Tuesday, 15 August 2017

BOYL 2017 - The Trolltooth Wars

The Trolltooth Wars slowly rumble on! In fact it's been two years since myself and Paul played the first scenario - the Hill Goblin ambush on Marr's Cunnelwort caravan that started the war in the first place.

As ever we used BOYL at the Foundry as the perfect venue for our game - this time Thugruff's (Zharradan Marr's Half Troll lieutenant) revenge raid on a Hill Goblin Village.

When Marr had made clear his wish for retaliation against Balthus Dire, the burly Half-Troll immediately busied himself in preparing plans for his master's consideration.  (Steve Jackson, The Trolltooth Wars. 1989 - illustration by Russ Nicholson)

However, before battle was to be met we had another encounter from the book to play out on the tabletop. Quimmel Bone, Zharradan Marr's physician, had sent a Night Shadow to snare the mind of Orcleaver - soon to be Balthus Dire's Goblin commander thanks to his chieftain Foulblade's failure to ensure there were no survivors from the ambush.

The frantic battle-sergeant was trapped in a living net of blackness and, the more he struggled, the more he appeared to entangle himself in the formless shape.He fought hopelessly against it. (Steve Jackson, The Trolltooth Wars. 1989 - illustration by Russ Nicholson)

Paul came up with a great mini game to simulate this encounter. His Hill Goblin sentries would move randomly each turn and only be able to spot anything in their line of sight if it was 4" away - because of the darkness.

Foulblade and Orcleaver would decide they needed to go to the latrine on a roll of a 6 or fall asleep on a 1 (I think!).

My smoke elemental from Ral Partha would play the part of the Night Shadow - we used the stats for a 3rd ed Spectre.

After a few tense turns and with Hill Goblin sentries chasing after each other through the undergrowth it seemed as though the Night Shadow was almost in position and Orcleaver's bladder was calling him to his doom...

And with a horrible inevitability the unsuspecting battle-sergeant was snared!

A great little oddball scenario and very enjoyable to play- all the more satisfying for ending the same as it does in the book! In future scenarios I get to try and take over the mind of Orcleaver and if successful gain control over his actions...

So on to Thugruff's revenge raid on an unsuspecting Hill Goblin settlement.

Thugruff would lead a band of Soulless Ones - his undead troops - through the Cragrocks to the Black Tower under cover of night. Any settlements of Balthus Dire's Hill Goblin allies they might encvounter would be destroyed. When they reached the Black Tower, two Droomies would be dispatched to enter the tower to seek out Dire's Ganjees and cajole them into switching their allegiance to Marr's war army.  (Steve Jackson, The Trolltooth Wars. 1989)

We decided that there was't much point including powerful spirit creatures like the Droomies and Ganjees in our games as they often cancel themselves out in the book and so concentrated on the more worldly side of the conflict. Another part of Thugruff's plan was to bring along a cage full of Mutes - hideously deformed creatures that were the results of Marr's experiments in the witching arts of Marrangha. These pitiful wretches were to be abandoned in and around the Black Tower to instill terror in Balthus Dire's followers of the terrible power of Zharradan Marr. Unfortunately I still haven't quite decided to model these monstrosities and to avoid rushing them I've decided they'll make an appearance in some of the later scenarios...

Thugruff's forces comprise of 80 Soulless Ones, four human horsemen and four Craggerack Scouts. Accompanying him are Kravaak, his Rhinoman Lieutenant and Tankasun, a one armed Gorian.

The column splits up to encircle the Hill Goblin village.

Thugruff and his Lieutenants look on as hordes of undead swarm the beleaguered defenders.

Those who flee are mercilessly hunted down and slaughtered.

The village falls silent save for the sighs and moans of the Soulless Ones...

Until a guttural voice rings out - taunting Kravaak the Rhinoman to a fight to the death. A fight which unfortunately results in the only non-undead casualty of the battle! Kravaak falls in battle...

However the raid is a success and the Goblin settlement is raised to the ground! Thanks to the speed of the victory I think we can assume that Thugruff's raiding party made it to the Black Tower with out too much trouble and left their hideous calling card in the form of the mutes for Dire's lackeys to see in all their twisted nastiness.

Might have to talk nice to Paul mind to see if Kravaak just suffered a flesh wound - I was quite proud of the conversion I did to turn him from a Ral Partha Orc to a Rhinoman! ;)

So what's next in store for our long running Trolltooth Wars campaign? Well the boot will be well and truly on other foot at next year's BOYL when Paul sends a motley horde of Gigantic Spiders, Fly monsters, two headed scythe wielding Giants, Hellhounds, Orcs and any other chaotics he can muster to destroy the Human village of Coven.

Illustration by Russ Nicholson

Coven is the seemingly innocent side of Zharradan Marr's nefarious and covert underground Empire. It's villagers not only provide the odd recruit for his legions or body for his hordes of undead  but perhaps more importantly produces the food necessary to keep his troops well supplied...


  1. Beautiful photographs as ever and a lovely write up! Top work!

    1. Cheers bud - got a few more write ups from BOYL to do and then a long list of posts that have lingered in the draft pile too long. Need to get back in to this blogging lark!

  2. Can we see some shots of these undead forces at some point too? It all looks very good. I think I need to read this story, being a total scrub may I ask if it's still around?

    1. Thanks Ragsta - I'll be taking some close ups and doing another post on the minis in the near future.

      As for the book - it is out of print but I'm sure copies appear on ebay now and again.

  3. Great looking game there. Must get along to BOYL next year.

    1. Cheers bud - be great to see you down there next year!

  4. Brilliant work. I love Oldhammer but my favourite fantasy setting is the FF Titan world so this is right up my street. I like the goblins in this book they seem much more dangerous than the comic relief GWo equivalents, never sure what figures to use for them, hobgoblins I suppose.

  5. Cheers Will - Titan is definitely one of my faves too. Hobgoblins would be good - we use Hobgoblin stats from WFB 3rd ed to reflect the fact that they are a bit more competent than their GW equivalents. Paul has used a mix of Black Tree Design and Ral Partha (I think) Orcs.