Take a stroll through the grimest and darkest zoo in the galaxy – and check out an implacable monster from the 40th Millennium AND the Old World – the Ambull.
Rogue Trader came out in 1987 and while everyone remembers the Space Marines, Eldar, and the Emperor – most people forget about the bestiary. Broken down into Warp Creatures, Animals, and Plants the 30-year-old section is chock full of gems lost in the mists of time – until now. This section is what gave us Genestealers and the Gyrinx.
Today we look at the Ambull:
Biology and Behavior
Ambulls can easily survive extremely hot temperatures, which has led to attempts at domestication on several hot desert planets. As a consequence, Ambulls can be found on desert planets throughout the Imperium.
Ambulls have huge barrel chested bodies and an ape-like stance, their arms reaching almost to the ground, while their legs are crooked and short. The Ambull’s most characteristic feature are their huge expandable jaws. Their eyes are able to sense heat.
The Ambull’s limbs end in iron-hard claws used for digging through the soft stone of their homeworld. Ambulls will excavate tunnels in which to live, spending most of their time underground. These burrows can often form extensive underground complexes.Their tunnelling abilities have also defied attempts on many Imperial worlds to domesticate or corral them.
Due to the intense heat of Luther McIntyre’s sun, the Ambull’s subterranean lifestyle is shared with many of the death world’s inhabitants, including the Ambull’s favorite food, the Crawler. Ambulls will pursue prey through soft rock by tunneling at considerable speed.
Ambulls were sighted on the Ice World Simia Orichalcae while the Valhallan 597th were protecting a valuable promethium refinery. It was later speculated that they had arrived through a warp portal opened from some unknown desert world by a Necron scouting force that deployed to Simia Orichalcae. These rogue ambulls killed several promethium miners in the lower tunnels, while Commissar Ciaphas Cain and a Valhallan scouting party slew a great number of the beasts in the tunnels. It was noted that they could tunnel through ice as easily as sand or rock, and were remarkably survivable away from their normal desert environment.
After the Simia Orichalcae campaign, Cain dined with Inquisitor Amberley Vail at an upscale hotel, which offered ambull steak on its room-service menu. Logash, a Tech Priest, had earlier told Cain’s aide Ferik Jurgen that ambull meat tasted much like grox.
On Vigilus, a colony of Ambulls has taken up residence in the valleys and caverns surrounding Storvhal Hive. The voracious predators exact a high toll on any unarmored convoys, having learned to avoid the regular mechanical sounds of heavy and military equipment. The Adeptus Mechanicus say the Ambull is divine punishment for those who deny the machine and rely only on organics.
Ambulls have somehow gotten aboard the Blackstone Fortress in the Segmentus Pacificus, and are a random danger to its explorers.
Ambull larvae are called Borewyrms. They are carnivorous and in a swarm are no less dangerous than adult Ambulls.
Minis & Stats
The Ambull was one of the very few monsters from Rogue Trader to get a mini. Take a look at this fine not-quite domesticated fellow from over 30 years ago.
GW Crosses the Streams
The Ambull has a notable distinction of showing up in the Warhammer Fantasy Old World – leading to all kinds of WFB-40K conspiracy theories. WAAAAAAY back in 1988’s White Dwarf 108 a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay adventure appeared that starred everyone’s favorite tunneling monsters – just the thing to terrorize a Dwarf mine and challenge a party of adventurers.
With Ambulls tunneling their way into the WFB Old World, I could see them digging their way into the Age of Sigmar one of these days. The old minis can still be found on ebay and Blackstone Fortress has been retired, but that should be no issue for a power-collecter. So why don’t you spice up your next game with an ambull or three milling about some terrain to spice things up. They still have rules in 9th Edition (see below). It’s been over 30 years since they were introduced by GW – I’m sure they are hungry.
~Does anyone still have old dusty 1980s Ambulls lying around your collections? Pics or it didn’t happen 🙂