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Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs isn’t merely the name of the Total War: Warhammer 3 DLC bringing the Dawi-Zharr into the game – it’s a programmatic title referencing one of the key mechanics of this new faction. We’ve already looked at what your goal in a Chaos Dwarfs campaign will be – drilling into the fabric of reality to gather the fabled Blood of Hashut. Now it’s time to explore the Hell-Forge mechanic, which plays a key role in how your armies will be built.

Just like the Tomb Kings, which can only build a certain amount of units from a specific type until they expand the corresponding infrastructure, so too are the Chaos Dwarfs restricted by limited unit capacities for war machines, fire daemons, beasts, bull centaurs, and Chaos Dwarf infantry. The only thing you’ll be able to build unlimited numbers of are Goblin and Orc Laborers and other auxiliary units from your Greenskin underlings. You can find all Chaos Dwarfs units in our guide.

This is very lore-accurate, as the numbers of Chaos Dwarfs themselves are actually not very high, making them depend on Greenskin slaves and mercenaries to fill the ranks of their armies.

Total War: Warhammer 3 – Chaos Dwarfs Hell-Forge

Total War Warhammer 3 Hell-Forge UI.

How do Chaos Dwarfs expand their unit caps? Enter, Hell-Forge.

Unlike the Tomb Kings, you don’t expand your unit caps by building additional structures. Instead, you invest one of your unique resources, Armaments, inside the Hell-Forge’s Armory to increase your cap. Expanding your unit capacities feeds into the Hell-Forge’s second purpose as well, which is to provide upgrades in the Manufactory.

If you expand the unit capacity for Chaos Dwarf melee infantry to five, to give one example, you unlock the Hell-Forge’s ability to enhance that unit category with additional passive abilities or attributes, such as Frenzy, Sundering Attacks, or Glittering Scales. You can choose several of these upgrades simultaneously and more are unlocked as you reach additional milestones by expanding the caps further. However, enhancing your units with these upgrades will cost you Armaments to maintain, so there are running costs to this process you’ll have to keep in mind.

Total War Warhammer 3 Hell-Forge.

The Hell-Forge's Armory houses your unit cap upgrades.

Here are the unit caps you can upgrade in the Armory categorized by their upgrade type:

  • Melee Infantry (new upgrades at 5, 7, 10, 13, and 16):
    • Warriors (Chaos Dwarf Warriors with Shields, Great Weapons)
    • Infernal Guard (Infernal Guard with Shields, Great Weapons)
    • Infernal Ironsworn (Infernal Ironsworn with Shields)
  • Missile Infantry (new upgrades at 4, 6, 9, 10, and 15):
    • Blunderbusses (Chaos Dwarf Warriors with Blunderbusses)
    • Fireglaives (Infernal Guard with Fireglaives)
  • Flying Monsters (new upgrades at 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12):
    • Great Taurus
    • Lammasu
    • Bale Taurus
  • K’Daai (new upgrades at 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11):
    • K’Daai Fireborn
    • K’Daai Destroyer
  • War Machines (new upgrades at 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12):
    • War Machines (Skullcracker, Iron Daemon, Magma Cannon, Deathshrieker Rocket, Dreadquake Mortar)
    • Hellcannon
  • Bull Centaurs (new upgrades at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10):
    • Bull Centaur Renders (Renders with Shields, Great Weapons, and Dual Weapons)

Unit cap increases for Chaos Dwarf Warriors, Infernal Guard, and Infernal Ironsworn all count towards the Melee Infantry category for the purpose of unlocking additional upgrades. In turn, upgrades activated in that category affect every unit type included in it, which is very powerful.

Total War Warhammer 3 Hell-Forge.

The Manufactory allows you to upgrade entire unit categories.

It looks like you’ll be able to build a maximum of 16 to 10 of these specialized units empire-wide, likely not including Regiments of Renown. That would enable you to build four to five elite stacks without any Greenskins.

Armaments, then, will be a very important asset for you in a Chaos Dwarfs game. We already know that you can gain them from specific seats at the Tower of Zharr-Naggrund and produce them through factories, but there is another way of obtaining them: Convoys.

Total War: Warhammer 3 – Chaos Dwarfs Convoys

Total War Warhammer 3 Convoy.

Chaos Dwarf Convoys are an evolution of Cathay's Caravan mechanic.

Military Convoys are a variation of Grand Cathay’s Trade Caravans and another very cool feature from a lore-standpoint. The Chaos Dwarfs are known for their trade relationships with Norscans, Chaos Warriors, and Dark Elves, buying slaves and raw material in exchange for exporting their powerful weaponry. This Convoy mechanic is an expression of that.

Just like with Grand Cathay’s Trade Caravans, you choose a Convoy leader coming with some initial escort troops and determine a target location from what’s available on the map. Whereas Grand Cathay could only gain Gold and some magic items or followers depending on the target, Chaos Dwarfs have a bit more choice, allowing them to balance out their economy depending on what’s most needed at a given moment. Some locations allow them to sell Armaments for Gold, others to trade Armaments for Raw Materials or Labor, and others let them buy Raw Materials or Labor for Gold.

The Convoys travel on preset paths around the world, just like Trade Caravans – similar to them they’ll be able to be attacked by enemies and lead to lots of random events, which allow you to add units like a Black Dragon to the escort or increase the transported cargo to get more profit.

Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs will be released on April 13, 2023.