[Archive] Chaos Dwarf Army Book by Thommy H

Thommy H:

I’m a menace. I have to be stopped. Because, you see, over the last few years I’ve come to realise that one of my hobbies is “writing Warhammer: Chaos Dwarfs”. I don’t know why I’ve fixated on just doing this, over and over, but it may have something to do with this community and the way it continues to be such an amazing source of creativity and talent.

The story behind this version is that, about this time last year, I was contemplating the newest Warhammer army books and thinking about my Chaos Dwarfs. As much as I’d put into the last book, there was no denying that it had its origins prior to 8th Edition, and even though I’d retroactively rebuilt the thing and tried to make it work, it was just too much. I wanted to be able to field my army with a simple set of rules. I wanted to use Tamurkhan, really, but I had some issues with that: not only were some of the units a bit wonky, but I actually couldn’t properly represent some of my collection.

Example: my Immortals. A unit of fantastic Titan Wargames Royal Guard with great weapons. Ideally, these would be Infernal Ironsworn, but Ironsworn can’t get great weapons. So Infernal Guard then? They can have great weapons, but they can’t ditch their shields, so they’re still not right! And every time I went through the process of fitting my army to the Legion of Azgorh, I became frustrated and wanted a better solution.

My plan, such as it was, was to make a “simplified list” that would be a tidied up LoA with a few extra units - namely Immortals, Overlords, Hobgoblin Bolt Throwers and Black Orcs. I kept most of the rules the same, just reworked them to fit better with 8th Edition and got rid of some of the crazier excesses, like the K’daai Destroyer’s bizarre stats. I was pleased with this work, but didn’t do much else with it. Then Warhammer: Dwarfs came out and I started thinking about Chaos Dwarf rules again. I wanted to revamp my book. I wanted to have it look and feel like the Dwarf one and just be up to my current standards. In the process, I added in Acolytes and the Altar of Hashut, just because.

Instead, I tarted up my basic list and made Legions of Zharr. People seemed to quite like this, and I think the formatting is a step up from what came before. But the more I looked at this, the more I thought it wouldn’t be that hard to work it up into a full book - I would really start from scratch this time, slaying the sacred cows (almost literally!) and write new fluff, use newer art, go all out with the presentation…

Anyway, here’s the bloody thing. I can’t figure out how to embed Issuu publications as the site’s changed quite a bit since I last used it (any ideas, Xander?) but I believe you can download it straight from there at least:

I’m so sorry, everyone.


Army book writing seems like a slippery slope. GW should just chain you to a desk. That’d handle all their rulebook writing at maximum speed. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

First impressions, upon scanning through it, are professional. It looks like an improvement. I’ll read through the army book once it’s got printed. There is design sense for matching with the Dwarf book in using Baggronor’s Astragoth piece for the front cover, though the Great Taurus one looked even better. Bonus points for including peripheral sites like Anurell’s Tomb on the map.

Is it legal and all to use parts of FW and GW artwork in the book? I love to see them there, though. Perhaps even some old 4th edition pieces could be salvaged in the distant future, if you’re going to update it eventually.

Don’t be sorry, be glad instead. Once you’ve caught your breath you might want to write a short, more salesmanlike wrap-up of the new book for WoH. It surely deserves a mention as one of the bigger things to have happened since last issue, and who’d be better suited to give it a mention than the designer himself? No hurry, though!

I could see this army book being used on some tournaments in the future if the balance is good and if FW takes too long in giving LoA any kind of update.

Thommy H:

The use of GW images is about as legal as the use of GW rules and background, which is also what I’m doing. Basically, if I tried to sell it and they found out about it, they’d hit me with a cease and desist, probably. Since at the moment it’s purely non-proft, they have no grounds for prosecuting me. They might send me a grumpy e-mail - or they might give me a job, who knows?

In previous versions I was really dead set on using all fan-produced artwork, but since this cribs so heavily from Tamurkhan for its rules anyway I decided I was being too precious about it. I used things I had permission for for preference, but if nothing presented itself (I was never happy with what I used for Lord Bhaal’s bestiary entry, for example) I went to GW’s artwork. A small sacrifice for my already shaky integrity I think!


Haha, lovely! I’m going to give this a read later.


Okay, I took a quick look through things, mostly the rules and point costs.

Here’s some first reactions while going over them:

  • I like the extra focus on the divide between Dwarfs and Chaos Dwarfs with the Ancient Schism rule.

  • Allowing characters to sit in Slave units it a pretty big thing. I always felt very limited about where I could hide my Chaos Dwarf casters, due to not being allowed to put them inside a Hobgoblin unit. I’ve cursed that limitation plenty of times, but I felt it was an interesting weakness for the army in total.

  • It’s nice to see Sorcerer Lords being able to walk again.

  • Overall characters seem to have gained some in power (more lores) while getting a small reduction in pointcost. The leadership 10 hero stands out and the 175 point Bull Centaur Elder seems like a good deal. (I was a big fan of them when they were 200 points.)

  • I like the adjustment on the Arcane Engineer rule (Daemonsmiths).

  • Having Infernal Guard carry the Slaves special rule is a nice touch.

  • Immortals immediately stood out as being too much by gaining an extra attack. They were very, very handy before. I fear this makes them too good. They’re basically Chaos Warriors now, for the same price, but they come with Hatred and Stubborn!

    It’s nice to not be locked into fielding them as sword/board, although I feel that really suited their fluff and overall feel of the unit; a relentless, elite shieldwall of dawi zharr.

  • Removing Poisoned arrows on Hobgoblins is a good move I think. It’s something I’ve struggled with in your old book myself. I seriously enjoyed being able to field poisonous bowfire, but it was maybe a bit too much.

  • Yay for being able to field Hobgoblin Khans! I want to convert some!

  • Acolytes are nicely streamlined with the “new” elven units. I haven’t really considered their power on the battlefield yet.

    I’m unclear about their casting bonus however. Any size unit is a level 2 caster, so receives +2 to cast. What’s the casting bonus on a unit of 10 Acolytes? +1 for the extra rank so +3 total?

    The +1 per rank says you can get +3 at most. Does this mean I can get up to a +5 casting bonus in total with a unit of 20 acolytes?

  • I’m a little sad about losing all the upgrade options for artillery and Infernal Engines, but I think I can live with the premade options coming from Tamurkhan.

  • The Slave Giant feels a bit like an odd duck. I know it’s included because it’s in Tamurkhan, but it still feels unnecessary  in a Chaos Dwarf list.

This list got quite a bit more extensive than I thought it would be. I hope it’s of some use to you!


Only had a glance, but looks ace!

Thommy H:

Thanks for the feedback, JMR. To address a couple of your concerns:

- A lot of the points costs are based on those in the Dwarf book, since this is an obvious starting point for Chaos Dwarfs. So Immortals, for example, are costed the same as Hammerers. Same statlines but Hammerers have the Resolute and Kingsguard special rules and come with a great weapon automatically, Immortals have Hatred and get Chaos armour, so I think they work out even. I can see the argument for them being worth more, but 8th Edition has generally made things cheaper or given free buffs (Dwarfs again being a perfect example of that - they pay nothing for Ancestral Grudge, Shieldwall or the now beneficial Resolute).

- Acolytes would indeed get a +5 casting bonus if you had 20 of them in four ranks. Which seems good, but they just have two pretty mild augment spells and they’re no tougher than ordinary Dwarfs. I would suggest trying them out though because they’re quite a bit different from their previous incarnations and the two Elf units with similar special rules are both expensive cavalry which may balance out their abilities a bit!

- I had to include your Lammasu because it’s such a great conversion and beautifully painted! The only problem (as you say) is that the rider is clearly an Overlord. I actually would have had it so Sorcerers could only ride Lammasus and Overlords/Castellans Tauruses, but since Drazhoath exists I couldn’t really do that! Maybe I should write some rules for a Lammasu riding combat character so you can use your guy as he’s intended…


Perhaps the Immortals are costed accurately. I am not sure the comparison with Hammerers is really that useful though. In my experiences they are a unit that hits hard, is stubborn, but they do die fairly fast with only a 5+ armour save and T4. They do get great weapons for free, but they’re also stuck with them.

My experience with your old Immortals is that it gets you a unit that is really hard to shift, with T4, 3+ armour and a 5+ parry. They also had a reliable (but not high) damage output with high Weapon Skill and Strength 5. I liked using them in units of 10 to lock up stuff I didn’t want to deal with just yet.

If I want the same setup under the new book, I have to pay 2 more points in total. I lose the 5+ parry unless I get charged, but otherwise my defences are the same. The big gain is of course the extra attack. I think this changes the unit from being really hard to shift, losing combats slightly but being stubborn - to a unit that is hard to take out and wins combats. I think I’m going to enjoy using them.

Don’t get me wrong, knowing you, you’ve got a good grasp on the value of stats and the unit is priced accurately. My game experiences and gut feeling however say that the extra attack is a little too much. Maybe I’m out of touch with the most recent 8ed units, however :slight_smile:

As for the Lamassu; The rider is magnetised, because it has always been my intention to convert/sculpt a Sorcerer as an alternative rider. So no worries there!

Thommy H:

Yeah, give the Immortals a try. I’m willing to be persuaded to tweak their points if they turn out too wonky and what you say makes sense - plus you have way more experience using my rules than I do…


How do I download from issue? Haven’t reached the appropriate tech level yet…

Thommy H:

Click Share, and then a Download option should appear on the right!

Tarrakk Blackhand:

This is so awesome! Great work! Now you just have to give us all that special GW paper and some hard covers so we can print it off and bind our own books! - You’re doing it to me…you’re bringing me back to Chaos Dwarfs!

i am a little upset though…for all his years on this web site, there’s no special rules for Tarrakk Blackhand! (:P)


I’ll post any typos and potential unclear text bits here as I read through it, if you like. The intro page’s first lines are grand! It sets the tone perfectly.

p. 3 “Warhammer - The Game of Fantasy Battles”: Switch “boo” to “book”

Thommy H:

Yeah, post 'em up - I’ve spotted at least one myself already!


I’ll chip in too then:

Page 27, text-box Chaos Dwarf Helmets: "for as much as Dwarfs love well-made and beautiful objects, their’s is a marginal society that values function and austerity."

Page 26, The Legion of Azgorh, last line: "as well as suits of hell-sorched armour in fire-blackened bronze."

Page 28, text-box Infernal Artillery, last line: "a cannon that is equal parts machine and Daemon tand which hungers for flesh and blood to devour."

Page 28, text-box K’daai, first line: "a race of Daemons that blend fire, iron and flesh and to form a savage and unpredictable whole."

I really like the description of the different legions, Thommy. They’re a great addition.

Thommy H:

Thanks for picking those up. The document had so many spelling errors (because of all the made up words!) that MS Word actually gave up displaying them near the end of writing it so I had to just rely on my own editing skills. Which, since I write so fast, are basically non-existent.


I noticed that you didnt include all the special characters from the previous compendium, too bad… Ive been planing to convert a huge wolf and got interesetd by GHAZAK KHAN. What base size should he have?


I’m working on an Army Builder file again, which proves to be a pain in the…err…beard yet again. Maybe I’ll stumble upon more typos or such along the way.


If you don’t mind, I’m also going to post some things just to double-check if I’m understanding things right and if you intended things the way it’s written.

Here’s the first:
Does a single Hellfire pistol count as an additional handweapon in combat? I’m reading that it does.
The weapon’s attributes for use in combat are kinda missing though. You’ve listed attributes for Combat and for Ranged for the Brace of Hellfire pistols, but not for a single pistol.

Thommy H:

I noticed that you didnt include all the special characters from the previous compendium, too bad... Ive been planing to convert a huge wolf and got interesetd by GHAZAK KHAN. What base size should he have?

Yeah, I left him out, but you can still use the rules as they appeared in the Masters of Zharr supplement - he'll work just fine! He should go on a cavalry base, as per the original model (that's partly why he has the rule that still gives him "Look Out, Sir!" even though he has a different troop type), but you could put him on a larger base if you wanted. I think 50x50mm would be best so he can sit in a unit of wolf riders.
Here's the first:
Does a single Hellfire pistol count as an additional handweapon in combat? I'm reading that it does.
The weapon's attributes for use in combat are kinda missing though. You've listed attributes for Combat and for Ranged for the Brace of Hellfire pistols, but not for a single pistol.

It's in the opening paragraph of its rules, above the shooting profile for a single pistol. All it does is count as an additional hand weapon that also grants Flaming Attacks, so no need for an actual profile. This is the same format as the Dwarf pistols' rules in their book, and I agree it's a little awkward.