What should T9A infernal dwarves be like?

The Ninth Age lore hasn’t excited me much so, like a few other quixotic souls, I’m writing a new setting.

Admiral’s active on the Ninth Age forum, helpfully linking a lot of Chaos Dwarf online material for the inspiration of T9A writers. In my opinion, the material he and others wrote for CDO notably outshines what T9A created with its Infernal Dwarves. Hanging Gardens by Dinadin is a particular favorite. The artistic quality of the writing and the sinister direction of the background easily outmatch T9A equivalents and that’s not a matter of Games Workshop’s setting, since they largely ignored CD while the forum here painted their character and environment.

So, I’ve signed up here to ask you veterans what direction you would like Infernal Dwarves to take. Am attempting to keep true to the spirit of what people like about CD while making a distinct and memorable race.

The idea so far:

The Infernal Dwarves dwell deep in the bowels of the earth, far below even the holds of the other dwarves. A dreaming god slumbers down there amidst the rivers of lava and the lakes of fires. The great duty at the heart of Infernal Dwarf civilization is forestalling the awakening of the dreaming god which would disintegrate both the earth below and the sky above. Over the 17,000 years the Infernal Dwarves have guarded this terrible god, it has slowly corrupted them into creatures of unfathomable cruelty.

The IDs have hewn an immense network of tunnels beneath the earth’s skin. Their underground railways bear them swiftly across thousands of leagues with a monstrous hissing and clanking. They craft daemon fueled machines to serve their dark ends. They drag ever increasing captive throngs down from the surface to feed the dreaming god and thereby prevent his awakening.

That’s the concept so far. If you all have any thoughts on this take on Infernal Dwarves or any other part of the background, let me know!



I love this. The slumbering god gives a strong flavour for the creeping corruption and hazy visions.

I’ve only written about Hashut-era Dark Lands Chaos Dwarfs, but may I recommend the Sumerian King List and associated history? The ancient kings of mesopotamia had a very macho culture of kings destroying one anothers’ legacies and striking their enemies names from history.

So perhaps that element of egotistical madmen seeking to cultivate and destroy one another’s legacies could be of value.


Sleeping god is cool. Makes me think of a balrog ready to be awoken from too much digging!!!

Also makes me think of the starry style lammasu that Warploque recently shared

Very cool concept mate. Thanks for sharing!


Hi, welcome to the forum! I do quite like this topic; it brings up a lot of interesting topics to ponder.

Further information on the infernal dwarf society could be gleaned from this. The captives are taken from the surface…from where do the infernal dwarves take these captives? Do they target specific places, or choose targets at random?

Also, who does the capturing? Do the infernal dwarves raid settlements directly, or do they hire intermediaries?

Are the captives only used as sacrifices, or are there other fates awaiting them? Can they ever be released?

The answers to these questions could be telling about the fundamental nature of infernal dwarves and their society.


Yes! Think I read the king lists some fifteen years ago. Little hazy but definitely remember the Epic of Gilgamesh.

This does bring up the question of how the dwarves should organize. A single Underlord at the bottom of the “lowarchy” or a gaggle of competing kings? Names and concepts subject to change. :upside_down_face: A single Underlord seems to suit their goals better–better able to put together large construction projects and wars for the acquisition of captives. But we all want evil dwarves to be capable of fighting each other. What about combining the Sumerian king tendency of erasing enemies with the nominal immortality of the elite Persian troops? When an Infernal Dwarf defeats and executes an ID of higher standing, he takes the vanquished dwarf’s name, rank and property while, of course, retaining his own earlier property. In this way, the highest (lowest?) dwarf names go back for thousands of years and are credited with far more mighty deeds than a dwarf could possibly achieve in a lifetime.

The egostatistical madman part could come in when the dwarves start to believe they are in some sense their predecessors.


So if you kill an overlord, you effectively become him, including taking his name? That’s a very interesting concept…


The sacrifices are something of a science. The Infernal Dwarves attempt to steer the sleeping unconsciousness of the dreaming god by sacrificing individuals with certain psychologies and the right frames of mind. On some days, it may be necessary to sacrifice a kindly man in despair. On other days, the dreaming god can be placated by a greedy miser in the throes of joy, so the dwarves will tell the appropriate prisoner he’s being released, shower him with rich jewels and then melt him into the Golden Ziggurat before he realises what’s happening. To get the appropriate sacrifices into the appropriate frame of mind, they sometimes resort to such exotic methods as drugs and good treatment.

Prisoners who aren’t selected for sacrifice, which is to say the vast majority, are instead used for blood magic. The infernal dwarves don’t really need slaves because they have daemon fueled machines. Of course, summoning the daemons who are bound into the machines requires blood, so you could consider the prisoners building materials. If there’s a way to have daemon robots and still need slave labor, they’d have slaves for those uses, but none occur to me.

Due to their slow corruption, they also enjoy tormenting prisoners, so that’s a use all by itself. Finally, captives might sometimes be used as fodder slave soldiers.

The ID take many captives from subterranean goblins and vermin (Skaven). Sometimes from the uncorrupted dwarves with whom they have a tangled relationship. The Dwarven Holds know about the Infernal Dwarves and consider them a grave stain on their honor. The dwarven kings know the secret of why the ID do what they do and thus aren’t eager to confront them.

As dwarves, the ID aren’t raiders per se. When they go to the surface for captives, they go in force with the objective of taking an entire town back underground with them. Doesn’t seem like meticulous dwarves to choose victims at random. I imagine they would carefully plan their assaults.

Because the setting is supposed to “echo” or feel like Warhammer while still being distinct, occurs to me that the ID should have a long standing treaty with the hobgoblins, who sell them captives in exchange for arms and armor.

Don’t see why they’d ever release their captives.


Oooh I like this. There must be method in their madness. I envisage a vast industry of numerology and prediction. Complicated charts of dates, temperatures, sacrificial entrails, dreams determining exactly where and when a slaving/conquest MUST take place! Nothing is random, all is determined by this mad science: raids, sacrifices, names, tunnelling, smelting, engineering, everything is ‘guided’ by the ‘science’ of foretelling to prevent the wakening. Thus the original purpose has been twisted and lost. None can question it. Heresy is death. So no one can point out the emperors new clothes have been missing for millennia. Rival lords kill their superiors but take their names and rank because it was written in the past that these were the names of the ?guardians? The divine plan cannot be altered or the god will wake!

Who knows perhaps the god is long dead but the IDs will never know and will continue down this mad road forever. Madness multiplying on madness.

Even defeats would be reinterpreted as fated and explained as a failure to understand the ‘plan’. Evil upon evil justified for the greater good of the world. The IDs are not the enemy but the misunderstood saviours of the planet. Other races have forgotten of been corrupted by the dreaming god and are thus lesser creatures of no consequence. Indeed the entire race sees itself as a holy priesthood which preserves the only truth and hope for the world.

Maybe I should not have had that second glass?

Anyway great idea


Thinking about it, if the dreaming god was dead there would never be signs of his waking. This would provide proof that the mad rituals and schemes of the IDs were working! Thus they would have created the perfect conditions to ensure the hamster wheel of their madness never stops turning. I like the idea of the most lawful of races (dwarfs) driven mad by an insane adherence to and multiplication of laws, resulting in a mad , chaotic, Byzantine system.


The leviathan wheel of ages–a million stone in weight–crushes alike over epochs lost and eras yet to come. We are the wheel and we the grist ground to dust! We the pilot at the helm of time and we the slaves under the lash of days!

The charts of our ancestors, cut into the living rock, guide the pious upon the true path. The divine science! Hast thou beheld the thousandfold numerologists tracing arcane calculations in the air of the timeless cavern? Look upon their work and lament! The dates, the signs, the quakes, the ebbings and writhings of the deep fires, the entrails upon the altar, the very dreams which torment–oh, that a dwarf could sleep without dreams–all these vast, spinning constellations that compose the science. The science divine. All is meaningful. All is planned. All is commanded. All is foreordained. We cannot but obey!

We war. We delve. We name. We fortify. We mine. We smelt. WE OBEY. The precepts must be preserved. The cessation of all things–the inexorable closure of the universe–must be forestalled. That-which-dreams must dream for all time lest time began never to be for the unraveling shall trace backwards to blot out all that was!

Down and down we tumble into darkness ever darker. Down we whirl like the dregs of a drain–like embers descending from their high glory. We who have stared into the abyss of divinity and shuddered to behold it staring back at us cannot return to the crude mortality which has forsaken us! All deviation must be expunged. Only the implacable path of the divine science must be trod for any other path would have (and will have) long ago erased us and all other finitude from the certain contemplation.

Why do we burn? Why do we scorch? We do we torment and flog and bless with sweet invocations? Answer me manling, for I am lost within my own broken skull. Why? Why? Why? WHY?

Loved @Uther.the.unhinged 's take. This is attempt to fit his idea into an in-universe text. The dreaming god is central to the setting, as the source of magic and gods, but I like the possibility that he “died” while the magic and gods somehow outlasted him, like seeds flourishing into trees. It certainly puts the Saurian Ancients, who plot to detonate the entire planet to stop the dreaming god, into a more questionable light. Not sure how to present this possibility in the lore.


Klingon promotion has its weaknesses. If there aren’t sufficient restrictions, your fictional society will collapse as everyone kills each other in ruthless struggle for advancement. Have to think it through.

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Oh that is a lovely piece! You can feel their torment. Trapped by their own laws. You can imagine the anger and frustration in them that must escape in their dealings with the ‘lesser’ species. No wonder they are cruel and violent, it is the only outlet for their psychic pain.