The Black Mountains are a considerable range of mountains; with many lofty peaks overlooking The Empire to the north, and the Border Principalities along the southern flank of the mountain range. Along either end of the Black Mountains there is a pass designating the frontiers with other mountain chains; these boundaries traverse the mountains, in the east with the World’s Edge Mountains and in the west with The Vaults.
Throughout the Black Mountains, the dwarves have found plentiful deposits of iron, gold and silver – though seams of gromril and gems are rare. The principal dwarfhold of Karak Hirn ‘Hornhold,’ is located near the western end of the Black Mountains, and the other dwarven settlements invariably seek the protection of King Alrik Ranulfsson.
The mountains are a considerable obstacle for greenskin armies wishing to assault The Empire, and they are customarily forced to use the Black Fire Pass. The most easily traversed of the three passes, the Black Fire Pass lies in the east along the World’s Edge Mountains; the other two passes through the Black Mountains are perilous, and climb to inhospitable altitudes. Over 2500 years ago the Battle of Black Fire Pass took place, when the alliance of humans and dwarves destroyed the greatest horde of orcs and goblins ever seen, and saw the founding of The Empire one year later.
Passes of the Black Mountains:
Black Fire Pass: The pass running between the Black Mountains and the World’s Edge Mountains in the east, is used by the Old Dwarf Road, and connects The Empire with the dwarven capital of Karaz – a – Karak. Branching of the Old Dwarf Road, the South Road leads to Barak Varr on the Black Gulf, and the Old Silk Road crosses the Border Principalities. In the Imperial Province of Averland the Town of Grenzstadt straddles the Old Dwarf Road at the Imperial end of the pass; while the Town of Akendorf is located at the other end in the Border Principalities.
Karak Gantuk Pass:
Icy Wind Pass: South of the town of Kroppenleben, in the Imperial Province of Wissenland, the road follows the River Hornberg. Ascending along the rivers course the Icy Wind Pass begins, and soon forks through the Black Mountains. The eastern branch leads southeast through the mountain range to the Border Principalities beyond, and ends at the headwaters of the Loadstone River. This tributary of the Tana Dante flows southwest toward the town of Aldium. The southwest branch continues following the course of the River Hornberg, where the pass splits again. A treacherously narrow course climbs southeast to the dwarfhold of Karak Hirn; as the alternate path continues west, eventually turning northwest along the River Sonne and descending again to the foothills of Wissenland.
Winters’ Teeth Pass: Near the headwaters of the River Soll is the town of Kreutzhofen, in Wissenland; where the Winters’ Teeth Pass of the Black Mountains intersects with that of Mondidier Pass of the Grey Mountains. The Winters’ Teeth Pass travels southeast along the western boundary of the Black Mountains, and the eastern flank of The Vaults. This pass from The Empire to the Border Principalities in the south, ends at the town of Mortensholm – near the headwaters of the Tana Dante.