"I promised Grimnir there'd be a mighty tally, and I ain't one for breaking such an oath!"
- – Grombrindal the White Dwarf
"This is a day to strike many grudges from the great book, for I am the White Dwarf, and only worthy folk appear in my pages... So, let us record great deeds this day, and give these urki scum a right royal hammerin'!"
- – Grombrindal the White Dwarf
- – Grombrindal the White Dwarf
Grombrindal, a.k.a. The White Dwarf, is a unique special character from Warhammer Fantasy Battle associated with the Dwarfs army. On a meta-level, he is the iconic character created as the mascot of the Games Workshop gaming magazine White Dwarf. In-universe, he is a mysterious Dwarf warrior with an impressively long, white beard who sometimes appears when Dwarfs are beset by a particularly great and terrible battle, hurling himself into the fray and assuring the eventual victory of dwarfkind and vanishing again (although not always immediately).
He starred in his own comic, and has received more models from Citadel than any other character due to the fact that every few years he gets a special edition model (barring that one time where they simply upped the price of an existing Slayer model and called it him since the paintjob on the box had white hair instead of orange). Most of these models are humorous.
Who 'The White Dwarf' is nobody (canonically) knows, but a theory that many fans share and which Games Workshop heavily teased throughout the years is that he is the spirit of Snorri Whitebeard, the first High King and the firstborn son of the supreme goddess Valaya (Dwarf Zeus+Hera) with his father being Grungni (Dwarf Hephaestus+some elements of Apollo). His siblings and half-siblings (since Valaya had two husbands) count both lesser gods and the ancestors of most of the current kings of the Dwarf race in their numbers.
Snorri's backstory is that before Malekith got his douchebag ass burned to a crisp by Asuryan, he had explored the world like his father Aenarion and discovered the Dwarf race. Malekith discovered more about Dwarfs than any Elf and single-handedly made the two races BFFs. Malekith and Snorri were also best buds, so much so that when Snorri lay dying Malekith was invited to see him on his deathbed. Snorri asked Malekith to agree to his dying Oath that Dwarfs and Elves would always be friends, and Malekith agreed (this was later retconned into it being Malekith's king who swore the Oath at Malekith's urging, while Malekith himself remained as ambassador and Snorri's friend). Oaths are VERY important to Dwarfs, and as we all know Malekith later broke that oath by manipulating the dwarfs and the Elves into a hugely destructive war called the War of Vengeance/War Of The Beard that ruined both races. The story goes that this heinous betrayal of a sworn deathbed Oath, one of the strongest forms of Oaths there is, between two once-best friends was so mystically powerful it hauled Snorri's soul out of the Dwarf afterlife, and ever since he has been determined to exact vengeance upon all enemies of Dwarfkind. One must wonder how Malekith would explain this to his dwarf bud now that he got to be king of all the Elves evar, and thus isn't as much of a vindictive asshole, since Snorri in a monumentally lorebreaking way forgave Malekith (Dwarf culture is almost robotic, wrongdoing must be avenged with either blood or gold, forgiveness gets you divine punishment).
Alternative accounts provided by Dwarfs in his comic suggest he committed such a grave sin of some kind that he is damned to forever be a Slayer, and that he was a lover of Valaya's who became a demigod (can't help but wonder what he thought of that...).
Like the true badass he is, Grombrindal posses up with the two other baddest dwarfs on the planet, Gotrek Gurnisson and Josef Bugman on a very rare and prized anniversary model, and did it canonically with Gotrek replaced with his stepfather Grimnir during End Times during the last battle where literally every single Dwarf who ever lived (other than Gotrek, who's stuck being new Grimnir) fought against the entirety of Chaos.
Thankfully Unfortunately this means he beloved character did not survive into Age of Sigmar. Or so we thought; he shows up in the Eight Lamentations novel series none the worse for wear, and even Grungi isn't clear how he managed that or exactly what he is. At this point both are so old that they've forgotten exactly how they're related, and just settle on calling each other Grandfather. He also shows up in " Gotrek books Blood of the Old" where he proceeds to be a comic relief character and hinting at his true origins, Saying to Malaneth he used to be best friends with a certain dark elf. After this he shows up in Broken Realms: Be'lakor where he scares away the title character while posing as an old arkanaut armed only with a handtool.
The White Dwarf's arch-enemy/comic foil is the Black Gobbo, a Night Goblin who simply serves as his opposite. Black Gobbo had a short-lived internet magazine to parallel Grombrindal's print one. In many of the more humorous models, the Black Gobbo appears and provides the humor of the scene be it peeking out of an anniversary cake or wearing a gray alien costume.
In Vermintide 2's Chaos Wastes mode, Kruber may ask Bardin about Grombrindal. After Bardin says Grombrindal's not an ancestor god but more of a mysterious hero, Kruber will ask if Cousin Okri's comparable to him to which Bardin says yes, but don't tell anyone he said that; which is obviously a very favourable comparison for
In a meta sense, he serves as a living example of the lost vision of Games Workshop as a company, as Grombrindal was invented back in the days when creativity was touted above marketing (and before they decided to focus on their cash cows). Rules weren't pointlessly overcomplicated for the sake of dosh, and armies didn't cost entire organs and limbs. In short, Games Workshop GOT SHIT DONE, and the Dwarf was a strong figure. However, soon GeeDubs fell for the allure of the money and began exploiting all sorts of methods just to gather more, and in these days, the Dwarf just...vanished, and the magazine followed some time after. Some say this was the Dwarf attempting to abandon ship as the world he knew got sold out for more money. With the 2014 reboot of the magazine, Grombrindal was found once more, but now he is just a hollow shell of his former glory, used only to answer tedious questions, practically all of them being about a universe in the far future, answered by the powers of the corporation. In a similar way, Geedubs tries almost too eagerly to appeal to everyone, but consistently missing the bigger goal by making things more costly, even if thing became more streamlined.
On the Tabletop
His last official posted stats for Warhammer Fantasy appeared in White Dwarf #348, where he was described as being a Lord choice for a Dwarfs army.
Special Rules: Ancestral Grudge, Resolute, Relentless
- Grombrindal Has No Fear! - Grombrindal is Unbreakable. However, this cannot be conferred to any unit he is in, so if they break from a battle, he will always stand his ground and prevents the enemy unit from pursuing.
- Disguised - Grombrindal can begin play hidden in any unit of infantry aside from a War Machine crew. Note that if he is made the general and begins play disguised, the army cannot benefit from his Inspiring Presence. While he is not on the table, is is presumed to move along with his unit unless that unit either breaks or is slain, in which case he will reveal himself. In any other case, he can reveal himself in the Close Combat phase. When revealed, he must be moved to the frontmost rank, displacing any rank-and-file models.
- Rune Helm of Zhufbar - Talisman. All fleeing Dwarf Units within 12" of the wearer will automatically rally.
- Armour of Glimril Scales - Magic Armour. Grants a 1+ Armour Save and a 4+ Ward Save.
- Rune Cloak of Valaya - Talisman. Grants Magic Resistance (3).
- Rune Axe of Grimnir - Magic Weapon. Attacks made with the Rune Axe of Grimnir are made at +2 Strength and can re-roll failed to-hit and to-wound rolls. Models wounded by the Rune Axe of Grimnir must re-roll successful Armour Saves.
As if to add insult to injury, for a time, Games Workshop tried releasing special novelty versions of Grombrindal's model. Each model had a limited run, with its mould being destroyed at the end of the year, and they charged exorbitant prices for them. It started with a free model for when he got released for issue #348, then a special anniversary-celebrating collector's edition depicting Grombrindal on a shield being toted by Gotrek Gurnisson and Josef Bugman (where do you think GW got the idea for it in the End Times, hmm?). Then came the wave of novelty versions, including a pirate version, an aviator, a vampire slayer, a movie director, and even a spacesuited Grombrindal.
In 2016, after 3 years from the last Grombrindal model, he came back in the Age of Sigmar... but no new model, it's just the plastic
Dwarf Slayer "Duardin Unforged" painted in different colors and with different rules at a higher price. Yay. And the rules are basically "Unforged, only with slightly more wounds, D3 damage, and and some epic special abilities.
Making up for this in 2017 two kits were released: the first a diorama of the White Dwarf enjoying his 40th real world birthday wearing Power Armor and swigging from a flagon, surrounded by presents including a Bolter, while the Black Gobbo lurks from inside the cake. The second a Blood Bowl pack of him and the Black Gobbo which are useable in the game.
2019 gave us yet another limited-release model for the post-Christmas rush: This time the White Dwarf is now looking like a stuntie Magos with a beard made of mechadendrites, accompanied by a servitorized Black Gobbo. Fan-written rules for this model can be found here.
Total War: WARHAMMER
In Total War: WARHAMMER I & II & III Grombrindal the White Dwarf is a Legendary Lord for the Dwarves; Previously only unlockable via a code in White Dwarf (he was later made free for everyone). Grombrindal is powerful and absolutely fucking PISSED, talking a huge amount of shit to his enemies and being a walking tank leading an army of whatever the fuck he wants as he kicks the teeth of every faction in. He gets his own faction in the combined world map for Total Warhammer III, and starts in Naggaroth, probably with the objective to exterminate every dark elf on the continent. He also gains the exclusive mechanic of invoking the Ancestor Gods for various buffs, with Grimnir's giving battle buffs, Grungni's giving research and construction buffs, Valaya's giving control and casualty replenishment buffs, and Grombrindal getting a buff all to himself which makes him a fucking 4 foot tall Bloodthirster. Thanks to a translation bug, the fanbase now memetically calls him "Alejandro" making him the only Warhammer character to be the focus of a pop song.
Now in Smurf Berry Blue for the anniversary