Meckelorn Armed Forces

Meckelorners have reclaimed the Great Stone five hundred years ago, but they are still in a precarious position.  Their population has not fully recovered and large portions of their national borders lie empty.  They still have orcs, goblins, and assorted monsters on their frontier.  Therefore Meckelorn remains highly militarized.   About 5% of the adult dwarf population are full time soldiers (knights, nobles, and members of Hallisan’s priesthood).  About two thirds of the adult population can be called up as reservists if needed.   Full time soldiers usually have heavy armor and are cross-trained in fighting with polearms, crossbows, and weapon and shield fighting. Reservists are usually trained in one of these styles of fighting and usually have medium armor. Only the nobility can regularly afford full plate armor and even then this is not always the case.   There are very few cavalry (1% or 2% of the entire army), but kalazotz provide the army some desperately needed mobility. About 2% of the local kalazotz population are full time soldiers and about a third of the adult kallazotz population are reservists.  The kalazotz also provide a valuable service as scouts and communications officers given that they can fly and are fairly stealthy.   Kalazotz soldiers usually focus on crossbows and spears.  Kalazotz are reasonably effect when conducting aerial volley fire manuevers with crossbows, but their favorite tactic is to fly over and drop rocks, nets, or flechetes just before their dwarf allies attack.   Meckelorn has a fairly large gnome  minority. About 1% of them are full time soldiers and about 20% of the gnomes are reservists. Most of gnomes in the military are not fighters. They are mostly medics, quartermasters, and the like though a small number of gnomes are stealth fighters and most of these gnomes are so utterly vicious that they don’t fit in well with other gnomes.   The human population is too small to have much impact on the army but a lot of the humans that live in Meckelorn are adventurers so they are powerful wildcards.   Meckelorn is landlocked so they do not need or want a navy.

Demography and Population

Unless they are in a position deemed vital to the dwarf military, all male adult dwarves of fighting age are required to participate in at least two weeks of military training and drills every year.   Of those that don’t participate, most of them are herders. A farmer or blacksmith can take two weeks off of work without ill effect, but a rancher cannot leave his livestock untended for two weeks. Given that Scarterra has monsters in it, dwarf herders, on average are actually a lot better at fighting than the average dwarf miner or farmer, dwarf herders tend to be an undisciplined lot thought, so while they are tough fighters, they are not great soldiers.  They certainly have traditional dwarf courage and tenacity in spades, but they lack stereotypical dwarf discipline.   Dwarf women can volunteer to join the military reserves and partake in the training. This is allowed but not encouraged. Meckelorn still has a but a fraction of their original numbers so there is a lot of social pressure on dwarf women to stay home and have an many children as feasible. During their time of exile, goblins and other sneaky monsters tried to steal dwarf children fairly often though, especially when the men were away. That’s why dwarf women still are expected to be able to fight even if they rarely serve in the army. In any population center, the best lady dwarf warrior is likely to be named a Captain of the Homefront.   Most dwarf settlements have a fortified location to relocate their children to in the event of an emergency threat and the dwarf women generally run these facilities. Most communities put a Grand Matron in charge of this defense and the Grand Matron can call practice drills whenever she wishes.     Dwarf arcane spell casters are fairly rare, but they are valued. Dwarves with arcane casting abilities are exempt from regular military training if they are willing to use their magic to aid in defense of the realm (though most dwarf mages can still fight with weapons).     The kalazotz are welcome allies of the dwarves of Meckelorn. The Kalazotz are not generally fighters and the dwarves are okay with this. At any given time, at least a quarter of the adult Kallazotz population is out foraging and hunting which provides an informal reconisance network.  If any Kalazotz out hunting happens to run across any goblins, monsters, or other threats, they will inform the dwarves of this, and the dwarves will deploy their knights.


Meckelorn was conquered by hostile powers and the dwarves spent generations in exile fighting a guerrilla war to try to get their homeland. After they got their homeland back they had to defend it numerous. Things have calmed down. No one in living memory remembers the exile and the only people who barely remember the early period after the liberation of their homeland all have white beards now, and they didn’t fight in those wars, their parents did.   That said, the time of their exile still leans heavily on the dwarves' collective memory and they have not relaxed their military posture.     The king and his vassals are expected to defend their subjects.  Their primary duty is defense above all else, most male dwarves of noble spend the majority of their time training in combat and they usually form the elite of the dwarf military.  When it comes to actually running the day-to-day business of the realm, dwarf women are usually running things, but even dwarf noblewoman are expected to be able to handle a crossbow competently.     While not an everyday occurrence, dwarf commoners can be knighted a lot easier than human commoners in their lands. If the nobles and knights notice that one of these reservist soldiers shows exceptional combat aptitude during training, they will frequently offer to knight such individuals. Once inducted into a knightly order, merit wins over birth. Advancement in knightly order’s ranks is determined by skill rather than birth…usually. A few dwarf nobles show a bias towards knights of noble birth, but they are not supposed to.


Dwarf priests are exempt from mandatory military service, but priests to Hallisan are required to train in combat a lot. Meckelorn has almost as many priests and priestesses of Hallisan as clergy of all the rest of the Nine combine, and the Guardians  are a very militant lot. If a dwarf woman really wants to be a soldier and not get socially shunned for neglecting her family duties, the easiest way to do this is to join the Guardians. Essentially really badass nuns.   Dwarf priests to the Nine who apart from Hallisan can serve in the military but apart from the Keepers of Khemra, few choose to do so.


Almost every adult dwarf has some rudamentrary combat training.  There is no formal training regimen, just a culture expectation that dwarf parents are expected to teach their sons and daughters the basics of self defense.   All adult males have to spend at least two weeks a year undergoing military training. The only way to not have to do this is to have a profession that is deemed vital to the military. Even if they don’t have, most dwarf men will participate in the annual training anyway as a matter of pride.   Dwarf women may volunteer to participate in this training but it is not required.  Approximately a third of the dwarf women choose to do so.     Reservists who show an above average aptitude for combat during routine training drills are likely to be offered a permanent position in the army though not everyone takes the offer.  A lot of dwarves really like their day jobs.
Military, Army
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Veterancy Level
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Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake


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