Aegis of the Deep Military Formation in Cairne | World Anvil

Aegis of the Deep

In the shadowed depths of Underhome, where the earth's embrace is unyielding and the air is thick with the scent of stone, the dwarven phalanx stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of their kind. Trained from birth to defend their subterranean realm, these warriors have mastered the art of defensive combat with a precision and discipline that is unmatched. At the heart of their strategy lies the phalanx formation, a tightly packed formation of dwarves, each bearing a sturdy round shield and a short spear. In the narrow confines of the underground tunnels, they transform the very terrain into a weapon, utilizing choke points and natural bottlenecks to their advantage. When the enemy approaches, they stand shoulder to shoulder, their shields interlocking to form an impenetrable wall of steel and stone.   Led by the unassuming yet fiercely determined Delphene Berinstaal, the dwarven phalanx is a force to be reckoned with. Though she may lack the imposing stature of some of her kin, her tactical genius and unwavering resolve more than make up for it. With Delphene at the helm, they move as one, their movements fluid and coordinated, their spears striking out with deadly precision.   Their reputation precedes them, yet still, they are often underestimated by their foes, a mistake that is swiftly regretted, for time and time again, the dwarven phalanx has proven itself on the field of battle, their line holding firm against even the most relentless onslaughts. No matter the odds, no matter the enemy they face, they stand resolute, their shields locked together in a bond that cannot be broken. Through countless skirmishes and endless wars, they have remained undefeated, and as long as the tunnels of Underhome echo with the clash of steel and the roar of battle, the dwarven phalanx will continue to stand as a beacon of hope in the darkness, a bulwark against the encroaching tide of evil that threatens to consume their world.



The ranks of the Aegis of the Deep consist of a formidable number of dwarven warriors, although the exact count may vary depending on the circumstances and needs of their defense. Generally, the Aegis is composed of several hundred highly trained and disciplined dwarves, each handpicked for their skill in defensive combat and their unwavering loyalty to their leader, Delphene Berinstaal.   The precise number of dwarves in the Aegis fluctuates over time due to factors such as casualties in battle, recruitment efforts to replenish their ranks, and the strategic decisions made by Delphene and her commanders. However, regardless of their exact numbers, the Aegis remains a stalwart bulwark against the threats that assail the tunnels of Underhome, standing ready to defend their homeland with every ounce of their strength and determination.


  • Reinforced Shields: Crafted from materials like reinforced metal or alternative substances, these shields offer sturdy defense without relying heavily on wood. Their construction prioritizes durability and resilience against enemy attacks, ensuring the safety of both the wielder and their comrades.
  • Dwarven Plate Armor: Members of the Aegis wear heavy plate armor fashioned in the traditional dwarven style. This armor provides exceptional protection against both physical threats, covering the wearer from head to toe in interlocking plates of metal. Despite its weight, dwarven plate armor is crafted to allow for ease of movement, enabling warriors to maneuver swiftly and effectively in the cramped confines of the underground tunnels.
  • Helmet: Sturdy helmets are essential for protecting the head and face of dwarven warriors. Adorned with intricate designs and decorative elements that symbolize the wearer's clan and allegiance, these helmets offer vital protection in the heat of battle.
  • Utility Belt: Equipped with various tools and supplies, the utility belt worn by members of the Aegis includes essentials such as rope, grappling hooks, and healing potions. These items are crucial for survival and combat in the harsh underground environment.


  • Short Spears with Metal Shafts: To conserve precious wood, the short spears used by members of the Aegis feature metal shafts instead of traditional wooden ones. This modification allows for thrusting maneuvers while still maintaining the necessary balance and effectiveness in combat.
  • Short Sword: A sturdy short yet wide blade meant as a fall back for close quarters combat.


  • Delphene Berinstaal: At the pinnacle of the command structure stands Delphene Berinstaal, the esteemed leader whose wisdom, experience, and unwavering dedication to the dwarven cause make her the undisputed authority within the Aegis. Delphene's decisions guide the overall strategy and direction of the phalanx, and her leadership sets the tone for the entire organization.
  • Officers: Beneath Delphene are a select group of officers, chosen for their exceptional skill in combat, strategic acumen, and leadership qualities. These officers are responsible for overseeing specific aspects of the Aegis's operations, such as tactical planning, logistics, and training. They serve as Delphene's trusted advisors and assist in implementing her directives on the battlefield.
  • Sergeants: Directly overseeing the rank-and-file warriors are the sergeants, seasoned veterans who have proven themselves in battle and earned the respect of their peers. These non-commissioned officers play a crucial role in maintaining discipline, coordinating maneuvers, and ensuring cohesion within their respective units. They serve as the link between the officers and the frontline troops, relaying orders and providing guidance to their fellow dwarves.
  • Specialists: Within the Aegis, there are specialized roles and units tailored to specific tasks, such as engineering, reconnaissance, or siege warfare. These specialists possess unique skills and expertise that complement the phalanx's overall capabilities, and they operate under the direction of both officers and sergeants to fulfill their designated objectives.
  • Rank-and-File Warriors: The backbone of the Aegis is comprised of rank-and-file warriors, each trained in the art of defensive combat and dedicated to the protection of their homeland. These dwarven soldiers form the bulk of the phalanx's strength, and they execute their duties with discipline, courage, and unwavering loyalty to their leaders and comrades.
  • Auxiliary Support: In addition to its core military forces, the Aegis may also rely on auxiliary support personnel, such as quartermasters, medics, and craftsmen, to provide essential services and resources that sustain the phalanx in the field. While not directly involved in frontline combat, these support units play a vital role in ensuring the Aegis's continued effectiveness and resilience.


  • Phalanx Formation: The cornerstone of the Aegis's tactics is the phalanx formation—a tightly packed formation of dwarven warriors, each equipped with a round shield and a short spear. This formation allows them to present a solid wall of defense against enemy attacks, with shields interlocked to create an impenetrable barrier. The phalanx is adept at holding ground, repelling enemy assaults, and maintaining cohesion even in the chaos of battle.
  • Terrain Utilization: The Aegis exploits the natural features of the underground terrain to their advantage. They are skilled at identifying choke points, bottlenecks, and advantageous positions that allow them to control the flow of battle and dictate the terms of engagement. By maximizing the use of cover, elevation, and narrow passages, they create a series of fortified positions that are difficult for the enemy to breach.
  • Shield Wall Tactics: When facing a direct assault, the Aegis forms a shield wall—a dense formation of overlapping shields that provides maximum protection to the front ranks while allowing spears to thrust out from behind the barrier. This defensive posture enables them to absorb enemy charges, deflect projectiles, and withstand sustained attacks while maintaining a disciplined and cohesive formation.
  • Counterattacks and Flanking Maneuvers: While the Aegis excels at defense, they are also capable of launching devastating counterattacks and flanking maneuvers when the opportunity arises. By identifying vulnerable points in the enemy's lines or exploiting gaps in their defenses, they can strike swiftly and decisively, inflicting heavy casualties and disrupting enemy formations.
  • Adaptive Strategy: The Aegis remains flexible and adaptable in their tactics, adjusting their approach based on the specific circumstances of each battle. They are adept at analyzing enemy movements, identifying weaknesses, and devising innovative solutions to overcome obstacles. Whether defending a fortified position, conducting a strategic withdrawal, or launching a surprise ambush, they always remain one step ahead of their foes.
  • Discipline and Coordination: Central to the success of the Aegis's tactics is the discipline and coordination exhibited by its warriors. Every member of the phalanx is trained to follow orders without hesitation, to maintain their position in the formation, and to support their comrades in arms. This unwavering discipline ensures that the Aegis operates as a unified force, capable of facing any challenge with courage and resilience.


  • Physical Conditioning: The training begins with a focus on physical conditioning to build strength, endurance, and resilience in the dwarven recruits. They engage in intense workouts, including weightlifting, running, and martial exercises, to develop the muscular endurance and stamina necessary for prolonged combat in the cramped confines of underground tunnels.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Recruits undergo extensive training in the use of their primary weapons: the shield and short spear. They learn proper grip, stance, and technique for wielding the shield to deflect blows and protect themselves and their comrades. Similarly, they are trained in the precise thrusting and parrying movements required to wield the short spear effectively in close-quarters combat.
  • Formation and Tactics: Recruits are drilled relentlessly in the various formations and tactics employed by the Aegis, with a particular emphasis on the phalanx formation. They learn how to maintain proper spacing, coordinate movements with their fellow warriors, and execute maneuvers with precision and discipline. They also study the terrain of Underhome extensively, learning how to exploit natural features to their advantage in battle.
  • Defensive Techniques: Specialized training is provided in defensive techniques tailored to the unique challenges of underground warfare. Recruits learn how to establish and maintain defensive perimeters, fortify positions, and repel enemy assaults using shield walls, barricades, and other defensive structures. They are taught to think strategically and react swiftly to changing battlefield conditions.
  • Combat Drills and Simulations: Recruits participate in simulated combat drills and realistic training scenarios to hone their combat skills under simulated battlefield conditions. These drills test their ability to work as a cohesive unit, make split-second decisions under pressure, and adapt to unexpected challenges. They also engage in sparring matches and mock battles to sharpen their reflexes and combat instincts.
  • Leadership and Command Training: As recruits progress through the training program, they receive instruction in leadership and command principles. They learn how to lead small units, issue orders effectively, and make sound tactical decisions in the heat of battle. Those who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential may undergo additional training to prepare them for positions of command within the Aegis.
  • Camaraderie and Esprit de Corps: Throughout their training, recruits develop a strong sense of camaraderie and esprit de corps with their fellow warriors. They learn to trust and rely on one another, forging bonds that will sustain them in the crucible of combat. Teamwork and unity are emphasized as essential values within the Aegis, ensuring that every member of the phalanx is willing to sacrifice for the greater good of their people. 


Logistical Support

  • Logistics Support: The logistical section of the formation is responsible for supplying the Aegis with essential resources such as food, water, ammunition, and medical supplies. They ensure that the phalanx remains adequately provisioned and equipped to sustain prolonged operations underground. Logistics personnel coordinate with supply lines and quartermasters to replenish supplies as needed, allowing the formation to remain mobile without being burdened by shortages.
  • Communication Network: Effective communication is vital for maintaining cohesion and coordination within the formation. Communication specialists are tasked with establishing and maintaining a reliable communication network that allows for seamless transmission of orders, reports, and situational updates between different sections of the formation. This network may include signal flags, runners, messengers, or more advanced methods such as signal horns or underground communication lines.
  • Scouting and Reconnaissance: The reconnaissance section of the formation is responsible for gathering intelligence on enemy movements, terrain conditions, and potential threats within the underground tunnels. Scouts and reconnaissance teams are deployed ahead of the main formation to gather information and provide early warning of any impending dangers. This information is crucial for informing tactical decisions and ensuring that the formation can maneuver safely and effectively.
  • Engineering and Maintenance: The engineering section of the formation is tasked with maintaining and repairing equipment, fortifications, and defensive structures used by the Aegis. Engineers are responsible for constructing defensive positions, clearing obstacles, and ensuring that the tunnels remain navigable for the formation. They may also be called upon to improvise solutions to overcome obstacles or repair damage sustained during combat.
  • Reserve and Support Units: Certain sections of the formation may be designated as reserve or support units, tasked with providing assistance to frontline elements as needed. These units may include reserve troops, medical personnel, or specialized support teams equipped with additional resources or equipment to bolster the formation's capabilities. They stand ready to reinforce vulnerable sections of the formation or provide assistance in case of emergencies.


There is always a contingent of field medics and surgeons from Mercy's Hand, the Order of Benevolents stationed in Underhome who accompany the Aegis of the Deep into the front lines of battle. Comprised of both dwarves and members of other races who have dedicated their lives to the healing arts, this contingent plays a crucial role in providing medical support and care to the wounded warriors of the Aegis. Here's a detailed description of the skills and roles they play within the unit:  
  • Diverse Expertise: The medics and surgeons of Mercy's Hand bring a diverse range of expertise to the battlefield. Some specialize in battlefield triage and emergency medicine, adept at quickly assessing and treating injuries sustained in combat. Others are skilled surgeons, capable of performing complex procedures under the most challenging conditions. Together, they form a well-rounded medical team capable of addressing a wide variety of injuries and ailments.
  • Combat Training: While their primary role is to provide medical care, members of Mercy's Hand are also trained in basic combat techniques and self-defense. They understand the dangers of the battlefield and are prepared to defend themselves and their patients if necessary. In worst-case scenarios, they are willing to take up arms alongside the Aegis to protect those under their care.
  • Mobile Field Hospitals: Mercy's Hand operates mobile field hospitals and triage centers that accompany the Aegis on their campaigns. These field hospitals are equipped with medical supplies, surgical equipment, and healing magic to provide immediate care to the wounded. They are staffed by skilled healers who work tirelessly to stabilize patients and prepare them for transport to more permanent medical facilities if necessary.
  • Rapid Response Teams: In the heat of battle, Mercy's Hand deploys rapid response teams to the front lines to provide immediate aid to the injured. These teams are equipped with medical kits, stretchers, and magical healing potions to treat wounds and stabilize patients until they can be evacuated to safety. They are trained to work quickly and efficiently under fire, prioritizing those in the greatest need of medical attention.
  • Psychological Support: In addition to physical injuries, the medics and surgeons of Mercy's Hand also provide psychological support to warriors suffering from the trauma of battle. They offer counseling, guidance, and emotional support to help soldiers cope with the stress and strain of combat, ensuring that they receive the holistic care they need to recover and return to duty.
  • Spirit of Compassion: Above all, the members of Mercy's Hand embody a spirit of compassion and selflessness in their work. They are driven by a deep commitment to easing the suffering of others and providing aid to those in need, regardless of race, creed, or allegiance. Their presence on the front lines serves as a beacon of hope and humanity amidst the chaos of war, inspiring courage and resilience in the warriors they serve.


  • The Liberation of Grundhome (12 PR): Recorded in the annals of dwarven history as a pivotal moment, the Liberation of Grundhome marked the valiant efforts of the Aegis of the Deep to reclaim the ancient stronghold from the clutches of Blight Born abominations. Through strategic prowess and unwavering determination, the Aegis succeeded in driving out the dark forces that had overrun the once-great fortress.
  • The Siege of Ironhold (13 PR): In a testament to dwarven resilience, Ironhold endured a relentless siege by hordes of undead and corrupted creatures. The Aegis of the Deep, renowned for their stalwart defense, stood firm against the onslaught, repelling wave after wave of enemy attacks. Despite the odds stacked against them, the defenders of Ironhold held their ground, safeguarding the fortress and ensuring its survival against all odds.
  • The Tunnel Wars (13 PR - 16 PR): Spanning several years of conflict, the Tunnel Wars were a series of skirmishes and battles fought within the labyrinthine tunnels of Underhome. The Aegis of the Deep clashed with various subterranean threats, including Blight Born, the undead, and various other horrors, as they sought to maintain control over vital passages and territories. Their mastery of defensive tactics and intimate knowledge of the terrain proved instrumental in securing victory in these underground conflicts.
  • The Battle of Stoneshield Pass (20 PR): Stoneshield Pass, a crucial artery linking Underhome to the surface world, became the focal point of a fierce battle for control. The Aegis of the Deep, tasked with defending the pass against hostile forces, waged a determined campaign to keep the vital trade route open. Their steadfast resolve and unwavering commitment to duty ensured the continued flow of resources and trade between Underhome and the surface.
  • The Forgefire Expedition (21 PR - 25 PR): Embarking on a bold expedition into uncharted territory, the Aegis of the Deep sought to establish new settlements and secure valuable resources for the dwarven realm. Facing numerous challenges and adversaries along the way, they pressed onward with determination and resilience, ultimately laying the groundwork for future expansion and prosperity within Underhome.
  • The Last Stand of Deephammer Hold (25 PR): Deephammer Hold, a remote outpost on the frontier of dwarven territory, faced its darkest hour as it came under siege by overwhelming forces of darkness. Despite being vastly outnumbered and cut off from reinforcements, the defenders of Deephammer Hold, led by the Aegis of the Deep, refused to surrender, holding out long enough to get vital supplies and civilian workers out to safety before finally tactically withdrawing and letting the Hold fall, sustaining great losses in the process. Their heroic sacrifice and unwavering courage became the stuff of legend, inspiring future generations of dwarven warriors.
  • The Shadow War (28 PR - 30 PR): Amidst growing unrest and instability within Underhome, the Aegis of the Deep waged a clandestine war against a shadowy cult that threatened to plunge the realm into darkness. Through covert operations and strategic maneuvers, they succeeded in dismantling the cult's influence and restoring peace and order to the underground realm.
  • The Great Resurgence (32 PR - 45 PR): Following a period of turmoil and upheaval, the Aegis of the Deep led a concerted effort to reclaim lost territories and revitalize dwarven settlements within Underhome. Their tireless efforts and unwavering determination ushered in a new era of prosperity and strength for the dwarven realm, ensuring its continued survival and prosperity for generations to come.
  • The Battle of Shadow's Embrace (54 PR - 57 PR): In a climactic showdown against the forces of darkness, the Aegis of the Deep confronted a powerful arcanist intent on unleashing the full fury of the Blight upon Underhome. Through courage, sacrifice, and sheer determination, they emerged victorious against this strange foe, though very little is known about the arcanist themselves as they were lost in the final conflict during a tunnel collapsed and the area deemed too dangerous to excavate.
  • The Expedition to the Dark Abyss (58 PR - 61 PR): In a daring expedition into the deepest, most treacherous reaches of Underhome known as the Dark Abyss, the Aegis of the Deep sought to uncover ancient secrets and secure vital resources. Facing unimaginable dangers and ancient guardians, they braved the darkness to expand dwarven influence and secure the future of their realm.
  • The Expedition to the Dark Abyss (69 PR - 80 PR): In a daring expedition into the deepest, most treacherous reaches of Underhome known as the Dark Abyss, the Aegis of the Deep sought to uncover ancient secrets and secure vital resources. Facing unimaginable dangers and ancient guardians, they braved the darkness to expand dwarven influence and secure the future of their realm.
  • The Battle of Ebonforge Pass (84 PR): Ebonforge Pass, a strategic gateway to the surface world, became the focus of a fierce battle for control. The Aegis of the Deep, aided by allied forces, clashed with a formidable coalition of enemies seeking to block dwarven access to vital trade routes. Through cunning tactics and sheer determination, they emerged victorious, securing access to crucial resources and ensuring the continued prosperity of Underhome.
  • The Siege of Stonehaven Citadel (87 PR - 89 PR): Stonehaven Citadel, a bastion of dwarven strength and resilience, faced a prolonged siege by an enemy coalition determined to crush dwarven resistance. The Aegis of the Deep, aided by valiant allies, defended the citadel against relentless attacks, holding out against starvation, disease, and overwhelming odds. Their unwavering resolve and unyielding defense ensured the survival of Stonehaven Citadel and the continued defiance of the dwarven people.
  • The Expedition to the Crystal Caverns (92 PR - 95 PR): Venturing into the mysterious Crystal Caverns, the Aegis of the Deep sought to harness the power of rare crystalline resources for the betterment of dwarven society. Amidst shimmering tunnels and glittering stalactites, they faced both natural hazards and hostile creatures, uncovering secrets that would shape the future of Underhome.
  • The Skirmish at Shadowmist Gorge (101 PR): In a remote gorge shrouded in perpetual darkness, the Aegis of the Deep clashed with a band of renegade mercenaries seeking to exploit the region's natural resources. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the dwarven warriors outmaneuvered their foes, driving them from the gorge and securing its valuable mineral deposits for the glory of Underhome.
  • The Expedition to the Forgotten Halls (105 PR - 110 PR): Delving into the depths of ancient ruins long forgotten by dwarvenkind, the Aegis of the Deep embarked on an expedition to uncover lost artifacts and relics of their ancestors. Facing traps, curses, and twisted guardians left behind in the wake of the Blight, they braved the dangers of the forgotten halls in search of knowledge and power.
  • The Expedition to the Domes of the Shining Eyes (112 PR - 114 PR): Rumored to hold untold riches and ancient artifacts, the Domes had long been covested by the Fouveinians. The Aegis of the Deep embarked on a perilous expedition, diving into the depths to explore the submerged ruins and uncover the secrets hidden beneath the waves. Facing strange mutant predators and treacherous Blight filled environments, they braved the perils of the deep to claim the lost treasures of Underhome but were unable to successfully navigate the region due to the concentration of Void energy that persisted surrounding the areas that lead there.
  • The Siege of Crackstone Manor (122 PR): Crackstone Manor, a symbol of dwarven wealth and status of long ago, faced a relentless siege by a horde of blightspawn unleashed from the depths of Underhome. The Aegis of the Deep, aided by Hearthguard members, defended the manor against waves of void-touched creatures, holding fast against the encroaching darkness long enough to secure Lord Crackstone and his child, moving them safely to Grundhome. Through acts of valor and sacrifice, they repelled the blighted onslaught and saved the lord of the manor.
  • The Expedition to the Lost Vaults (133 PR - 138 PR): Deep within the labyrinthine tunnels of Underhome lie the Lost Vaults, ancient repositories of knowledge and wealth sealed away by dwarven ancestors. The Aegis of the Deep embarked on a quest to rediscover these forgotten treasures, braving traps and guardians left behind to safeguard the secrets of the past. Armed with only tattered maps and legends, they ventured into the depths, uncovering priceless artifacts and unlocking the mysteries of the Lost Vaults.
  • The Battle of the Cursed Chasm (142 PR): In the depths of a yawning chasm, the Aegis of the Deep confronted a horde of undead warriors animated by Void energy. Led by a powerful Void Wraith, the undead legions threatened to spill forth from the chasm and engulf the surrounding tunnels in death and decay. The dwarven warriors descended into the abyss, confronting the Void Wraith and its horde, suffering tremendous losses but emerging victorius from the battle.
  • The Expedition to the Echoing Caverns (160 PR - 167 PR): In the depths of the Echoing Caverns, where sound is distorted and echoes of the dead linger for eternity, the Aegis of the Deep embarked on a quest to recover a legendary artifact. Navigating treacherous passages and confronting spectral guardians, they ventured deeper into the caverns, facing opposition at every turn and enduring constant threat and danger from not only the specters that persist there, but the environment itself. The were unsuccessful in securing the artifact.
  • The Battle of the Ashen Wastes (171 PR): Across the desolate expanse of the Ashen Wastes, a raging, unnatural fire emerged from the depths, threatening to engulf the tunnels of Underhome in flames. The Aegis of the Deep, armed with only their shields and dwindling hope, evacuated the civilian population in amidst the tide of destruction. Through acts of heroism and sacrifice, they saved hundreds of dwarven lives.
  • The Battle of Granite Gorge (185 PR): Granite Gorge, a narrow passage of formidable cliffs and jagged rocks, became the site of a decisive clash between the Aegis of the Deep and a horde of reanimated dead. Armed with their shields and spears, the dwarven warriors held the high ground against the horde, utilizing their knowledge of the terrain to channel and funnel the enemy forces, ultimately driving them back and securing control of the strategic passageway.
  • The Expedition to the Mithril Mines (192 PR - 196 PR): Venturing into the depths of the lost Mithril Mines, the Aegis of the Deep embarked on an expedition to extract the precious mithril ore essential for the forging of dwarven weapons and armor. Facing perilous shafts and unstable caverns, they employed expert mining techniques and reinforced supports to safely extract the valuable resource, securing the location from any lingering threats and ensuring safe passage for a small workforce to set up and settle there, ensuring a steady supply for the forges of Underhome.
3rd of Vigor, 12 PR
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy

Articles under Aegis of the Deep

Cover image: by Midjourney
Character flag image: by Midjourney


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