Leagues of Votann
|Leagues of Votann|
Decentralized, Greater Thurian League being most powerful
Squat Lexicon, High Gothic, Low Gothic
Galactic Core, a third of Segmentum Solar, several thousand Mining Worlds, many Holds of various sizes
|Head of State||
Decentralized, Votanns act as Head of State
|Head of Government||
Votannic Councils (Hearthspake)
Confederated Gerontocratic Supranational Union
Kinhost Forces, Prospector Fleets
"Right after Mankind’s colonization of the galaxy came its first true golden age. Reared by machine prophets, the survivors of the Oedipal plagues built civilizations that equaled and even surpassed their Solar forbears."
- – CM Koseman, All Tomorrows
"Better a soulless clone... than a souled roach."
- – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
"This is very simple. We don't want your liver, your coin, or that junk you call technology. We want your world. We want the riches you didn't even realize you had, and that you definitely don't deserve. Leave while you have the chance. Or don't. Either way, we're coming to claim what's ours."
- – Ultimatum delivered by the Cthonian Guantlet Consortium, Codex- Leagues of Votann
"Rock and stone to the bone!"
- – Warchant of the deeprock league
The Leagues of Votann or otherwise known as the Squat Homeworlds (Or if you're in /tg/; as the Domain of Squats, Squat Territories, SPESS DORF FORTRESS & Deeprock Galactic) is the areas in which one can find our beloved space midgets in the early days of 40k and its current modern reboot. They could also be called the Leagues of Bullshit given how utterly ridiculous their lore is and that their technology hasn't been ripped from them kicking and screaming (literally). However, these are motherfucking dorfs and squats, so they get a pass.
Back in the good old days, the then-named Squat Homeworlds, unlike other Imperial-aligned entities in the galaxy, enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy. Whilst de jure, the Squat Homeworlds were part of the Imperium of Man, de facto as is its own self-sustaining and self-sufficient society unlike places such as Ultramar or the Adeptus Mechanicus which has an interdependent and semi-autonomous relationship with Terra.
Of course, we all know how the Squats were Squatted soon after making the debut, with the Tyranids SOMEHOW targeting only the Squat worlds whilst leaving the rest of the Imperium-controlled space right next door to the Squats largely untouched. This is ridiculous when taking into account that the territories of the Squats weren't some small specks like the Tau Empire, but rather, a significantly large domain that took up half of the entire Galactic core. This is made worse when taking into consideration that it was completely out of character for the Imperium to stop and do nothing against such a large incursion of Tyranid forces in an area considered Astro-strategically important for them. Games Workshop's shitty excuse/explanation in removing the Squats from canon had never really stood well within the community, much less among the Squat players.
However, their reintroduction as the Leagues of Votann has somewhat radically changed their origins whilst still keeping some old lore modernised. The Leagues of Votann (also known as the Unsquatted Squats) is now a ""new"", more fully independent, faction in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. They are gatherings of short abhuman clones called the Kin (more commonly known as Squats by the dirty Necromunda gangers), bound together by the Votann, super-cogitators from the Dark Age of Technology. Kin originate from far space and no knowledge remains about their origins though they are increasingly approaching the idea of sending out expeditions rediscovering it. Each League has its own Votann, and are organized in strongholds around it. They used the data stored to survive among the stars and maintain their culture across generations. Of course, since some factions are touchy about AI, the Leagues are very cautious when dealing with its nearest relatives, hence their secretive lifestyle.
However, because of the setting, everything is not that simple. Since Dorf Windows is not regularly updated anymore and issues that have arisen from having remained active for literal millennia, the Votann began to deteriorate. If they want to repair their computer,
they must wage war with other shitcoin miners for more processing power, the Kin have to once more brave a galaxy full of danger. Aside from that they have a culture valuing wasting nothing, which is a fun way of saying they drain suns of energy and cooled minerals and at best economically forcibly relocate indigenous groups while at their worst they’ll mine your planet to dust around you and respond to resistance with military force. Imagine if Italian Corporatists, the Monopoly Man, and the Evil Mining Heads in fiction were merged with the seven dwarves.
- 1 Rogue Trader Era Fluff
- 2 Reboot Fluff
- 2.1 History
- 2.2 Culture
- 2.3 Morals and Virtues
- 2.4 Technology
- 2.5 Aspects of League society
- 2.6 Known Leagues
- 2.7 Kin Space
- 2.8 Regions/Warp storms
- 2.9 Xenos in/near League territory
- 2.10 Noteworthy Kin
- 2.11 Relationship/interactions with other factions
- 2.12 Speculation/Theories
- 2.13 Influences/Mythology/Aesthetic/Complaints
- 2.14 Forces of the Kin
- 3 See Also
- 4 Gallery
Rogue Trader Era Fluff
Given the sheer extensive history between the old and the new. This section will contain all the fluff from the old Rogue Trader days. For the sake of preventing page bloat, this entire section will be put in a collapsible page.
The Squat Homeworlds were all worlds filled with rich mineral resources, which led the Human ancestors of the Squats to lay down, settle and mine the shit out of. Most of these were located within the galactic core where unique and rare minerals were found in abundance in exchange for being sterile and barren of life of course. But for the early Human colonists, it was a gold mine as Terra ran out of all of its resources, so the search for raw materials was needed. Their planet's gravity is great, usually two or three times that of Terra. Their atmospheres are either thin or non-existent. Even those planets with atmospheres are blasted by tremendous storms. But hey? Who gives a shit about all of that when you have all the resources to make you rich, and rich the Squats got.
Like the Gulf States, the Squats quickly took a monopoly on these minerals and started to get wealthy, and with money comes an increase in development and technological advancements. These planets became Mining Worlds and with the coming Age of Strife, the Squats got themselves the good end of the stick by both inhabiting hostile worlds and cranking up the technological kazoo when the rest of humanity plunged into a galactic-wide shitstorm.
Squat history can be split into several eras.
Age of Founding
The first is the Age of Founding, which is the Squat equivalent of the Dark Age of Technology. This is not technically the first period of the Squats as they had yet to evolve, but it is the time of the founding of the colonies that would become the Squat Homeworlds. Almost twenty thousand years ago contact between these planets and Terra was almost continuous, testament to the importance of these colonies. Terra also kept the worlds well supplied with that which they could not produce for themselves in adequate amounts, primarily food. This period lasted until the Age of Strife.
Age of Isolation
The Age of Isolation corresponds with the earlier part of the Age of Strife - around eighteen thousand years ago. The galactic core was cut off from the rest of human space by the devastating Warp storms of the Age of Strife. Many worlds were swallowed by the Warp and disappeared forever, others were trapped in stasis and became lost. Most survived although they were separated from Earth and all contact was lost with the rest of the galaxy. During this time of isolation and danger the Squat worlds still in contact with each other began to organize for their mutual defense. It was at this time that the Squats began to refer to their worlds as the Homeworlds.
The Homeworlds remained isolated for thousands of years and their inhabitants learned to survive in a universe that was becoming increasingly hostile. Those that survived grew and prospered. Settlements were enlarged and fortified into impregnable Strongholds. They soon developed alternative technologies to make up for the lack of supplies from Earth.
During the isolation the complex system of Engineer Guilds developed. These Guilds were responsible for preserving technical knowledge and skills as well as training technicians, miners and other specialists necessary for the Strongholds. The Guilds transcended the Strongholds, allowing every Stronghold to benefit from the preserved knowledge as well as new advances in technology.
During this age the Leagues first began to develop from Strongholds allied for trading and defense purposes.
Age of Trade
At the beginning of the Age of Trade, some strongholds were attacked, but the aliens quickly realized that the Squats were armed to the fucking teeth and prepared to go down fighting, and that trade was a more practical arrangement. The Squats took full advantage of their tremendous mineral wealth, which they traded for weapons, foodstuffs and high-technology systems. To this day, Squat hydroponic plants, developed with Eldar help, are among the most efficient food sources in the Imperium. The Squats remained carefully neutral in the numerous conflicts between Eldar and Orks, maintaining trade links with both sides. There were inevitably small wars from time to time, but for the most part the Squats' complex structure of treaties and trade agreements maintained a stable peace.
Age of Wars
The Age of Trade lasted for nearly three millennia, but finally collapsed when an enormous Ork battle-fleet, under the command of Grunhag the Flayer, attempted a full-scale invasion of the Homeworlds. Losses on both sides were astronomical, with vicious tunnel-fights through the mine workings and bloody pitched battles in the Squats' underground settlements. The Squats appealed to their Eldar trading partners for help against the invading Orks, but none was received.
The Age of Wars, as it became known, is regarded by the Squats as the blackest chapter in their history, and the double betrayal by Orks and Eldar gave rise to a cultural enmity which still persists. Many strongholds were wiped out by the Orks, and the traditional epic ballad known as The Fall of Imbach commemorates one such destruction. Even today expeditions are mounted from the Squat Homeworlds in search of lost strongholds, and these expeditions are often accompanied by Adeptus Mechanicus priests, eager to rediscover lost Squat technology to 'burrow from'.
Age of Rediscovery
The Age of Rediscovery was the most recent phase of Squat history, corresponding to the Great Crusade and the current Age of the Imperium. As the Imperium recovered from the Age of Strife and began to reunite the scattered worlds of humanity, the Squat Homeworlds were rediscovered and contact with the Imperium was established.
The Imperium found that a distinct culture had developed on the Homeworlds, and that the Squats had moved outwards through the galaxy, extending their domains. Often they settled harsh planets similar to their own Homeworlds, but they also occupied more conventional worlds able to support normal Human civilization.
Age of the Imperium
The current phase in Squat history. It essentially details the various treaties between the Squats and the Imperium.
The experiences of the previous millennia has left the Squats with a strong sense of cultural unity and a fiercely independent nature, and instead of rejoining the Imperium as subject worlds, the Homeworlds negotiated a series of treaties which enabled them to keep their independence. The racial character of the Squats - hard-working, tenacious, honorable, and inimical to alien races - was almost perfect from the Imperial point of view, and the Imperium was content to allow them a great degree of self-government.
A detailed description of their relationship can be read below.
First contact with the Squats by the Imperium began during the Great Crusade as the Emperor's forces reached the worlds near the galactic core. Many of these worlds were the Squat Homeworlds and, Squats being Spess Dorfs and Spess Dorfs being just regular Dorfs with tech, conflict became inevitable. Suffice to say, the Space Marine legions got their shit kicked in. Who would have wondered, that 8-foot tall supersoldiers would have trouble trying to fight in 5-foot by 5-foot tunnels with no cover whatsoever. Here's a fun hint, Empy's forces got creamed so hard it led directly to the development of the Mark 3 Power Armor.
The Emprah with all his infinite wisdom, decided that being on friendly terms with midgets all armed with D-Cannons and rapid-firing plasma machineguns is probably a good idea rather than engaging a war that might as well be the Imperium's Vietnam. So a treaty was signed to sweep the whole 'first-contact shenanigans' under the bus and get back to business.
The Squat Homeworlds as aforementioned, have long been part of the Imperium, but enjoy a level of autonomy greater than the ordinary self-governed Imperial world. Hell, the Squats are so autonomous that not even the Administratum can touch them. Instead, Squat Homeworlds are ruled by strongholds of leagues.
Nonetheless, the Homeworlds, while governing themselves without interference from the Adeptus Terra, are expected to follow Imperial policy on wider issues. Both the Imperium and the Squats benefit from this arrangement: the Homeworlds provide troops for the Imperial Guard. The Imperial Guard also provides military support to the Homeworlds when necessary, as they would any other threatened Imperial worlds (Space NATO). Additionally the Squats trade their mineral wealth exclusively with the Imperium in return for some sweet, sweet moolah. The Adeptus Mechanicus are highly interested in the Squats and the Homeworlds for several reasons: Squats possess a high level of technical expertise which seems to come naturally to the race. Additionally, the Homeworlds as a whole possess the greatest amount of surviving STC equipment in the Imperium. The Squats are said to allow the Adeptus Mechanicus free access to Squat technology. However it is also said the Squats keep their technology from other races, regarding the Adeptus Mechanicus as little more than sorcerers mired in superstition.
The relationship between the Homeworlds and the Imperium is therefore generally peaceful, although through history has been punctuated by bouts of war and bitterness. The Squats and the Imperium trade to their mutual benefit. Both races also share many enemies, especially Orks, making it in their best interests to cooperate. The Squats do not follow the Imperial Cult, rather they revere their ancestors. Squats fighting alongside the Imperial Guard often adopt the Emperor into their beliefs, as a guardian of their ancestors.
Squat technology is based upon the heavy mining equipment they brought with them to the Homeworlds. During their isolation from the rest of humanity they adapted it for other uses, notably exo-armour which was engineered from heavy mining suits. Squats continued to innovate and invent while humanity sank into a Dark Age. As a result, the Squats have developed technologies such as neo-plasma and warp cores far in advance of anything the Imperium owns. Some Squat technologies were absorbed into the Imperium, especially tunneling vehicles and weaponry such as the Termite.
Strongholds are Squat settlement centres. They were generally founded during the original colonisation and those produced later are known as Newholds. Strongholds also often join together under Leagues to form defensive pacts.
Generally a Stronghold develops around a mine and its associated living quarter although some later developments were not associated with mining. A hereditary Lord ruled each stronghold and was protected and supported by the Hearthguard. The Hearthguard were the elite of a Squat army and the servants to the Lord while also protecting the Lord when he went to war. Each Stronghold had a group of Brotherhood or War-Brethren which formed the core of the Squat armed forces for the Stronghold. Every Squat had an obligated 30-70 year service period although they may not be called upon to fight until they had sired two sons and raised them to maturity. This helped protect the continuity of the race from the Stronghold's military activities. A Squat could then retire from active duty with his honor and probably some wealth and take up a position of responsibility in his family's business.
The Brotherhood was often also seen as a mercenary force. In times of peace warriors were traded for resources to either fight for the Imperium or for other strongholds. Another member of the aristocracy was the Warlord, a close relative of the Lord who was there to be placed in control of the Brotherhood in order to prevent Lords from wielding too much power and sending their troops into battles they should not be fighting. Other Lords would send their Brotherhoods on expeditions which range from locating other ancient and lost strongholds to a campaign against an alien race or piracy. Some Brotherhoods had totally turned to piracy and become known as Squat Reavers. When they returned to their stronghold they distributed the booty between the pirates and the Lord of the Stronghold.
Squats had a requirement to provide forces for the Imperial Guard and this often took the form of a detachment of the Brotherhood.
So what are Leagues? Well, in a nutshell, they are groups of strongholds working together for a common purpose - usually mutual defense - trade or dealings with the Imperium. Leagues varied greatly in size, the smallest consisting of four Strongholds and the largest consisting of over three thousand. The League of Thor was the most powerful and influential, including over 300 strongholds. The League of Norgyr was the league closest to Holy Terra. Now, under the new lore there exists the Leagues of Votann, each formed around a Votann ancestor core. Votann-equipped leagues seem to be the only survivors as full scale polities in the Imperium, but at least some clans are known to have survived, usually working as engineers, miners and mercenaries.
A League usually encompassed the Strongholds on more than one planet with the latest extant being 700 known Leagues total. Each League was led and dominated by a single Stronghold. As some Leagues were virtually nations with distinct cultures, Squats often identified themselves with the League their Stronghold belonged to.
The Squats had a strong sense of mutual preservation, as it had been known for rival leagues to go to war with each another. Such occasions could lead to lasting enmity, as Squats were inclined to remember deeds of infamy for many generations much like the Book of Grudges from Warhammer Fantasy. The League of Thor and League of Grindel fought an unusually bitter war around 2,000 years ago when settlers from both sides clashed over the exploration of the Lost Stronghold of Dargon. The war that followed resulted in the destruction of several Strongholds and many key victories for the League of Thor including the capture of two other Leagues. Peace only came with the huge Ork invasion of Grunhag the Flayer which obliged all the Leagues to unify against their mutual foe. Although the war ended with the rout of the Orks, the two Leagues remained distrustful rivals and both sides considered the other side owing them debts of blood and honor.
This section details the new and updated fluff from 2022 onwards. This deals with the Leagues and their similar but new background for the modern 40k narrative.
Even though the oldest living Kin don’t remember what their earliest days were like, some undeniable “First Truths” remain constant in the Votanns’ data tracks. One such truth is that the First Ancestors departed from ancient Terra prior to the Unification Wars to harvest the untold riches of the galaxy with the first holds being settled near the galactic core. What became of these Ancestors is unknown, but curiously when the Ancestors begun to fade away…the Votann are first mentioned.
A second First Truth is that the Kin have always been a cloned people. The Ancestors used genetic systems called “cloneskeins” to manipulate and modify their race’s molecular structure, and continue to define their overall division of labor. Over time the Kin became squatter, denser, and stronger, growing no more than five feet tall max. They’ve even been able to artificially neuter their psychic footprint to avoid the attention of Chaos, in a not too dissimilar fashion to how the Tau souls work. Other examples of this engineering can be seen in the Hearthkyn Warriors, who often are also engineered with particular cloneskeins that allow them to specialise in combat – heightened senses, improved stamina, and the ability to see better in the dark, to name but a few (although, maxing out their bodies' capabilities should be standard for all Kin anyway because duh). In contrast, others augment their bodies for battle with mechanical limbs and synthetic organs, with members of the powerful Cthonian Mining Guilds being noted as extensive users of these body modifications. This is not that unexpected as that particular guild (which is noted as being a particularly extreme embodiment of the usual belligerent acquisitiveness of the Kin) is willing to fearlessly locate, secure, and harvest resources for their race from environments so dangerous that even other Kin would balk at their hazards leading to a need for extensive augmentation on their part. Because of all the above, some fans are now speculating that GW is tying the Men of Stone thread to the modern Squat civilization (either to the Squats themselves or to the Votann) given the Men of Gold and Men of Iron have already been speculated to be Perpetuals and abominable intelligence. It is also revealed the Leagues also have the “Iron Kin,” their fully-mechanical and true AI robot social class, who were designed with a prerogative to help their meaty cousins. This along the mention in some Kin myths of a “group of gleaming golden figures” relative to the first Votann (sometimes referred to as the the Gilded One), means this theory of the Kin being the Men of Stone could bear all the more weight.
At some point during the reconstruction after the Horus Heresy, the ancestors of the Ironhead Squats arrived from the Leagues to help with rebuilding efforts on Necromunda. However they somehow lost their Votann ancestor core in the process and so they ended up having to stay on the world long after the rebuilding was done so they could try and track it down, a search which still continues to this day and has resulted in them regressing technologically in the mean time. Maybe someone should tell them to go search Van Saar's basement. Wait...don't those cores radiate in the Warp like a miniature Astronomican? On many other Imperial worlds, the Kin have even been states to show up in pre Imperial records, truly showing that the Leagues are a deeply ancient set of orders with even deeper roots that spread all across the galaxy.
With the formation of the Great Rift, the Leagues had lost a few holds and trade routes, pressuring them into expanding and gaining new trade routes, endorsing new colonization efforts, and slowly withdrawing from their semi isolated state.
During the events of the Arks of Omen, Ark Infernal Threnody was ruthlessly picked apart and dismantled by the Kronus Hegemony league after a failed voyage into the galactic core. Around the same time, one of Abaddon's battlefleets under Lady Maeve of House Grendyl, arrived in the Polyhadra system with the expectations of easily conquering a world and acquiring a key fragment from the hands of a ramshackle Ork empire. The Greater Thurian League had instead long beaten them to the punch, to the point of having a thriving enclave in the system. Anything resembling ork occupation was reduced to wreckage bolts floating in the void, and the world they sought for was long sliced apart by the Kin. The key fragment itself had already vanished into the churning machineries of the Kin's colossal mining ships, with the fragments psychic spoor leading into the galactic core. Before she would pursue the fragment however, Maeve's twisted honor code demanded she punish the Kin for their interference. And soon, savage battle raged across every surviving world in the Polyhadra system. There were also Kin mercenaries contracted by Indomitus Fleet Quartus that immediately fled after the murder curse was unleashed.
There is a bit to be said about the Kin's exploits and troubles during the 4th Tyrannic war. Firstly, a fleet of League ships had attacked an Imperial factory system (which was also being attacked by a alliance of renegade warbands at the same time). Secondly, an entire cluster of League enclaves had been overwhelmed by the Tyrannids. Thirdly, League guild mining facilities allied to local Imperial authorities were attacked by both ork and tyrannid forces, causing many close ranged fire fights within the asteroid fields of Bastior sub sector. The Greater Thurian League and the Kronus hegemony rallied to wage a determined fight against the Tyrannids, and were also joined by Imperial humans who were abandoned by their leaders. The imperials were accepted in the alliance as expendables. This whole fluff blurb is probably a shout out to the original 'gotten eaten by Tyranids" fluff when they originally got Squated.
"So, we're talking about space dwarfs who need more RAM for their gods?"
- – Anon
In the modern day of the 41st Millennium, the culture of the Kin seems very egalitarian, with no distinction between male, female, machine or otherwise amongst its members. United in the guidance of the Votann, the Leagues of the Kin operate with seeming unity, with the Kin working in unison for the betterment of their Kindreds, or so it would appear to outsiders. The truth, however, is a little more complicated.
The Leagues are semi unified conglomerates of "family states" (a cross between nation states and extended family) called Kindreds, guilds, Freelancers, and kinhost armies. While the Leagues are very communal and chummy with their fellow kin, this does not stop the dark influences of a past long gone from seeping into their civilizations.
Entire planets and even systems with ecosystems and civilizations are stripped to the bone, regardless of the ethics. Global magma extraction and tectonic delving allows the Kin to harvest whole worlds, populated or not. Evacuation may be offered, but not always. Ferocious competition between Guilds and freelancers, who have taken on the mantle from dark age corporations, merc groups, independent contractors, and cartels and follow the philosophy of "When someone has what you want, why not take it." While the Kin do live to serve their fellow kin, their societies, and their ancestors, they are also filled to the brim with society-wide greed and hunger. As individuals, they may or may not have such hungers, but as communities they will devour entire worlds. Not even the universe itself will be enough for their wants. Negotiation is an alternative when dropping anchor and starting the harvesting would incur more cost in resources from defeating local resistance than a contract would entail, and the Kin have relocated species, traded technology, or taken more careful approaches to resource collection (read: not just shattering the planet and picking through the space dust for the minerals) in the past.
This does not mean they are the type to cut corners. Far from it. Like their many Dwarven counterparts in other media, one of the things they appreciate is fine ass Craftmanship. No planned obsolescence, shoddy piss water, or easy-to-break communicators here. Only the best in quality is acceptable (or at least, the best they can make). And this is not even such a difficult feat for them. High-quality mass-produced goods are the norm for the high-tech, thoroughly industrialized League society. Many of their holds are even live-in factories, constantly churning out master crafted items at a constant pace. The Leagues overall conduct resource extraction, industry, and technology developments on a vastly larger scale, making the Imperium look puny in their developments by comparison. Unlike the Imperium, they don't dig for the ore required, wasting time and lives (unless of course they actually have to occupy a world, then they'll mine, extract, manufacture, and bunker down to their heart's content on whatever occupied planetary body they are on); the Kin instead sees that whatever asteroid or world they are working on can just be torn apart and the remnants plucked out from the wreckage.
But despite all their comforts, riches, and conveniences, they are still a hardy people who revere their ancestors and promote the importance of sacrifice throughout their society, willing to do whatever is needed for their Kin and ancestors.
Morals and Virtues
"The stars are ours, bequeathed by the ancestors to us millennia ago. It is our duty, to all those who came before us, to reach out into them and stake our claim. No other race can fashion their resources into the technological marvels we can. It is a waste of their potential for any others to possess them."
- – Brôkhyr Iron-master Tôryk Farstrydd
The Kin are a highly conservative race who are extremely focused on preserving their territories and secrets, as well as the survival of their entire species. This is the primary driving motivation for the majority of all Kin. They can be implacable enemies and valuable allies, but securing their aid, let alone getting them to change their minds on a subject, is fairly difficult. If they deem the motivation of another group to go against their interests, they will be more likely to treat them as foes rather than make friends.
The ancestry of the kin as void-bourne miners has led them to develop an unforgiving moral code. They have no tolerance for laziness, wastefulness, or incompetence. In the cold darkness of space, a filter changed too late, a weak seam missed, or a leaking water tank could kill an entire crew. Despite all their technology, the Kin have retained this perfectionist worldview, and such behaviors are treated as deadly sins. Furthermore, the Kin have adopted an extreme survivalist mindset. Leaving resources unharvested is seen as another form of waste, and they would would rather pause to strip a stellar body bare than leave it behind for someone else to find. This has gained them a reputation as selfish hoarders among some other species, but the kin see it as simply prudent.
The Kin prize efficiency, and this can be seen in the way they coldly and quickly dispatch targets on the battlefield. Paradoxically, they will go to extreme lengths in an effort to settle a grudge, as happened during the Five Hundred Years' War against Waaagh! Morbok. The Kin don't see this as a waste, as leaving a particularly hated or dangerous foe alive is not only a danger to the entire race but an affront to the ancestors. While far less touchy than their Fantasy counterparts, the key to surviving with the Kin is to offer enough resistance to be worth talking to but not successful enough to warrant permanent deletion from the universe.
The Kin are natural explorers, and their culture compels them to return new information to the Votann. The Hernkyn fulfill this duty by plunging into the dark and undiscovered portions of the galaxy. These acts allow the Kin to find new resources to exploit as well as threats to neutralize before they become a danger. Others travel beyond the Galactic Core in search of opportunities for trade or profit.
The Kin's hatred of wastefulness means they see preserving ammo as a priority. As such, weapons such as the HyLas Rotary Cannon, which consumes a vast amount of power to use, is only given to the most trusted Hearthkyn.
The Kin, in their survivalist ways, believe that they must be prepared for any eventuality, driving them to constantly gather and stockpile so they can deal with whatever might happen. They've learned that they can't be sure what will happen and when they'll next get a chance to prepare, so they have a neverending desire to acquire stuff whenever and wherever they can, just because they might need it at some point. It's extremely rare for them to leave any source of resources unharvested.
The Kin only respect the sovereignty of those who could also be called Kin. All other races and civilizations are considered to be nothing more than roadblocks to the resources they want. Swell guys, those Kin.
"I saw their ships grind up an entire asteroid cluster in a few hours. I've seen them reduce stars to nothing but the echoes of once-existent radiation. Before my eyes have their armies boiled up Ork tribes, cultist hordes and Tyranid swarms. Yet there is one thing I cannot understand - what in the Emperor's name is it about their systems that lets them tolerate Brü without chucking it all up again? One sip made me feel as if a super-heavy tank was driving over my stomach."
- – High Lady Grawlensia Najuro XII, Rogue Trader and captain of the Daring-class grand cruiser Coreward
Let's not beat around the bush here; League technology is almost always a clear upgrade over the Imperium. While they didn't retain everything after the collapse of the golden age, they kept far more than their Imperial counterparts, to the point where they can at least echo DAoT society and its tech. While much of the Leagues' tech is reminiscent of the Imperium's in form and function, it is generally far more advanced, reliable and ubiquitous.
Kin gene-technology allows them to make stable mutations, psykers and even alter their souls. Cybernetic implants and genetic modification is more normal than in most of the other 40k factions; advanced helper AI citizens walk the streets as equals. That said, these AI are programmed to be helpful to biological Kin and so "equals" means they're not outright slaves so much as a non-biological species designed to instinctively assist the Kin. They have advanced ion weaponry, something that terrified the shit out of the Imperium to the point where they just straight up banned it. Their guns hit harder and faster, so that even their basic infantry can prove to trouble for your average space marine (Their big muscles, stocky bodies, and genetic and cybernetic augmentations probably puts them physically on par with Astartes at least in strength, too). And unlike the Imperium's physically and politically unstable hive worlds with their overcrowded, polluted and crime-ridden hive cities, the League's Holds should be considered closer to actual fortified arcologies. Agri-worlds? Why grow your food using primitive farming methods when you could just grow your foodstuffs in factories, labs and indoor facilities?
Much of the kin arsenal makes use of exotic material not found outside the galactic core. This includes extremely hazardous materials like dark-star ore; the universal dampening field the material emits can halt all mechanical and organic functions making even the mildest of wounds lethal. Because of its inherent dangers, the material is mined and shaped with exceptional care and only wielded by those who can be trusted with such tactically valuable yet dangerous weapons. Even their teleportation technology is almost flawless, standing in stark contrast to its incredibly risky Imperial counterpart and allowing Kin to be deployed safely and tactically.
Many kin weapons are augmented with HunTR modules, which connect to their neural implants to help bring about the best possible firing solutions. Their Brôkhyr have mastered the manufacturing of focusing lenses and other components necessary to produce a sustained stream of energy, leading to focused beam technology that can be used on and off the battlefield, such as their mining and excavation industries. Their exclusive Volkanite weapons are similar to imperial Volkite (and may even be closer to the original technology), with the key difference that they appear to be not only more powerful but also more common.
Ancestor Cores are so big-brained that they actually shine in the warp, fulfilling a similar role to the Astronomicon. The Leagues' warp drives and Gellar fields are also superior to those of the Imperium, but since they don't dive quite so headlong into the Warp their ships are generally slower than their Imperial counterparts. However, the kin's methods of warp travel are far safer and more predictable, which they feel outweighs the slower travel speed. And their ships are FUCKHUEG, to the point where they dwarf even the largest of the Imperium's interstellar vessels. And it isn't like they can't reliably dive deeper into the Warp if they need a speed boost or probably do something more impressive and related to how teleportation technology works.
The Kin utilize weave-field generators that employ techniques to overlap differing energy fields, interlocking over a range of frequencies and exotic energies. Weave field generators are compact, efficient and scalable, and can be used either as personal shields or projected onto entire areas, the latter of which which is useful for mining. They also possess advanced scanners that can scan through the warp to allow targeting from vast distances away. They apparently can even move entire planets!
Unfortunately, despite holding on to far more dark-age technology than most of humanity's other splinters (just about all of it, if their cores are what we think they are), what the Leagues did lose was typically their knowledge of how to make and maintain the really good stuff - things like the Votann themselves. Due to this, while they're closer to the technological pinnacle of dark-age humanity than the Imperium, the ongoing decay of the Votann cores threatens to sink them back to levels similar to their emperor-loving cousins, while already slowing down much of their R&D to a crawl. As a result, they are stuck behind the Eldar and the Necrons technologically, though it doesn't seem like a big enough difference to functionally matter. But hey, at least they aren't on the Imperium’s level of decay, and are straight up the Tau's supplier of Ion weaponry and other technologies all of which are drastically inferior to that of the Kin.
Ironically, in comparison to both the Adeptus Mechanicus and their Fantasy Counterparts, the Kin don't have a cultural problem with innovation and research, but rather a technical one thanks the Votann decaying and overloading. The traditions of the kin can be traced back to the dark age of technology, a time that was stated to have science as its god. As a result, their traditions call for more innovation and development, not less. Stubborn in favour of progress, not stagnation.
They also have a variety of beverages called Brü, which range from mainstay nutro-rations for soldiers and miners, to devastatingly alcoholic recreational beverages. None are recommended without a Kin constitution.
Aspects of League society
- Leagues: Conglomerates of family states united for better economic and defensive potential. Competitive, but not to the point of self-destruction or to the point where it gets in the way of productivity. Look down on the Imperium, but trades and sometimes even works with them. Distrust the Eldar because they are entitled bastards who are bad for business. Some are business partners with the Tau and gives them ion guns and other goodies. Love their Votann to point of self-sacrifice. Their numbers greatly outnumber the populations of the upstart Tau and the dwindling Aeldari, yet their population is still far fewer than the Imperium's obviously (they are still described as having formidable and vast interstellar empires however). Love their Galactic core due to its crazy amounts of wealth and minerals, and it being quite inhospitable to the other races but quite comfy for the Kin, as they were made from the beginning to live in it. There is no exact number of known Leagues, as the Kin see no use in keeping track of all of them (this is extremely inefficient and would mean easily missing useful trade, though, so they’re probably lying). Can often be in nomadic fleets or living in spacefaring holds. Currently trying to fix up their broken trade routes after the Great Rift appeared. The Leagues are named in honour of the Votann themselves, who are also known variously as the Primal Ancestors, the Gilded Ones, or the Stoneminds. In some Kin myths, Votann was not one being but many, and is sometimes depicted as a group of gleaming golden figures, or a wheel of graven stone faces. In other myths, the Votann fashioned the first crucibles, then raised the Kin up and sent them sailing into the dark void - before oceans of fire and flesh rose to swallow the. Some myths speak of Votann as eldest and wisest of the First Ancestors, themselves shadowy presences ill-defined and shown in many different forms - both humanoid and otherwise - where they are depicted at all. With typical pragmatism, the kin accept that their myths are too contradictory, allegorical, and suspect to be cited as possessing a definite basis of fact.
- First Ancestors: The DAOT colonists (engineers, miners, etc) who journeyed to the galactic mineral-rich core in generation ships as part of a large colonization effort from old Terra. The first ancestors are cited to be agents of change, and held responsible for the majority of the stable mutations - collectively known as cloneskeins - that run through the kin gene pool. Why they did not return to the heartlands of their race is unclear. From the fact that so many Kin fleets plunged into the galactic core within a period of only a few centuries, it might be inferred that a deliberate choice was made. It is during this period that the last references to the first ancestors can be found. Not much else is know about them besides the fact they disappeared when the Votann first appeared...
- Votann: Super-cogitators, which contain Gestalt repositories of unimaginable inherited wisdom and knowledge, along with Ancestor Cores with their self-organizing datastacks and quantum infocores. They communicate with the Kin via a tangle of arcane technology called a "Fane" and through the special class of Kin psyker priests called the Grimnyr. All members of the Leagues after they pass on are returned and recycled, both in mind and body, by the ancestor cores in somber ceremonies. Even the Ironkin are not immune to this fate, as while they are long-lived, they will eventually slow down to a crawl and breakdown. The minds and uploaded data are kept in the Votann, while the bodies are recycled to make new kin. They are currently breaking down and developing "personalities", with calculations that normally took hours taking decades, if not centuries to complete. However they can still be modified by the Kin (often at the Votann’s request). Curiously, they also serve another purpose of acting as mini Astronomicans for the Leagues, due to their vast intellect literally shining in the warp. Has been stated that the "Votann belong to the Kin as Kin belong to the Votann". Often act more like advisors and repositories (none of them have been leaders). Due to their degradation and age, some of the Votann have even lost the ability to produce more Kin (Brokhyrs and Ironkin Guilds can produce more Ironkin, but they are of lower quality than what the ancestors could create). The ancestor cores have also been stated to have been on the first generation ships.
- Fane: The Grimnyr interface in Arcane technological structures called Fanes. A space of timeless devices and quiet contemplation, at the heart of which lies a complex tangle of machinery that is part altar, part interface. It is said that these machines were simply nodes through which the wisdom of the Votann flashed with the speed of thought from one voidcraft to another. They still fulfill this practical purpose. Culturally though, Fanes have taken on a greater spiritual significance to the Kin, so that now they are viewed as places where one stands in full regard of the Ancestors, and where the presence of the Votann lies heavy and Sombre. Indeed, through arcane technological processes that even the Kin do not fully understand, there have been instances recorded of fanes miraculously developing artificial intellect in their own right, and joining the ranks of the Votann themselves. These occurrences of miraculous self-awareness are cause for great honour and celebration amongst the Kin in whose Hold they occur. By comparison though, more than one Votann has degenerated in recent centuries until they have become little more than Fanes themselves. To witness such a decline is a terrible tragedy for the Kin.
- Grimnyr: Kin psykers that wield massive amounts of power. Capable of accessing "empyrically archived" Votann wisdom. They are probably deeply tied to the Votann and represent them in their wing of the Leagues governments.
ProbablyDefinitely confirmed to have very long beards.
- Votannic Council: A League’s ultimate ruling body. Stubborn and slow to change their minds or come to decisions. Elections in the Leagues generally are extremely heated. Needed for full-on wars (local conflicts excluded). The Votann are generally treated as part of the council, and they and their Grimnyr often serve as advisors. Every Kindred governs itself in a huge spherical chamber known as the Spakerönde. The ruling councils are called Hearthspake. The Hearthspake sees little of the politicking or self-interested maneuvering that typifies human political arenas; the Kin might be hard-headed, but they are almost always earnest and honest in their desire to guide their kindred well.
- Guild Masters: Guild Leaders who have worked their way up through the Leagues meritocracy. Note that there can be multiple guild masters on the council.
- Brôkhyr Forge-Master: The absolute cream of the crop from the forges of the Leagues, they not only have proved their ability to create technological marvels, but oversee their development as well. They also bring the fury of the Forge to the battlefield, delivering council to the warriors on the field as well.
- Lord Grimnyr: The ultimate representative of the Grimnyr, who embodies wisdom, guidance, and insight. The Lord Grimnyr is the voice of the Votann itself, acting as a walking conduit for both their lore and gestalt might. This role is not purely a ceremonial or advisory role, for it is incumbent upon the Lord Grimnyr to walk the battlefield as the eyes, ears, and voice of the Votann, dispensing wisdom to friends and allies, and unleashing the wrath of the Ancestors. It is not known how they are selected for the position.
- High Kâhl: The ultimate military commanders of the kinhost militaries. To be named High Kâhl is both a tremendous honour and a awesome responsibility. To be elected a High Kâhl, the incumbent must go beyond just a tremendously capable warriors ,and a indomitable battlefield leader. They must master the cruel calculus of war itself.
- Kindreds: A combination between nation state and extended family, essentially the societies that make up the Leagues. Generally lives in holds (although each hold's population is encouraged to go travel throughout the galaxy and make their ancestors proud). They are very communal in nature, and their populations range from a couple dozen to the millions. Each one is governed by a Votannic council. Every kindred generally follows one of a handful of naming conventions. Generally, they are either named after the kindred's Votann or famed member, a geographical aspect of their home world, the kindred's primary purpose or business, or are simply numerical in their designation. Kindred of Naruun, the Iron Canyon Kindred, Orkbane Kindred, and Kindred Six are examples of each of these. In addition, every kindred shares foundational aspects which are called the Four Pillars:
- Hearth: “the heart of the hold,” literally the heat and light their forges, recycle air, and let the kin thrive
- Forge: Here everything the Kindred needs is built, from weapons to life-support systems
- Fane: Where the Grimnyr interface with the Ancestor Cores
- Crucible: Where new flesh and blood Kin are made, if not from a more natural method.
- Hearthspake: In a given hold, the Hearthspake is the governing body, no matter how big or small. They are a council comprised of Guild representatives of particular commercial groups, the hold's attendant Grimnyr, as well as the leaders of the hold's Kinhost, such as the Kahl.
- Kinhosts: The militaries/militias of the Leagues, made after the kindreds united and combined their militaries. Soldiers are typically drawn from the civilian populace, but are not restricted to kinhosts only, as depending on their decision (after they completed their oath of service to their Kâhl), the soldier may return to civilian life after they have done their service. Objectives range from protecting colonization efforts, protecting resources extraction operations and other guild/kindred interests, and overall defense to annihilating entire worlds because they know too much. Have a slightly overall civilian look to them (but are still more deadly than Imperial forces). The forces within the kinhosts' militaries (called oathbands) are extremely flexible on what they consist of. Some of these oathbands can even consist entirely of mercenaries.
- Kinhost commanders/senior Officers: The military leaders of the Kinhost militaries that rank below the High Kâhl.
- Guilds: The overall backbone of the Leagues. Independent commercial groups. Build holds and everything else. Regulate and manages almost everything, and oversees fair competition (but are not necessarily overbearing). Do not like cutting corners. Very competitive and ruthless in general. Is unofficially apart of the government. Typically don't leave their own holds. Do not like Freelancers and outcasts (and the occasional rival guild). Every aspect of life and production is affected by the guilds. Clonskin guilds exist and work to improve upon and stabilize cloneskins. Ironkin Guilds exist as well.
- Freelancers: Independent contractors, mercenaries, traders, explorers, plumbers, etc. Do the same thing as the guilds except with less political influence and resources. Not too fond of guilds.
- Holds: The homes of the Leagues and its organizations and populace. Typically enclosed and fortified, holds vary in type and size. Can range from underground tunnels and narrows, to fortified bunkers and live-in factories, to hive cities and ecumenopolises. Also come in the form of space stations, asteroid colonies, and ships. Industrial and high tech in nature, yet typically very cozy with a lot of emphasis on community, closeness, and interaction. Essentially hive cities except not shit and on steroids. Contains "Hearths", which act as the hearts of the holds, providing heat, light, and recycled air, and overall let the kin thrive. Hearths also act as reactors for the Kins holds, powering up all their electrical needs.
- Kin in general: The general population of the Leagues. Mainly consists of ironkin, fleshkin, and clonekin (although, there could be more). Tough as nails, and artificial in nature. Come from "crucibles" (which they prefer due to regular reproduction diluting the genetic quality of offspring. Generally enhanced by both biological and cybernetic means. Very intelligent and industrious. Love their ancestors to death. Love their Kin and kindreds. Love making their master crafts. Love living in their fortified holds (but will go out into the galaxy to serve the ancestors, their guilds, and their communities). They get to pick their own names (excluding their family names, which they get from the names the crucibles has attached to it, and it's considered rude to change), and gain more throughout their life from fellow kin like "Orkslayer". Love their individuality and mutations (although some cloneskin templates and mutations can actually lower the lifespan of a clonekin, along with clonekins who had their production accelerated). Far from uncommon for them to get plenty of physical alterations. They were also made to resist and endure the warp and its corruptions, dampening their souls (note: they are masking their souls' brightness, not actually dimming down their souls) for better protection. They also have high amounts of white blood cells, which allows them to greatly resist disease, imbibe higher amounts of alcohol, and heal swiftly. Some can see in infrared.
- Ironkin: The League have Men of Iron now, or at least true AIs. Appear to be comparable to a Servitor, although distinctly described as being treated as equal to the fleshy Kin. The Ironkin can mimic their living counterparts’ every behavior and demeanor, but display no sense of ambition and are hard-wired with a desire to be helpful. Their bodies are all built for a unique purpose and cannot be easily replaced should they be damaged. One such purpose are the Wayfinders, which are the supercomputer, squatty equivalent of Imperial navigators, allowing the Kin to traverse the Warp without the need of psykers, and thus reduce the threat of daemonic incursions. All ironkin have a CU, or Cerebral Unit, and a mechanical body, both of which are unique to each individual ironkin. The CU's themselves are nigh indestructible (with microfield generators woven into the structure of the unit), and can send out distress beacons. Since Kin are Kin, these are high priority for recovery.
- COGs: Essentially the lower forms of AI, automata, and algorithms the Leagues possess. Akin to tau drones (yet still more advanced). Does much of the menial jobs and such in the Leagues, along with being utilized in combat as well, and overall helps automate the Leagues of Votann. Probably still treated better than servitors (especially considering they look like ironkin).
- Outcasts: Hippies, lone wolves, academic rejects, illegal experimenters, and other scourges of bureaucracy. They're either those who have had their entire faction wiped out or have been cast out of League society. Seeing how the philosophy and religion of the Leagues involve all Kin experience live before returning in mind and body to the Ancestor Cores, it's considered a death sentence the same way the Path of the Outcast and the Path of Damnation are to the Craftworld Aeldari.
- The Major Leagues: These are the ones represented the most in the codex, earning unique rules and wider sections of lore. i.e., they're the pre-built subfactions one can choose when mustering an army.
- Greater Thurian League: One of the original founding Leagues and the poster boy League. Has a teal color scheme. Largest of the Leagues, spreading over a wide expanse of the galactic core and very influential on the other Leagues. Includes over 200 allied kindred holds, and it contains the biggest guild. Very wealthy and expansionist, they have a lot of military might and resources at their disposal and they want to expand their reach. Their members think they epitomize what it means to be Kin. Are uncompromising with their mercenary attitude. Apparently, their grim, methodical pragmatism is an inspiration to other Leagues. The Kin’s special character Ûthar the Destined hails from this League, as does the Legends character Yoht Grendok.
- Known Kindreds: Deep Rock Kindred, a kindred belonging to the GTL, and participating in War Zone: Orgvayr; the Kindred of Vortun, Uthar the Destined's very own home, and therefore also part of the GTL
- Known Holds: Obsyd Gate, belonging to the Kindred Vortun, and the birthplace of Uthar the Destined; Grand Hall; Hold Silver Six; Demmak's Haven; Crimson Gulf, known for its size and indomitable walls.
- Urani-Surtr Regulates: A determined League constantly being invaded by groups of Orks, Tyranids, and Necrons; despite this the League is determined to fight to the last person standing. Their colors are greens and brown. Their kin live on the minimum and are currently at war with the Necron Dynasty of Samnokh. Are stoic, pragmatic, and abhor waste like most other Leagues, though they are noted for being less concerned with the cost of lives and material for battle to prevent giving up ground. Likes to keep their population counts high for their oathbands. No kin admitted to the Urani-Surtr Regulates has ever left.
- Trans-Hyperian Alliance: The most puritanical in their worship of the Ancestors. Sacrifice has more importance to them than the other leagues. Their colors are mostly orange and white. They enjoy collecting data and new info for their Votanns. They are a nomadic league, spread out not only across the galactic core but beyond, into far space with their 3 Votanns being stored in heavily armed ships. Their prospectors are known for venturing the width and breath of the galaxy in search of resources, and the League’s Hernkyn Pioneer riders are extremely skilled and considered genuinely exceptional by the other Leagues. This lifestyle is driven by the requirement to enrich their Votanns, which for the Trans-Hyperian Alliance is a reward in and of itself.
- Known Kindreds: Nothka's Kindred, which is based outside of three planets that got slammed into each other, which is metal as fuck; Kindred of Liminus Crag, famous shipwrights who produce swift voidcraft and atmospheric gunships; Ukulak's Kindred, where every member has served at least a decade as an honored Hernkyn.
- Known Holds: Sunder Stair, home of Nothka's Kindred.
- Kronus Hegemony: Also known as Kôrynn’s Kindred they are the most militaristic and aggressive league (to the point of being aggressive even to other leagues). Their color scheme is yellow and black. They are a relatively new league formed less than millennium ago. Ork WAAAGH!s, Tyranid swarms, and many other threats have been broken by the mighty kinhost of the Kronus hegemony. They are known for having a harsh reputation, due to their strictness and quotas. The formation of their league was due to their League’s Fane (computer systems) achieving self-awareness and transforming into a full blown Votann which has subsequently been demanding the Hegemony should always be gathering resources; Kindreds that join have to pay a hefty price to join and then have to pay hefty tributes through conquest. They also already pissed off the other Leagues in territorial disputes. Despite their reputation, they are still seen as a boon for the other Leagues due to their defensive capabilities.
- Ymyr Conglomerate: A massive and ancient power bloc. Has a red color scheme. Few value quality craftsmanship more than the Ymyr conglomerate. They have long ventured beyond the core trading and operating all over the galaxy. They are the richest League, having the best living standards to boot. Even for the other Leagues, they appear decadent. They also have a higher amount of high-quality weaponry and equipment for their kinhosts.
- Known Kindreds: Orkbane Kindred, known to have harnessed super intense spectra from their host star to power their forges, resulting in uber powerful weapons.
- Known Holds: Brokhfyre, on the world of Tamakh, and owned by the Orkbane Kindred.
- Greater Thurian League: One of the original founding Leagues and the poster boy League. Has a teal color scheme. Largest of the Leagues, spreading over a wide expanse of the galactic core and very influential on the other Leagues. Includes over 200 allied kindred holds, and it contains the biggest guild. Very wealthy and expansionist, they have a lot of military might and resources at their disposal and they want to expand their reach. Their members think they epitomize what it means to be Kin. Are uncompromising with their mercenary attitude. Apparently, their grim, methodical pragmatism is an inspiration to other Leagues. The Kin’s special character Ûthar the Destined hails from this League, as does the Legends character Yoht Grendok.
- The Lesser Leagues: These are the ones that exist in the background lore, likely never receiving anything more than the occasional few lines of text and implications to the wider lore.
- Seran-Tok Mercantile League: Has risen to prominence and profited greatly from trade with the T’au Empire.
Probablyconfirmed to be the Demiurg.
- Grand Orion Compact: Their Votann was destroyed by Orks from WAAAGH! Morbok resulting in a grudge against the greenskins and starting a 500 year long war of extermination against the members of that WAAAGH! Known to contain the Hold of Oriakh's Irongate Kindred, which was also destroyed by the WAAAGH!
- Emberg Agnir Bloc: Destroyed by Tyranids. Their Votann absorbed their biomass to deny the Tyranids their prize as revenge, which drove the Votann mad, turning it into "The Mad Core", which causes fluctuations in the Warp impeding travel near their former hold. Their Votann may have been one of the few Cores left able to react quickly, not that it'll be of much use now. Probably a callback to the original demise of the Squats.
- Ghulo Industrial Complex: This League is forever adding new systems and planets to their impressive holdings, and are skilled in transforming even the most barren of worlds into productive and valuable assets. Pours almost all of their time and energy into maintaining trade routes, and keeping their convoys of heavy haulers and escort ships moving along them. This League contains several extremely large and powerful Cthonian guilds, whose influence in the Hearthspakes is such that they're virtually the defacto rulers of the Ghulo Industrial Complex as a whole. Also owns the hold of Delvegard.
- Typhon-Styx Protectorate: A League that is renowned for their indomitable fortifications. Their oathbands lean towards steady and relentless strategies, advancing from one position to the next, and allowing waves of enemy counter attacks to smash themselves apart against swiftly-raised ramparts and tanks, dug in as temporary bunkers. Their holds are exceptionally fortified.
- Grendl Dominance: An overly warlike League.
- Jotun-Erydani Combine: A League that is renowned for their Craftmanship and forging. Is a strongly meritocratic and Brôkhyr centric society.
- Kapellan League: Had their ancestors degenerate into Fanes. Spent years mourning.
- Balor-Attal Conglomerate: Had their ancestors degenerate into Fanes. Spent years mourning. Is in the process of disintegrating.
- Tehys Expanse: A extremely wide spread League. It's Kindreds maintain contact by means of a singularity potent interstellar communications network, whose proprietary technologies they will only lease to other Leagues for a substantial fee.
- Sigma-Drakoni Union: A martially inclined League that prizes honorable combat greatly. It's Kinhosts are held to a strict code of conduct at all times, and take an unusual degree of pride in their heraldy and decorative insignia.
- Pan-Telluric Commonwealth: A exceptionally egalitarian society.
- Seran-Tok Mercantile League: Has risen to prominence and profited greatly from trade with the T’au Empire.
As previously stated, the section of the galaxy most dominated by the Leagues of Votann is predominantly in and around the galactic core, where black holes, dense gravity worlds, and freshly-born stars are frequent. There are many aspects of Kin space that need to be listed, but due to page bloat, they'll get condensed so as to be be precise with the knowledge.
- Unaffiliated Kindreds: Khald's Star Breaker Kindred; Kindred Crimson; Skalfi's Kindred; The Kindred of Narunn; Vykat's Kin; Kindred of Echodark; The Thousand Stars Kindred; Iron Canyon Kindred; Star-Delver Kindred; Kindred of Ork Slayers; Yoht's Black Pillars Kindred; The Kindred Stoic of Nightgulf; Kindred Six; Kindred Eleven-D; the Void Striker Kindred (Destroyed by Maelstrom Orgvayr); Lakhryr's Kindred (destroyed by Maelstrom Orgvayr); Karkyr Stellar Nursery; Yenna's Kindred; Kindred of Aarnok; Sylakh's Kindred, who are rivals with Kindred Six.
- Holds: Broken Triplets (three hold worlds); Sunder Stair Void station hold; Tamâkh; Brôkhfyre; Crimson Gulf; Cynder Span;Delvegard; Demmâk's Haven; Grandhall; Hold Silver Six; Hyvôk's Kindred; Jâluk; Obsyd Gate; Ûrvymm's Bulwark; Vônyk's Hall of Hammers; Ymus-Solaryn.
- Known Mining Worlds: Törg, Darkstar Mines
- Known Guilds: Cthonian Mining Guilds, Yngvary Combined Logistics, Star-Rider Mercantile Confederation, Cthonian Guild of Kadokh.
- Enclaves: Human enclave of New Catachan
To most species, the galactic core is uninhabitable. Only the hardiest of species and civilizations could ever dream to live here. But should they survive, the great riches of the core will open to them.
In contrast to the Imperium, the Kin do not recognize the name "The Great Rift", believing it would lend further superstitious menace to a already menacing threat. The appearance of these warp storms has caused much havoc in the galactic core, from swallowing up entire kindreds, to aggravating local core xenos. Some refugees from these swallowed up kindreds were able to make it out thanks to pan-spectral arrays, which gave some small warning to said kindred refugees. Those who escaped told of holds falling into complete madness, and right on their heels were hordes of ravenous Chaos war fleets. These storms have made the already extraordinarily dangerous core even more deadly. Each warp storm within the galactic core is named after a translation of an archaic Terran monster. Örgvayr, meaning "ogre" in low gothic, is the largest and most notable of them, and is located on the north-eastern fringe of the Greater Thurian League's territory, consuming both the Void Striker and Lakhryr's kindreds. Other warp storms are Cölosyk, Gëirokh, Töroll, Öggh, and Cyklöp.
Xenos in/near League territory
- Orks: The Orks have long-been an enemy of the Kin, their own species-wide durability and sheer refusal to go away making them perhaps the only other species able to comfortably withstand the crushing weight of the galactic core. Being the main neighbors of the Kin, coupled with Orks being Orks and wanting a good punch up, has resulted in their species perhaps being the only thing the Kin consider to be an arch-enemy. With the Five Hundred Years war with WAAAGH! Morbok resulting in the destruction of a Votann, the stellar fleets of Bogg da Freeboota King invading in the lieu of some warpstorms, and the neighboring Ork Empire of Morzag, all these things have solidified the Orks as constant pebble in the Kin's boot.
- Tyranids: "The Bane", as the Kin know the Tyranids as, has become somewhat of an intense threat/material opportunity for the Leagues in recent millennium. Hive Fleet Leviathan wiped out the entirety of the Emberg-Aegnir Bloc, resulting in the Mad Votann, and so earning the ire of the species. But at the same time, the Leagues hunt down hive fleet tendrils to harvest them for organic materials (likely their bio-metals and acids). Ultimately, they're treated more as a hazard than a direct enemy to fight with.
- Minor Species: The typical one-off species that exist to pad out the Galactic Core to make it less empty. Nothing is known about them other than their names and that they are taking the Great Rift as an opportunity to get antsy. They include the Septeryx, the Chrobdyr Ferrophagites (rust monsters lol) and the ominous Cult of Ohn.
- Other Big Players: With the Great Rift opening and swallowing a shit ton of Holds, many Kindreds and some Leagues have opted to scarper out of the Galactic Core and find new steading elsewhere. This vacuum has allowed an opening for the Imperium, the T'au Empire, and the Craftworld Eldar to move in on the territory, kicking up dust as they do and transgressing on the Kin's holdings.
- Ûthar the Destined: A great Kâhl from the Greater Thurian League that has a mysterious objective and destiny, prophesied to complete a great task. He’s a ruthless warrior armed with masterfully wrought weapons, including the legendary Blade of the Ancestors (which he got literally the day he was born on), and has a gift for assessing enemy foes.
- Yôht Grendok: An eager young up-and-coming Kâhl also from the Greater Thurian league. Yôht is armed with a unique, belt-fed Autoch-pattern combi-bolter and a forgewrought plasma sword. His gear is also noted as being decorated with fine gems, and topped by an ornate rampart crest decorated with leonine imagery. His miniature was among the exclusive merchandise released to commemorate the anniversaries of Games Workshop's Warhammer Stores in 2023 and Warhammer Legends rules allowed you to use his particular loadout in open, narrative, or matched play – or you could field him as a standard Kâhl.
- Kôrv Grudgekeeper: A kâhl of the Leagues of Votann's Greater Thurian League. He is known to be highly contemptuous of all the other intelligent species of the galaxy. This is largely because Grudgekeeper, as his name implies, keeps a list of grudges.
- Kâhl Warspeke: A Kâhl from the Greater Thurian League noted for his wisdom, martial skill, and determination. He is the commander of a Prospect aka a kin scouting and prospecting fleet sent out to secure resources and valuable tech meaning they are mostly armed with lighter equipment like Pioneers, Berserks, and regular Hearthkyn. Warspeke’s Prospect is noted to have little patience for other races’ protestations of prior ownership or rights, and will resort to swiftly seizing their prizes by force the moment it becomes clear that threats alone will not do the job. By default he is armed with a Volkite Disintegrator, a Mass Gauntlet, and he and his troop’s clone skein is noted to be durable in the extreme. GW created him to lead the Kin’s combat patrol.
Relationship/interactions with other factions
"Alright listen to me, you mechadendrite molesting piece of shit. If you go any further with that rust stained trashcan lid you call a face, I'm gonna recycle your arse so hard, you won't be able to get hard in front of a toaster! I'm gonna shove my foot so far into your exhaust pipe, my foot is gonna have a free shoe polishing. Then I'm gonna shove that red hood in your face, and call you a hobo-copper. I will disassemble you with my fucking beard. And then I will reassemble you without your human parts! Because your flesh is weak, you twat!"
"... Sniff. That was uncalled for."
- – A typical Kin's greeting to a Mechanicus Skitarii
Galactic relations in general: The Kin will leave most of the denizens in the galaxy alone, so long as they aren't getting in the way of what the Kin want. The Leagues of Votann trade outside the core through a range of names, though these are rarely of their choosing this has caused confusion and misunderstanding over who these mercenary adventurers really are. To those who are in their way however (unwillingly or not), the Kin are a tough nut to crack. Even far from the more secure area that is the galactic core, the Kin are an armored, fortified, bunkered down, advanced, and tactical juggernaut. More often than not, the Kin succeed in their conflicts, and even the more major players of the galaxy find them difficult. On occasion, a resistant population may be deemed too strong for any conflict to be worthwhile, but most of the time any resistance will be swept aside or ignored. The Kin have no compunctions about tearing open the crust of a world whilst the population still dwells upon it, however sometimes a evacuation can be negotiated. To those on the kins good side, they are invaluable business partners. To those on their bad side, they are a force of ruthlessness and greed. As for the more esoteric side of things, the Kin look at the Emperor, Khaine, and the Chaos Gods in the same lens: “not my horse, not my race”.
Ironhead Squat Prospectors: See each other as distant cousins who can share a pint in the pub and complain about the Aeldari.
Tyranids: In the Imperium of Man, the Tyranids hunt you; in the Leagues of Votann, the Leagues hunt Tyranids. Known to the Leagues as “The Bane”, the Kin are wary of the Nids and have gain a grudging respect for their effectiveness and adaptability, while the 'Nids still view the Kin as biomass ripe for devourment. The 'nids themselves also stay clear away from them as the Leagues are known to scout out and hunt down entire Tyranid hive fleets to harvest their resource bounties. Moreover, the high technological levels and large presence of automatons makes fighting the League a sunk-cost fallacy for the Tyranids, such as in one example with the Northstar cluster, where the bioforms exhibited an odd nesting behavior not seen elsewhere. They have proven difficult to eradicate and have brought devastation to the Urani-Surtr Regulates. The Kin see the danger the Tyranids pose to their territories, following the destruction of the Emberg Agnir Bloc. It was made up of a few dozen kindred and found themselves in the path of hive fleet Leviathan. The League was wiped out. The Votann was left untouched. It absorbed the bodies of its fallen Kin to deny the Tyranids the biomass, and was driven mad, becoming the mad core, and causing fluctuations in the warp that disrupt travel. Nevertheless, such endeavors still prove too risky for the Tyranids and, given the League's habit and skillful specialty of hunting their fleets down like giant whalers; the Hive Mind has put the League on the same level as the Necrons in terms of GTFO or DIE!.
Tau: The Spess Dorfs are the China to the Tau's Japan. The Tau view the Leagues as grand benefactors and business partners of the Greater Good and the Tau Empire - although they could certainly improve their viewpoints and dedication to the cause. They are also really happy with their new technology they received from the Leagues, with their ion technology being extremely popular among the Tau's forces. The Leagues see the Tau as a very naïve, young and gullible people, although they appreciate some aspects of the greater good as it shares similarities with their own philosophy, values, ethics and principles but in contrast to the intense collectivism of the Tau the Leagues insist on putting the Kin first. The Tau are more than happy to pay the Leagues, though the Kin rarely share their more advanced tech and resources. As an example, the Kin's ion tech is superior and far more compact than the Tau's. Thanks to the extreme naivety of the Tau, the Tau actually think the few ships they see from the Leagues are all that is left of the Kin, following a invasion from the Tyranids. And are often led into disadvantageous trade deals that benefit the kin more than the Tau. These rumors have been rebuffed by the Kin, much to the confusion of the Tau. The Kin see no value in enlightening them in this regard so long as they can continue to profit from trade with the naïve civilization. The Kin have also established prospecting companies within the tau empire itself. With the advances of the empire in the Chalnath expanse, there have been some minor clashes with the various factions of the Kin, which may have somewhat soured some local relations. Kind of. Nothing that money can't fix, though. Gold settles Grudges as easy as blood, even in space.
The Imperium of Man views the Leagues as useful and good enough for trade, but think they are sketchy deviated abhumans who stray too far from the holy human form and are probably heretics, though it doesn't seem as quick or eager to put these ones down nor whip out any Exterminatus moves on them. On the world of Necromunda at least, they are looked down upon as Squats despite all they've done for the world. Likewise, the Leagues view the Imperium as a bunch of disappointing dumbfuck competitors, although still good enough for trade. Will surprisingly be honest about their usage of AI if pressed on it enough to come out and admit it (which of course naturally pisses the Imperium off, especially among the priesthood of the Mechanicus). Despite their independence, the kin actually have quite a bit of influence within the Imperium itself, and on some Imperial worlds like Necromunda, the Kin have been there since their Imperial records started. They have set up various prospecting companies across the Imperium, one of these being the Ironheads who were notably invited to Necromunda around M31 in a deal where the squats would receive privileged mining rights in exchange for their service in repairing the wartorn world. Rogue traders are also more than happy to deal with the Leagues, though their extravagant lifestyles are considered wasteful by the kin, and deals are made with governors of Imperial worlds and systems, for a suitable fee. The more zealous of the Imperium deem the Kin as entirely sovereign independent state of abhumans, if not Xenos. Despite this, kin and human coexistance is not all too rare, and kin even have at least one human enclave in their borders. Overall, the Kin treat them as misguided cousins, barely above other species but still family.
Aeldari: Guess. They like to keep their meetings brief few and far between as the knife-ears' aura of xenophobia, arrogance, pretentiousness and entitlement pisses the Kin off to no end-- a humorous opinion given how the Kin can be just as greedily entitled towards “their resources” as any Eldar (See the ultimatum at page top).
Drukhari: Guess again. Unlike the Tau who were stupid enough to think these Melnibonean rip-offs are open for unity and had the worst judge of character to trust the S&M gimp-suit-wearing weirdass sick fuckheads at one point, the Kin are smart enough and/or were stung hard enough by them to not have wanted anything to do with the perverted pasty sweat goblins.
Harlequin: Weird creepy murderous chaotic clowns that are to be avoided if they can, though given that Harlequins are known to (rarely) pop up on Imperial Worlds for 'performances,' interactions are probably not unheard of given how the Kin are not as xenophobic as the Imperium.
Aeldari Exodites: Guess thrice. The Kin actually do respect them for their more practical nature. Still more than happy to invade for resources, but that's not really special treatment.
Necrons: The Necrons consider the Kin to be another upstart race, though with a level of trepidation. Not only are they considered remarkably dangerous foes to fight, but the Kin also delve deep into their worlds, breaking into tomb complexes and plundering the rich harvest within. To the Kin, the metallic aliens are easy pickings while they sleep and vicious foes when roused. Typically shoot on sight levels of diplomacy. The Samnokh dynasty is already at war with the Urani-Surtr Regulates for control over one of its main worlds.
Orks: The Orks are the Leagues' most hated foe, as not only are they pervasive, but they are also endlessly wasteful; fighting, destructive, mindlessly violent and ravaging what the Kin have built. The Leagues have been as successful as every other civilization in eradicating the Orks, ie not very. The Orks are not stopped by the dangers of the core regions, and Ork pirate raids are a particular concern, with Orks like Bogg Da Freeboota king and his numerous fleets pestering the Leagues. The Orks tendency to use whatever scrap they can get has led to the Kin saying "a prize for a Ork", used to describe things or ideas that are worthless. The 500 years' war was fought against WAAAGH Morbok after they overran the Grand Orion Compact's Hold of Oriax Irongate Kindred. The Votann in the hold was torn to pieces, the most widespread grudge in the history of the Kin was called, and the Compact spent the next five centuries hunting down every single Ork from WAAAGH Morbok.
Beastmen: Despite their Abhuman heritage, the Kin despise the Beastmen, seeing them in a similar vein as the orks: destroyers and defilers of their technologies.
Chaos finds the Leagues to be a major pain in the ass as the Kin actually have at least some ideas on how to deal with Chaos (unlike their Imperial counterparts) thanks in no small part to surplus supplies of both Dark Age of Technology archeotech (which when used correctly is demonstrably capable of overcoming or counteracting Chaos-fuckery so effectively that it can really only be surpassed by Necron-tech) and common sense, both of which are rare commodities elsewhere in the galaxy. They dimmed their souls, use soulless A.I. to pilot through the warp, have top-notch security, and live high-quality and comfortable lives in their holds. They see little to no chaos corruption in the Leagues and will probably see more losses than wins with them. The Kin of course are absolutely disgusted by them and will not take shit from their gruesome, destructive, corrosive, entropic and insane activities. At one point, the Demiurg had an automated mining facility that was infiltrated by the Alpha Legion, causing massive losses in revenue; outside that isolated event, Chaos warbands will usually try to exterminate the kin in order to steal their resources and technology.
The Adeptus Mechanicus: A series of mental breakdowns and cybernetic overloads occurs when Mechanicus members encounter the Leagues, whether it's due to them seeing Heresy in the Leagues, or due to the many shinies the Leagues have. They see the Leagues as major competition regardless of the reason and move to claim the shinies for themselves. To the Leagues, the Adeptus Mechanicus are rats scurrying around a scrap heap, superstitious tech cultists living on the successes of their ancient betters whose ignorance makes them dangerous. The Kin avoid them whenever possible and are swift to eradicate them when needed, but only if deemed absolutely necessary. Considering incidents such as that with the AI of the Spirit of Eternity, this is a viewpoint that has quite a bit of validity to it (with very few known exceptions).
The LoV being as new as they are, there's a lot going on about them that we don't know about. Particularly, how can certain aspects of the setting be connected to them to better help them conform to the whacky-tobaccy universe that is 40k. Until we get lore confirmations, various speculations and conspiracies will be listed here.
- Votann out in the Wild: As the biggest part of the Leagues and their lore, the Votann naturally draw a lot of attention to themselves, especially since some parts of the lore can now be comfortably assumed to be a Votann.
- The Van Saar STC: A bit of speculation around the Votann is if anything else in the setting will be retconned into/explained as being one. The most obvious candidate is the House Van Saar STC, described as being "large building" sized and "damaged" in that it's spewing out radiation, similar to the disrepair some Votann are said to be in albeit more extreme, and if it was a Votann it would explain why Squats are on Necromunda.
- The Votann are fueled by alcohol: Naturally, being dorfs, the dorfs need to fill the dorf computers with dorf juice in order for them to give dorf advice. How else are they supposed to run? Fission batteries and solar energy? That's leaf-lover hippy dippy shit.
- Basis of the Cult Mechanicus: Considering how old the religion of the Adeptus Mechanicus is, as well as the age of the Votann themselves, its not too far of a stretch to assume that the concept of the Machine God could have sprouted from a Votann built and buried on Mars.
- Volkanite weapons are reverse engineered: Volkite weapons were created in the age of strife presumably to fight the Men of Iron during the Iron War and were basically that age’s analogue of an AK-47. The Kin’s lore says their original human ancestors set out to the core on sub-light generation ships,  which implies they come from the Age of Terra. Which means it should be impossible for them to have volkite weapons. Perhaps they traded with their primitive human kin for them as many civilizations post age of strife wouldn't know the value of said weapons or maybe their relationship with the Imperium became positive enough for them to be granted manufacturing rights for this advanced machinery to churn them out faster than the snail's pace of the cogboys. All we know is that they have volkite and those guns are awesome.
- It could just simply be that they had Volkanite STC's from the dark age. And we don't see much info on Volkite weapons only being made to combat the men iron. Plus, considering they're supposed to be space dwarfs, many would agree that GW probably wouldn't want to undermine them in their dwarfy technological edge, ancient heritage, and highly skilled craftmenship just so they're stated to be copying from the more backwards and less advanced technobarbarians or the Imperium of Umgi.
- The greater rage: The 2001 release of the Tau was spurred with anger, confusion, and revulsion. Even to this day in the year 2022, you'll still see swathes of the community that seethe at the mere mention of the Tau, deeming them as "weaboo space communists who aren't grimdark enough", or simply "another vile xeno who is irrelevant". And like its predecessor, the LoV is reaching similar levels of division and anger. But much like the decade that it was revealed in, the Leagues bring in a new scale of chaotic and unprecedented changes. This section is to help boil this down, and address complaints and confusion.
- Twentieth century futurism: There have been quite a few who have claimed that the LoV is "generic sci-fi" and "inconsistent in its design". To be quite frank, this is a bunch of nonsense hullabaloo. Anyone who has enjoyed enough fictional settings like that of Fallout is going to tell you that the Leagues is full of mid-centrury futurism and classical sci-fi, with the atv looking like a 1960s moon buggy, and the Hernkyn chopper looking like a mid-century 60s bike (god's sake, look at its trailer). While you will find some of dieselpunk in the LoV and its not entirely just mid-century aesthetics, atompunk has asserted its dominance here, Giving them a more civilian look. This also includes the look of the Ironkin (and to a certain extent UR-025 and the Kastelan Class Battle-Automata which look like mid-century robots). Fact is, the LoV is a love letter to classic sci fi. But that's not all.
- Western/wacky sci-fi: If you haven't noticed from the bolter revolvers, the abundance of words like "Pioneer", "frontier", "rugged", and "hardy", along with the fact that the first revealed ironkin looks a lot like a western blacksmith, the amount of "simple" practical tools the Kin often carry, the Leagues have a lot of western influences. They also seem to still retain an air of comedic relief from their previous Squat forms. Expect future Firefly references, and a Votann answering with "42".
- Mass produced goodness: Unlike their many Dwarven counterparts, the Leagues are by no means the top technological powerhouse of the galaxy (the Necron and the Aeldari have them beat, along with most of the other species from around the time of the old ones). To be quite honest, they are more about industry as a theme rather than being the most industrious. However, one could say they are still the top non-prehistoric industrial in the galaxy. They could also be said to be the top powerhouse in the galaxy that is both operating at its full capability (Necron sleepiness), and still actively lives and colonizes the galaxy (Eldar and their hidey holes). And in comparison, to their "competitors", they are probably the most easily accessible due to them generally not wanting to instantly butcher you the second they even glance at you, or just tell you to get lost. As for the lower powers? The Imperium, while it's very industrial, is also incredibly inefficient and often...dumb with its capabilities in general (Agri-worlds, under use of auto loaders, crappy servitors). And the Tau, while smarter than the Imperium with their industrial capabilities, has far less potential with what they have.
- Moving on from their position in the galaxy, why the industrial aesthetic? Well, first off, they're dwarves. Second off, as mentioned above, the other industrial factions are either too insufficient to carry out certain ideas and concepts or are too hidey. The Leagues are in the perfect position to introduce potential new concepts to the universe, like not crap hive cities, dyson spheres that don't belong to the Necron, megastructures, and potentially much more. it's a nice change of pace to see an actually efficient industrial that isn't controlled by ancient aliens.
- Thirdly, you need a little grime and practicality to that atompunk, and efficient industry is the perfect way to do it. Doesn't mean you can't have your cleanliness (and I'm pretty sure they'd prefer to not have pollution in their holds), just adds a tad bit of realistic imagery to it.
- Cleanliness, kin, and old world blues: Besides the reasons above, there is a reason the Leagues look so clean, organized, and sleek. This comes from the more grimdark and evil side of the Leagues (which is a little weird and unique). As previously stated before, the Leagues are a meritocracy overseen by guilds, wise long-bearded psykers, military commanders, and the mighty moai heads themselves. Said guilds are very competitive and will not hesitate to strip to the bone entire planets with civilizations and ecosystems just to stay ahead.
- So are they capitalist? Maybe. But while they've shown how they can easily have conflicts with themselves, one of their mottos is "Kin are kin". They also seem to be very egalitarian within their societies. On top of this, we've had previous examples of society reaching post scarcity levels of comfort, including even some Imperial worlds, and the friggin lower tech tau. They also seem to put high importance on community and fellow kin. Even the guilds wouldn't be caught dead cutting corners and making shoddy products (they regulate much of League society).
- So socialists? Maybe. But really, the answer may be in-between (somewhat). Would certainly suggest looking up the guilds of post classical, classical, and pre-classical history to get a better perspective.
- Perhaps mercantilism? A pre capitalist economic system would be closer to their ideal they defend their economic interest via specialized guild like organizations and strive to keep their exports above imports while using military force to guard their trade secrets and business partners.
- But we do know that they generally have a comfortable life and are very egalitarian. The guilds are competitive, meritocratic, regulate much of League society, and still come to blow with each other. What we can tell is that Leagues inner society is generally at least decent for its citizens. As for those who are outside of League society...
- Expect to see a lot of neocolonialism, colonialism, client states, banana Republics, puppet states, potentially narco states, banana wars, and the 1893 overthrowing of the kingdom of Hawaii except 10x worse (and with more planetary genocide). As with their holds: dirty on the outside, clean on the inside.
- The mythological and the fantastical: This one is a total mashup. You got Celtic, Greek, Nordic, and other mythologies mashed in. The Leagues are named after Greek titans, and Nordic gods. The Votann are based off Odin. The Kin are Geri and Freki, odins greedy wolves. The leadership is based off Odins ideal leadership (with the grimnyr being based off one of his disguise names).
- Too Human similarities: Way back in 2008 the now defunct game company Silicon Knights released a game called “Too Human” for the Xbox 360 after over a decade of it being stuck in development hell. The game was based on reimagining Norse mythology through a cyberpunk lens. While the game flopped miserably (so miserably in fact that Silicon Knights tried to sue the engine devs for sabotage, only for that lawsuit to backfire so hard that Too Human had to be deleted from existence) due to its clunky control system, some of its design elements seem suspiciously similar to the Leagues of Votann aesthetic including: exoskeleton-equipped berserkers, combat transports that resemble the Hekaton Land fortress, the whole mega corporation of the Aesir, and the fact that Odin was reimagined in the game as an AI called the “Organic Distributed Information Network” which bears a striking similarity to the idea of the Votann. Maybe someone in GW played the game and used it as inspiration for the Leagues? It wouldn’t be too surprising.
- Deep Rock Galactic: Similar to the above, the game "Deep Rock Galactic" may have spurred on GW's decision to reinvent the squats in some areas. Notably, the game is based on a company of the same name, which uses actual dwarves as their mercenary-miners to plunder a planet of all its wealth while fighting bugs. Themselves a corporatist, mercantile faction that prefers wealth over civility. Now, this game was released in alpha in early 2018, so it could be a little bit of a stretch to say if it's fully influenced much on the LoV, considering the lengthy design process GW has. It hasn't stopped WarCom from throwing in some tongue-in-cheek, potential references to the game, though. Plus, with all the "Rock and Stone"s and "For Kahl!"s that players will throw out, it probably won't matter anyway. Though the codex does mention an offshoot of the Greater Thurian League known as the Deep Rock Kindred.
- The Ferengi Alliance: A politically neutral trade empire with a materialistic religion. In the case of the leagues of votann their code is the truths akin to the Ferengi's rules of acquisition. This profit minded philosophy ensures that they are on friendly business terms with humanity due to them being easy to placate when it comes to trade deals but should a trade partner become disruptive the leagues will not hesitate to use force to get what they want.
- Lost Planet: Replace the games space bugs with nids and you have the squats origin that being human prospectors facing alien monsters and inhospitable planets for a mining company.
- Starcraft: Seriously their Hearthkyn armor looks like a mini ripoff version of Terran Marine armor. The Einhyr Exo-Suits make that comparison even more blatant.
- Transformers: their faction symbol looks like the Autobot logo and they worship giant godlike AIs that would probably get along quite well with Primus…less so with Unicron, despite doing his shtick themselves frequently.
- Dwarf technology & craftmanship: the Leagues represent a 40k take on the standard fantasy dwarf archetype which more often than not includes them having technology or at least craftmanship superior to all other factions save for “elder/precursor races“ if they are present, so it is no surprise that only the Eldar and Necrons beat them with the Tau being close contenders. Speaking more specifically of the sister game the Dwarfs were the source of the better magic of the Elves and the technology of The Empire, have a culture revolving around settling all slights with blood or gold, have such reliable magic that they can make doors/walls that even the strongest Daemons can't pass and Tzeentch himself cannot see through and can can imprison a Chaos God in a box, literally use the word human ("Umgi") as a description for inferior quality, and even Chaos has to go to them for the good gear. In regards to weapons, just ask Warhammer Fantasy players with big expensive models how they feel about Dwarf
- Survivalism and preppers: The League of Votann seem to be an interstellar sized take on survivalist culture. Like real world survivalists, they gather up and hoard as much supplies as possible before a horrible unforeseeable event comes to wreck everyone's shit (nukes, climate change, aliens, etc). They also similarly live in bunkers (Holds) and in isolated, hard to get to places (The Core). The Leagues, like many preppers, pride themselves in their hardiness and self sufficiency, and have an extreme hate for waste and laziness, as every bit of supplies and effort could make a bad day into a good day. The Leagues also share with the preppers their practical nature, rarely if ever having any luxuries, choosing needs over wants.
- Gnomes: An occasionally joke or meme is replacing the visor of a Kin with a gnome's.
- Destiny: A comparison sometimes memed on /tg/ are that the Kin are 40k Loyalist subfaction of Cabal from Destiny. The two do share odd coincidences like possession of giant machines that eat planets or most of their living population being cloned from spliced genetic patterns. The Warmind Rasputin, the setting's biggest and most powerful military A.I. network, has also been joking used as a picture of Votann.
- Gundam or Mecha anime: More joked than suggesting any inspiration or further connection but weapons similar to Plasma Axes are also found in many assorted mecha media. Thus comparisons inevitably get made. Begs the question what Votann Titans would look like. On Gundam specifically, there've been a handful of cases where Gundam 00's VEDA, another giant A.I. system storing the consciousness of its produced race of clones, has been posted posing as a Votann.
Forces of the Kin
- Kâhl: Taking the place of Squat Warlords as leaders in their species’ military roster, they’re experienced battle hardened Generals who proudly wield the Leagues advanced weaponry, and are the final authority over an individual Oathband in the Kinhost militaries, they’re subordinate only to their Kindred’s ruling Votannic Council. Their most important role is to cast the Eye of the Ancestors over their foes — marking out priority targets and ensuring the most dangerous enemies are the first to feel the wrath of the Kin. Equipment wise they carry nifty ornate armor and weapons like the Kin equivalent to storm bolter, plasma axes, and Volkite equipped power fists. FOR KARL!!
- Brôkhyr: The engineers and lead craftsman of the Leagues, named after the dwarf of Norse mythology, Brokkr, who built Mjolnir. They just blow tech priests out of the water on every level, as not only do their (creatively named) A.N-vyl Terminals (just picture a 3D printer but for guns) have MANY full STCs inside that make all their guns all that and a bag of chips in comparison to those of the Imperium, but they're also not limited by dogma and orthodoxy when it comes to technological advancements, meaning they actively upgrade their shit. That being said while their specialty lies in engineering these folks are also more than willing to throw down with the best of them. When the Oathbands head to battle, the Brôkhyr will strap on powerful exo-frames to become the mighty Thunderkyn. Although not quite as scratch-resistant as the Einhyr Hearthguard’s exo-armour, since the powerful suits they wear were initially adapted from rugged engineering rigs, they can still take a hell of a pummeling and allow the Brôkhyr Thunderkyn to heft the heaviest man-portable weapons the Leagues can muster with ease. Hordes of their enemies fall before salvos unleashed from bolt cannons, while heavy infantry find themselves pierced by the unstoppable lances of SP conversion beamers, prospects that have made more than one enemy think twice before attacking them.
- Brôkhyr Iron-Master: The Brôkhyr are the Leagues’ highly skilled techno-artificers, and the Iron-masters are the cream of their crop. They head into battle with a dutiful Ironkin assistant and a knack for repairing even the most beaten-up vehicles. Helping them are a gaggle of E-COGs – hardy combat and repair drones, lacking the intellect of a true Ironkin.
- Grimnyr: The predominant psykers of the Leagues, dressed like fucking wizards in an army full of voidsuits and armor. Wearing robes over their Power Armor to the point that Dark Angels themselves looks like normies. The Kin now name their dwarf wizards after the false identity Odin took while on a bet from Frigg, from Norse Mythology (or ripping off the WHFB dwarf god Grimnir). Are essentially the Votanns eyes, ears, limbs, mouth, etc. They are able to access directly the data stores of the Votann using psychic powers, and communicates its will and guidance to their Kindreds and Leagues. They are the closet you will see to a priest in the largely secular Leagues. They also use barrier tech to help them harness the raw power of the immaterium in battle – such as summoning two mechanical CORVs that often hover alongside them as familiars (very similar to the ability of the gene stealer cults to summon familiars). Essentially mystical wise old sages.
- Embyr: Mentioned in the codex as a sworn order of warriors who protect the gene-wombs of a hold's Crucible. In essence, they guard the Cloneskeins, and therefore, the next generation of kin. They're also marked as being another example of kin who are integrated with barrier tech, like the grimnyr, and are therefore psykers. We don't know to what extent, however.
- Cthonian Berserks:Hailing from the Cthonian mining guilds which are noted for venturing to environments even other Kin fear to tread, these furious and heavily augmented murder machines are a sci-fi reimagining of Slayers from WHFB. These frontline fighters originally began as Kin who enhanced the physical capabilities of their cloneskeins with cybernetic upgrades and cyberstimms, all the better to extract precious minerals from rad-plagued nebulae, explosive asteroids, and fathomless ocean depths. Now tasked with dealing with their people’s enemies they charge into battle with modified advanced mining gear like heavy plasma axes, concussion mauls, and power fists all while wearing little or no armor besides that which their cyborg augmentations provides. They also have mole mortars/ grenade launchers (for mining purposes of course). The most augmented and hardiest of the Cthonians are known as "luggers", who compete with each other to see who the most cybernetically jacked are. Think Wilhem from Borderlands, and you have an idea.
- Hearthkyn Warriors: Because replacing i's with y's is so sci-fi and trademark friendly. The Hearthkyn are essentially identical in terms of origin as the Guardian Defenders of the eldar, in that they are the core infantry force of the Leagues' military that were conscripted from their civilian populations. However, rather than being a militia roused during times of conflict, the Hearthkyn are instead closer to real-world militaries, in that the soldiery serve for an extended period of time before going home to their civilian professions. Serving in the Hearthkyn, anyone can enlist: male, female, flesh or metal, as Kin are Kin, after all. The units themselves are equipped with all manner of hullabaloo Squat guns depending on their specialization, on the lighter end there are the Autoch-pattern bolters used for assault and laying down covering/saturation fire, there are also bolt shotguns, and bolt revolvers. On the heavier side there are volkanite disintegrators, ion blasters (whose technology the Kin apparently gave to the Tau much to the Imperium’s ire) and HYLas auto-rifles all of which are used to sunder the defences of heavily-armoured opponents. Finally there’s also specialized heavy weapons such as L7 missile launchers, EtaCarn plasma beamers, Graviton blast cannons, and magna-rail rifles. All these ranged weapons are supported by smart tech integrated into Kin battlegear. The haptic utility nerve transmission recalibrator modules – HunTR for short – interface with their neural augmetics to establish a feedback loop between firearms and their users. This system projects minute gravitational pulses to maintain a stable firing platform even while running at full pelt – or zooming along on a flying trike. For close combat they got plasma blades, plasma axes, and concussion weapons like gauntlets, hammers, and mauls that amplifies the kinetic energy behind a Kin’s strike enough to launch an Ork boy into the air. As for protection they wear their own brand of power armor called Void armour comprised of hardened jointed segments which are hooked into a void suit beneath. The suit is fashioned from magnaferrite weave, and often reinforced with adamantine and enhanced with microfield generators for a level of protection that any Imperial Guardsman would give their left gonad to have!
- Theyn: Sci-fi spelling for the old Anglo-Saxon Thegns/Thanes (Fantasy Dwarfs had Thanes as heroes, so another connection there). They are experienced warriors that serve as squad leaders in Hearthkyn and Einhyr Warrior squads of 10 to 20 warriors and are able to arm themselves with a variety of hand-to-hand combat weapons, including brutal concussion gauntlets, plasma blades, and vicious plasma axes in addition to high quality ranged weapons. Theyns communicate with their squad with the aid of cybernetic implants – relaying strategic instructions from the commanders of the Oathband to their units, and can be differentiated from the other kin by the fancy animal headed crest mounted on the back of their armor which can grant them special abilities like acting as a teleporter.
- Hearthkyn Salvager: Masters at the art of recovering prized artifacts and locating precious resources in the depths of hulks and wrecks. They are scouts and explorers foremost, trained to identify items of value, extract as much as possible, and survive – all before clocking out. Each salvager is a hardened warrior, well-acquainted with the dangers of space hulk exploration, and the team also carries a wide assortment of survey equipment to help identify cost-efficient targets. Salvagers often wear heavy armour with in-built "gellar ramparts" and are tethered to their ship by warp-shielded cables, which allows them to scavenge space hulks in the warp. A regular operation in which the Kin loot space hulks is called a Hulk-skim, which involves lasers cutting away large parts of a hulk.
- Hearthguard: Named after the Einherjar of Valhalla, they are the newly-christened Hearthguard Terminators of old, being the honored warriors selected from a Kinhold's most accomplished fighters, clad in Exo-Armour. They're armed with a shoulder mounted grenade launcher, a hand-held Volkanite Disintegrator, and either a power first with a retractable plasma blade or a Thunder Hammer. Like regular Hearthkyn Void armor the Exo-armor also has the HunTR system of micro gravity field generators built in to help keep their aim steady allowing them to fire on the move.
- Einhyr Champion: Those who climb the ranks of the Einhyr that eventually became Champions. These warriors are clad in modified exo-armour fitted with mass-drivers for jump purposes and armed with vicious close combat weapons. They function as living battering rams, pulverising anything that gets in their way.
- Hekaton Land Fortress: A 300 point HECKA CHUNKY Heavy support tank that can also serve as a defensive emplacement and troop transport. This vehicle packs overwhelming firepower onto a rugged frame. Transport numbers vary depending on the nature of the troops inside. For instance it can lug around a hefty 12 models of Hearthkyn or Cthonian Berserks on the higher end, but only 6 of the more heavily armored Einhyr, and just 4 troops with the Exo-frame keyword like the Brôkhyr Thunderkyn. Still it can go toe-to-toe with some of the biggest and best battle tanks in the 41st Millennium thanks to its durable void armour. Weapons wise it can be equipped with a variety of hefty weapons for its main gun– from a cyclic ion cannon, to the very nasty heavy magna-rail cannon, or the devastating SP heavy conversion beamer. If needed a missile launcher with 3 different possible classes of devastating warheads (one kind for vehicles, one for bunker busting, and the last for dealing for infantry) can be added in exchange for removing the craft’s default pan-spectral scanner, though it will lose the ability to ignore light cover when firing. And if all that wasn’t enough it also has a rear mounted MATR autocannon, plus 4 bolt cannon ball turrets around the hull for dealing with swarms of smaller foes that can be swapped out for ion beamers if the user desires. As a side note the Hekatons are also mentioned to sometimes draw carriages in the codex.
- Hernkyn Pioneer: THE TRIKES RETURN! AS HOVERTRIKES! And with a female driver. It looks like a spider-tank tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell fucked a Harley and their baby came out a hoverbike. Hernkyn Pioneers are 35 point vehicles ridden by independently minded Kin who serve as scouts and outriders for the Kinhosts. They exchange the heavier armor of the Hyrthkin for lighter void suits backed up by armored trench coats, an old style pilot’s cap, and when necessary a gas or oxygen mask. Before you make the mistake of thinking they’re outlaw bikers though it should be noted that they are not seen like that at all amongst their own people. Rather in eyes of the Kin the Pioneers willingness to go off alone is considered courageous and selfless as they are putting their own lives at risk for the sake of their families, in effect making them the equivalent of the WFB Dwarf rangers. Anyway, to ensure they can keep riding for as long as possible the Pioneers make sure to carry any all equipment they might conceivably need with them at all times, from bedrolls to digging tools strapped to their rides. To aid them in scouting their trikes come equipped with multiwave comms arrays and pan-spectral scanners which are all quite useful for picking up strategically important data. Weapons-wise the riders can be armed with a bolt pistol, or a bolt shotgun, plus concussion grenades and a plasma blade for backup, while the Trike itself was equipped with a magna-coil autocannon mounted on the front. In addition if the rider is willing to take along a passenger then it’s possible to mount a heavy weapon on the back of the vehicle in the form of a rotary Hy-Las (high yield laser) cannon or an ion beamer. These weapons are linked to the driver and passenger’s implants via the HunTR system so they can fire on the move.
- Sagitaur ATV: A 130 point six wheeled infantry fighting vehicle, that takes its name from the centaur shaped constellation Sagittarius, the Sagitaur is used for surveying inhospitable alien terrain. The Sagitaur is a rapid-response ATV suited to scouting operations and lightning-fast armoured offensives alongside Hernkyn Pioneers. Its armoured carapace is durable enough to shrug off everything from rockslides to plasma blasts. Sagitaurs usually operate in pairs and are remarkably heavily-armed for their size, with a nose-mounted twin bolt cannon complemented by a swivelling turret weapon, such as a HYLas beam cannon, L7 missile launcher, or MATR autocannon. Once they’re right up in the enemy’s lines they will disgorge their troops in the form of 5 troops from a 10 man squad of infantry with the other half being carried by a second vehicles. These can then go on to seize vital objectives. It should be noted though that the troops the Sagitaur Carrie’s cannot have the Exo-frame keyword so using them for things like Thunderkyn is a no-go unlike with the Hekaton.
- Colossus-class war engines: were briefly mentioned in a Warcom article where it’s stated the Ymyr Conglomerate Holds can wield more of them then any other league due to the Holds large number of skilled Craftsman and Engineers. Sadly we don’t have a stat line, nor do we have an image to confirm if these are indeed the same thing as the old Squat Colossus War Machine.
- Ironhead Squat Prospectors: An offshoot of the Kin that set up shop on Necromunda right after the Horus Heresy, and are busy doing dwarrowesque things, while also dealing with the locals that sometimes try to loot their stuff. While they're only distantly related to the Leagues with no direct affiliation, they're said to get along. There is a small but not high chance they'll be options on the table top as well since Kill team has a precedent for a small unit from one box being an option like the sister novitiate, at the very least make a good proxy/conversion.
- Cargo-8 Ridgehauler: the Squat land trains return! Well they have on Necromunda at least. These huge transport trucks with multiple trailers and strapped on weaponry are used by Squat prospectors and regular human folk to cross the ash wasteland and protect valuable shipments. They aren’t quite up to the standard of the old land trains but at least it’s something.
- Chronos Pattern Ironcrawler: a gigantic tracked APC/pickup truck hybrid that’s favored by both the Ironhead Squats and the local Necromundans. The vehicle is even more heavily armored than the Ridgehauler and the cab is sealed to protect against radiation and ash storms. It comes standard with a cargo winch, two pintle mounted turrets, and numerous firing ports in the transport cage behind the cab so any extra troops it’s ferrying can fire on any nearby enemies.
- Demiurg: Outright stated in the League of Votann Codex to be Kin Prospect fleets that have been misidentified by Imperial and Tau observers alike to be a separate race. It’s also a common mistake for Imperial xenologists as said Prospect Fleets have also been misidentified as Grome, Gnostari, or Kreg species. Heck, even the Eldar have known them as the Heliosi Ancients instead of their proper name. WarCom confirmed that the Tau received their ion weapon technology from the Kin, whereas in Battlefleet Gothic they claim that it was from the Demiurg, another race of dwarf space-miners. Logically, the term "Demiurg" is just be what the Tau call the Kin, with the Demiurg may be another offshoot culture of the wider kin race like prospectors above. After all, their clones-kin’s capability in stressing divergent phenotypes means visibly different strains could possible (like different breeds of dogs or cats) the demiurg simply bring this physical divergence to extreme levels. One example is the Seran-Tok Mercantile Leagues that decided to throw in their lot with the upstart T'au Empire rather than being in the bottom of the Imperium's to-do list.
- Space Craft: While a full list of space assets hasn’t dropped yet, the retcon regarding the nature of the Demiurg means we have some idea of what kind of vessels the Kin have. In addition to smaller autonomous mining craft that can be reconfigured as fighters, bombers, and assault boats the Leagues also wield two classes of rather impressive warp-capable ships that many fans have noted look like giant flying hammers. The first class is the Bastion-class Commerce Vessels which seems to be an enormous asteroid mining vessel that can also act as a cruiser, though its firepower is enough to let it hold its ground against an Imperial battleship. They are typically manned by a single large clan/brotherhood and their robot navigators. Less common are the larger Stronghold-class Commerce Vessels which are typically manned by two or even three clans/brotherhoods and the previously mentioned robot navigators. These massive crafts both serve as stately battleships and factory/processor ships for the Kin mercantile clans. The mining lasers on both craft while short-ranged are noted to be incredibly powerful, something which is to be expected given they were originally used to cut through asteroids. They derive their power through the use of electromagnetic fields around the prow of the ship that serves as a Bussard Scoop that will absorb interstellar hydrogen. This hydrogen then undergoes fusion and whatever energy or particles isn’t used for powering the laser is then accelerated to the rear of the vessel to speeds near that of the speed of light to provide motive force similar to a ram-jet. As a side benefit the complex radiation shielding this process requires evidently produces numerous other defensive benefits for the starship and adds to its protection. The Mechanicus is noted to be very interested in getting their tendrils on this tech, but despite their best efforts they have yet to get a chance to examine it.
- Warhammer 40,000/10th Edition Tactics/Leagues of Votann
- Kharadron Overlords, their closest Age of Sigmar counterpart
- Dwarfs (Warhammer Fantasy)
- Chaos Dwarfs
Finally, the fucking furries don't have the monopoly on sweet beards
|Forces of the Squats/Leagues|
|Command:||Brôkhyr Iron-Master - Einhyr Champion - Guildmaster |
Kâhl - Living Ancestor (Grimnyr) - Squat Warlord - Votann
|Troops:||Brôkhyr Thunderkyn - Brotherhood Heavy Weapons Team |
COG - Commissar - Chthonian Beserks - Hearthguard
Hearthkyn Warrior - Hearthkyn Salvager - Ironkin
Mole Mortar Team - Tech Priest - Theyn
|Transports:||Hekaton Land Fortress - Rhino - Tunneling Transport Vehicles|
|Vehicles:||Magna-Coil Bike - Squat Bike - Squat Trike - Sagitaur ATV|
|Iron Eagle Gyrocopter - Overlord Armoured Airship|
|Artillery:||Heavy Quad-Launcher - Thunder-Fire Cannon|
|Cyclops War Machine - Colossus War Machine |
Land Train - Leviathan
|Spacecraft:||Automated Barge Drone - Automated Bombing Drone |
Automated Fighting Drone
|Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000|
|Imperium:||AdMech:||Adeptus Mechanicus - Mechanicus Knights|
|Army:||Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Imperial Navy - Militarum Tempestus - Space Marines|
|Inquisition:||Inquisition - Sisters of Battle - Deathwatch - Grey Knights|
|Other:||Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Ministorum - Death Cults - Officio Assassinorum - Sisters of Silence|
|Chaos:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Chaos Knights|
|Xenos:||Aeldari:||Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari|
|Tyranids:||Genestealer Cults - Tyranids|
|Others:||Necrons - Orks - Tau - Leagues of Votann|
- Side note on that: going at the speed of light the core where the Kin live is around 26,000 light years away. So if the Dworfs set out to the core tomorrow, and managed to get 99.99 the speed of light instantly, and managed to instantly decelerate once they got there, they would still get to there home in M26. Just in time for the Dark Age of technology before they had even had a chance to start building anything in there new home. GW forgetting how big space is again I guess.