THE WFRP STORY XII: REGIMENTS OF RENOWN

This post continues my history of WFRP1, which started here.

Forces of Fantasy introduced and described the Regiments of Renown, eight noted regiments for a selection of Warhammer races. Between April and August 1984 Citadel released miniatures boxed sets for all of them

The background text for these sets is full of detail. It describes a Warhammer world that has a more familiar feel than the earlier inserts, and shows several ideas emerging that would survive into later Warhammer.

BUGMAN’S DWARF RANGERS

RR1 – Bugman’s Dwarf Rangers (April 1984)

Joseph Bugman was possibly the most famous Dwarf master brewer of all time. The brewing community of Bugman’s Brewery, in fact a small town, had been founded in ages past by the great Samuel Bugman, Joseph’s long-dead grandfather. By the time of the Goblin Wars Joseph was a prosperous and wealthy brewing merchant, and a reasonably passive and contented Dwarf. His small community lay well off the beaten track, away from the worst excesses of the fighting, and Joseph felt no inclination to meddle in what seemed to him to be a domestic quarrel. After all ‘Brass was Brass’, and Bugman’s Bitter sold well to Goblins and Dwarfs alike.

Joseph found himself unexpectedly involved in the war when a convoy transporting Bugman’s Best Bitter into the Troll Country was attacked by a rampaging Goblin band. Every last Dwarf was slain, including Samuel’s only son Bono. The news came as a terrible blow to the old Dwarf, who instantly swore uncompromising revenge upon the Goblins for this foul deed of theft and murder. Without hesitation Joseph took up his sword and his armour and gathered a small band of his workers – all of whom had lost relatives or friends in the massacre.

The band disappeared into the Bad Lands, and little was heard from them during the following years. Rumours from the south told of the ravages of Bugman’s Rangers, of cunning ambushes, of deadly nocturnal raids and the consternation of the Goblins.

Eventually, wounded and deathly exhausted, Bugman and his now pitifully small band returned to their homes, only to fight their last battle defending Bugman’s Brewery from the advancing armies of the Goblins. Joseph Bugman’s body was never found, it is generally assumed that he died along with every other member of his Regiment and their families.

Battlecry – ‘Mhinz Abeir’ – shouted by half the company, to which the rest reply – ‘Z’yor Rond’ – Dwarvish, translation unknown.

– ‘The Story of Joseph Bugman’ (RR1 Bugman’s Dwarf Rangers)

Bugman, the Troll Country and Badlands would survive into later editions, as would the character of dwarfs defined in this text.

THE KNIGHTS OF ORIGO

RR2 – The Knights Of Origo (April 1984)

The island outpost of Fyrus seemed a good place for the monks of the holy order of Saint Origo to build a monastery. True – Fyrus did lie but a dozen miles from the coasts of Araby, it was the birth place of the revered Mullah Aklan’d and its harbours did control the main east-west trade route; but the Brothers of the Holy Order of Saint Origo decided Fyrus would make an ideal place to rest and meditate. They started by kicking out all of the natives and building a huge fortress. This they decided to call the ‘Holy Monastery of the Divine Origo.’

When the good brothers found their prayer disturbed by Arabian pirates and the continued complaints of the disinherited they reacted in the only way they knew how. They built fleets, wiped the waterways clean of eastern ships, and fired every Arabian port within a hundred miles.

The Knights returned to a life of peace and contemplation, disturbed only by annual excursions burning, looting and destroying all along the coasts of heathendom. After a few years they were shaken from their solitude by vast armies of Easterners, who lay [sic] siege to, and eventually destroyed, the monastery. Many of the Knights were slain in this unprovoked attack but a large company escaped. Under their new Grand Master, Sir John Tyreweld, and aided by the Order’s Champion Donna Don Domingio, the Order reformed in the West.

From then on the company crusaded extensively against the enemies of all right thinking folk and gained a considerable reputation from their enemies. Amongst the Goblins they became renowned as ‘The Frothers’, whilst the Easterners dubbed Sir John ‘The Foaming One’.

Battlecry – “Peace and Justice”. Sir John Tyreweld’s family motto is “only the Sword Purifies”.

– ‘The Story of the Knights of Origo’ (RR2 The Knights Of Origo)

The Knights of Origo are very similar to the earlier knights of Law. It is not clear, though, whether they are also to be seen as Lawful.

This is the first use of the name Arabians (cf set RR6, below).

GROM’S GOBLIN GUARD

RR3 – Grom’s Goblin Guard (June 1984)

Grom initiated the Goblin Wars when he slew Wulfrun Willowhand, King of the Northern Dwarfs, in a drunken brawl. The cause of the dispute is not recorded, although the relative merits of Old Sam’s Brown and Bugman’s Best may have been responsible. Grom led the armies of the Goblins in some of their most notable victories, [sic] for a Goblin he was a fine tactician and soldier. He was not a pure bred Goblin but of mixed ancestry and presented the appearance almost of an especially ugly Ogre. He was known as ‘The Paunch of Misty Mountain’ because he was so fat.

Grom selected his guard from the dregs of Goblin society – the outcasts; creatures who were half Goblin and half Orc. These guards were especially large and vicious. Their armour was scavenged from the early battlefields of the war, and their weaponry was forged at the Dwarf smithy of Zhuf Field after its fall to Grom’s armies.

Grom was killed in the first onslaught on the Dwarf fortress of the Middenheim. From then on they were led by the regimental Champion, Crud Longbone. Crud was an unusually tall, thin and lanky Goblin with a distinctively long nose. Crud and the remainder of Grom’s guards were exterminated at the final battle of the war at Mad Dog Pass.

Battlecry – ‘Yaaaghhhruuuuuugh’ – Goblins are not known for their eloquence.

– ‘The Story of Grom The Paunch’ (RR3 Grom’s Goblin Guard)

This is the first reference to Middenheim, though at this stage it was a dwarf fortress, not a human city, and the name was formulated as “the Middenheim”. This earlier form of the name, in fact, survived into WFRP1 in the colour map of the Old World.

Zhuf Field may be an antecedent of Zhufbar.

HARBOTH AND THE BLACK MOUNTAIN BOYS

RR5 – Harboth and the Black Mountain Boys (June 1984)

The Black Fire Pass is the only route over the Black Mountains, and for years the mountain and the pass were by and large impassable due to the presence of a large Orc settlement. This dirty and squalid township consisted of several dozen wooden shacks, a large but unstable saloon and hundreds of mean, greedy, low-down Orcs.

The town was run by Harboth, an Orc of great size and strength. Harboth’s mates used to spend most of their time in the saloon, sheltering from the almost non-stop rain which is an everyday phenomenon along the slopes of the Black Mountains. They would take turns manning the toll gates and torturing travelers. Occasionally there would be a fight as some indignant Halfling or Dwarf tried to defend himself – but not often.

After the Goblin wars the Bad Lands were gradually cleaned up by the Dwarfs. Harboth and his gang were forced to take to their heels. It is rumoured that Harboth spent his declining years cattle rustling in the deep south.

Battlecry – Harboth’s favoured expression is ‘Pulp the Stunties’.

Deeds – When the local dwarf leader offered a bounty to adventurers bold enough to try to destroy the Orc settlement, Harboth responded by meeting, and subsequently eating each adventurer stupid enough to try it. Yaskin Forit made a necklace of the ears of these unfortunate characters, whilst Harboth sent their bones back to the Dwarf leader together with instructions to send more Halflings as he found these particularly palatable.

– ‘The Story of Harboth and the Black Mountain Boys’ (RR5 Harboth and the Black Mountain Boys)

The Black Mountains had already been mentioned in the insert to set CP4, but this is the first occurrence of Black Fire Pass (“the Black Fire Pass” at this point).

THE BOWMEN OF OREON

RR7 – The Bowmen of Oreon (June 1984)

All of the remnant wood Elves of the Old World are noted for their amazing skills with the bow. From amongst his father’s people, Prince Oreon chose the best archers and woodsmen and assembled this famous Elven band. With his Company, Oreon left the Old World and took ship to the Elf Kingdoms, where he joined the crusading army of the Sea-Elf Lord Staleor. He fought with distinction in Staleor’s Southlands campaign, losing an eye in hand-to-hand combat with the Evil wizard Dornbast.

Oreon’s company wears the traditional hunting green of the Wood Elves, with full capes and hoods. In addition to his bow, each warrior carries a shield, sword, long knife and two quivers. Regimental Champion llfrun also has a huge doublehanded sword, a weapon wrested from a fearsome Giant during the Southlands campaign. The company proved more than willing to get stuck in, and after their return to the Old World formed the basis of the Greenwoods defence.

Oreon himself grew sullen over the years and took to brooding over the loss of his eye and vitality, a result of a wound inflicted by Dornbast. One day he simply vanished. Popular legend has it that he went in search of his lost eye. The tale is told in some length in the ‘Lay of Oreon’s Folly’, a well known drinking song.

Battlecry – ‘The Greenwoods’, also ‘Oreon, Oreon’, and ‘Take the high ground’.

Deeds – The Bowmen of Oreon earned eternal fame on the occasion when a huge Giant Champion challenged Oreon to single combat. Oreon accepted, and as the Giant strode out to do combat, his entire company launched a single volley of arrows, killing the Giant instantly. Although many people thought this a dirty trick, Oreon always maintained that the Giant had rancid breath, smelled utterly foul and deserved to die anyway.

– ‘The Story of Oreon’ (RR7 The Bowmen of Oreon)

These are the first mentions of the Elf Kingdoms and Southlands. The Greenwoods would later disappear.

MENGIL MANHIDE’S DARK ELF COMPANY

RR4 – Mengil Manhide’s Dark Elf Company (July 1984)

During the spring of his last year Kraal the Hearteater gathered about him all the young men of his immediate family. Spells were cast, bloody sacrifices were made, and, at last, the young elven warriors were initiated into their family cult. At the completion of the ceremony Kraal banished all of the young elves, expelled them from the forest and forbade them to return until each had slain a human warrior, or died in the attempt. This was the way of the Dark Elves of Kraal’s family.

Mengil, son of old Kraal, had never before strayed from the dank, leafy confines of his forest home. He soon acclimatised to his new social role, however, and discovered that he liked the marauding life so much that he decided against returning to his father’s people and set out on a life of banditry and mayhem. His first victim was a huge Norse champion. His skin Mengil fashioned into a cloak, establishing both the mode of dress of his followers and his full name -Mengil Manhide. The company of Dark Elves was further strengthened when Mengil joined forces with the Dark Elf renegade and Champion Ean Hawkbane. Hawkbane’s distinctive feature was the large trained owl which accompanied him in combat.

Mengil’s followers caused considerable disruption around the farmlands and homesteads of the west.

Deeds – While the Clan Incursions were at their height Mengil and his followers crossed the temporary land-bridge between the New and Old World. Here they satiated their vast appetites for destruction and blood, slaying indiscriminately and adding greatly to the disorder of the those times.

– ‘The Story of the Manhides’ (RR4 Mengil Manhide’s Dark Elf Company)

These are the first mentions of the New World and Old World.

MAD MULLAH AKLAN’D’S DEATH COMMANDOS

RR6 – Mad Mullah Aklan’d’s Death Commandos (July 1984)

It was the talented and fanatical Wizard Mullah Aklan’d who first led the Men of the East against the Elven lands. Within his lifetime the Mullah had reduced the Elven nations to a few pockets of isolated resistance, and taken control of all of their old trade routes. It was at this time that the Sea Elves undertook many of their great journeys across the western seas.

Aklan’d may have been insane, many claimed as much, most of them died horribly. His brand of religio-magic was based upon the old religions of the desert tribes, modified to accord more closely with his own distorted view of the world.

His most dedicated followers were the Aklan’d Death Commandos. This elite Regiment was formed from the most devoted of the young desert warriors, men willing to die, and in dying gloriously pass into the highest of the 7 Heavens, known as St’oec.*

The successors of the Mullah maintained the glorious tradition of the Death Commandos, always choosing the finest equipment for them and always placing them at the forefront of battle. The most honoured post in the Death Commandos is that of Champion Eunuch. Hasim – the current Champion is an enormously fat Eunoch renowned as the slayer of over 100 infidels.

Battlecry – Purity through death.

– ‘The Story of Mullah Aklan’d’ (RR6 Mad Mullah Aklan’d’s Death Commandos)

This set is a companion to set RR2, above.

GOLGFAG’S MERCENARY OGRES

RR8 – Golgfag’s Mercenary Ogres (August 1984)

The wars between the Goblins and Dwarfs had just begun when Golgfag and his Ogre band emerged out of the northern darkness. Golgfag was the chief of the Rutdrogg clan, and he saw the impending war as a good opportunity to gather loot and fresh meat. The Rutdroggs shambled out of their mountain homes and straight into the employ of Bogdan Legbreak, the chief of the Goblins of the northern Misty Mountains.

After a limited period of service Golgfag had taken part in several early actions of the war. The Rutdroggs proved themselves to be excellent troops, if somewhat undisciplined. One night after an especially long and intense drinking bout Golgfag and Bogdan, who had never liked each other anyway, fell to arguing. Within moments the whole Regiment was up and blood was flowing freely. By morning Golgfag’s Regiment had fought its way out of the Goblin compound and taken to the woods.

Golgfag soon found employ again, however, this time fighting for the Dwarfs against his former allies. In this capacity he and his champion Grat’hud led a Dwarf party into the Goblin’s stronghold and slew Bogdan in a bitter fight. Golgfag later established himself as one of the most adventurous leaders of the war and collected a great deal of gold, loot and captives before returning to the frozen north.

Battlecry – The Ogre language in bestial in the extreme, and not easily translated. A phonetic transcription would be something like, ‘Gruugh aghhhhh aghhhh waaaaaa.’ Experts claim to recognise some elements and offer the following broken translation. ‘Remove yourselves from your current physical location, failure to comply with our request could result in severe physical discomfort of a kind which could seriously curtail your social life.’ Recent scholarship has shed new light on this strange cry. It now appears to mean, ‘I get so angry when I don’t have a cooked breakfast.’

Deeds – The most popular story about Golgfag concerns the time that he was captured by the Dwarfs. He was imprisoned in the famous Black Hole of Raven’s Hold, along with several dozen assorted goblinoids. Crammed into a tiny space, with no air and hardly enough room to breathe, the Dwarfs expected the occupants to die. However when they opened the door the following morning the Dwarf jailers were aghast to see Golgfag chewing on the remains of the last Goblin. The cell was otherwise empty, although there was good deal of gore and blood on the floor. The Dwarf leader was so awed by this feat that he ordered Golgfag to be taken a long, long way away and released.

– ‘The Story of Golgfag’ (RR8 Golgfag’s Regiment of Mercenary Ogres)

The Tolkienesque Misty Mountains did not persist in later editions.

FOOTNOTE

* This is a pun on the English city Stoke, where I believe Tony Ackland lived.

The next post will conclude the chronological review of WFB1‘s development and look at The Book of Battalions and the second Citadel Compendium.

Title art by Christos Achilleos. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.

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2 thoughts on “THE WFRP STORY XII: REGIMENTS OF RENOWN

  1. On the subject of Bugman, there’s a drawing — I think it’s by John Blanche — of dwarves drinking Bugman’s Best Rum — not ale yet! — in White Dwarf #67, from July 1985. It’s part of the adventure “A Murder at Flaxton”.

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