by Max Barry

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Dwezgaz

DWEZGAZ HOLDS



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Capital: Khalkot Duur


Demonym: Dwezgazi


Government: Kraterocracy


Executive: Megas Archon Glufrur


Population: ~3,200,000

The Dwezgaz Holds, commonly referred to as simply the Dwezgaz, is a sovereign nation originating in the Immaterium immediately following the end of the Dark Age of Technology. As a faction, it is exceptionally small with a population of approximately 3,200,000, something which is only further magnified by the relatively small fleet the Dwezgaz utilize which numbers at eight vessels.

As for the Dwezgaz and their ships, they are anything but small. Ranging in appearance from bipedal beings of rock, sand, lava, and glass to quadruped, walking mountains with volcanic fire and lava aglow, not one stands lower than 500 meters. Likewise, their ships measure no less than 3,500 kilometers in length and are, therefore, largely referred to as Worldships. Such appearances bely an advanced knowledge in both the practical and theoretical sciences developed prior to their transformations into the Dwezgaz.

Today, the Holds are led by Megas Archon Glufrur, the same Dwezgaz who had led them before at the start of their people, and finally intend to enter the galactic stage following a period of deliberate isolationism. As a people they have, in his mind, become capable enough to deal with the threats chosen and had not attracted enough attention as to be so severely threatened. The people follow him in this.


History
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Originating in the era of the LinkDark Age of Technology when the universe convulsed and the Warp Storms began, it would be a small population of humanity living upon Duur which eventually transformed into the Dwezgaz. The planetary system was eaten by the Immaterium, subjected to the powers of Warpstuff, and time turned into a mere concept, distance into a mere fantasy for those people. They had some idea of what was initially occurring, true, but were not aware of the scale in such a thing. As skin turned to rock, eyes to dust, many would be tireless in their preparations for what may come. Vast shield networks protected a portion of the population from outright death, but did not save them from the fate of being turned into Dwezgaz over the period of several decades. They had already been touched by the Warp.

Following this, there was some argument over the new race as to the direction they should take. Powers had begun to emerge among them, enabling mind-reading and practical distortion of the newfound realities of the Warp, further enhancing the internal difficulties. Some wished to stay within the shields and attempt to bring them back into the realm of humanity, believing that there was still a path to what they were. Others thought that they would have to accept their new forms, that what they had was just that. This would lead to the strongest Psykers, those able to shield themselves from the readings of others, to naturally lead because their own minds were so shielded and thus their plans were not so easily divulged. Eventually, after this argument had drawn on for the better part of a year, impatience struck for the latter group.

Portions of that group exited the shielding, modifying a power generator and, with their newfound powers, affected Duur’s star such that it was compressed into the generator itself. Their return to the planet, a journey felt to be a hundred years to itself, would see half the expedition dead and the other half further malformed, further enhanced as Psykers. With this newfound power and led by a newly declared Megas Archon, these Dwezgaz broke their neighbors in their sleep, snuffing out whole minds in an instant before absorbing their own psychic power. Now unified, the group would begin to search for ways to exit the Immaterium and return back into realspace. Such ways would become perpetual dead ends, the journey leading the race to make more expeditions out into the Warp in order to study it’s natures and effects while often times taking a Warp Star in their wake. It was suspected that the effort to return would require an obscene amount of power and the Dwezgaz were committed to not being caught flat-footed. Such expeditions would naturally whittle away their population while gradually mutating those who returned.

Eventually, with no other alternative, the Dwezgaz would utilize their newfound power generator in uplifting the planet’s main continent of Khalkot, raising it into the sky along with several others. These vessels, known colloquially as Worldships, would become the basis of the species’s escape back into reality. Such an entrance would exit about the periphery of the galactic spiral, far from any established nations, though the inelegance of the event would cause it’s notice by many. A vast tear engulfed the system, draining the star away and tearing the planets asunder while, for the first time in millenia, the Dwezgaz were without the Warp’s warm glow. The backlash from such a sudden disconnect led to many deaths and, with such an exceptional thing, the Dwezgaz were tempted to retreat back into the Immaterium and formulate a new plan. This was thwarted by the force of will of the same Megas Archon which had led them before; he utilized the system as a testing ground to refine such powers, utilized the open rift to renew his people, and over centuries the craft of the Warp was refined.

Eventually, however, they felt comfortable in returning back to that place, comfortable in the precision of their skills and talents, holding a goal in their mind. The Megas Archon desired to improve his people, to make them better than they were, to keep them alive. He immersed them in nebulas of blood, in the gulfs of not-space, consuming the essence of souls as they went, consuming the essence of the Daemons they inevitably fought. It was a crusade of the forge, of in his own mind self-betterment and improvement, though such a thing would eventually come to an end. While Nurglite worlds would, by and large, attempt to grind down the Dwezgaz by acid rivers, while Tzeentch-aligned shifted the very ground and earth in attempts to crush and destroy the mountains, it would be against Khornate and Slaneeshi that the species found their best successes. The emotion-ridden foe, bearing blade and torch, lash and rack, broke upon the mountain before being smote by lava, broken by the Psyker’s screams. They waded deeper and deeper into the Daemon worlds, progress slowing as the more powerful Chaos forces came to notice their assaults, and yet by then it was all too late. Megas Archon led the Dwezgaz back into reality, not one left still retaining a humanoid shape, not one left still retaining a wholly human mind.

They would re-enter realspace at the one known point of the galaxy, at the center of it all, and would for some centuries spend their time watching the galaxy unfold, watching the species of the galaxy grow and become child, adult, and elder before they withered away. They spent their days gathering information across the Warp’s vast web, compiling it, categorizing it, before then taking months to discuss which species could be categorized as what, which race could turn into what. Initially this was done for purely defensive basises; it was realized that the Dwezgaz would not be able to defeat every enemy which could find them, that there would be some they would avoid. However, to reach the stepping stone which was finding a method of replication, the Megas Archon realized they would need another’s help. They attempted to find a good scenario for first contact based not about what the species or nation was in that moment, but what they might be decades hence, centuries hence, whether they would still be about or not. It was a harsh process and a long process, one which would eventually lead to a grand decision.


Demographics
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Height (Maximum/Median/Minimum): 8,849 m / 1,300 m / 512 m
Weight (Maximum/Median/Minimum): 178,500,000,000 t / 2,500,120 t / 10,120 t
Lifespan: N/A
Maturation Age: N/A
Homeworld: Duur
Eating Habits: Animameaivorous

Dwezgaz, being that they are not a conventionally evolved species, vary dramatically between individuals; however, despite this they still have a general set of rules about locomotion as well as a generally similar outer body. Their overall size is determinant by the degree of Psyker they are, the greater the concentration of power within an individual sparking a gradual change, while their mode of motion is generally determined by their size. Those Dwezgaz which are less than 800 meters in height generally are bipedal while those greater are quadruped.

In terms of the senses, Dwezgaz are unified by their ability as Psykers. They utilize this ability both in a survival capacity, attacking at threats, for communication with one-another and with foreign species, and to sense others about them far beyond normal means. The species generally lacks a pronounced sense of sight, though some possess eyes, lack the senses of taste and taste, and can hear only in terms of felt vibrations through the ground about them.

They are further categorized by the outer body’s appearance and general characteristics. Dwezgaz follow the trends of rocky formations, most appearing to be solid rock with semi-mobile joints composed of smaller pieces while others seem to be built from sand and sandstone, perpetually leaking from open pores and joints as they move about. Others still are composed of magma and heated rock, glowing with a never-ending heat.

By and large, irregardless of their outward appearances, Dwezgaz possess a small, exceptionally hot core which varies in both heat output and size. Heat output varies, with the median at 3,000 C (5,432 F), a maximum temperature of 5,400 C (9,752 F), and a minimum temperature of 1,500 C (2,732 F). This temperature is generally affected positively by the psychic capabilities of the particular Dwezgaz and negatively by the size of the individual, though the former’s effect is far greater than the latter. Core size varies from roughly 1.5 m in diameter to 37 m in diameter, affected by the overall size of the individual Dwezgaz. The location of this core is within the chest of a being, buried under the thickest portions of the being, or within the center of the body should they be quadruped.

Dwezgaz Psyker abilities vary to a strong degree. The high mark of this would be the overall capacity to move freely between the Immaterium and Materium, to speak psychically to another being across star systems should they be so aware of that being, to be aware of the individual thoughts of unshielded beings within a star system, to be aware of the individual thoughts of shielded beings within a hundred meter’s distance, and to mentally attack beings the Dwezgaz is aware of at will. The lower end of Dwezgaz Psykers are capable of speaking to individuals psychically only within their line of sight, to be aware of the individual thoughts of unshielded beings within their line of sight, and to be unable to be aware of the individual thoughts of shielded beings. They are capable of mentally attacking beings within fifty meters distance.

Lastly, the species as a whole can be characterized by it’s “eating” habits. Dwezgaz feed off of the natural flows of soul-stuff which lay within the Realm of Souls, otherwise known as the Immaterium or Warp, absorbing the energy with lays within such things and adding it to their own individual souls. Through this, they increase in both Psyker power and size, rapidly evolving new limbs and forms in a painless manner. In addition to this, due to their nature of being composed entirely of the Warp, Dwezgaz commonly consume Daemonic entities whenever present, though it is uncommon for them to seek such creatures out. Consumption of individual souls within the Immaterium can be performed, though is commonly seen as less effective. Consumption of individual souls within realspace is incredibly prohibitive and requires the individual to be already deceased, as well as the Dwezgaz to be physically near the person at the time of their death in order to take hold of that soul before it travels to the Warp. As such, it is considered to be a poor method for gaining strength.

The population of the Dwezgaz Holds can be characterized, due to their lack of an ability to reproduce in the current status of the species and nation, as stagnant at best if not outright declining. Since the inception of the species they have declined in population by 70%. In terms of size, approximately 60% of Dwezgaz stand between 1,000 and 1,600 meters tall with 10% exceeding that height, 20% below that height. Of that 10% maximum, the majority still stand below 3,000 height. Only 20 individuals stand above 6,000 meters tall.


Government
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As a LinkKraterocracy, the Dwezgaz Holds are ruled by the strong only so far as a being’s Psyker power. Those who have the strongest connection to the Immaterium therefore can best conceal their secrets, plans, and intentions, as well as can exude some amount of control over those about them and, as such, can best lead the Holds. This connection is influenced both by the raw power of the being as well as their skill in it’s application; the direct result of this is that those who have led before continue to lead the Holds. The governance is autocratic at the highest echelons of the nation, though would be somewhat meritocratic at lower levels as such Dwezgaz are closer in comparable power. The Megas Archon is the overall leader of the Dwezgaz Holds and of the largest Worldship, the Khalkot Duur, while seven Archons each control a Worldship.


Military
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  • Khalkot Duur
    Length: 14,300 km
    Width: 6,000 km
    Height: 3,100 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 850 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 200 Km/h

  • Imraand Duur
    Length: 6,200 km
    Width: 1,200 km
    Height: 600 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 1,000 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 460 Km/h

  • Exhar Duur
    Length: 4,500 km
    Width: 930 km
    Height: 600 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 1,200 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 500 Km/h

  • Pragan Malit
    Length: 9,000 km
    Width: 2,500 km
    Height: 800 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 870 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 300 Km/h

  • Randigan Malit
    Length: 3,860 km
    Width: 4,000 km
    Height: 1,400 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 1,400 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 600 Km/h

  • Ordion Valugrin
    Length: 12,400 km
    Width: 8,100 km
    Height: 2,200 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 900 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 250 Km/h

  • Vandinar Valugrin
    Length: 7,000 km
    Width: 1,400 km
    Height: 850 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 900 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 400 Km/h

  • Praethes Valugrin
    Length: 4,000 km
    Width: 1,300 km
    Height: 900 km
    Maximum Acceleration: 1,100 G
    Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 500 Km/h

The Dwezgaz’s fleet units, known colloquially as Worldships, are vessels which found their origins as literal continents on various worlds. While many are former continents of Duur, the homeworld of the Dwezgaz, others are from various Crone Worlds within the Immaterium itself, dragged from their hellish nightmares by the consuming mountains. Such Worldships are crewed entirely by Dwezgaz, utilizing a form of psychic control wherein the being literally integrates into the ship itself in order to interact with it.

Exterior Appearances

Worldships appear to be massive, uplifted continents, which coincides with precisely what they are: massive, uplifted continents. Due to exposed Warp travel, their dorsal outer surfaces are stripped of all organic, living matter, presenting a lunar surface to any observers, while the ventral outer surfaces are rugged, rough terrain which is almost mountainous in nature. Multiple areas on the former Duur Worldships host citadels and sites which were once inhabited by humanity; due to disuse due to both need and ability, such structures appear to be abandoned though their thick walls and defense grids remain untouched by time. Caves systems open up to the outer surfaces on the ventral surfaces of these Worldships, normally with one being exceedingly large as akin to a hangar while the others vary to a maximum of 700 m diameter.

Interior Appearances
While mainly solid rock, a cave system does exist within the Worldships. Circular with a flat surface underfoot, the most well-trod of these tunnels are worn down and smooth, solid support beams about either side at regular intervals, while the older, less used paths are far more rough. Tunnels are normally unlit, though small quarries of luminescence crystals emerge at random, lighting it for a moment. Vents from far deeper in the Worldship break the ground at other areas, belching out noxious, corroding gases in a cruel, malformed atmosphere. Such atmospheres do not reach far and either dissipate rapidly if near tunnel openings or condense themselves into pockets of concentrated gas. Likewise, vents from the central core and areas near the central core are somewhat common throughout the Worldship’s tunnel network, many being small at only a half meter in diameter, though these bleed out either excess gases or molten rock from the core areas.

Propulsion Systems, Sublight
Dwezgaz Worldships utilize one of two methods while traveling within a system. The first of these would be using a vessel’s own volcanic exertions to provide for thrust, venting massive amounts of material in order to maneuver. This method is somewhat fuel inefficient however as the amount of thrust generated is relatively little due to the extreme mass of the Worldship in question, though is utilized whenever the second method is not available due to one reason or another. The second method of propulsion for a Dwezgaz Worldship is the utilization of the Warp itself, the Megas Archon or Archon of the vessel using the combined psychic power of the entire ship’s crew and their own precise direction in order to move the vessel from one point to another within the system nearly instantaneously. The range of this jump, which merely skims along the Immaterium without actually having to enter it, is intra-system without entering or intersecting the gravity well of any planetary bodies.

Propulsion Systems, Faster-Than-Light
Unlike most civilized races, in lieu of a mechanical means by which to move across the vast distances of space the Dwezgaz instead utilize their collective Psyker mass to open up temporary rifts in realspace into the Immaterium, from there traveling to their destination through the Warp. As a result of this, travel can be considered accurate by the standards of Warp-Engines interacting with the Warp, with vessels arriving at their destination within hours of one-another, though these vessels can be “chained” together and overall directed by a lone individual, arriving at the same precise moment. However, due to their utilization of the Warp insofar as completely immersing themselves in it, Worldships can only enter and exit systems about the rim of the celestial system.

Power Plant
Worldships are universally powered by a singular Class B Linkstellar engine, a star which has been compressed via Dwezgaz technology, which thereby powers the ship as a whole and serves as a source of raw power from which the Megas Archon or Archon can draw upon. As a result, it is utilized both for the offensive weaponry of the Worldship as well as for propulsion, Sublight and Faster-Than-Light. The stellar engine is located upon the center of the length and width the Worldship, often placed slighter lower than the center of the height of the vessel, and is encased in a hard shell made from condensed crystalline structures. Exceeding amounts of effort must be maintained to keep the gravity of the star from affecting both the vessel and it’s surrounding star system, though smaller amounts of such gravity can be purposefully “leaked” by the overall controller in order to affect other objects about the Worldship. The heat of such a stellar body is likewise contained, though leaks out in some smaller form about the Worldship itself. The stars themselves are entirely drawn from the Warp, normally A-type and F-type, though the Ordion Valugrin is powered by a pulsar.

Armament

  • Warp Beam
    Similar to armament seen on the LinkBlackstone Fortress warships used by Chaos, Dwezgaz Worldships combine the raw power of both the stellar engine and the crew of the vessel with the concentration of a millennia old Psyker to direct a superheavy beam of Warp energy at an enemy. Unlike those seen on Blackstone Fortresses, however, these beams are lesser in range and perform what can only be described as a cascading effect about the path of the beam, striking-out at any other vessels with long lances of lightning. Such cascades destroy smaller craft such as frigates, corvettes, and bombers while damaging heavier cruisers. Such armament requires a minute-long period to charge, with the gathering energy visible to the naked eye in front of the Worldship itself.

  • Warp Storm
    Utilized during enemy assaults when smaller vessels such as bombers may be incoming on attack runs or transports bringing in troops intending to board, the Megas Archon or Archon of the Worldship generates a temporary, small LinkWarp Storm about the Worldship. Extending just 70 kilometers off of the hull in every direction in a bubble, these storms cause immense damage to all other vessels, swallowing many into the Warp itself. Such storms are exhausting to generate, limiting the duration of their use, and are naturally undiscerning in who they damage or destroy. In addition, such Warp Storm generation may cause Daemonic incursion within the local area of the storm itself, leading to the Dwezgaz feeding off of them.

  • Bombard Lances
    Placed within the debris field itself are large asteroids, kept within close distance to the Worldship itself. These so-called bombards are generally used as short range artillery, the vessel throwing such asteroids at larger enemy vessels which get too close. While the speed of such projectiles is not immense compared to other mass drivers, being not measured in percentages of the speed of light, their strength is within their size and the acceleration with which they are launched. Most of these bombards measure roughly 4 km in diameter and achieve their maximum speed nearly instantaneously, flung from the Worldship at a good enough speed that their size limits the degree of maneuver.

  • Debris Field
    About each Worldship lies a perpetual debris field of rock and destroyed vessels extending approximately 60 kilometers off of the hull; this debris field largely serves the purpose of intercepting any enemy incoming ordinance, such as missiles, and breaking up any enemy bomber or transport assaults. While generally defensive in nature, the Worldship can utilize it in breaking-down closer enemy capital ships through a sustained bombardment.


Offensive
While moving against enemy forces, Dwezgaz Worldships tend to keep either at extreme range or maneuver into point blank range via Warp micro jump. While at long range, they utilize Warp beam volleys, cycling between vessels firing in order to keep the enemy under pressure. All efforts should be made to keep enemy fleet units in a close order in order to have Warp beam strikes impact as many as possible, mainly through the use of natural barriers and the deliberate detonation of nearby asteroid fields in order to limit enemy maneuvering options. Likewise, gravity influence may be used to draw close planetary bodies such as smaller moons in order to once again limit both enemy maneuvering options as well as enemy firing solutions. While engaging at point blank range, Dwezgaz Worldships tend to utilize Warp Storms in order to destroy small enemy strike craft and harass larger vessels via Daemon incursion while striking those same vessels with both debris fields and bombard lances. Against larger vessels, boarding by Dwezgaz is extremely likely, as is subjecting such vessels to gravity influence in order to pull them in on a collision. Even a glancing blow is likely to destroy vessels.

Defensive


Economy
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