With a population that small there's no need for them to divide into clans or other self contained groups.

    Any kind of basic labour is done by slaves, even the lower slave overseers are slaves.

    On the top side of things, chaos dwarf religion and chaos dwarf sorcery are the same things. Sorcerers fill the triple function of political, religious and magical leaders. All chaos dwarf sorcerers suffer from the malady that slowly turns them to stone from their practices, which sets them apart from the rest of the population. Bull centaurs fill most of the important positions guarding and assisting the chaos dwarf sorcerers in their daily tasks.

    Which basically leaves the 'regular' chaos dwarves in a position where they are free from the responsibilities of higher leadership as well as filling no menial occupations. It pretty much leaves them free to work on their three most important tasks. Slave raiding, engineering and trading.

    Anyway, the short of it is I think chaos dwarfs don't have clans or family groups or anything of that kind. Their small population and lifestyle seems far more suited to a more individualistic society. Basically capitalism. Each chaos dwarf is as important as the amount of wealth, slaves and trade contacts he can garner. Groups are probably arranged for work duty such as a slave party trying to catch slaves, an engineering team working on a profitable product or the employees of a succesfull trader.
    I agree with pretty much of of this, it's very sensible. Only point of disagreement will be about the number of cities, there's more than one but CD remain a very low population race indeed. They still have clan systems or the likes, though, I believe, because even if they're only a few thousands, you need to keep a social structure to manage such numbers. The presence of lords and such proves it anyway.

  20. #20

    Re: Chaos Dwarf clans and society?

    My guess is that all of your questions will be answered in the upcoming CD release.

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