"And that's not all. There are even a few folk, like myself, who try to follow the old ways. Not many, but enough to give you young 'uns all hope. Take old Ironbrow, f'rinstance. You've all heard of him, haven't you? Thorek's a Dwarf of the old times. Karak Azul's where he lives and where he's master of the armouries. Lucky lot to have him too. He's got one of them Anvils of Doom that were made by Kurgaz and he knows more of its secrets than most of those that have 'em. He's also not afraid to use the power in it, not like some so-called Runelords I could mention. Anyway, like I was saying, he's a proper old fashioned Dwarf with little time for them modern ideas on how to forge weapons and armour. Nor does he care what runes are fashionable this century or that. If it was good enough for our ancestors in the War of Vengeance, it's good enough for Thorek Ironbrow. I've heard him say as much himself, and I felt right proud to hear it."
Durgrim Redmane[1a]
Thorek Ironbrow Dwarfs 6th Edition illustration

Thorek Ironbrow invokes the Rune of Doom.

Thorek Ironbrow is the Master Runelord of Karak Azul and, some say, the greatest Dwarf Runelord alive.[1a][2a] He is currently the most prolific of still-working Runelords[3e] - under his watch, the finest Runesmiths of Karak Azul toil to forge weapons to arm the beleaguered outposts found throughout the Karaz Ankor.[3c]


"Thorek Ironbrow is a worthy role model for any of you that fancy yourselves as Runesmiths. You could do a lot worse than try to impress him with your skill and understanding of the old ways, though it'll be right hard. He demands the highest standards and expects nothing less than your total commitment. Can't afford to mess with the power of an Anvil of Doom if you're all half-hearted."
Durgrim Redmane[1a]
Thorek Ironbrows

Thorek Ironbrow standing upon the corpses of his fallen enemies.

Thorek Ironbrow is a Runelord of the old school. Constant warfare has seen much of the art of the runes lost as holds have fallen to the Greenskins and other enemies. Thorek, however, is as skilled as any Runelord alive today and many would say as any Runelord ever. He has ruled over the weapon shops of Karak Azul for centuries and is a living terror to his apprentices and journeymen who dread his scorn almost as much as they admire his skill and wisdom. Even the sons of kings dare not enter the workshops without Thorek's approval, and many a young would-be Runesmith has found himself back working in the mines for not meeting Thorek's exacting, traditional standards.[2a]

It is only fitting therefore that Thorek is the keeper of Karak Azul's Anvil of Doom. Almost alone among contemporary Runelords, Thorek has an understanding of their deeper mysteries. Whilst he has a complete respect for the power of the anvil, he does not fear it, for to him it is a tool on which he can shape and fashion magic like a normal smith would shape iron, gold and gromril.[2a]

Although Thorek has no lack of tasks to perform in the Karak Azul workshops, he is prepared to venture forth and take his place on the battlefield. In recent years, Dwarf expeditions have been very successful in recovering ancient treasures from lost and fallen holds. Each such discovery helps keep the precious knowledge of the ancestors alive and that in turn helps ensure that no more holds fall. Indeed it is Thorek's belief that combined with the endeavours of the High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer and other like-minded kings such as Alrik Ranulfsson, it may yet be possible to retake some of what has been lost.[2a]

In the best of his moods, he is fiercely irate and a living terror to his apprentices in the weapons shops. A traditionalist in every sense, Thorek cannot abide new technology, and takes every opportunity to speak his mind on ‘new inventions’. Fortunately, he lends not just his councils, but also his strong arm to Thorgrim Grudgebearer. Like his High King, Thorek too longs to reclaim the Dwarf Empire of old, but he also has a personal quest — he seeks lost relics of the ancient days. For this reason, Thorek is extremely active and can be found aiding throngs from many different clans and holds.[3f]

In 2473 IC[3b], after years of work to equip entire battalions of Belegar Ironhammer’s army with new rune-covered axes and hammers and rune-struck armour[3a], he led a throng from Karak Azul in support of Belegar's assault on Karak Eight Peaks[3a][3c]. After breaking through the outer defences, they took a portion of the upper city and fortified it against counterattack. They did so just in time: soon after, Night Goblins assailed them in an overwhelming tide, outnumbering the Dwarfs many thousands to one. The Dwarfs held, with war engines and crackling lightning from Thorek’s anvil reaping a terrible toll.[3a]

Of late, Thorek has been deep underground, buoying the Dwarf battle lines and unleashing the fury of his Anvil of Doom upon the Skaven that fill the underhalls of Karak Eight Peaks. He is not only helping the cause of King Belegar, but also searching for those sealed treasure vaults that have never yet been re-found.[3f]

The End Times

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Thorek Ironbrow Dwarf End Times 8th Edition illustration

Thorek Ironbrow at the start of the End Times.

At the beginning of the End Times, King Kazador sealed the main gates of Karak Azul following the counsel of Thorek Ironbrow, who advised putting faith in strong walls rather than squandering aid upon wayward allies. Furthermore, the master Runesmith personally petitioned the High King to put forth all efforts to recover ancient artefacts, for it was his hope to uncover some mighty heirloom of the Ancestor Gods to aid their cause. Thorek was adamant that he had almost uncovered the hidden whereabouts of the fabled portal stone of Valaya - the rune-covered post and lintel through which the Ancestor Goddess first stepped out of the living mountain. Long-trusted lore suggested the finding of such artefacts would mark the onset of a new golden age, a time when the gods would once more walk amongst their people.[4a]

By following the pointing runes on a carven lodestone he had found, Thorek Ironbrow had been able to discover secret paths in the Underway. He led his expedition, a great throng out of Karak Azul, through those unfamiliar spurs of that ancient underground highway. He often travelled through branches of the Underway but had never seen a stretch in such fine condition - whether by fortune or by the exceptional craft of their makers, these tunnels had remained undiscovered and uncompromised.[4b]

None but Thorek Ironbrow could have deciphered the subtle directions of the lodestone, nor detected the faded rune markings that allowed him to correctly choose which of the many branching paths their expedition should follow.[4b] Thorek hoped to discover and exhume some mighty heirloom of his forefathers, perhaps finding the Hammer of Grungni, or even the Lost Archways: the stone portals through which their Ancestor Gods themselves would one day return. Thorek brought with him his Anvil of Doom, and was attended by Kraggi, his faithful Anvil Guards Dalrek and Unson Grimmsborn, and three Runesmith apprentices - Frimlok, Grudsson and Borri.[4c]

There had been legends from the depths of their history, a secret section of the Underway hewn by Grungni himself - a hidden highway that wound far beneath the peaks of the Worlds Edge Mountains and up to the Lost Pass. Its entrances were contrived by the master artificer to appear as solid walls, and their runes of opening were invisible save to those with a keen sense that could detect bound magic. Supposedly only Grungni's direct kin knew the secrets of entering that section of the under tunnels, but somewhere in the depths of time, that chain of knowledge had been broken. No clues of the hidden paths had been found until Thorek's runic lodestone revealed the way.[4b]

The lodestone led the Dwarfs into a massive cavern - a natural fissure that opened up to a hall of vast proportions. At the far end of this opening, the Underway continued; however, the runic device had steered to the centre of one of the long walls. There, the army had been encamped for three days while Thorek set up his mighty anvil. He used its formidable powers to aid him in seeking the correct runes or rituals that might open the door he reckoned was there, but as of yet could not even see. Because he could not shake his feelings of trepidation, Thorek kept the expedition in battle formation, stationed on either end of the great cavern.[4b]

Upon studying the rock face, he detected unfamiliar magic in addition to the master runes of his own people - this was not the bold, chiselled magic of Dwarfs, but Nehekharan pictographs layered over the top of the original devices. Sure that he was onto something of great import, Thorek ordered the expedition's lone Gyrocopter to fly back to Karak Azul to deliver a message to King Kazador, and with a mighty blow upon his Anvil of Doom that echoed around the cavern, the Runelord cracked the foreign enchantments. Shorn of the masking glamour, Dwarf runes could then be seen etched across a vast set of gates bearing the Master Rune of Valaya, as well as two other arched entrances on the far sides of the cavern.[4b]

Just as he began to chant over the first runes, the carven symbols on both of the flanking doors glowed bright, and with a deep rumbling of rock sliding across rock, the stone portals slid open, revealing tunnels filled with Undead armies led by Neferata and Krell, now Mortarchs under the service of the Great Necromancer Nagash.[4b]

During the subsequent Battle for Valaya's Gate, while the Dwarfs fought tenaciously to keep the Undead at bay, Thorek was pressed hard, smiting his anvil again and again to decimate the oncoming skeletons and unravel the Lahmians' necromantic spells. In the end, however, thanks to the unseen support of Valaya's magic and the sacrifice of many of his supporters (including Kraggi), Thorek managed to activate the last runes of the gates, and the Lost Archway of Valaya was revealed.[4d]

Unfortunately, the extreme strain the battle and the rampant magic energies put on his Anvil of Doom caused it to glow white hot, then begin to split irreparably. Despairing momentarily at this loss, Thorek did not see Neferata until it was too late. The Runelord was stabbed by her Dagger of Jet and hurled into one of the crevasses opened in the ground by the Anvil's power, where the Queen of Lahmia gave him up as dead.[4d]

Soon, the battle turned completely against the Dwarfs, even in spite of the timely intervention of King Kazador and his reinforcements, who were crushed by Krell's forces. It is likely that all the remaining Dwarfs would have been slaughtered save for Thorek Ironbrow, who had caught himself on the edge of the crevasse and had crawled across the stone floor until he reached his beloved anvil. One last time he raised his hammer, Klad Brakak, and with his unbroken arm he smote the anvil. With a crack like the splitting of the heavens, the Anvil of Doom was destroyed, sending arcs of power, bolts of pure vengeance and a seismic blast of concussive force exploded outwards all at once.[4d]

This nearly brought the whole cavern down, shattering the Undead army and allowing the last surviving Dwarfs to carry out a fighting retreat to bring the corpse of King Kazador back to their Hold. Nevertheless, both Neferata and Krell survived.[4d]

Soon after, Neferata led Nagash, who had been weakened during his resurrection by the Curse of Aenarion, into the Dolmen of Valaya, where he consumed the magic stored within the sleeping Ancestor Goddess herself. This allowed him to summon a vast cloud of death magic over all of Nehekhara during his later invasion.[4e]

With Thorek and Kazador's deaths, Karak Azul was unable to resist effectively when it was attacked and overwhelmed by Skaven, and with Valaya's power stolen by Nagash, her protective runes ceased to function, leaving all Dwarfen bulwarks vulneable to fell magic attacks.[5a]


Thorek always goes to battle with his Anvil of Doom, two Anvil Guards and his best assistant, Kraggi.[1a][2a]

He wears a suit of armour inscribed with the Master Rune of Gromril[1a][2a] - made by Thorek himself, this armour has turned a Giant’s club and allowed Thorek to walk unscathed (bar some smouldering) through the flames of the wyrm Drakamol.[3f]

He wields the anvil-headed hammer Klad Brakak, which is a formidable weapon of war as well as a useful tool. In his position as Master of the Weapon Smiths of Karak Azul he has access to a vast amount of ancient rune lore. From his researches and experiments, he has designed a new rune which he has struck onto his hammer. This rune is unique to this weapon, as he only made it a couple of centuries ago and wants to give it a fair trial before using it again.[1a][2a][3f] In battle it is easy to find Thorek as his hammer shatters armour when it strikes, making a sound like thunder. In addition, Klad Brakak bears the Rune of Fury.[1a][2a]

Rune of Doom

"When they were made, all the Anvils could use the rune they're named for, but now I reckon it's just Thorek's that can do that. Mainly that's down to old Ironbrow himself. He knows more about the runes than any other Dwarf alive, and that's just 'cos he spent his whole life reading the ancient texts and talking with the oldest and wisest Runelords. And paying attention to his elders."
Durgrim Redmane[1a]

When Kurgaz forged the Anvils of Doom many centuries ago the most potent rune they had beaten onto them was the Rune of Doom, after which they were named. However, this rune is so difficult and dangerous to use that its secret has almost been lost. Some have not ever dared to use it or have never seen a threat they deemed sufficient to warrant its power. Others have tried and failed to contain and focus its might and their anvils have been torn apart by the uncontrolled energy. Today, the only remaining Runelord who has the skill and courage to attempt it is Thorek Ironbrow.[1a]

When this rune is struck, the air grows chill and the skies turn dark. Ghostly forms of ancient warriors appear amidst the Dwarfs on the battlefield, bolstering their ranks and their courage. These are not ghosts as such, but a manifestation of the Dwarfs' own grim and doom-laden nature. Their anger at the loss of their mighty civilisation and the desecration of their Holds fills them with a righteous fury that is terrible to behold, and their normally grim faces are set with an expression of black vengeance.[1a]


  • 6th Edition.


  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (6th Edition)
    • 1a: pp. 50-51
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (7th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 60-61
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 18
    • 3b: pg. 20
    • 3c: pg. 24
    • 3d: pg. 25
    • 3e: pg. 36
    • 3f: pg. 54
  • 4: The End Times I - Nagash
    • 4a: pg. 42
    • 4b: pp. 214-216
    • 4c: pp. 220
    • 4d: pp. 224-237
    • 4e: pg. 329
  • 5: The End Times IV - Thanquol
    • 5a: pp. 92-93

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