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Twin hold to Karak Varn, Zhufbar (Khazalid for "Torrent-gate") is the hold where the metals, Gromril in particular, mined out from beneath Karak Varn are smelted and forged into the weapons and armour which make the Dwarfs famous.
The most mechanized of strongholds, Zhufbar is built into a deep chasm worn over time from a torrential waterfall that cascades down through its centre. The sound of thousands of grinding water wheels, wheezing bellows and pounding drop hammers echoes off nearby peaks - a never-ceasing tumult of industry. Spark-ridden smog wreaths the peak above, and at night, the chasm glows from untold furnace fires. Rebuilt after its near-destruction during the Time of Woes, Zhufbar is the centre of metalwork for the Karaz Ankor and also contains the principal shrine of the Dwarf Engineer's Guild. Although it is surrounded by greenskin tribes, and its lowermost levels are riddled with Skaven, Zhufbar stands strong. In addition to its visible defences, the stronghold also contains a series of retractable towers, iron-clad gun bunkers and rune-protected blast walls. A formidable airfleet, berthed in telescopic launch bays hidden about the mountainside, also ensures that besieging forces never survive for long.[1b]
Centre of Industry
Unlike other Dwarfholds, Zhufbar was established primarily as an industrial centre. The principle shrine of the Dwarf Engineer's Guild is located here. The Guild status is such that the Guildmaster of the Zhufbar Engineers, Grimly Hammerfist of the Karakgrund Clan, sits on the King's council. The Zhufbar Engineers are a little more adventurous and innovative than the Master Chapter at Karaz-a-Karak. In fact, much of the heavy industrial machinery used in the other holds were first designed and tested in Zhufbar, especially hydraulic-powered machinery and the pumps used to drain flooded mines. Most of Zhufbar's needs for food, clothing, and other day-to-day items are met through trade with other holds and with the humans of The Empire.[2a]
During the Golden age, Zhufbar had a population of 125,000 - more than one-third that of Karaz-a-Karak itself. However, centuries of war have reduced the population of this proud hold considerably. Heavy iron gates protect the inhabitants of Zhufbar from the Orc and Goblin tribes that infest the surrounding mountains. Zhufbar is threatened by Greenskins above ground and Skaven below. The constant state of siege has shaped the mentality of the Dwarfs who live here, and most visitors to Zhufbar lodge in the portion of the stronghold that lies above ground. The Inner part of the Dwarfhold is open only to fellow Dwarfs and to trusted Dwarf-friends (Dawongr in Khazalid) - the latter are accompanied by Dwarf escort at all times. Anyone caught attempting to steal the industrial secrets of Zhufbar is turned out into the bleak, Orc-ridden mountains with no more than a loincloth and a dagger.[2a] [2b]
A small mountain track heads north-west from the gates of Zhufbar towards the former Imperial province of Sylvania. A paved road leads upriver for a few hundred yards, ending at a large iron gate set into the mountainside near the waterfall. Protected by powerful runes, the Grimbar Gate guards the opening to the Underway. From the outside, the gate can only be opened by a set of four keys; the King, Queen, Engineer's Guildmaster, and Zhufbar's Gatekeper, Gorm Barakundi, hold one key each. From the inside, the Grimbar Gate can be opened without difficulty. The gate is constructed to close and lock automatically. Runes of Enemy Detection on the gates' inside give off a reddish glow when Orcs or Goblins are within 30 yards of the gates, to warn of possible ambush. Over the years, the Dwarfs of Zhufbar have sealed all tunnels leading to the fallen Karak Varn, and any mines opening into Skaven passages. Frequent patrols check that these tunnels remain secure, but the deepest levels of the mines still see frequent clashes with the Skaven. The mineral wealth of the deep mines is sufficient to justify their being kept open despite the Skaven threat.[2b]
Battle of a Hundred Cannons
In 2519 IC, a Goblin horde assailed Zhufbar without warning but failed to breach its defences. An army from Karaz-a-Karak rapidly marches to the beleaguered hold's aid. The goblins are quickly dispersed but it soon becomes evident that the goblins had actually been fleeing a greater threat. Within weeks a powerful Ogre army bypasses Karak Kadrin and marches on the Moot. The armies of Karaz-a-Karak, Karak Kadrin and Zhufbar unite under High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer and give battle as the Ogres hold the River Aver. Just as the Ogres turn at bay, their forces divided by the river, an army of Men from Nuln arrives on the scene. Caught between the Dwarfs and Men, the Ogre ranks are swept by the largest concentration of artillery yet seen in the Old World and utterly destroyed.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer RPG 1st Edition: Dwarfs - Stone & Steel