If you're looking at this post and going like this right now:
I don't blame you. If you're still reading this, then a bit of an intro is in order.
I've seen a lot of threads and videos about Araby's possible roster in TWW, but I kept thinking "Is that really all there is about Araby? What does the lore actually say?"
So, I made the noble sacrifice of many hours and some lost sleep to discover every little nugget GW ever wrote about Araby. I've been where no Wiki editor has ever gone before, and I've plumbed the depths of GW's works for info about Araby (aside from the novels, because have you SEEN the size of Black Library's collection?!).
My journey through the rulebooks and armybooks is still ongoing, but at this point I'm ready to start revealing my work to the world.
Before we get started, a few things to get down:
First, most of what follows comes from Warmaster Armies
(2006, pgs. 47-49). I'll list other sources when I use them. If you have a source, name it and, if you have it, the page number. GW's published an absurd amount of stuff over the years.
I'll also point out areas where I'm speculating about info gaps. If a sentence doesn't have words like "probably" or "most likely", it's from the sources.
Second, I'm breaking my writings/ramblings up into multiple posts for two reasons:
1. Multiple posts let me group content by subject, which I like. This first post will be about Arabyan infantry, second one about their cavalry, third one about their monsters and lords/heroes, and (if people care) further posts about Araby's history, culture, climate, and foreign relations.
2. These posts are going to be LONG AS ****. I know people hate this kind of thing, but for my purposes it's unavoidable. The deeper I dug, the more lore I found, and there's some cool stuff in the forgotten corners of GW's older books. So get comfortable, or go click on another, more interesting threat. Like that Daemon thread that got a million replies. Or start another thread asking for Medieval 3 or something. Or go outside, because it's a nice day and you have a life beyond the forums (you lucky ********).
Third, critique me. If my writing is garbage, or you know I'm wrong about something, let me know.
Fourth, there's two different ways to spell the pronoun for someone from Araby: "Arabian" (the lazy way) and "Arabyan" (the slightly less lazy way). I'll be using Arabyan with a "y" throughout this except in direct quotes from the sources, because frankly, Arabian is lazier than even I'm comfortable with.
Fine.TL;DR Araby has a lot of cool and interesting lore that can be used to make their list, including units that existed only in the background like Marauder Champions and Frosty Wyrms.
With that out of the way, let's dive right in:The famous Araby Warmaster models from 2007. If someone says Araby had no lore or models, they're doing it wrong.
First off, a bit of general background on Arabyan armies.
The rulers of Araby maintain their own armies based upon the great cities and tributary tribes that live in the surrounding lands. The leaders of the tribes are called Emirs in the north and west, and Sheiks in the south and east. The rulers of the cities and their surrounding lands are called Sultans.
The Sultans are proud of their troops, especially their cavalry, and a lot of money goes into Araby's elite troops. Ordinary Arabyan troops and the irregular tribesmen are more plainly equipped, but they're by no means poorly equipped or poor fighters, as we will see.Part I - InfantrySpearmen"Welcome to Araby, where pointy beards and moustaches are mandatory for every soldier!"
Basic spearmen with shields and light armor.
Despite Araby's cavalry being its most highly regarded asset, these humble infantrymen form the solid foundation of any Arabyan army. This isn't surprising, considering that Arabyans' most common foes (each other, Tomb Kings, and crusading knights) all make heavy use of cavalry, chariots, monsters, or all three. Most of these troops carry tall spears and shields, but it's noted that some units fight with swords, making Swordsmen
an easy unit to add to a TWW Araby roster.
Interestingly, Arabyan Spearmen are actually part of a standing army. They're organized into regiments, fight in well-disciplined ranks, and garrison towns and cities and act as local policemen when they aren't engaged in military activities.
This system of organization (standing army of non-mercenary soldiers that act as garrisons and police when not fighting or patrolling, good discipline) actually sounds very close to the Empire's armies. To my knowledge Araby is the only other human nation confirmed to maintain standing armies. Could the Arabyans be copying the Empire's State Troops? It's certainly possible and, given the good reputation Imperial soldiers have in foreign lands, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were.
(We don't know if Arabyan soldiers are full-time professionals like Imperial ones are, but the similarities in how they're organized are still striking.)BowmenI swear, it's like they never wanted you to get a good look at these guys. (Probably to hide that magnificent facial hair!)
Bow-armed infantry and little to no armor.
Arabyans place great faith in the bow, and every Arabyan city maintains strong bodies of archers.
According to Warmaster Armies
, although firearms are known in Araby, they're nowhere near as common or as advanced as those used in the Old World, and even then they're rarely issued to common troops.
The only reference I've found to the Arabyans having religious and social dogmas agains gunpowder comes from the 1984 2nd edition Battle Bestiary
, back when the Arabyans straight-up worshipped Allah. The Warmaster fluff from 2006 contradicts this, and just says that Arabyan gunpowder weapons aren't as advanced or prolific as Old World ones. Since it's 22 years more recent and doesn't involve obviously retconned things like Arabyans being actual Muslims, I assume the Warmaster fluff is the most canon regarding Araby's gunpowder situation.GuardsOK, seriously, does GW just not realize that not every Middle Eastern guy wears his facial hair long and pointy? Or even has facial hair?
The first elite Arabyan infantry.
Guards are well-equipped "with steel armor, keen tulwars [curved swords and sabers originally from India in our world], gleaming helmets, and fine silk clothing. These household troops or guards accompany the Sultans when they travel beyond the grounds of their magnificent palaces. The loyalty of these troops is famous. They are amply rewarded with riches, luxuries, and prestige as a result" (Warmaster Armies
, pg. 47).
According to the unit description, every Sultan, Caliph, and many lesser nobles and sorcerers have their own group of Guards. These soldiers are so unflinchingly loyal that they'd die at their own hand if their master ordered it.
Sometimes, instead of Guards, Arabyan rulers will draw their bodyguards from more outlandish communities in the south. Examples include the Dread Daughters of Tariq from the Land of Assassins and the Silent Guard of Eunuch Mountain.Dervishes/DervishersI couldn't find any official art of these guys, so have a nice picture of an actual dervish
These guys are mentioned in the WHFB Battle Bestiary for 2nd edition, published all the way back in 1984 (pg. 21). Lore this old is so non-canon it's hilarious; for example, the Arabyans literally worshipped Allah! However, the land of the Dervishes is still on maps of Araby, so they probably still exist in some form, and this is the only real description of them I can find.
The Battle Bestiary says that in Warhammer, "Dervishers are fanatical, religious warriors all too willing to die for Allah" and they had the Frenzy rule.
Since I didn't know what a dervish is, I Googled it. According to Wikipedia (the most reliable source for anything ever!), real-life dervishes are Sufi ascetics who live lives of extreme poverty and austerity. They focus on the universal values of love and service, deserting the illusions of ego to reach God. Many dervishes practice dhikr
through physical exertions or religious practices to attain the ecstatic trance to reach God. Sufi whirling, a type of active meditation, is often associated (rightly or not) with dervishes. Historically, dervishes can become fighters, and they could probably be very good fighters given their tolerance of hardship and deep faith, but the Victorian British often mistook other "wild" Muslim groups, such as the Sudanese Mahdists, as dervishes. The British may have also used "dervishes" as a generic pejorative term to mean any Islamic opponents during Britain's colonial wars (though Britain did actually fight a so-called Dervish state once).
Back to Warhammer: Arabyan Dervishes would probably function similarly to Wardancers as a lightly armored but fast moving and high-damaging infantry unit. No matter what, their morale would be excellent, and they'd EunochsNo images because Eunochs look totally normal with their pants on, and without...well, do you really need to see that?
Arabyan Eunochs were first mentioned alongside Dervishes in the 1984 Battle Bestiary
(pg. 21), but they've also been mentioned in the 5th edition Lizardmen armybook (1997, pg. 6), meaning they're definitely canon.
Their only description comes from the Battle Bestiary
: "Eunochs are only rarely slaves, more often they are individuals brought up and trained as warriors or guards. They are unusually steadfast and loyal."
This is supported by their mention in the Lizardmen book, where a group of Eunochs are sent with Ibn Jellaba to protect him while he seeks a land trade route into the interior of the Southlands. Ibn notes describes them as "exceptionally loyal eunuch soldiers from [the Sultan's] palace guard..." Later, when Ibn's party is surrounded by Lizardmen for several days, the eunochs have the discipline (or at least the brains) to follow Ibn's lead and do nothing to provoke the Lizardmen (pg. 7).
It's possible that Eunochs are exactly the same as the Guards covered earlier, but I think they could stand apart as a different unit. Whatever the case, Eunochs should at least have excellent morale: After all, becoming a blindly loyal guard is one thing, but becoming a blindly loyal guard AND letting them cut your j*** off (which could very easily be and often was fatal)? That takes serious guts. Assassins"And it was at this moment that Sir Jaques of Parravon regretted his life choices...Except he didn't. Because he was dead." (No images from GW. What a surprise.)
Honestly, there's no real info about the inhabitants of the so-called Land of Assassins south of the River of the Serpent. But if I were a betting man (which I am because I preorder all the DLCs for this game), I'd say that they're based on the modern, badly flanderized stereotype of the Hashashin.
While they'd make for a better assassin-type character, a unit based on them could totally be possible. Perhaps something akin to Night Runners or Gutter Runners? Or maybe a much smaller unit, like the ninja units in Shogun 2.
Really, though, there's not much to say due to a lack of lore, so all of the above was speculation. Moving on.CorsairsNo official art for Corsairs, so here's Ammand, that Barbary Corsair guy from Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
The vast majority of our info on Arabyan Corsairs comes from the 5th edition Dogs of War armybook (1998, pgs. 74, 84-85, 88-89) and it mostly concerns their interactions with Tilea. There's actually a surprisingly large amount of lore about them and their deeds.
In other words:
Arabyan Corsairs have been plundering the coasts (and presumably shipping) of Tilea and Estalia for years. They sail the seas in war dhows, not galleys like the real-life Barbary Corsairs. This actually makes sense, considering that the Corsairs have to sail longer voyages through rougher seas to reach their prey than the Barbary Corsairs in our world did. Galleys wouldn't be able to make the trip to and from Araby safely.
Sartosa in particular has an interesting history with the Corsairs. Over a millennium ago, Sartosa was colonized by Norscans, who, after some initial raiding, were hired by Luccini to guard the island and surrounding seas from the Corsairs and other raiders. However, in 1240 IC, Sartosa was invaded by a large Corsair force led by Nafal Muq. The Norscans fought to the death, but Nafal's men were numerous and cunning, and they prevailed.A rare picture of Nafal Muq, posing after his victory at Sartosa. (Actually it's Sumbhajee Angria, another Pirates of the Caribbean dude. He was the guy with the high-pitched voice.)
Nafal's Corsairs occupied Sartosa and held the island for an impressive 261 years (1240-1501). During that time, Corsair raids on Tilea became much worse. The Tileans found that the Corsairs were even worse than the Norscans; they were much more difficult to catch, and much less willing to desist from raiding in order to serve as mercenaries. This was because the Corsair leaders were bound by tribal oaths to their Emirs and Sheikhs, and could not be tempted to change allegiance for mere gold. The Tileans had to resort to force, and several major naval battles were fought in the seas around Sartosa between the Corsairs and the galleys of Luccini, Remas, and Tobaro.
Then, in the 1400s, a sorcerer named Jaffar rose to power in Araby, and in 1448 IC he invaded Estalia. (The Skaven had convinced Jaffar that the Estalians were planning to invade Araby, so he thought he was preemptively attacking his enemies.) After Jaffar was defeated and slain at the Battle of Al Haikk, the Tileans decided it was finally time to kick the Corsairs off Sartosa once and for all.
In 1501 IC, a mercenary army led by Luciano Catena, Merchant Prince of Luccini, invaded Sartosa. Unlike previous Tilean armies, Catena's had several Arabyan contingents in its ranks: The fall of Sultan Jaffar had freed them from any bonds of loyalty, and they now condemned him for his wicked dealings with genies. (Jaffar had also faced a mutiny among his troops right before the Battle of Al Haikk. He wasn't very popular among his people, it seems.)
The Emir of Sartosa, Abd al Wazaq, and his Corsairs were driven back into their stronghold in the city of Sartosa itself. (Yes, the island of Sartosa has a city on it called Sartosa.) After a long and, to the Corsairs' credit, extremely bloody siege, the Emir and his men surrendered. Luciano allowed Al Wazaq to escape to Araby in return for leaving behind his considerable stash of treasure, mostly art looted from Tilea. Al Wazaq also had to surrender his enormous harem, which in his desperation he had trained to defend him as personal bodyguards. These women were promptly recruited by the Tileans as a mercenary regiment! (Gods, I love Tileans.)
The rest of the surviving Corsairs were allowed to stay on Sartosa and were even hired by Luciano to serve in his fleet. This was one of the earliest occasions on which mercenaries from Araby were hired by a Tilean general (which is funny, since he already had Arabyans in his mercenary army, but whatever.)
With the Corsairs temporarily subdued (emphasis on temporarily) and the Arabyans' wealth thoroughly plundered by the crusaders, the Arabyans were eager to trade when the Tilean merchants came knocking. From the Arabyans the Tileans learned about the High Elves' trade restrictions, and purchased "strange astronomical and navigational devices made by the sorcerers of Araby" (AKA compasses, astrolabes, and other math-based navigational tools).
These early trade relations quickly blossomed into close trade ties between the Tilean and Arabyan cities that continue to flourish over a thousand years later. Copher now has a Tilean quarter, and there are small enclaves of foreign traders in other Arabyan ports too, such as so-called The Street of a Hundred Dwarfs, which is noted for its bazaars of metalworkers, weapon smiths, and wig makers. It's safe to say that the Tileans deal with most of the Old World trade to and from Araby, and while the Tileans stay out of Arabys' internal politics, they have raised whole armies to help the Arabyans fight off the Tomb Kings when they come knocking!
(If Tilea gets added to TWW, I wonder if they'd get missions to liberate Araby from the crusader states occupying them? After all, the Tileans would want their trading partners back in action, and they certainly get along with Arabyans much more than Bretonnians, who write them off as dishonorable merchant and mercenary scumbags...)
But what about the Corsairs? Isn't that why I'm writing this all down in the first place?This wall of text is too bloody long, so have a picture of a real-life dhow. Now imagine it's crewed by a bunch of mean-looking guys waving sharp objects and BAM you have a Corsair ship.
Well, as stated in the first paragraph, Corsairs are still sailing out of Arabyan ports to pillage Tilea and Estalia. They probably aren't as prolific or as powerful as they were in their heyday when they ruled Sartosa, and the glory days of Nefal Muq are long gone with the increased trade relations Araby has with the Old World.
But Arabyans are bold and adventurous as well as great seamen, and they'll "eagerly exchange fishing and trading for piracy", especially in Lashiek, the aptly-named City of Corsairs. So as long as there's ships to loot and poorly defended coastal settlements to raid, Araby's Corsairs will continue to ply their deadly trade.
In-game, Arabyan Corsairs would almost certainly function like Black Arc Corsairs and Nehekhara Warriors as anti-infantry specialists due to their skills at extremely close combat. They'd probably be very lightly armored, since armor is often a hindrance in naval combat, and fast-moving, since they need to move fast during a coastal raid so their target has as little time to react as possible. Small shields are a possibility, though. Perhaps a Corsair variant could throw Naphtha bombs or jars of poisonous animals, which would be useful for torching a ship or clearing an enemy's deck and throwing them into disarray before the Corsairs leap aboard and lay into them with short swords and boarding axes.
And that's it for Arabyan infantry.
HOLY CRAP IT'S DONE
If you got this far, your Constitution went up 2 points due to your perseverance! Next up is Araby's cavalry! Future posts should be shorter, since there isn't as much lore about the other parts of the army (which is funny, because Araby's cavalry is supposed to be the pride and joy of their rulers, but whatever). The next post hould be up in a couple days, depending on how much time I can spare. (Real life's a *****, it should be outlawed.)