Have you ever wondered what would happen if three cave trolls went up against a Mumak? I know I sure have!
On the edges of the ash wastelands is a single oasis of green. The clear blue water is so still that you can see the reflections of the only green trees growing for leagues in all directions. But wait? What is that circular ripple that reminds you of a certain movie involving a T-Rex. There it is again, and this time you're pretty sure you heard the thud that accompanies the ripples that spread out from the middle of the pool to wash against the shoreline.
Now you see the denizens of the area emerging to protect their water hole from any intruders. First comes the Goblin King with a warband of spear, sword and shield wielding goblins.
Then comes another goblin captain, Mur'baj, with similar goblin cohorts...
Whoah, and entering nearby are three massive cave-trolls, the chieftain, Buhrdur leading the other two with his hounds.
Speaking of which, there are numerous wild wargs in the area, and, oh, there he is, a wild warg chieftain lurking and looking murderous.
Ahh, here could be the cause of the problem, Suladan himself enters on his thirsty looking horse, and you know that he's not going to be alone...
A Hasharin, deadly assassin accompanied by a band of Watchers of Karna, no doubt here to ensure that their King drinks his fill.
But none of those things could be responsible for the continual thud, thud, THUD that seems to be getting ever closer... wait... I thought that trolls were big, but would you look at that! A thirsty, angry looking Mumak is coming towards the water and I don't think even trolls are going to get in the way of that thing!
So here we are, Hold Ground where your forces arrive scattered, the objective is the central watering hole. When one side breaks the game could end and when it does you get victory points for injuring or wounding the enemy leader and also for having models in contact with the oasis (some might say).
Below is the set-up at the end of turn one, nothing much happened of any importance...
Oh, except that two goblins are squashed flat by rocks thrown from the howdah high up on the Mumak. This particular mumak was upgraded with rocks that can be hurled down from above (not super in range, but massively more powerful than bows and arrows) and with rappelling lines so that the troops can get down when they want to.
To the east of the oasis, the goblins and black clad men clash. The Hasharin takes on two goblins, who surprisingly fight back hard and strong - they are the guard of the king after all. Still, the human is mighty, and feints to draw the shield to one side before pivoting back, cloak flailing out to catch the spear and sword of the goblins. A flashing dagger slices down and through the neck of the shielded goblin and the Hasharin takes the first bladed blood for his king.
Durburz roars in angry defiance of the interlopers and with his faithful spear support takes on two evil men. The whirling blades flash around the king, but his brutal power is not to be underestimated and he barrels forward into the maelstrom, his kingly might and notched sword help him bear one man to the ground, where the goblin slashes the man's neck open viciously. The speargoblin also lunges forward, skewering the second man due to his longer reach and opening made by Durburz.
The band of goblins to the west all agree to charge the Mumak, halting it's advance. One goblin thinks his pals are serious and much to their amazement, he actually DOES charge forward! "It was a joke!" They yell after him...
But too late does he hear them...
Suladan roars defiance at the bestial chieftain of the wild wargs and spurs his horse towards them. They are evenly matched, but Suladan's years of combat help him prevail and his keen edged sword slices the belly open of a leaping wild warg then backswings to add new wounds to the already scarred cheiftain's hide, though he is fortunate not to suffer heavier injury. (They tied on the fight roll, Suladan won the roll off, then rolled three sixes for wounds! He killed one warg and the cheiftain saved one of the wounds with fate.)
Here's the end of turn 2, basically lots of advancing towards the center. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Kar'cha has brought along 10 goblins with bows to harass the Haradrim (though it will be quite a few turns before the poorly aimed goblin archery has any effect on the battle!)
Here's a sample of some of the exquisitely awesome rolling we were doing today...
The eastern battle rages on. Two goblins with shields are charged by a watcher, the watcher's blades ring harmlessly off the already notched and scarred shields. Another watcher takes on two goblins with spears. The goblins attempt to outflank the black-clad man with one on either side of him. Too expert to fall for that, the dual blades of the expert swordsman bat aside one spear only to plunge moments later into the other goblin, slaying him in a shower of blood. His companion is not so fortunate, the time-honoured combination of a backup speargoblin and a shielded one is too much for another Watcher, who concentrates so hard on the shield in his face that he doesn't notice the spear slide sideways through his ribs. Well, he notices it, but too late.
Durburz, meanwhile, is beset with an assassination attempt! The Hasharin and a watcher team up to take on the brutal king. The king's forceful ferocity is no match for the Hasharin's skill and years of training and the goblin falls with slices and cuts over much of his body, from blow after precise blow from the assassin, goblin blood leaking out onto the stony ground as his eyes stare blankly up at the sky.
Buhrdur and his trolls charge towards the Mumak, the troll chieftain has to draw on all his willpower to make the dangerous move...
Another goblin, eager to avenge his companions death, finds out precisely what happened previously. Rocks thrown from above score two wounds on a cave troll, massive boulders crunching into massive shoulders. What would slay any number of lesser creatures just enrage the troll further!
Buhrdur roars defiance at the monstrous creature!
With a higher fight score, all the troll needs is to roll a six among the nine attack dice to ensure victory. Needless to say, the Harad commander and Buhrdur both use might to try and win. The troll succeeds and now gets to strike blows...
And the result of three cave trolls bashing into a Mumak... (one more point of might was used to change a 4 into a 5 so I could at least score one wound!)
And who could resist taking another photo =) I couldn't!
The wild wargs form quite the wonderwall around the oasis to the east at the end of turn 3.
In turn 4, the rocks thrown from the howdah all miss, as do all the goblin arrows.
The Hasharin slays another goblin to the east as he spins and scythes his way through the green skinned critters.
Another watcher falls to the shield/spear combination of two goblins working together, while another has learnt from the glimpses he's had of his companions and neatly sidesteps the spear thrust while smashing the shield down with one sword and then twirling, dance like, to shear his other sword clean through the goblin's neck. The head bounces gorily back into the speargoblin's face, possibly a sign of what's to come...
The trolls win yet another courage test to charge the Mumak and this time they win the combat more easily, timing their blows against the swing of the trunk, tusks and massive legs. Two massive blows, one from a troll hammer and one from the chieftains massive sword hit home. The crack of a leg bone is heard across the battlefield and the trumpet call of the Mumak when sword meets trunk echoes through the area. The Mumak's commander holds the great beast from panicking. (For those who don't know, both trolls and mumak are terrifying creatures and require courage tests to charge. The Mumak doesn't have to make such rolls [Mumakil are such awesome creatures that Haradrim feel no fear when near them]. However, when the Mumak suffers a hit, the commander has to see if he can keep it under control, or else it stampedes!)
Suladan again fights the warg chieftain, and another wild warg joins in the fight. This time it is the chieftain who is victorious. Suladan uses all his might and luck to save himself from the flashing claws and crushing jaws!
End of Turn 4...
Turn 5. An eerie premonition chills Buhrdur to his core and he cannot face charging into battle against the massive Mumak. Behind him two evil men fall screaming from the howdah as goblin arrows flash home into their chests. The rocks thrown from the howdah kill another goblin as Mur'baj leads his goblins behind the great beast. He's heading towards the oasis while the trolls have the Mumak busy.
The two trolls still fighting the Mumak smash their hammers again and again into the tough hide, breaking another two bones. The commander still holds tight control over the massive beast though.
A very lucky goblin spearman somehow manages to fend of the Hasharin, who slips in the blood and gore remaining from the previous goblins he's faced. A Watcher of Karna easily dispatches two goblins, dual swords flashing through the air to sever heads from green bodies.
Suladan faces off yet again against the wargs. This time the pouncing monsters tear the king from his horse. The wild warg savages the mount, tasting equine blood. The chieftain bares his fangs and rips out Suladan's pancreas.
Turn 6. The goblins in the east are mopped up by the humans, bright swords proving more powerful than rusty, poorly kept weapons. Who'd have figured? Still, the goblins have taken care of quite a few of the men and kept them well away from the oasis.
The Mumak finally gets a proper priority and charges forward over the trolls. The wounded troll is trampled to death, squashed under the gargantuan tree-trunk like legs of the mighty beast. The second troll is wounded almost to death, but holds his ground, halting the charge. Two goblin arrows find their marks and men fall screaming from the howdah to land splatting on the ground amidst the troll battles. Rocks miss the trolls, but slay goblins to the north.
Bemoaning their lost friend, Buhrdur and the other troll lay into the mighty beast and cause three massive wounds (the beast is down to two). Finally the hammers and swords take their toll, weapons larger than a man eventually will! The Mumak stampedes!
Another evil man loses his grip on the swaying howdah, falling screaming to stop the noise with a sickening thud as he hits the ground.
End of turn 6 and the casualties are mounting... the goblin archers emerge from the rough terrain and head toward the oasis, trying to keep the mumak in direct fire range.
Turn 7 dawns with the Mumak heading towards the oasis, no doubt planning on lowering men to battle the defending goblins. Mur'baj stands defiantly with the remnants of his warband (many of which are now green splurts on the bottom of rocks thrown from high above)!
Defiant he may be, as a Haradrim spearman falls with a goblin fletched arrow jutting from his throat rocks fall from above, smashing to the ground. Thanks to fate being on his side, Mur'baj stands injured, but alive.
The warg chieftain and his king's horse slaying companion race across the battlefield at lightning speed and tear the throat from a watcher of karna in seconds...
At the end of turn 7 the Haradrim force is broken and the game could end... but doesn't! The Mumak is down to two wounds, can the trolls kill off the mighty beast?
Turn 8, the Hasharin and his last surviving watcher take on the vicious wargs... and slay them both! The Hasharin does a perfectly executed backflip when the chieftain lunges forward, lands on the massive beast's back and double-slits the monster's throat with his two keenly edged blades. The watcher just stabs the warg in the face as it lunges at him.
I liked this photo not just for the foreground, but the Mumak towering in the background!
Another goblin archer is lucky and takes out a man atop the mumak, but not before rocks plummet from above the goblins near the oasis. Mur'baj is slain, squased beneath a chunk of masonry, as is his supporting speargoblin. The other goblins were too terrified to charge at the giant Oliphaunt (and, apparently, rightly so!)
The cave troll is also too fearful to charge, though Buhrdur ignores the premonitions of fear and pays for his ignorance, gored through the belly with a tusk the size of a small tree.
Still, the harad force is all but gone, and they retreat from the watering hole, leaving the Mumak wounded and thirsty, perhaps another oasis will be less well defended.
The remnants of the Harad force head off to the north, I'm sure they'll be fighting again one day soon! The Oasis is firmly in the hands of the goblins still, but don't look back in anger.
And the remaining victors... a half dead troll, a few wargs and a handful of goblins (mostly the archers that didn't get close to anything!) Goblins got 9 victory points, 3 for killing Suladan and 6 still in contact with the oasis. Haradrim got 3 points, for killing Durburz.
What a great game! So much fun playing with so many monsters. I can't wait to get my full monster army. I'm a bit worried about having no archery, in the end they took out most of the howdah crew! Still, it's all about the crazy fun - and we had plenty of that!
Rocks squishing goblins, trolls fighting giant elephants, wolves the size of horses... what will we think of next!?!?
Hope you enjoyed that even a fraction as much as we enjoyed playing the game - totally awesome!
Also, I finally won! Even though it was with a hodge-podge selection of guys made at the last minute! Maybe that tells me something...