Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dwarves In Space

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Warhammer 40,000 has orks, humans, demons and elves in space. 
The other fantasy classic dwarves (also hobbits?) exist as the "squats" a modified human race that were dropped out of production by Games Workshop and sidelined by the lore.

Something about Dwarves couldn't translate into Sci-Fi, possibly because two of the central aspects of dwarves ,industrialism and being underground, are eclipsed by the scale of outer space conflicts.

But is possible to have Dwarves in Space being Dwarvish?

I don't think you could add them now to Warhammer 40 K , as any new faction some amount of  Starcraft and/or Lovecraft to be taking seriously. 

However here's my attempt at a Space-Dwarves that would fit in the earlier 40K warhammer.

Their origins indicate they were human , descended from humans that left with slower than light travel.

From there they increasingly compromised their humanity for the advancement of technology and the requirements of space travel.

Eventually being able to survive and traverse blackholes  and making use of the super dense materials and energys they mine there.

 Their form is now inseparable from their pressure suits, the being inside a oily like mass of bio-slime and crude nano bots.

The requirements for their extreme existence have turned their society into one of absolute routine and conformity,  spending millennium maintaining and improving their ships, gathering materials, and drifting through space.

Their ships are like brutalist sculpture or soviet reactor.
(Center for the Performing Arts, Albany)

Divorcing themselves from imagination and frivolous individuality is one of their solutions to the threat of Chaos.

Their goals now is render the universe safe from chaos, which involves converting anything that chaos could invest into the equivalent of concrete dams, like the apocalyptic madness of "paperclip making AI".

While not having access to the warp , they claim to have outlasted the universe and seen it loop over , allowing them to have already traveled to where they need to be.

Their ships are undetectable and vast fleets can be calmly traveling at sub light speeds, having traveled millions of years to arrive just as another fleet arrives out of the warp.

Their technology and weapons would involve moduleness , gravity, magnetism , and weird time effects, weird materials, blackholes, super bullets and railguns.

Aesthetically drawing from any human like technology which looks threatening or overwhelming to human scale, so brutalism, big massive lines, hostile cubic detail.

Additionally add signs of pitting and crust from the vast ages of their craft.

The central ideas and required horribleness (warhammer)  would be the fear of technology and overly applied rationality to transform things into unrecognizable alienity, as well as fears of deep time, and the unblinking gaze of those hidden behind protective suits

(Arnaldo Pomodoro sculptures)


  1. This is one of those ideas that's so good that it simultaneously makes me mad that I didn't think of it myself, and also inspires me to want to be a better creator. What a brilliant way to capture the essence of what makes a dwarf a dwarf, not the superficial trappings but the actual underlying themes, and make it work in a genre that would normally render that irrelevant. As per usual, you are a source of inspiration :).

    1. Well said, Max. Eye-gougingly awe-inspiring. I love this too. Ressentiment is dwarfish, indeed.

  2. Long ago, they did have Dwarves in 40k...

  3. I realize this is an old post now, but I still think about this a lot. I'm still trying to figure out how exactly I want to portray the dwarves in the setting for my current campaign(!!). I have a rough idea, that was partially inspired by this, and also some other things like how Tolkien had partially based the Dwarves on Jews and maybe leaning into an old testament / kabbalah or jewish mysticism angle (or a little bit the chaos dwarves from warhammer), as well as tying in some Shakespearean fairy and Lovecraftian elements, saiga antelopes and mountain animals, and speculative evolution. I realize that's a big mishmash of stuff, but anyway the part that's relevant to this post is this guy here:

    Tell me that's not awesome! It's not quite the same as what you present here, but I think it could work in a similar manner as an origin for space dwarves or techno-cronenbergian dwarves or something.

    1. I'm honestly struggling to think how you tie lovecraft shakespeare and the vacuumorph together. Well the vacuumorph and the lovecraft work , and I guess lovecraft's Through the gate of the silver key maybe.
      The Vacuumorph and shakespeare isn't that easy either. Tell us how it goes though

    2. Please let me know what you think :)!