The Hearth Guard Military Formation in Cairne | World Anvil

The Hearth Guard

In the desolate underground realm of Cairne, where the echoes of a cataclysmic blight still reverberate through the fractured tunnels and caverns, the stalwart dwarven defenders stand resolute against the encroaching darkness. Among them, the seasoned veterans under the esteemed command of Reginald Ironbore epitomize the unwavering determination of their dwindling race. These veterans, deemed battle-tested and supremely competent, hold a revered position within the ranks of the defenders. With their extensive experience and unyielding resolve, they serve as the last line of defense against the relentless onslaught of void-born horrors that threaten to breach the recaptured dwarven lands and plunge them once more into chaos. Clad in armor forged from the rarest of ores and wielding weapons tempered in the fires of adversity, these veterans are formidable warriors, honed by years of combat and hardship. Their training is relentless, their skills finely honed to perfection, for they know that the survival of their kin depends on their vigilance and strength.   Maintaining an unending watch in three shifts, the veterans stand guard along the settled borders of the dwarven lands, their steely gazes ever vigilant for signs of encroaching darkness. With never fewer than a hundred troops patrolling the borders at any given time, they ensure that no void-born horror goes unnoticed and unchallenged.   Despite the grim reality of their existence, the veterans of Reginald Ironbore's command stand firm, their spirits unbroken even as their numbers dwindle. For they are the defenders of Cairne, the guardians of their ancestral home, and they will fight until their last breath to ensure that the light of dwarven civilization does not flicker and fade into the abyss of darkness.



Within the formation led by Reginald Ironbore, there are at least one hundred highly trained and armored veterans who serve as the last line of defense for the dwarven lands. Additionally, considering the three shifts maintained for unending watch, this suggests that the total number of troops patrolling the settled borders at any given time could potentially be significantly higher, depending on the rotation schedule and the exact size of each shift. Therefore, the implicit number of people within this formation likely exceeds one hundred, possibly reaching several hundred individuals in total.


  • Dwarven-forged Armor: Crafted from the finest metals found deep within the earth, the veterans don heavy, intricately crafted armor that provides unparalleled protection against physical threats. Each suit of armor is tailored for maximum mobility without compromising defense, ensuring the safety of its wearer in the heat of battle.
  • Weapons of War: The veterans wield a variety of traditional weapons forged with precision and skill by master dwarven smiths. These include sturdy warhammers, razor-sharp battleaxes, and trusty crossbows, designed to deliver devastating blows to their enemies. Without relying on magical enhancements, these weapons are still potent tools in the fight against the Blight.
  • Utility Gear: To aid them in their duties, the veterans carry an assortment of utility gear, including grappling hooks, climbing gear, and alchemical potions. These tools enable them to navigate the treacherous terrain of the underground realm and overcome obstacles encountered during their patrols without the use of magic.
  • Communication Devices: To maintain coordination and relay vital information, the veterans utilize non-magical communication devices such as signaling horns or messenger bats. These tools allow them to communicate with their fellow troops across the vast expanses of the dwarven lands, ensuring swift response to any threats that may arise.
  • Specialized Equipment: Depending on their specific roles within the formation, some veterans may be equipped with specialized gear tailored to their skills and abilities. This could include siege weaponry for breaching enemy fortifications, scouting equipment for reconnaissance missions, or traps and explosives for defensive purposes.


  • Warhammers: Sturdy and imposing, warhammers are favored by dwarven warriors for their ability to crush through armor and bone alike. With their solid construction and weighty heads, warhammers are effective for delivering powerful strikes in close combat.
  • Battleaxes: Razor-sharp and durable, battleaxes are versatile weapons capable of cleaving through enemies with ease. Whether wielded in one hand for swift strikes or two-handed for added force, battleaxes are essential tools for dwarven fighters on the front lines.
  • Crossbows: Ranged combat is made possible with the use of crossbows, which allow dwarven soldiers to engage enemies from a distance with deadly accuracy. These weapons are particularly useful for picking off targets at range or providing covering fire during skirmishes.
  • Swords: While less common among dwarven warriors, swords are still wielded by some members of the formation. They offer a balance of speed and precision, making them effective for quick strikes and parries in close-quarters combat.
  • Spears: Long, thrusting weapons like spears are useful for keeping enemies at bay and controlling the flow of battle. With their extended reach, spears allow dwarven soldiers to engage adversaries from a safe distance while maintaining defensive formations.
  • Throwing Axes: In addition to their primary weapons, some members of the formation may carry throwing axes for ranged attacks. These smaller axes are designed to be hurled at enemies with accuracy and force, making them useful for ambushing foes or engaging in hit-and-run tactics.


  • Reginald Ironbore - Commander: At the helm of the unit is Reginald Ironbore, a seasoned veteran renowned for his leadership and tactical acumen. As the commander, Ironbore holds ultimate authority and responsibility for overseeing all operations and decisions within the unit. He sets the overall strategy, assigns tasks to subordinates, and ensures that objectives are met efficiently and effectively.
  • Lieutenants: Assisting Reginald Ironbore are a number of lieutenants, each responsible for overseeing specific aspects of the unit's operations. These lieutenants serve as trusted advisors to the commander and act as second-in-command in their respective areas of expertise. They may include lieutenants in charge of combat operations, logistics, intelligence gathering, and morale.
  • Sergeants: Beneath the lieutenants are the sergeants, experienced non-commissioned officers who lead squads or platoons of soldiers within the unit. Sergeants are responsible for the day-to-day management of their assigned teams, including training, discipline, and tactical execution during missions. They serve as the primary link between the lower-ranking soldiers and the unit's officers.
  • Soldiers: The backbone of the unit consists of the soldiers, comprised of both seasoned veterans and newer recruits. These brave dwarven warriors follow the orders of their superiors without question, carrying out missions with courage and determination. They are trained to excel in their assigned roles, whether as frontline fighters, archers, scouts, or support personnel.
  • Support Personnel: In addition to combatants, the unit may also include support personnel such as medics, engineers, and quartermasters. These individuals play crucial roles in ensuring the well-being and effectiveness of the unit, providing medical aid, maintaining equipment, and managing supplies and logistics.


  • Defensive Posturing: Given the constant state of war in which they live, the unit often adopts defensive postures to secure key positions and repel enemy assaults. They leverage their superior armor and fortified positions to withstand enemy attacks while minimizing casualties.
  • Ambush and Counterattack: Utilizing their knowledge of the terrain and the element of surprise, the unit employs ambush tactics to catch enemy forces off guard. Once the enemy is engaged, they swiftly counterattack with overwhelming force, exploiting any weaknesses in the enemy's formation.
  • Guerrilla Warfare: In the labyrinthine tunnels and caverns of the underground realm, the unit excels at guerrilla warfare tactics, striking swiftly and then melting back into the shadows before the enemy can respond. This allows them to harass enemy supply lines, disrupt communications, and weaken their overall strength.
  • Siege Defense: When faced with a siege or prolonged assault on a fortified position, the unit employs siege defense tactics to endure the enemy's onslaught while conserving their resources. They utilize defensive structures, such as barricades and traps, to funnel enemy forces into kill zones where they can be effectively neutralized.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: In situations where direct confrontation is not favorable, the unit employs hit-and-run tactics to harass enemy forces and disrupt their movements. They strike swiftly and then withdraw before the enemy can retaliate, causing confusion and frustration among their adversaries.
  • Coordination and Communication: Above all, the unit emphasizes coordination and communication among its members to execute tactics with precision and efficiency. They maintain constant vigilance and utilize non-magical communication devices to relay vital information, allowing them to adapt quickly to changing circumstances on the battlefield.


Maintenance Training  
  • Weapon and Armor Maintenance: Soldiers undergo regular training in the care and maintenance of their weapons and armor. This includes cleaning, oiling, and repairing any damage to ensure that their equipment remains reliable and functional in combat situations.
  • Physical Fitness: Physical fitness is crucial for dwarven warriors operating in the harsh underground environment of Cairne. Regular training sessions focus on strength, endurance, and agility to ensure that soldiers are capable of performing their duties effectively and enduring the rigors of battle.
  • Tactical Drills: Tactical drills are conducted to reinforce the unit's combat skills and coordination. Soldiers practice formations, maneuvers, and reaction drills to ensure swift and effective responses to various battlefield scenarios.
  • First Aid and Medical Training: Soldiers receive training in basic first aid and medical procedures to provide immediate care to wounded comrades in the field. This includes treating wounds, stabilizing injured soldiers, and administering emergency medical treatments.
  • Communication and Signaling: Training in communication and signaling techniques is essential for maintaining cohesion and coordination within the unit. Soldiers learn how to use non-magical communication devices such as signaling horns or messenger birds to relay orders and information effectively.
  • Specialized Training: Depending on their roles within the formation, soldiers may undergo specialized training in areas such as engineering, reconnaissance, or siege warfare. This ensures that the unit possesses a diverse range of skills and capabilities to adapt to different mission requirements.
  Training for Joining the Hearth Guard
  • Physical Fitness Test: Prospective members must pass a series of physical fitness tests to demonstrate their strength, endurance, and overall physical readiness for combat duty.
  • Combat Proficiency Evaluation: Candidates undergo assessment of their combat skills, including proficiency with weapons and ability to execute tactical maneuvers effectively.
  • Character Assessment: The unit values qualities such as courage, loyalty, and discipline. Prospective members are evaluated based on their character and willingness to adhere to the unit's code of conduct.
  • Training Program: Once accepted into the unit, new recruits undergo an intensive training program to familiarize them with unit protocols, tactics, and equipment. This training ensures that they are fully prepared to join their comrades in the defense of their homeland.


Logistical Support

  • Logistical Support: The unit requires a steady supply of food, water, ammunition, and other essential supplies to sustain its operations. Logistical support ensures that these supplies are regularly transported to the fortified regions of Underhome, where they can be distributed to the soldiers as needed.
  • Medical Support: In the event of injuries sustained during combat or other emergencies, the unit relies on medical support to provide timely and effective care to wounded soldiers. This includes access to skilled medics, medical supplies, and facilities for treating injuries and illnesses.
  • Engineering and Maintenance Support: Given the constant threat of enemy attacks and the harsh underground environment, the unit requires engineering and maintenance support to repair fortifications, weapons, and equipment damaged during combat. Skilled engineers and technicians are essential for ensuring that the unit remains combat-ready at all times.
  • Reinforcements and Resupply: In the event of sustained combat or heavy casualties, the unit may require reinforcements and resupply to bolster its ranks and replenish depleted resources. This may involve summoning additional troops from other regions of Underhome or coordinating with allied factions for assistance.
  • Intelligence and Reconnaissance: To effectively anticipate and counter enemy threats, the unit relies on intelligence and reconnaissance support to gather information about enemy movements, positions, and intentions. This information is crucial for planning defensive strategies and conducting successful operations against enemy forces.
  • Communication and Coordination: Effective communication and coordination are essential for maintaining cohesion and unity of effort within the unit. Support in the form of non-magical communication devices, such as signaling horns or messenger birds, ensures that orders and information can be relayed quickly and accurately among unit members.
  • Morale and Psychological Support: Guarding the fortified regions of Underhome can take a toll on the morale and psychological well-being of the soldiers. Support in the form of counseling, recreational activities, and opportunities for rest and relaxation helps to boost morale and maintain the resilience of the unit in the face of adversity.


  • 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 Hearth Guard to push back the Blight Born abominations and retake their ancestral home. Through strategic prowess and unwavering determination, the dwarves 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 Hearth Guard, unwavering in their resolve, stood firm against the assault. Despite the odds stacked against them, the defenders of Ironhold held their ground, safeguarding the fortress and ensuring its survival against all odds.
  • 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 Hearthguard, tasked with reinforcing 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 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 dwarves 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 dwarves 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 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. 
42ns of Frigus, 10 PR
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy

Articles under The Hearth Guard

Cover image: by Midjourney
Character flag image: by Midjourney


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