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"We avoid them, if given the choice. They are outcasts and have no honour, only the hope of reclaiming such. Still, we'll feed them, and give them a place to rest. They are Grimnir's Chosen, now…"
Dimrond Zindrisson, Miner[3a]

Karak Kadrin banner as seen in Total War: Warhammer

It was Baragor, the first of the Slayer Kings, who dedicated the Shrine of Grimnir in Karak Kadrin as a haven to all slayers and thus brought about a steep rise in the Slayer Cult. Oft times, it is here in the northern reaches of the Worlds Edge Mountains that a Dwarf undertakes the solemn slayer vow. Only a great act of shame or a broken oath can drive a Dwarf to seek redemption at the Shrine of Grimnir, and solace in an honourable death. Upon undertaking the slayer vow, a Dwarf will dye his hair bright red or orange and shave it into a great crest made stiff by animal fat or lime. They forsake armour and wield the weapon of the slayer, an axe, whilst their bodies are daubed in tattoos dedicated to the Ancestor God Grimnir, in the hope of garnering his favour in battle and ensuring a mighty doom.[1a]

Slayers do not speak of the terrible shame that led them to seek out this course, for that too would only bring further dishonour. They are reclusive loners, even amongst their own folk, and not given to song and feasting as are many other dwarfs. In battle they will be the first to sing their death-songs - a dour lamentation that acknowledges their demise is inevitable.[1a]

The Slayer Throng

Studies show that in times gone by, it has been known for an entire army of slayers to muster in facing some great doom. Though it is difficult for an outsider to tell, there is a hierarchy even amongst the Slayer Cult. The Brotherhood of Grimnir represents the most dedicated of all the slayers, and are often the experienced (and therefore unsuccessful) of their kinsmen. The status of other slayers is dictated by deed; the larger or more deadly the beast they have slain, the greater the respect afforded by their contemporaries, though this is a fairly loose system.[1a]

Wards and Crests

There are many varying crest designs adopted by those of the Slayer Cult. Some believe that certain designs denote the foes a slayer has bested. A single crest for instance could indicate the slayer of dragons, whilst a three-spiked crest may mean that the slayer hunts down daemons and other servants of the Ruinous Powers. There are also many wards of Grimnir. It is believed that certain slayer tattoos possess the power to deflect missiles, it being the will of Grimnir that the Dwarf be allowed to seek death at close quarters against the mightiest foe possible.[1a]

Types of Slayer

Troll Slayers

Becoming a Slayer is not so much a career choice as it is a means of atonement. If a Dwarf is disgraced, humiliated, or disowned by his clan, his only possible redemption is through a heroic death against overwhelming odds. Dwarfs who carry such a burden of shame join the ancient cult of Grimnir. They cover their bodies with ritual tattoos including Grimnir's rune, dye their hair orange, spike it with animal fat, and become Troll Slayers.[2a]

With the exception of one weapon and one chain mail coat (if they have one) all the Trollslayers' former possessions are either given to those he has wronged, or, if the circumstances of his disgrace do not involve a readily identifiable victim, they are distributed among his kin as if he had died unexpectedly. His name is stricken from the chronicles of his clan and guild, and he may no longer use his family name. Many Trollslayers adopt new names, to further distance themselves from their past.[2a]

Trollslayers leave their clan and hold, adding the pain of exile to the shame that marks them. They wander the mountains, and many gravitate to embattled and besieged Dwarfholds, joining others of their kind to form battle units for the hold's army; the Trollslayer regiments of Karak Kadrin have won particular renown. Most, however, wander alone or with mixed groups of adventurers, seeking a redeeming death by hunting the most ferocious of beasts. While Trolls are the prey of choice, Trollslayers never pass up combat with other foes, and actively seek out odds that are greater than seven to one.[2a]

Trollslayer suffer from periodic bouts of depression, which expresses itself in bouts of overeating, fasting, as well as alcohol and other stimulants. Those of a more outgoing temperament also spend a great deal of time boasting of their exploits and showing off their scars. Trollslayers wear exotic jewellery such as earrings and nose plugs, taken from the bodies of their foes. It is considered unforgivable to ask a Trollslayer about his past, especially regarding the circumstances of their disgrace, and the result of such inquiry is usually a swift and violent death.[2a]

Dwarfs have very mixed feelings towards Slayers. They are disgraced outcasts whose word and life have no value, and this inspires contempt. But at the same time, their terrifying ferocity and suicidal bravery command the respect of this warrior race. Some look upon them with compassion, for a Dwarf's honour is a precious, fragile thing and any Dwarf might some day find himself in the same position, through weakness or bad luck. Then again, they are violent homicidal maniacs whose self-control is tenuous at best, and any Dwarf would rather have them out chasing Orcs than in his own hold.[2a]

For their part, Trollslayers tend to avoid other Dwarfs, and the inevitable reminders of what they have lost. Dwarf adventurers and Trollslayers interact with a somewhat uncomfortable degree of formality, and will travel together so long as there are humans and others in the group to provide some separation between them. On rare occasions when circumstances force a Trollslayer to spend time with a group of Dwarfs, he accepts this as the will of the Ancestor Gods, an added bitterness to his penance.[2a]

Giant Slayers

Although Trollslayers seek out a heroic death against overwhelming odds, some have the misfortune - in their eyes - of surviving. Whatever the odds, they cannot gain absolution by throwing their lives away - suicide is suicide, even if the weapon is an Orc rather than a knife or a rope. They must fight to the death with every ounce of their skill and strength, for to do otherwise simply compounds their disgrace.[2a]

If a Trollslayer has the misfortune of slaying one or more Trolls and surviving, the Ancestor Gods have decreed that his shame is too great to be atoned so easily. He must become a Giant Slayer. As before, the Slayer may journey into the Dwarfholds and join a combat unit of Giant Slayers, but many continue their quest alone or with groups of adventurers.[2a]

Giantslayers set their sights on larger, more dangerous prey - though of course, these clanless Dwarfs never pass up an opportunity to find a death that will wipe their honour clean. Under the strain of being continually denied the death that would bring redemption, Giant Slayers' grasp on sanity becomes ever more tenuous. Their mood swings become more sudden, their bouts of depression become deeper, and they become more vulnerable to dependency upon alcohol and stimulants.[2a]

Dragon Slayers

Those Dwarfs who survive their careers as Giant Slayers become convinced that their disgrace is so terrible that the Ancestor Gods have denied them an honourable death. They engage in a ritual that involves self-inflicted scarring. As well as giving expression to the Slayer's growing sense of self-loathing, the scarring ritual symbolises the Slayer's dedication to following the mythical exploits of Grimnir. Through this ritual, they become Dragon Slayers.[2b]

Dragon Slayers are so rare that they were once thought to exist only in Dwarf armies. In fact, most Dragon Slayers travel alone, keeping away from any civilisation. They shun all contact with Dwarfs, and only the most reckless and danger-seeking humans are suitable companions for the Dragon Slayer. Dragon Slayers frequent mountains, swamps, and other remote wilderness areas - anywhere that Dragons and more dangerous creatures might be found.[2b]

Daemon Slayers

Not all who hunt dragons find their death. Of those few that survive, most do so simply because dragons are so rare that they despair of ever finding one. These survivors, more convinced than ever that the Ancestor Gods have denied them the release of death, choose to follow in Grimnir's footsteps. They go to the far north, to the Chaos Wastes, and embark upon the path of the Daemon Slayer. At this point, most Slayers now believe that their inability to find honourable death has an entirely deeper meaning: Grimnir has found them worthy to help him close the warp gate.[2b]

Daemon Slayers seem to have an uncanny sense of where Daemons can be found. Some are rumoured to have located isolated holds of daemonologists and Chaos wizards and razed them to the ground. The Daemon Slayer also hunts the most dangerous creatures of Chaos.[2b]

Enveloped in madness, only a remote corner of a Daemon Slayer's mind recognises any kinship, so they feel no need to shun other Dwarfs. Lesser Slayers will sometimes join a Daemon Slayer heading into the Chaos Wastes; they will invariably find the death they seek.[2b]


  • 1: Grudgelore
    • 1a: pg. 34
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Dwarfs: Stone and Steel
    • 2a: pg. 22
    • 2b: pg. 23
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th ED -- Core Rulebook
    • 3a: pg. 114