|Earthen (Northrend & Deepholm)|
Earthen (sometimes referred to as early dwarves) are stony proto-beings, similar to dwarves, that were created by the titans to help shape the subterranean regions of the world of Azeroth. Earthen have at least two physical forms: those primarily seen in Uldaman, and those primarily seen in Ulduar. The history of the earthen and their transformation into the races known as troggs and dwarves can be found recorded in the Discs of Norgannon in Uldaman. Further history about research conducted in Northrend can be found in Ulduar.
Please note that the exact order and scope of events is unknown.
To help them dredge out the fathomless caverns beneath the earth, the titans created the dwarves from magical, living stone. The earthen were created to aid the titans' efforts in shaping the deep regions of Azeroth.
The titans created two caretaker races to watch over and help reshape the world. The dwarves are placed in charge of maintaining the earth, while the sea giants watch over the waters. The titans created the earthen to watch over the realms deep within the ground.
Design and composition
The earthen are a modification of the standard subterranean being matrix used on other worlds that the titans have seeded. A subterranean being matrix is one of the synthesis matrices the titans use when seeding a world. Each synthesis matrix is used to achieve the titans' goals. For Azeroth, a subterranean being matrix was modified to create a being with increased durability with an affinity for deep region shaping; the Earthen are the product of this modification.
The Earthen represent the Creators' attempt at improving the survivability paradigm of the standard subterranean being matrix. This was done by incorporating a resilient foundation of construction inherent to the world into said matrix. A resilient foundation of construction is the baseline material used in race synthesis. A cross-section of Azeroth's crust was used as the foundation for the Earthen's synthesis rather than the typical biomass construction foundation used by the titans. The subterranean beings were made of stone for use on Azeroth.
The troggs were the mistaken first attempt at crafting a mortal race of guardians from living stone for Azeroth. When the titans saw how brutal and misshapen the troggs were, they buried them in the northern vault of Bael Modan (and other locations). The titan scientists referred to the successful second race experiment as Series Two. Series Two were the successful conclusion of the titan's experiments, called "earthen" in ancient times.
Long thought to be merely myth, the troggs were the titans' first attempt at creating a race. The second attempt, entirely successful, produced the dwarves. Rather than destroy the troggs, the titans locked them deep beneath the earth where they slept for untold generations.
The exact relation between troggs and earthen is somewhat conflicting (and not just against the RPG). Some accounts say that earthen turn into troggs or dwarves when exposed to the Curse of Flesh, which would imply that troggs were not a separate experiment, while other sources, such as the stone troggs, imply that they were.
The construction of this prototype race created various anomalies that were observed after initial synthesis. The Earthen's only anomaly in synthesis is the tendency for matrix destabilization while being utilized in high-stress environments. Deep earth sculpting is not a high-stress environment. Destabilization was not discovered until well into the Earthen's primary service cycle for the Creators. When earthen destabilize, they become dwarves or troggs.
Feegly the Exiled, a dwarf, turns into a trogg after exposure to the .
What the matrix destabilizations were was later clarified:
In the early stages of its development cycle Azeroth suffered infection by parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes known as the Old Gods. Old Gods rendered all systems, including earthen defenseless in order to facilitate assimilation. This matrix destabilization has been termed the Curse of Flesh. Effects of destabilization increased over time.
These events' relation to the War of the Ancients is unknown.
After the titans defeated and imprisoned the Old Gods, the Forge of Wills and other systems were instituted to create new earthen. The old earthen, after a war involving the Aesir, Vanir, and prime designate Loken, were put into stasis by Loken along with several other seed races at designated holding facilities. It has been mentioned that the titans also began work on post-synthesis modification of earthen, rather than recall and re-synthesis of earthen. What this refers to is unknown, but it implies that existing earthen were modified in response to the destabilizations, rather than making new ones.
War of the Ancients
Another group of earthen were convinced to join the Alliance against the Legion by the dragon-mage Krasus, even while being looked down upon by the night elves. It was a reluctant truce, as the earthen were called in by Krasus in defiance of the xenophobic commander, Desdel Stareye. They were led by Dungard Ironcutter. The earthen were initially put to the outskirts of the host, but after Stareye's "tragic" demise, their warriors were put to their best use under the new commander, Jarod Shadowsong. This may have only happened due to the altered timeline, and may in fact have overwritten something like the the non-canon information below. Also, both may have happened.
Before the War of the Ancients, the dwarves are just beginning to develop their traditions and make the earliest of the technological innovations that will revolutionize the world. Tinkers and even simple technology (phlogiston and gunpowder have yet to be discovered) are exceedingly rare in these days, found mostly among the dwarves.
During the War of the Ancients, the dwarves sealed the gates of their underground cities, leaving the Kaldorei to face the demons on their own. However, the night elves remember the dwarf race from their most ancient days, back before they were called "dwarves." They know that although their two races never had much contact, the earthen fought against the demons in both the War of the Ancients. An underground war was fought by the earthen in the shadows to prevent the return of the demons to the world of the living. The Kaldorei were known to the earthen. In the early histories of dwarves, the Kaldorei are shadowy figures of dark perfection wielding incredible god-like powers.
When the world was sundered by the Well of Eternity's implosion, the earthen were deeply affected. Reeling with the pain of the earth itself, the earthen lost much of their identity and sealed themselves within the stone chambers where they were first created. Uldaman, Uldum, Ulduar... these were the names of the ancient titan cities where the earthen first took shape and form. Buried deep beneath the world, the earthen rested in peace for nearly eight thousand years.
However, it is later revealed that the earthen were made fleshy by the Old Gods, and went into hibernation on Loken's orders.
When the Well collapsed, it took the world with it. Even in their distant fortresses, far from the Well, the dwarves feared for their lives as the very rocks around them shifted and crawled as though they were living creatures.
Something happened to change the earthen, though, and they turned mortal, as they are now. Maybe it was the result of the War of the Ancients.
Though it is unclear what awakened them, the earthen sealed within Uldaman eventually arose from their self-imposed slumber. These earthen found that they had changed significantly during their hibernation. Their rocky hides had softened and become smooth skin, and their powers over stone and earth had waned. They had become mortal creatures.
Calling themselves dwarves, the last of the earthen left the halls of Uldaman and ventured out into the waking world. Still lulled by the safety and wonders of the deep places, they founded a vast kingdom under the highest mountain in the land. They named their land Khaz Modan, or "Mountain of Khaz", in honor of the titan shaper, Khaz'goroth. Constructing an altar for their titan father, the dwarves crafted a mighty forge within the heart of the mountain. Thus, the city that grew around the forge would be called Ironforge ever after.
They emerged into the world and wandered about, searching for a home.
The race of dwarves awakened and emerged from the expansive titan-created city of Uldaman, located deep beneath the earth. They call their new civilization Khaz Modan.
At this point, the dwarves have "awakened" from ancient times, shaken deeply by the Sundering and forgetting much of what they were as a race. Emerging from beneath the earth, they begin to explore their surroundings. Yet they no longer have skin of stone, but are flesh like other races — losing all knowledge of their racial heritage, especially knowledge of the titans who created them and of their purpose (to shape the world).
Dwarven history tells little of this period. Except for occasional armed expeditions from one clanhold to another, they sealed themselves underground. They neither knew nor cared what went on outside their mountain homes.
The earthen's design maximizes strength and stamina without sacrificing cognitive processing power. Their skin and musculature are nearly impervious to physical damage, and with very minor modifications the earthen display a remarkable resiliency to unwanted magical forces. The earthen's physical features are that of a smaller stature humanoid, though their composition is that of Azeroth's various stone core compounds. Their beards are actually an intricate series of mineral growths. They are also capable of smoking pipes.
Groups of earthen
- Main article: #Awakening
The Uldaman facility is one of the facilities that the earthen were sealed in. It came to contain destabilized earthen, and the original stony variant. The stone earthen remain there to this day. The facility also contain the Stonevault troggs.
Ulduar is one of the ancient titan cities where the earthen first took shape and form. It is said that after the War of the Ancients earthen reeled with the pain of the earth itself and lost much of their identity and sealed themselves within the city's stone chambers. The earthen of Ulduar are currently lead by Bouldercrag the Rockshaper. They seem to be a subrace of earthen made of (which may give them their unique look). These earthen are incapable of bleeding. They were forced out of their home by the iron dwarves, with whom they are at war. Kurun, a stone giant leads the earthen in Grizzly Hills in their war.
It is speculated that these earthen are the ones made by the Forge of Wills, and are immune to the Curse of Flesh.
Uldum is one of the ancient titan cities where the earthen first took shape and form. It is said that after the War of the Ancients earthen reeled with the pain of the earth itself and lost much of their identity and sealed themselves within the city's stone chambers. Earthen, like the Sandstone Earthen, exist in its Tanaris section, but no others can be found in the zone. See the Deepholm section below.
Khaz'Goroth was the facility overseer of the facility near Bael Modan nearly 100,000 years ago. His scientists began the first series of experiments to create a race of stone, known as the "earthen". What was made here turned into troggs. When the titans saw how brutal and misshapen the troggs were, they buried them in the northern vault of the facility.
Earthen, appearing similar to the Ulduar type, as opposed to the other earthen, can be found in Deepholm, the elemental plane of earth. They are lead by Stonefather Oremantle, and are battling the stone troggs.
The earthen and the stone troggs somehow found their way to Deepholm through Uldum more than fifteen thousand years ago. They've been warring ever since. They may have come through the portal to Uldum there.
The name "earthen" was chosen by their Creators, based on the earthen's composition, that of Azeroth's stone core materials.
According to the Lore Keeper of Norgannon, "Dwarf" is the term used for the second variant of Earthen destabilization. Before the War of the Ancients, the term "dwarf" appears to have been used as a derogatory term by the night elves towards non-mutated earthen. It has also been mentioned that the earthen were calling themselves dwarves when they emerged from hibernation. Reconciling these accounts (whether or not including the RPG passage below) causes some timeline confusion. In the present dwarf has also retroactively been used by dwarves and others to refer to all non-mutated earthen.
Most pre-sundering history was later forgotten as the earthen entered their slumber, and changed into the beings they are now. Brann Bronzebeard states in one of his books that when the humans first met the dwarves they just simply called them dwarves.
Back when we created Ironforge we had no idea that anyone else existed in the world. We didn’t even have a written language — everything was handed down by word of mouth. Naturally, facts became legends and legends became forgotten. The early dwarves were so busy mining and smithing their little hearts out that remembering the past just didn’t seem all that important. They got very, very good at smelting ore and making things, but that was about it. However, from what we know of those early days, my people were happy. Then, one day, a couple thousand years ago or so, the first humans appeared at the gates of Ironforge. We know this because human written tales of the day tell of the race of short, stocky, bearded master smiths who shared a great love of crafting and storytelling. Dwarves, they called us, and thus we are known today, even though at the time we didn’t know the word literally meant “diminutive.” Ah well, it could be worse — they could’ve called us "beard-men" or "rockheads" or something like that.
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Northrend earthen immunity
It is implied by the Tribunal of Ages that these are a new type of earthen that were created in Ulduar (via the Forge of Wills) to replace previous generations of earthen that were susceptible to the curse of flesh. If so, the earthen are the only race that the titans made a version immune to the Curse of Flesh. Why they would choose the earthen is unknown. Whether other Titan seed races have Curse-immune versions also remains to be seen.
Frostborn & Iron dwarves
Perhaps frostborn are earthen made of ice or are earthen who had adapted to the harsh cold of Northrend. An interesting note that can be taken from Northrend earthen's physical appearance is that while frostborn resemble the northern-type Earthen's cousins from the Eastern Kingdoms, only Iron dwarves resemble the northern-type, even having a blue internal glow. This would point to Ulduar as being the origin (or the only one known) of the Iron dwarves' progenitors, the first version of this kind of earthen, which means that similarly to the Earthen of Uldaman who became the first dwarves, a group of Earthen from Ulduar could have ventured out due to a possible high stress environment they became the first Iron dwarves. If this theory is correct then it is somewhat ironic how Loken is leading the Iron dwarves against their progenitors.
It is of noteworthy interest to mention that northern-type earthen are made from stone and do not bleed (as per the quest text from a dying nothern-type earthen in Thor Modan), frostborn do bleed (as per quest text from a dying frostborn in the valley below Frosthold). It has not been confirmed if southern-type earthen can bleed or not, but it is most likely they do not.
Alternatively, since "earthen" is a term that refers to the physical composition of the race (i.e. made out of stone and earth materials), then frostborn would imply a separate race made out of ice. This would suggest that "frost dwarves" may be secondary evolution of the original frostborn. However it is possible that the frostborn have never evolved (or cursed as the case may be). However it is possible that both types of earthen were once created in Ulduar, Southern like Uldaman and Northern like Ulduar, but due to the harsh environments of Northrend, the Southern type of Earthen could have succumbed to the Curse of Flesh overtime, the High-stress environments of the north rather then those of warmer climates causing their frosty pigmentation.
Before the titans on Azeroth?
While it has been stressed that the titans came to Azeroth after the Old Gods, the Tribunal of Ages says that the "Creators arrived to extirpate symbiotic infection." at a point stated to be after the Old Gods attacked the earthen with the Curse of Flesh.
This may mean that (somehow) the earthen on Azeroth predated the titans' battles with the Old Gods and their minions. As it is assumed that the battles were somewhat immediate, and the titans would likely not have started ordering before noticing the Old Gods, the earthen may have been sent to Azeroth before their masters. However, the Lore Keeper of Norgannon says the earthen were to continue developing Azeroth "after [the titans] had departed," indicating that they were present for the initial seeding.
Alternatively, the titans may have come back to Azeroth a second time at a time after the initial ordering was done (and the earthen left behind) only to find the Old Gods attacking. The titans may have imprisoned or killed the Old Gods, but not well enough. However, based on the Tribunal of Ages' other quotes, it was after the earthen were cursed that the titans realized that they could not kill the Old Gods without destroying Azeroth, and so imprisoned them.
- ^ Warcraft III manual, 79-80
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lore Keeper of Norgannon
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 30
- ^ a b c d e f Alliance Player's Guide, 140
- ^ a b Horde Player's Guide, 242
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 66
- ^ a b c d e f Tribunal of Ages
- ^ Monster Guide, 135
- ^ Archivum Console
- ^ The Sundering
- ^ a b c d e Lands of Conflict, 17
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, 169
- ^ a b Lands of Conflict, 16
- ^ a b c d e f g Ironforge - the Awakening of the Dwarves
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 31
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 19
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 18
- ^ The Sundering, 14
- ^ a b
- ^ The Sundering, 15
- ^ The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth
- ^ Ask CDev answers, "What races were on Azeroth before the coming of the titans?"