- "Every caravan master transversing the Ivory Road to far Cathay fears the shaking of the earth that proceeds a Dread Maw attack, for even the most expensive guards and bribed Ogres are useless against their burrowing assaults on horse and heavily-laden wagons"
- —Francisco de Pazzi, Tilean Merchant Prince[1a]
The Dread Maw is a terrifyingly powerful subterranean creature which has haunted the mires of tainted sludge and ooze that stretch across the vast expanse of the Chaos Waste. The first sign of these loathsome beasts is an ominous rumbling from beneath the ground as the Dread Maw grind and chew their way through the earth, swiftly followed by an eruption of mud and the stench of putrid slime as their gaping maws burst forth.[1a]
With their circular mouths, studded with rows of sick-shaped teeth and glistering tendrils, Dread Maws can seize and devour a fully armored man in seconds. Often smaller prey is swallowed whole, to be slowly digested within their grossly distended bellies, the Dread Maw's flesh being translucent enough that their victims struggle can be seen by their comrades. Even the largest creatures will fall prey to Dread Maws. Bursting forth from beneath the ground and latching on with their hooked teeth, they can tear their way inside the greatest beast, eviscerating them form within and quickly hollowing out their ruptured carcass.[1a]
Few can forget the sight of a mighty dragon or Chimerae bellowing in object pain as it is eating alive, the wriggling tail of a Dread Maw protruding from the wounds made in its own torso. There are few creatures as horrific as the Dread Maw, their malted grey flesh shot through by pulsing veins of unhealthy hue and choked with corruption and rot, and stigmatized with open wounds and severed limbs and mutations. The entire length of a Dread Maw, their bodies stretching for many yards, is coated in a disgusting layer of poisonous slime and any warrior brave enough to assault them will have their weapons fouled and limbs caught in the vile substance, which is almost impossible to hack through. Due to its unnatural nature, most Dread Maws never look exactly alike, such is the price of mutation.[1a]
- Cavernous Maw - The Dread Maw's cavernous mouth is so deadly that it can inflict multiple wounds upon its prey.[1a]
- Tunneler - Due to its subterranean nature, the Dread Maw can appear and reappear through the earth.[1a]