[Archive] Origins of the Chaos Dwarfs



The history of the Chaos Dwarfs begins millennia ago, before the coming of Chaos, before the dawn of man, before even the rise of the Ancestor Gods.

The doughty race of the Dwarfs was spreading quickly, colonising the World�?Ts Edge Mountains, digging deep into the bones of the earth to build their mighty holds.

Some Dwarfs laid such foundations to the South, where there were fewer Greenskins and gold aplenty. The majority went North, where they found Gromril and gems, and dug deep for the lesser ores. Some wandered even further, but found only snow and trolls. A scant few travelled West, but did not go far, for good stone is rare to the West of the World Edge Mountains.

To the South there was gold. To the North there was steel. To the West there was soil. Those Dwarfs that travelled East to the verdant plains that would later be known as the Darklands, however, were searching for a resource of a different kind: Magic.

In a move started by the primitive Runeshamans of old, a new hold was founded in the East, Karak Vlag, where the then-gentle Winds of Magic blew stronger, and even the crude symbol-runes of that age could harness them. Smiths and miners of all kinds were attracted to the hold, drawn by the deposits of gold, iron and precious stones to be found in the uncharted plains. Yet for all the strength of their runes, no true Dwarf was meant to live without the natural protection of the mountains surrounding him, and as if to prove this point the nomadic greenskins of the region began to gather together.

By the time the horde was large enough to WAAAGH! against the stunted interlopers they were firmly entrenched, and war began. It is possible that this was the first such war between two races, each roaring for the destruction of the other, but the Old Ones did not intervene. They considered the greenskins pests who needed to be exterminated, and were concerned by the meddling of the Eastern Dwarfs with powers they were not yet considered ready to control.

The war dragged on for a century, draining the righteous fury from the Dwarfs, who began to search for some way to end or shorten the conflict. Gradually, blades soaked in green blood and axe-arms as weary as their spirits, the embattled Dwarfs turned to brutality for victory. Goblins were publicly tortured into giving up the locations of their camps, Gnoblars were violently dismembered, their heads set on display, and Orcs had runes of fire carved into their oil-doused flesh, turning them into living pyres whose screams of agony and fury could be heard for miles around. Greenskin skulls were imitated or incorporated into their armour as a grim reminder of hard-won victories, dwarfen flesh protected by leering brass skulls and stylised iron scowls. These displays, desperate intimidation at first, quickly became commonplace, a way for the Eastern Dwarfs to take out their frustrations over a hard war that showed no signs of ending.

But end it did. The Gnoblars, never the stoutest of fighters, fled to the South and East, while most of the other greenskin tribes became more fearful of the �?oSkull Stunties�?� than of their own leaders. The attacks died down, and the Easterners were free to return to the prosperity and innovation of their early years. Or would have been, were it not for the devastation incurred on their population. They may have won the war, but the Dwarfs of the Eastern Plains were now few in number, and clung desperately to power. Their mines were spent, tapped to forge weapons and armour. Their fields were spoilt, coated in soot and dirt by the industry of war. Their halls were battered, the scars of war showing clearly on their walls and corridors

No aid was forthcoming from the West, either; the flood of skilled dwarfs to Karak Vlag had slowed to a trickle once they had witnessed the new barbarity of their cousins. By the end of the war this trickle had been finally stopped, a stop prompted by the coming of Chaos. The skies began to warp, the land began to burn, and strange things walked the lands. In the North of the Great Skull Plains, the ground itself cracked and burnt, and great volcanoes burst forth from the earth like fiery boils. Clouds crackled with violet flames, and emerald lightning struck the ground for miles around.

There were many theories about what this meant amongst the Runeshamans, the ancestral priests of their kind, but their divinings and rituals were in vain. Chaos was coming, and the only Dwarfs with the knowledge of how to combat it were on the other side of the Worlds Edge Mountains. The fabled Ancestor Gods had arrived.

The Ancestor Gods �?" the saviours of the Western Dwarfs, the divine mortals who taught them all they needed to know. From Grimnir, how to best wage war, from Valaya, how to forge magical runes, from Grugni, how to cut stone, beat metal, and the greatest lesson of all �?" to beware Chaos. These new living Gods were but a distant tale to the Easterners, however, and they ignored the edicts and advice that supposedly came from them, more focused on surviving and establishing a semblance of control over their territories.

Those few that did go to hear the Gods speak laughed. How to wage war? The Skull Dwarfs had been waging war before the Ancestors appeared. How to craft runes? The Skull Dwarfs had been channelling such magic for an age. To dig fortifications against Chaos? What was Chaos, compared to hordes of greenskins? The Skull Dwarfs had more than imagined bogeymen to be scared of.

It was this arrogance that was their undoing, and when the polar Gates burst open and the Old Ones fell, the Easterners became no more. The Eastern Plains were seared by the warping magical heat of Chaos, reactivating ancient volcanoes and reducing much of it to an ashy wasteland. Where the Westerners had dug deep into mountains, fortified their holds as best they could with rune and stone and axe, the Eastern Dwarfs had built their towers and ziggurats above ground, to intimidate the greenskin hordes, and they soon fell to enraged daemons, despite each Dwarf selling his life as dearly as possible.

Soon only Karak Vlag was left, a shattered hole of a fortress, inhabited by the desperate remnants of a once-proud society. It�?Ts stonemasons collapsed the entrance, and once the scratching of monsters at the slabs had ceased, there was nothing but silence and darkness. In that darkness the Dwarfs waited, and waited, and despaired. And in that despair a madness was born, and dwarf fought dwarf until one had established dominance over the rest �?" Overlord Zharraz. He ordered his followers to tunnel, to dig though the unyielding black rock until they could dig no more �?" whether he knew what they would find, or whether he was simply mad, none know.

But his followers did not question, and they tunnelled with a religious fervour. Where they encountered pockets of Goblins, huddled in fear from the daemonic storm above, they killed them all. Where they found seams of gold, glinting even in the darkness, they ignored them, and eventually, after an age of darkness and dirt, a light was found. The dwarfs had broken through to an underground cave, and here, deeper under the earth than any had ever travelled, as though summoned by the Dwarfs�?T madness, a light could be seen. A flame. Overlord Zharraz took his eight finest runeshamans, the masters of their fledgling art, and led them, alone, to the flame.

They returned with their Overlord, eyes aflame with ambition, and declared that they had discovered the means to escape, the means to survive. For was that not what they desired, above all things? Survival? Each Dwarf among the thousand that followed Zharraz agreed, with one voice, that for survival, for mastery over their lands, they would give their gold, their bodies, their minds. Their very souls.

And so, out of desperation and darkness, Hashut came forth.

Nothing is known of the fate of the Skull Dwarfs from this point until almost a millennia later, when a dwarfen expedition was sent to the Darklands. Their report was submitted to the High King in total secrecy, and spoke of great black ziggurats, enslaved greenskins, and machines that seemed to be half of this plane and half of that of Chaos, and of a bull god, black, flaming, and terrible.

So a new name was entered into the Book of Grudges. The Dwarfs of the Place of Fire. The Dawi Zharr.

The Chaos Dwarfs.

Ancient History:

Despite the Tome of Corruption bit, I’m still not entirely sold on Karak Vlag as the origin of Chaos Dwarfs, or at least not the sole origin.

Hashut’s Blessing:

I haven’t read all of it as I don’t yet have the time, but what I did read is incredibly good and very plausible. Did you write it yourself or did you find it? I assume you wrote ite because of the line

So a new name was entered into the Book of Grudges. The Dwarfs of the Place of Fire. The Dawi Zharr.

The Chaos Dwarfs.

Kera foehunter:

wow i like it !!! great job Revlid


I haven't read all of it as I don't yet have the time, but what I did read is incredibly good and very plausible. Did you write it yourself or did you find it? I assume you wrote ite because of the line
So a new name was entered into the Book of Grudges. The Dwarfs of the Place of Fire. The Dawi Zharr.

The Chaos Dwarfs.

Hashut's Blessing
Yes, it's all original stuff.

Lord Zarkov:

Excellent work!


Niceness thats some goooood fluff