Chapter Six: Defence and War

Note: The contents of this chapter may, at some point in the future, have to be reduced from that which you see present. If that becomes the case, it will still contain basic information that could be ferreted out from the same sources I used to compile the Project, but not as much gap-filler, unofficial material as is here at present. The reason for the potentiality of removing this information is that a sourcebook that might, just possibly, get published sometime is in development at this time, that may yet (we still don't know quite yet) contain some as yet unofficial information broadly similar to some of that that presented here. Due to publishing constraints, and to keep open the possibility of publishing that information, I reserve the right to remove it from view here in due course.


When a tribe tools up to fight, an air of eagerness pervades the otherwise antagonistic atmosphere. The blessing of Gork on the proceedings makes it an almost holy occasion while Bork and Morks omnipotent presences bless the Warboss and his generals as they plan their attack or defence. On the Warbosses command all hell breaks loose and the Goblinoid rabble engages the foes. The Gobbo love of fighting is hard to miss.

The Warboss generally commands the crack troops of the Warrior caste (if any), with the generals (or Boss if the tribe is too small to have a Warboss and crack Warrior caste) commanding the rabble of Mobgobs eager to get stuck in. One great advantage Goblinoids have in many cases is the great force of numbers they have and many a foe has been at least partly demoralised before even entering melee with the green tide.

No project on Goblinoid culture, of course, could be complete without a description of the great Goblinoid tradition known as the Waaargh. Usually starting when the Warboss of a horde has big plans for assaulting the surrounding areas, the horde will grow as rival tribes that are fought give themselves to the superior Warboss they face, knowing themselves to be outnumbered and wanting a part in the slaughter they know is yet to come. As the Waaargh takes hold, bands and tribes flock to join the horde, which in a major Waaargh rapidly grows to the size of an army. All the time the growing horde is on the winning side, the Waaargh gains momentum. It gradually loses momentum, however, especially if the horde is on the losing side. Once the momentum of the Waaargh falls to a low enough level (which may take weeks, months, or even years), the horde will break up and the Waaargh is effectively over. Although Goblinoids are usually not effective enough at working together to threaten the Old World nations, the power of a Waaargh can be great. The Waaargh led by Orc Warlord Gorbad Ironclaw engulfed many of the Empires towns and cities, including Nuln, and held Altdorf under sige before the Waaargh flagged. Waaargh Ironclaw serves in memory to this day to illustrate the destructive power a Waaargh can have. [[Add more info on Waaargh Ironclaw and any info you can find on Gorbad himself]]

Weapons, Armour and Equipment

Goblinoids have usable, if limited, weapon and armour manufacturing facilities. Typically capable of forging an average sword or axe and of making most leather armour, helms, shields or basic mail shirts or coifs, but little much more complex. The Goblinoids can get by with what they make themselves but scavenge what they can from captives and bodies of other races, providing them with sleeved mail coats and shirts, breastplates, bracers and leggings, flails, etc.

A tribes smiths are typically drawn from the resident Hobgoblins, other species being little inclined to the hot forges. Leather armour (a term I will use in both this chapter and the careers chapter to cover all animal skin based armour the Goblinoids might produce) is generally made by Goblin or Hobgoblin craftsmen.

For a discussion of war machines and artillery, please see the section on this later in the chapter.

Command Structure

Not surprisingly, the Gobbo Warlord is at the top of the command hierarchy. In a Waaargh or other situation where several tribes band together, he commands the Warbosses (who are completely autonomous when not under command by a Warlord) who in turn command their own tribes.

The Warboss commands primarily his bosses and big bosses, the high up tribe members who act as his generals and advisors. The bosses and big bosses in turn command pretty much the rest of the tribe: the war engines and chariots, artillery, Wulfboys and Boarboys, Mobgobs and Arrer boys, tribe guard, Stunty Slayurs, Packmasters and Runtherds and the Fanatics. The Warboss can, of course, directly usurp command of any or all of these, and it is not unknown for the Warboss to seize direct command of the Stunty Slayurs, Wulfboys and Boarboys, or tribe guard. Each of these sub-units of the command structure will now be looked at.


Mentioned in passing in the previous section, the Bosses and Big Bosses of the Boss caste deserve more of a description. The Bosses and Big Bosses act as the Warbosses' generals, commanding the other aspects of the Goblinoid war initiative, Big Bosses senior in rank to Bosses. Bosses are basically the Goblinoid equivalent of Human nobility, and generally consist mainly of the tribe Warcheefs and Snorta Cheefs.

The Tribe Guard

The tribe guard is the rough structure the better fighters of the tribe are part of, with the exception of most of the other sub-units mentioned above (that is: Stunty Slayurs, Packmasters and Runtherds, Fanatics, Wulfboys and Boarboys, ...). The Tribe Guard is a many ranked structure, the better fighters taking the higher up positions. Keeping things simple as Goblinoids like to do, the Tribe Guard has a simple structure:

 Gang Cheef

The Ganggobs, in fact, include the majority of the tribes Mobgob caste, making a large number of expendable but poorly trained fighters. Ganggobs are split into units called 'gangs', which are are in turn are organised by Gang Cheefs. These answer to Warcheefs who themselves answer only to the Warboss. Career descriptions for each rank of the tribe guard can be found in the Careers chapter.

As well as constituting the majority of a Gobbo force in battle, the Ganggobs fulfil the role of wardens, patrolmen and jailers. A gang of Ganggobs may include a Tunnel Runner and/or a Wall Drummer, for communication with the rest of the tribe and tribe guard.

Feersum Endjuns

This section looks at the war machines and artillery the Goblinoids have at their disposal. The Goblinoids have two sources of war machines: those the Gobbo Endjineers make and those scavenged from other races. Depending on the particular tribe, the Goblinoids have access to a variety of artillery. The various machines are set out below in the following format:

 Aka:      Alternate names.
 Crew:     Number and functions.
 Design:   What it does (or should do).
 Usage:    Method of use and how to resolve the action in game terms.
 Profile:  Range, Effective Strength, damage inflicted, move rate.
 Misfires: When it goes wrong...
 Notes:    Other notes.

Most require a Specialist Weapon skill to fire properly, and are rarely found in smaller tribes, the number a larger tribe might have depending very much on the individual machine. Machines are typically crewed by a commander skilled in the machines operation and a number of unskilled Mobgobs given an advanced lesson (that is, a 5 minute training session!) in the machines use. A skilled character must be close by at all times. For those machines firing a projectile, and unless otherwise noted in the machine description, all machines require a whole round to load and so cannot be loaded and fired in the same round. Ok, onto those war machines:

Rock Lobber
Aka: Stone thrower, rock chukka, and a variety of other names.
Crew: 3 - Commander, loader, winder. The machine will function with two crew but requires an additional round to load, and cannot be used by a single crewman.
Design: The idea is (unsurprisingly) to throw a heavy lump of rock at the enemy. Most Gobbo designs use a counterweight design borrowed from the Dwarves.
Usage: The throwing arm is wound back, the rock loaded and the arm released. Characters roll on BS, a failure indicating a misfire if a double (11, 22, ..., 00) is rolled.

 Size  |  Rng    | ES |  Dam  |  M
  Big  | 120 yds | 10 |  4D6  | Crew
 Small |  96 yds |  7 |  2D6  | Crew

Misfires: When a misfire occurs (on a failed double on the BS test), roll on the highest Int of the crew. If this is passed, the problem is transient and the machine can be fired again. If it is failed, something has broken, twisted, snapped, etc. and the machine will require fixing before it can be used again.
Notes: The Broken Nose tribe of the Badlands possess the magical Dwarven Stone Thrower known as Skull Crusher, on which the majority of Gobbo Lobbers are now based. It is carved with the three Dwarven runes (see the Runesmith career in the archives or the Dwarf Army book) of Burning, Accuracy and Fortune. The effect of these is, respectively, to cause the rock (or whatever is fired, including any unforntunate crew not getting out of the way in time!) to burst into flame before hitting it's target (so causing additional fire damage), allow one shot per day that is completely accurate (so requiring no BS roll to hit and which can be only affected by other magic) and to ward off the effect of one misfire per day.
Various designs of rock lobber, among which the Dwarven is most common, are common among the larger Goblinoid tribes who operate in a fixed area. Other designs, such as the variant Man Mangler of distinctly Goblinoid design, are also occasionally found.

Bolt Thrower
Aka: Spear chukka, bolt chukka, ...
Crew: 3 - Commander, loader, winder. The effects of a smaller crew are as for the rock lobber (above).
Design: Essentially a large crossbow, the bolt thrower fires a sharp bolt of metal (much larger than those of a standard hand crossbow, more akin to a spear) at the target.
Usage: The machine works primarily by way of a wheel used to pull the firing mechanism back, and which when released fires the bolt. Roll as normal on BS to hit, a misfire occuring on the roll of a failed double (eg. BS of 32. Double rolls 33 through to 00 indictate a possible misfire).

 Rng    | ES |  Dam  |  M
 96 yds |  5 |  2D6  | Crew

Misfires: As for the Rock lobber (above).
Notes: Bolt throwers are rarely found in Goblinoid hands, and almost invariably scavenged from one of the other races. Bolts can be manufactured by the Goblinoids, but will not be as good quality as those used by the weapons original owners.

Lead Belcher
Crew: 6 - Commander, 2 x loader, 2 x rammer, gunner. With 5 crew one of the machines functions (see below) takes a further round to load, 3 or 4 crew allows only a single function to be used, 2 crew allows only a single function to be used and requires an extra round be spent loading it, and a single crewman requires a full turn be spent loading the machine (yes, thats six rounds loading and one round to fire - a little slow!).
Design: Lead Belcher is a triple cannon and howitzer captured from the Dwarves, again held by the Broken Nose tribe of the Badlands. The three cannons are connected so as to fire simultaneously and the howitzer mounted above the cannons fires a heavy metal ball, larger than an ordinary cannon ball and inflicting more damage on the enemy than a (single) cannon would.
Usage: The cannons and howitzer are all gunpowder weapons operated in a essentially similar manner to the smaller gunpowder weapons described in the WFRP rulebook and Apocrypha Now! Like its smaller cousins the operation of Lead Belcher in game terms is by a BS test, any double result indicating a misfire.

 Part    |  Rng    | ES |       Damage        |   M
Cannons* |  24 yds | 10 |  3 hits of 2D6 each | }
Howitzer |   ???   | ?? |         ???         | }Crew

Misfires: Lead Belcher uses the same misfire chart as published in the WFRP rulebook or Apocrypha Now! (whichever you prefer).
Notes: The reason for the large crew is that Lead Belcher is essentially two artillery weapons combined, with the crew for both. The Howitzer and triple cannon can are operated independently but only one function can be used if the number of crew falls to 4 or less. Note that Lead Belcher requires two rounds to load and one round to fire in either function.
Lead Belcher is held only by the Broken Nose tribe and it is unlikely other tribes would be able to manufacture such a weapon, though it it not impossible that it could be captured in turn from the Broken Nose tribe. Ammunition is also a problem and the tribe is currently reliant on the ammunition captured along with the weapon, which is slowly running out. What the tribe will do when it does run out is unknown...

Doom Diver Catapult
Aka: Bat-winged Loonie lobber.
Crew: One Bat-winged Loonie (ie. Doom Diver) to fire himself.
Design: Essentially a large catapult, the machine fires the Doom Diver high into the air, from where he spies out the land or seeks out the enemy. On falling to terra firma again (the Goblin can choose when this happens as he controls his flight to an extent by way of a pair of wooden wings), the Goblin can choose to steer and hit a given target on crashing to the ground. See the Doom Diver career for details on the Bat-winged Loonies who fire themselves with the machine.
Usage: The Goblin flexs the catapult and fires himself into the air, steering and controlling his flight with his wings. The Goblin can try to aim his descent onto a specific target which he hits on a successful BS roll, a failed double indicating a misfire result.

  Hit  |  Rng    | ES |  Dam  |  M
Direct |   ???   | 10 |  4D6  | Crew
 Other |   ???   |  5 |   D6  | Crew

Misfires: If the Loonie passes an Int test then no harm is done and he can attempt to fire himself again next round. If the test is failed the machine has been overstressed or some other problem has occured, and the machine cannot be used again until it is fixed.
You might like to roll two Int tests, one for firing himself in the air, the other for control and aiming onto a target while up there. The first roll operates as above, the second is to see if the Gobbo can control his flight. A failed second Int test might mean he hits a thermal which causes him to lose control and crash (or at least completely miss his intended target)...
Notes: All tribes with at least one Doom Diver in their ranks will have at least one Doom Diver catapult, and they are relatively simple for the Endjineers to make.

Snotling Pump Wagon
Aka: Pump wagon, snotling attack cart, 'stop-start' cart.
Crew: Goblin commander and 3D6 Snotlings. A minimum of the commander and 6 Snotlings are required for the cart to operate.
Design: The Snotling pump wagon is a rare, wacky and typically Goblinoid piece of engineering. It is a large wooden cart built large enough to carry its crew and which incorporates a large spikey roller at its front. As the pump wagon moves the spikey roller turns, inflicting damage on any (including fallen crew) unfortunate enough to be caught under it.
Usage: The snotling crew pump on a see-saw like crank to power the cart and make it move. It tends to move erratically at a rate of 2D12 yds/round (roll randomly each round). Damage on those trapped under the roller is automatic unless the character passes an I test to move out the way in time.

  Rng   |  S |  Dam  |       M
  n/a   |  7 |  2D6  | 2D12 yds/rnd*
 *=Reroll each round.

Notes: Note that the pump wagon causes damage only if it is moving or a character trapped under the roller is struggling to free him/herself. No damage is inflicted otherwise. Only large tribes living in a fixed place will possess anything like the size of the pump wagon, and pump wagons are thus quite rare as engines of war.


Wulfboys and Boarboys

The Wulfboys and Boarboys can be an unnerving sight when used in a battle - these are not the Wolves and Boars of our world but bigger forms of the beasts, nearly as big as a horse (this is the normal size for WFRP Boars, and it is Great Wolves that the Gobbos ride). Wulfboys are covered by the Wulfboy career (you don't say!) and Boarboys by the Gruntas, Snortas and Snorta Cheefs.

Fanatics and Stunty Slayurs

These are the crack troups of the tribe. Fanatics are drug (Fungus Brew, brewed from the Map Cap mushroom) crazed maniacs who swing a great ball and chain in a whirling sphere of death leaving carnage and disarray behind them. Stunty Slayurs are the Gobbo answer to the Dwarven Troll and Giant slayers, only the Goblinoids have Humie (Human) and Dwurfie (Dwarf) slayurs, the idea for whom was copied from the Dwarves... These guys don't do it because of a sense of dishonour like the Dwarves, though, but because they're either mad, sadistic, or both - An annoyed Dwurfie Slayur is not someone you want to stay around for long! Career details for Fanatics, Humie and Dwurfie Slayurs can be found in the Careers chapter.

Packmasters, Runtherds and Squig Hunters

These careers are variants on the same theme, the herding or catching of slaves and animals. Runtherds deal with the Slaves and smaller animals and Squigs, while Packmasters deal with packs of the larger animals and Squigs (eg. Cave Squigs - see Bestiary). Squig Hunters go out to catch the ferocious Cave Squigs that live deep in some Goblin caves. In battle situations the Runtherds and Packmasters direct the packs of animals and Slaves at the enemy, by whatever methods are necessary (Snotlings might be coaxed into it by the promise of a tasty Squig at the end of it while animals, Cave Squigs and the like are usually 'encouraged' by the use of spears and Prodders.

Arrer Boys and Mobgobs

Nor do Goblinoids lack anything in the small artillery or infantry department. Like other races they have their archers (who Gobbos call Arrer Boys or Stickas) and Mobgobs (many of whom will be Ganggobs of the Tribe Guard - see above). Rarely will a decent enemy have any trouble with these elements of the Goblinoid force but they will be slowed down by them, before the Fantics and Stunty Slayurs get stuck in...


Some Gobbos leave the tribe structure and travel as mercenaries, willing to fight for a tribe in exchange for a share of the spoils. But remember, they could be spies or be in the pay of the enemy...

Up Back Next