Faction Spotlight: Dwarf Guilds

February 16, 2024
“Not all that glitters is gold. It could be platinum, silver or some kind of gem.”- Kromdra Ant Largrind, Dwarf Guild Miner 

Welcome to Faction Spotlight, where we highlight background lore and design elements behind your favourite OPR models. We’ve put a lot of work into developing the ideas and principles behind our factions which have been reflected in the art and model design, and now we’re eager to start sharing it with you! 

The Dwarves are an excellent starting point for these articles, since their background has recently been updated to expand their role in the story of the Sirius Sector. 

In The Lore

The stars are gems for the daring to collect.” - Guild Champion Thurnga Oth Ragnarn


The Dwarf Guilds started out as Dwarven Miners who came together to claim minerals. They have evolved into massive corporations which define the culture and lifestyle of their members throughout the Sirius Sector. The Guilds are united through an entity known as the Guild Consortium, which mediates business and defence operations between them. Minor conflicts between Guilds have occurred, but the Consortium ensures that they are able to work together when necessary.

Since expanding from their homeworld, the Guilds have been eager to stake their claim in Sirius. Their territory is divided into “Veins” with each one managed by a Guild. Dwarves seek to exploit the worlds in each Vein to create more ships in order to extend their reach further. The oldest worlds are often broken into asteroid fields until even the asteroids are mined into dust before Guild ships move onto more promising horizons.


The Dwarves struck out rapidly after achieving interstellar travel. They soon encountered the Elves and struck up a trade partnership, resulting in a long period of peace. This peace ended when Dwarves’ ambitions ran afoul of the Orcs. The Dwarves saw the disunity of the Orc clans as an opportunity, inventing pretexts to claim worlds without engaging in full-scale war. As the Orcs realized the Guilds’ intentions, they united against the invaders. 

The united Orcs proved a fearsome foe, quickly reclaiming the worlds that were taken from them. The Guilds retreated, they worked overtime to extract everything they could from valuable planets, leaving as little as possible for the advancing Orcs. The skills developed stripping these worlds bare would serve the Guilds in future, teaching them to harvest planets’ minerals with brutal efficiency.

Dwarves began working tirelessly to develop technology that would allow them to extend their reach into distant galaxies, where they could gain the materials that they needed to turn the tide of the war. These hopes would end in disaster as their device resulted in a cataclysm, now known as the Radiance Cascade, which ravaged a large part of the Sirius sector in an instant. 

Most Dwarven worlds were lost. Survivors were mostly those working on Guild ships, at the edge of their territory. The remaining Guilds now mostly operate from these fleets, moving from system to system as they exhaust the resources of any world that they encounter.


Since this disaster, many Guilds have adopted a defensive posture. The Dwarves have worked tirelessly to build and maintain their arsenals of weapons and mining equipment to ensure that they are never left vulnerable. Guild Lords maintain their position through ruthlessly pursuing production quotas, ensuring the prosperity of their Guild into future generations. 

The Dwarf Guilds have a particular interest in the Radiance Exclusion Zone, the area contaminated by the lingering after effects of the initial Cascade. Numerous dangers await those who explore the Zone, but many Dwarves volunteer in the hopes of recovering technology and valuables from their lost worlds. These exploration teams are able to employ their skills at prospecting and mining to create effect in the region, hunting for signs of their former cities and strongholds scattered among the debris.

Some Dwarves have begun to question the Guilds’ operating methods, wishing to moderate their extraction or even radically restructure their society. These Dwarves often find themselves pushed out of competition for promotions by their more ambitious peers. This fierce competition has so far ensured that Guilds retain their traditions and extractive ways so that individuals can maintain their status and rank over underlings eager to rise and take on their predecessor’s quotas.


Despite the disaster, the Guilds remain expansionistic but they’re not simply invaders. The Dwarves usually present themselves as merchants and traders.They offer compensation for mineral rights, or even exchange systems for particularly valuable worlds. Guild miners are often content to leave a planet’s surface and population relatively untouched while working deep beneath the surface, even defending their partner’s planets when necessary. 

While the Dwarves would rather simply trade for what they need, they have proven very skilled at finding a pretext for taking systems that interest them when residents aren’t willing to trade for what they need. 

From the Writers’ Room 

“Some reject the ways of their forebearers, others embrace them. The Dwarf Guilds refine them.” - Rune Master Drimharl Oth Thundrad

Dwarves are perhaps one of the best defined archetypes in fantasy which have been translated into different Scifi settings a number of times. Our writing team has tried to give the Dwarves a story and voice with some unique spins on the idea while still keeping them recognizable.

Burying the Hatchet 

Contrary to the traditional rivalry commonly associated with Dwarves and Elves, the Dwarf Guilds have mostly gotten along with their long eared neighbours.

The Orcs are another common foil and enemy of Dwarves in many stories. It’s true that the two have had their differences in Sirius as well but while some Orcs still feel bitterness towards the Dwarves, the Dwarves generally harbour few ill feelings towards these former foes. 

In general, the Dwarf Guilds don’t particularly hold onto grudges. While the knowledge and skills of their ancestors are important, they are generally more concerned with what opportunities tomorrow may bring than by settling old accounts. 

There’s no reason to turn away tomorrow’s business partner because of yesterday’s bloodshed.

Miners on the Move 

The Dwarf Guilds maintain their association with mining and industry in this setting but the cramped mountain holds have been replaced with the winding interiors of Guild ships. 

The Dwarves of Sirius are a spread out, almost nomadic, people whose presence can easily be justified throughout the Sirius sector. 

Originally the move to a Fleet based lifestyle was caused by them losing their homeworld when they dug too deep and came into contact with another life form deep beneath the surface. With the updated story, the key elements remain intact; Dwarven ambition led to overextend themselves and results in disaster.

The Dwarves of Sirius are a people without a homeland. The idea of Dwarves being exiles, cast out of their home, is a part of the archetype that is less commonly drawn on. It’s one that felt particularly under-appreciated, as there's a fascinating tragedy about a people who are so deeply connected with stone and soil who have been forced to become entirely spacebound.


Their exile is entirely the fault of the Guilds themselves.

From the beginning, their ambition has pushed them ever outwards. This ambition allowed them to spread quickly through the stars, until they began to push up against their neighbours. Their drive to extract ever more ressources lead to war with the Orcs, only to make matters worse when they try to double down and try to expand into entirely new galaxies!  

While overambition could be said to be their main flaw, their most tragic flaw may instead by their stubbornness. Many factions in Sirius have faced disasters which have forced them to change and reflect on their way of life. 

The Dwarf Guilds on the other hand, accept their exile as a fact of life and simply continue on in the way of their ancestors, whatever the consequences.

In the Studio 

“True beauty ain’t a pretty face, a fancy painting or even a well cut gem. It’s a worn out pickaxe and a heavy bag on your way back up to the Guild ship.”- Rikthun ant Nilmtril, Dwarf Guild Miner 

The Dwarves have a well defined aesthetic in most fantasy stories, it’s so well defined that often the challenge is to keep it recognizeably Dwarven while changing any aspect at all. 

When trading chain mail for Powersuits, a number of principles were made in order to ensure that the Dwarf Guilds would appear properly Dwarf-like beneath their armour.

Starting Principles 

One key rule for designers was to avoid rounded shapes. OPR Dwarves derive their distinctive aesthetic from hexagons and octagons. Armour edges and trims are generally polygonal, rather than rounded, giving a unique feel to the models. This philosophy extends even to gun barrels, as keen eyed fans may notice a distinctive octagonal shape on Dwarven firearms. 

Additional plates were added over armour plating to create geometric patterns and lend it a futuristic look. The regularity of the shapes and clear designs make the Dwarves appear rugged and utilitarian without looking like scavengers. 

Getting ahead 

Dwarven heads are fairly well defined, and fans can see a wide variety of luxuriously braided beards scattered throughout the army. Female Dwarves carry through some of this visual language in their hairstyle, with some sporting braids that mirror their male counterparts.  

A number of Dwarven models sport a helmet with a stylized spectacle guard covering their eyes and nose. The most unique element of these masks is the jumble of tubes extending down to the wearer’s chest. These tubes were designed to remind us of a Dwarf’s beard, without exposing their actual facial hair to the hazards of combat. 

Other models, such as Thunder Support, wear helmets designed by welding masks. This simple design reflects the Dwarves no nonsense approach: these helmets are an indusrial tool that’s been adapted into a weapon of war without unnecessary frills. 

This is a common motif in Dwarf gear, which takes hints from mining tools in a number of places. Ranging from the drills and pickaxes assigned to Miners to the gem-laden backpacks visible on the Thunder Support units, it’s clear that these Dwarves are used to working deep beneath the surface.

Design Motifs 

Dwarven armour is not entirely without decoration however, despite their practical mindset. Geometric patterns, particularly diamonds and V-shapes adorn the armour of a number of units. 

Particularly elite units may have runes and even stylized representations of Dwarves adorning their armour. While often simple, these designs add a lot of flavour and help us to envision a little more of the aesthetics of this very practical culture. 

Of course, some Dwarven symbols serve a more practical purpose, such as indicating a unit’s role in the Guilds’ forces. Five different sigils have been invented for use throughout the Guild forces.

  • Regulars within the army, such as Dwarf Warriors, often wear a clenched fist sigil.
  • Miners and other explorers wear a pickaxe sigil.
  • Assault units, such as Jetpack Warriors, wear a Winged Rune sigil.
  • Elite Dwarven Forces, such as Hammer Elites, wear helm sigils. 
  • Engineers are allowed to wear the venerated Hammer sigil

These details and motifs are present throughout the faction, tying together the diverse units so that Miners, Battle Tanks and Jetpack Warriors can all feel as though they belong together in the same faction. We’re proud of the results, which manage to feel unique but also distinctly Dwarven.


We hope this first faction spotlight has been illuminating. Our team at OPR has put a lot of effort into designing models, art, rules and lore for the Dwarf Guilds. We hope that they stand out as something interesting and unique while still satisfying those who just love the idea of dwarves in space. 

If you’re interested in getting these models for yourself, then there’s still time to sign up to the Patreon so you can access the last release for Dwarf Guilds.

Happy Wargaming!

– OPR Team

Support us on Patreon: patreon.com/onepagerules

Join our Community: DiscordFacebookTwitterReddit