Bury my heart at Watery Hole by Matthew Hartley

Issue: 11
System: Hellfire
Publisher: Wessex Games

Bury my heart at Watery Hole
An introductory Hellfire scenario
by Matthew Hartley

The World of Jareilah

Jareilah is a desert world with one native sentient race, known to he colonists (rather unimaginatively) as The Sandmen, and a multitude of other life-forms great and small.

The Sandmen are a nomadic people. living in family clan groups and travelling throughout the year from water hole to water hole over Jareiiahs surface in a fairly regular pattern. They employ huge jabos (looks like a woolly mammoth, works like a camel) as beasts of burden, supplemented by giant lizards, who are also rode by individuals.

Contact was established 20 years ago, but, due to the paucity of high quality mineral deposits and highly irregular weather patterns, large scale capital investment from Earth has not occurred, however settlement by small scale mining concerns (with big dreams and small capital) and individual hydroponics farms have emerged. No agreements with the Sandmen were entered into regarding land or water rights, as both colonists and Sandmen steered clear of wells frequented regularly by the other.

The planet is technically a UN protectorate and has a detachment of UN paramilitary police to "keep law and order amongst the colonist population (until the UN consider them sufficiently well established to opt for selfdetermination), and to preserve cordial relations with the native peoples".

The Battle of Watery Hole

 [Map of the battlefield]

The Colonists

The annual rains in the North Mountains have failed for the fourth year running. The wells along the Apptice Valley are drying up and the aquifer level is falling. Even the water minimising techniques used on your farms is too much for the wells. Although starvation is unlikely, economic ruin is facing you all.

The public meeting at Athian Wells was a heated affair. Everyone knew the Sandmen still has a good well at the next valley. It wasn't long before someone suggested seizing the well after all the Sandmen must have others somewhere. It was less time before the hotheads grabbed their hunting pieces, revved up their jeeps and set off.

The UN rep arrived in Athian Wells two hours later.

The colonists are in three groups, two of six bases each and one of four bases. Forthe purpose of this scenario their open topped, unarmoured 4x4 jeeps count as cavalry bases with six armour points (flak) and mixed personal protectilelenergy weapons. maximum movement is 8' per turn.

Reaction: 4,4,2,2,1,1,1,1

(This represents excessive initial enthusiasm which wanes quickly if the going gets tough).

Objectives: to drive the Sandmen away from the wells with a minimum casualties to themselves.

The Sandmen

You can't understand why 'They' stay around such poor water holes, everyone knows they dry up every thirty years or so. Still you can sense the rains are only a few weeks away so 'They" should be alright.

Sandman 'infantry': four groups of three bases each. Unarmoured (but count two armour points due to the dust laden air). Armed with obsolete personal projectile weapons - fire every other turn, but at +1 to hit (they're expert shots).

Reaction: 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2

Jabo riders: one group of six bases. Armour value eight. Armed with obsolete persona projectile weapons fire every other turn. If an enemy unit comes within 6' of a Jabo it must make a melee reaction test. Maximum move distance 4' per turn.

Reaction: 2,2,2,2,2,2,1,1

Lizard Riders: one group of four bases. Four armour points. Obsolete personal projectile weapons - fire every other turn. Maximum movement 6' per turn.

Reaction: 2,2,2,2,2,2,1,1

Dependents on pack lizards: one group of eight bases. Four armour points. Melee weapons only.

Reaction: 2,2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,1

Objectives: Ideally you would like to hold on to the well and drive off the colonists. However you'll have plenty of opportunities to recapture it later and to gather more forces, so if the going gets tough you should try to withdraw to minimise your casualties.


  • Hills: quite badly broken up, infantry always count cover. The maximum speed for anything is 4"
  • The Wells: Count as cover.
  • Gullies: count as dug in cover for any infantry. Impassable to all but foot troops.

Special Rules

  • The sandmen cannot fire until the colonists have fired for the first time.
  • When the Sandmen are fired on for the first time they must all make a surprised reaction test (or S/O & Cas as appropriate).
  • The Colonists start first.


The objectives for both parties here are not wholly mutually exclusive. It's possible for both sides to come away from this encounter feeling satisfied equally, since neither side wants heavy losses, if this degenerates into a bloodbath neither side will be particularly happy. Timely and careful use of units is important.

All figures required are available from Irregular, for colonists use SAS jeeps, WW1 Arabs for sandmen, mammoths for jabos and lizards from Dark Elf listings.

Ed Note: Hellfire is a 6mm (Epic) SF rules system that concentrates on the infantry based "low down and dirty" end of SF ground combat rather than mass armour actions and was reviewed in Ragnarok 8. Published by Wessex Games, further details can be obtained by sending an SSAE to them at 4 Old Old Acre Road, Whitchurch, Bristol, BS14 0HN.