Dwarf Ironclads
Ironclads march at the forefront of the armies of the
Dwarfs. Heavily armoured in thick plate that a non-Dwarf
would struggle to bear, such is the endurance of the
Dwarfs that Ironclads have been known to march 50 miles
in a single day and night, moving at a brisk trot that they
can keep up seemingly forever.
An Ironclad‟s armour is thickest about the Dwarf‟s head
and shoulders, for many of their foes are taller and strike
downwards. The Dwarfs for their part prefer to
concentrate on the lower portions of their foe, aiming for
the ankles in particular, a technique the Ironclads refer to
as “Cutting them down to size”.
All Dwarfs favour short-hafted heavy weapons suitable
for hewing and crushing. Dwarfs have poor reach
compared to other races, fancy fencing does little for
them, while longer weapons will in any case become easily fouled on the walls of their tunnels.
The Ironclad fighting technique epitomises the Dwarven way of war. They lure their opponent into
attacking first, trusting to their rugged physique and thick armour to protect them. Then, once the
foe has come within reach, the Dwarf will respond in unhurried, deadly manner, smashing and
hewing, warhammers and axes being the most common arms among their kind for this purpose.
While underground, Ironclads ordinarily carry “short arms” versions of these, combined with a
shield which they will lock with those of their fellows and hunker down behind. Above ground they
might carry “long arms” - two-handed versions of their warhammers and axes, huge things whose
weight alone can pulverise the skull of a horse.
Dwarf Ironwatch
Dwarfs were the first to master the art of
blackpowder. Initially its power was harnessed in
blasting tunnels and halls, only later were its
explosive properties applied to the art of ballistics, a
field of which the Dwarf are pre-eminent masters.
Dwarf guns are a relatively recent invention, being
but over a century since the first primitive handgun
was employed in a tunnel war by the creative, if
deeply misfortunate, Dwarf engineer Wain „Iron
Tube‟ Steef. Steef might only have been able count
his greatest achievements on the fingers on one hand
(as he had but three remaining by the time of his early demise, this is less impressive than it
sounds), but his greatest legacy - the gun, has transformed warfare.
Since Steef‟s days, the gun has rapidly developed, and in these enlightened times hardly ever poses
a threat to its bearer. Other peoples have seized upon the weapon, but the Dwarfs remain at the
forefront of modernity: rifled barrels, standardised charges, cap-fired flashpans, spring-loaded
trigger mechanisms and decorative pipe holders make Dwarf guns the best in the world. Even now,
Dwarf inventors are experimenting with cartridge shot and rune-activated firestones, although these
latter remain the province of only the very wealthiest lords.
Dwarf Ironwatch regiments drill endlessly. A speciality is the deadly “creeping dragon” formation,
where ranks of Dwarfs discharge their weapons turn by turn. Under the cover of a withering
bombardment of shot, the Dwarfs advance slowly, those ranks with charged weapons filtering
through those who have discharged theirs, giving them time to reload and repeat the process. By the
time the Ironwatch arrive at the enemy‟s line, there are usually precious few warriors left to offer
resistance to the Dwarfs‟ stout warhammers.The bows used by other races are too big and unwieldy
to employ in the underground realm of the Dwarfs. For ranged combat, Dwarfs have traditionally
relied on compact yet powerful crossbows, “Like the bows of others”, they say, “only much better”
(modesty is not chief among Dwarven virtues).
Dwarf crossbows often sport elaborate loading and
cocking mechanisms, designed to increase their rate of
fire, the weapon‟s only real weakness. Dwarf
crossbowmen will boast until they are purple in the face
about their own particular improvements to their
weaponry, and not hollowly.
The best of such innovations are generally adopted by
their whole regiment, as such each Dwarf crossbow troop
often has slightly different capabilities.
A favoured Dwarf tactic is to combine crossbow troops
with Ironclads. A rank of Ironclads will kneel, shields
forward, protecting crossbowmen behind them who can
fire over their helmets, often using their fellow Dwarves‟
flat heads to steady their aim. Once the enemy closes, the crossbowmen will withdraw, allowing
further lines of Ironclads to take their place.
Storm of Iron
The gentle breeze ruffled the King's beard as he stood surveying the troops below him, hidden.
His Scouts has been tracking the Orc raiding party's progress for nearly a week and the trail of
mayhem and chaos had been appalling with villages, mines and outposts all laid to waste.
War King Grafe shifted his heavy armour and tightened the straps holding it in place. He lifted his
mighty warhammer in his right arm and gently rested it against his shield. He knew his War
Engineers had laid traps across the entrance to the valley to stop the inevitable Orc route and his
Ironwatch were positioned above the valley with crossbows and rifles at the ready. At the valley
head were his Ironbelchers, a huge array of cannons and Organ guns, and even two of rare Fire
Belchers, all primed with Cannonball and Grapeshot.
By Grafe's side were his King's retinue, a unit of 50 heavily armoured Ironclads, ranked 10 wide
and 5 deep, the core of the Dwarf Army. To their left and right more units of Ironclads stood, and
between them units of Shield Breakers, their huge two-handed weapons at the ready.
Cold wind blew colder rain onto the line of Dwarfs, ragged sheets of almost mist that made the air
barely distinguishable from the moorland mires they’d been tramping through for weeks. It was as
if the air had become water, and wherever a veil of the rain draped itself, it left beards soaked and
bones chilled. But there was more here to steal the heat from a warm heart. Dwarfs stood
beleaguered, weapons gripped in numb hands as they fought against the dead for their lives.
A scythe whistled down toward the head of Guddri Stonebrow, a nimbus of witchfire about it. His
eyes widened. He had not thought to die this way, out here, away from the warmth of hearth and
home, away from the comfort of tight stone walls, under the pitiless open sky. He brought up his
shield and axe, a reflex instilled by endless drills under the earth. He knew them to be useless. He’d
seen the spirit’s weapon slide through the axes of his comrades as if they weren’t there, though its
blade killed sure enough. Old sergeant Freg would be disappointed in him, he thought, and he
prepared to die at the hands of the Wraiths. Ancient, dead and utterly evil, how could he, a mere
bondsman, hope to fight against such a spirit?
The wind was suddenly knocked from his as the solid body of a Dwarf cannoned in to him. He went
down hard, loosening a tooth. He pushed free of the sodden earth as quickly as he was able,
tangling himself in his cloak. He wiped mud free of his eyes in time to see Lord Garrek come up
from a roll, his warhammer blazing with holy fire, runes aglow. The Wraith twisted about Lord
Garrek, trailing the ethereal remnants of its grave-garb about him. A hideous, piercing shriek filled
the mist, causing the Dwarfs to falter in their fight against the Wraith’s lesser servants, bronzearmoured warriors first dead in some antediluvian age.
The Wraith lunged at the Lord like a snake, scythe sweeping across towards Garrek’s midriff, its
skull face leering. Garrek blocked the attack elegantly with his massive hammer. Sparks of magic
crackling into the air where the two weapons met. The Wraith drew back, and shrieked again.
“That’s right, laddy, frightened of this, aren’t ye?” said Garrek, circling round his opponent. “It’ll
have piece of you and that’s not the way it goes, is it? Think again! No agricultural implement’s
going to stop me, no matter what manner of apparition wields it. Listen, spirit! I am Garrek
Heavyhand of the Free Clans, and I have come for what is rightfully mine, and I intend to send you
and yours to the utterdark before I claim it!”
With that he raised his warhammer and struck. The Wraith attempted to catch the blow, but the haft
of its weapon snapped, as a real, solid scythe would had it been hit by Garrek’s hammer. The
curved blade fell, dissipating into the mist before it hit the floor. The head of the heirloom of the
Heavyhands continued forward, exploding the creature’s ribcage with a roar of magical flame, and
it died a second time with a terrible cry Guddri knew would haunt his nights forever. Garrek smiled
grimly, about him his clansmen were finishing off the remainder of the Wraith’s guard. Several of
the Revenants had collapsed as their lord had died, others fought on, but their unnatural vitality
was ebbing away.
Garrek tugged the tattered remnants of the Wraith’s shroud from the hammer’s head and turned to
Guddri. “What are ye doing lying about there lad?” he gestured to the barrows looming out of the
fog. “There’s treasure to be won!”
The huge orc warband continued rolling into the valley – a raucous, malodorous horde of filth,
bringing death and destroying everything in its path.
The anticipation clenched Grafe, and his beard bristled with rage.
"Let them have hell!" he yelled, shortly followed by a different roar as cannons, rifles, crossbows
and Organ guns ripped into the orc lines.
Grafe's legs struggled to keep him upright as he barrelled down the hill, only just carrying his
weight and armour as he and his cohort smashed into the first rank of orc troops. By then he already
knew this battle was won...and he quite enjoyed charging the enemy for a change – it being a rare
event for any Dwarf army.

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