"My reverend lord, did you bring a straw? Or how on earth will you consume the blood with that nose ornament in the way?"
"I'll drink to that!"
Infernal Dwarves of the Torture Valleys
Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you all to participate in a brainstorming for this new concept, courtesy of Uther the Unhinged: Fantasy South American evil Dwarves!
I'd like to scoop up all wild ideas you have. Let's have some fun!
You don't have to know anything about the Ninth Age (T9A) to participate. Just assume it's the Warhammer world, with different names and lots of more stuff in it. It's a dark fantasy smörgåsbord based on history. I'll sift through ideas here and present them oo T9A, due credit and quoting given. In this instance, we're concerned with a cousin of Lustria, but with something more than Lizardmen to speak of on the continent. There's gotta be Dwarves...
Ready? Then let's travel to faraway Virentia, over whipping seas, steaming jungles and Wrathful Mountains, and emerge onto a desert coast beyond the edge of the mapmaker's knowledge...
This concept was spawned as the fallen brother culture to these proposed Inca Dwarves. Uther the Unhinged had lots of fertile ideas:
Cool concept. I think you could have standard and infernal dwarves in the continent. It is a big place and mines would have been well separated leading to multiple revolutionary movement. Infernal dwarves obviously utilizing fire sorcery/daemons (sorry not T9A literate) and playing up the sacrifice aspect of Incan/Aztec culture. Possibly binding daemons into animals. The standard dwarves animating statues. Again to differ from other pld world dwarves the statues could be animal/totem based snake like caymen panther jaguar etc. Longer association with saurians might have led to more magic/rune binding. You could go down the lack of iron route with rune encrusted war clubs. Obsidian daggers, obsidian encrusted clubs (for both types). As for artillery again standard torsion engines with animal totemic themes fir standard dwarves but enslaved/mutated/daemon bound animals for infernal dwarves. Like tortured bloated snakes spitting incendiary venom as counts as firearms. Sort of twisted Lizardmen technology, which would fit fluff wize.
The uprising of the dwarves would have been sporadic and disunited due to geography and a clampdown by the saurian masters. Each mine (future hold) would develop differently. All paying religious homage to ?? Queznir (I know Quetzacoatl was aztec but he was famously bearded). However secet symbols and signs were used often utilizing local animals. Over the years these took on totemiic status rising as quasi-deities themselves. The defeat of the saurians was piecemeal each hold achieving independence at different times and often facing several attmpts to retake it. Thus it was years before the dwarves (the Quezcuz as they call themselves) started to contact each other.
Magic stolen /learned from the saurians is used to infuse stone statues of their totemic animals. Arcuballistae, bows spears atlatlt stone headed tomahawk like axes and mauls. Armour rune/totem bound leather or padded cloth. Iron usage is unknown. Shields wicker?. But gold and silver adornment common. All totems are bird, mammal or fish. Reptillian and amphibian totems are taboo given the link to their hated saurian oppressors. Now contactbetween holds maintained by giant condor.
However not all mines followed the same path. Some came across knowledge of the infernal (again not sure of T9A fluff so this needs work). This great mine too eventually won its freedom using the infernal skills they had developed under the guidance of their infernal god (Haztet? Gotto reference the father of darkness somewhere). The dwarves of this mine (the Hazcuz) used magic to bind deamons into anomals to fight for them (rather than statues). With the overthrow of the saurians they used the reptiles of their previous masters as beasts of war and burden (twisting them with their infernal magic). Far from avoiding reptillian iconography the Hazcuz subverted it. Thus it was that when the Hazcuz made contact with other freed dwarves they were not greeted as long lost cousins but as evil blasphemers. Several Quezcuz holds united against these heretics and besieged them. Faced with overwhelming odds and the threat of extinction they broke out from the suege and embarked on ‘the long trek’. Effectively a running battle with pursuing Quezcuz, Saurians seeking to recapture them, grenskins and others. The trek lasted over 2 years. It did not end till the Hazcuz were driven from their mountain home to the lowland and escaped the pursuing Quezcuz in the jungle. Eventually they reached a land where they felt safe (unsure if this should be far south Terra del Fuego or Mexico). a hot forbidding land. Here they built their step puramids in memory of their lost mountain home. If you go with the Mexico option you can go full aztec.
Magic is using runes/reptillian totems to bind infernal spirits into creatures thus empowering them ?twisting? them but seriously reducing their life span (they literally! Burn out) runes/totems branded on (fire dwarves yay). Weaponry bucklers of alligator hide. Armour of toughened reptile skin. Wooden Warclubs (see plains indian warclubs) with obsidian studs/shards. ?slings? Spears. Animals adapted as weapons eg venom spitting reptile held as hand arms etc.
There that is me done. It was a long drive today.
...Anyway if we don’t do something our hated vanilla cousins will steal all the glory!
Now, there is a prime candidate among ancient cultures in South America that fit the bill perfectly: The Moche culture (100-700 AD). The Moche lived by the coast of what is today Peru, inhabiting nine river valleys with arid desert in between. The Moche are an archaeological culture, meaning they left no written documents behind, but they sure left behind monumental architecture, eyecatching craft objects and proof of ritual cruelty!
The Moche were fine craftsmen who produced works of art in gold for the highly elaborate dress of their elite, and they likewise have become famous for their erotic pottery. The Moche built stepped pyramid temples and practiced a warfare reminiscent of the Aztecs: They fought wars to capture enemy warriors, whom they stripped naked, bound, tortured and sacrificed to their gods. Sounds like Infernal Dwarf material?
Now let's pool all our ideas! :cheers
Here are some video/audio links for those who want to listen and learn while working or driving. Documentaries:
Moche Tombs of Sipan
Treasure and Secrets of a Moche Tomb
Warfare and Human Sacrifice in the Moche World: New Discoveries and Continuing Debates, by John Verano
Recent Research on the Moche, by Richard Stutter
Tales of the Moche Kings and Queens: Elite Burials from the North Coast of Peru, by Jeffrey Quilter
Reference images, primarily of Moche and of various coastal Peruvian cultures, mainly drawn from the master artist Coricancha's gallery: