One of the most enduring (and annoying, to many people) races in Tyria is the dredge. Known for their talent for mining, technology, and burrowing everywhere they aren’t supposed to. The dredge are one of the most consistently antagonistic races in Tyria, only known for allying with one faction once. They have a long history that begins underground with the dwarves.
Our first encounter with the dredge takes place in Sorrow’s Furnace, a large mining facility operated by the Stone Summit, a faction of dwarves that hated the good Deldrimor dwarves as well as all other races. The Stone Summit enslaved the dredge and forced them to work the mines. The player had the opportunity to help the enslaved dredge by gathering Enslavement Stones from fallen Stone Summit and bringing them to one of the dredge resistance leaders: a fellow named Molenin.
The other leader of the dredge slaves in Sorrow’s Furnace is Molachev, who gives the players scrolls of “rebellious rhetoric” to distribute to the dredge scattered throughout the facility. Sadly, the dredge are unsuccessful at stirring up mass revolt, so they turn to other avenues of escape.
Moleneaux is the representative of the dredge who have emerged in Cantha. When you read his quest description, you discover the rather shocking fact that the Dredge tunneled all the way to Cantha from Sorrow’s Furnace. That involves digging under what is now known as the Steamspur Mountains, under the seafloor beneath still-sunken Orr, and all the way under the Unending Ocean. It’s a miracle they didn’t bump into Zhaitan on the way over. Unfortunately, the dredge emerged in the Echovald Forest, a region full of hostile creatures as well as unfriendly Kurzicks. The player attempts to broker peace between dredge and humans, but the Kurzicks aren’t interested. In a couple more quests, the dredge drive of some wildlife and kill a rebel in their ranks with the help of the player. That rebel’s name, by the way? Maximole. Dredge love their mole names.
In Eye of the North, the player once again encounters Molenin in the Verdant Cascades. He says he and other dredge were moved there after adventures defeated the Stone Summit in Sorrow’s Furnace. It’s a typical dungeon quest, but it’s nice to see that Molenin has survived.
Once the Stone Summit dwarves eventually die out thanks to adventurers, the dredge are finally free. This brings us to the time period of Guild Wars 2, where the dredge have taken over the territories and technology that were once dwarven, harboring a strong hatred for dwarves even after all this time.
Norn players encounter the dredge in force in their personal story when choosing an order. The dredge are after Ogden Stonehealer, the last living dwarf, who lives with the Durmand Priory at their headquarters. Vyacheslav is the dredge leader and developer of a deadly weapon designed to destroy the entire Priory just to take down Ogden.
The dredge so hated the oppressive Stone Summit dwarves that they wish to destroy all dwarves, regardless of how much oppressing they actually did. It’s true that the enslavement of the dredge was an atrocity, but the dredge are all too willing to commit their own atrocities against anyone who stands in their way. While the dredge are generally hostile to all other races, there are two instances of them working with another faction.
The dwarven facility of Sorrow’s Furnace never disappeared, but was revived as the dredge dungeon of Sorrow’s Embrace. The Inquest collaborated with the dredge there, giving them superior technology so Kudu, the leader of the Inquest, could conduct dangerous research while protected by hordes of dredge.
After the player character and some members of Destiny’s Edge defeat Kudu, Sorrow’s Embrace falls into chaos as different factions struggle for control. The former dredge generals, led by Zadorojny, are attempting to summon a powerful to Destroyer, but the rebel Koptev helps the players against Zadorojny.
After the temporary cooperation with the Inquest, the dredge wouldn’t join any other factions until later, thanks to the evil queen of villain team-ups.
Scarlet Briar successfully brokered an alliance between the dredge and the Flame Legion of charr. The Molten Alliance, as it came to be called, was the longest-lasting of Scarlet’s villain mashups, and largely successful at integrating their technology and magic together.
The Molten Alliance did have some inevitable cultural conflicts. The dredge hold themselves in high esteem regardless of gender, but the Flame Legion are notoriously misogynistic.
It does make me wonder how that dynamic would have played out if the Molten Alliance had persisted long-term. Would the Flame Legion ended up subjugating the dredge into slaves again? Or would the dredge end up reforming some of the Flame Legion’s anti-female policies? My bet is that the Flame Legion would have tried to take the superior position in the Molten Alliance, and the dredge would have swiftly slaughtered them.
One of the dredge’s main characteristics is that they would rather die, or kill, than be slaves again. That still applies when they become slaves to themselves. In Frostgorge Sound, Rebel Isaak, aided by fellow rebels Alexsei and Constantine, is leading a revolution in Groznev Delve against the commissars who have essentially enslaved the dredge again.
Also in Groznev Delve, a dredge named Miner Voss seeks out players to test out their skills. It’s unusual that he desires an understanding of other races, even if just their fighting techniques. Seeing a dredge reach beyond their xenophobia is an interesting development. Maybe it’ll catch on.
All in all, the dredge are a proud race that will do anything to keep their freedom. Unfortunately for all the other races of the world, the dredge really will do anything, including killing others and destroying the environment for their own gain. Ordinarily I’d say they’re a race worth getting to know – but in this case it’s best done from a safe distance.