"One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep."
- – Boromir
"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."
- – James Baldwin
"You can leave your hat on."
- – Joe Cocker
The Uzkul-Dhrath-Zharr, as they refer to themselves, or Dawi-Zharr (Dwarfs of Fire) in Khazalid, are the Dwarfs' dark kin, who have been corrupted by the influence of Chaos. They were a Warhammer faction up until 5th edition, however, always some kind of step-child and did not have a proper standalone army book. Their background, rules and army list was relased in a series of articles in the White Dwarf, before it was eventually collected in a quasi army book, White Dwarf Presents: Chaos Dwarfs. Despite how awesome these guys are, they were ditched by GW because they weren't selling as much as vanilla Chaos, Orcs & Goblins or Elves were to newbie players. For ages they existed only as a dim fond memory to the veterans of the hobby; they did one new model set (the Hellcannon and its attending Chaos Dwarf crew) but little else. Lo and behold though, Forge World has flown to the rescue. You can buy some brilliant new Chaos Dwarf models and there were rules to use to play with them in Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos.
- 1 History
- 2 The Domain of the Dawi-Zharr
- 2.1 The Dark Lands
- 2.2 Dawi-Zharr Strongholds
- 3 Notable Characters
- 4 Forces of the Dawi-Zharr
- 5 Total War: WARHAMMER
- 6 See also
- 7 External Links
- 8 References
At the height of their empire, before the coming of Chaos, the Dwarfs spread far and wide across the Old World. Ever the diligent workers and miners, they followed the Worlds Edge Mountains north and dug their holds deep into the rock of the earth. Along the way, they reached a place they called Zorn-Uzkul, the Great Skull Land, after all the ancient bones (and especially skulls) scattered there. Though it was rich in minerals, most of them decided that this place was best left alone, but a few were so stubborn, even compared to their fellow Dwarfs, that they decided to live there, to prove that they could.
An ancient schism
These most northern holds kept close contact with their kin in the Worlds Edge Mountains as the Dwarf Empire grew, and the Dwarfs enjoyed an age of prosperity not seen before or since. With the coming of Chaos, the dominion of the Dwarfs over the Old World was about to dwindle. As devastating earthquakes, brought about by the careless machinations of the Slann magepriests, shattered the world, the Dwarfs closed themselves up in their mountain holds to weather out the storm, as it has always been their way. There were those amongst the Dwarfs, lead by their fiercest warrior god Grimnir, who argued that Chaos needed to be fought, not endured. And when Chaos was eventually driven back by the actions of the Dwarfs and their High Elf allies, the Dwarfs looked at their wounded domain and thought their northern cousins lost. Surely nothing could have survived the raw Chaos energies unleashed upon the northern wastes. Tragically, they were wrong. The Dwarfs of Zorn-Uzkul suffered greatly, and in their anguish they cried out to their western kin for support and their ancestor gods for salvation, but they did not perish.
Though the Dwarfs that chose to live in the blasted wastes were hardy, even they were not immune to the corrupting influence of Chaos, and they slowly changed over time. For many long years, they only barely survived, as they abandoned or were abandoned by their own ancestor gods, but eventually they found favor with Hashut, the bull-like Father of Darkness, learning the secrets of daemon-smithing in exchange for blood sacrifices. Soon their bodies showed signs of the growing corruption within their souls: their flesh turned grey, their eyes red and many of the Dawi-Zharr sported horns from their temples while their fangs turned into vicious tusks. Dwarfs have a natural suspicion for unchecked magic and tame the raw energy by binding it to their mighty runes. The Dawi-Zharr were relased from these traditionalist shackles and embraced the secrets about working terrible magic taught to them by their new patron god. Their Daemonsmiths soon learned to combine this arcane knowledge with their own mastery of binding magic and working marvels of engineering into blasphemous amalgams of machine and daemon.
The Dawi-Zharr may have survived the coming of Chaos, but their numbers were greatly diminished. From the Zorn-Uzkul they marched eastwards across the Zharrduk, the Plain of Zharr, to the Mountains of Mourn and the Sea of Dread in the south. These are the Dark Lands, the lands of fire, smoke and ash, and the Dawi-Zharr claim them as their domain. They were never a numerous people though, and the Blasted Wastes are home to many Greenskin and Ogre tribes. At the heart of the Dawi-Zharr empire they built their great city, Mingol-Zharr-Naggrund, the obsidian City of Fire and Desolation, in the Plain of Zharr. The Blasted Wastes are dotted with fortress-citadels, garrisons and watchtowers, from where the Dawi-Zharr venture forth to subjugate all living beings to work for them as an endless stream of slaves.
A twisted parody of Hearth & Oath
While only few would describe Dwarfs as a particularly friendly people, their unshakeable code of honour, respect for their ancestors and undeniable craftmanship and ingenuity should be considered admirable values and make them loyal to a fault. The present-day Dawi-Zharr are only a twisted mockery of these noble ideals, they are tyrannical and merciless, cold at heart and driven by a need to subjugate all the lesser races before them, while retaining their mastery of craftsmanship and industry, backed by their natural stubbornness. Where the human followers of Chaos are always driven by thoughtless slaughter and are inevitably doomed to fail in their rampant destruction, their forces spent, exhausted by infighting and stretched thin against too many foes at once, the Dawi-Zharr employ their ruthless determination and natural propensity for flawlessness for a slow but grinding dominion across the Dark Lands and beyond. Every Dwarf with a mind set on a goal is relentless in its pursuit, but a Dawi-Zharr will stop at nothing and will relinquish no cruelty to see it fulfilled.
Like the regular Dwarfs, their armies are composed of small, elite units, backed by powerful war machines, but Chaos Dwarfs employ Hashut's sorcery where their cousins instinctively distrust magic. Chaos Dwarf machines often have daemons bound inside, and their ammunition may be charged with dark alchemy. To round out the army, Chaos Dwarfs employ legions of slaves, especially Orcs and Goblins, both as meat-shields in battle and as an expendable workforce in the mines and forges. And yet, a group of six Norscans and a sorcerer led by a Chaos Champion can easily slaughter their way through one of their cities (Yet only because the writer of that story gave the Norscans EXBAWKSHUEG Plot Armor).
Unlike regular Dwarfs, they make use of terrible magical powers, gifts from their bull-god Hashut. However, because Dwarfs were never meant to use magic, its power slowly but inevitably turns their sorcerers to stone. At first, they regard these changes with pride, glorying in them as badges of honor celebrating their victory over the very forces of nature. As time goes by, though, they start to worry more and more about it. In-game, the rules mirror this: miscasting with a Chaos Dwarf requires a toughness check. At first, failure means gaining a permanent point of toughness for a wound lost, but as time goes by the side effects stop being cool.
The Chaos Dwarfs, while evil and all, are not really expansionist and have more than enough slaves as it is. They make their way economically by selling weapons and armour to the Norse and Warriors of Chaos in exchange for more slaves to top up their supply. From time to time, a Chaos Dwarf host will be assembled to leave the Dark Lands in search for a valuable treasure, specific sacrifices for their ever-hungry deity or simply more slaves, if the regular hunting grounds are exhausted. Alas, the Daemonsmiths like to test their newest creations against the defenses of the lesser races to optimise their catastrophic potential. They also got a Mesopotamian thing going for them.
At World's End
The cataclysmic events of the End Times obviously didn't exclude the Dawi-Zharr. Eventually Grimgor Ironhide led a mighty Waaagh! against the Chaos Dwarfs, toppling their cities and crushing their empire to dust, finishing what started when the Black Orcs revolted against their masters (according to the novels, Grimgor himself was a former Black Orc slave of the Chaos Dwarves making him Black-Orc-Spartacus).
Like most of the factions, Chaos Dwarfs are reborn in the Mortal Realms (although Forgeworld has recently squated the official models) under the trademark friendly name “Chaos Duardin”. The largest known contingent of these chorfs live in the realm of Aqshy in the Ashcloud Mountains, are back at worshipping a somehow-still-around-Hashut and use Realmstone in their armour. That's about all we know.
Apart from these descendants of the Legion of Azgorh, apparently there are more duardin worshipping Chaos in the Mortal Realms, e.g. as a part of the Iron Golems and Spire Tyrants warbands. As revealed in Wrath of the Everchosen, quite a number of these chaos duardin work for Archaon within the industrial district of the Varanspire. There is also a massive daemonic oil platform in the seas of Shyish called Zharr Vyxa causing grief for Nagash and the local tribe of Kraken-eater Mega-Gargants who besieged the fortress in the past, only to be pushed back by the dawi-zharr and their black armored Chaos Gargants.
The Domain of the Dawi-Zharr
Between the Worlds Edge Mountains in the west, the Mountains of Mourn in the east and the Sea of Dread in the south lie the Dark Lands, a barren wasteland of ash and dust, devoid of plants or sunlight, the air thick with volcanic smoke, and the Dawi-Zharr claim dominion over it. Most Chaos Dwarfs dwell within this godforsaken realm, but some clans have established exclaves in further regions, like Norsca and the Chaos Wastes. In other words, rather than living in not-Germany, not-South America or not-Egypt, the Chaos Dwarves have made not-Mordor their home. What they eat is a mystery as unlike Mordor there is no Nurn equivalent.
The Dark Lands
The Dark Lands are a vast area of nothingness, and not even a force as mighty as the Dawi-Zharr could ever hope to truly dominate it.
Zorn-Uzkul, the Great Skull Land
In the north, the High Pass from Kislev leads through the Worlds Edge Mountains into the Zorn-Uzkul, the Great Skull Land, where the ancestors of the Dawi-Zharr first settled. Here, the Road of Skulls to the Chaos Wastes leads through a great plateau littered with bones, many of them skulls of mighty beasts long perished, giving the forbidding area its name. The Dwarfs discovered rich deposits of ore in the ground, but most of them ultimately abandoned the obviously tainted region and returned west. Those who stayed and founded Uzkulak in the north or went on eastwards to the Mountains of Mourn were eventually corrupted by the increasing influence of Chaos and became the ancestors of the Dawi-Zharr. Today, Zorn-Uzkul is the northernmost part of the Chaos Dwarf empire, and to follow the Road of Skulls in the shadows of haunted Uzkulak is a very dangerous endeavor.
Zharrduk, the Plain of Zharr
When the waters of the River Ruin roar down the Falls of Doom from Zorn-Uzkul, they first enter the Plain of Zharr, a vast meteoric crater in the north-east of the Dark Lands and the heartland of the Dawi-Zharr empire. The earth is rich in minerals and precious resources, and the Chaos Dwarfs have turned the whole of Zharrduk into one gigantic industrial complex. The ground is riddled with pools of boiling oil and molten metal, rivers of steaming lava crisscross its broken crust, the sun is hidden behind a thick layer of smoke and ash; no living thing is to be found as far as the eye can see. At its center the Dawi-Zharr have erected Zharr-Naggrund, their great capital, and the plain of Zharr is littered with smaller outposts, workshops, foundries and forges. Unabating is the sound of mighty steam-driven forgehammers and the anguished cries of the tortured slaves throughout Zharrduk as the Dawi-Zharr mold their atrocious empire day and night.
The Blasted Wastes
The Blasted Wastes in the west of the Dark Lands, between the Worlds Edge Mountains and the Gates of Zharr, are a vast desert and sustain very little life. They are mostly home to nomadic Goblin tribes and other ravaging hordes, but they also house a great number of Black Orc tribes, most notably Grimgor Ironhide and his elite clan, Da Immortulz. Needless to say that the Chaos Dwarfs view the area mostly as hunting grounds for their slave pits.
The Howling Wastes
East of the road from Zharr-Naggrund to the Tower of Gorgoth lie the Howling Wastes. Where the Blasted Wastes are a sparse desert, the Howling Wastes are covered by an eternal mist, carrying thin voices and a wailing clamour of an forgotten age. The ground is mostly marshes and swamplands, and traversing it is almost guaranteed to get the unwary swallowed by the land, if not accompanied by an experienced guide.
The Desolation of Azgorh
Before the age of Chaos Dwarfs, the mighty volcano of Azgorh erupted with such a mighty crescendo that it split the mountain and rent the ground around it asunder. The ash cloud could be seen in distant Khemri and the elves in their Old World colonies registered the resulting earthquakes. The great upheaval reformed the landscape into an almost impenetrable labyrinth of razor sharp rocks and vents of toxic fumes, but it also unearthed a most precious mineral wealth, which a near infinite number of slaves now dig out of the rock in the mines around the Tower of Gorgoth.
Many are the fortress-citadels, garrisons and strongholds of the Dawi-Zharr empire. Most of them are found on the Plain of Zharr, some are more remote, but the greatest and most important one is Zharr-Naggrund, the gruesome capital of the Uzkul-Dhrath-Zharr.
Zharr-Naggrund, the City of Fire and Desolation
At the heart of the Plain of Zharr lies Mingol-Zharr-Naggrund, the great capital of the Dawi-Zharr empire. It is a gigantic ziggurat of black obisidian, bristled with armed towers and the chimneys of thousands of furnaces and forges. Incessant are the clouds of black smoke and ash vomited from the workings deep in the bowels of Zharr-Naggrund, where untold numbers of slaves toil unremittingly for their cruel masters. The lowest ranks of the Chaos Dwarf society live at the bottom of the ziggurat, whereas the higher echelons are found closer the top, where, at its pinnacle, lies the great Temple of Hashut. Huge gates are found at the four sides of each step of the great ziggurat, their battlements studded with great engines of destruction and guarded by a fearsome battalion of elite warriors. The northern gate allows in the River Ruin, re-routed through the city by the Dawi-Zharr to cool their forges and to siphon away the toxic industrial waste and the corpses of dead slaves through the southern gate. So heavy is the pollution from the city, that nothing can live in the River Ruin beyond it. Broad streets plated with gold and brass lead from the eastern and western gates throughout the Plain of Zharr to the Dark Lands and the Mountains of Mourn. Inside the citadel the Dawi-Zharr live and work in the perpetual twilight of their furnaces.
Uzkulak, the Place of the Skull
Uzkulak, the Place of the Skull, is the seat of the ancient Dwarf settlement in the Zorn-Uzkul, before the coming of Chaos. It is the northern most Dawi-Zharr stronghold and the most important slave port. Uzkulak sits at the southern branch of the Sea of Chaos, where the slave ships of the Dawi-Zharr sail forth to far away places to still Zharr-Naggrund's insatiable hunger for slaves. The Chaos Dwarfs have greatly expanded the vast underground tunnel connecting the Sea of Chaos with the River Ruin by the Falls of Doom and installed a sophisticated lock to allow ships to traverse it in both directions. Uzkulak is a strange and haunted place, even by Dawi-Zharr standards, and its shunned lower levels are forbidden grounds, except as punishment for oath-breakers and blasphemers.
The Tower of Gorgoth
The massive Tower of Gorgoth sits at the junction between the Blasted Wastes, the Howling Wastes and the Desolation of Azgorh. The tower itself stands on the plateau of a volcanic mountain range, harboring the greatest network of mines in the domain of the Dawi-Zharr. As the seams reach deep in the rock, over the centuries more and more slaves were needed to excavate the precious ore from the unyielding mountains. Over time, more and more slave trading clans have made base around the Tower of Gorgoth, which also serves to replenish the hordes of slave fighters in the Chaos Dwarf armies. Since the Tower of Gorgoth is quite remote from the Plain of Zharr and the might of Zharr-Naggrund, it is regularly attacked by Skaven, Greenskins or Ogres, who think it an easier target. However, the Tower of Gorgoth is manned by a sizeable garrison of Dawi-Zharr and the citadel has never fallen to the enemy. On the contrary, most assaults in the end only accomplish to swell the number of slaves in the endless mines beneath the Tower of Gorgoth.
The Gates of Zharr
Halfway between Zharr-Naggrund and the Tower of Gorgoth lie the Gates of Zharr, a massive archway of black stone and iron. Thousands of slaves in endless streams are forced through it every day, the shouts bellowed by their overseers harsher and the lashes of their whips even stronger in the shadows of the towers flanking the mighty testament of the Dawi-Zharrs' claim to the Dark Lands. Passing the Gates in neither direction would mean an end to the suffering for the poor souls, they are either herded towards the Tower of Gorgoth to spend the remainder of their lives, usually a short and painful one, in the mines beneath the volcano, or their destination is Zharr-Naggrund, where they will meet a much quicker end but under even greater agony. A warhost from Zharr-Naggrund to raid the lands beyong the Mad Dog Pass or Death Pass will also march below the Gates of Zharr, the rhythm of their beating drums and blaring horns mirrored by thousands of warriors beating their weapons on their armor, their standards held high, so the world shall know no respite from the wrath of the Uzkul-Dhrath-Zharr.
The Black Fortress
The eastern entry into the Dark Lands, south of the Mountains of Mourn, is guarded by the Black Fortress. In a land already blessed with a surplus of bleak desolation, the Black Fortress still stands out as place of hopelessness and grim determination. Unlike the Tower of Gorgoth, the Black Fortress does not oversee huge mining activities or large groups of the ever valued slaves, its purpose is purely militaristic and the deployment to the Legion of Azgorh is often viewed as a punishment and exile. In fact, the Black Fortress is home to the Infernal Guard, a warrior-cult for dishonoured Dawi-Zharr who have to redeem themselves in the eyes of their harsh society or find solace in death. Their names and past deeds are shorn away, as are their faces sealed shut behind hot-iron and bronze helmets.
Lord Astragoth, High Priest of Hashut
Astragoth is the oldest living Sorcerer-Prophet and was once the greatest of their kind. But now his power begins fo fade and his body bears the unmistakable marks of the long use of the terrible powers granted to him by Hashut. His legs, torso and arms have already petrified, and a decade ago he constructed a mechanical device which allows him to still move and continue to perform his perverted rituals. It was Astragoth who assembled the conclave of Sorcerer-Prophets to hear of Hashut's vision, foretelling them their eventual downfall if they would not amass more power by the might of their armies and the potency of their dark rituals. Although there is no nominal leader of the Chaos Dwarfs and their fate is steered by the cabal of Sorcerer-Prophets, like their western kin the Dawi-Zharr respect age and experience above all else, which makes Astragoth the most influential voice in the Temple of Hashut.
Drazhoath the Ashen, Lord of the Black Fortress
As a young Hellsmith, Drazhoath fell from grace with the cabal of Sorcerer-Prophets in Zharr-Naggrund and was sent into exile to the Black Fortress by Astragoth himself. Driven by his innate cunning and ruthless ambition, he quickly rose through the ranks and is now a wizard of considerable strength and mighty warrior in his own right. Drazhoath rules with an iron grip over the Legion of Azgorh, but the Black Fortress is a remote place and being its commander ultimately an impasse, so his gaze is always directed back at Zharr-Naggrund, where he dreams to return to triumphantly and claim his rightful position as one of the most powerful Sorcerer-Prophets. The power of his old rival Astragoth is waning and Drazhoath feels his time has come, so he is determined to make a name for himself through brutal campaigns and acquiring large hordes of new slaves to be used to buy him favour with influential members of the ruling caste at the Temple of Hashut.
Ghorth the Cruel and Zhatan the Black
Ghorth the Cruel is the most potent of all Dawi-Zharr Sorcerer-Prophets and it is said that the cries of his tortured victims are only drowned out by the evil laughter of Zhatan the Black, his trusted commander. Zhatan serves as Commander of the Tower of Zharr at the behest of Ghorth and has led many slaving raids against the humans and greenskins in the west, and every Goblin tribe between Zharrduk and Mount Grimfang has been subjugated.
"Yunno what they say, Tarka. Lucky at dice, unlucky at gettin' back to your own tent without 'aving a nasty accident."
- – Gorduz Backstabber, moments before a surprising turn of lucks
A legendary Hobgoblin chieftain, Gorduz already lives longer than most Hobgoblin Khans. This is party because he is naturally distrustful of his fellows, as any righteous Hobgoblin should be, but also unusually lucky, as the many hardened scars criss-crossing his bony shoulder humps can testify. So far he has not shown enough ambition for leading any of his slaves to a revolt to arouse distrust in his Chaos Dwarf superiors, which just further shows his cunning: Better to be a living slave master than a dead revolutionary.
Forces of the Dawi-Zharr
"Stick 'em wiv arrers', Stick 'em wiv knives, 'an swords, and spears. Stick 'em quick and stick 'em where it 'urts. But most of all, stick 'em when they's looking the other way."
- – Gorduz Backstabber, epitomizing what it means to be a Hobgoblin
The might of Zharr-Naggrund
Unlike the human and bestial followers of Chaos, the Dawi-Zharr rarely send full armies to the lands of the old world and beyond. Consequently, most common folk think them a myth, for only few can imagine that any of the proud and unyielding Dwarfs should have succumbed to the calling of the dark gods. Those who know better have come to fear the armies of Zharr-Naggrund, as they are a merciless foe on the battlefield. Survivors of battles against the Dawi-Zharr tell tales of clouds of ash and sheets of fire engulfing the screaming remains of fallen soldiers, of cloven-hoofed monsters rampaging through their helpless victims and the very ground opening under them through foul magic. Traumatized and driven insane by what they have vitnessed, they claim that it is better to die in battle than fall alive into the hands of the Chaos Dwarfs and their cruel torturers.
Although the Dawi-Zharr have fallen far from the common ideals with their western kin, they are not so far apart in warfare. The Dawi-Zharr favour the same build of large infantry blocks, their warriors clad in heavy plate and wielding axes and hammers. Chaos Dwarf troops wear tall hats, denoting their social status, and usually braid their black beards. Their armament and weaponry is of superior quality and they share their western kins' martial prowess. For ranged warfare the Chaos Dwarfs favour black powder weapons and field warriors equipped with fireglaives and the infamous hailshot blunderbuss, the weapon that drives fear in the hearts of the their opponents like none other. While all Chaos Dwarfs show physical manifestations of the corrupting influence of Hashut, some are blessed beyond developing horns and tusks and are utterly transformed into the hellish Bull Centaurs, a fate which is seen as a sign of high favour bestowed by Hashut. Bull Centaurs are charged with guarding the Temple of Hashut and act as brutal shock troops on the battlefield.
Chaos Dwarfs are a rare breed, even more so than the Dwarfs of the Karaz Ankor. To bolster their forces, the Dawi-Zharr employ large numbers of slave troops. The Dark Lands are an unforgiving place and spawn resilient fighters, all of which the Chaos Dwarfs are all too eager to subjugate into service. Most numerous among their slaves are Hobgoblins, a notoriously fiendish kind of greenskin, even considering that very low bar. Hobgoblins are distrusted and hated by all other greenskins and are totally reliant on the Chaos Dwarfs' protection, which makes them perfect fighters and overseers for the other slave troops. But the Dawi-Zharr are also known to press other, larger greenskins into their service, or even the occasional Ogre tribe. At some point their demand of able fighters for their armies and their frustration with the unreliability of the regular greenskin livestock led them to create the Black Orcs, an experiment that ultimately proved to be such a great success, it almost toppled the Dawi-Zharr empire. Only the treachery of the Hobgoblins saved the sons of Hashut from extinction, a deed which cemented the Hobgoblin's position at the highest slave tier for the Chaos Dwarfs and eternal outlaw among the greenskins.
The Dark Lands are roamed by greater dangers than greenskins and ogres, and many monsters and unnatural creatures are likewise caught and enslaved for the Dawi-Zharr armies. Among the most unique monsters bound to service by the Chaos Dwarfs are the Great Taurus and the Lammasu. Some believe the Great Taurus to be an incarnation of Hashut's divinity, while others claim they are actually Chaos Dwarfs with a particularly strong blessing with his gifts, similar to the Bull Centaurs. Whatever their nature, they are highly revered and sought after as mounts all the same by the most powerful of Sorcerer-Prophets. Whilst the Great Taurus is a fuming beast of pure rage and destruction, the Lammasu is a more enigmatic being with a keen mind, and some of the less reckless Sorcerer-Prophets prefer them as a mount over the rampaging might of a Great Taurus.
The Dawi-Zharr society is ruthlessly dominated by the cabal of Sorcerer-Prophets, who steer the fate of the Chaos Dwarf empire as the vessels of Hashut's devine will. Most of the few Sorcerer-Prophets are found in Zharr-Naggrund, but some are ruling over one of the small fortress-citadels and garrisons throughout the Dark Lands, however in most cases this is rather seen as banishment from the capital. Although the Sorcerer-Prophets, and by extent the Daemonsmiths, their disciples and aspiring mages-engineers, rule supreme and are often accompanying Chaos Dwarf warhosts to battle, Overlords and Castellans are dedicated commanders and heralds for the armies and serve purely for the conduct of wars, and also the eldest Bull Centaurs, Taur'ruks, hold authority in Chaos Dwarf armies. Out of necessity, the Dawi-Zharr even allow exceptionally gifted slaves, like Hobgoblin Khans, to hold commanding positions in their armies, although only with authority over other slaves obviously, and only up until the point where such a commanding slave has amassed anything remotely resembling something like a reputation. At this point, he will usually be ... relieved of his duty and replaced with a fresh aspirant, whose fate is likely going in a very similar direction.
While the troops in Dawi-Zharr armies are an admirable foe and can hold their own against any force on the battlefields of the old world and beyond, their truly terrifying power lies within their war machines, hellish abominations of daemonic sorcery melded with infernal engineering. The Chaos Dwarf arsenal is replete with a wide array of mortal artillery, from earth shaking cannonades over fire spewing flame throwers to dreadful steam-powered tanks. Often times these war machines are imbued with daemonic entities, as the Chaos Dwarfs still retain some form of the typical dwarven mistrust of unfettered magical energies and therefore learned how to bind them in their abominable creations. Where the Daemonsmiths work to further the coalescing of daemon and machine, some Sorcerer-Prophets sought to enslave directly even the malevolent beings from beyond the veil of reality, and they summoned and bound them with powerful magic, creating the K'Daai, half daemon and half raging fire. Unleashed upon the world, these mindless forces of destruction will stop at nothing from destroying anything in their path until their eldritch fiery being is consumed by their own burning wrath.
The Legion of Azgorh
The most up-to-date ruleset for Chaos Dwarfs, sadly, is the Legion of Azgorh found in Tamurkhan: Throne of Chaos, but it's fairly extensive and has some nifty units, so it can stand up on its own. Though the book itself suggests they work best when incorporated into a Warriors of Chaos army, used as part of the Chaos Great Hosts ruleset provided in the book, or used as allies.
The Legion of Azgorh is garrisoning the Black Fortress and represents a distinct sub-faction of Chaos Dwarfs. The mainstay and principal core troop of the army is the Infernal Guard, regular Chaos Dwarfs are only found in crewing the war machines. Infernal Guard are the Chaos Dwarf equivalent of Slayers, being Chaos Dwarfs who have suffered dishonor and seek to atone for it. To do this, they forsake their names and identities, strap mask-helmets of bronze and iron heated red-hot over their faces, and fight for the glory of Hashut. Unlike Slayers, the Infernal Guard is not a death sentence - in theory, anyway. They aren't frenzied fighters like Slayers, and an Infernal Guard who wins great renown has his mask formally removed and is discharged, his old shame forgotten. They go into battle sporting Blackshard Armour, a unique Chaos Dwarf-devised armour that is proof against flame. Infernal Guard should be considered midway between core and elite troops and have both higher strength as well as better armour than regular Chaos Dwarfs would have. Their default armament are hand weapons and shield for a solid infantry role, but they still have access to all the options you would expect for Chaos Dwarfs, including the ingenious fireglaives and hailshot blunderbusses. Infernal Ironsworn are the elite version of Infernal Guard with an improved profile and ensorcelled hand weapons.
Other famous elements of Chaos Dwarf armies can also be found in the Legion of Azgorh, first and foremost the formidable Bull Centaurs, giving the army a degree of mobility unachievable for regular Dwarf armies. The dreaded Chaos Dwarf artillery is also represented in the Legion of Azgorh: The Magma Cannon, Deathshrieker Rocket Launcher (replacing the classic Death Rocket) and the unique Iron Daemon War Engine, as well as the Dreadquake Mortar (replacing the classic Earthshaker cannon) and Hellcannon, familiar from the Warriors of Chaos army list.
As it is only a subfaction, the army list does not include Chaos Dwarf Overlords, but only Sorcerer-Prophets (Lords who use the Lores of Hashut, Fire, Death or Metal) as the highest commanders. They and Daemonsmiths (Heroes who use the Lores of Fire, Death or Metal) are both wizards and engineers, granting bonuses to your war machines and having a lot of special tricks and gear. Several twisted beasts are further added to the Chaos Dwarf armies: Daemonic bull-things of living magma called the K'daai, burning winged daemon-bulls known as Taurus, magic-eating monsters called Lammasu, and armor-plated Giants modified for use as living seige weapons.
Befitting for a Dawi Zharr army, all Chaos Dwarf units are fairly expensive, as they are to be considered rather rare. The Legion of Azgorh therefore has access to Hobgoblin slaves in the form of fleet-footed wolfriders, great mobs, even conniving Khans as Hero-grade characters. They are very cheap to act as the cannon-fodder they are treated as by the Chaos Dwarfs, and naturally their destruction does not cause panic in Chaos Dwarf units.
So far, the Chaos Dwarfs have not been added to the base game as a faction, though a group of Chaos Dwarfs serve as the artillery crew for the Hellcannon unit. No hats, but lots of sausage beards and some horns. They're also mentioned during the second quest battle for Grimgor Ironhide's Blood-Forged Armour -- some Northmen traded with them for goods, his armour included, and he wants to take it from them.
With the release of a trailer for the third game, the main factions will be the Daemons of Chaos, divided up into separate races for each of the four Dark Gods, Kislev and Cathay. The poor Dawi-Zharr have been overlooked yet again. Fortunately, the possibility of them as a DLC down the road seems certain due to the presence of an army book and the third game's map centering on the eastern part of the Warhammer world.
- Chaos Dwarfs Online, a repository for all things Chaos Dwarf.
- White Dwarf Presents: Chaos Dwarfs, by Rick Priestly & Robin Dews; Games Workshop, 1994; ISBN 978-1-87237-280-8
- Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos, by Alan Bligh; Games Workshop, 2011; ISBN 978-1-90796-465-7
|Playable Factions in Warhammer Fantasy Battle|
|Human Kingdoms:||The Empire of Man - Bretonnia|
|Elves:||High Elves - Dark Elves - Wood Elves|
|Dwarven:||Dwarfs - Chaos Dwarfs|
|Undead:||Tomb Kings - Vampire Counts|
|Heirs of the Old Ones:||Lizardmen|
|Greenskins||Orcs - Goblins|
|Servants of Chaos||Warriors of Chaos - Daemons of Chaos - Beastmen|