Finally it has arrived! After years of rumours, proposed release dates getting put back further and further, supposed ruleleaks, rule rumour discussions turning into wishlisting and doommongering, the joy of a new armybook on the way, the fear to lose everything that made it what Dwarfs are, crying, shouting, laughing, grudging, brooding,… after all that, it finally came out.
Saturday 15th of February 2014, the Dwarfs once again marched to war. Time to look at the changes.
Well, we’ve been waiting for about 10 years now. All the other armybooks that have come out since have been using Dwarfs as their punching bag, just to show how tough they are. For a while it seemed that everyone and their grandmother was capable of beating Dwarfs, destroying mountaincities that had stood for thousands of years constructed by the race who are THE masters of defense, both physical and runic. They even took to inventing new Holds just so they could destroy them, thus proving the badassery of this army. “Oh look, a new Dwarfen Hold, let’s just destroy it”. The internet Dwarfs grinded their teeth, swearing oaths of hateful vengeance.
So. A new army book. Lets see how we did.
- Karak Ziflin (Grey Mountains) – previously mentioned in WFRP 1st edition Stone & Steel. Good to see that it (still) exists.
- Karak Bhufdar (The Vaults) – a genuine new hold it seems. No previous mention so far. Well, some good news it seems. The Dwarfs are once again expanding.
- Kraka Drak, Kraka Ornsmotek and Khazid Ravik (Norsca) – old holds previously mentioned. The chaos warrior book had them listed as destroyed. Ha, take that chaosloonies! No one beats the Dwarfs!
- Karak Azorn (Mts of Mourn). New hold, confirmed lost. First mentioned in the Ogre book, the Dwarfs there kept of waves and waves of Ogres until they called in their stonehorns that destroyed the gates to the hold in one day. Hmprh.
- Oakenhammer, (Worlds Edge Mts.),
- Grimhold, (Worlds Edge Mts.),
- Lost Archway of Valaya, (Worlds Edge Mts.),
- Pillars of Grungni, (Worlds Edge Mts.),
- Dringorackaz, (Worlds Edge Mts.),
- Kradtommen, (Worlds Edge Mts),
- Isle of Zul (Barak Varr). Presumably a harbour outpost for the river fleet.
Some small outposts that are genuinely new. Some things that don’t make much sense though: Dringorackaz and Kradtommen are either relatively new or have to be so fortified that nothing, nothing gets in. I mean, all the Southern Holds bar one fall one after another but these small outposts survive? Implausible, but I’ll take it.
Most of these are pretty new, continuing the trend of inventing dwarfen outposts to destroy them. Still, i don’t mind as much, we got loads of new stuff as well.
- Kings way (Worlds Edge Mts.)
- Axehelm (The Empire)
- Bugmans Brewery (The Empire)
- Zarakzil (The Vaults)
- Grim Duraz (Grey Mts.)
- Dragonhorn mines (Dragonback Mts.)
Alright, even though these outposts were overrun, they are new. Some more evidence of the rich history of the Dwarfs and more options for grudge questing. So, good stuff.
This is where the book feels markedly different then the previous ones. Thorgrim’s ascension to the throne of the High king is described in great detail: The son of High King Alrikson, the High king that fought alongside Magnus the Pious during the Great War against Chaos of 2302. Never having quite healed of the wounds he suffered, he stays alive long enough to call a Council of Kings. During this Council, he proclaims that one year later he will choose his succesor from all the kings and heirs present. A year later, presumed dead from the quest, Thorgrim marches into the Throne room just as Alrikson is about to name his successor. He marches at the head of thousands of Norse Dwarfs, reuniting both parts of the Dwarf Race for the first time since millennia. Not only that but he carries with him countless dwarf artifacts thought lost from various lost holds. In the light of these accomplishments, he swears an oath that he will strike every grduge from the Damnaz Kron. After a moment of silence the crowd erupts in jouyous shouting. Moments later High King Alfrikson names Thorgrim his successor. Soon later, he dies and Thorgrim becomes the nw High King. He declaires that the Dwarfs have suffered enough and that the time is at hand to take back what they have lost. The Age of Reckoning has begun. Talk about badass. Thorgrim is the man.
And he doesn’t sit still. He helps Belegar reclaim the area around Karak Eight Peaks, sending reinforcements, grain, and weapon shipments. Even when he feels slighted because Belegar doesn’t pay him back, he still comes to his rescue (Belegar’s pride is seriously hurt by this which is just a bonus). He kills Gorfang Rotgut, the Orc Leader of the Black Crag, the former dwarf city of Karak Drazh now held by the orcs. Furthermore, he frees the captive relatives of King Kazador of Karak Azul, who becomes even more dedicated to the High king because of this.
These kind of positive notes show to me that far from only being the punching bag for the Old World, the Dwarfs are steadily making progress in reclaiming their lands. Ancient foes have been killed, great grudges have been striked out. More grudges have been settled in fact then new ones have been written, something which the Dwarfs consider to be a kind of victory.
The rest of the book also shows this positive note. The fact that the book is in colour as opposed to the greys, blacks and white of the previous ones counts for a lot as well, obviously. But it doesn’t stop there. With new units, few they may be, like the gyrobomber and the Irondrakes, the Dwarfs are adapting to changing circumstances. Karak Eight Peaks, while not fully reclaimed yet, gains more recognition with Belegar as a special character. Readers of the Thorgrim novella know that he recently gained a son as well, who is destined to sit upon the throne of Karak Eight Peaks. The Ironbreaker models, the hammerers, the Longbeards, all look hard as nails,ready to take on the Old World and spit in it’s eye.
All this and more makes me optimistic about the Dwarfs, at least from a fluff perspective. There’s a real feeling of a progressing storyline, something which has been missing for the Dwarfs since… I can’t even remember. That long. And it leads me to make a prediction. The rumours about airships, runic golems, steampowered contraptions and what not, spotted in artwork in the BRB and this new armybook lead me to speculate that, if nots soon then perhaps with 9th edition, GW will release a new supplement for huge battles, combined with new mini’s and releases, just like Storm of Magic a few years back, and all of these ‘missing’ units will be released together with it. If not? Well, we still have a new army book to play with. By Grungni, exciting times ahead!
Next time, the rules.