The Depths of Terror
World Edge Mountains
Karaz-a-Karak – the biggest, oldest and most fortified Dwarf stronghold and the ancient capital city of the Dwarf race. In the tongues of Men, it can be translated as Pinnacle of Mountains or The Most Enduring; to many, it is known as Everpeak. The lord of Karaz-a-Karak is the High King of all the Dwarfs and his lineage stretches back to the Ancestor Gods themselves. The city has never fallen to an invader and is known for its adherence to tradition and ritual; the main temples to Grungni, Grimnir and Valaya were built here as is the colossal throne room of the High King, which is dominated by a forest of stone pillars which stretches over a mile along its nave. The current High King is Thorgrim Grudgebearer.
Karak Kadrin – known as the ‘Stronghold of the Pass’. This hold is situated south of Peak Pass which in ancient times allowed the Dwarves greater ease of travel between the western and eastern edge of the World Edge Mountains; this declined in importance after the Dwarfs abandoned the eastern edge during the Time of the Goblin Wars. Now the Dwarfs guard the pass against marauding tribes of Orcs and Goblins who travel through on their way to the Empire and Kislev. Though it has been besieged many times it has never fallen, and remains a wealthy centre for trade. The most famous characteristic of the hold is that it is the home of the Slayer cult; within its walls dwells the Shrine of the Slayers, where the names and deeds of all Slayers are kept and remembered. The lord of Karak Kadrin is known as the Slayer King, as he and his predecessors are bound both by their desire to seek out a glorious death against the forces of darkness, but must also honour their duty to their kinsfolk; they balance this problem by acting as the patrons of the Shrine, which also worships the Ancestor God Grimnir, known as the first Slayer. The current Slayer King is Ungrim Ironfist.
Zhufbar – known as the ‘Torrent Gate’. This hold is located around a deep chasm and by a vast waterfall which runs to the Black Water lake. Around the waterfall, the dwarfs have constructed thousands of water wheels and forges to help smelt ore and build new weaponry. It is the principal shrine of the Engineer’s Guild and is famous for the quality of its war machines. In the past, the gromril of Karak Varn was smelted here and forged into powerful armour and weapons. The current king is Baraudin Stoneheart.
Karak Azul – known as ‘Iron Peak’. This hold is located in the south of the World Edge Mountains, and is the only southern hold still ruled by the Dwarfs. Within its lands lies the richest deposits of iron ore in the whole mountain range, as well as other rich veins of other minerals and gemstones. It is known as a centre of metalworking and for its weaponsmiths, who forge some of the most powerful weapons of the Dwarfs, which it supplies to many of the other holds. The current ruler is King Kazador.
Karak Hirn – known as the ‘Hornhold’. This hold is located in the Black Mountains, and its name derives from an especially large cavern which, when the wind blows through, creates sounds like a mighty warhorn. Over the years, the dwarfs have built chambers and doors to create different sound effects. It is a smaller and younger hold, founded later after the great settlements of the World Edge Mountains, and has only limited quantities of veins and minerals to mine. The current king is Alrik Ranulfsson.
Karak Norn – this hold lies in the Grey Mountains, above the forest of Athel Loren. It is a small and somewhat poor hold, with very few mineral deposits and veins, all of which are hard to mine. Like with Karak Hirn and Karak Izor, it has grown in importance since the Time of the Goblin Wars, as many dwarves come to live in its isolated lands, though likewise many young dwarves from the hold journey eastwards to become prospectors and miners.
Karak Izor – known as ‘Copper Mountain’ in the tongues of Men. It is located near the Vaults at the junction between the Black and Grey mountain ranges, where there are many deep valleys and inaccessible peaks. Despite its isolation, there are many rich lodes of iron, copper, tin and other metals, and as such it has some of the deepest mine workings outside of the World Edge Mountains. Many of the Dragonback Dwarves came to inhabit these lands after the loss of Dragonback Crag and the mines of Ekrund, where they use the seclusion to work and plan their return.
Barak Varr – known as the ‘Gateway to the Sea’. This hold is located in the lands of the Border Princes and is unique as the only Dwarf hold built by the sea. It is built deep into the vast caves and cliffs where the Howling River joins the Black Gulf. It is the principal trading hold of the Dwarves, remaining open to trade all throughout the centuries and enabling the dwarves to enjoy a more cosmopolitan lifestyle to many other holds. Merchants from all over the world come to both trade for dwarven items, and enjoy dwarven hospitality. It is also the home of the Dwarf navy, which houses the powerful steam and paddle-driven Ironclads and Dreadnoughts. The current ruler is King Byrrnoth.
Kraka Drak – this hold is located far to the north in the lands of Norsca. It is a highly isolated hold, inhabited by the Norse Dwarfs. Though dwarf by blood, they are seen as very different by the other dwarfs of the Old World, with different speech, customs and attributes. One of the most well-known of these differences is their ‘Beserkers’ – warriors who are similar to Slayers in their utter determination for battle, but who drink powerful beers to imbue them with somewhat suicidal tendencies and enhanced strength.
Fallen dwarven cities:
Karak Ungor – known as the ‘Delving Hold’. This hold is located to the north-east of Karak Kadrin, built upon a great natural fault line in the earth. Vast seams and veins of minerals, gems and precious metals reside in the earth beneath the hold, and as such the dwarves built the deepest and most expansive network of mines and workings throughout the whole of the World Edge Mountains. However, such was the extent that they dug that eventually even they lost track of the entire layout and numbers of their mines. In the immediate aftermath of the Time of Woes, in the Imperial Year -1500, after suffering extensive damage in the huge earthquakes, the Night Goblins invaded the lower workings and abandoned mines, eventually driving upwards and overwhelming the Dwarfs before they could organise their defence. After the Dwarves were forced to abandon the hold, it was fully taken over and renamed Red Eye Mountain. At the current moment, it is the home of the Black Orc warlord Grimgor Ironhide.
Karak Varn – known as the ‘Stronghold of Lake enclosed by Mountains’.
Karak Eight Peaks – known as the ‘Queen of the Silver Peaks’.
Karak Azgal/Karak Izril – now known as the ‘Hoard Peak’; formally known as the ‘City of Jewels’.
Karak Drazh – known to both Dwarves and other races as ‘Black Crag’.