Today, it is a ruin, given up to the Skaven and other enemies of the Dwarfs. It is one of two Dwarf holds which over-look the Black Water, at the junction of the Black Mountains and the Worlds Edge Mountains.
The nature of the Black Water crater made the perfect location for the Dwarfs to mine Gromril - the star-iron which Dwarfs used to forge legendarily solid armour and razor-sharp weapons. Like Karak Ungor before, the Dwarfs' mines were their own downfall: as they mined deeper into the cliff-face, they dug so deep that their tunnels touched the underground waters of the lake. This made the whole foundation of the hold unstable. When that part of the mountains was struck by one of the earthquakes which are common to that part of the world, the Black Water rushed into the tunnels, galleries and workings, washing away thousands of dwarfs and tonnes of their treasure.
During the War of Vengeance, King Ironhandson and his warriors were returning home from the failed sixth siege of Tor Alessi when they were ambushed by an Elf army. The King carved a rune into the rock on which he stood and prcolaimed that he would not move from this spot. The fight was long and although he was slain, many Dwarfs were able to break free and return home - recognising his bravery, the Elves allowed their prisoners to bury him under the rock and it would become a place of pilgrimage for the Dwarfs. [2a]
The Runesmith Kadrin Redmane clears the hold of the Skaven in -1185 IC and opens the mines once more. However in -1136 IC, he is ambushed and killed by Orcs at Black Water and ten years later the dwarfs loose the hold once more. [5a]
In 2410 IC, Grom the Paunch defeated a number of Dwarf armies and his horde was met in battle by the army of Karak Varn at the Battle of Iron Gate where although the goblins were fought to a standstill. Conscious that they would loose by attrition, the Dwarfs sent to the Empire for aid, but were refused by Emperor Dieter IV who fled from Nuln to Altdorf. [3a]
For the long years since its construction, Karak-Varn had been regarded with envious eyes by the Skaven, for similar reasons to those which had brought the dwarfs to it in the first place. Whilst the dwarfs treasured Gromril, the Skaven lusted for the warpstone which had been laid down in the same way. They boiled up through the wrecked tunnels with goblinoid allies, driving the dwarfs from their ruined hold even as they struggled to shore up the damage. The taint of warpstone spread through the city, and no dwarf would willingly live there, even if the things which lurk within were driven from it. The hold was abandoned and left to the horrors that lurk there.
The Dwarfs have relinquished the corrupted stronghold, but have not forgotten the precious Gromril within its mines - expeditions frequently brave the terror of the dark beneath Karak-Varn for the remnants of the Gromril still to be found in the deeper passages. Engineers have built many cunning devices to enable the Dwarfs to probe the depths, even those underwater, where the richest and as yet unplumbed workings can be found. This is dangerous work as Skaven still dwell in Karak-Varn, and worse things too.
- Hraddi Ironhand: Dwarf King of the hold. [2a]
- Thorgil Ironhand: Dwarf King and son of Hraddi. [2a]
- Ironhandson: Dwarf King of the hold who, son of Thorgil, it is said he created the first Oathstone. [2a]
- Wietzak: Vampire and at one point savage ruler of the lost hold. [1a]
|The Dwarf realms|
|Karaz-a-Karak - Karak Kadrin - Zhufbar - Karak Azgal - Karak Azul- Karak Hirn - Karak Angazbar - Karak Gantuk - Karak Izor - Karak Norn - Karak Ziflin - Karak Eight Peaks - Barak Varr - Karak Zorn - Karak Eksfilaz - Karak Kaferkammaz - Karak Grom - Karak Azgaraz - Karak Angkul|
|Norse Dwarf holds||Kraka Dorden - Kraka Drak - Kraka Ornsmotek - Kraka Ravnsvake|
|Lost holds||Karaz Bryn - Karak Drazh - Karak Dum - Karak Khazarak - Karak Ungor - Karak Varn - Karak Vlag - Karak Zanda - Ekrund - Mount Silverspear|
- 1: Drachenfels (novel)
- 1a: Act One, Chapter Two, pg. 56
- 2: Grudgelore
- 2a: Oathstones, pg. 51-52
- 3: The Generals Compendium
- 3a: Waaagh! Grom and the Defense of Nuln, pg. 17
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (4th Edition)
- 4a: Skaven Timeline, pg. 23
- 5: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
- 5a: Deeds of the Ages, pg. 20
- White Dwarf 152, pg. 54, The Dwarf Realms