Dwarfs (Warhammer Fantasy)
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. - Local homeless man
Revere the ancestors, obey your king, bear your arms with pride, fear no foe, hate the green skins, mistrust the Elf, and you can do no wrong. - Old Dwarf Saying
The Dwarfs (never "Dwarves", always "Dwarfs") of Warhammer Fantasy are the typical bearded mining alcoholic grumbling race you'd expect them to be (although in all fairness, Warhammer was the third ever setting to use that archetype after Tolkien invented it and Dungeons & Dragons was the first to
steal appropriate it). But Warhammer Dwarfs have a more elaborate culture than the preceding Dwarfs which were based on real life history and a generic template respectively.
Dwarfs are the Roman Empire of the setting in the sense that they were the original masters of the Old World AKA Warhammer Europe. Having a major Hold in every mountain, the Dwarfs easily repelled any invading race and traded with every friendly one. The language of humanity as well as the scientific progress of the setting all come from the Dwarfs (this is a large chunk of the reason why Fantasy players
sperg our get angry about words such as "codex" and "materium" when used in reference to Fantasy; there was no Latin, only Khazalid), and although they didn't have anything to do with the first banishing of Chaos they are responsible for the strength of the forces of Order repelling Chaos for most of the rest of the setting.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Prehistory (Golden Age before Chaos)
- 1.2 Chaos (Orphans)
- 1.3 Snorri Whitebeard
- 1.4 Gotrek Starbreaker
- 1.5 Morgrim Blackbeard
- 1.6 Skorri Morgrimsson
- 1.7 Logan Proudbeard
- 1.8 Kurgan Ironbeard
- 1.9 Finn Scourscowl
- 1.10 Elmador Finnson
- 1.11 Kendrak Gottrison
- 1.12 Alrik
- 1.13 Alriksson
- 1.14 Thorgrim Grudgebearer
- 1.15 Other Continuities
- 2 Technology and Magic
- 3 Grudges
- 4 Sex And Development
- 5 Politics
- 6 Khazalid
- 7 Religion
- 8 Characters
- 9 Regions And Factions
- 10 Armies
- 11 Interesting facts
- 12 See Also
NOTE: Many events are listed under different dates. Feel free to loudly grumble into your ale about it.
Prehistory (Golden Age before Chaos)
In the beginning of the Warhammer World (named "Mallus" unofficially for its solid core, because "The Warhammer World" is a rather uncreative name for a planet) a race of beings from another place and/or time called the Old Ones descended on a primitive world (which as of the End Times was revealed to already have Isha, Asuryan, Kurnous, and Ereth Khial among unknown other Elf gods on it thanks to them surviving the end of the preceding universe). The Old Ones discovered there were primitive races on the verge of sapience, and began experimenting on them to create a race capable of defeating Chaos. To achieve this end they created the Lizardmen as assistants and built the Warp Gates to draw magic and use as tools (accidentally drawing the very attention of Chaos they were trying to avoid). They first made the races civilized and planted the seeds of their culture, placed them in an environment perfectly formed to aid their development, and put them in proximity to fight Chaos.
First uplifted were the Elves, gifted in magic and longevity. But the Elves were too frail, too corruptible. Chaos could tug at their emotions and draw them into conflict with themselves, lure them to its side with promises of power and pride, and were loyal to themselves before their race and their race before anything else.
So the Old Ones took the Dwarfs and uplifted them, tweaking the formula to still have long life but making the Dwarfs entirely unable to be corrupted by Chaos (in theory because it didn't work in practice) by making their bodies resist magic and giving them personalities that Chaos could not twist. While Elves are arrogant and act on emotion, Dwarfs are prideful but act on duty before all else. Inherent loyalty to each other prevents them from being manipulated into infighting easily, but the Dwarfs have a cultural emphasis on Oaths and pursuit of gold which allows them to deal with other races fairly. Refusal to allow insult and sleight lie unavenged make them more than willing to fight any threat, although Dwarfs lack the desire for war and bloodlust that lay deep in the hearts the Elves. Dwarfs were able to improve on the superior techniques of creating objects with their obsessive nature and a race-wide perfect photographic memory. Sadly, the Old Ones rejected the Dwarfs due to their easily predictable nature and the inability to use magic being a disadvantage more than a strength. So the Old Ones moved on, creating the human race next then the Halflings, Giants, and finally Ogres with miscellaneous races inbetween.
Dwarfs remember their history differently however. They claim to have been born from the stone of the first mountains, a story that doesn't involve Elves or Lizardmen or any other race. They believe the first Dwarfs to be their gods, the Ancestor Gods. Valaya was the first queen, who invented almost all aspects of Dwarf culture. Her husbands were Grungni and Grimnir, with Grungni taking the language his wife created and inventing the ability to forge them into objects using specific rituals to trap magic inside without the corruption or destruction inherent to magic. Grimnir on the other hand became a war god, destroying the enemies of the Dwarfs. In reality, these three were only the leaders of the first Dwarfs that were given gifts by the Old Ones, guided by the hands of the mysterious beings (its not clear if seen or unseen, although since the Slann directly taught magic to the Elves its possibly the first three royals were guided by the Old Ones themselves). The three did indeed become gods, possibly through the Old Ones or possibly through other means. Dwarfs claim that Valaya invented all aspects of Dwarf culture from Grudge-keeping to brewing to the language of the Dwarfs (called "Khazalid"), while the lore that isn't told through the Dwarf perspective claims these were the gifts of the Old Ones meaning that Valaya likely just spread the knowledge and as a goddess was the patron rather than was the inventor. What is true is that Valaya was the one who established the primary Dwarf Holds (called "Karaks" or Fortress) including Karaz-a-Karak which became her holy city and the capital of the Dwarf race, although she left her sons in charge of each Karak and Dwarfs consider said sons as the first ruler of each.
By Dwarf reckoning the first stone gave birth to the three, then the three created the others from it; thus making the three the "parents" of all Dwarfs. But Valaya gave birth to children of both of her husbands, and the lineage of many Dwarfs can be traced directly to them which lends them legitimacy and credence in society, which is why the same lore can have a Dwarf say they are all sons of Valaya while their king is considered a direct son of Valaya.
Grungni one day made a prophesy that a great disaster would befall the Dwarfs. Valaya and him created a special rune, her own rune, that protected from magic and Chaos while Grimnir prepared for a great war by slaying the monsters already in the world including "Urmskaladrak" AKA the father of all Dragons (according to the Elves, this dragon was a benevolent being killed by one of their own gods who's body formed Ulthuan meaning which story is true is unknown).
When the Warp Gates collapsed into portals to the Warp and the Old Ones vanished, Valaya made a home in Karaz-a-Karak and blessed the first two great pillars within. Both Dwarfs and Elves in Warhammer mark this time as the start of recorded history, with the exact Dwarf calendar beginning in -5500 according to the calendar of the humans of the setting (so the Dwarf 4493 is the human year 0).
One hundred and two years later Grungni created the Throne Of Power which is the property of the High King of the Dwarfs, giving it to his son Snorri Whitebeard. Grimnir met the Elf Aenarion during his travels as an explorer and the two races began diplomacy as the only other civilized people they had encountered (Dwarfs had met the humans of Nehekhara, but the relations were not exactly friendly and the not-Egyptians were fairly primitive compared to the Dwarfs at the time).
One year after that, Grimnir marched into the Chaos Wastes to defeat the Daemons and human Chaos-worshipers and wound up alone in a fortress inside the Warp after closing the Chaos Gate that allowed Daemons to walk straight into the material plane, where he fought the united forces of Chaos for the rest of time. Valaya hid in a forgotten Vault called Valaya's Gate where she could pool her magic and create a magical device to brings Dwarfs back to a golden age if they ever faltered. Grungni's fate is unknown, although he didn't die.
In the absence of the mother and fathers Snorri became the supreme leader of his siblings, the Dwarf kings. After the sacrifice of Aenarion and the construction of the Vortex by the Elves, Chaos had subsided a great deal and the races began to explore the world again. In the year 404, Aenarion's son Malekith contacted Snorri and spent time with their race, learning a great deal about them and sending messages about the amiable race he had discovered back to the homeland. The two destroyed the last remaining armies from the first invasion of Chaos and settled the world, Elves creating colonies and Dwarfs new Karaks and even the odd above-ground settlements. Trade between the two created a new golden age vastly different than what came before, with Dwarfs refining their magical runes with the aid of the Elf masters of magic while the Elves learned the secrets of engineering.
Sometime between year 500 and 600 the Dwarfs of a Hold called Zorn Uzkul swore itself to the Chaos entity Hashut and became Chaos Dwarfs (Dwarfs cannot be corrupted against their will, but the Old Ones hadn't predicted willingly falling to what has little to offer), called "Uzkul-Dhrazh-Zharr" or just "Dawi Zharr". Chaos Dwarfs became Wizards by forcing magic into their bodies via runes, but thanks to the magic-resisting nature of the Dwarfs the Chaos Dwarf Wizards slowly turn to stone. Knowledge of how it happened and who exactly Hashut is are lost even to the Chaos Dwarfs themselves, with all that is known for sure being that they felt abandoned by the trinity gods after Chaos isolated them from the rest of the race. Hashut may be an ancestor god, but he could also merely be a Daemon using the Chaos Dwarfs to increase his own power. Either way the knowledge of the Chaos Dwarfs is ignored by most of the rest of the Dwarfs as they are generally unwilling to admit to anything that diminishes them.
In 1684 the second Phoenix King Bel Shanaar visited Karaz-a-Karak, swearing an Oath of eternal friendship with the elderly Snorri. At some point Elf artisans worked on the ceiling of the great hall of Karaz-a-Karak, which had since grown to house nine hundred and ninety two pillars added to Valaya's first two with each belonging to a Dwarf clan upon which each year their history is chronicled. The Elves covered the roof of the Hold in sapphires that glimmer and glow, showing the constellations in the sky above the mountain.
Snorri passed the position of High King to his son Gotrek, as well as the Throne Of Power.
In 1654, not long after Malekith began the great civil war between the Elves, letting his mother Morathi twist him and the more wicked of the Elves to become Dark Elves, Malekith killed Bel Shanaar. Dwarfs heard little of the war and barely understood it as knowledge of the Chaos Dwarfs were not yet commonplace and those who were aware chocked it up to Chaos rather than inherent wickedness or anyone having any natural reason for kinslayin and Oathbreaking. The war went on for many years under Phoenix King Caledor I, with the Dwarfs being understanding of the weakened and financially strained Elves and producing more weapons and armor for them.
Elves and Dwarfs have contrasting personalities and some had managed to earn enmity between them even if the races as a whole were still beloved allies and friends. Elves are arrogant and sarcastic, Dwarfs are boisterous and rude, and this harmed the politics of the two when the races spent time in constant contact. The Grudge Of Drong was an incident in 2493 when a highly traditionalist and highly racist Dwarf clan called Kazad Drong began a war with a far more open (and wealthy) Dwarf clan in Krag Bryn as well as their Elf allies. At the end of a very bitter war both Holds turned against the Elves who had marched to war in defense of their trade partners and all three (far more for the Dwarfs) suffering grievous losses as a result. The rest of the Dwarfs refused to help, leaving the Elves bitter at the betrayal and the two clans of Dwarfs fuming over the loss of their armies. In the same year, a Hold called Karak Zorn established in the mountains south if Nehekhara is destroyed by Lizardmen.
In 2488 Dwarf caravans were found destroyed by Elf arrows. The Dwarfs immediately slaughtered the nearest Elf settlement. This set the stage for what was to come.
In the year 2518 when the now-evil Malekith used his knowledge of the Dwarf race to manipulate Elves and Dwarfs into being enemies forever. His Dark Elves dressed as the High Elves and attacked Dwarf caravans. Gotrek had difficulty believing the allies of the Dwarfs could ever do such a thing and sent his emissaries for an explanation from the current Phoenix King Caledor II, son of Caledor I. Unlike his father Caledor II was arrogant to a ridiculous degree, and refused to even meet with the "inferior race". Angered by this behavior, Gotrek changed his demand from an explanation to the gold value that would result in forgiveness according to the Dwarf tradition of Grudges. Caledor II responded by shaving the beard of the ambassador, which is the worse thing that can befall a Dwarf short of betraying his Clan and king, and sent him back to them. He took the Slayer Oath in shame and Gotrek declared war on the Elves. This came to be known as the War Of The Beard/War Of Vengeance (former to the Elves, latter to the Dwarfs). Due to the shame of the friendship Snorri Whitebeard swore going so wrong, he became unable to leave the world and lived on as an immortal being called Grombrindal AKA The White Dwarf.
The war was devastating for both sides. The Dwarfs destroyed most of the High Elf colonies that had nothing to do with the conflict, the High Elves wiped out quite a few Holds and the High Elves gave into the savage side that had previously only been seen in the Dark Elves when they began desecrating religious sites and poisoning populations in acts of total war. Both sides were devastated, pooling their resources from fighting Chaos and their evil kin into destroying each other. In 2519 Snorri Halfhand, Gotrek's son, dueled Caledor II and was killed. In 2525 Snorri is avenged by his cousin Morgrim the Elf Prince Imladrik in the Battle Of Oeragor. In 2545 Morgrim burns down Athel Maraya.
In 3003 the Dwarfs attacked Tor Alessi in the Battle Of The Three Towers where Gotrek and Caledor II dueled. Caledor's head was cut off and the Dwarfs captured the Phoenix Crown, forged by all of their kingdoms for Aenarion and a holy object of supreme importance, which resulted in the Grudge that started the war being avenged (but not the MANY that had occurred during it). The Dwarfs retreated back into their Holds and dared the Elves to attack, and during preparations for that the Dark Elves attacked Ulthuan. The Elves immediately retreated back, accepting the war as a defeat, and scrambled to save their homeland. They demanded the surviving colonists to return to Ulthuan, but they had heard the primal call of the magical woods of Athel Loren and refused, becoming Wood Elves instead.
The end of the war marked the end of the golden age of the Dwarfs, as their armies were devastated and much of their lands lost. But the worst was yet to come.
The Time Of Woes began only twenty years later. The Slann of the Lizardmen attempted to reshape the geography of the world in order to follow more closely the plans of the Old Ones, and the resulting earthquakes did more damage to the Dwarf civilization than anything else in their history. Nothing is recorded of this time, even in the Book Of Grudges. All Holds were at least partially damaged, while the gigantic underground highway that connected all Dwarf territory called the Underway was blocked with rubble, water, magma, and a gigantic horde of greenskins as well as the newly discovered Chaos ratman race called Skaven. The Goblin Wars began at this time. Karak Ungor fell first, conquered by Night Goblins and renamed Red Eye Mountain. The Blacktash, Hit-hammer, and Fire-brand Clans are entirely wiped out.
Only one year later Karak Varn fell to Night Goblins and Skaven after partially flooding from earthquakes. The year after that the mines of Ekrund were overrun by Orcs and the Mad Dog Pass watchtowers were taken by a horde of greenskins including Night Goblins from the east. Karak Izor only survived due to reinforcements from Clan Kamerad including steamroller warmachines. In 3066 Gunbad, the richest mines the Dwarfs had and the only source of Brightstone, fell to Night Goblins and Gadron Holheart, greatest Dwarf jeweler, died in the battle. By 3131 all Dwarf Holds east of the World's Edge Mountains are abandoned. In 3136 greenskins began the Silver Road Wars and twenty years later captured Mount Silverspear which was renamed Mount Grimfang after the warboss that took it.
Gotrek's tragically disastrous reign ended some time prior to 3268 when Morgrim Blackbeard became his successor as High King and inherited the Throne Of Power.
In 3243 Thunder Mountain erupted, forcing an army of Trolls and greenskins into Dwarf lands. Soon after Mogrim began the Troll Wars to retake territory around Karaz-a-Karak after the fall of the villages of Valhorn and Budrikhorn. He managed to recapture minor settlements across his territory and more importantly was able to retake the tombs of Dwarfen ancestors to restore and reseal them.
In 3248 Morgrim continued south with his army to reclaim Mad Dog Pass while Logazor Brightaxe leads an army east to recapture Mount Gunbad but is soon forced out. Dwarfs attempt to reclaim Mount Silverspear but are repulsed and destroy a greenskin army marching on Karaz-a-Karak instead.
In 3292 Karak Izor and Clan Kamerad sign a trade deal of 2k tons of iron for 1k tons of copper.
In 3338 the Runesmith Kadrin Redmane retook Karak Varn from the Skaven and discovered Gromril, causing a massive resettlement of the Hold. Redmane was killed in 3387 by an Orc ambush near the Black Water coast, and according to the story he threw his famous runed hammer into the water to prevent it from falling into Orcish hands; his descendant, the Hammerer Durgrim Redmane, disputes the story and still possesses the hammer to prove his claim.
In 3392 Prince Gumli of Clan Kamerad and Princess Dertain are betrothed to celebrate 100 years of trade. Upon seeing her, he describes her as having "the face of a troll chewing a rock" and breaks off the marriage, keeping the dowry for "the wrongs that our eyes had to endure".
In 3397 Karak Varn was retaken by greenskins.
At some point prior to 3518 Skorri succeeded his father Morgrim. His son Prince Furgil is killed trying to reclaim Karak Ungor from Skaven.
In 3548 Skorri lead a massive Dwarf army to retake Karak Ungor in a battle called The Battle Of A Thousand Woes, but were driven back to Karaz-a-Karak and Skorri died soon after.
The date Logan took the throne isn't recorded like his three predecessors, but occurred after 3548 with the death of his predecessor.
On 3773 Night Goblins laid siege to Karak Azgal but were driven back, causing them to invade Karak Azul instead where they managed to take part of it. Only in 3783 did the forces of Karal Azul manage to expel them completely. Aid from Clan Kamerad is instrumental in the victory.
In 3803 a dragon named Skaladrak Incarnadine (AKA not-Smaug) destroyed mines near Karak Kadrin.
In 3822 Miners of Karak Eight Peaks tunneled into a Skaven tunnel by mistake, discovering for the first time how ridiculously expansive the Skaven empire is.
In 3873 Baragor became the first Slayer King of Karak Kadrin. Unable to seek death like a proper Slayer due to his responsibility to his people, he dedicated the primary Shrine of Grimnir instead and made Karak Kadrin the center of Slayer culture. He took on the name Ungrim to reflect his duty as Slayer King.
In 4010 Karak Eight Peaks fell due to daily attacks from enemies. Poisoned gas drive the Dwarfs into a retreat from Peak to Peak until King Lunn ordered his people to seal the tombs of the Eight Peak ancestors using impenetrable runes and lead his people into a battle to make their way out and make an exodus away from their home, promising to return and cleans the depths.
In 4054 Karak Azgal was destroyed by Orcs, which were then destroyed by a Dragon. The survivors of the greenskins attacked Karak Drazh then renamed it Black Crag while the Night Goblins over the course of several years took the lands between the Mad Dog Pass and the Fire Mountains, leaving only Karak Azul in Dwarf hands. The massive amount of Dwarf refugees from fallen Holds across the mountains kept Karal Azul strong. Karak Izril is also destroyed.
In 4143 Orcs lead by Ugrok Beardburner attacked Karaz-a-Karak, destroying many Dwarf settlements and capturing High King Logan Proudbeard himself which broke his spirit. Gozarin Silverhorn lead the force that saved the High King and wiped out the Orcs near Black Water one year later.
In 4273 Dwarfs settle the Grey Mountains and begin trading with the tribals of the human race extensively for the first time.
In 4383 Clan Kamerad sent an expedition lead by their greatest warrior Daled Stormbreaker to reclaim the treasures of Karak Azgal. They are killed by the Dragon Graug The Terrible. In 4473 Karak Izor finally returned their steamrollers, in poor condition resulting in an ending of trade between the two.
Kurgan took over as High King for Proudbeard some time around 4500, and in 4508 was ambushed and captured by Orcs. Sigmar Unberogen, head of the Unberogen tribe of humans, fought the Orcs in his crusade against their race for killing his father. This began the (tsundere) respect for humanity by the Dwarfs. Sigmar is gifted with Ghal Maraz, a magic runed warhammer (which gives the setting its name and primary symbol) by Kurgan. Sigmar forms the Empire (the German Holy Roman Empire of the setting). Orcs soon laid siege to the Holds resulting in Kurgan sending Alaric The Mad to request the aid of the humans in repelling them.
In 4511 at Thane Barin's wedding he insulted Thane Godrik's aunt Brodrika resulting in a Grudge.
In 4522 Kurgan and Sigmar lead a force of their people in the Battle Of Black Fire Pass, finishing off the massive Orc presence in the region. The Empire is rewarded when Alaric forges the Runefangs.
In 4780 Miners discover the Dragon Mordrak has nested at Karak Azul.
In 4902 Dwarfs discovered Athel Loren and the Wood Elves. It...didn't go well for the Dwarfs, as the Wood Elves are batshit insane xenophobes.
In 5113 Karak Vrag fell, greatly reducing the Dwarf power of the east in the Mountains Of Mourn.
Scourscowl's date of ascendancy to the position of High King is as most others unrecorded.
In 5155 Dorin Heldour and Katalin Kandoom discover the lost Heartstone of Aldin Getgold in the Dragonback Mountains. In 5157 the pair explore the ruin of Karak Varn and discover then restore the fabled Axe Of Dail, gifting it to Scourscowl. In 5158 Heldour gave skinned hide of a Dragon named Fyrskar to Scourscowl in Karaz-a-Karak where it was enchanted with runes.
In 5180 Gromril is discovered west of Black Water by a Dwarf named Thori Gundrikson. Dwarfs spend several years mining almost all of the Gromril until Skaven destroy the mines.
In 5201 King Fodrin Axegirth insulted the King of Clan Kamerad by saying he is "petty minded", resulting in a break of communication that Axegirth insists he started.
In 5235 Heldour and Kandoom rescue Elmador and Oldor Finnson from Black Crag.
Elmador's date of ascension is unknown, and is only stated in the story of his rescue.
In 5415 Kragg the Grimm finishes the first rune, the Rune of Stone, that is taught to apprentice Runesmiths under his tutor Morek Furrowbrow. Kragg became the longest-lived and among the greatest Runesmiths of all time.
In 5555 Skalf Dragonslayer killed Graug The Terrible and became king of Karak Azgal. Night Goblins soon invade and the residents of the Hold are forced out, creating a town in the valley below.
In 5591 a feud between the Grimbul and Drakki clan begins due to two Thanes arguing over a bellows that was borrowed by grandfather Drakki. Grimbul is nicknamed "Everlate".
In 5593 Skaven spread a plague in Clan Kamerad that kills their king. The Skaven are wiped out by 5594.
In 5634 the Black Plague is unleashed by the Skaven, causing Dwarfs to seal their Holds. Skaven attack most Holds and don't capture any, although casualties are terrible for all Dwarfs.
In 5943 the Dragon Skaladrak Incarnadine rampages around Karak Kadrin.
As with all other High Kings the date of Kendral's rise isn't recorded. In 6235 he lead an attack on Gorbad Ironclaw's army and destroyed it as he attempted to retreat back to the Badlands.
In 6503 Dwarf armies allied with the Empire (attempt to) wipe out the Vampires of Sylvania, Dwarf cannons playing a major part of the fall of Templehof in the Battle Of Hunger Wood against Countess Emmanuelle.
Alrik took the throne sometime before 6728, when he was killed by the Goblin Warlord Gorkil Eyegouger in the Battle Of Black Falls when Alrik stabbed the Goblin fatally and Gorkil pulled him over the falls. Alrik's son Alriksson massacred the surviving Goblins.
In 6796 Chaos Warriors raid Dwarf lands, killing many.
Some time between the reign of Alrik and Alriksson, a young High Elf nobleman named Finubar toured the world. He met the humans of Bretonnia and was impressed with their culture, the humans of the Empire and was impressed with their development (most Elves were under the impression all humans were tribals that worshiped Chaos). He met the batshit insane Wood Elves and...gave up attempting to build a friendship quite quickly. Finally he met the Dwarfs, being the first non-Wood Elf to encounter them in many years. Finubar made a great deal of progress in repairing the bond between the two races, even going so far as to drink Dwarf ale and not offend them in doing so (likely because the Elf constitution would result in vomit rather than inebriation). When Finubar became Phoenix King he continued his work towards friendship with the Dwarfs and even allowed Dwarfs and humans the unprecedented offer to live in Ulthuan (specifically only in one city, Lothern, which was his birthplace and one of the most magnificent places in the world alongside Karaz-a-Karak).
Ascending to the throne of the High King in 6728, Alriksson focused on the Great War Against Chaos in defense of Magnus The Pious of the Empire.
In 6814 Clan Grodrik and Clan Barin end their feud with the marriage of Smakki Brightaxe and Dunhilda The Fair. In the same year Skaven pirates destroy the fleets of mankind and plunder the coasts until The Battle Of Bloodwater Sound in the Black Gulf where Barak Varr Ironclads destroy them.
Alriksson lead a massive army from Karaz-a-Karak to Kislev in 6825 and finished the Great War Against Chaos. All of his sons perish in the war while he himself suffers wounds that never heal. As the Dwarf Kings had been unDwarfishly stingy with their soldiers and gold during the war Alriksson felt that the Dwarfs were nearing a complete breakdown in centralized order and called for a Council Of Kings, which hadn't happened since the time of Gottrison. He announced that each of the twelve candidates to succeed him would have one year to do great deeds for the Dwarfs with the greatest among them taking the throne, which echoed what kings in ancient myths underwent to take the throne of High King. Two died in their journeys, and the greatest story of valor during the year was that of Ungrim Ironfist and his dead giant giant (as in "very fucking large giant"). But Alriksson's nephew Thorgrim who had vanished during he War, returned coincidentally during the ceremony having spent the years since his disappearance during the war invading Norsca itself, reforging ties of friendship with the Norse Dwarfs (the ambassadors of which were his traveling companions on the way home) as well as delving into lost Holds and returning sacred artifacts. Thorgrim announced it was only the beginning, that he would spend the rest of his life rebuilding the Dwarf empire and avenging all Grudges. He was made heir almost immediately, and Alriksson finally died of his hidden wounds not long after.
In 6827 Thorgrim took the position of High King from his uncle Alriksson and immediately set out to begin his Age Of Reckoning to avenge the Grudges of the Dwarfs and begin a new golden age like that of before the War Of Vengeance. He retook the Mad Dog Pass immediately.
In 6943 Grom the Paunch rampaged through the lands of the Dwarfs, defeating an army of Dwarfs at the Battle Of Irongate. He turned his attentions to the Empire afterwards. In the same year the Karaz-a-Karak Engineer's Guild Hall was destroyed by Burlok Damminson and Sven Hasselfriesian in a pressure vessel experiment.
In 6992 Clan Grimbul and Clan Drakki reconciled with the return of the bellows.
In 6996 Belegar Ironhammer managed to retake part of Karak Eight Peaks in the name of his ancestor King Lunn after initially setting forth to reclaim its treasures. Five years later he is granted reinforcements by other Holds after winning a battle called the Battle Of The Jaws. In The Battle Of The East Gate an army lead by Duregar fights through the Goblin-held Peaks and survives.
In 7003 Ungrim Ironfist defeats the warlord Gnashrak in The Battle Of Broken Leg Gulley.
In 7016 Storm Of Chaos begins. NOTE: this has an alternate ending below. Thorgrim orders the Dwarfs to unite and defend their Holds while Alrik Ranulfsson clears the Silver Road of Goblins after Grimgor Ironhide unites the Orcs and marches them to war elsewhere. Alrik reclaims Mount Gunbad and many treasures as well as settling many Grudges.
In 7026 Orcs lead by Gorfang Rotgut attack Karak Azul, imprisoning the family of King Kazador in Black Crag while his son Kazrik is shaven and left nailed to the throne.
In 7033 Ungrim Ironfist lead the armies of Karak Kadrin to defeat the Orcs united under a Warboss named Gnashrak Badtoof. Golgfag Maneater fights on the side of the Dwarfs in the beginning of the Battle Of Broken Leg Gully but switches sides when the greenskins offer more.
Some time after 7036 King Kazador manages to rescue his family and kill all Orcs responsible other than Gorfang himself.
In 7038 Ungrim captures Golgfag, then releasing him for the sport of hunting and killing him.
In 7042 greenskins attack Zhufbar in the Battle Of A Hundred Cannons. Both Thorgrim Grudgebearer and Ungrim Ironfist lead armies in its defense until the Ogres that had driven the greenskins towards the Dwarfs attack. The three armies unite with an Empire army from Nuln, resulting in the single greatest use of artillery in history.
In 7044 Mannfred von Carstein attacked the Dwarfs to capture the High Elf diplomat and princess of their race Aliathra, who is greatly loved by the Dwarfs. Heinrich Kemmler drives a massive force of greenskins to attack the combined Dwarf and High Elf armies before he raises the corpses of the three armies and leads his own into the fray. Aliathra is kidnapped. One year later Thorgrim refuses the demands of nobility to blame the Elves and instead offers aid in rescuing the princess. He leads a massive force to rescue Tyrion, secretly the father of Aliathra who had charged deep into Nagashizzar and retrieved the unconscious girl, but during the battle she is once again kidnapped. Tyrion blames the Dwarfs and demands they leave. Rather than attack them for the insult, Thorgrim leads his army to Karak Eight Peaks to retake the Hold instead.
For the rest of Thorgrim's reign (and the end of the world), see End Times.
- In Storm of Chaos Garagrim Ironfist, Ungrim's son, died in battle when a Chaos Giant fell on him, according to his plan for fulfilling the Slayer Oath of the Slayer Kings without betraying the position of king. Ungrim immediately takes a new Slayer Oath for the loss of his son making the loss pointless.
- In Total War: WARHAMMER during the Dwarf campaign Thorgrim Grudgebearer, Belegar Ironhammer, and Ungrim Ironfist defeated all united greenskin groups and reclaimed every Hold and the rest of Dwarf territory including the Hold in the Chaos Wastes to the north of Kislev, reclaimed and purged the Underway of his foes, cleared the master Dammaz Kron of all Grudges, and destroyed the forces of Chaos and Vampire Counts. In most other campaigns the Dwarf race is either wiped out or achieves some measure of success towards those goals.
- Blood Bowl as an alternate universe began when, during a battle between Dwarfs and Goblins in the Underway, the two sides discovered an ancient chest of incomparable power. Dwarfs claimed the chest and put a scholar on translating the mysterious books and scrolls inside. He went mad, but managed to write out the rules for a game which both sides agreed to play. Its not recorded who won, but it began the craze of Blood Bowl (AKA American Gridiron Football) which in time replaced war in that particular Warhammer world to the degree that even Chaos set aside destroying reality in favor of the game as Khorne trains potential players for Chaos, Slaanesh funds stadiums, Tzeentch gambles on the game, and Nurgle...watches it.
- The Ziggurat of Doom is when five Dwarfs that are never mentioned anywhere else made a final stand against a swarm of Goblins. This seemingly unimportant event is worth mention because it is the very first Warhammer lore ever written, making Dwarfs officially the first race (Goblins don't count because FUCK OFF YE FUCKIN SNOTSHITS!).
Technology and Magic
Dwarfs, as previously mentioned, cannot into magic. Their bodies resist it, their presence weakens and disrupts it, and the mental energy of Dwarfs can outright negate it as if it isn't even present (this is very comparable to a Blank in Warhammer 40000, although Blanks are described as being soulless and nightmarish on an emotional level to be around whereas Dwarfs simply force magic to sit down and shut the fuck up). While all Elves and certain members of other races can be born with the ability to see magic, and most individuals can feel it to some degree (usually as a feeling of unease or sense that something is different, like Athel Loren feeling primal and sentient), Dwarfs have absolutely no ability to sense magic in any form unless its literally lighting something up or it producing a physical effect. This is a benefit in that morale of Dwarf troops marching through an area simply grumble as they would anywhere else while the landscape would be causing humans to piss themselves in place and flee the moment they heard the wind blow.
Either as the invention of Valaya and Grungni or as a gift from the Old Ones, Dwarfs can smith the letters of their language in different ways into objects to produce magic. This magic is permanent or contains a set amount of charges, being completely transformed into something even safer than High Magic. These vary from the Rune Of Stone, a very basic Rune that is first taught to apprentices in the craft and only requires them to carve it right (which in human terms means perfect) to complex runes requiring a far more complex process. For example: on the last day of the third full moon of the year at midnight at the heart of a mountain the furnace is heated, the ore hammered before dawn and folded seven times while each time singing a song of forging, dipped in dragon blood and cooled in quicksilver from Karak Ungol while praising the ancestor god Haki, tempered in the water of Varn, sharpened with dragon horn. Then on the third moon of winter the Rune is carved on the finished surface, daubed with troll blood that was killed on Grungni's Day, the hilt then bound in dragon hide with the horns on the inside, hafted with gold from Azgal and bound with metal from Azul, given a pommel made from an Orc's fang covered in Grimnir's runes, blessed with ale on an altar of Valaya, and finished by killing a Troll at midnight which finishes the magic and activates the rune. All runes trap small amounts of magic, making a Dwarf letter to a friend technically infused with magic that races capable of seeing it can discern information beyond the text from. But magic runes trap a large amount of magic, forcing it to behave a specific way without any of its unpredictable or Chaos effects that an unlucky wizard can cause.
Runesmiths are what the Dwarfs who practice runelore are called, their craft handed down from the gods themselves. While not technically the priesthood, they are closely tied to the faiths and the shrines. Absolute perfection is required in their craft as all other aspects of Dwarf society rely on runes, from the simple miners requiring runes allowing them to break through harder rock on a timetable to the machinists who use the runes to give their creations extra security in continuing to function to kings who's runed crowns protect them from assassins.
There are rules to how many and what kind of runes may be placed on an object. Technically this was providing a lore explanation for the crunch rules for runes, back when Games Workshop Army Book designers gave a fuck.
- The Rule Of Three: No object may have more than three runes, as things from the material plane cannot take that much magic.
- The Rule Of Form: Runes are specific to the type of object. Runes for machines cannot be placed on armor, weapons on the mundane. How exactly the rune figures out the difference between a pickaxe used as a weapon and one used for work isn't clear...this may simply be a rule of Runesmithing and not how runes work.
- The Rule Of Pride: Duplicate choices of runes cannot be used in the same army. A Thane may have a Rune Of Stone for example, but then literally no other Dwarf may have a Rune Of Stone. The Thane can have a Rune Of Stone and a Rune Of Protection, allowing any other Dwarf to have a Rune Of Stone OR a Rune Of Protection but not both. This is almost certainly a rule for mechanics, with the lore explanation being that Runesmiths dislike repeating themselves or copying the work of others beyond their apprenticeships (note that since every single rune option is preexisting on top of the basic Dwarf idea of older being better and new being shit, there is a lore contradiction here).
- Jealous Runes: Master runes cannot be used more than once per army, and no more than one master rune can be on any object. They also cannot be combined together and refuse to work if there's more than one on the same battlefield. How this works for two opposing armies is unstated.
Note that unless otherwise stated, runes can be used more than once on the same object to amplify their effect.
Of course this doesn't mean every rune and symbol on an object is a magic rune carved by a Runesmith. Some runes are just good luck symbols, slogans, and decorations (but since all runes are magic, that doesn't necessarily mean that there's no effect at all...).
By themselves, the Elves invented complex seafaring. Humans invented bronze age technology, seen in the Tomb Kings. Ogres invented the basics of carts and wheels as well as husbandry. Orcs...well, they exist and usually figure out which end of sharp things to stick in other things.
But virtually every piece of true technology in the setting comes from Dwarfs. Elves received their crossbows and Bolt Throwers and mankind the secrets of gunpowder, gears, and steam from the Dawi.
Of course, the Dwarfs keep the best tech for themselves, like Gyrocopters and other fun toys. The basics were gifts to protect their allies from the forces of Chaos, things that Dwarfs have long since surpassed that would not be effective if turned against them.
Dwarfs mistrust anything new; something in their eyes must be a blueprint for multiple generations before a prototype is considered, so anything special only ever gets made in times of desperation by young and human-like (or completely fucking insane) Dwarf Engineers. As it is only the desperation after the Time Of Woes has seen such new devices given the 'okay' stamp, and even then only by more liberal "if it works, do it" and "if it kills Grobi and Urk, put some Slayers on it" leaders like Thorgrim and Ungrim.
Revolutionary devices include gigantic zeppelins carrying bombs, cannons, machine guns on a 360 degree swivel, and rockets which can ram other things called Thunderbarges. Even better, in Dreadfleet the Dwarfs have a gigantic aircraft carrier/submarine that launched Thunderbarges. Goblin-hewers are tank-like machines that throw volleys of axes, and Deathrollers are the unholy combination of motorcycle and steamroller.
Needless to say, this technological conservatism is perhaps the biggest weakness of the dwarfin army; though their head start over races in the technological field gave them a huge edge, with each generation gone past, technological advancement (at least amongst elves, humans and skaven) closes that gap due to the slow, near-stagnant pace that dwarfs continue to innovate and expand upon what they have. Just how much of an issue this actually is varies depending on the edition book. It's also one of the things that marks the Skaven out as their most hated antithesis; because Skaven embrace innovation and don't give so much of a whisker's twitch for the cost in lives of progress, they are erratically but rapidly catching up to or even surpassing dwarf work, at least in theoretical terms.
No, seriously. Skaven work is shoddily made and won't last for shit, not like dwarf work. But dwarfs have reliable steam power (and, it's implied, alcohol-burning/diesel engines) they do very little with - even the Empire makes use of Steam Tanks, very-well-designed rifled flintlocks, cannons, gyrocopters, and at least the basic principles of clockpunk bionic limbs. Skaven have mastered electricity, cartridge-based gun technology, regularly use bionics on a wide scale, make use of an (admittedly unpredictable) giant laser cannon on the battlefield, and commonly wield things like flamethrowers and gatling guns.
Dwarfs believe anything worth doing is worth doing right, and so that it lasts as long as possible. Dwarfs of Holds don't write often on paper, as that is the way of Humans and Elves. They inscribe on stone, or better, metal. The most important texts such as Grudges, lineage, contracts, and words of their faith are inscribed on gold (though all depictions of a Book of Grudges in art and models have paper pages). Which aside from being valuable does not rust or tarnish (which is why in real life we use gold for the records and plaques on the Voyager and Pioneer space craft).
Of course science and 100% reliable magic aren't the only Dwarf advantages, they still have the standard "better than anyone" smithing.
The most important resource to Dwarfs, beyond even ale, is the magical metal Gromril. Gromril is meteoric iron AKA "Starmetal". The typical fantasy trope is that meteoric iron is rare and magical, but in real life it was mundane; today we use telluric iron which is common and occurs naturally on Earth, but in the Bronze Age and earlier, before advanced techniques of mining and smelting, meteoric iron was a rare alternative and indeed was one of the hardest materials for weapons available at the time. Today it is a curiosity only, and a gimmick for mid price jewelry. That being said, Warhammer Gromril is different from real life meteoric iron in that Gromril originates in the Warp, crashing down in comets in the time of the Old Ones and even somewhat rarely in the modern day. The more ancient veins of Gromril are found deep below the planet surface and are relatively safe to mine if discovered, while recent fallen Gromril is found in dangerous places due to Warpstone always accompanying its fall. Of course any time a Skaven spy hears a Dwarf say Gromril, they hear Warpstone and they plan the ruin of yet another Hold.
Gromril is extremely important to Dwarfs and is almost never given to non-Dwarfs. Their most valuable currency is made from it due to its value far surpassing gold, and Gromril is a major component of major Runesmithing. It has little value to any other race other than as a trade good as nobody else can smith using it.
Gromril can be worked into three forms:
- Refined Gromril: Also called Mithril. Used for common items like coins and cheaper armor.
- Adamant: Only the Master Smiths know how to make this, and it is far superior metal for important items.
- Laihtero: Crystaline Gromril, mythical with properties largely unknown. It was able to contain a Chaos God in a sarcophagus.
Many people paint Gromril as bronze, but it is in fact silvery (hence why Eavy Metal paintjobs cover the more important Dwarfs like Hammerers in it). Dwarfs dislike wood and generally avoid using it when possible. The oldest of Dwarf objects are made of precious metals, while the newest are made of increasingly large amounts of the Elgi material.
The Warhammer Dwarfs' main distinguishing feature is the extreme fervor with which they pursue Oaths and Grudges. A Dwarf that breaks an Oath or does something otherwise shameful -- any Oath or offense they feel is unforgivable -- takes an Oath, gets his hair cut into a mohawk, and becomes a Slayer who seeks mighty monsters to kill until he finds one that manages to kill him, or else seeks Dwarfs in conflict to aid and hopefully die in battle.
Meanwhile, any Grudge that a Dwarf experiences is written in a Book of Grudges with one for every settlement and some even for individual Dwarfs or clans, and each entry will be answered for. Every 50 years the Dwarfs send representatives to Karaz-a-Karak on a holiday called "The Grudgement" where all Grudges that have been suffered and all Grudges that have been avenged are told to the rest of the assembled ambassadors which are then recorded in the master copy of the Dammaz Kron that is owned by the High King. The Great Book of Grudges is magical and no matter how many or few entries there are, it looks the same size (explaining why they can make a model of it) so only the High King is aware of how many there are yet unavenged and it is a large part of his responsibility to note which have been avenged while pursuing the others. Oh, and he's gotta record the new Grudges in his blood. So yeah, try not to get too pissed off because you're basically causing stigmata to the king.
Dwarfs don't necessarily need to kill to avenge a Grudge. Gold can be used if the Dwarf most in charge of the Grudge is willing to accept it. For example, at the start of the War Of Vengeance the Dwarfs were unaware of the concept of a civil war and thus assumed that when Elves dressed as High Elves attacked their caravans the Holds affected declared Grudges and demanded Elf blood be spilled. The High King at the time called for calm and sent a representative to ask the High Elves what happened, although the Phoenix King at the time had no respect at all for non-Elves and refused to meet with a "lesser race". So the demand was changed from explanation to gold, equal to what was lost. That earned the diplomat being shaved thus ruining his life as he had to take the Slayer Oath, and at this point the High King finally demanded blood. He earned it as well as gold when he beheaded the Phoenix King and took the Phoenix Crown, for which he struck the Grudge out of the Dammaz Kron.
Sex And Development
Dwarfs have very few females; lore from older editions states that one in every ten Dwarfs is female with late lore saying one in three, and political marriages are of far more importance than any emotional attachments. In early times, before Warhammer had much of an established setting (pre-3e), Citadel produced a few pre-slotta (as in "the base is part of the model) female Dwarf villagers and adventurers, although after that point only male Dwarfs saw any releases. The clan of a Dwarf bride recieves the bride's weight in gold upon marriage, but in order to marry her the groom must be able to wrap his beard around her waist twice creating a dynamic where plump women as relatives are good, skinny woman as desired brides good, and in reverse is considered unappealing and undesirable. Female Dwarfs braid their hair into plaits, which are their equivalent to a Dwarf man's beard. Females are rarely found in positions of power, with only the Queen Helgar Longplaits described in The Grudge Of Drong confirmed, with her entire rulership being plagued with accusations of illegitimacy due to gender. Women rarely, but more often do, end up as a king's advisor. The 6e Army Book also mentions a female Dwarf as a barmaid serving drinks to male workers and warriors and in Total Warhammer you can find "Dwarf Bride" and the superior "Daughter Of Valaya" companions to Characters.
Dwarfs have a coming of age ceremony marking the transition from childhood into adulthood, which we know absolutely nothing about because its one of the most well-guarded secrets of Dwarfs.
When a Dwarf's beard (or plaits) grow so long that they reach the ground, their settlement erupts in celebration over it. This makes them eligible to become a Longbeard (unknown if females have this as an option) although it is not a mandatory task as a narrator in a Dwarf Army Book mentions that he's old enough to join the Longbeards but remains with the Hammerers by his own choice.
- Dawi: Inter-Dwarf relations are the basis of comparison by which you can see Dwarfs at their best. If they don't hate one of your ancestors they are literally the single best allies you can have as they demonstrate a self-destructive degree of Oath fulfillment. But the other side of the same coin is single-minded pursuit of Oaths made unwisely, and of Grudges for even minor infractions. While some leaders such as Thorgrim and Gotrek Starbreaker are more willing to listen to reason or use alternative methods to consider an Oath fulfilled and Grudge settled, other such as the Ungrims and Alrik Ranulfsson are more intent on purging as many Grudges as soon as possible making war inevitable and bloody. In White Dwarf Warhammer comics, two Dwarf holds that have warred for centuries are all but depleted, with a full-scale WAAAGH of Night Goblins at their doors which, if they break through, threatens extinction for the entirety of both Clans. Unwilling to abandon the Grudge war even then, the armies suit the last of their non-combatants, including the last three women of one of the clans, in armor and charge into a last battle. When in a personal challenge the patriarchs of both clans argued with each blow about who's clan slighted who and realized neither had recorded the original Grudge; only those caused by it. Both clans set to make peace, but at the banquet of celebration Grimnir caused his statue to crush both patriarchs for the dishonor of not avenging Grudges regardless of whether or not they are remembered or even happened at all, resulting in both clans wiping each other completely out and the Goblins claiming two holds without effort. It should be noted however that the sin was in forgiveness, an abhorrent thing in Grudgelore when instead they could have both made some mutual sacrifice such as a gift to another Hold; a Grudge must be settled, though gold and Gromril is a substitute for blood. Dwarf politics are also marred by arrogance; even though all things must be recorded, not everything must be in living memory. Runes created with the Elves for example are known by most Runesmiths, but not the origin of the rune beyond the name of the Dwarf creator. This unwillingness to admit to things that make the race look lesser is a major frustration for man and Elves, not to mention each other.
- Dum: Chaos is abhorrent. It has never been anything but an enemy. The concepts Dwarfs hold dear are alien to it, and the threat it poses to the world is clear. Fuck Chaos.
- Gor: Dwarfs hate Beastmen. There has never been a recorded circumstance of the two working together, and they are inferior to Dwarfs.
- Dawi'zharr: Dwarfs have a Chaos counterpart, creatively called the Chaos Dwarfs, who were formed when they dug too far out into Chaos-infested land. They sell weaponry to those Chaos worshiping Vikings north of them and are insane Babylonians. Chaos Dwarfs have wizards and brute-force magic through their bodies, which turns them slowly to stone and radically alters their appearance. Other Dwarfs have no love for Chaos Dwarfs, and their official stance to pretend they don't exist, but have also have sworn an eternal grudge against all of them; in Gotrek & Felix, Dwarfs engage in the time-honored tradition of verbally bashing Elves, and the claim is made that the actions of the Druchii reflect all Elves. When Felix brings up Chaos Dwarfs, the Dwarfs simply glare at him with such ferocity he feels as much fear of his friends as he does Vampires and Daemons elsewhere in their adventures. A similar incident occurred, but with Teclis instead of Felix pointing out the Chaos Dwarfs. Only Teclis' restraint and the fact that Gotrek owed Teclis a life-debt prevented bloodshed. Chaos Dwarfs have strayed from the light of Valaya, Grungni, and Grimnir and are inferior for it.
- Daemons: Dwarfs hate Daemons;. There has never been a recorded circumstance of the two working together (with the exception of the Chaos Dwarves), and during the first Chaos invasion of the world, Grimnir ascended to godhood by establishing a one-man hold in the Warp to oppose them making them possibly the worst enemies of the Dwarfs. They are inferior to Dwarfs, regardless of what Chaos cultists say.
- Dumal: The Warriors Of Chaos are a reminder that Umgi are not fully trustworthy (don't bring up Chaos Dwarfs). Evil to the core, to be destroyed whenever encountered. Inferior to even the Elgi.
- Fimir: Dwarfs have almost no relationship with Fimir other than Norse Dwarfs, who are neutral to them. Most assume they are some variant of Troll and attack on sight, but due to a lack of any history between the two actual non-violent interaction can go any direction.
- Umgi: Humans are too short-lived to accomplish much or become proficient in anything, straddle the fence between proper Dwarf ways and Elf nonsense, and aren't completely trustworthy. But they are the closest race to Dwarfs, and they do try to be better than their nature allows, bless their shoddy little hearts.
- Bretonnia: Dwarfs are respectful of Bretonnians, although their Elvish influence and use of horses are things Dwarfs mistrust greatly and hold against them ("Proper Dawi only trust a pony"). Regardless, Dwarfs see Bretonnians as among the best of mankind due to their rigid gender roles, adherence to tradition, codes of conduct, martial strength, and mistrust of magic. Altogether, still inferior to Dwarfs.
- Empire: Dwarfs have a slightly better relationship with the Empire, as they have age-old oaths of friendship due to the efforts of Sigmar. They still consider humans inferior, but unlike Bretonnians, have deigned to share some of their secrets of smithing, stonecraft and the use of gunpowder with Germanic humanity. Inferior to Dwarfs, but in the manner of a child rather than a caveman.
- Elgi: Dwarfs and Elves used to be friends. After The Great Betrayal Dwarfs first learned from the Elves that other races are not consistently trustworthy. They blame the Time Of Woes mostly on Elves despite it being 2/3 earthquakes and greenskins/rat furries. The Grudge against the Elves was fulfilled with the killing of Caledor II and the taking of the Phoenix Crown, many minor Grudges remain and Dwarfs are far too happy to record "Elf" on a Grudge instead of "Wood Elf" or "Dark Elf". While the Dwarf word for Elf isn't an insult like the Dwarf word for human ("Umgak"=human made=poorly made), Elves are a byword for fickleness, subtlety, manipulation and treachery among Dwarfs. Of course they are inferior to Dwarfs, maybe even to Sigmar's Empire.
- High Elves: Dwarfs have no special name for High Elves, representing how the sins of any other group reflect them as well (don't bring up Chaos Dwarfs). But unlike the others, Dwarfs can still ally with them even if it is with a watchful eye.
- Elgi'drazh: Dwarfs HATE Dark Elves. While all Elves are part of the Great Betrayal, Malekith's dishonor to Snorri Whitebeard is unforgivable. They are inferior even to other Elves. FUCK THAT MOTHERFUCKER, FUCK 'IM.
- Wutelgi: Not an open enemy like Chaos and greenskins, but close. Always openly hostile, and attack without warning or discernable motive. Sometimes helpful randomly, cleaning poisoned wells before Dwarfs drink from them and wiping out Skaven marching on Holds. Insane assholes.
- Uzkular: Undeath is an unnatural state, and nothing good can come of it ("FUCK YE, DAWI GHOSTS DINNA COUNT!"). Dwarfs don't usually seek confrontation with the Undead, but the Dammaz Kron has enough pages to give them reason to.
- * Zangunaz: Dwarfs hate Vampires. The only contact between the two has been hostile and always began with the Vampires as the aggressor. Dwarf/Vampire history began when Neferata suddenly appeared and wiped out a Hold then reanimated all the Dwarfs as her slaves, a state they remain in. It hasn't gotten better since then with only one Vampire on record, Ulrika, having friendly interaction with them. Vampires also threaten the humans of the Empire. Inferior to Dwarfs as they cannot into engineering.
- * Uzkuli'gorl: Dwarfs are not fond of the Tomb Kings. In life they were a primitive and divided people as likely to trade as hunt Dwarfs for sport, in death they are more likely to undertake the latter. Unfortunately some Dwarfs saw the long-dead humans buried in massive tombs full of gold as an opportunity for profit, feeling that a dead human deserves none of the reverence of a dead Dawi. Now many bony Nehekharans seek to reclaim their lost gold, causing many Grudges as some Dwarfs are unaware that their heirlooms and sacred treasures are stolen property and are attacked, slaughtered, then taken as undead slaves or trophies. That being said, some (like Queen Khalida) and King Behedesh can find common goals with Dwarfs (like killing those fucking Vampires or greenskins). Still an inferior bronze age race, even if they've got style.
- Lizardmen: Gold-hoarding beasts, probably Chaos. Slaughtered many Dwarf expeditions. If the Dwarfs knew they caused the Time Of Woe, they would stop at nothing to destroy them. But as it is Dwarfs know very little of them and most of what they've done to the race remain unrecorded as no survivors returned to tell the Grudge.
- Greenskins: Literally worse than Chaos. If it came between killing all four Chaos Gods or killing a quarter of the greenskins in the world, most Dawi would pick the greenskins. The Grudges they caused are so numerous that it was decreed only genocide would strike them all out of the Dammaz Kron.
- * Grobi: Goblins. Worst of the worst.
- * Urks: Orcs. Also worst of the worst.
- * Gronti: Giants. Fuck Giants, they're Grobi pawns.
- Ogri: Ogres. Big dumb oafs, inferior in every way. Close to enemies of the Dwarfs because they usually are, but the rare odd Maneater can be trusted and sometimes even blends into Dwarf culture. Strange is the Ogre that suddenly decides its a Slayer, but is it worth losing the sight of him wrasslin' a Dragon by explaining it to him?
- Thaggoraki: Skaven. The other worst of the worst, stole all their technology from Dwarfs (not true, but they certainly do steal quite a bit) and to be killed on sight.
The language of the Dwarfs. Actually the single most elaborated on language in Warhammer (very extensively) despite the lore saying little is known of it due to Dwarfs (usually, looking at you here Bardin) not speaking it outside their own kind. Even beyond that, the language of the Dwarfs is highly complicated and relies more on background knowledge than literal translation; as such, a literal translation of a Dwarf's name may be "Alebelly Cragfist" as given to humans, with the name Gorogbolg Karazdrung translating to a Dwarf into "Highly respectable and Noble Dawi of considerable craft, wealth and means, whose clan elder once hammered through rock with his bare fists to save his clan from drowning, whilst simultaneously discovering a new, rich seam of gold."
Khazalid is written in runes, which as previously mentioned are magic and can be made even more magical by Runesmiths.
Dwarfs worship a trinity of gods. Valaya, Grungni, and Grimnir. They are referred to as the Ancestor-Gods, as they are believed to be the deities who created the dwarfs and taught them all they needed to know. They're fairly vanilla in concept, really. Ancestor gods also include the demigod children of the trinity, and any Dwarf of considerable enough importance to revere is added to the pantheon.
Old lore stated that after death all souls are consumed by Chaos or remain as hateful ghosts on the material plane other than a handful that benevolent gods save as their favored servants. Dwarfs believed ancestors reside in the stone of the earth. End Times retconned the former and seemingly supports the latter as in the final battle Nagash resurrected every Empire soldier who has died to march against Chaos, while the Dwarf race assembled in one gigantic army and were joined by the spirits of every Dwarf that ever lived in the final battle (absent were Gotrek, who took the mantle of Grimnir from the real Grimnir, and Valaya who the writers forgot existed after End Times: Nagash). As such it seems like Dwarfs were right, their souls live on in the ground.
Your generic patriarch-god; a stern, all-knowing, wise all-father, responsible for teaching dwarfs everything about runes, crafting, mining, smithing, building, whatever. His primary portfolio is mining and stoneworking, although crafting in general is also attributed to him.
Again a fairly bogstandard matriarch-goddess; a protector, healer and nurturer. Technically tied to the domains of all other Ancestor Gods because she created most Dwarf culture, written language, and established the first Holds, but is subordinate to the male gods for some reason. Kingly authority originates with Valaya, strangely making her closer comparatively to Zeus than Hera.
The dwarf god of war and honor, founder/inspiration (depends on your interpretation) of the Slayer cult. Attempted to close the northern Warp Gate by himself, somehow wound up in the Warp itself where he's fought a one-Dwarf war against the entirety of Chaos (probably alongside Kaldor Draigo and Oxyotl).
The Dwarf god of Death. Lived in the time of the trinity, and created the written version of their names as well as the concept of venerating your ancestors. His faith includes the 'Order Of Guardians, the Dwarf equivalent of Witch Hunters. Every Hold and most settlements, any place that has a place to honorably bury dead Dwarfs in fact, has a shrine or temple to him.
God of Engineering. Oldest child of Valaya with Grimnir, personally invented Bolt Throwers and Dwarf Catapults/Stone Throwers (which later became Grudge Throwers). Was Grimnir's companion on the way to close the Warp Gate, but Grimnir forced him to turn back and return home. All Engineers are basically priests of Morgrim, since his teachings are a code of conduct for the craft. Liberal Engineers are considered heretics (but not the kind you shoot, just the kind you shout at) by conservative Dwarfs for their loose interpretations of scripture.
God of smelting and metalworking. Oldest son of Grungni and Valaya. Smednir created the tools that Thungni and Grungni inscribed their rune magic on, and among the greatest creations of the trio of laborers is Ghal Maraz itself. Smednir's shrines and temples are basically just extensions of those of Grungni's, since the two are inseparable in theme.
God of Runesmithing. Youngest son of Grungni and Valaya. During the settling of the first Holds he descended into a mystical realm called "Ankor Byrn (Glittering Realm)" where he discovered the ability to forge his mother's language with magic to create runes, although it was his father who later turned the discovery into a science and art. Only descendants of Grungni like himself were capable of learning Runesmithing. All Runesmiths are basically priests of Thungni, like Morgrim's Engineers. Unlike all the other gods who are friendly with the faiths of the allies of the Dwarf race and enemies of those who are Dwarf enemies, Thungni's cult has an additional enemy; non-Dwarfs who try to learn or succeed at making rune magic. This includes human wizards.
High King, current leader of the Dwarf race. Both more liberal than past High Kings and more conservative than any of the modern ones; Thorgrim seeks to aggressively expand back into long-lost territory, and upon taking the throne declared it to be the "Age Of Reckoning" that marks the beginning of the climb back to a new golden age starting when Dwarfs avenge all Grudges. This has lead Dwarfs to see him the same way they see the kings of old. But Thorgrim is also aware of the current nature of the world, of how the backstabbing Elves are necessary allies even if you can't turn your back on them, of how the humans are not only a means of keeping Chaos in the north but also the most reliable ally the Dwarfs want, and how every threat from Skaven to Vampire must be tackled at once or the others will gain ground. How Grudges should not always be settled with blood when gold or Oath is available.
Current Slayer King of Karak Kadrin. Like his ancestors he is bound both to seek death in battle and remain as king of his Karak, which has since become a hub for Slayers. Ungrim, unlike his predecessors, is more Slayer than King and has aggressively fought against any foe he could from charging an army straight into the army of Queek Headtaker as he attempted to conquer Karak Eight Peaks to killing a dragon in single combat to killing what can only be described as a "giant giant" to pursuing a game of cat and mouse againse Golgfag Maneater. He wants to find his death as soon as possible to free his son from the burdern of the Slayer Kings.
The current greatest Runesmith alive. His homeland is Karak Azgal, and he obviously controls their Anvil Of Doom. Known as a massive curmudgeon even among Dwarfs who will demote anyone he sees as unfit to carry on his art straight down to Miner. Thorek leads the Weaponsmiths of the greatest Weaponsmith Hold, and encourages trade and expedition to recover ancient Dwarf artifacts. His study of the old, forgotten ways of Runesmithing along with his own creativity and experimentation have created wonders unprecedented and the rediscovery of old ways. His own hammer, Klad Brakak, bears a Rune he invented and has been testing for a century that destroys the armor of whatever he strikes. Of course every design is based on existing works, as he (allegedly) has said anything good enough for the Dwarfs of Starbreaker's day is good enough for him. Every Anvil Of Power was inscribed with a special Rune called the Rune Of Doom that summons what appears to be a ghostly army of ancestor Dwarfs but in fact is the visual manifestation of the Dwarfy emotions of bravery, loyalty, grim determination, and most importantly deep hatred that increases the morale of the Dawi and frightens their enemies. Thorek is the only Runesmith alive still capable of using his, and does so with complete mastery any time it is needed rather then as the last-ditch risky move that were used in the later days of the living knowledge of the Anvils. That being said, if he ever fails to use it perfectly the Anvil will be destroyed and a massive backlash will injure or kill him and his team.
In theory, Thorek should be the ultimate Runesmith but his assistant Kraggi isn't as up to the task as he is. Kraggi is quite skilled for a Runesmith, but still an apprentice by Thorek's standards despite being a prodigy (Klad Brakak is about as old as Kraggi's career) and has been known to make mistakes (which Thorek NEVER does). Kraggi speeds up Thorek's work but screws up in that haste from time to time on the battlefield.
The White Dwarf, who became the mascot of Games Workshop on creation (the magazine is his namesake). Grombrindal appears randomly throughout the world, dispensing wisdom and slaughtering foes before disappearing; oftentimes before his allies realize his identity. Basically The Green Knight and Alith Anar for Dwarfs. He was featured in comics, and before the Time Of Woe (AKA Age of Sigmar) Games Workshop released White Dwarf dioramas alongside the Black Goblin in humorous situations (like wearing a space suit and strangling the Black Goblin in an alien costume). The identity of Grombrindal was hinted at for most of his history as Dwarfs dressing as him, to the forgotten fourth ancestor god who courted Valaya but never married her, to Snorri Whitebeard who was cursed to wander endlessly after Malekith's betrayal. Snorri was his confirmed identity in End Times, when after the destruction of the Curse Of Khaine the unapologizing Malekith is forgiven by him because GW wasn't interested in resolving plots with more complexity than saying they are resolved (according to 1d4chan Longbeards anyway).
King of Karak Azul, a giant among Dwarfs and with Herculean strength to match. He outdrank, outlifted, outfeasted, outsang, outjoked, and in all other ways outmatched his childhood friends. Won countless battles and settled countless Grudges. All greenskins feared him, clearing out when he came around, giving him great sport as he had to actually track and hunt a WAAAGH! rather than just survive it. He bears and blows a great horn, the Thunderhorn, which lets all in the same mountain range know that war has come to them. Basically Gaston, Brom Bones, and that one jock in your high school who stood up for nerds because he actually gave a fuck.
Unfortunately, Kazador retains none of his youthful enthusiasm for the pleasures of life. While he was hunting Goblins one day, Gorfang Rotgut lead a small army of greenskins into Karak Azul. They ran amok, killing and looting, desecrating and dishonoring. Kazador's entire family and many of his people were hauled away in chains to Black Crag as Rotgut's living trophies, although Kazador's son was left behind shaved and crucified on Kazador's own throne. Kazador promised half of Azul's treasury to any who return his family, another quarter for the return of any of the dead Azulites, and any possession he has for Gorfang's death. Unable to assail Black Crag, he spent his time hatefully pursuing any army of Destruction in Dwarf lands and pursuing any Grudge. Thorgrim spent ten years tracking the culprits, killed Gorfang and the other leaders of the army for Kazador, and freed all captives. Its unstated if Thorgrim accepted a reward. Kazador is similar to Eltharion, but with actual plot resolution.
The Oldhammer (REALLY Oldhammer, dating back to 3e when Warhammer first got lore at all) Thorek. The closest there is to a named Longbeard model.
Greatest and oldest Runesmith alive, among the oldest Dwarf in general in fact. Kragg is so old he remembers the golden age of the Dwarfs, before the Time Of Woes. Kragg's walking stick bears a special Master Rune invented by him and known only to him, as he has never met a Dwarf he considers a worthy successor (it should be noted that Thorek entirely replaced Kragg in 5e/6e, and being a far more expensive model GW pimped Thorek as much as possible by mostly forgetting that Kragg even existed so players would buy the "greatest Runesmith ever" that costs 5x as much). Kragg will babble on and on about back in his day, but thanks to his age and skill he drops far more useful and inspiring secrets than any beard longer; the greatest of Dwarf Runesmiths and heroes have all made pilgrimages to sit and listen to Kragg grumble. The greatest works of Karaz-a-Karak since Grungni himself were, are, and will be done under Kragg's supervision and guidance (as well as likely with his Master Rune cane to the creator's backside a few times).
King of Karak Hirn. Direct descendant of Kurgaz, his great great great grandfather who founded Karak Hirn after the Time Of Woes and created the Anvils Of Power. Kurgaz's descendants were unable to use his shield themselves since he was a giant of a Dwarf, and instead invented the practice of standing on a shield that is carried by loyal retainers. Alrik is extremely old fashioned, more so than even his father Ranulf, and refuses any new technology in his armies (players using him can still use them, at double point cost). Warriors, Quarrelers, Ironbreakers, Miners, Hammerers, Grudge Throwers, Bolt Throwers.
Alrik is obsessed with clearing out the Book Of Grudges, more so than even Thorgrim, and demands blood for every entry. As a result he constantly attacks anyone to clear a sleight regardless of current politics or distance. To date he has entirely wiped out an entire Book Of Grudges for Karak Hirn, which has been added to his own personal standard that he carries into battle which inspires hope in the Dwarfs like nothing else. He and his Shieldbearers are "Hrappi-klad" in golden armor that is traditional for Karak Hirn royalty. He uses a special axe called the Axe Of Retribution which was forged specifically for his Grudge crusade, and the Helm Of Eagles that grants him sight to see all enemies and hidden details so no assassin or ambush can catch him.
Heir to King Lunn of Karak Eight Peaks. After becoming High King, aiding Belegar was Thorgrim's first task. He called on the entire race to aid in retaking the long lost Hold.
Master brewer and canonically the greatest brewer to have ever lived. After his brewery, called Bugman's Brewery, was burned down by Git Guzzler and his greenskins Josef has been on a crusade against their race with his elite force called Bugman's Rangers (real creative types, here). Bugman's force wanders anywhere greenskins are found, arriving to aid an army and to give ale to good little soldiers of Order and axes/quarrels to the brains of the green menace. His most important item is a magical tankard called...you guessed it, Bugman's Tankard, which has magical healing powers in addition to filling the mind of the drinker with images of the golden age of Dwarfs.
Gotrek is Dwarf Jedi Master Dragonborn Doomguy Chuck Norris, Primarch of the loyalist Dwarf Marines who can Creed his axe into your skull. Read his page, as no summary does him justice. Just know he's a Slayer who took a human bard as a companion, killed just about everything he can and was rewarded by becoming Grimnir's replacement after finally achieving death (and resurrection, since the death part freed him from his Oath even if it didn't stick).
Youngest ever and current Master of the Engineer's Guild. As a young Dawi he was very gifted (inventing a beard-braider, self- lighting pipe, and a double-barreled rifle at the same time the average Engineer was learning the basics) and very liberal, and highly interested many random technologies that he pursued with great enthusiam which included the research of Sven Hasselfriesian into alcohol-powered machines. The two managed to caused a pressure explosion which destroyed the Engineer's Guild Hall. Burlok did a 180 and became a highly conservative Engineer who believes mostly in the old ways. He eventually became Guildmaster despite his disgrace (possibly simply by surviving longest). Since Burlok's arm was blown off in the explosion, he invented bionics! Specifically "Burlok's Ingenious Offensive New-matic Integrated Constrictor" (that's right, acronyms are canon!)
For some reason, Games Workshop decided to retcon Burlok. They did so in the ingenious manner of creating an almost identical character and calling him Burlok's son, then gave him Burlok's backstory. So...what's the difference? Burlok began liberal and became conservative after a tragic laboratory accident. Grimm went from liberal to mad scientist after an exciting laboratory accident.
That's it. Grimm is just Burlok, wacky inventor. Grimm doesn't have a bionic limb, and instead made a robot arm that fits on his actual arm using the same technology. He also has a telescoping sight that lowers from his helmet, a modified gun (best described as "double-barrel sniper rifle), a hammer that is a weapon-snapping cog, and his personal standard is a fucking furnace strapped to his back. While a more amusing character, one has to wonder why the major retcon when both can exist and the father can remain Guildmaster...
Sven is actually a VERY old character, dating back to the Warhammer 2e scenario The Magnificent Sven (that's right, Sven fucking predates Chaos).
After destroying a large chunk of Karaz-a-Karak, Sven refused to stop experimenting with his insane idea of liquid-powered machines and Burlok was forced to expel him from the Engineer's Guild after the "humiliation ritual" (whatever that is). Rather than taking up the Slayer Oath like a normal Dwarf, Sven booked a ride to Lustria for unknown reasons. He settled at a trading post on the Amoco River and made a substantial amount of money that he invested in his master plan of a boat powered by a combustion engine. After three years, Sven hired non-Chaos Norscans to finish the ship and be his crew. He named her "Voltsvagn" (you read that right, early Warhammer was big on puns) after his mother and began work as a ferryman in Lustria. He has been attacked by Lizardmen so many times he has become completely immune to all poisons they have. He was later used in Dogs Of War where his ambition has swelled, and he now seeks to conquer all of Lustria and take ALL THE GOLD. So he went from mad scientist to Dorf Cortez.
Dogs Of War character. Nicknamed "Long" due to his massive height. Worked through the ranks from cabin boy to captain of a Barak Varr merchant vessel that delivered Dwarf ale worldwide. After a particularly bad storm caused the ship to wreck all the ale onboard was destroyed, and both Drong and the crew swore the Slayer Oath. They immediately invaded a pirate lair and used his plunder to purchase a Dwarf ship, notably with the mast of an attractive Dwarf woman (but amusingly since literally not a single one of them had ever actually seen a Dwarf woman, having spent their entire lives at sea, they had to guess at what one looked like). They had the captured pirates teach them everything they knew about piracy, although the Dwarfs got a slightly different lesson than one would expect.
Rather than attacking wealthy merchant ships and robbing them, the Dwarfs set out reclaiming lost treasures from the ocean floor. Mercenaries used their paychests as the mark of station, which they would pay almost anything to have returned. Drong's crew only asked for the contents when they found it plus the same amount as the chest full again, which is very cheap compared to the amount the Merc generals would likely pay. Of course Drong attacked any true pirate he encountered, and soon gained a reputation as an honorable mercenary among the great nations of the world.
- Tarni Ironspike
One of the rare adventurer female Dwarfs. Grew up in the southern Habercrybs. After a mine collapse she became the assistant to a traveling priest of Gazul named Snorri Gravehand, becoming an initiate at Khazid Harkhat. She graduated to a full-fledged priestess and tended to the Dwarfs, and humans when no priest of Morr was present, of Reikland and Ubersreik until she discovered that her former master had been killed by a Necromancer. Ever since she's lead a one-woman crusade against Necromancers in the regions of the Empire and the Grey Mountains.
Ungrim's son. Ungrim seeks death as soon as he can so his son will be free of the Slayer King burden, but Garagrim swore the Oath as soon as he was an adult and also seeks death to free his father of the suicidal part of his duty. Garagrim found his death in Storm Of Chaos as the leader of the Dwarfs in the event, although Ungrim swore the Slayer Oath a second time due to the loss of his son making the entire sacrifice pointless and ensuring the royal line of Karak Kadrin would fall. After Games Workshop retconned Storm Of Chaos (there's no polite answer for why, just know they fucked up royally and got rid of it so they could fuck up even worse but under their own control in End Times) they retconned Garagrim to having died offscreen long ago effectively removing his character as anything but a footnote in continuity.
- Kimril Giantslayer
A character from the 1985 "Dwarves Of Legend Box". The very first Slayer. Killed the twin Giants Thunderguts and Stormbelly.
Another Dwarves Of Legend, crushed by his dead enemies at Klumti Pass.
- King Gorrin
Another Dwarves Of Legend character. Killed the greenskin Gorbad The Gruesome at the Battle Of Drakkaz-snor.
- The Baron
Another Dwarves Of Legend. Fought Count Horlichs of Averland.
- Throbin Death-eye
Dwarves Of Legend character. Possibly a Slayer. Polished his axe in blood, and had a frightening stare.
- Lastro Lupinthrall
Dwarves Of Legend. Cursed by a Norscan Witch, howls at every full moon.
- Borax Bloodaxe
Dwarves Of Legend. Became so rich he needed five Vaults to store his treasure.
Regions And Factions
A summary of factions and locations that can tie into your Dwarf army (or the lore of any group you play who ties into the Dwarfs; if you're a fan of proxies, its not uncommon for them to accompany the Empire and not a far throw for them to fight alongside Bretonnia, or with good reason the High or Wood Elves).
Note that while Dwarfs use specific colors to represent their Hold of origin, the Holds have multiple clans within and individual groups of course may have their own colors. This is on top of many different interpretations by artists over the years in example armies deciding to use vastly different symbols and colors to represent some factions. For example Karak Norn colors are red and white, and they have a large number of Dwarfs from all of the fallen Holds such as the Dragonback clan along with the nearby Bugman's Brewery meaning that while most Nornlings would be displaying the red and white somewhere, their own colors on their clothing or even banners could be from numerous clans or Holds; a Dwarf with Bugman's colors on his cloak, a red and white shield, and his banner in the colors of the Dragonbacks is quite fine and fluffy.
The generic colors of the Dwarfs are blue with white details with bronze and small amounts of silvery metal representing steel and/or Gromril depending on the importance of the Dwarf in question with the symbol of three triangles forming a mountain range.
Slayers break all ties to Hold and Clan, and thus never display any colors but that of other Slayers. They usually wind up in reds, oranges, and white although many use white and blue clothing. Some Eavy Metal schemes used face paint in the colors of the army they are marching in to represent a temporary allegiance to their current comrades.
The Eternal Realm, and the heart of the Dwarf empire, made up of the oldest Holds. Located in the Worlds Edge Mountains.
Also called Everpeak, with the name roughly translating to "Pinnacle Of Mountains". The capital of the Dwarf race and home to both the high Kings and the primary shrine of Valaya. One thousand pillars are found in the main hall, each representing a Dwarf clan. Every decade a carver is sent to add more of their story to the column, with many tragically ending long before any of the others making it clear to every visitor who has been wiped out in the Dwarfs gigantic family. When Elves and Dwarfs were still allies, Elf artisans covered the ceiling of the cavern in diamonds and sapphires forming the same constellations in the sky above, while on the ground the hall lit up by braziers covered in gigantic and identical rubies and the walls covered in reliefs showing the legends of the Dwarfs. The harmonics of the hall are such that even a whisper from the High King carries to every part of the hall. Despite being the largest, richest, and most populated Karak the bulk of Karaz-a-Karak is empty. Only the westernmmost halls are populated, the rest are either sealed or lie vacant. The armies of Karaz-a-Karak occasionally have to clear out any Skaven or Night Goblins that try to gain a foothold and reseal Vaults.
The capital Hold is one of the most well-defended places in the entire Warhammer world. The entire valley leading to the fortress is a giant deathtrap with hundreds, possibly thousands, of defenses and thanks to watch towers and far more mysterious methods of detection the Dwarfs know of any enemy approaching long before they come within sight of the mountains it lies in. The gates themselves are impenetrable, far beyond the capacity of the mightiest army of Elves ever seen to penetrate during the War Of Vengeance.
Karaz-a-Karak armies use gold and greens as colors generally, with blue as an alternative color although it is noted that Karaz-a-Karak has all colors in its armies as all Clans and Holds are tied to the capital of the Dwarf race.
Called the Torrent Gate.
- Karak Kadrin
The Slayer Keep.
- Karak Azul
Called Iron Peak due to the massive amount of iron in its mines, the largest in the Worlds Edge on top of an abundance in other metals. As a direct result Azul has among the best metalworkers the Dwarfs have and many Clans are directly descended from Grungni. This has enabled Azul to survive the constant onslaught of enemies, being the last southern Hold. The weaponsmiths and Runesmiths don't just make gear for their own; most Dwarf Holds receive their weaponry from Azul, through the Underway to any Dwarfs in need. Karak Azul was attacked by greenskins some time ago; the family of Thane Kazador was enslaved as living trophies while the son was shaved and nailed to the throne. Thanks to the dedication of Kazador the only surviving Orc from the attack is the Warboss himself, Gorfang Rotgut, who squatted in Black Crag until he was killed and his head was delivered to Kazador.
Karak Azul, as you may have guessed, uses the color blue as well as gold. Their primary symbol is the face of a Dwarf smith.
- Karak Ungor
Red Eye Mountain.
- Karak Varn
Called "Cragmere" now.
- Dragonhorn Mines
Added in 8e. No lore, south of Ekrund so presumable part of the same rulership.
- Mount Gunbad
- Mount Silverspear
Called Mount Grimfang when held by greenskins.
- Karak Vlag
- Vala-Azrilungol (Karak Eight Peaks)
Originally called "Queen of the Silver Depths", one of the oldest Dwarf Holds. The Eight Peaks are: Karag Lhune, Karag Mhonar, Karag Rhyn, Karag Yar, Karag Ziflin (the military district of Karak Eight Peaks, the first to fall to the Skaven), Karagril, Karak Nar, and Kvinn-Wyr.
Skaven discovered the Eight Peaks around 3800 and the Council Of 13 planned its fall within the next ten generations (so 100 years) with Clan Mors and Clan Gritak preparing to invade by building their armies and constructing tunnels. Clan Skryre planted Warpstone in the main fountain of the Hold and the initial plan was to wait for the Dwarfs to have their numbers greatly thinned by poisoning (perhaps not knowing that Dwarfs use water sparingly for anything when there's enough ale) until they were forced to begin their plans immediately with the huge and sudden rush of greenskin invasions. The Dwarf Miners discovered the Skaven tunnels not long before, and shortly afterwards the Skaven staged a mass invasion taking Karag Ziflin and the communities/mines of Varkund, Runkarn, and Undkar. Meanwhile Goblins attacked the East Gate which connected to Death Pass. The Dwarfs tried to blow up their tunnels, but earthquakes opened natural tunnels as soon as the artificial ones were destroyed. Magma flowed up through cracks, destroying not only the equipment that relied on magma for power but also entire sections of the Holds. A slow retreat began until King Lunn was forced to seal the great treasures away and leave in exodus, swearing he would return; he never did, the Eight Peaks have been the target of more reclamation attempts than any other location and every one has failed. The Dwarfs fled to Karak Azul, and while the Skaven and greenskins fought for control of the now fallen Hold Clan Mors blew up the Vault roof which destroyed Clan Gritak and caused the Skaven and greenskin held portions to be largely separated.
After becoming High King, aiding Belegar was Thorgrim's first task. He called on the entire race to aid in retaking the long lost Hold. Every Hold donated to Belegar's army so that even the common Warrior was equipped with rune weapons and resembled an army from the golden age of the Dwarfs ad they marched with ample food and ale. Thorek Ironbrow lead an army of Karak Azul as allies. Regardless he still faced difficult odds. First the ground level of the Eight Peaks was taken, as well as the infamous East Gate and the valley that sits in the middle of the Peaks with a gigantic citadel. Skarsnik of the Night Goblins and Queek Headtaker of the Skaven both prepared their forces to destroy the other two rivals. Belegar sealed off all other parts of the Peaks and focused on holding, slowly pushing forwards while Engineers have to rebuild defenses. Undgrin Ankor, the military quarter of the old Hold, is the newest to be reclaimed although small numbers of Trolls remain. Three times the armies of other Holds have marched to aid Belegar after a devastating attack from his foes, the last lead by Thorgrim himself. The Dwarfs have also gotten aid from Bretonnia, the Empire, Elves, and Ogre mercenaries while the greenskins and Skaven have been bolstered by attacks from Beastmen and the Vampires of Neferata. As soon as Belegar had established his control back on the Eight Peaks treasure hunters and mercenaries began to arrive, with most given leave by Belegar to do as they will. Very few have returned or had any measure of success but they come regardless. Gotrek & Felix had the most success.
In Total War: Warhammer, Belegar begins in Karak Izor in the Black Mountains and actually has to fight his way cross the greenskin-held Karaz Ankor south on his way to the Eight Peaks while Skarsnik begins north of him in the Grey Mountains and is usually eliminated long before any other foe. Thorgrim is willing to ally with Belegar only after some measure of success against greenskins, the Greylings are willing to ally against Skarnsik, most other Dwarfs take a long time to woo by which point Belegar has probably eradicated Archaon in a blast of cannonfire.
The colors of Karak Eight Peaks are red, white, and blue with a mountain represented by a single triangle split into eight with jagged lines.
- Karak Azgal (Karak Izril)
Called the Dragon Crag today, the City Of Jewels in the past. The wealthiest Hold in Dwarf history, the extravagance is still more than visible. Izril was one of the many Holds that fell as a result of the loss of Karak Eight Peaks due to the trade routes being lightly defended. When greenskins invaded with the intent on pillaging the fabled treasures the Skaven that lurked in their mines chose to make the Dwarfs face a two front war. Upon realizing that Karak Izril was doomed the warriors made a last stand while the Runesmith Stormbeard and the Clan Engineers carried the treasures of Izril into the primary Vault and sealed it with a special Rune called the Rune Of Hiding so no other being could find the door. The survivors fled, and since then Izril has been called "Karal Azgul" meaning "Hoard Peak". The Dragon Graug The Terrible claimed Azgal from greenskins and Skaven not long after and discovered the Vault, making it his new home and adding to the treasure in order to attract a mate. The Jeweler's Guild sent many expeditions to reclaim Azgal and kill Graug with no success until one day a Dwarf named Skalf, barely an adult, managed the deed. Skald became the King, and used the fabulous treasury to establish a small stronghold in the ruins of the massive city. Azgal has since become a haven for adventurers and treasure-seekers who journey through the depths to kill Grobi and seek fortune. Now that the Eight Peaks are partially reclaimed, the future of Azgal looks bright.
Karak Azgal is the feature and namesake of a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement. Its primary claim to fame is being the home of the single greatest Runesmith alive, Thorek Ironbrow. Artwork as well as Thorek's traditional paintjob shows them with a green color scheme with white and yellow details.
- Karak Drazh
The Black Crag.
- Karak Carn
- Karak Raziak
Only known as a label on a map of Kislev.
- Khazid Irkulaz
Only known as a label on a map of Kislev.
- The Pillars of Grungni
Almost no lore. Nearby Karaz-a-Karak on the Silver Road.
One of the rare southern Holds to survive. Almost no lore.
Same as Dringorackaz.
- Kings way
Lost Hold. No other lore.
Lost Hold. No other lore.
Shown on a map in 3e. No other lore.
- Kadar Grimm
Home of Barim Eisenhauer, a character in a mini-event called Thunder In Blackfire Pass. No other lore.
- Karak Angazbar
Almost no lore.
- Karak Eksfilaz
Westernmost part of Karaz Ankor. Almost no lore.
The Dwarf communities formed outside of Karaz Ankor that lie between mountain ranges. Few are connected to the Underway.
- Karak Zorn
The first Dwarf expansion, in the Warhammer equivalent of South Africa in the mountains that separate Nehekhara from the Southlands. Destroyed by the Slanless Lizardmen of the Southlands, or at least the last messages every received indicated that's who was attacking it. Almost nothing is known of it otherwise as it is far beyond living memory and every expedition to reclaim or it simply discover its current state have failed.
- Barak Varr
Called "Gate To The Sea". Built into the side of a mountain and only visible from the water. Barak Varr is small but wealthy, and the folk are unusually friendly and cheerful for Dwarfs. Both are due to the safety of the Hold and it never being forced to close its doors to the other races and cease trade, as both the Skull River and Old Dwarf road are still open. All friendly groups on the planet trade in Barak Varr, and almost anything Dwarfs do not prohibit can be bought and sold within. Barak Varr is one of the safest locations in the world, being almost immune to attack by land and with a ridiculous number of the most advanced warships in existence in its harbor while countless cannons line the face of the settlement itself. Barak Varr lies in the territory of the Border Princes which were settled around it, and it provides them protection by water.
Purple with cream highlights is the color scheme of Barak Varr, with their symbols being an open-faced mountain and a roaring beast with red and gold.
It exists, and is on the border between Karaz Ankor and Sylvania. There's almost no lore otherwise.
- Karak Azorn
Easternmost Hold, in the Mountains Of Mourn. Destroyed by an unending horde of Ogres.
- Isle of Zul
Island outpost of Barak Varr.
Found in the Empire, apparently a Dwarf settlement of some kind that has been destroyed.
- Karak Angazbar
Has decent metal mining, metalworking, and trade industries.
The hills south of Altdorf, which have mixed Dwarf and human populations in mining communities.
During the start of the Time Of Woe, Mount Silverspear and Mad Dog Pass fell to Goblins and caused a massive exodus of refugees. Although the Grey Mountains were always ignored by Dwarfs previously for their lack of gems and metals within the rock, the scattered Dwarfs chose them to settle for their strategic locations and each time a Hold fell the population of the Grey Mountain Dwarfs would swell with their homeless kin. Tall tales that great riches far surpassing that of the east lay undiscovered also played a part in the allure of the Greys. Each is extremely difficult to assail, and are built with defense in mind rather than the elaborate and beautiful Holds from the time that the ancestor gods were kings and queen.
Dwarfs that inhabit this area are called Grey Dwarfs, and are considered a far more modest and far more humble lot than their kin elsewhere. Less prone to find insult in the words of man and Elf as well as less likely to show off gold and gems in displays of Dwarf pride. Dwarfs from other Holds see them as a source of both pity and hope, the valiant post-apocalyptic survivors scrabbling among the ruins with kings that look like low noblemen and peasants resembling dressed like refugees.
The Grey Mountains sit in a precarious location. Although historically the attacks of any foe is rare, it sits nearby Castle Drachenfels, a hellish domain where the forces of Chaos, the Undead, and greenskins unite under an ancient evil. As if that wasn't bad enough, End Times: Vermintide showed that the nearby Empire town of Ubersriek was the beginning of the Skaven invasion of the Old World, suggesting that Skaven were already a problem for the Greylings. To the south is Athel Loren and the insane Wood Elves with Bretonnia beyond it. To the north are the men of the Imperial province of Wissenland, great allies of the Dwarfs and with the aid of the Greylings their city of Nuln has become the engineering capital of the non-Dwarf world. But Reikwald is not far from there, leading Forest Goblins and Beastmen up the trails into the mountains. While the Grey Dwarfs have become hardened and battle-tested, the natural defenses of their home have saved them from the nonstop war that many of the old Holds east in the old Dwarf lands have suffered.
Most Grey Holds have very little in great treasures due to the barren nature of the mountains and the far and few discoveries of ore veins, and as a result some Dwarfs either resign themselves to lives laboring for far less than other Holds can offer and patrolling trade routes for small enemy warbands, or abandon their home and migrate to other Holds to seek riches at the cost of safety and peace. While the younger generations are increasingly leaving Norn for other Holds to the east for riches or glory in battle, those who refuse to leave have become stoic and sardonic even for Dwarfs.
Grey Dwarfs have a great deal of contact with humans and are far more likely to take on names in the human tongue representing their true Dwarf name, such as Olaf Stoutarm or Johan Rockkicker.
- Karak Norn
Roughly translates to "Barren Earth Hold". Currently ruled by King Brokk Ironpick the Grim and Queen Thurma of the Grintzagaz Clan. Karak Norn was the first Grey Mountain Hold, and has the most riches in its mines despite being the smallest. Karak Norn overlooks the Athel Loren from a very safe position, allowing the Dwarfs to monitor the activities of the Elves for any invasion force to their allies in the Empire or to their kin in other Holds. They control the mountain passes leading to the rest of the Southern Grey Mountain Holds giving them the benefit of taxation, the honor of being the defenders of the Greys, and the responsibility of ensuring that when enemies do eventually invade that the Grey Dwarfs can muster a strong protective army. Norn's defenses possess a great deal of Flame Cannons and Bolt Throwers for the purpose of defending against Wood Elves, while their offensive forces contain many Rangers. Karak Norn also possesses a large airforce.
The most famous claim of Karak Norn is being the Hold most associated with the great hero and brewmaster (aren't they one and the same though?) Josef Bugman. Josef's father Zamnil Bugman was one of the Dragonback Clan of Ekrund, and after it was overrun the family migrated northwest into the foot of the Grey Mountains on the Empire side near Karak Norn. Bugman's Brewery quickly became famous for their specialty of Troll Brew, and more importantly Bugman's XXXXX AKA Bugman's Brew which became world-famous as (canonically) the greatest alcoholic beverage ever concocted. Unfortunately one day a Goblin named Git Guzzler attacked the Brewery while Bugman was away delivering ale. While the Brewery was rebuilt and is now defended by the forces of Karak Norn, Bugman himself gathered a small elite army called Bugman's Rangers who travel the world killing greenskins and/or delivering free ale wherever Dwarfs or greenskins are found.
The armies of Karak Norn use the colors of red and white split in half or quartered along with blue for cloth, although in 8e examples only red and white were used with a small amount of green on banners. Karak Norn forces in Eavy Metal demonstrations of the paint job also use more silver metallic color than bronze. Symbols for Karak Norn tend to be more Celtic and of vague meaning, although simple designs such as tankards and the general Dwarf faces show up as well. Bugman's red and blue split colors with the white "B" rune show up as well even on the shields of Dwarfs otherwise displaying the standard colors.
- Karak Ziflin
- Karak Azgaraz
- Grim Duraz
Lost Hold. No other lore.
- Khazid Harkhat
- Karak Hirn
The Black Mountains that lie between the Empire and Border Princes are full of small Dwarf settlements that cater to the Empire and link the oldest settlements of the Dwarf empire. They are unconnected to the Underway but are relatively difficult to attack due to the danger of the terrain. The largest settlement in the region is Karak Hirn, named "Horn Hold" for a wind that blew through it and produced a noise loud enough to ring through the mountains, scaring the original settlers to the region until they investigated and discovered the source. Generations since have carved doors and fireplaces that turn the entire Hold into a horn that can be sounded to send messages or frighten enemies and monsters. Founded by the legendary Dwarf Kurgaz, who created the Anvils Of Doom. Kurgaz was a giant of a Dwarf, who's shield was so massive that no other Dwarf has been able to wield it as it was used. Instead, his descendants stood on it while being carried by their loyal soldiers, beginning the tradition of Shieldbearers. A Dragon attacked Karak Hirn at some unknown time, killing many Runesmiths and destroying their forges which caused the secrets of Kurgaz to be lost ensuring that all Anvils of Doom are limited in number.
Karak Hirn is favored by many Eavy Metal team and shows up in most showcases. They utilize dark greens and browns for colors.
- Karak Izor
Also called Copper Mountain. A wealthy Hold found between the Grey and Black Mountains, with the deepest and richest mines outside of the Worlds Edge Mountains as well as being a popular destination for refugees including the Dragonbacks. Almost impossible to assail, Izor profits with little risk. Karak Izor was shown in the past to use plenty of bronze metal with dark browns and greens while it was specifically said that they used no blue anywhere, but in 8e they reverted to only a bright shade of blue and gold/yellow (for seemingly no reason). Their symbol is a hammer striking an anvil with an S rune on both.
- Karak Bhufdar
Shown on the map in 8th edition, hasn't fallen. No other lore.
Lost Hold. No other lore.
Barely touched on and mostly only in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the Dwarfs of the furthest north reside in the mountains north of Kislev in the Chaos Wastes. The proximity to the savage lands has forced them to take on aggressive and wild personalities, although they remain as loyal to the Ancestor Gods as any Dwarf. Not especially fond of humans given they have the choice of rapevikings or Russians for friends. Since the Norse Dwarfs have lost contact with their kin for a LONG time, they didn't receive any technological advances since the Time Of Troubles. No gunpowder, no artillery, no machinery. Just crossbows, catapults, and good ol'fashioned things to stick in people or bash them with. Thorgrim made contact with some of them before he became High King, although which ones is unspecified.
- Kraka Drak
Known as the Dragon Hold. The primary settlement of Norse Dwarfs, rich in iron, silver, sapphire, and amber. Possibly destroyed according to a 7e story as the "Emperor Of Chaos" Valmir Aesling wiped out all resistance during the Great War Against Chaos during the time of Emperor Magnus, shortly after the Everchosen of the time was defeated; it is referenced after that date as still existing leading to the possibility of writer not doing their fucking research...or it being reclaimed later.
In Total War: WARHAMMER Kraka Drak is part of a quest for Thorgrim Grudgebearer to investigate the fate of the Norse Dwarfs. He finds they have all been wiped out, and reclaiming them is part of the victory conditions for Dwarfs. Their flag is depicted as teal with a winged white sea serpent as a symbol.
A Dwarf port.
- Kraka Dorden
Called the Thunder Hold. Exporter of furs, tin, quartz, iron, and metalwork. Second largest after Kraka Drak.
- Kraka Onsmotek
Called Eagle's Peak Hold. Northernmost Hold that hasn't yet fallen. The second wealthiest after Kraka Drak. Full of gold, diamonds, and obsidian. Has more Slayers and the Norse Dwarf specific Berserkers than anywhere else in the Norse Holds thanks to the abundance of Giants, Trolls, and other nasty Chaos things.
- Kraka Ravnvake
Known as Raven's Roost Hold. Full of copper, iron, and silver as well as a blue-gray rock called Okrinaduraz that is used to carve works of art and things of importance.
- Karak Dum
Literally "Hold Chaos". Northernmost Hold ever established (or at least ever mentioned), it fell during the Great War Against Chaos. It is the main source of the black armor of the Warriors Of Chaos today, and all four Chaos Gods and their factions battle for control of it. Gotrek & Felix rescued the last of the living Dwarfs from it.
- Khazid Ravik
Almost no lore. Known for gems and metalwork.
- Undgrin Ankor
- Black Fire Pass
- Varag Kadrin
Known as Mad Dog Pass.
- Varn Drazh
Called Black Water, it is a giant mountain lake created by an ancient asteroid that is full of monsters. Many mines are found around it, since the mountain is very rich in ore.
- Gnashrak's Lair
An Orc stronghold. Although not stated to be, it is most likely a fallen Dwarf Hold since "fortress" is not something that greenskins are capable of building. Sits at the other end of Peak Pass from Karak Kadrin.
- Grom Peak
Orc stronghold, likely started as a Dwarf Hold. Almost no lore.
- Archway of Valaya
Lost holy site, known only to certain Runesmiths. Secretly houses the sleeping Valaya, who is empowering a gate of some kind known as the Gate Of Valaya that will somehow bring back the golden age of the Dwarfs. Implied to have lead the Dwarfs to Lileath's new world in the cycle of worlds in End Times.
- Cripple Peak
Full of Warpstone. A major site fought over between Nagash, who makes it his home while recovering from his second defeat, and the Skaven. Dwarfs stay away.
- Royal Clan
This generic force represents the clan of the king of any Hold, armed with the best gear while accompanied by mercenaries and a significant force of Hammerers, with the Royal Clan of the High King being the largest and grandest the Dwarfs can muster.
- Gunnisson Clan
- Stonebreakers Clan
- Bronzebeards Clan
- Helhein Clan
- Ulek Clan
Also called the "Ullekssons".
- Barruk Clan
Nicknamed "The Goldshields.
- Drakebeard Clan
- Yinlinsson Clan
- Norgrimling Clan
- Cragbrow Clan
Guilds are an entire organizational entity seperate but part of the concept of Clan and Hold. They even had their own army rules in 6e. While a guild exists for everything, the most powerful Guild is the Engineer's Guild which has its own armies independant of any other group which control travel between Holds as well as protecting trade caravans. Obviously the Engineer's Guild army, called the Guild Expedition, uses as much black powder weapons and machines as possible.
- No Slayers of any kind may be taken. Thanes become Master Engineers (+35 points, has Artillery Master and Extra Crewman rules) and Lords become Guild Masters (+45 points, has Artillery Master and Extra Crewman rules).
- Warriors, Thunderers are Core. Cannons, Bolt Throwers, and Stone Throwers may be taken as Core, maximum 2 each and for every two artillery core you must have one Unit of Warriors. No other Core may be taken.
- Gyrocopters are Special, and you may have up to two Organ Guns and up to two Flame Cannons as Special. No other Special may be taken.
- Rangers, Longbeards, and Dogs Of War are Rare. No other Rare may be taken.
- Slayers (Throng Of Karak Kadrin)
- Overground Defense
- War Of Vengeance Dwarfs
This faction represents the united Dwarf race back during the War Of Vengeance, used exclusively for games against the High Elves reenacting the war or any skirmishes with greenskins or Chaos prior to that (alongside the Elves possible).
Typical soldiers of a Hold, drawn from the clans within and thus usually bearing a secondary color scheme. Most Warriors are young, and move onto other martial careers with experience.
Many Warriors are professional soldiers who own and maintain their own gear as heirlooms, making each somewhat unique. But in times of need Dwarfs of any profession can be a Warrior and use the gear provided by their clan or Hold. Unlike the Elves of Ulthuan who's civilian militias must train frequently, Dwarf culture shapes them into disciplined soldiers while their physiology and psychology are naturally fit for the role. Regardless of their personality in peacetime, every single Dwarf becomes a hateful and unbreakable soldier in war.
In earlier editions just called Crossbowmen as an upgrade to Warriors, 7e made them unique. Invented before Dwarfs settled the Worlds Edge Mountains (so in the time of Grungni, Grimnir, and Valaya and possibly a gift of the Old Ones). Dwarf Bolts are called Quarrels, hence the name. Yes, that means they are called Bolters.
Traditionalists prefer them to guns, and the Quarrel is cheaper to maintain and supply although it requires more skill on the part of the user for accuracy. It also has the advantage of range.
The early Dwarf crossbows were made of Ironwood and metal bands while the newest are made of just steel. Dwarfs almost never use bows due to the ineffectiveness of them underground and the Dwarf physiology not favoring the movements and pose required.
The Quarrelers themselves are no different physically than Warriors and carry the same gear and armor, and are as a result more than capable in melee combat.
The hot new thing among the youth, only invented a two digit number of generations ago! Created early on by Engineers after the discovery of black powder, but still took a long time to spread by human reckoning. By Dwarf measure though it may as well be The Beatles in terms of a massive and sudden explosion in interest in a radically different thing race-wide amongst the younger generations.
While Quarrelers have to practice range, wind compensation, and marking targets the users of Handguns spend the time maintaining their weapons (sights are a major help). Some Dwarfs build their own, but many are created by the Engineer's Guild and sold to clans and Holds for a very substantial amount of gold and Gromril. Even Dwarfs who have theirs purchased will modify and improve it own, passing along innovations to their fellows and using designs straight off the drafting table of an Engineer halfway across the Old World ("NO PROTOTYPE?! GRUDGESY!!"). Individually Dwarfs try to one-up each other in design and tend to fall into camps on what's the best and what the tiers are (so imagine /tg/ arguing about editions). No word on if a Dwarf equivalent of Popular Mechanics Magazine exists yet, but the implication is there. As a result not only of the standard Dwarf craftsmanship but also the fact every gun-owner is also an amateur engineer Dwarf guns are more accurate, reliable, and ornate than the equivalent humans have created. Their shot also punches through armor and hide better than a Quarrel can.
Like Quarrelers, Thunderers are basically Warriors armed with a ranged weapon and not afraid to fight in melee against anything that survives their barrage.
Dwarfs with long beards. More specifically, beards so long they touch the ground. When a Dwarf beard grows that long the entire local community breaks into celebration. Not every such Dwarf actually joins Longbeard ranks and some remain in whatever their field of expertise is, but its a happy time nonetheless.
So why is this a big deal? Dwarf beard fetish? Well, there actually is a good reason. Dwarfs naturally have a VERY long lifespan, comparable to Elves. Unlike Elves, Dwarfs almost never reach true old age because of the dangers to their race; they don't have a magical floating island to keep them safe from Night Goblins and Skaven tunneling into their fortresses and slitting the throats of everyone useful. Unlike humans, Dwarf population replenishment is low. This combines with Dwarf culture, possibly their own natural instincts, to look to the oldest as the best. When in doubt Dwarfs always refer to the most elderly among them to determine what to do, following suite. So how do you quickly and reliably determine who is the oldest in a race that can't use magic to grow hair faster? Beard length. A shaven Dwarf is culturally an infant and will never regain the status lost in the shaving which is why many just shave their head to match and seek death as Slayers.
Longbeards aren't just Warriors with status however. They've seen shit that makes Elves and men gouge out their eyes declaring "HE COMES".
Daemonette orgy with more cocks than limbs? Lost chastity, survived it. So many Ogres they blot out the horizon, each wearing a bib made from beards and licking their lips? Lost some toes, survived it. Only human beer on tap? Entered a Fey Mood and chopped up a kinsman for parts to make a belt buckle, survived it. Elves rejecting a handcrafted pipe because its made of wood? Killed so many keebs that murder has lost meaning, survived it. Snot nose beardlings listening to crappy music, disrespecting their elders, swearing, not smoking, adopting liberal attitudes? THAT is the challenge to Longbeards.
If Longbeards are present on the battlefield, they almost certainly will not run. If Longbeards hold firm and complain that Nurgle used to be much grosser and vampires suckier in their day, nobody else will run either. Every young Dwarf wants to impress the Longbeards, and even if they do get sick of hearing about how much they suck for being born at a later date and about tall tales that are almost certainly lies, young Dwarfs still remain in awe of the idea of being so important as well as in gratitude for the centuries of service these heroes have given so they can even be born in the first place.
Mining clans will send out their best to fight alongside the Engineer's Guild, the Baker's Guild, the Potash Maker's Guild, and so on. But Miners spend all day every day wearing their armor, modified to be protective mining equipment, and carrying their weapon, picks. They can go straight from the job to a battle, which when they encounter Skaven, Night Goblins, and the odd Wood Elves is the case anyway. The older and deeper a mine, the more investment has been put into it meaning the alcohol-powered Dwarfs have access to alcohol-powered steam drills, durable mine carts with hearty ponies, and plenty of explosives. Ironically, the younger a mine the more likely the Miners are to grumble about the newfangled beardling equipment. The most important mines have mining vehicles, air pumps, cart tracks, and elevators.
Other than that, Dwarf Miners are exactly what you would expect.
Of note is that the older Miner models actually came with terrain! Two pony-pulled mining carts, two wheelbarrows, two "mine canary" Goblins in cages, and a fair amount of extra pickaxes, lamps, and satchel charges. Good times.
You want a thankless job? Rangers are your pick.
Dwarfs think that Rangers are a bit mental. Why any Dwarf would actually want to be in the sun and in open air, roaming the wilderness and making maps, slinking about as scouts and saboteurs, mingling with Umgi and Elgi or other weirdos from other Holds outside of a proper meet is beyond the ability of non-Rangers to explain. They figure they must be criminals evading the Slayer Oath, insane, or queer in some way (lack of females may mean Dwarfs are less likely to have a gay taboo, but if they do then its most certainly what many think Rangers are hiding). The lore notes that a few Rangers are hiding something, but most just found it as their calling. Rangers can be sociable or prefer isolation, adventurous or paranoid, sneaky and inventive or staunch traditionalists. Those who dislike the outdoors help scout and clear the Underway. You can always find a Ranger who is a specialist in fighting Skaven, greenskins, men, Elves, other Dwarfs, Dragons, Ogres, Dragon Ogres, Daemons, undead, and anything else you can think of. When trouble strikes a Dwarf ally, a Ranger can appear and offer any kind of aid imaginable (strange is when a Dawi covered in green and leaves appears unheard from seemingly thin air to warn Wutelgi of an attack from the Dum Umgi, but its likely happened).
Its the job of a Ranger to send a message to all nearby Holds, poison the supplies of invaders, burn their maps, collapse their tunnels, ignite their ammunition, assassinate their leaders, and finally ambush the weakened force as they arrive to fight the assembled defending force.
For all this, they get to sit alone in the Hold while the non-Ranger Longbeards grumble openly about how weird they are.
But the perks are knowing they are the primary treasure-hunters of their kind, the first defenders of their homes and kin, the ones non-Dwarfs are most happy to see (after merchants), and do as much (if not more) heroic and direct good as Slayers. Every Hold and expedition relies heavily on its Rangers, from Miners fearing the Skaven to Warriors facing a WAAAGH! of greenskins. Not to mention good ol' Bugman's Rangers are doubtless doing a world of good in endearing them to their kin.
Lorewise Rangers use whatever. Rulewise its a crossbow, hand weapon, throwing weapon, great weapon, and an option for shields. Note that although GW stopped saying so for some reason after 7e, the Quarrelers/Thunderers kit has Rangers as the third build as Quarrelers with an axe and shield. Some players prefer to use the body with cloaks for Rangers and those without for Quarrelers/Thunderers to make them actually distinguishable from the front.
Ah, Slayers. About as iconic as Warhammer Dwarfs get. Knockoffs not withstanding.
There's multiple sources on the first Slayer. Some sources say Grimnir was the first after leaving his axe with his kin and setting out for a one-Dwarf war against Chaos for eternity. Another says that according to Garaith Ungrim (retold by Durgrim Redmane, Longbeard Hammerer) Gudrun Morgrimson was the first after allowing the son of his best friend King Skorri Morgrimson, Furgil Morgrimson, be killed and eaten by Trolls on an expedition to the lower levels of Karak Ungor. Gudrun dyed his hair red like the prince's and used Furgil's axe while wandering in the same half-naked state (having been stripped of clothing by Night Goblins who thought he was dead), spending the rest of his life killing any Troll he could, never returning to his home of Karaz-a-Karak out of shame. The final account is from an old Warhammer boxed set called "Dwarf Lords Of Legend" that came out in 1985. The once-sentence lore for one of the minis was "Kimril Giant Slayer, first slayer and bested the Giant twins Thunderguts and Stormbelly."
Some players have reconciled all three as thus; Grimnir began the tradition of sacrificing oneself for the greater good of Dwarfs. Gudrun was inspired by Grimnir on how to seek redemption, and began the red haired, nearly naked, Holdless, axe-using rule. Kimril was the first to copy Gudrun and be a Slayer, thereby being the founder of the Slayer Cult.
Slayers are regarded as ____slayers based on their accomplishments of killing. Trollslayers are the lowest rank of Slayer. They represent the common footplodder Slayers you field as elite infantry. All Slayers dye their hair red and spike it with pig grease.
Taking the Slayer Oath is compared to Japanese Seppuku, but there are major differences. Rather than a way to prove honor in the face of a loss of it, Slayer Oaths are a means of restoring lost honor. It has a possible biological function in being a way to deal with a higher population of males, although since the lore reinforces how Dwarfs are generally mentally stable but anything that can really get to them causes a complete break and how Slayers are the way to cope with this loss-wrought insanity (the Slayer Kings are generally described as driven halfway to madness trying to reconcile both Oaths and responsibilities) then it is a way to eliminate those who could fall to Chaos in other races from society in a beneficial way. Regardless, reasons for becoming one are numerous. Loss of kin, loss of love, loss of goods or money, loss of heirloom, loss of any kind. Anything that really sticks with you, that you cannot get over, would cause you to become a Slayer. (Insert reference to End Times/Age Of Sigmar here.) what would drive a human to become a drunk or an Elf to waste away in mourning causes a Slayer in Dwarfs.
Dwarfs cannot simply commit suicide or drown themselves in ale forever though. A Slayer may seek death, but they must find it being useful to their race. There are Slayer Engineers who create insane deathtrap weapons, Slayer Runesmiths who work on the weapons of their kin and follow where war goes to ensure the front line always has reliable magic. Slayers with no useful skills just become warriors, constantly improving themselves with training and seeking mentors when not wandering. Whatever the sin, Slayers are regarded the same; pitiable warriors. Useful, but the hero of a great tragedy that's being written. Holdless, Clanless, loyal to the race as a whole. They migrate to places of conflict, or stay where Dwarfs are needed to protect. Like Rangers, a Slayer can appear from nowhere unexpectedly to help. Unlike Rangers which can be of any temperament, Slayers tend to be in darker dispositions although it is not a rule that they always are (Snorri Nosebiter from Gotrek & Felix for example).
Hammerers are the most elite that the Dwarfs have to offer. Equivalent to the White Lions Of Chrace of the High Elves, Hammers are the bodyguards and honor guard forces of Dwarf nobility.
They began in Mount Gunbad, with the great craftsman Kadrin Redmane in the gold mines. After years of fighting morale was low, resulting in a visit from King Morgrim Blackbeard. Night Goblins attacked during the visit and slaughtered the Dwarf forces protecting the king until the workers, lead by Redmane, took up their hammers for working gold and slaughtered the Goblins until the king was able to escape. The Hammerers were formed then out of seasoned Dwarfs lead by those same craftsmen who were given runehammers as a mark of office. Redmane's descendants followed in his footsteps, becoming Hammerers bearing his own runehammer in turn.
Hammerers since that time exist in all Holds (other than the Norse), and are bodyguards to king and thane. Nowadays they select their own Hammerers however they see fit from any profession, Clan, even Hold. Hammerers are stubborn and unyielding even by Dwarf standards, with absolute devotion to their charge. The hammer they wield is invariably ornate, as it is a personal gift (barring those like the Redmane Hammerers who keep an heirloom one) representing the covenant between lord and servant. They are balanced with a degree of perfection reflecting that of the greatswords of the High Elf Swordmasters and are usually made of Gromril. Large Holds have many Hammerers, and when not protecting their lords they are assigned to important positions such as guarding gates. Every group of Hammerers is named for what they protect, for example "the Bugman's Brewery Guard".
In battle their blows hit harder than anything that is not supernatural can, and with a rhythm that sounds like the workshops of a Dwarf hold.
Equal with Hammerers in terms of elite infantry, Ironbreakers were formed after the Time Of Woes. They wear giant suits of Gromril armor that allow them to survive cave-ins and guard the mines, keeping watch for Skaven, Night Goblins, or the monsters that wake up when Dwarfs dig their mines too deep... Being an Ironbreaker is a pretty shit job given that they get none of the glory that Hammerers get and none of the freedom of a Ranger. They're hauled out of the deeps to fight on the surface when needed which can be quite often, but simply due to how numerous the rivals that fight for control of the deep spaces are, most of their battles will invariably be done underground regardless of how much or little time they spend there.
Ironbreakers are specialists in underground combat, and immediately form into complex formations designed for subterranean and cramped space warfare as their commanding officers demands.
Ironbreakers take a similar Oath as the Hammerers, although theirs is made to defend the young of their Hold and the halls/remains of their ancestors rather than to a present noble.
Like most armies that got an update in 8th edition, Dwarfs received dual-build kits with new options. Irondrakes were that option, sharing a kit with Ironbreakers. Their lore reflects their meta existence far more than the other 8e additions.
Irondrakes are what happens when shit with the Skaven and Night Goblins goes so badly that prototype technology invented by batshit insane Engineers that are probably heretics against Morgrim is used. Said technology is Drakeguns,
Warpfire Throwers reverse-engineered and powered by alchemy rather than Warpstone A TOTALLY UNIQUE INVENTION THA' IS THE RESULT OF WEAPONIZING GRUDGES, AN' MAYBE A BIT OF NITROGLYCERINE.
Drakeguns are very large devices with attached fuel (meaning no backpacks) that fire a single blast of flames so hot that the Gromril armor of the initial Ironbreaker testers (Tested on the battlefield?! HERESY!) was insufficient protection, which resulted in even more expense fielding them as the typical Ironbreaker armor had to be modified to show absolutely no skin, cover the beard entirely, and be filled with protective runes. The runes and protective armor were invented for Dwarfs that work in high temperature forges. That being said, Irondrakes are still basically Ironbreakers with a fuckhuge flare gun. Just better armor on top of that.
It should be noted that the Drakefire technology has been refined to the point that Drakefire Pistols are a thing, having shorter range but can be fired even in melee. These can be seen being carried by many different Dwarfs, including Rangers and Ironbreakers. The pistols are apparently far less dangerous since that means they do not require Irondrake armor to use (Irondrakes with them still use their armor though).
Oh, and if you thought the above was insane the Irondrakes also use Trollhammer Torpedoes, a modification to Drakeguns attached to the end which turns them into fucking bazookas.
The common use of Irondrakes is standing behind the Ironbreakers until an enemy that would give them trouble appears, whereupon the Ironbreakers move to the sides and allow the Irondrakes to step forwards and incinerate the troublesome opponents before the Ironbreakers move back into formation again.
Irondrakes were a surprisingly popular addition to the army considering how poorly many 8e minis were received by Warhammer Long(neck)beards. They took up the same slot as cannons, and had the game not been summarily executed they may have caused a reduction in the cannon spam that non-Dwarf players hated so much.
Gyrocopters are surprisingly not a new invention. New enough for Longbeards and Kragg to grumble mind you since they weren't around in the War of Vengeance, but still older than any living Dwarf save Kragg and Grombrindal. They were invented after the loss of the Underway in the Time Of Woe, as a replacement means of communication and supply drops between Holds. They have become so widespread that even small Holds have at least a few. In Dwarf battle tactics the Gyrocopter serves the combined role of dragon, cavalry, and small artillery.
A Gyrocopter is basically a helicopter, capable of taking off straight up (minimizing space needed to land, store, and takeoff) and hovering. They run on a miniaturized steam engine and are piloted by particularly brave/insane (by Dwarf reckoning) Engineers.
They were inspired by dragons flying around a mountain that an unnamed Engineer watched, with parts from Miner drilling machines and grinding machines making the mechanism work. The 6e account of Redmane says that Thane Orgri came up with the idea of sticking a small cannon on one. Since then the Gyrocopters have been armed with rapidfire guns instead, although in 7e this was changed to a steam blast that fired grapeshot like from a cannon, and in 8e this was change to a gun which fired just steam itself. This is on top of an upgrade called the Brimstone Gun, a modified version of a Drakegun. In older editions of the game and in-universe models the pilot would carry bombs to light and throw, although now they have bombs on their stabilizer wings that can be dropped.
By replacing the steam gun of a Gyrocopter with a Clattergun (just a standard rapidfire gun rather than the shotgun blast of a steam gun) Engineers were able to attach a payload of bombs to an extended body, creating a dedicated bomber. Unfortunately the increased mass despite the same weight caused problems with wind and aerodynamics, preventing the kind of dive and drop that gives Gyrocopter bombs accuracy. To compensate, the Grudgebuster bombs were invented which are designed to create multiple "bouncing" explosions which cover a far larger area and thus are more likely to hit the target.
The most famous Gyrobomber wings are the Skyhammers of Zhufbar and the Blackhammer Bombers of Karaz-a-Karak.
Its a cannon. Made by Dwarfs. That's about all there is to know.
Dwarf cannons are smaller than those of other races, and made from pure steel rather than brass and wood (old models showed wood frames and wheels, apparently those are the "newer" cannons while the new models are the "older" ones). They are tested for centuries before being put into use. The first where made by Zhufbar, but now most Holds make their own.
Dwarf armies in the meta are known for fielding as many of these low-misfire risk and high accuracy (literally "cannon sniping") guns as they can which basically made big models useless high-point targets for much of the game history. While Dwarfs are already a defensive army, this pushed the tactic to the utmost degree. Compare to Fish of Fury.
- Onager/Catapult/Stone Thrower/Grudge Thrower
Its exactly what you think and changed names quite a bit over the years, although 7e put a Dwarfy flavor to it. During the War Of Vengeance the Dwarfs began inscribing non-magical runes naming a specific Grudge being avenged on the rocks they flung at Elves in an effort to clear as many Grudges as possible during the war.
Later on, Dwarfs who's Hold had been lost would use stone from their home with Grudges relating to the fall runed on them.
In the modern day the stone matters more than the device and Grudge Throwing is an important aspect of war.
One of the legendary older special models. If you have one, count yourself very lucky. In a battle for an unknown Hold during the Goblin Wars, an Onager crew ran out of stone to fire and the Goblin army was rapidly advancing. The youngest member of the crew, Gorm Foambeard, offered to be fired instead which inspired his crewmate Gottri Flatnose. Gottri used his mallet to knock out several Goblins that had charged ahead of their force, and the crew tied them up and fired them instead (to the horror of everyone but Gottri).
It should be noted that Doom Divers were not yet a thing. The idea of being fired caused the entire horde to stop in place, and after a screaming Goblin made a direct hit and splattered on the General and officers the entire army fled. The Dwarfs celebrated the victory to the degree that they would have been unable to defend had the Goblins regrouped. Since then, Gob-Lobbers decorated with Goblin corpses and stocked with struggling Goblins have appeared throughout history.
- Organ Gun
The organ as a musical instrument which propels steam through pipes was invented by the Engineer Lokri Snarrison. Another Engineer named Durin Kurganssonson (presumably the grandson of a Dwarf named Kurgans) had the idea of using five such pipes (after 7e only four) as small cannons in one iron artillery piece. Inaccurate since they can't be reliably elevated or trained on targets (in real life the ribauldequin is the name of an organ gun, which was useful as anti-personnel artillery between 1300 and 1400 after which point its conceptual successors became inferior to a cannon loaded with grapeshot due to higher expense in production and increased load time) and with a smaller and thus less damaging ammunition.
- Bolt Thrower
Its a giant crossbow on wheels. Revered by Dwarfs since they were operated when Valaya, Grimnir, and Grungni still walked among their people. Easy to make, cheap to maintain and thus affordable to a ridiculous degree. Produces no smoke and thus does not obscure the vision in a long battle or underground. Highly accurate and reliable, can easily be aimed skywards making ideal defense against Dragons and other beasties.
Yes, Bolt Throwers are the Dwarf mainstay artillery. But nobody uses them on the tabletop because FUCKYEAHCANNONS! Oh well.
- Flame Cannon
Step 1: Fill barrel (in older models literally a barrel) with molten tar and hot oil. Step 2: Fill barrel with air until full of pressure. Step 3: Insert a small amount of flaming oil into the nozzle. Step 4: Release pressure, spray burning oil over the battlefield. Step 5: Extinguish beards.
No real lore other than how to use them.
Because some Dwarfs looked at the Gyrocopter and went "Why can't we throw four to six pieces of artillery on that, carry a small army with cargo space leftover, and ram things?" then got to work.
The Dwarf airships have long been mentioned in lore (as well as Goblin airships, Empire flying towers, and High Elf flying castles) but in 8e it finally got a name and stats...kinda. While it has rules, it was not given a points value and sat in the Big Red Book as a scenario option.
A Dwarf has to be mad in both meanings of the word to fly one of these. Which makes it none too surprising that the most famous and effective one was built by a mad Slayer Engineer and used extensively by none other than Gotrek and Felix.
Although various companies make Thunderbarge proxies, GW never made an official one and recommended scratchbuilding it.
- Flame Thrower
Similar concept as the Flame Cannon, but a two-Dwarf weapon team
the same as COMPLETELY DIFFEREN' THAN a Skaven Warpfire Thrower. Dwarf in the back operates a bellows which projects the flames out of the nozzle the front Dwarf holds.
The models are long Out Of Production.
Another unique and beloved set you should count your lucky Gromril to own.
Malakai Makaisson was an Engineer who created numerous ill-fated vessels. The Ironclad he built named the
Titanic Unsinkable sunk on its maiden voyage, killing most of the crew. His Thunderbarge the Hindenburg Undestructable exploded on its maiden voyage, killing most of the crew.
For both disasters he was kicked put of the Engineer's Guild and became an Engineer Slayer. He built a final Thunderbarge, the Spirit Of Grungni, which had an illustrious and successful career. He used it to go on adventures with Gotrek and Felix.
But at some point he decided to invent an artillery piece on treads that fires axes. Yes, you read that right.
That is the Goblin-hewer. It is operated by Slayers who are more than willing to get into melee. It was also a Dogs Of War model, so not just for Dwarfs.
- Imperial Dwarves
Getting way into Oldhammer on this one, as these originate in the time when Games Workshop models were produced by two companies; Marauder and Citadel (they later merged in 1993 with the release of 4th edition). Marauder Dwarfs resembled what we now know as the Empire, basically Landsknecht Dwarfs. This is before most Warhammer lore (not unfair to say "almost all" in fact). Today the logic of these models in the community is thus;
- "Imperial Dwarves" are Marauder Empire Dwarfs. They are Dwarfs living in the Empire, expatriates. Canon lore calls them Gazani AKA Flatlanders.
- Imperial Dwarfs are what we know now as modern Citadel Dwarfs. They are the Dwarfs of Ankor, loyal to the High King.
Marauder Dwarfs mainly differ in using spears.
An Ironclad is a giant paddle steamship, basically a small Hold (like a modern aircraft carrier is a small city) that contains an entire Clan. Over the years Ironclads are modified by the crew, every change recorded in the ship's Book Of Armaments that are sporadically shared with the Engineers Guild.
The layers of iron require significant damage to occur before boarding is possible, with tough Dwarf Marines waiting inside. Every hatch is sealed by intricate locks that only a captain can unseal. Every Ironclad is full of Engineers, improving and repairing as needed and causing an already tough ship to be able to be repaired even in battle.
Although all Dwarf ships are called Ironclads, the Ironclad is also the battleship equivalent of the Dwarf navy.
Although High Elves technically have the single strongest navy in the setting and fight with Dark Elves to maintain that status, Dwarfs are the uncontested masters of their own waters.
An Ironclad the size of a full-sized Dwarf Hold. Very few have ever been made, and the primary buyers are the Kings of Barak Varr with each commissioning their own personal one upon taking the throne. Hengist Cragbrow was the inventor of the first Dreadnaught. Dreadnaughts boast the ability to launch Gyrocopters and Thunderbarges like an aircraft carrier.
Named after one of the two famous real life ironclads, this is an Ironclad small enough to sail up rivers and lakes. Rarely seen outside Barak Varr's waters. Equivalent to a U-boat.
Obvious inspiration is obvious. Invented by Mungrun Steelhammer, Cragbrow's apprentice.
A Nautilus is a Dwarf Ironclad submarine. The most famous one known to players is actually owned by Chaos Dwarfs in Dreadfleet, but Ankor Dwarfs use them too.
You read that bit about Slayers above, right? Well, the Dragonslayer is what happens when a Slayer manages to survive despite all odds, until mere trolls are no longer considered challenging enough to be a likely Doom for them. Dragonslayers, as the name suggests, compensate by going after much, much bigger quarry. In a nutshell, these are your Hero-tier Slayer characters, and so are considerably fightier than their rank and file kindred. Of course, they can't be a leader or a standard bearer, as no sane dwarf is going to follow where a Slayer leads.
While Trollslayers represent the common Slayer, fielded in groups of 10 or more usually, Dragonslayers are solitary warriors that command the same rules as a Unit.
Somehow, despite it all, some Dragonslayers don't get themselves killed off and dragons, well, they aren't as common in the Warhammer World as they used to be. So, what's the one enemy that dwarfs hate more than Dragons, who're equally challenging to kill, and can be easily found wherever you wanna sling your axe? You guessed it: Daemons. With no mortal challenges left to face, these Slayers go wandering northwards, either smashing headfirst into a Chaos incursion or dying somewhere in the Chaos Wastes.
A Daemonslayer is a Slayer Character, who accompanies but cannot lead an army.
- Engineer/Master Engineer
Engineers are the dwarfs who have joined the Engineer Guilds, learning the fine arts of building all the technology that the dwarfs admire so much, as well as striving to control any dangerous ideas they might have about "innovation" or "invention". Master Engineers are, of course, the most experienced and skillful engineers around, with centuries of study under their belts. On the tabletop, these guys tend to be orientated towards ranged combat, and have special rules that let them buff your war machines.
Dwarfs don't have conventional wizards, and consider the practice a right load of mucking around. No, they stick with a far safer route. Runesmiths have the most difficult and arduous job in all of Dwarfdom; studying for centuries to master the art of binding magical energy into physical constructs through precisely carved runes. These runes can then have their power tapped for a safe, reliable form of pseudo-spellcasting; each rune may only be capable of doing one thing, but it will never blow up in the user's face like wizardry would. Runelords are the master Runesmiths; they've been around for a thousand years or more, and so can use runes that ordinary Rune Smiths just aren't tough enough to handle yet. As you might have figured, these guys act like wizards in the dwarf army, but they can't manifest the damage-dealing effects of other casters; instead, they're an anti-magic support unit, specializing in destroying spells cast by enemy wizards. Needless to say, they're not as squishy as Warhammer wizards tend to be. Out of combat, these are the ones that make anything important for Dwarfs from the weapons and armor of elite troops to important components of machines.
- Anvil Of Doom
Mighty displays of dwarven magical craftsmanship that can no longer be replicated in the degenerate modern age, an Anvil of Doom is a rune-inscribed anvil-cum-altar that essentially lets a Runelord act like a more conventional wizard. By striking on this Anvil, they can draw upon the magic bound within its runes to cause various destructive effects.
Created by the great ancestor Kurgaz in the depths of Thunder Mountain, forged from pure Gromril in the way of the first Dwarfs, sealed with the rune of magic tamed itself, the Rune of Sorcery. A dragon was recorded as attacking Thunder Mountain, killing Kurgaz and most of the Runesmiths which caused many of the most powerful and important runes to be lost.
Each is inscribed with intricate runes that modern Dwarfs can't even read, let alone use. That is on top of the central rune, the Rune Of Doom, which gives the Anvils their name. Even beyond that, every Anvil was dedicated to one of the primary trinity; Grungni's requires and bolsters effort, Grimnir's fury, and Valaya's is based on loyalty. Knowledge of how to use the Anvils was passed down orally and practically from master to apprentice, so the current users of the Anvils have a very incomplete and often completely different understanding of how to use them with the untimely death of a master resulting in many secrets lost forever. Improper use of an AoD can cause great calamity, the worst of which is the loss of the Anvil itself. Very few remain in the world, each belonging to a major Hold. Their loss is a dark day to never be forgotten by any Dwarf.
Most AoD are left in the depths of each Hold, lost with the homeland and reclaimed on joyous days (because its generally beyond the capacity of greenskins and Skaven to destroy them). Rarely, in times of need, they are hauled into battle. The 4e model had them mounted on wheels with the Runelord riding it, striking the front from the back. The 6e model is sedentary, consisting of the AoD sitting in a magic runed stone circle while an apprentice works a nearby forge. Both versions have Anvil Guards, sworn to loyalty of the Anvil above all else who will never abandon it. How exactly the vibrations and lightning from striking don't shatter the ankles of the Runelord in the old model isn't clear, not is how the fuck they haul the thing to a battle or travel when ambushes are a thing in the new one...as a result many modders put the new AoD on the back or in the hands of a Golem, on a flying chunk of rock, or some other transportation. Total War: WARHAMMER actually addressed the issue by having the Anvil Of Power carried by four Runesmiths, similar to the Thorgrim's Throne. The only effects are making Runelords much killier and more durable while increasing the "FUCK YO MAGIC" bubble of your army at the cost of a tad bit of speed.
Thorek Ironbrow is the only Runelord capable of using the Rune Of Doom of his AoD, and not safely (or possibly correctly) either. Its unknown if Kragg could, given Kragg is actually older than the Anvils Of Doom, but he was basically replaced by Thorek in the lore when the bit about nobody knowing how to use them was added; if you consider Kragg canon, he may be the only Dwarf capable of using them properly.
All dwarf clans have a boss, called a Thane, and the boss of bosses is called a Lord. There's not really much more to it than that; these are your bog-standard character units, with Thanes filling the Hero tier and Lords, well, take a guess.
A Thane may be appointed and come from any part of society; these are the Dwarf nobility. A Lord may only be of royal descent, with royalty descended from the ancestor gods and thus all children of Valaya. Thanes are promoted into Lords as high nobility. A Lord may become a King upon the death of the previous king. Unlike in other races, this is not an enviable position; happy ascension only occurs on the very rare time a King lives long enough to step down and even then is more the shouldering of responsibilities rather than gain of wealth and privilege. All Kings are eligible for High King, seen much like promotion from Lord to King. The High King is the supreme leader of the race, loyal to all Dwarfs as if they are his children.
Rarely, females end up as Thanes. The wife of a King is by default a Queen, but rare is the Queen who truly rules; the current Queen of Karak Norn sharing leadership with her husband is the exception. Very few times in history has a Queen ruled alone, and a High Queen has never existed save as wife of the High King.
Some Dwarf Kings take on the tradition of the son of Kurgaz, and are carried into battle standing on an oversized shield (or the shield of a giant of a Dwarf ancestor) by two beloved Thanes.
Oathstones are another tradition, a piece of the Hold of the King, Lord, or Thane which is inscribed in runes describing the user, lineage, deeds, clan, or other relevant information. These are stood on ceremonially or in battle, and to Dwarfs it is representative of the Hold itself; thus by standing on one, the Dwarf is saying to treat it as the home and defend it or be as truthful and sincere as they would to the entirety of what the Oathstone represents. Whether swearing an Oath, making a greeting, or standing with shield ready in front of it.
Yeah, technically modern lore is Dwarfs repel magic and only Chaos Dwarfs can be wizards via rune tattoos that force magic into their bodies, turning them slowly to stone like a cancer as their body tries to fight it. But in the preslotta days that only players who can call themselves Longbeards remember, there were three Dwarf wizard models with one notably whispering anxiously to a small and confused looking frog.
That's all there is to say really. If you're one who likes to blend all of Warhammer lore into your headcanon or the community FLGS canon, there are at least three Dwarf wizards wandering the world.
- In 1992 BISP (British Institute of Small People) took Games Workshop to court over the offensive use of the word "Dwarf" as a magical creature predisposed to drink and hoarding gold but came out short and failed to win their case. Games Workshop later counter sued BISP (forcing its closure) for alleged theft from the Games Workshop premises and threatening calls.
- The video game Mark of Chaos was marked with scandal after a Games Workshop employee was fired for suggesting the Dwarves speak with a Scottish accent because "they are greedy overweight alcoholics anyway" in a printed release of Gamesmaster magazine. Games Workshop was forced to issue an apology to the minister of Scotland Andrew MacDonald.
- In 2001 Rick Priestly told staff at Games Workshop that he was able to communicate with the dwarves from the fictional universe of Warhammer. This, combined with other incidents eventually lead to his dismissal from Games Workshop.
- Bugmans Brewery, the primary Dwarfs fansite.