Karak Azgaraz

Explore the dwarf karak and its grudges in this preview of Black Fire Pass


Karak Azgaraz is one of the many dwarf strongholds scattered throughout the Grey Mountains, none of which are as wealthy or as magnificent as the surviving karaks of the Worlds Edge Mountains far to the east. It has stood nestled among the flinty peaks southwest of Ubersreik since long before the Empire was founded. Its once rich veins of gold and silver are largely mined out, forcing the hold to rely on trade with the Empire to make ends meet. Though its treasure stores are legendary to men, they are modest in the eyes of dwarfs.

As you look forward to mining Black Fire Pass for materials to add to your Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign, we offer you a preview of our first fully developed dwarf karak and its grudges, including those of its king, Thuringar Orc-hewer, whose thirst for war may lead the karak to glory or ruin as the coffers deplete.

A Living Architecture

Dwarf karaks all consist of a series of descending levels, or deeps, excavated within the mountain by successive generations of dwarfs, and Karak Azgaraz is no exception. Its exceptional craftsmanship extends from forges and breweries to its most sacred temples. Dwarf culture resonates throughout the architectural space given to defense and dwarf traditions. From the engineering chambers to the rune-trapped treasure vaults to the Hall of Deeds in the Heroes’ Deep, Karak Azgaraz is as much a testament to the great skill and heritage of the dwarfs who live within its fortified walls as it is their home.

Black Fire Pass provides you all the architectural and geographical information you need to make Karak Azgaraz a living location within your campaign. Your heroes can follow the road skirting the lake Copper Tarn to the karak’s great gate, which stands guarded by cannons and runes. Only royalty enter or leave the karak through the great gate, so your heroes will have to continue around to a side-door and pass the murder holes and crack unit of Quarrellers to gain entrance to the massive atrium of the Upper Deep. Will your heroes have cause to visit the karak’s lower levels? Few non-dwarfs have ever been permitted beyond the Upper Deep.

The Grudges of Karak Azgaraz

The Book of Grudges lives and breathes with the karak’s history. Each year, King Thuringar Orc-hewer addresses an assembly in his throne room to identify those grudges which have been settled and to recite those which have been added over the previous year.

Chief among those grudges Thuringar has entered but not yet declared settled is the great grobkul he called forth against the nasty skulkers who assassinated his father, King Zaladrin, and his elder brother, Gunrig. A river of black blood will flow, but the grudge demands more. One thousand times one thousand goblin skulls the king has demanded for the crimes they committed against the dwarfs of Karak Azgaraz. Nor shall the dwarfs limit themselves to goblins, but Thuringar has called for war against orcs and all foes of dwarfs.

Whet your appetite for dwarf grudges with a preview of The Rise of King Thuringar (pdf, 472 KB), the tale of Thuringar Orc-hewer’s grudge against the nasty skulkers. 

The Hold of the Fearless Axes

King Thuringar’s thirst for vengeance concerns the more conservative of his Council of Elders. The war effort has successfully and rapidly expanded into orc territory but strains the karak as it drains the coffers faster than they can be replenished. The High Priests, including Hokar Stormbeard, lend their support to the war effort and its glories while conservative longbeards such as Loremaster Rudger Halkinsson champion more conservative views. You’ll find profiles for each of the councillors, including the hopes and fears they harbor, which might steer your campaign once revealed.

Though the king’s thirst for battle places greater strain on an already challenged karak, his fierce attacks against his enemies have increased the karak’s reputation for boldness, and it has of late lived up to its name as the “Hold of the Fearless Axes.”

When Black Fire Pass arrives, it will introduce numerous questions. Will Thuringar Orc-hewer’s counter-strikes lead Karak Azgaraz to new glory and fresh seams of gold and silver? Will his forays into enemy territories and his grudge against the greenskin tribes lead to the dwarfs undoing? Will the night goblins and skaven rise from the caverns beneath the karak? Can King Thuringar defeat his foes and avenge past grudges while bringing a new peace to the region? Your heroes are certain to play pivotal roles as the dwarfs of Karak Azgaraz seek to resolve their grudges.

Until you can join the grobkul in Q3 of 2011, add your voice to the debates on our community forums, and watch this site for future announcements.

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