Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Indio Anjones and the Barrow of Doom

Many a tall tale had been told of the mighty Hammer of MacGuffin and its very existence was widely held to be the stuff of legend. If the stories were to be believed it had the power to unite fractious kingdoms, sunder enemy alliances and open the gateway to power for those who possessed it. In short it harked back to a golden age.

 And now it was almost his. Indio Anjones, notable Tilean treasure hunter and all round scoundrel, leaned back in his saddle and smiled. Not even the low sinister hump of the ancient barrow it rested in could quell his high spirits. Just as long as there were no snakes in there...

Suddenly the Tilean adventurer’s reverie was interrupted by the warning calls of his outriders - another band had been spotted approaching the burial ground. Someone else was after his prize...


This scenario is intended to be many things. Perhaps you are new to the wonders of Oldhammer having fought your way clear of the barren wastelands of tournament style play and beardy rules lawyers. You may yearn for the freedom and creativity of narrative style wargaming. You may be sick of winning for winning’s sake. You may already be an old Oldhammerer  and be just after a quick idea for a scenario to supplement your own. If so you may already be familiar with the Battle report, The Battle for Grimdal’s Tomb, from issue 153 of White Dwarf, which this scenario pays homage to. Whatever you seek we hope you find it in this scenario and the many more to come.

Oh and if you don’t have a Tilean adventurer to lead your forces then feel more than free to replace him with a pistol wielding Troll slayer, Pole-axe wielding Lizardman Mage or whatever  else you may have in your collection!

A legendary magic weapon has been tracked down to its resting place in the burial mound of old King MacGuffin. Two bands of treasure hunters have arrived at the same time - both intent on gaining their long sought after prize. Who knows what powers the hammer will confer on its finder, or what horrors may lurk in the barrow...
Apart from some kind of ruins or burial mound placed centrally, use whatever terrain you have available. Some kind of open space around the burial mound should keep things interesting, with woods, hills and broken ground to provide some cover on the approach.

Suggested plan for the Barrow interior - note the Troll's lair excavated in the side of one of the alcoves.

Included in this scenario are army lists taken from the Warhammer Armies book. However, you can, in the spirit of Oldhammer, field whatever troops you like or have in your collection.Similarly stats provided are intended for play with Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition - feel free to play with any edition that suits your fancy.
If you are considering using your own armies perhaps you should consider races who would actually have an interest or possible knowledge of the artefact to make for a more satisfying narrative element - like Old Worlder treasure hunting types like Indio Anjones and his mercenaries. That’s not to say you couldn’t have something like an Ogre warband or Orc raiding force that got lucky - just invent a backstory that explains why they are there.

Indio Anjones’ Soldiers of Fortune
(WFB Armies 3rd edition)

Indio Anjones - Level 20 Tilean hero
Anjones is a renowned, if somewhat slightly infamous treasure hunter. Easily recognisable by his outlandish dress sense, tall hat and leather bull whip, he certainly cuts a dashing figure.
Heavy armour, sword and whip
Warhorse with barding
Special rule - Anjones suffers from a Fear of snakes.
Anjones uses his whip much like a net as described in the  3rd edition rulebook
The whip is useful for warding off enemy attacks. Anjones' saving throw is increased by one point as though he were using a shield .
Anjones can use his whip to partially entangle and distract his opponent. Anyone attacking him must subtract -1 from their "to hit" rolls.


5 Border Horsemen
Light armour, shields, spears and hand weapons
led by Level 5 champion

10 Tilean Crossbowmen
Light armour, hand weapons and crossbows
Led by a Level 5 champion

20 Estalian Hombres Villanos
Light armour, shields and swords
Led by Level 5 champion


Rennaez Bellok’s Antiquarian Treasure Hunters
(WFB Armies 3rd edition)

Rennaez Bellok - Level 15 Dwarf hero
Driven by greed and an almost pathological hatred for his arch enemy, Anjones, Bellok is a dastardly villain of a Dwarf. His Bretonnian heritage only serves to add further venom to his rivalry with the hated Tilean.

Heavy armour, shield and 2 handed sword (parasitic blade)
Special Rule -
Bellok hates Indio Anjones.


Arneld Ernstoht - Level 10 Dwarf Wizard
Ernstoht is another particularly unsavoury character. He was forced out from the Dwarven community in which he grew up in the Southern reaches of the Empire because of his unnatural appearance and magical tendencies. Not only was he particularly pasty-faced in his complexion but also never developed the usual facial hair which all Dwarves take immense pride in. Bitter and twisted from the constant abuse and cries of "Baldie" and "Girl-Face" that dogged his every step, Arneld fell into evil ways and bad company. He served an apprenticeship with a local Wizard who was said to have dealings with the Undead before joining Rennaez Bellok in his search for ancient artefacts and lost magical devices. He now sports a rather fetching "Chin-Wig" but it is still a somewhat touchy subject...
Level 3 magic ring - loaded with player’s choice of elemental spell.
Arneld may substitute any of his Battle Magic spells for Necromantic ones. 

10 Hammerers
Heavy armour, shields, 2 handed weapons and hand weapons
10 Thunderers
Light armour, arquebus and hand weapons

5 Troll Slayers
2 hand weapons

Barrow inhabitants
(WFB 3rd ed.)

1 Spectre

5 Skeleton warriors
Shields and hand weapons

1 Troll
Hand weapon

Assorted snakes

Of course any other gribbly monsters or undead nasties would be good too - All under the GM’s control of course!

Starting the Game

Bellok’s Dwarves should set up anywhere within 9 inches of the barrow.

Anjones’ mercenaries start the game on their choice of table edge.

Bellok’s force starts first, moving presumably towards the barrow. After that gameplay continues as normal.
The GM’s monsters are hidden within the barrow. They are activated as soon as either player enters the Barrow. Undead creatures may not leave the confines of the Barrow.

Victory Conditions

Whoever has possession of the hammer by the end of the game wins. The GM could determine a number of game turns or you could just fight to the bitter end!

Alternatively you could use these suggested victory points to determine who came out on top.

Both sides
Possession of the Old Hammer - 10 points
Skeleton killed - 1 point
Spectre destroyed - 5 points
Troll killed - 5 points

Indio Anjones’ Soldiers of Fortune
Bellok killed +5 points
Arneld Ernstoht killed +3 points
Dwarf Hammerers killed  +2 points each
Dwarf Thunderers killed  +1 point each
Troll Slayer killed +1 point each

Anjones killed -5 points
Mercenaries killed (all types) -1 point each

Rennaez Bellok’s Antiquarian Treasure Hunters
Anjones killed +5 points
Mercenaries killed (all types) +1 point each

Notes and Special Rules
The players should be unaware of exactly what guards the resting place of the hammer. The GM could have additional fun by enforcing magical darkness within the barrow and reducing line of sight accordingly.

A simple floor plan of the interior of the barrow could be created, on which any movement and combat could be worked out easily enough - monsters only appearing when the models are only 2 inches away, for example.
The Old Hammer of MacGuffin will confer magical powers on its wielder. This could be worked out randomly using stats from the rulebook or pre-decided by the GM.
If the GM is particularly evil it could even have negative effects on evil players or could have been cursed so it has a wasting effect each turn on a chosen stat line - strength or toughness for example...

There are various ways of gaining the possession of the Hammer once the enemy has it in their clutches. Obviously you will need to engage the owner of the Hammer in close combat. Once this has been resolved there are several outcomes -

The model holding the hammer is pushed back - roll 1D6 and compare to the attacker’s skill. If the number rolled is lower than the skill level then the Hammer has been grabbed from the defender in the confusion of the pushback. If the number rolled is higher then the defender has successfully held onto the weapon and the combat carries on as normal.
If the model holding the hammer is killed and is part of a greater unit then the player should choose which model it is passed to. If an individual character carrying the Hammer is killed and is not part of another unit then it automatically passes to the attacking model.

Special thanks to Knobgobbler for the fantastic illustrations!


  1. Replies
    1. Great isn't it - I think he's even more creepy than his human equivalent!

    2. The Dwarf Wizard gave me megalolz too. Great scenario with some lovely attention to detail.

    3. Cheers WP - he's definitely the pick of the bunch.

      It's just a shame that Knobgobbler doesn't seem to be active these days to see his creations enjoying the light of day.

  2. This is a fantastic scenario... Looking forward to more of these!

    1. Thanks Clarence - got a load more waiting in the wings which I don't think I ever wrote up for my blog.

      Are there anymore talented artists out there who might fancy doing some more film star inspired artwork for them?

    2. Stumbled across this just now... cool it found it's way to the surface.

    3. Great that you found it knobgobbler!

      popssibly resurecting the fanzine idea soon. You never know...

    4. What Erny said - glad you're amazing illustrations finally made it into the light of day! Just thinking about games for BOYL 2016 and this would be a strong candidate. I missed Kev sculpting faces onto minis of your choices for charity at BOYL 2015 but I wonder if he would consider doing something along the lines of your illustrations if I offered to pay postage and upped the donation? It would be great to have an actual Indio Anjones, Rennaez Bellok and Arneld Ernstoht mini to play the game next year...

  3. Awesome scenario. I had been planning on setting up The Battle for Grimdal’s Tomb, this will be a nice change of plans. Thanks so much for writing it up.

    1. Yup - I loved Grimdal's Tomb too. It had a very different feel to all the other "line 'em up and knock 'em down" battle reports featured in WD. Plus it had GM controlled monsters and Bretonnians versus Dwarves - not the usual combatants by a long stretch.

      Looking forward to the write-up of your game! ; )

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. An inspirational scenario and a good read! But I have one question; was Arneld based on Chico as the likeness is uncanny?

    1. Any likenesses to people living or Chico are entirely deliberate!

      Actually I've just noticed that Arneld's beard looks like it's fake! It looks like it is hooked over his left ear.

      Damn, wish I'd spotted that when I was writing his background - might have to go back in and add another line...

    2. I thought I took the fake beard idea from a note you wrote me... hmmm...

    3. Quite possibly - I didn't want to attribute such a genius little touch as that to myself as I couldn't remember from whom the inspiration for it came from!

      Either way it is a great part of his character!

  5. Very enjoyable read and comes across as proper old skool! Nice one.

    1. Thanks Steve - reckon I've perused scenarios like Rigg's Shrine and the various battles in Orc's Drift for a bit of that 80's magic to have rubbed off by now!

  6. Love this scenario and I remember the original from white dwarf fondly. I'm at the early stages of designing my own scenario which is quite similar to this: http://thelostandtheverydamned.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/3rd-edition-heroquest-boyl-2016-plans.html?m=1

    I may borrow some ideas, especially the limited sight when in the dark and the troll's cave..