The Old World Chaos Dwarf Background

Thanks to @chitzkoi for this compilation:


“We will remake the world into our domain, a land of cinderash and the blackened bones of our enemies, until only we remain and those broken bodies that cower at our feet.”
Lord Astragoth Ironhand


Sorcerers of Hashut
Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers rule over the desolate empire of Zharr-Naggrund with iron-fisted malice, both as lords and masters of all they survey and as priests of their dark god, Hashut.
Their lore is terrible and ancient, involving the study of machines, the mastery of forge-craft, weapon making and the terrible Chaos magics gifted to them by Hashut.
But the price these Sorcerer-priests pay for their power is a dark one indeed, for a great curse lays heavy upon them. As the magic they work seeps into their bodies, it evokes changes that are both unique and horrific. Even the most cautious and adept of Sorcerers is not immune and, painfully and inexorably, their bodies are petrified into immobile stone.

Infernal Guard Commanders
There are relatively few Chaos Dwarfs, and each and every one of them is a highly trained and disciplined warrior sworn to the service of one of the Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers body and soul, whose martial skill is matched only by their cruelty.
Of these warriors, only those rare few who achieve great glory can hope to earn promotion to the rank of Seneschal or Castellan.

Bull Centaur Taur’ruks
Bull Centaur Taur’ruks are the most trusted vassals of the Sorcerer-priests of Hashut. They are hulking, savage creatures whose strength and endurance far exceeds that of a Chaos Dwarf and, thanks to their strange forms, they are far swifter in battle. As they age, their flesh hardens and distorts almost as if it becomes living metal, and rather than heal naturally from injuries, they must instead rely upon their Sorcerer-masters to repair their wounds with steel sutures and brazen splints.

Hobgoblin Khans
Occasionally, the infighting and backstabbing amongst Hobgoblin ranks produces a particularly successful and feared killer who will rise to prominence and style themselves ‘Khan’, taking after the wilder nomadic Hobgoblin wolf clans of the Eastern Wastes. These skulking killers can prove useful for marshalling their kin in battle, but should they prove too successful and threaten the dominance of the Chaos Dwarfs, they will most likely end up impaled over their lord’s gatepost as a reminder to others that Zharr-Naggrund is not a meritocracy.

Giant Wolves
Hobgoblins living in tribes across the great steppes of Kislev employ Giant Wolves as fast moving and ferocious mounts. Such beasts are highly prized for their ability to outrun most dangers.


Infernal Ironsworn
The Infernal Guard are drilled ceaselessly by cruel Castellans and barracked in the burning deeps beneath Zharr-Naggrund. Their lot is to fight an unending battle against the horrors that abound in the desolate wastes nearby – a regime that only the strongest survive. The greatest amongst this warrior elite will be selected to join the Infernal Ironsworn – the personal bodyguard of the covenant of Sorcerer-prophets that rule over Zharr-Naggrund. Each Infernal Ironsworn is a highly trained and disciplined warrior, often with scores of years of battle experience to draw upon, who goes into battle with the fire and suffering of their dark realm forged into the very fabric of their blades and hammers, graven in smouldering runes of torment and death.

Infernal Guard
Chaos Dwarfs are an unnerving sight in battle. They are brutish, grotesque figures plated in black or burnished armour of heavy plate and jagged scales, crowned with tall helms mounted with flame-tongue spiked coronas or sharpened horns. Their livery is bright and bloody, and their distorted faces, if they are seen at all, are bestial and filled with malice. Their presence is intended to inspire fear in their foes, and they have lost none of the toughness or skill-at-arms of their western Dwarf kin.

K’daai Fireborn
Created by the foul sorceries of the Sorcerer-priests of Zharr-Naggrund, the K’daai are almost mindless, elemental forces of destruction. Half Daemonstuff and half raging fire drawn from the magma of the deep earth, the K’daai are birthed in the boiling blood of Hashut’s burning sacrifices, given form by and contained within an armoured framework of articulated iron and rune-stamped bronze.

Hobgoblin Cutthroats
Arguably the most treacherous of all the Goblin and Orc kin, Hobgoblins are taller and leaner than ordinary Goblins, yet nowhere near as burly and brutal as Orcs. The Chaos Dwarfs long ago realised the Hobgoblins were servile, craven and malevolent – all traits which made the Hobgoblins of the Dark Lands eminently suitable as lackeys and disposable minions.

Sneaky Gits
Sneaky Gits are rightly regarded as being devious and treacherous, and are utterly distrusted even by their own kind. These murderous backstabbers are habitually armed with many curved daggers, and for every knife they wear openly, it can be wagered there is at least one more concealed about their person, ready to be plunged into an unsuspecting foe’s back.

Hobgoblin Wolf Riders
Chaos Dwarfs employ bodies of Giant Wolf-mounted Hobgoblin raiders as scouts and light cavalry in battle. These are commonly drawn from the more nomadic Hobgoblin tribes which roam the fringes of the southern Dark Lands. They are lured into service with the Dawi Zharr as mercenaries, though the wages paid by Chaos Dwarfs are notoriously poor.
These raiders, all bandits and robbers by disposition are, if anything, even less reliable than their footslogging kin – their mounts allowing them to flee with great speed when the need arises.

Bull Centaurs
As their name suggests, Bull Centaurs are twisted amalgams of Chaos Dwarf and ferocious bull in aspect, the unnatural fusion creating hulking, monstrous beasts far larger than either and filled with cannibalistic appetites.
Many centuries ago, when the Dwarfs of Zorn Uzkull first turned to the worship of Hashut, some amongst them became horrifically mutated, their bodies warped into forms pleasing to the Father of Darkness. Thus were the first Bull Centaurs born.

Iron Daemon
The Chaos Dwarfs are masters of steam technology. They build colossal steamdriven devices for working their great mines, and engines of great destruction for crushing their enemies. One design to see widespread service is the Iron Daemon, a compact, armoured, steam-driven traction engine.
The steam boilers that provide these machines with motive power to haul heavy armaments and munitions to the battlefield are cunningly designed so that they can also be used to work pressure-fed weapons such as cannonades and wall-breakers. This means that every Iron Daemon is also a powerful war machine in its own right – a fully mobile artillery piece and murderous killing engine able to smash through fortifications and hack down ranks of living soldiers with equal ease.

Carriage Hauler
An Iron Daemon is a steam-driven traction engine of truly incredible power, capable of hauling tremendous weights behind its armoured bulk.

Grinding Wheels
An Iron Daemon weighs many tonnes and moves upon huge wheels of spiked brass and iron. Any enemy that falls before such an engine of destruction is quickly ground into the earth.

Lumbering Destruction
The infernally-fuelled engines of the Chaos Dwarfs are mighty, smoke-belching powerhouses capable of considerable speed, but cursed with the temperament of an imprisoned Daemon.

Steam Cannonade
Powered by the channelled pressure of the Iron Daemon’s furnace, a steam cannonade is a twin barrelled organ gun used to blast a lethal storm of red-hot shrapnel and curse-laden shot into the ranks of the enemy.

A Skullcracker is a hissing and grinding arcane-mechanical conglomeration of iron hammers, hacking blades and brutal picks designed to pulverise and shred anything unfortunate enough to be caught in front of the machine.

The Great Tauruses
The Great Tauruses of the Dark Lands burn with a terrific intensity, so much so that their bodies are wreathed in fire and choking smoke. Indeed, so angrily and so hot do they burn that their flesh renders swords and axes molten and blunt. When a Great Taurus moves across the ground, sparks fly from its horns and red lightning plays about its hooves. As a Great Taurus swoops through the air, heat waves shimmer at its coming and choking black clouds swirl in contrails behind it. With each snorting exhale, flame erupts out of the beast’s flared nostrils, and an oily smoke curls from its gaping maw. In its rage, even the monster’s eyes seem to smoulder.

Born Of Fire
The Great Tauruses are the living embodiments of Hashut’s fiery rage, creatures born of the intense heat and pressure found only within a volcano’s heart.

The Lammasu is a wise and crafty beast that makes its lair in the Dark Lands. The Chaos Dwarfs believe it to be a rare mutation of Great Taurus, one that is not only acclimated to magic, but that also lives and breathes the very stuff of sorcery. Indeed, the Lammasu possesses a minor, but potent spellcasting ability, the backwash of which manifests as sorcerous black clouds that curl about the beast every time it breathes. This magical exhalation protects the Lammasu from hostile spells. Furthermore, enemies fighting a Lammasu in melee often find the smoky threads of sorcery befouling their magic weapons, dampening their power and preventing them from striking the beast to full effect.

Sorcerous Miasma
Sorcerous black clouds curl about the Lammasu, protecting it from spells and befouling the magical weapons of its enemies, preventing them from striking the beast to full effect.

War Machines
Deathshrieker Rockets
The Deathshrieker is one of the more diabolical weapons of the Chaos Dwarfs. Bound up within its munitions are howling, malevolent fire spirits harvested from the cinders of Hashut’s sacrificial altars, and it is the hellish shrieking of these spirits when loosed that gives the weapon its name. The packed multiple warheads of the Deathshrieker detonate in the air above the battlefield in a storm of fire. Screaming, fanged tendrils of flame plunge downwards from the blast and expend their strength actively seeking out victims. The tormented spirits are far from discerning though as to whose flesh they burn, and the Dawi Zharr must be cautious lest their own suffer from the wrathful weapon.

Dreadquake Mortars
Dreadquake Mortars are amongst the largest and most effective of all the mighty siege weapons deployed by the Dawi Zharr. The Dreadquake’s deadly projectiles are fired by steam pressure that is generated by a boiler and contained within a pressure vessel – conventional gunpowder being far too dangerous given the volatility of the Dreadquake’s unique and powerful shells. These shells are of a secret construction whose arcana is the sole preserve of the Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer Lords and prophets of Hashut. When fired from the Dreadquake they burst into a roaring, blood-red light, smashing into the ground like a hammer-blow from the gods, shattering buildings and bleeding crimson energy from the wounded earth.

Magma Cannon
A fiendish weapon first conceived of for use against the ravening Trolls and other unwholesome monsters that spawn and multiply in the Dark Lands, the Magma Cannon is something of a cross between a field artillery piece and a furnace. It is designed to spew molten metal and fire upon its victims, horrifically burning them to death.

Hobgoblin Bolt Throwers
Hobgoblins are not deemed capable of crewing complex war machines. Instead, Hobgoblins wheel to battle crude but effective bolt throwers. These lightweight war machines are fielded to great effect in support of the Dawi Zharr armies, though it is not unheard of for accidents to occur, leading to the skewering of many an unwary Chaos Dwarf!

Cursed Artefacts
The endlessly burning forgefires of Zharr-Naggrund howl with the tortured souls of the sacrifices that fuel them. Within gargantuan workshops that teem with rank upon rank of indentured artificers, great steam hammers rise and drop in a perpetual rhythm, their deafening clamour an unwavering drum beat that sets an impossible pace for the unfortunate workers that toil until they drop, forging the hellish weapons of the Dawi Zharr. Upon the still glowing blades of the wicked axes, and the baroque armour plates that flow endlessly from these terrible workshops, the Sorcerer-Priests of Hashut inscribe evil runes and craft leering, daemonic faces, binding the evil spirits that gather about their fires to the spoils of their industry, before quenching the shrieking blades in great cauldrons of blood.