The Badlands' is the name given to the arid, rocky country that lies between the Worlds Edge Mountains and the Dragonback Mountains. To the north of the Badlands lie the Black Gulf and the Blood River, and to the south, the Blind River and the Marshes of Madness. Thorny scrub brush and gnarled, ash-grey trees are all that grow in the dusty, barren wastes of the Badlands. What water can be found is a foul and stinking brown, thick with mud and unfit for any creature to drink. Contributing to the dismal mood are twisting formations of jagged rock and the omnipresent ruins of the Mourkain Empire, still adorned in leering skulls and other emblems of death and decay.
This desolate land is home to some of the most vicious and brutal tribes of greenskins to be found anywhere. These tribes war constantly with one another, and many of the most successful greenskin leaders in the history of the Old World emerged from the Badlands to lead their tribes on a path of destruction and conquest. The harsh environment and constant state of conflict weed out the weak and unworthy. In the Badlands, only the strongest survive.
It is hard to imagine a less hospitable place for a Dwarf to visit, and yet they have come to the Badlands in force to carry out an important mission. In response to the fall of Karak Eight Peaks and the resulting blow to the morale of his people, the wise High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer has proclaimed that the Dwarfs will forge mighty weapons, more powerful than any the world has ever known. These weapons will be crafted from the best and rarest materials in the Old World, and one such ingredient is the gem called Brynduraz, or 'Brightstone' in the language of men.
In an age long past, the Dwarfs mined Brightstone from the tunnels beneath Mount Gunbad. It was in the Time of Woes that a horde of Night Goblins attacked the gold-rich mines and drove the Dwarfs out. Many years later, Mourkain Necromancers divined the existence of a powerful intersection of magical ley lines beneath the Gunbad mines. Determined to reach this nexus of power, they used their undead laborers to dig a great tunnel joining the mines with their own Empire, which at that time stretched across the Badlands. In the deepest hollow of the Gunbad tunnels, they built a great obsidian henge to channel the potent energies of the ley line convergence. The Mourkain never had the chance to use this power, for their great empire was destroyed soon after the completion of the henge.
Rumors of the existence of the Mourkain tunnel eventually reached the Dwarfs, but the tale was widely dismissed as a fanciful legend. Interest in the story was renewed when the High King announced his ambitious plan. Because the Gunbad mines were the only known source of Brightstone, the Dwarfs had tried many times to reclaim it. All such attempts had failed disastrously, for the Night Goblins were too well entrenched. A secret tunnel leading into the depths of the mines, however, might just give the Dwarfs a chance.
Even if the Dwarfs can find the tunnel, shipping cartloads of Brightstone safely back to Karaz-a-Karak will be a monumental undertaking. Like the nearby Marshes of Madness, the Badlands are tainted with the warping power of Chaos. All manner of predators both living and dead prowl the barren, rock-strewn hills and valleys. Ghouls stalk the craggy bluffs while packs of ravening Chaos Hounds hunt for easy prey under the light of the green-tinged moon, Morrslieb. Black-feathered carrion birds circle high above, searching with greedy eyes for their next feast. In the southern reaches of the Badlands dwells a great tribe of Ogres, and they will suffer no trespassers to enter their territory.
It will take every ounce of courage the Dwarfs can muster - and no small amount of good fortune - if they are to complete their task in the Badlands. If they can find the legendary Gunbad tunnel, they will bring much-needed hope to their people, and that alone may be enough to turn the tide of the war in their favour.