Warhammer Imperial Dwarf

An expatriate dwarf in the Empire

With the decline of Karaz Ankor and and the fall of some strongholds, mines, and settlements, a number of clans descended into the forested flatlands from the mountains. Some settled in human lands drawn by the high prices their work can demand among the Manlings. Others chose exile following a dispute with their clansmen or their lord, or because of some grudge. To the Imperial Dwarfs of Karaz Ankor, these rootless Dwarfs (Ruebatuki, or "Ruebs" for short) have turned their backs on kin and tradition.[1b]


The rise of Sigmar and the end of the Goblin Wars changed everything. The skills of Expatriate Dwarfs proved vital in arming and equipping the vast army Sigmar assembled to rout the greenskins. They were instrumental in building stone walls and fortifications to protect the nascent Imperial cities and towns. After the First Battle of Black Fire Pass, many Dwarfs flocked to Sigmar's Empire. Some joined its armies, serving with distinction and honour.[1b]

While they won some grudging respect from the Dwarfs of Karaz Ankor, Expatriate Dwarfs are still called "Manling Dwarfs" (Umgdawi) or "Flatlanders" (Gazani), among other things, by their kin at Worlds Edge Mountains. On the other hand, relations between Expatriates and Dwarfs of the Black and Grey Mountains and the Vaults are relatively cordial.[1a][1b]


Because they have been largely integrated into human society, Expatriates have modified – or in some cases abandoned – a number of Imperial Dwarf traditions.[1a]

One of the discarded traditions centres on the role of Expatriate women. Unlike those of the mountain realms, Expatriate women are free to travel anywhere outside their settlement without armed escort. Additionally, Expatriate women can seek out any of the employment opportunities available to their menfolk. In fact, almost all female Dwarf adventurers are Expatriates.[1a]

While clan membership remains a strong element of Expatriate Dwarf life, the Imperial concept of the entire clan belonging to a specific craftguild has all but disappeared, except in the case of the Runesmith clan. The main factor behind the disappearance of this structure was its incompatibility to the realities of life with humans. For example, a Dwarf clan of 25 members could not all be metalsmiths in an area that is only able to support four. Instead, a few of the clan would become metalsmiths, and the others would choose other careers such as masons, militiamen, prospectors, and traders.[1a]

Some Expatriates engage in less traditional careers. Most of these are considered by Imperial Dwarfs to be of an unsavoury, and somewhat dishonourable, nature. Such careers include rat catcher, thief, tomb robber, and other "roguish" careers. A small number of Expatriate Dwarfs have even flouted tradition by becoming wizards.[1a]

In the absence of noble clans, Expatriate Dwarf communities are led by a Council of Elders, whose members come from the oldest and wisest members of all resident clans. Council decisions are based on the consensus of the majority of elders, which is sometimes hard to achieve. The Council also selects representatives for the community's dealings with the local human noble, town council, or other ruling authority.[1a]

In smaller towns and villages, Expatriate Dwarfs are considered part of the community, especially in the Empire. They generally follow the same laws, customs, and traditions as their human neighbours. The other clan members of these Dwarfs will often be scattered throughout the neighbouring villages and small towns, and all will come together at some pre-arranged site every 33 Brauzeit to celebrate one of Grungni's holy days, exchange news and gossip, and pay respects to their clan elders.[1a]

Settlements by Nation

Wherever they live, the Expatriates consider Karaz Ankor to be their ancestral home, and contribute both money and labour to the task of returning the Dwarf Empire to its past glory. However, many returning expatriates find the rigid society of Karaz Ankor frustrating.[1b]

The Empire

The Empire has the largest population of Expatriate Dwarfs found anywhere outside the mountain realms. Most have settled into the cities and larger towns, usually living together in a particular district. The largest cities, such as Altdorf and Middenheim, are home to as many as ten clans, while an average town has two or three clans. Dwarfs living in smaller towns or villages are usually members of clans spread across the surrounding areas. A Council of Elders represents the interests of the local Dwarf community.[1b]


According to the 2510 I.C. census (which only counted the heads of tax-paying households), Altdorf is home to 11,100 Dwarfs. Most live in the Metallschlacke and Niederwind districts on the eastern end of the city, at the heart of the metal and stoneworking industries. The Guildhall of the Dwarf Engineeers' Guild, the largest in the Empire, is located near the Imperial Engineers' School. Many of the experimental weapons used by the Imperial army are the work of Dwarf engineers.[1b]


Middenheim's 5,000 or so resident Dwarfs are descendants of the clan that tunneled up the Fauschlag (known to them as Grungni's Tower or Grazhyakh Grungni) and built the original fortress upon which Middenheim was founded. The majority live near the Temple of Grungni and the offices of the Dwarf Engineers' Guild in the Wynd district at the south-eastern corner of the city. These two focal points of the Dwarf enclave also shelter the well-guarded, secret access points to the tunnel network beneath the city.[1b]


Nuln's 9,850 Dwarfs live primarily in the Schwarzrauch district on the south bank of the River Aver, near its confluence with the Reik. Nearby is the renowned Imperial Gunnery School and the Richtofen Armaments Foundry. Both were founded by the Dwarf Engineers Guild for the Nuln Emperor in 1991 I.C. With the consent of the High King and the Guildmaster of Karaz-a-Karak, the Dwarf Engineers of Nuln instructed their neighbours in the craft of manufacturing cannon barrels and mixing gunpowder. The Imperial Gunnery School maintains close ties with the Dwarf Engineers' Guild.[1b]

Lesser Settlements

Outside these three cities, the majority of the Empire's Expatriate Dwarfs live in the southern and western provinces, where the cult of Sigmar is strongest. A good deal of trade binds this region to the Dwarfholds of the Black and Grey Mountains. Relatively few Dwarfs have settled in northern and eastern provinces, apart from the community in Middenheim. These provinces are far from the Dwarf homelands and in the mountains of the south and west, and the power of the cult of Ulric in the north and east makes them less welcoming to Dwarfs, with their historical ties to Sigmar. No Dwarfs are known to live in Sylvania, which is not surprising given its reputation as a breeding-ground for Undead.[1b][1c]

Marienburg and the Wasteland

At about 25,500, Marienburg's exceeds that of any city in the Old World – although unlike the Imperial census, Marienburg counts all taxpayers. Most residents of the Dwergsbezit, or Dwarftown, district are members of the Dwarf Engineers' Guild, which maintains the Vloedmuur sea wall and massive pumps that channel floodwaters into the surrounding fens. The huge cannon that protect the port entrances are also Dwarf-made.[1c]

In large part, the Dwarfs' position in Marienburg is due to one Arkat Fooger. This Dwarf is the oldest and longest serving member of the city's powerful Directorate, and the spokesman for Marienburg's Dwarf community – as well as those few Dwarfs who still mine the hills west of the Bitter Moors. He is the de facto leader of the city's Dwarfs, a position traditionally played by the Dwarf Engineers' Guild and Council of Elders. He has exclusive trading arrangements with the Dwarfs of the Grey and World's Edge Mountains, selling Dwarf products in Marienburg and trading luxury goods to the holds.[1c]

Unknown to most Marienburgers, there is some tension in the city's Dwarf community. The special privileges the city leaders have bestowed upon the High Elves of Ulthuan are causing some resentment. No such consideration was ever offered to the Dwarfs, even though most of their ancestors settled in Marienburg soon after Emperor Sigismund II the Conqueror annexed the Wasteland in 501 I.C.[1c]


Very few Dwarfs live in Bretonnia. Their historical ties to Sigmar and their steadfast allegiance to his successors have not promoted the best relations with Bretonnia, especially in time of war. For their part, the Dwarfs distrust Bretonnia's overbearing, arrogant nobility and its traditional friendship with the Wood Elves of Athel Loren.[1c]

The only Dwarf community of any size in Bretonnia is the small enclave of smiths and stonemasons in Parravon's middle-class Vue du Rocher district, but a few Dwarf miners and smiths have moved from the mineral-poor Grey Mountains to the towns and villages of the foothills.[1c]


The Kislevite people initially viewed the Dwarfs with the same xenophobic suspicion that they reserve for all outsiders. However, this attitude changed during the Great War against Chaos, when Imperial Dwarfs from Karaz Ankor helped defend the city of Kislev from besieging forces of Chaos while Expatriate Dwarfs fought in the Imperial army brought by Magnus the Pious to assist in the war. Norse Dwarfs fought alongside their human compatriots in the allied armies at the Battle of Grovod Wood.[1c]

After the war, Expatriate Dwarfs from the Empire helped rebuild the cities of Kislev and Erengrad. The majority stayed, founding Dwarf enclaves. At present, some 4,000 Dwarfs live in Kislev, and about half that number in Erengrad.[1c]


A few Dwarfs have settled in the foothills of north-eastern Tilea, where the Irrana and Apuccini Mountains merge with the Vaults. The majority live in the towns of Toscania and Campogrotta, where they have established themselves as merchants, smiths, masons, and jewelers. Others live in the small villages that surround these towns. It is rare, but not unknown, for Dwarfs to join the Tilean Condottieri, or mercenary companies, as foot soldiers and artillerists.[1c]


  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Stone and Steel
    • 1a: pg. 23
    • 1b: pg. 40
    • 1c: pg. 41

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