There are quite a few inserts and it might take a little time to read them all in detail. If you are an Oldhammer devotee and are short for time I would recommend you read the Chaos Marauders insert first, which is a great example of the ethos of what it meant to play Warhammer at that time.
The Oldhammer ethos permeates many of the inserts, which I've tried to highlight in my introduction to each, and I've also picked out some of my favourite features of the various scenarios and character profiles provided. I've been deliberately vague about the details of the various scenarios, in case those reading wish to play them for themselves. The inserts can be seen in detail on a Scribd link I have provided at the end of this post.
(Note that "Toughness" in early Warhammer was designated by letter, and not number, in case you get confused).
The inserts are from the following sets (the contents of each box can be see on the excellent Stuff of Legends):
Speciality SetsSS1 - Warriors of Chaos (version 2, without separate heads/weapons/shields)
SS3 (v2) - Knights of Chaos
SS5 - Warrior Knights of Law (version 2, without separate weapons/shields)
SS6 - White Dwarf Personalities
Citadel PresentsCP1 - Bryan Ansell's Chaos Marauders
CP2 - Bryan Ansell's Heroic Adventurers
CP3 - Tom Meier's Troglodytes
CP4 - Tom Meier's Lizard Warriors
CP5 - Orc War Machine
Starter SetsDungeon Adventurers Starter Set
Dungeon Monsters Starter Set
Deluxe Boxed SetsDL1 - Ally Morrison's Samurai Oriental Heroes
DL2 - Ally Morrison's Hobgoblin Warriors
Runequest Boxed SetsBox 7 (v2): Demons
SS1 - Warriors of Chaos: The Quest for Chaos by anon
The Quest for Chaos is the first part of a two-part mini-campaign, the second installment of which (The Mausoleum of Ifram) was available with the Warrior Knights of Law set. The campaign begins at the Crack of Desolation, a gigantic bottomless fissure which separates the Kingdoms of Men (Irysia) from the "ultimate insanity" (love that!) of the Dominions of Chaos (this was prior to it being upgraded to a Realm of Chaos...). The Eye Stone - a jewel imbued with great power by the Gods of Law - would normally keep the boarders of Chaos in check, but the Gods of Chaos have cast a great spell which means that chosen Chaos Warriors are now able to cross the Crack of Desolation in an attempt to claim the Eye Stone with the result that chaos would destroy the world of men. Only the Guardians of the Three Bridges, immortal giants who serve the Elder gods and keep the balance between Law and Chaos, can stop them...
The scenario requires at least two people to play, the Chaos person and the Irysia person, but ideally also requires the use of a GM. This scenario and those in other inserts were produced around the time of first edition Warhammer, which had a strong role-playing element. GMs were commonplace, as was character development across skirmishes and large battles, and "dungeon crawl" elements were also common. Phrases such as "left to the GM to decide" were commonly used, and the results of encounters and battles frequently involved a random element that required the cooperation of players and the GM to resolve, resulting in game play which was often loose and free-flowing. The random elements could have quite a dramatic effect on the game, and these elements in combination with a complete lack of a points system meant that "balanced play" wasn't really a factor.
SS3 (v2) - Knights of Chaos: character profiles by Rick Priestley
The insert that accompanies this boxed set is essentially a series of figure profiles, but it is interesting for several reasons. It mentions by name two of the Chaos gods which we are familiar with today: Khorne and Slaneesh (sic), and are early example of the mention of these deities. The Warrior Knights themselves are Khornate - but they do not follow Khorne directly, rather they are devoted members of Chaotic sects, each sect being associated with Khorne. The "minor gods" which the sects worship are manifestations of some aspect of Khorne's divinity, and they form his divine retinue. Each of the minor gods has their own characteristics, which are bestowed upon their devotees in the form of gifts and characteristics (both positive and negative).
The insert is essentially a set of character profiles, and there is no scenario presented. But the introduction does allude to the great fighting arenas of Khorne, and I suspect that the intention is that the various Warrior Knights depicted should battle it out in gladiatorial combat with one another. But that is left to the reader to establish. There is also the potential for a campaign system or extended play implied in the starting characteristics of some of the knights.
Despite the fact that there is no scenario I enjoyed reading this insert. It's gives an interesting glimpse of the development of chaos and the character profiles are fun. The names of the minor gods are wonderful, and they smack of Moorcock's influence, e.g. Dark Zoonbar, Heinous Suth, Laughing Jokkle. A pitched battle involving several sects acting on the chaos side would make for an interesting spectacle on the field of battle given the diverse characteristics of the sect members. Handily the flyer offered the option to buy multiple examples of each warrior to construct the sects.
SS5 - Warrior Knights of Law: The Mausoleum of Ifram by anon
The insert provided in this set formed part 2 of the Quest for Chaos, a campaign pitting the forces of Chaos against the forces of Law. This scenario again ideally requires a GM because there are secretive elements involved which must be kept from the players, and which they must keep from each other. There are also strong dungeon crawl elements to this scenario.
It was amusing to read the description of the stone font and the Relics of Ifram - very Monty Python!
SS6 - White Dwarf Personalities: character profiles by Phil Masters and Steve GilhamActually, this box set did NOT come with an insert - the character stats for these figures were available in White Dwarf 50. I have included them here for completeness (note that the stats were given in Runequest and AD&D format, not in Warhammer format).
CP1 - Bryan Ansell's Chaos Marauders: character profiles by anon
This is another insert which is essentially a series of character stats but the characters are richly imagined and provided with great profiles and equipment. There is no explicit scenario but plenty of background material is provided with which to generate a narrative campaign.
In my opinion the introduction to the insert perfectly summarises the ethos of Warhammer at that time:
Warhammer was designed as a set of rules to accompany a miniature line, and not vice versa. Another excellent example of the ethos is the description of Laerial's Mace of Divine Frenzy. I will leave you to read the description in full but I would draw your attention to the final paragraph of the description on using the Mace:
Laerials Mace is an example of the kind of unique magic item that gamesmasters should create to keep their game exciting and unpredictable. There is no reason at all why a player that acquires it should be told the mechanics of its operation. He should deduce what's going on after a few encounters; assuming he survives.
Exciting and unpredicatable - oh yes! And note the last point: assuming he survives. There's the pathetic aesthetic right there!
So overall a worthy read, providing good characters and an imaginative basis for games, and a perfect introduction to the ethos of Warhammer.
CP2 - Bryan Ansell's Heroic Adventurers: character profiles by anon
The Heroic Adventurers are, as you might expect, a counter to the Chaos Marauders. They are not all sweetness and light, however, and they are quite a rag-tag bunch. A scan of their profiles suggests to me that there was a random element in generating them, and the profiles and back stories were in some part influenced by this. I'm all for introducing such a random element into the game play and it certainly helps boost the imagination and aids in creating a back story in character generation.
Again there is that wonderful introduction, and again there are various profiles and associated weapons with characteristics that bring the unknown element into the game. There also seems to be an interesting sub-plot concerning which character will eventually try to (***spoiler removed***), and the consequences of the action, but I will leave that to you to fathom.
The characters in both CP1 and CP2 have peculiar foibles, and I think you would lose something if you were to, say, pit the adventurers against the marauders, without somehow trying to enact the foibles on the tabletop. In other words, role-play your characters' actions to some extent. Your actions and decisions become in some part dictated by the profiles of the characters. This is a very different situation to that of coldly trying to outmaneuver your opponent and achieve victory at all costs. In my opinion it immerses you deeper in the gameplay, and lifts the skirmish or battle beyond a series of tactical positioning of what is effectively a set of statistics.
CP3 - Tom Meier's Troglodytes: The Duelling Circles of Khorne Old Horvenghaast, Horvenghaast Below and Above by Bryan Ansell
I think this insert provides one of the most richly imagined settings of the series. I know that Bryan is very well read in terms of his fantasy literature, far more so than I, so I'm sure the influences are many and varied. Personally I pick up some Moorcock (of course) in the inhabitants of Horvenghast, but there is also a hint of Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness?) in the origins of the city and the Old Slann.
Oddly, although Troglodytes certainly feature in this insert they are not really the main focus, which is centred around teams of dueling gladiators being controlled by captains who must follow strict rules of combat - or face the consequences (which are dire!). Having said that its a fun game idea, and the Troglodytes do play an important role, with much potential for amusement.
There are quite a lot of random elements in this game, and random team generation could again lead to quite unbalanced forces. The random elements of team generation rely heavily on figures drawn from the Forces of Fantasy supplement.
Did you play this scenario and if so did you buy any of the red or black gladiators? Were they distinct models or, as I suspect, just random chaos warriors?
CP4 - Tom Meier's Lizard Warriors: Dorian Redhorn and the Lair of the Lizard King by Rick Priestley
What distinguishes this scenario from the others is that a single individual (Dorian Redhorn) is pitted against the various factions of the Lizard King. Dorian was a specific figure that you could buy from Citadel Miniatures at that time, and later made his way into the C01 Fighters range. It is described as a simple game, and indeed it is; it would make an ideal starter scenario for anyone new to the mechanics of early Warhammer. Dorian gets to choose three items from a list of magic items and then has to make his way to the other side of the tunnels without being killed. The insert ends by suggesting ways in which you could expand on the scenario. All in all, a good introductory scenario.
CP5 - Orc War Machine: rules and construction guide by Rick Priestley
This is a fairly standard rules and construction guide insert. The rules themselves are fairly complicated if you were new to Warhammer and involved multiple modifiers for various situations and rules above movement, crew loss etc (including a rule for modifying the characteristics of the machine if one of your characters had the Engineering Skill - another example of the role-play element in Warhammer).
Dungeon Adventurers Starter Set: character profiles by anon
Another set of character profiles for a band of very noble adventurers. The leader, Sir Pellinor the Golden Paladin is sickeningly good and pure, and is pretty powerful to boot!
A couple of notable points: Diann the girl thief is introduced as follows "whilst Sir Pellinor may disapprove of immoral thievary Diann is a useful, and attractive, member of his band"! Sexism be damned. And Drambuin the Dwarf, a "young adventurer" has 5 wounds!
Dungeon Monsters Starter Set: character profiles by anon
A series of amusing character profiles written quite firmly tongue-in-cheek. You'll even feel sorry for the Lord of Chaos, Vandamar.
Various magical, enchanted and otherwise "enhanced" weapons and items abound and although these require some effort on the part of the players to keep track of its all part of the immersive element characteristic of early Warhammer. Pitching the monsters vs the adventurers would certainly make for a pomising skirmish.
Deluxe Boxed Sets
The two Deluxe Boxed Sets provided inserts which were essentially duplicates of race profiles that were provided in the Forces of Fantasy Warhammer supplement. I won't, therefore, go into any detail on these, except to say that each insert also provided a brief narrative on painting and modelling figures.
DL1 - Ally Morrison's Samurai Oriental Heroes (from Forces of Fantasy by Bryan Ansell and Rick Priestley)
DL2 - Ally Morrison's Hobgoblin Warriors (from Forces of Fantasy by Bryan Ansell and Rick Priestley)
Runequest Boxed Sets
Box 7 (v2): Demons: The Best Laid Plans by Dave Morris
This is probably one of the least known of the box set inserts. The box set itself is fairly hard to come by, particularly in comparison with the speciality sets, and is often missing its insert. Now I have a confession - Dave Morris (author) - I have no idea who you are. But whoever you are, you wrote a cracking back story! It is well-written, gripping, and smattered with dark humour.
I can't comment too much on the mechanics of the scenario because it was designed for Runequest and uses Runequest mechanics (which I have not played). It seems well designed though and pits a group of interesting demons against a band of adventurers. It plays out in a combat arena which contains some good elements to add to game play. It shouldn't represent too much of a challenge to adapt the mechanics and and profiles to fit Warhammer.
Have you played any of these scenarios? I vaguely remember playing the The Quest for Chaos and The Mausoleum of Ifram but I think that was it. All lost in the mists of time...I think it would be worth tackling one or more of these should we host another Oldhammer weekend next year. What do you reckon?