Sunday, 4 September 2016

Larceny in Lovely Lustria

It's always been a wonder to me that the powers that be spent so much time and effort focussing on one small area of the Warhammer world. the vast majority of the action seems to have been spent fleshing out the details and conflicts that effect the Old World. A shamefully eurocentric view of a fantasy world. don't get me wrong, there was plenty going on else where, Dark and High Elves and the sandy flavour of undead allowed a peek into another parts of the world but it wasn't explored in huge amounts of depth.

Things were different in the early days though.

Before the glory days of 3rd Edition it was de riguer to create scenarios for Warhammer games. These would dictate the armies, the maps, the victory conditions and be controlled by a GM. Obviously.

Some of the most famous of these scenarios came in their own boxed sets and are still discussed in hushed tones around the Oldhammerers pints of IPA at the Dog and Dice. The tragedy pf McDeath, Bloodbath at Orc's Drift, Terror of the Lichemaster.

There were other though. The citadel Compendiums and Journals (which were kind of dry runs for citadel only White Dwarf which at the time contained stuff from lots of different games) contained some classic and important scenarios. Amongst them Dolgan Raiders (2nd Journal - Autumn 85) and Vengeance of the Lichemaster (spring 86 Journal) but I want to blether on about 3 scenarios that painted a picture of another vast area of wargaming possibility. The three were set in the mysterious southern land of Lustria and give a great twist on the Warhammer world.

First up is The Legend of Kremlo the Slann from the first Compendium (October 83). We are introduced to the steaming jungles of Lustria and the Slann Empire. 

Lustria is the large southern continent analogous to South america. Originally ruled by the Slann (who according to WFB3 and Warhammer armies had defeated the lizardmen and forced them to live underground) who are not as old as the elves (that's what it says). Sea elves arrived at some point and brought diseases and strange magics that weakened the Empire but it is still a force to reckoned with and Slann are fearsome fighters. Because of the reduction in population they have been forced to use lobotomised human slaves in their armies and have made alliances with pygmies. 

The continent itself has attracted settlers from foreign lands, Sea Elves and Old Worlders but the lure of Lustrias riches has been especially attractive to the Norse. Settlements of Norse have sprung up along the coast of Lustria and these adventuring, hairy nutcases contrast brilliantly with their froggy foes.

The plot of Kremlo revolves around an orphan Slann, Kremlo, who, on the death of his step father, becomes the defect chief of a Norse village and must fight a raid from randy Slann braves and then take the fight directly to their spawning pools, all the time avoiding being offed by his step brothers.

The next scenario, this time stated as written by Richard Halliwell (I'm going to assume Kremlo was as well) is called Rigg's Shrine and describes the Amazons that inhabit the southern parts of Lustria. In particular their is a detailed description of the Shrine and the scenarios that are suggested are based around Norsemen raiding or attempting to burgle the sacred Shrine. An interesting point is that the Amazons have access to some interesting weaponry including needle pistols and boltguns!

So we have two scenarios that explore a great, dark, jungle infested continent, full of danger and riches. Two new armies have been created and the opportunity for adventure and larceny has been detailed for all to see.

It was such a rich vein of storytelling that when GW decided to release a new version of Warhammer the scenario that was included in the boxed set was set in Lustria yet again.

The magnificent Sven tells the tale of Sven Haslefriesian, a dwarf who invented a steal powered ship, and his foolhardy attempt to guard a village from a horde of rampaging Slann. He and his six companions (it's not just a clever play on words you know!), a dwarf berserker, a wizard, a halfling, an amazon, an Elf and a one legged Norse man, plus a dozen Norse Berserkers (they're are 70 slann after all) and about 40 villagers have 3 days to try and fortify the village against the Slann raid and then have to fight off the gang of 2 metre tall froggies.

Maps and cardboard cut outs are supplied in the box (just in case you don't have the requisite number of figures) and more daring adventures in the dark, jungle new lands are to be had.

Slann hung around for 3rd edition and, as already mentioned, had a full army list in Warhammer Armies (though they aren't mentioned in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) but come 4th edition they disappeared. One can only assume that sales of the Slann were not what they should have been. Come 5th edition Lustris was suddenly under the sway of lizard men who were supposedly fighting for their Slann masters. The Slann were never seen anymore though and apart from a single fat figure in '97 they were never to appear in metal (or plastic) again and now they have buggered off in their great big flying pyramids never to be heard of again. There were occasional brief flirtations with the continent, Pirazzo's Lost Legion, the Zombie Pirates but it's heyday was over.

The idea of gaming in the mysterious southern lands, leading a bunch of boozed up hairy Norsemen on a foolish mission into the dark jungles. A mob of greedy dwarves digging in peculiarly regular mound find themselves best from within and from without. A troupe of renegade Sea Elves attempt to bury a sacred item far from prying eyes only to be thwarted at every turn. Of course, there are barriers to game the jungles of Lustria. Norse and dwarves are easy to come by but Slann and Amazons command silly money on the bay of e's. Luckily things might be changing. A good friend recently ran his first kickstarter for some creatures that look like they might be suitable for Slann ;)

and I hear that another oldhammerer is doing the same for amazons. These make gaming in Lustria a real possibility in the near future.

Oh. And theres no need to shell out silly money for the Compendiums and Journals. The lovely folk at Stuff of Legends have them all on line for you here


  1. Ahh Lustria. I left my heart in Amoco-Cadiz. For a long-time convert it's nice to read a fresh take on the topic.

    It's interesting how the background of the Slann shifts from the simple frogmen of Kremlo to the genetic-engineering frogmen from space in WFB2, where lizardmen had always lived underground (even before the Old Slann arrived) and Elves but a by-product of their genetics experimentation, but then I suppose there wasn't really any attempt at a coherent setting before WFB2, and even then it was more open and free-wheeling than what it would become in 3rd and later.

    Kremlo is credited to Halliwell in the Compendium, on the index page. Guess print has some advantages besides being able to gawp at the epic glossy wrap-around Blanche artwork. :-)

    1. Thanks for clearing that up, I figured if anybody knew it'd be you. Of course if I had just read the credits.....

  2. Nice post! Though I've been pretty fixated on Albion in recent times, I'll admit to a longing for the exotic climes of Lustria. Certainly I can imagine my sea elves campaigning across there.

  3. Vikings and Frogs ducking it out in steamy jungle Aztecish landscapes. What's not to love. Nice spin on on the topic. ;)

  4. Kremlo the Slann was the first Warhammer adventure I ever read (after the Redwake River Valley). The listed Slann miniatures were an unreachable world to me - living in Belgium (in the pre-internet days) I had no clue how one could buy such wonderful miniatures.

  5. From a personal point of view, I (and just about every other wargamer I ever came across) loathed the Slann mini's that were released back in the day. And to compound the issue further, there were so few individual sculpts available, that even if you wanted to make a Slann army, you'd be forced to fill it with doubles, triples & quadruples! Both things combined to make owning a Slann army a very unappealing option for a teenager in Melbourne when I was growing up.

    The setting is/was very cool yes.....the mini's not so much :(

    I reckon if they had made more of an effort on the mini front then it may have stood a very good chance of becoming a "mainstay army". But, we'll never know?

    Cheers Whiskey :)

    1. To be honest, the setting appeals far more than the mini's but Sean's Bizaza have got me frothing.

  6. Nice job on that band, by the way. Looking forward to seeing what I can do with them in space myself. The old Warhammer fantasy world sounds to have been a remarkably interesting place . . . which only stands to reason, since the one it borrows from most heavily is kind of neat. (No, not that middle one. Yeah, it leans on that too. More than a little. The other one. The . . . oh . . . never mind.) Well written! I need to look up some of those scenarios.

    1. The froggies were all theottovonbismarcks work, sculpting and painting, he a talented bugger.

  7. Those illustrations are just wonderful. I came into Warhammer on the brink of 3rd, so many of these scenarios are before my time, and thus I haven't really delved into them too much. This post tells me I'm missing out. The idea of collecting and painting up a force for these scenarios is pretty appealing.

    1. I missed these as well but through a mates relative we got copies of some of the journals and compendiums and thats where began to see all these bizarre old figures and scenarios. I very tempted to do a norse band with Foundry figures (the actual vikings rather than the old citadel figures) and means bizaza

  8. Erny has a Slann force he needs to get painted up and I have a decent amount of 6th edition Lizardmen painted up so Lustroa can defo be done...,.........................


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