What and where is Zaiyon?

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Rangdo
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So I'm in the middle of replaying DotR and there's this handout:

Image

So the Dwarfs are going to return to Zaiyon(?), but I don't recall ever hearing anything else about this and it's the fourth(?) time I've played TEW.

Does anyone know anything?
Capitaneus Fractus
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I don't know, but that is a reference to Zion ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion ) from the time Dwarves in exile in Man's Empire, were seen as Warhammer Fantasy's jewish communities.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Herr Arnulfe
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Not sure either, but since Dwarfs have never been evicted from Karaz-a-Karak (the Everpeak), I'd be inclined to make Zaiyon a state of peace and unity something like the Rastafarian concept of Zion.

Either that, or make it a human name for Kraka Drak, the Norse Dwarfhold that was wiped out by Chaos warriors during the Great War Against Chaos. This would fit with the reference to the "battle at the end of the world".
Rangdo
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Yeah, I was fairly sure it was a pun on Zion (assuming I'd read the script correctly). I was wondering if it had been picked up anywhere else in the canon. I checked the gazetteer in Dwarfs: Stone & Steel and didn't find it. A quick skim of Empire in Flames came up empty too.
Herr Arnulfe
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Karak Eight Peaks would be another candidate (Gotrek's original hold). Although located in the Badlands, it's doomed to remain a battleground between Skaven, Greenskins and Dwarfs until the End Times.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:19 pm
I don't know, but that is a reference to Zion ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion ) from the time Dwarves in exile in Man's Empire, were seen as Warhammer Fantasy's jewish communities.
It seems that it was borrowed from Tolkien's Dwarves, rather than being a Warhammer Fantasy's innovation on Dwarves:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_(Mi ... sh_history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khuzdul#External_history
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
dry_erase
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:47 am
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:19 pm
I don't know, but that is a reference to Zion ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion ) from the time Dwarves in exile in Man's Empire, were seen as Warhammer Fantasy's jewish communities.
It seems that it was borrowed from Tolkien's Dwarves, rather than being a Warhammer Fantasy's innovation on Dwarves:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_(Mi ... sh_history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khuzdul#External_history
I think it was only ever a very loose analogy in Warhammer - there are a couple of parallels in descriptions of Expatriate Dwarfs and this intriguing reference to Zaiyon, but not much more than that. I'd be interested to know whether any of the original WFRP writers had this in mind. There were some discussions on the old 90s WFRP mailing list which I vaguely remember and some threads on Strike to Stun exploring the analogy.

Whatever the intention, I think it's quite a dodgy analogy.
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Orin J.
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dry_erase wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:27 am
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:47 am
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:19 pm
I don't know, but that is a reference to Zion ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion ) from the time Dwarves in exile in Man's Empire, were seen as Warhammer Fantasy's jewish communities.
It seems that it was borrowed from Tolkien's Dwarves, rather than being a Warhammer Fantasy's innovation on Dwarves:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_(Mi ... sh_history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khuzdul#External_history
I think it was only ever a very loose analogy in Warhammer - there are a couple of parallels in descriptions of Expatriate Dwarfs and this intriguing reference to Zaiyon, but not much more than that. I'd be interested to know whether any of the original WFRP writers had this in mind. There were some discussions on the old 90s WFRP mailing list which I vaguely remember and some threads on Strike to Stun exploring the analogy.

Whatever the intention, I think it's quite a dodgy analogy.
i think it's something that was written with the (very brief) era of "dwarfs are chatoic beings whose only remaining settlement is dying out as much through infighting as it is from population issues" in mind. it barely works with that in mind, but the dawi as we know them in warhammer fantasy take more inspiration from norse myhology dwarves than anything. thankfully.
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hallucyon
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Rangdo wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:27 pm
I was fairly sure it was a pun on Zion (assuming I'd read the script correctly).
Yes, the script reads "Zaiyon". However, if we assume it reads "Saigon" (which is unlikely, though) we get another interesting pun. This one would refer to, depending on the perspective, either The Fall of Saigon or the Liberation of Saigon.
dry_erase
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Orin J. wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:41 am
but the dawi as we know them in warhammer fantasy take more inspiration from norse myhology dwarves than anything. thankfully.
Yes - I think Warhammer works best when it draws on a range of archetypes and stereotypes and mixes them up into something vaguely familiar and slightly humourous. Warhammer Dwarfs are a bit Norse, a bit Yorkshire, a bit Scottish, a bit "down-to-earth tradesman coming to your house and criticising shoddy worksmanship" and probably a bunch of other things.
Rangdo
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hallucyon wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:30 pm
Rangdo wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:27 pm
I was fairly sure it was a pun on Zion (assuming I'd read the script correctly).
Yes, the script reads "Zaiyon". However, if we assume it reads "Saigon" (which is unlikely, though) we get another interesting pun. This one would refer to, depending on the perspective, either The Fall of Saigon or the Liberation of Saigon.
There's a TEW game write-up that uses that spelling here. I think that session is from after they'd finished TEW and were doing their own thing, though. I don't recognise it otherwise.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Middle Earth Dwarves also dragged their cultural influence on Norse mythological dwarfs (for cultural aspects) and on Jewish mediaeval communities it seems (for cultural aspects and geographical aspects) and on Greek mythological pygmies (for their characteristic size). Warhammer Fantasy inspiration on Norse mythological dwarfs came also through Middle Earth Dwarves...

On a side note, I am not sure to get why Norse and British range of archetypes and stereotypes would be familiar and humorous enough to works best among sources of influence for Warhammer Fantasy, while Ashkenazim range of archetypes and stereotypes might be unfamiliar and unhumorous enough to be best segregated out of sources of influence for Warhammer Fantasy...

(Regarding archetypes and stereotypes, I think I quite deeply disagree: my own opinion is that Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, just like any role playing game, just like any fiction work, just like any work, works best when it happen to use the appearance of archetypes and stereotypes in order to broke them).
Rangdo wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:58 am
There's a TEW game write-up that uses that spelling here. I think that session is from after they'd finished TEW and were doing their own thing, though. I don't recognise it otherwise.
Spoiler
That is their session that goes with your document: https://whfrp.weebly.com/session-report ... n-russeaux
Awesomelies' Gideon also transcribe it as Zaigon in its Companion to The Enemy Within.
According to his rework of Empire in Flames, Zaigon is the Khazalid mythological name for the Lost Valley where stay the ruins of the former Karak Dulgar.
Spoiler
"Background. Empire in Flames (pp59-61) describes the history of Sigmar after he renounced the Imperial throne. The following account broadly follows that version, but with some modifications for this adventure.
The story of Sigmar’s last days is tied to the history of a dwarf fortress named Karak Dulgar. At Karak Dulgar a renowned loremaster by the name of Wulfan Merglord attempted to a powerful demon weapon. He summoned the Lord of Change known as Sheerargetru, but failed to bind the demon successfully. Merglord became locked in a duel with Sheerargetru.
On his journey to return Ghal-maraz Sigmar heard of Karak Dulgar’s plight and diverted from his path to aid the dwarfs. He joined battle with Sheerargetru and drove the demon back through the portal Merglord had created, but in the course of battle he himself also passed through to the warp. However, Ghal-maraz, being made of a Lawful material, would not enter the Realm of Chaos, and remained trapped in the warp gate, serving as a barrier preventing any demon from passing through.
Karak Dulgar was rendered uninhabitable by the battle with Sheerargetru. Its remaining population relocated to the nearest human settlement, Hochsleben. There they founded the community of Ankh-Karak ("the little citadel"), which housed the dwarfs until Karak Dulgar could be rebuilt. However, over the following years the influence of the warp gate began to corrupt the original site of Karak Dulgar. Therefore, Karak Dulgar was rebuilt on a new site and the valley in which it formerly sat was sealed off. Records of these events were erased and the true history of Karak Dulgar slipped from the memories of the dwarfs, save for a small number in secret order. The order was Khurul-a-maraz (“the Order of the Hammer”) and its members were charged with preventing the Lost Valley’s discovery." (GIDEON, The Enemy Within: A Companion, p. 210.)

"De Sigmare Deo (“On Sigmar the God”). Classical. A heavily mythological account of Sigmar’s last days. It describes how Sigmar discovered Zaigon, the Lost Valley of the dwarfs, as he passed through Black Fire Pass. (Cf Death on the Reik, p51, Handout 14.) There he ascended an ethereal staircase to the firmament and assumed godhood." (Ibidem, p. 211.)

"The Visions of Yorri. Reikspiel. A volume of prophecies made by the former Grand Theogonist Yorri IX. One prophecy describes the five signs that will presage Sigmar’s return: the death of the Emperor, disorder in The Empire, invasion by the hordes of Chaos, the return of the dwarfs to Zaigon and the appearance of a twin-tailed comet." (Idem.)

"It is likely one of the PCs was in possession of the sword Barrakul (see Death on the Reik, pp51, 52) when he or she arrived at Karak Dulgar. This is not the first time Barrakul has been in Karak Dulgar. The sword was, in fact, forged by a descendant of Wulfan Meglord at Karak Dulgar and given to the cult of Sigmar in gratitude for Sigmar’s aid in battling the demon Sheerargetru." (Ibidem, p. 214.)

"The Lost Valley. The adventurers’ rescuer takes the party along a secret passage to the Lost Valley of Zaigon. When the PCs emerge from the tunnel into bright daylight, they will see the valley before them. At the far end the ruins of the former Karak Dulgar are visible. As they pass through the valley, they will witness at first hand the corrupting effect of the warp gate, which worsens as they near the ruins. Terrain takes all manner of unnatural forms (for example, living tentacles of rock). Strange winds and rains swirl in the valley. The adventurers may even encounter weird beasts (such as, perhaps, the cloud of Chaos from Empire in Flames, pp124-125)." (Idem)


Gideon's Companion is available there: https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... companion/
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
dry_erase
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:35 am
On a side note, I am not sure to get why Norse and British range of archetypes and stereotypes would be familiar and humorous enough to works best among sources of influence for Warhammer Fantasy, while Ashkenazim range of archetypes and stereotypes might be unfamiliar and unhumorous enough to be best segregated out of sources of influence for Warhammer Fantasy...
It's not about familiarity for me - it's about tact. Norse culture and British regional stereotypes are largely harmless when mixed together into the Warhammer Dwarf. We're drawing on small, exaggerated aspects of cultures (mostly historical or mythological) to make something that feels relatively plausible.

But if we present Warhammer dwarfs as Jewish communities (as you referenced), we're equating a real world ethnicity with non-humans known for many traits (physical and cultural) which antisemites ascribe to Jewish people. That's what makes it dodgy for me.
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:35 am
(Regarding archetypes and stereotypes, I think I quite deeply disagree: my own opinion is that Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, just like any role playing game, just like any fiction work, just like any work, works best when it happen to use the appearance of archetypes and stereotypes in order to broke them).
I totally agree with you. The stereotypes and archetypes help make a fantastic world 'recognisable', but breaking or subverting them is what makes it interesting.
Herr Arnulfe
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dry_erase wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:18 am
But if we present Warhammer dwarfs as Jewish communities (as you referenced), we're equating a real world ethnicity with non-humans known for many traits (physical and cultural) which antisemites ascribe to Jewish people. That's what makes it dodgy for me.
Yeah, maybe the analogy was more harmless in the 1980's when Warhammer Dwarfs weren't as cliché and cartoony. Also, after double-checking the WFRP 1e rulebook, Dwarfs were depicted as being more "displaced" than they are in current canon. Even Karaz-a-Karak was being overtaken by greenskins. So maybe when TEW was in production they had an idea for a Tolkienesque Erebor-type Dwarf realm that never ended up being developed.
Capitaneus Fractus
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I feel that is because the first edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay created -from a still very rough Battle universe- an universe to role play. Such kind of universe need to be quite socially developed. Dwarves who were conceived were mainly exiled dwarves within the Empire: workers, craftsmen, erudites... and very few psychotic killers.

The second and following editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle developed this universe from an battle point of view. Dwarves who were conceived weren't exiled dwarves within the Empire, but levied and standing warriors from Dwarven standing realms. For the same reason, quasi all Imperial princess were replaced by male elector counts...

The late Hogshead production (with Dwarfs: Stone and Steel) and the second and following editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay didn't put enough in perspective Warhammer Fantasy Battle publication... We can see that, anecdotally, with WFRP4's illustrations. Many Imperial civilian and militia's characters now wear landsknecht's costumes... Those costumes who are commonly seen on Imperial state troops in the Battle game are ridiculously generalized to the civilian aspects of the Roleplaying game. As if in Call of Cthulhu, police officers and public figures commonly wear battledress!

On dwarves: There might be other clichés, but the sole antisemitic cliché associated to Warhammer's dwarves that come to my mind is their gold thirst... This gold thirst is more dodgy, being used to describe Jews, Scottish or even purely fantasy Khazalids (as accepting it for fantasy Khazalids means accepting a racialist way to thought: generalizing a trait of personality to a whole group of intelligent beings not classed according to their personality but to their culture, their origin, their so-called ethnicity or their so-called race)...

However, using this cliché as a common prejudice that men and elves have on dwarves while showing, when role playing dwarven NPC and PC characters that dwarves of the Empire appreciate as much gold than do men of the Empire, is a way to broke stereotypes and archetypes in a deep anti-racist way.

For the same reason, I feel it is quite superficial and apolitical to represent the Empire as a 16th century Germanic realm without racist or sexist prejudices and inequalities, as we can perceive from WFRP4 intentions. Especially as those racist and sexist prejudices and inequalities are still and well alive in our 21st century, including in Western and Northern Europe and in North America... The way something like that is thought show its is more a commercial move (trying to seduce non-white male consumers, following what is perceived being the spirit of the time), not a real anti-racist or sexist move (as this move is a "blind" move). It is way more interesting to show how those prejudices are not only unjust but idiotic and also how there ever were individuals who questioned, opposed or rebelled against those prejudices and underlined how they were just that: idiotic prejudices. (But I start to be overly out-topic there... and I've already expressed this opinion in the past... sorry for that).

[I am obviously not writing that game masters and players should inspire as much from Ashkenazim as from Norses when playing exiled dwarves in the Empire... Game masters and player should took the inspiration they wish to.]
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
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Gideon
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Yes, the Zaigon spelling probably comes from me. I misread the handout. (In fact, it was only after careful examination yesterday that I realised it is actually Zaiyon.)

I think any account of the origins of dwarfs in Warhammer has to start with Tolkien. Writers like Rick Priestley have acknowledged Tolkien's influence, and the presence of elves, halflings, orcs, treemen, etc show that influence pretty transparently.

This means Warhammer dwarfs inherit Tolkien's influences, but possibly only indirectly. As for the Jewish associations of dwarfs in Warhammer, I am not aware of anything apart from this reference that points to such a connection directly. Everything else comes via Tolkien. Indeed, Warhammer dwarfs move away from the inherited racial stereotypes and portray dwarfs according to English regional stereotypes instead.

It's always possible the Zaiyon/Zion resemblance is a coincidence, and we are once again "fooled by randomness" (or at least arbitrariness).
Capitaneus Fractus
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That is not directly related, but when Rick Priestley redesigned Chaos Dwarves for WFB4, he took another Semitic strong source of inspiration: Assyrians.
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Wolf
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dry_erase wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:18 am
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:35 am
On a side note, I am not sure to get why Norse and British range of archetypes and stereotypes would be familiar and humorous enough to works best among sources of influence for Warhammer Fantasy, while Ashkenazim range of archetypes and stereotypes might be unfamiliar and unhumorous enough to be best segregated out of sources of influence for Warhammer Fantasy...
It's not about familiarity for me - it's about tact. Norse culture and British regional stereotypes are largely harmless when mixed together into the Warhammer Dwarf. We're drawing on small, exaggerated aspects of cultures (mostly historical or mythological) to make something that feels relatively plausible.

But if we present Warhammer dwarfs as Jewish communities (as you referenced), we're equating a real world ethnicity with non-humans known for many traits (physical and cultural) which antisemites ascribe to Jewish people. That's what makes it dodgy for me.
There is also a history to the linking of mythological dwarfs and Jewish stereotypes beyond the question of Tolkein’s inspiration and intentions. The character of Alberich in Wagner’s Ring Cycle is generally agreed to be an anti-Semitic stereotype (as well as one of the more famous dwarfs in literature/culture). It certainly was something picked up on in Nazi Germany.

caution is clearly required when using any fantasy race with an equivalence to a real human culture and here even more so. Personally, I think that any attempt to make a particular fantasy/mythological race or group a direct equivalent for a real world group should be avoided, not only because it is fraught with danger in terms of stereotypes and potential negative racial attitudes but also because it stymies imagination and reduces the potential of what should be fantastical.

Thankfully, it seems to me, as most others here that WFRP never used a dwarfs = Jewish people analogy consistently or that strongly. At times, similarities and references are there, but most of the time dwarfs are allowed to be their own thing. As for Zaiyon, I imagine that the thinking did not go beyond a thought that it might be amusing to have the Dwarfs in Sigmarite religion in a similar position to the Israelites and Jewish people in Christianity when creating that particular prophecy, where various Christian visions of the apocalypse begin with the return of the Jewish people to the Holy Land and the restoration of biblical order. Not too much should be read into it.
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Karanthir
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Gideon wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:42 pm
It's always possible the Zaiyon/Zion resemblance is a coincidence, and we are once again "fooled by randomness" (or at least arbitrariness).
Whatever the reason behind including it was, the Zion/Zaiyon resemblance must have been intentional. The verse on the DotR handout is modified from Father Brennan's Biblical poem* in The Omen (1976):

When the Jews return to Zion / When the Dwarfs return to Zaiyon
And a comet rips the sky / and a twin-tailed comet fills the sky
And the Holy Roman Empire rises / Though the Chaos gates be open
Then you and I must die. / the mutant hordes shall die!

*Supposedly from the Book of Revelation, but actually written by the screenwriter.
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Gideon
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@Karanthir Great find, and thanks for pointing it out. I did a search on Biblical quotes and read plenty of passages from the real Book of Revelation, but didn't realise it was from The Omen. The similiarity is, as you say, clearly intentional, then.

Exactly what the intention was, though, is not clear. The authors might have had in mind a parallel between dwarfs and Jews; or they might just have been plagiarising a prophecy that sounded good and fitted in a word that sounded similar; or might have been a jokey pop culture reference; or something else.

My money would be on the pop culture reference. Death on the Reik is full of them. And, as I said, I am unaware of any other parallels with Judaism, apart from those inherited from Tolkien.
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