[Archive] Thinking about CD warships


Rather than hijack another thread I’ll just note some of my thoughts.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, trying to think from both a practical and aesthetic perspective what would be the best way to design their ships.


I guess the logical starting point would be to look at the means of propulsion.

The CD would not need a huge fleet, the exact opposite.  Meaning that the ships they do make would be extremely well designed and capable of having a steam/daemonic engine.  Added to this, the CD would have oil and coal in abundance.  So it’s clear that there would not be a need to have slaves with oars.

However, I can imagine smaller CD ships having the capability to be rowed.  Pragmatically, why pay for coal etc when you can use your slaves for free?


The second thing I think needs to be looked at is the purpose of each ship.  Looking at the High Elves for instance, I can see every ship being equipped with Sea Guard (boarding marines), because when they go out it’s with the intention of going to war (sinking enemy fleets or transporting an army to a battle).

With the CD I can imagine they’d go out primarily to capture slaves.  This means that some vessels need to be capable of going up small rivers and be very shallow in the water (look at the viking boats).  Others, perhaps the Hulks need to be capable of transporting thousands of slaves.

They wouldn’t need to surprise the enemy, because they can just blast them out of the water with a bigger gun.

So would the Kraken be the only submersible?  Or the only submersible of that size

I was thinking that whilst it would unify the CD fleet to all be attacking by daemonically shaped submersibles, it’s probably not realistic.  For four reasons, firstly that I imagine building a submersible warship would require an enormous amount of skill and materials.  Something that at some point would have to be limited considering the CD are not a sea faring nation (i.e. a giant submersible would be a low priority).

Secondly it really limits the ability to capture slaves after a battle if you can only launch tiny boats from a sub.   Compared to regular ships that is.

Thirdly, it would be extremely difficult to coordinate an attack if the whole fleet was submarines.

Lastly, it would really limit the effectiveness of the fleet if they had to attack a port or anything requiring big guns because they’d need to surface to fire cannons, thus losing the point of being a submarine.

So Imo there would have to be a variety of types of warship and I can imagine there only being a couple of submersibles in the entire fleet.  The Kraken being the biggest and badest.

*EDIT.  Something else I just remembered is that the northern route out of Zharr Naggrund is through Pack Ice is it not?  Not sure how relevant that is, could be seasonal.  But worth noting.

So what does this all mean for design???

Made of Iron

Mechanical propulsion (requiring chimneys)

Not submersible (except possibly one more unique one).

Relatively flat profile?  Perhaps just for the smaller ones?

Daemonic cannons etc, just because it’s unique to us.

Any other thoughts or ideas?

Thommy H:

Made of Iron
Mechanical propulsion (requiring chimneys)
Not submersible (except possibly one more unique one).
Relatively flat profile? Perhaps just for the smaller ones?

Something like that?

Sorry, I'm not being snarky - I agree with all your assumptions, but I think the work has already been done to a certain extent!


Not pack ice in the north, it was always an easy route, which was why they built the huge canal to the southern seas.



I’d forgotten there was artwork for the Man O’ War stuff.  Cheers.  Is there much more?

Whilst this is obviously just general throwing around of ideas (where people will probably just track down the man o’ war models on ebay and use those for convinience), I was thinking I’d take a fresh look and redesign them to sculpt myself.

So that artwork is useful, but it would have to be a tiny ship for Dreadfleet scale or the main chimney would be the size of one on a power station!  I suppose it could be a building?

Thommy H:

Yeah, I think that’s actually a tower, not a chimney. I don’t think there’s any other artwork beside a similar sketch of the other ship (the Great Leveller - with a cannon instead of rockets) but here’s a page with all the Man ‘o’ War Chaos Dwarf ships on it.


I think that CD ‘warships’ would just be daemonic engines (as described on Thommy’s Book) with crew compartments. Regarding whether they would be submersible or not… does it really matter? If the machine is powered by daemonic energy, then it wouldn’t need air for combustion (only for the crew). And, who’s to say that the ‘Invention of the Chaos Dwarfs’ didn’t include a marked undersea route for sub-surface ships to navigate?

Perhaps small magically-controlled daemonically-powered ‘drones’, which cleared the path for larger surface troop transports and battleships would make more sense.

I was, for a time, planning on creating an ‘escaped daemon engine’ (originally designed as a slave-catcher which had sustained battle damage - allowing it to ‘digest’ captured slaves to use as fuel) that was amphibious - picture a horseshoe crab with a tentacles all over the carapace and and a mouth at one end to devour hapless beings at the water’s edge. I don’t think taking that idea one step further and making it a huge and ocean dwelling magically animated construct would be out of character at all.


I suppose the ultimate in CD engineering would be daemon constructs that could drag themselves onto land, making them siege engines as well.

The Kraken I imagine would be able to do that.

Pyro Stick:

Yeah, I think that's actually a tower, not a chimney. I don't think there's any other artwork beside a similar sketch of the other ship (the Great Leveller - with a cannon instead of rockets)

Thommy H
Just had a look through Plaguefleet and Sea of Blood and thats the only bit of chaos dwarf artwork that isnt lifted straight from the army book. Also, i think the flag pole on the two CD man o war ships is the chimney stack.

Hashut’s Blessing:

Happen to be reading through all of this whilst Titanic is on. My first thought is not to use the iron of manlings (cheaper English iron), but stronger Dwarfen iron (importe irl).

I agree that we can use a lot of the Man o’ War stuff as a basis for this though!


I don’t think the Black Kraken is submersable…

The chimey’s near the “head” part aren’t guns, & would flood any furness beneath…

So it can’t surely be submersive, it must just float near the top just as it shows on the model.


@Discoking: Remember that this is Warhammer, thus even a mechanical octopus with not too aquadynamic gaps in its head and chimneys would be submersible. Imagine that the chimneys are sealed off before going under water.

Well, I had a go at drawing a Dawi Zharr ship. I was looking at the Black Kraken and old Man o’ War drawings whilst making this, in black-white and colour scans. Of course, the historical predecessor is the Roman corvus galley:

Chaos Dwarf Grappler boarding ship

One of many variant vessels in the Chaos Dwarf navy, the Grappler is an ironclad ship designed for locking enemy ships in place by hammering large, clawed metal arms into their decks. With the arms in place, boarding teams of Chaos Dwarfs and Hobgoblin Sneaky Gits use the arms to attack the victim ship. Normally the arms are pulled into an upright position by heavy chains, drawn by large machines and slave crews beneath deck. The Grappler also have frontal Magma Cannons and side cannons for armament, as well as Blunderbuss firing parapets at the fore.

There is much of value to salvage at sea. Especially for the Chaos Dwarfs, whose hunger for slaves, mine props, metal and other materials is never sated. Destroying ships would ruin their boarding value, so many Chaos Dwarf captains instead seek to claim victim ships by force and terror through boarding parties.

The Grappler is built for this task of capturing ships, and few vessels have ever escaped its massive arms without them being winched back. The force of their impact, however, is great enough to damage the Grappler’s hull despite dampening timber blocks. The infamous Dawi Zharr slaver Zar-Khul once prowled the seas in search of coastal-sailing Indan dhows. During his long voyage, Zar-Khul gathered a whole fleet of captured large merchant dhows, manned by their enslaved crew and commandeered by Hobgoblin taskmasters.

Rajah Salihindi’s royal dhow was amongst the captured ships, the Rajah’s favourite elephant crushed beneath deck by the clawed arms of Zar-Khul’s Grappler. Having amassed dozens of captured dhows, Zar-Khul set course for the mouth of the River Ruin. The Chaos Dwarf Grappler’s metal hull was so weakened by the grappling arms’ repeated impacts that it cracked during a monsoon storm, and was swallowed by the roaring waves outside. Seeing their enslaver drowned in the Lizard Sea, the Indan crewmen attacked their taskmasters, throwing the Hobgoblins and Chaos Dwarfs into the depths of the ocean.


@Discoking: Remember that this is Warhammer, thus even a mechanical octopus with not too aquadynamic gaps in its head and chimneys would be submersible. Imagine that the chimneys are sealed off before going under water.

If that were the case, everyone on board would suffocate...
Now I imagine gas masks on all the crew...
I think it works now.


A bit more drawn, on the same A5 page:

Top-to-bottom: Grappler boarding ship, Hellcannon barge and some low-hatted Chaos Dwarf Mariner.


@Admiral: Cool designs, not sure about the “low-hatted Chaos Dwarf Mariner”… :stuck_out_tongue:


@Admiral: Cool designs, not sure about the "low-hatted Chaos Dwarf Mariner"... :P

Then let's soon have a proper high-hatted one. :hat

Update, a Chaos Dwarf tugboat and its shipwright. But why is he grinning so broadly?

Hellsmith Azhnerek the Visionary's Tugboat

Traditionally, there have been few if any dedicated tugboats in the Chaos Dwarf navy. When large, salvaged vessels or sea monsters had to be tugged, the warships anchored chains and tugged the booty back to port. Occasionally, this could be hazardous if enemy flottillas appeared, or if the sealing work done proved insufficient.

Once, fully half of a Dawi Zharr battleflett was sunk during a major towing operation after a raid against Cathay's southern navy. As the Chaos Dwarfs tugged hundreds of junks filled with slaves and plunder across the ocean, a Dark Elven fleet appeared at the horizon. Though vastly outnumbered and outgunned, the commander of the Dark Elf force, Lokhir Fellheart, seized the golden opportunity to strike when most of the Chaos Dwarf ships were locked in towing service. Sinking many ships, both Cathayan and Chaos Dwarfen, and capturing one quarter of the junks, the Dark Elf captain left the battle as rapidly as he had entered it.

In response to this audacious act, Hellsmith Azhnerek (the husband of three, the father of twelve and an ambitious engineer) constructed his tugboat, which found a place in most larger raiding parties since few Sorcerers wanted to be caught off guard at sea again. Amassing slaves, prestige and metal as payment, Azhnerek the Visionary began his next work...


@Admiral: Cool designs, not sure about the "low-hatted Chaos Dwarf Mariner"... :P

Then let's soon have a proper high-hatted one. :hat

Ive plenty in my blog... :hat off


The tug boat is ace! :slight_smile:

The low-hat is a no-no! :wink:


Thanks, I’ve some more drawings going at the moment, but they’ll be kept secret for a potential WoH article.

Tjub, your CD ships and that naval battle report is really inspiring. I guess me and my mates are at least one step closer to such goodness with Dreadfleet on its way.