In the early years when the elves first awoke they were free to wander the lands of Middle Earth. Morgoth captured many of these elves and set them to torture, disfiguring their fair looks creating a race of foul creatures called the yrch or more commonly; orcs. Yet some were not put through such pain, instead it was prolonged through years of slavery, working deep within the mines of the north. There are few tales, however, which tell of those who manage to escape the slavery of Morgoth; one of those tales is of Rog, later a lord of the Gondolindrim. For years he had toiled for Morgoth, but not for much longer, for he studied the movements of the guards and the lay of the land in which he worked- and one day he planned an uprising with a few fellow kinsmen in order to escape slavery; be it by death or freedom…
Tolkiens works are full of small gems of history and rich background and such an example of this is the tale of the Hammers of Wrath! In this scenario, found on pages 60 and 61, Rog, Lord of the Hammers of Wrath, must attempt to escape the mines of Morgoth along with at least four other captives- quite a challenge as they are heavily guarded and armed with nothing more than the crude tools they are forced to work with.
Andy (me): As the introduction suggests the elves of the Hammers of Wrath have a horrific past which is portrayed on the battle field in the ‘Fearful Wrath’ special rule. This potentially increases their chance to win fights even whilst wielding huge hammers into combat, yet the disadvantages still remain (i.e. they still receive –1 or –2 to the fight dice) In this situation however, Rog is the only one armed with a hammer- the others are armed with pick axes and other mining tools etc. My plan is to rescue the four elves nearest my objective, the others can fight their own battles!
Dave: This scenario promises to be an interesting one, more than your average head to head battle- which with the forces as they are I’m sure I’d loose hands down. This scenario will require a lot of tactical maneuvers with a pinch of luck
1 Orc captain, 8 Orcs with spears, 5 Orcs with swords and shields, 2 slave drivers
Rog, Lord of the Hammers of Wrath heavy armour and a hammer, 8 Elves of the Hammers of Wrath
The playing area is a small four by two foot board with arches on the shorter sides; the eastern and western table edges as stated in the objectives (not the northern and southern table edges as it says in the set up and layout!)
Deployment is quite complex- each elf is facing the wall representing the fact they are mining etc. A single orc is placed in base contact with each elf whilst another is placed nearby- acting as sentries at the beginning of the game. Each group is set up like this as shown below, each being at least 6” away from the next.
Rog is placed in the middle of the board next to a weapon wrack, or a pile of tools (hammers) and useful stuff the escapees may use to their advantage once free.
The special rules for this scenario are quite complex so I won’t go into details here, however to summarise (so this battle report makes sense)
Turn 1; Rog starts by moving towards the western archway (through which he and four others must escape to win). Unfortunately for Andy an orc sentry spots him ready to tell his friends in the next turn, unless Andy is lucky enough to win a priority roll…
Turn 2; alas it was not to be…the evil side wins priority, moving the alerted orc to alert more orcs. The alerted orcs turn on their slave but step back in fear of their wrath. Unfortunately his tools aren’t sufficient to cause any lasting damage. Andy charges Rog towards another sentry that has moved within his path, killing him with a mighty blow with his hammer. The uprising is now apparent for two more guards who are in range to hear the orc squeal as he falls.
Turn 3; having won priority for the second turn, Daves tactical movement of alerted orcs gains him control of more guards and sentries. Now all but two of the guards have been alerted (unaware of the battle that flares on behind them they force their slaves to work on in the darkness). Rog is delayed by another orcs whilst the slaves fight desperate battles to overcome their alerted guards. Whilst one slave manages to kill his guard on the other side of the room a slave falls…only 7 elves and Rog remain.
As one orc falls ...
...an elf is also slain
Turn 4; Good win priority, and an elf manages to pick up a spear and charge towards his friend who is hopelessly overwhelmed by his former masters. Meanwhile a lone orc rushes to the eastern archway inorder to try and alert more orcs into the fray! The spear armed elf manages to kill a guard but is unable to save his companion who is overwhelmed by a slave driver and two more warriors! Rog looses his fight on the other side of the table but manages to come out unscathed.
An elf manages to pick up a spear...
Turn 5; Good win priority again. A slave manages to break away in order to assist Rog who becomes overwhelmed by a captain and two more orcs. Around the mine, the other slaves fight in order to free themselves- the elf armed with a spear runs as fast as he can to the western board edge to escape- only another 30” or so to go! Rogs one-on-one with the captain manages to force a mighty hit with his hammer which not even a fate point and two might points could avoid. Elsewhere in the combat adjacent the elf originally trying to assist Rog is slain…5 elves left!
The slave driver forces an extra 1" movement, completing the move into touch!
At this point we decided to continue to see how close to the objective Andy could get…( still had 20mins to kill before the England game!) The game ended with Andy managed to escape Rog and two others off the board, a tough call mind as it cost Rog two might points for heroic movements whilst Dave’s jammy rolls kept resulting in subsequent evil priority!
Dave; Yes! I did it, I beat him! Not without a fight though, those Hammers of Wrath are worthy opponents and I can see why evil players should fear them. Rog is also amazingly mighty, I don’t think I managed to wound him once! He was fairly close to killing my captain outright too- without him having the chance to roll a single fight dice! This was an interesting game and there were some characterful fights and acts of heroism- but its quite hard to get everything in perspective as it was like having eight little skirmish games going on at the same time. Challenging but fun.
Andy; Dear me! How could I let him beat me. I like this scenario, it is very different to the normal army vs army battle and takes a lot more concentration. Maybe that’s where I fell down- I don’t think I planned ahead for the moves to come. I suppose a lot of this game is also dependant on luck- but again a good player should be able to overcome such circumstances! Ah well, maybe next time.
Rog and his surviving men rush to the exit