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World-Building: The Desert Dwarves

Posted by Saber-Scorpion, 22 June 2012 · 2,523 views

As you probably know by now, Wulfgard is built upon a foundation of real-world mythologies, all mixed together and combined. One of the most fun parts of studying mythology and coming up with this combined-mythology lore is when some especially good combinations reveal themselves.

For example, in Egyptian mythology, we find this guy:

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Bes by Sebastian Niedlich (Grabthar), on Flickr

This is Bes, an Egyptian dwarf-god associated with protection of the household and the family. He would defend mothers during childbirth and fight off snakes and scorpions. Because of this everyday usefulness, Bes was a very popular god and was found on many sculptures. There is also reason to believe that dwarf people were respected members of Egyptian society.

Regardless, here's a case for some dwarves living in Kemhet (Wulfgard's Egypt).

Now, when I was reading Snorri's Prose Edda, I ran across a passage that the Dvergar (dwarves) were created by the gods from the maggots tunneling in the corpse of Ymir (the primordial giant from whose body the earth is formed). The gods gave these maggots consciousness, humanoid form, and gifted them with all their skill at crafting.

I had been considering what kind of "mount" to give to the Dwarves for a long time - what kind of creature they could ride in their subterranean tunnels, well-suited to that environment. This connection with maggots helped me settle on giant beetles, since beetles of course begin life as grubs - thus creating a kinship between the two from the very beginning:

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The idea of dwarf beetle-riders also tied in perfectly with the idea of Kemheti dwarves. Scarab beetles were sacred in ancient Egypt. Their feathered antennae, combined with the "rays" jutting out of their head and forelegs (used for digging) gave them a sun-like appearance, and the way they roll a ball of dung was also associated with Ra and the rising sun. Their seemingly spontaneous generation from dead matter also connected them with the cycle of life, death, and resurrection. They were given their own god, named Khepri.

So if the people of Kemhet saw dwarves riding out of the ground on the backs of giant beetles, what would they think? Heck, it even ties in with the fact that the god Bes was usually depicted as bow-legged!

And, coming full circle, I even found a beetle in the Scarab family named after the Norse god Thor. According to Wikipedia, if one encountered the beetle on its back and flipped it over onto its feet, Thor's favor could be gained.

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So there is some background info that I hope some of you will enjoy. Finally, here are the links to the Wiki pages I've created for the giant beetles (called Khepridin) and the 'desert dwarves' of Kemhet:

Desert Dwarves - Khepridin

Remember to keep an eye on the Wiki for further lore updates! There is a new picture on the Demons page, for example.

Also, if you're interested in a bit of forum-based Wulfgard role-playing, you should check out Maverick-Werewolf's poll here: http://forums.saber-...?showtopic=9166

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