Saturday 7 September 2013

Rumble in the Jungle: Oldhammer gets down and dirty

The Rumble in the Jungle is a Warhammer 3rd edition scenario that took place at Wargames Foundry last weekend between four heavyweights of the Oldhammer community: Harry "Harry", Chris "Norse", Tom "Hetz" and Richard "lenihan". It was penned by Paul "Padre" with some additional (and as it turned out quite insignificant!) encounters generated by myself.

This post isn't a battle report in the traditional sense - I'm not going to go through the battle blow by blow, partly because I didn't record it in that much detail and partly because I still have not refreshed my memory sufficiently with the rules for a report to make much sense to me or to a reader. So instead I've provided a series of pics that illustrate some key memories of the scenario.

I've lifted the marvellous background directly from Padre - if you want to read the full background and ruleset then its available on the Oldhammer forum:

Deep in the jungles of the great southern continent of Lustria lies a long lost valley. For over a thousand years no-one in the outside world knew of its existence. Those who stumbled upon it never left. The first visitors were soldier-explorers from an ancient Southlands kingdom (now just as forgotten as the valley itself). The last were a band of Old World pirates searching the jungles for a city of gold, most of whom died fighting in the valley, the remainder being enslaved.

They were defeated by the valley’s defenders, a large tribe of pygmies and their war beasts and allies. Once, millennia ago, when strange powers ruled the valley, the pygmies were mere slaves, living lives of drudgery, scuttling about the valley barely noticed by their masters, polishing this and scrubbing that, weeding here and tending there. They used domesticated, native animals as beasts of burden. To perform different tasks, other slaves were brought to the valley by the masters - including a tribe of hairy ape-like men taken from their home on an entirely different continent.

The masters themselves lived a life very different from their slaves – being more akin to gods than mortals. They clothed themselves in shimmering garb, wielded potent, magical tools and weapons, and travelled in most mysterious ways. They built 3 (and perhaps began a fourth – depending on Thantsants!!) large, stone temple-homes, arrayed in a manner pleasing to themselves, and they dug a deep underground cavern where they performed secret rituals and stored their most precious belongings. And then, one day, they were gone.
The valley and their slaves remained. Over a thousand years passed, perhaps several thousand – the pygmies are not very good at keeping time – and the slaves changed. They could not leave the valley as the very notion never occurred to them. The masters had dominated them so well that even today they believe it is their most important duty to serve the valley and the temple-homes within. But in other ways they changed. They grew more intelligent, becoming more fearsome and a lot more independent. They bred their beasts to make them more ferocious so that they could fight in battle, and they made the hairy-apes obedient to them. The stories they told of the past mutated through the years, and although they still revered the temple-homes and the beings who dwelt there with deep religious reverence, their gods and beliefs came to bear little similarity to the actual, distant past. They began to worship immortal pygmy fathers and mothers, who manifested through divinely chosen individuals in each generation, re-born again and again. Then, for a time, their religion became cruel, as they found ways to reanimate the dead – trying to keep their gods within their chosen host for longer than the host’s mortal life. Eventually they shunned such practices, for the living dead seemed unworthy of containing their gods – and most doubted that the gods truly inhabited such hosts anyway. But they did not forget the sinister art of re-animating the dead, a knowledge passed on to selected shamans of each generation.

Then came the RUMBLE! An earth-quaking tremor that rocked the whole valley. The pygmies’ huts collapsed, many of their statues tumbled, and huge boulders came rolling down from the heights. Several sections of the cunningly crafted (to appear natural) valley walls crumbled, leaving rubble-strewn gaps like gates. The temple-homes remained standing, for they had been divinely crafted, but cracks and fissures appeared in their ancient stone walls. And deep beneath the ground, in the completely forgotten caverns, something toppled, something jarred, something cracke, and an artifact so intricate as to defy all mortal understanding stuttered into life.

This subterranean artifact is connected to the temples above. Once it was used by the masters to facilitate their magical mode of travel. Now it is partially awakened, bleeding phosphorescent fluids, emitting eerie illuminations, and reaching out, uncontrolled and chaotic, to distant times and places.
The pygmies don’t know this. They are too busy righting their statues, rounding up their beasts, and arguing over which temple they ought to attempt to patch up first. They also don’t know that the RUMBLE was heard and felt by others. Nor that a wave of magical energy rippled out from the valley when the deeply buried thing broke, whispering of ancient power and wisdom to the magically sensitive. Nor that the last of the enslaved pirates were not buried underneath a rock slide as they believe, but fled over the valley wall to carry word of the valley to the outside world.

So they cannot know that several interested parties (some out of curiosity, others out of greed) are this very day approaching their valley.

How the scenario unfolded

The field of battle awaits the arrival of the combatants. This is a view from the north looking down the valley. Allowed entry points are in each corner, between two stands of trees. Pygmies on boar-back, mounted on a triceratops, and riding pterodactyls wander the plains under the control of the GMs. The gorillas are yet to make an entry.

Harry is working out the final stats for his Viking/Amazon alliance, while the chaos force of Norse has made its first footfall on the bottom left (southwest) corner of the table. Paul "Golgfag1" top-left is wondering if anyone will notice if he sneaks off with a temple down his trousers. In the background a Blood Bowl game is in full swing.

Harry is still working out his stats while Chris (top-right) watches on patiently. Padre (in white on the left) has placed his gorillas on the table, and is also waiting patiently for Harry to work out his stats...

Harry's forces are on the table! It's raining cats and dogs...and norse and amazons. There are - count them - three sorceresses in that lot!

Suddenly, an expeditionary force of High Elves enters the valley from the northeast, at the opposite end of the table to the other combatants. Are we going to see a rush for the temple and a swift victory for the elves?

Lenihan prepares to unleash elf mega-death on the valley's inhabitants. Hetz - juts off camera to the left prepares his orcish horde to enter the valley. But where will they enter...?

First attack to the elves! Despite arriving on the table in third position, lenihan wastes little time and throws the killing power of the eagles at the diminutive form of the pygmies. We were all surprised at the stats of an eagle in 3rd edition - even lenihan himself. Yes, those are 4 dinosaurs penned up in the top right corner.

A temple guardian, bottom of picture, the first random encounter of the game. He died. Very quickly. Curse you elfish bow strength! Can anyone stop the elves?

Zombies! Flies! Elves! The elves clash, lance in one hand, nose being held in the other. Stinky combat ensues.

It could be you! The finger of doom picks out another victim. Harry's norse and amazon contingent are swiftly followed by the orcs, which the gods of chance have deemed should enter the table behind Harry's forces. At this stage an uneasy truce keep the two forces apart. Hetz is confusing his orcs with dwarfs and is becoming subject to alcoholism.

Pygmies with blowpipes, gorillas, and skeletons rush towards the invading troops. Could we see a gorilla vs. amazon clash? The fight we've all been dreaming of!

Middle-right: the first glimpse of Norse's  plastic Reaper Jabberwock as it engages with a troupe of mounted pygmies. The Jabberwock is an expensive entity in Warhammer 3rd and its cost does not really reflect its killing power. So I asked Norse why he fielded one and he replied "because he wanted a Jabberwock on the table." That's the Oldhammer ethos right there!

The elves, having sent the zombies packing, are pushed back by 3 dinosaurs, and are being advanced upon by 3 giant gorialls. Off to the top left Harry has elected to mount another invasion force, this time a small band of gold-hungry conquistadors. The mounted hero is engaging the 4th dinosaur to have been released from the pen. Meanwhile the pygmy equivalent of the halfling hot-pot is taking pot-shots at the elves from the temple roof.

Dinosaurs verses High Elves!

One of Harry's ogres (actually a giant figure) routs off the table after having lost combat.

The arrer boys are in no hurry here...

Amazons battle pygmy riding pterodactyls! An orc shaman stands just to the left of the fight, minding his own business. The orcs are being pretty quiet - are they hatching a plan?

Ogre! Gorillas! Amazons! Skeletons! It's like Tarzan gone mad.

Hang on, haven't we seen you before? A second temple guardian is generated by the random encounters sheet, which is a bit disappointing given all the other encounters that could have been. Still, you should have seen the "giant" frog. Sorry guys - next time I'll make the random encounters far more troublesome...An Amazonian sorceress - having flown to the top of a temple - prepares to loot it.

A pygmy howdah mounted on a triceratops. Careful, these things can turn on a penny (apparently).

The pygmy halfling hotpot equivalent: how could such a device possibly work without altering the laws of physics? In this valley, anything is possible. Fortunately for the elves its rate of misfire is pretty high.

Awesome giant gorillas thunder towards the elves. Elves - you've got no chance!

While at the base of the southern-most pyramid, a sneaky band of norse prepares for more looting.

Orcs - do what you do naturally and fight, damn you!

That's more like it! Crazy boar mounted orcs pile into the ranks of the undead.

Giant gorillas? P'ah! Archers? Bolt thrower? FIRE!!!!!!

Not so hard no are you Mr big shot giant gorilla man?

Possibly the most effective random encounter of the game (which isn't saying much): a giant spider is pushed back several times by the mounted conquistador before finally getting tired of playing games. The spider will dine on man-paella tonight!

A dinosaur vs some conquistadors. Yes, the dinosaur wins...

A dinosaur versus a cat! Yes, the dinosaur wins...

Its a close fight between the gorillas and the amazons, when suddenly a mounted orc hero takes the gorillas in the rear (stop that giggling in the back). In 3rd edition, taking your opponent in the rear can have nasty consequences (ahem). The gorillas promptly flee into the swamp, their dignity in tatters. There they meet a pygmy shaman who has been blown off the temple by an amazonian sorceress's Wind Blast spell.

The sneaky norse have more gold!

Another random encounter sees 3 chaos thugs enter the table. Could this battle be heating up to the max?

The battle has been raging for a day and a half already, and Harry has to leave by 3.00pm. Given that Harry owns two of the temples we need a swift "what would have been" resolution. People begin packing up, the norse have some treasure - they think its all over! But a couple of accelerated game turns sees the orcs have a different idea and snatch the treasure from under the noses of the norse. Phew! Victory to the orcs!

The elves, lost, musing on what could have been. So close and yet so far. 


  1. Thanks for the review of the action. There were just too many tables going on and I hate to miss any fun!

  2. What a Fantastic post of a Fantastic looking game!!

  3. Great pics Steve and a very entertaining commentary!