The theme of this blog is inspired by the Dredge race within the Guild Wars universe. Originally, the Dredge were mostly found in dungeons of the world. They are a mole-like people who are enslaved for their tunneling techniques, forced to dig away and mine for dwarf taskmasters. Over the course of the first Guild Wars, this race goes through some changes and growth. By the time you find them in Guild Wars 2, they are their own people and still mining away. They are not friendly folk and some early quests involve fighting them within the mines.
No Allegiance Owed
The offspring of a few desperate escapees from the Shiverpeaks who tunneled for hundreds of miles to reach their strange new home, these Dredge have no reason to feel any friendship toward humans or anyone else—they escaped slavery on their own, and plan to establish their race anew in the petrified woodlands.
-Guild Wars wiki
The interesting part about the Dredge up-rise is how transient the player races are to the forming of the new Dredge society. In the Eye of the North expansion, there is a friendly Dredge named Molenin who stands guard outside the entrance to Vloxen Excavations. You can go inside the Vloxen dungeon and fight the Stone Summit Dwarfs, setting some of the Dredge free, but the game does not take these small parts as important to the collective liberation of its molemen. Some of the Dredge you set free run off, while others seem to wander aimlessly around.
There are few places to find the Dredge in the first Guild Wars if one was to out Dredge hunting. The previously mentioned Vloxen’s Excavations features enslaved Dredge folk, as does the Stone Summit run Sorrow’s Furnace. These are the typical Dredge slaves and you can find friendly versions in the mines of these areas. Over in Cantha, within the Echovald Forest, lives the freed society of Dredge. These Dredge are not friendly and are given workmanlike names for the different enemy class types. For example, a hostile Dredge monk is a Dredge Gardener and a hostile Dredge Ranger is called a Dredge Gatherer. Within the Echovald Forest, the Dredge live near dirt mounds that are likely the signs of their tunneling skills.
The Canthan Dredge have their own leaders in various Boss NPCs found in the explorable areas. In these forest areas, I have run across a couple of the named Dredge bosses called Tarlok Evermind and Wagg Spiritspeak. It is tough to say whether there was an established naming convention for the Dredge yet or if their names are just a product of their specified class. Looking at the names Molenin, Tarlok and Wagg you have a mix of mole reference names, guttural sounds and warrior-society sounding first names. On the other hand, Ferndale features a Dredge boss named Maximole, so the naming convention again returns to the mole puns.
Names aside, it’s pretty clear that the Dredge are a race that is on their own path in the Guild Wars universe. Even the Tengu seem closer to the sort of race you may find hanging out in Lion’s Arch as a friendly visitor than you would the Dredge.
A Return to Sorrow
The dredge are an intelligent mole-like race found in the Shiverpeak Mountains. They view themselves as the true heirs of the dwarves and are involved in an ongoing conflict with the norn over territory.
-Guild Wars 2 wiki
Interestingly enough, the Dredge of Guild Wars 2 come to inhabit and basically take over the old evil dwarf stomping grounds. It is thought that Sorrow’s Furnace is now the Dredge capital city. If so, this brings in some interesting possibilities. Mostly, I’m curious to see if Sorrow’s Furnace will return as a neutral city or as a hostile area. The early dynamic event involving a fight against the Dredge are found in the Norn area of the map. Here, you run into a mine and try to push the Dredge out. It’s a simple war for resources as your reasoning and vidya-gaming impetus, but it’s also interesting to see within the event that the Dredge have begun constructing objects of more interest than dirt mounds. While the complexities of the Dredge’s handicraft have been found mostly within their tunnels, the dynamic event involves a boss on a wooden platform and desparate attempt to keep the Dredge from rebuilding a tower.
ArenaNet has released some artwork of sketches of Dredge towers and buildings. There are similarities to be found between the Dredge constructions and those found in Sorrow’s Furnace and Vloxen’s Excavation. The heir of Dwarves may mean that the Dredge adopted the Stone Summit construction techniques seeing as they fit their spelunking lifestyle and new homes.What has happened with the Canthan Dredge we probably will not learn of until the first Guild Wars 2 Expansion.
The Dredge’s Moletariat society offers a lot of possibilities for future use in Guild Wars 2. They could become a neutral race that the player can befriend. Their home of Sorrow’s Furnace could become a major battle area or a dungeon. Their fight with the Norn could escalate at higher levels or perhaps you can negotiate a settlement between the Norn and Dredge at some point. It may be obvious, but I am hoping for some friendly Dredge to be found within Guild Wars 2. I have a hard time killing former slaves just to get to some iron ore.
Long live the Moletariat! (Until one of those Dredge tower workers try to stab me with an axepick.)