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The Pond of Fire

A Scenario and Interview by Stephen Grant

Gamling the OldThe Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game is a wondrous thing, not only are you able to fight out the war of the ring in the comfort of your own home, but you're also given the freedom to create your own stories, and fight your own battles as you see fit. One of these such original stories comes as a tale of the honor and strength of Gamling the Old. But before we get to the Scenario, we have a special treat! Gaming Haven's Scenario Guru SauronsWrath was lucky enough to pick the brain of Gamling himself: Bruce Hopkins and ask him how he felt about Tolkien, and the Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game!

SauronsWrath: In the scenario, "The Butchers of Isengard", Gamling is leading a group of Rohirrim against the best troops Isengard has to offer. Do you think he would have been up to the challenge?

Bruce: Absolutely! Although we are slightly outnumbered, we are on horse back and have spears, so we can take out the enemy from a distance and utilizing our speed and ability to work with the horses. Also I have experience on my side.
SauronsWrath: Gamling is used to being at the king's side for so many years. What do you think he would've been feeling commanding such a large force on his own while hunting down the Uruks in the deadly mountain passes?
Bruce: Gamling is doing this for his King and his people. After watching and being powerless as Theoden came under the spell of Saruman via Wormtongue, this is yet another opportunity for Gamling to avenge the evil that was wrought upon the Rohirrim. Gamling will protect and command his men as though each were his son.
SauronsWrath: In this scenario, calvary has the obvious tactical advantage but the Berserkers are better fighters. If you were Gamling(and you are!), how would you go about assailing the Uruks in this scenario?
Bruce: I would encircle the enemy so that they must face all directions and fight separately. If we cannot fully encircle them we will form two opposite flanks of attack, again splitting their unit. Once we are within throwing distance of the Uruks, one out of every three Rohan will unleash his spear. This will hopefully take out at least 6 of the Uruks and create a panic into which the next 8 Riders will charge, using the advantage of the spears length to inflict more damage, before retreating back to rejoin their unit.

We will repeat this pattern until the Uruk numbers are depleted and they are weakened for a full on charge of the entire Rohan unit.
SauronsWrath: So you've seen some of the Games Workshop product line for, The Lord of the Rings. What is your opinion of the game from what you've seen so far?
Bruce: It's great, and should allow any die hard fan to get involved in recreating either battles from the story or their own battle scenes. Of course my kids and I love the fact that Gamling is featured. It was such a joy to be involved in the filming and this allows the experience to continue.
SauronsWrath: Any chance we may eventually see you on the convention circuit or even at a Games Day event for Games Workshop?
Bruce: Yes I am about to travel to Holland and the UK for 2 conventions on the 26th & 27th of April and the 3rd & 4th of May,

This will be my first experience of what I have been told is mayhem!!!. I am also going to the Ring*Con, Germany in November, as well The Best Both Worlds in Australia in September sometime.

And yes I would love to come to a games day event if the timing is right.
SauronsWrath: At the TORN Oscar party, Flinch gave you a painted Gamling figure from the Games Workshop product line. So tell us, what place of honor does he hold in your home?
Bruce: He is standing proudly on a shelf in the living room, guarding us in the event of an intruder!. My kids were so buzzed to see it.
SauronsWrath: Without spilling the beans, how much of a role will our favorite Rohirrim Herald have in The Return of the King?
Bruce: Due to the fact that the role grew as we filmed, there was no real path for Gamling in relation to the book. I quite honestly do not know how much screen time he will have in ROTK. I have been asked to be available for some "pick up shots". However I would say gamling will not have as much dialogue as in TTT. This is pure speculation on my part.
SauronsWrath: How much did you know about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings before playing Gamling, and what are your feelings on the legacy of his works today?
Bruce: I knew very little, having read The Hobbit but not LOTR, prior to filming. Once I was cast as Gamling I initially searched for any reference to Gamling of course to see what sort of character this guy was. Then I started a full read of the books and got totally hooked. If Mum Tolkien could have understood what her boy would achieve in his life through his writings, she would have been the proudest Mum of all. I find it hard to comprehend how someone could focus and discipline themselves to create such a vast and astounding realm. I would like to see Tolkien and Shakespeare having a cup of tea and biscuits one day, I'll pay for the tea and biscuits.

As a by line, I was out surfing in January this year on a remote NZ beach. A surfer aged in his early 30's came paddling out through the waves, he looked over at me and then yelled out "Rider of The Rohan". Paddling over to me he proceeded to explain his love for Tolkien's work, having been reared on CS Lewis by his mother and turned onto Tolkien by his father at the age of 10.

This was one of many very cool experiences I have had in relation to my experience with Tolkien and that modern day weaver of visual tales, Peter Jackson.

Thanks for this opportunity to talk Tolkien.
SauronsWrath: Thanks so much for talking Tolkien with us!

Bruce can be seen in Macbeth August 8th through September 6th at the Silo Theatre in Auckland and don't forget to check out Bruce's Official Web Site at! Thanks Bruce for taking the time out of your rehearsals to talk with us, and our continuous thanks to Rebecca Kirkland at Oracle Productions for making this all possible!

Now, how will Gamling and his Rohirrim Guard fend off the Overwhelming force of the Uruks? Thats up to you, on to the Scenario!

The evils of war are shown no greater than by the brutal hands of the Uruk-Hai Berserkers. Reports had been coming in to the Helms Deep Column that a group of Berserkers, led by a merciless Uruk-Hai Captain, were butchering their way through the mountain country. The people of these mountain passes have lived in fear for weeks of these vile murderers calling themselves the Butchers of Isengard.

Hoping to save what's left of the mountain folk, Theoden orders Gamling and his Rohan Royal Guard to hunt down these murderers in the mountain passes before they kill again. After days of searching, Gamling and his men corner the Butchers of Isengard in one of the high mountain passes. Under a blood red moon, the two forces clash in an epic display of Good vs Evil.
On the Good side, there is Gamling mounted with the Royal Standard of Rohan, a Rohan Captain mounted with shield and throwing spear, 12 mounted Rohan Royal Guard with throwing spears, and 12 Riders of Rohan with throwing spears.

On the Evil side is Grahl, an Uruk-Hai Captain with shield, and 30 Berserkers.
Points Match
Each side should be 500 points with no more than 33% of either side with shooting weapons.
Play on a roughly 48" by 48" board. The high cliff overlooks a deep valley which can be represented by measuring out 36" from the right side of the board stopping 12" from the left side. To represent the edge of the cliff use felt along a zig zag line from the top of the table to the bottom.
Starting Positions
Good side
The Good side can line up anywhere along the right side of the table, no more than 6" in.

Evil side
The Evil side is camped 5" from the edge of the cliff. They should be positioned in the mid-section of the cliff's edge taking up about 12" for their camp.
This scenario is a bloodbath encounter. The Berserkers will not flee the battlefield so the Good side must slay each and every one of them. So determined are Gamling and his men that nothing short of total victory will be acceptable. Therefore, the Good side must slay the entire Evil force to earn a victory. The Evil side must also slay the Good forces or get them to flee. If the Berserkers can manage to kill Gamling they can force a draw even if their force is destroyed. So to be successful, the Royal Guard must protect their leader!
Special Rules
Anyone forced to the cliffs edge will be trapped and must also see if they fall over the edge, (1-3) they fall to their deaths, (4-6) they remain pinned but steadfast.
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