Monday, March 30, 2009

Nemesis Crown Campaign: Battle 1

Our gaming group played several battles for the Warhammer Fantasy worldwide Nemesis Crown Campaign over the summer of 2007. In the coming weeks, I'll be posting the battle reports from both sides for each of the campaign battles we played, starting with this one.

Vampire Counts
A former empire battle wizard of the Amethyst order turned to necromancy to find a way to bring back his dead wife. He was found out and forced to flee the authorities. He knows the empire is searching for a magical crown. Thinking it to be the crown of Nagash, which might give him the necromantic power to bring his beloved wife back, he searches for it. If he finds it and discovers it is not what he thinks, he can trade it to the emperor for a full lifetime pardon for his crimes.

The fledgling necromancer, Byron Manfred, has put together a small contingent to search for the crown. Included is a wraith which is the spirit is his former mentor in the Amethyst order. While searching for the crown, this group came upon an Elven army that was sent to the old world specifically to hunt down the undead.

In terms of magical ability, Byron, who is new to necromancy, was completely outclassed by three high elf mages. But his army managed to deal a crushing massacre to the attacking high elves, wiping them out to the last elf. Byron and his skeletons ran down the enemy’s massive unit of Phoenix guard, killing every single one. Wolves and ghouls devoured much of the rest of the elf army. Many powerful elven magic items were lost.

With this obstacle out of the way, Byron now continues his search. But when the elves hear of this brutal defeat, they will no doubt wish to get revenge on Byron. He has likely not heard the last from this high elf contingent, as they will continue to scour the area hunting down all undead.

High Elves
Ygrail Sunnier, the Champion of the Fields of Pallain, returned to Commander Cillirial's Pavilion in disgrace. He had barely escaped, his entire unit killed in their fight to escape the foul undead horde. He relayed the sad news of the death of what was thought to be one of their strongest assets, the Undead Huntress, Bringer of Light, Magess Vilya Soliel of Eataine. The stoic Commander as always said nothing, but a single glance toward his aide sent the boy running with new orders. The upstart Necromancer would need to be dealt with. Ygrail was given the opportunity to set off home to his native Cothique, But as a true Champion to the forces of good, chose to stay and carry the fight to the necromancer once more...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Small Scale Trees

I bought a pack of Woodland Scenics ready made trees. They come in different sizes and colors. The pack I got was mixed green colors, from 3/4" to 2" tall. They have a chart on the package to equate these sizes to the equivalent sizes in various scales. For N scale (roughly equivalent to 10mm miniatures, which I planned to use these trees with), the sizes equate to between 10' and 27'.

The trees I used can be found here. Woodland Scenics also makes many other varieties of trees, some of which can be seen here.

I based the trees one or two to a 3/4" or 1" square thin metal base. The additional weight of a metal base, as opposed to wood, helps keep the trees from tipping over if they are bumped or when they are positioned on the side of a hill. I took some pictures of the finished based trees on hills next to some 10mm GHQ American Civil War miniatures, to give an idea of the size of the trees in comparison. The pictures also show a couple of the hills I made recently, so you can see how they compare in size to the 10mm miniatures. You can read about how I made the hills here.

Trees Trees Trees Trees Trees Trees Rocks Rocks Trees Trees Trees Trees

Monday, March 23, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: Conclusion

Even as Laotzu's lightning field faded away, Aun Chie's final breath left his mangled form. The Tau's blood flowed from his carcass connecting the trails of gore of the other eight dead air caste crew. If someone were to enter the bridge at that moment to bear witness to this devastation, that soul would perhaps notice that, by simple chance or ungodly design, the trails of gore seemed to form a huge purple star of eight points. Of course, no such soul existed to bear such witness.

The Tau Courier class transport reached the ethereal's drifting Manta. Its mighty Gravitic beam pulled the wounded ship into one of the transport's enormous cargo bays. Inside, the Courier's full complement of fire caste security personnel trained their weapons on the crippled ship as the small team of earth caste explorators moved forth towards the hatch.

Quickly, too quickly to react, the inky black unlight speared from the Manta's bridge. The eight vile spears lanced out, all in their path consumed utterly. The Manta exploded and the new energy added light to the unlight. The Courier began to buckle under the onslaught, the transport's hull not meant to experience such internal paradox. As the surviving security personnel began to run, the wet canvas of reality ripped and foul daemons swarmed forth to consume the crew's very souls.

The Courier eventually succumbed to the horrendous attack. A single violent explosion engulfed the gargantuan freighter, and a new eight pointed star filled the heavens of Attraignnor IV. The small, localized warp storm created, chance or design, by the Champion Sun Laotzu's violent massacre of eight innocent Tau and their spiritual leader would remain manifest for almost 700 years.

The Tau invaders were gone from Attraignnor IV. Those who had not fled the capitol city and escaped back to their ships had been wiped out. There were still some small, insignificant pockets of resistance left in the city. Humans loyal to the Tau, not realizing their saviors had abandoned them. Imperial Guard of the 122nd Cadian still holed up in their headquarters. Arbites defending the well-fortified precinct house. With the aliens gone, the fight had become between the Imperial loyalists and the rebel separatists. Most citizens simply did not care, and just wished for the destructive war to be over. But many were enthralled by the charismatic Captain Ferranus, who still had a strong desire to exact revenge on the Imperial loyalists. And that time would come, for they could not hope to endure long isolated as they were in their bases in the city.

But for now, the citizens of the capitol city were happy to celebrate the defeat of the Tau. The vile aliens were gone, and though the fighting was not yet over there was reason to rejoice. But as the citizens were celebrating, renegade space marines were combing the city for the true prize. While Lord Agramon recovered from his most recent set of severe injuries sustained while charging ahead of his army, Warlord Captain Adriel organized the sweep of the city to hunt for Planetary Governor Devonius Krell, and any surviving members of his heretical government. They had turned a perfectly simple rebellion into a ferocious three-way war by dealing with the wretched Tau, and they would be made to pay for their crimes.

Aside from the loyalist Imperial strongholds, where Devonius Krell would obviously not be welcomed, all major bunkers and strongholds in the city had been cleared or destroyed, but the remnants of the government has still not been located. As the search went on, Captain Adriel began to think that perhaps somehow the governor and his men had managed to slip past the guards and get out of the city into the countryside, or even managed to get past them to meet up with the Tau and be evacuated from the planet as they retreated. If so, locating the man would now be impossible. But their defensive net, which had completely isolated the Tau during the entire war, seemed to have been sound, and Adriel could not believe that the governor and his entourage could have slipped by it.

His instincts were proven right. As more of the citizens of Attraignnor IV came to accept the governance of Captain Octavio Ferranus, and see the Chaos Marines as their saviors from a war inflicted upon them by Governor Krell, information from the human populace began to pour in. Intelligence from many tips indicated that Krell and many of his advisers were still within the city, hiding their identities and constantly moving from place to place, relying on friends and supporters to shelter and hide them for a few days at a time. As the public became more supportive, more and more information was coming in, and many citizens were turning in their neighbors as being possible supporters or sympathizers of the former government.

The homes and businesses of these suspected sympathizers were constantly being raided and searched, and one by one the leaders of the former government were found and captured. Finally, in another of many raids like any other, former governor Krell himself was captured, hiding in a refrigeration unit in a dingy basement. Having finished their task, the space marines of the Crusaders chapter turned over the imprisoned heads of the former government to the new self-proclaimed ruler of the planet, Captain Ferranus, to punish as he saw fit. The chapter then prepared to depart Attraignnor IV, having accomplished their mission, freeing the world from both alien subjugation and Imperial tyranny in one brief war. The destiny of Attraignnor IV was now in the hands of the people of Attraignnor IV.

Without so much as a challenge, the Black Knight guards stood down before the High King and Ruler of All Attraignnor, Lord Captain Octavio Ferranus, Grand Master of the Fists of Ferranus. The High King stepped past the guards without so much as a glance.

The awesome form of the Lord Agramon filled the room. Even badly wounded, the Master of the renegade space marine chapter was an impressive sight. The localized warp storm, however, had greatly accelerated Agramon's recovery. Upon sight of the High King, Lord Agramon's sorcerous medicae attendants left the room.

Words were spoken in that room between the two great leaders. Pacts were discussed, alliances formed. When Ferranus departed, the wretched form of the ex-Lord Governor was in tow.

The renegade space marine chapter departed with great fanfare. A feast was held, and another city-wide carnival. Joy seemed to pervade across the face of the planet. The few major pockets of resistance were besieged and de-clawed, or infiltrated and destroyed. The ex-Imperial Fists, as well as the multiple free marine warbands that had fallen under the mighty High King Ferranus' sway was more than enough to handle the petty malcontents. Ferranus' newly founded Attraignnor Guard was free to form the Honor Guard for their great allies' departure.

The High King's Council of Six all appeared to bless the chapter’s great crusade. Cardinal Degrassio anointed the mighty Lord Agramon's dropship with blessed Kroot oil, whilst the Ancient Master Zalel led the massive cannon salute. Epistolary Botrejadre preyed for favorable warp currants, whilst TechObliterator Greavous and Shas'O Vor Suelo gifted their allies with some of the finest munitions and priceless pieces of salvaged tech. To all, the people cheered, and, as a great finale, with the setting of the sun, as the last rays stole away its radiant glow, Champion Laotzu smote the massive Aquila statue of the Palace with a single, mighty blow of Foe Bane. Cracks raced up the 400 foot tall golden eagle, and when Lord Agramon's great dropship roared, so the great effigy crumbled to dust.

Cardinal Degrassio licked his lips and shivered with excitement in his sacristy before stepping out to give mass. The soft moan barely reached the Cardinal's increasingly sensitive ears. Pinned, literally, to the sacristy's heavily frescoed ceiling, severed into exactly 36 flayed, deboned, yet still exquisitely living pieces, was ex-governor Devonius Krell, penanced eternally to the most loving devotions of Slaanesh. Degrassio sighed lustfully before stepping out to the masses.

In the war room of the palace of High King Ferranus met the Council of Six. The advisors stood around their liege. Ferranus stepped to the holographic table in the center and flipped a switch. An image of the Forgeworld Attraignnor Epsilon flickered to life. "My friends,... my brothers,... my mighty Fists,... the future."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Battle for Mork's Throne - Part 2

This battle report covers the second of two linked games I played on February 21st. You can read part 1 of the battle report here.

After successfully breaking through the Chaos blockade, the remainder of the Ork fleet approached an inhabited work in the interior of the planetary system. Discovering a small base of Chaos Space Marines operating on the planet, the Orks assume there must be something important there, and decide to attack and take whatever that might be.

On the planet's surface, renegade Space Marines of the Crusaders chapter are preparing to enact some sort of dark ritual, as they often do. Suddenly, they are disrupted by a brutal planetary bombardment, followed by an attack by a horde of Orks who had just landed. Upon arriving, the Orks discover the centerpiece to the dark ritual that was about to be performed. On a slab of marble sat a huge metal chaos icon, an ancient book, a captive woman (presumably to be sacrificed, and a nice looking chair. Of those thing, the only one of any value to an Ork would be the chair. So the Ork Warboss decided to take it. And moreover, he determine that it must be the fabled Throne of Mork, probably a very important artifact in Ork culture, such as it is. So, their objective was clear. Reclaim Mork's Throne!

Here are the initial positions of the Ork and Chaos Marine armies.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

The Orks's double preliminary bombardment managed to accomplish nothing but stunning the Rhino, which probably only served to keep the Khorne Berzerkers inside it from charging off on their own into the middle of the Ork army to get themselves killed.

The Chaos Marines had the first turn. The two large Chaos Marine units stayed still to fire, managing to kill a few Orks. On their first turn, the Orks advanced around the throne. The Stormboys flew recklessly ahead of the rest of the army, and made it far enough to assault the chaos marines taking cover in the ruined building. The Chaos Marines won the combat very convincingly, and the few remaining Stormboys ran away.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

On the second turn the Chaos Marine reserves, a unit of 4 terminators, showed up. They arrived via deep strike to reinforce the Chaos line. The Rhino, no longer stunned, moved at full speed towards the approaching Orks. The two large units of Chaos Marines held still to fire, killing several Orks and wounding the Warboss.
Mork's Throne 2

On the Orks's second turn, their entire force surged forward under the power of the Waargh. Their Deth Copters flew around behind the Rhino and easily destroyed it with their missile launchers, forcing the Berzerkers inside to pour out.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

The power of the Waargh drove the Orks forward with their Fleet of Foot moves.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

Ork units managed to charge the Khorne Berzerkers, the Terminators, and even the unit of Chaos marines that were out in the open, which was charged by the Warboss and his few remaining bodyguards.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

The Berzerkers killed many Orks, but lost five of their own in return and the combat continued. All but one of the Chaos Terminators were killed by a power claw wielding Ork. The unit of Chaos Marines fared better, killing most of the Warboss's bodyguards while taking minimal losses. The Warboss then fled for his life, knowing he couldn't win that fight.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

On the Chaos turn, the unit that had run off the Warboss moved up to charge in and rescue the one remaining Terminator. The final terminator was slain, but so were many of the Orks, and the rest of them fled. The Chaos Lord broke off from the unit he was with and charged into the other combat to help out the remaining Khorne Berzerkers. Together, they killed enough Orks to make them flee, but the Deth Copters decided to stick it out for a while longer and stayed in the fight.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

The fleeing Ork units continued falling back, firing at the Chaos Marines as they went, but their fire was mostly ineffective. The only major Ork threat remaining was the Mega-armored Nobs, who continued to lumber forward. Finally in range to fire some of their weapons, they caused a couple of casualties on the Chaos Marine unit taking shelter in the ruined building. In combat, the Deth Copters managed to wound the Chaos Lord, but one of the copters was destroyed and the other wounded. The wounded Deth Copter fled, and the violent Berzerkers chased after it toward the ragged remains of the Ork army.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

On the Chaos turn, the Lord and Berzerker unit continued to advance, while the two units of Chaos Marines stayed still and fired their long ranged weapons at the only major threat remaining, the Nobs. They managed to kill one of the Mega Armored monsters. The Chaos Lord also wounded another Nob with a well placed plasma pistol shot. In return, the Nobs moved towards the Berzerkers and opened fire, only killing one of them, before charging into combat. In the first round, the Lord managed to cut down two of the Nobs, before himself being torn apart by a vicious power claw attack from one of them. The other Nob cut down three of the Berzerkers.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

On the next turn, the squad of Chaos Marines that the Lord had started in charged in to help finish off the Nobs. The Nobs focused on the new unit of Marines, and managed to kill many of them. But the Chaos Marines eventually managed to drag down the last two Nobs.
Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2 Mork's Throne 2

With the rest of the Ork army having fled the field, the battle was over. The Renegade Marines would never know why they had been randomly attacked by a band of Orks that day, but they had managed to fight them off. The Ork Warboss would no doubt be back someday to once again attempt to reclaim the mighty Throne of Mork.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: The Final Battles

By this point, it was obvious that the Tau has almost no chance of victory, and would not continue to waste Tau lives on a lost cause. Therefore they would attempt to evacuate the planet, taking with them as many of their human supporters as they could. The Tau in the North controlled the Spaceport Complex, and the Tau in the East controled the Railhead Terminus, but the two armies could not reach each other since they were cut off by enemy forces. It made sense for the Northern army to evacuate by transport ship back to their fleet, and the Eastern army to exit the city by train, to be picked up somewhere outside the city where it would be safe for Tau transports to land and pick them up. Then all the Tau would return to their fleet and depart, leaving the planet to its fate.

However, since the forces of Chaos had so clearly dominated the campaign, and because we wanted one final climactic battle for each of us, we would give the Chaos forces a change to prevent the Tau from evacuating the city. The fallen Imperial Fists would fight a battle with the Northern Tau army at the Spaceport Complex. If the Tau won, the remnants of their army could escape back to the fleet. If Chaos won and captured the Spaceport Complex, the Tau would have no way to escape, and would be cut off and wiped out. Similarly, the offworld Chaos Space Marines would battle the Eastern Tau forces at the Railhead Depots. If the Tau won, their forces and their human followers could escape the city. If the Chaos Marines were victorious, they would capture the trains and prevent the Tau from escaping, ensuring their destruction.
Warhammer 40k campaign map
The Eastern Front, Railhead Depots
The remaining Tau forces in the Eastern part of the city hastily formed up into a rearguard in the vicinity of the Railhead Depots. They hoped this force could hold off the attacking Chaos Space Marines long enough for the rest of the Tau army, their supplies, and the human Tau sympathizes from the city to be evacuated by train. Moving all of the equipment, support staff, and refugees to the Railhead Terminus and loading them onto the many trains that could take them out of the city would be a long, slow process. But if the rearguard was unable to stall the Chaos attack long enough, the remaining Tau, and their human allies, would be cut off from escape, surrounded, and slaughtered.

Lord Agramon knew by now that the city was clearly theirs, and he sensed, the urgent desperation in the Tau retreat. The enemy had been routed, but Lord Agramon didn’t just want to control the city. He wanted to slaughter every vile xenos creature that had the audacity to set foot on this human world. And even more, he wanted to butcher the wretched human scum from Habs Zeta and Epsilon who were rumored to have betrayed their very humanity by joining the alien invaders.

Lord Agramon himself wanted to lead the final attack personally. He hastily assembled a large attack force in Angel Square. He preceded the attack with a brief orbital bombardment of the Railhead Depots area, which damaged some of the buildings so severely that even entering them could be extremely dangerous, and they could collapse at any moment. Some of the critical Tau units weren’t able to get in good positions to defend against the coming attack as they had to spend time carefully digging themselves out of the damaged buildings, nervous about moving too quickly and risking the collapse of the buildings.

Lord Agramon’s attack came swiftly, with Agramon himself and several units of Berzerkers charging forward with reckless abandon. The Raptor, in particular, seemed almost suicidal as they recklessly flew through dangerous ruins and charged through collapsing buildings. They took several casualties because of their aggressiveness, but their fury paid off as they managed to wipe out some Kroot entrenched in a building and finish off some isolated battle suits. Their advance mad up the right flank, along with the perfectly timed arrival of two small terminator units, helped clear the area of defenders so that the Berzerkers could move in and capture the emptied buildings.

On the left flank, two large units of chaos marines advanced very slowly and carefully, capturing buildings as they went. Before them charged Agramon accompanied by some overzealous Berzerkers. As the Berzerkers charged forward in a frothing fury, their hatred blinded them to the danger of the terrain. As they tried to recklessly charge forward, they continually were tripped up and slowed down by the blasted ruins of the buildings. In pure frustration they tried to bash their way through the broken ruins of another building, only to cause it to completely collapse in on them, burying them in smoke and rubble, and making them easy prey.

Meanwhile Agramon, himself no less overzealous than his men, was not willing to wait for his Berzerkers to flail and stumble their way through the buildings. He glided over the buildings with daemonic power, but also managed to injure himself in the dangerous rubble. Furious, he dropped down right in front of the heavily defended enemy flank and blasted some of his hated foe with deadly warp energy. Unfortunately the return fire from several battlesuits, vespid, and a tank was too much for him to overcome, and Lord Agramon was unable to continue the fight.

Back on the right flank, the berserkers continued their advance. A unit of Tau Fire warriors had moved out from their hiding place into a cramped alley to open fire on one of the small terminators units. Their fire, combine with that of two battlesuit commanders, felled all but one of the terminators. One of the commanders charged in to finish off the lone Terminator, but seeing the powers and toughness of his foe, he instantly regretted his decision and instead fled the battlefield.

Seeing a new enemy before them, the Berzerkers charged into the small, tightly-packed alley to attack the Fire Warriors. Fighting in the narrow, dark alley was difficult and awkward, with blood, chainswords, and limbs flying in every direction. But it was still a massacre for the Berzerkers, who were now, like the alley itself, coated in blood and gore. The lone terminator charged after the remaining battlesuit commander, and crushed the two shield drones defending him. But the commander managed to find a weak point in the nearly indestructible terminator armor as he fired every weapon he had at point blank range. The terminator went down, but as the commander looked back up, he found himself engulfed in the advancing Berzerkers, who dragged him down as he tried to flee for his life.

By this point, leaderless and without hope, the rest of the Tau army was in full retreat. Though Lord Agramon had been badly wounded, and the Terminators and Raptors had suffered significant casualties, it was a resounding victory for the Chaos Marines. With the Tau rearguard smashed aside, the Chaos Marines continued forward into the nearly undefended Railhead Terminus. The remains of the Tau army were in disarray, and were easy prey. They, along with their human refugees, were massacred. Since the Tau in the East were now cut off from the rest of the city, and the Chaos Marines were now in control of their only possible means of escape, the Tau were trapped. The rest of the campaign in the East would just be a matter of the Chaos Marines mopping up the rest of the surrounded and defeated Tau. With free reign of the area, the Chaos Marines could also focus on hunting down the rouge Imperial governor who had caused the entire war by dealing with the Tau in the first place.

The Tau Landing Zone, Attraignnor Space Port
The sun rose behind the once mighty Tau army as they loaded their equipment onto the last of the Orca dropships anxiously waiting to depart. Only two cadres were left to report back. Shas'o Vor Suelo led his forces from the artillery emplacements upon the isle the natives call 'Gibbet Hill', while Shas'O Guela Vostru fought a running battle retreating from the west with the rebellious citizens of the city. The esteemed Aun Chie Zuhis looked upon his disheartened warriors and sighed...

The Western outskirts of the Spaceport
"Here they come!" Mickey readied his autorifle and swung down from his perch on the rubble. Another three of those big tan robot thingys were loping down their street. This was their chance, their real chance! So far, they'd only been able to bring down one of the xenos' robo-frisbees. But the robots! Those were big points! Just one of them'll be enough to get them ALL spots on High King Ferranus' new Attraignor Guard. Bess, Johnson, Franko, Shots, they were all ready. They all know what this meant. Almost silently they crawled through the rubble towards the street...

Vostru signaled a halt to his bodyguard. The foolish humans stood out starkly on the infrared sensors of his suit. It was like this all across the city! Idiot humans attempting ambushes with no concept of training. The low rumble of what had to be a building collapsing somewhere was no distraction as he and his team raised their weapons to fire..

Mickey tripped as the super heated plasma ripped through the walls of the building ruin they had taken cover in. Shots and Bess were immolated in an instant, and Franko's screams filled the air, his legs gone. There was nothing else for it as rage filled his soul, it was kill or be killed. "C'mon, Johnson! Let's go milk us some Xenos!" Johnson paused just long enough to grab Franko's melta before following his boss through the newly made holes in the wall, just in time to see one of the big robo's chest blow outward..

The low rumble was no collapsing building. It was the mighty growl of one of High King Ferranus' last working Imperial Fists Rhino APCs. The Rhino's stormbolter continued to roar death at the two remaining battlesuits. As the remaining tau trained their fire on the transport, the two bruised and dirty humans were all but forgotten in the face of this new threat. The yellow tank crushed forth, fallen fire warriors hanging lifeless from hooks welded to the side. The hatches popped....

Brother Sgt. Smith was first at the hatch as was his custom, and so was the first to glimpse the sickeningly curved xenos tank float blasphemously around the intersection a mere block away. "OUT!!!" he screamed to his men before diving through the hatchway...

There was no noise. The Rhino merely crumpled as if made of paper as the Hammerhead's shot bore into its side armor. Thick black smoke began to seep from the cracks in the destruction that was the Rhino, and the stench of promethium filled the air before the sound caught up with the hyper-velocity round fired from the Hammerhead's massive rail gun...

Brother Sgt. Smith felt the searing heat of his transport's violent explosion buffet his body as he stood back up. A quick check of his auto-senses told him that Squad Smith had taken no casualties, though Brother Howard would need a new arm. Unfortunately, they would have no time to prep the missile launcher with those battlesuits so close. This was going to get dirty fast. Smith knew the next shot would probably be submunitions, just as he knew the foul abomination wouldn't get a third. He raised his fist, the Closed Fist of Ferranus, and the astartes charged...

Mickey and Johnson were thrown roughly to the ground as the massive yellow tank exploded, but the mighty Space Marines were already on their feet charging the alien vehicle. Surely nothing could stop the grand and benevolent High King Ferranus' mighty Angels. Suddenly, to Mickey's utter despair, a shot like a million spears of starlight tore from the alien cannon into the Imperial Fists, shredding even the very ground they ran across....

"A submunitions round! Good show!" thought commander Vostru as he and his last remaining bodyguard backed down the street, distancing themselves from the yellow monsters. A direct hit at that distance would annihilate an entire herd of houladons! He would have to recommend the crew for commendation. An audible crunch and a piercing human cry snapped his attention around...

The blasting shrapnel round created a nice dust screen for their advance, though the hyper-velocity force of hundreds of tiny balls pinging off their armor did slow them down. Brother Wessex went down, a ball finding its way through the hip joint of his armor, shattering the bone inside, and Brother Tse would not rise again after one of the tiny balls found one of his eyes...

"Load another round, Vortis, just in case." "Aye, Shas'El!" Shas'El Cualton turned back to the pict screen just as the dust began to settle, his eyes slowly adjusting to the movement on the flickering screen. Aggravated, Cualton popped the top hatch for a better look at his fallen foes...

The eight marines broke from the dust cloud just as the Hammerhead's commander rose from the hatch. The startled tau barely realized what he was seeing when Brother Sgt. Smith made a great bounding leap onto the hull of the foul xenos battle tank. In an instant his bolt pistol was against the bare head of the tau tank commander. Smith fired, and then adjusted his aim to kill the two aliens left in the vile monstrosity as his troopers primed their krak grenades against the known weak points of the hull. He leapt down just as the hideous heresy to the Omnissiah erupted into a giant ball of cleansing flame..

Shas'O Vostru looked down at the dirty human under his suit's feet as the second shockwave hit him. His weapons were already priming as he turned to face the tenacious threat of the human super soldiers. With the immolating squeal of a fusion rifle what remained of Vostru's last bodyguard fell before him. The tau commander frantically turned to see another dirty human peasant holding one of their kind's 'Mell-Taas', super heated steam pouring from the crude fusion weapon's vents. The Shas'O, knowing he was defeated, engaged his suit's jet pack and took to the skies. Another squeal and his plasma rifle detonated, the force threw him into the wall of the destroyed building next to him. The wall collapsed upon him, and shrapnel speared through his armor and skewered his arm. His suit's emergency systems kicked on, and his body was filled with pain killers and stimulants. The desperate Shas'O blasted himself free of the rubble and soared into the sky...

Johnson lowered the melta just as the pounding boot falls of Ferranus' Fists heralded their arrival. A giant with a red helm put his hand on Johnson's shoulder. "Excellent shot! I shall inform my Lord Captain of your prowess with the Meltagun, Guardsman....." "Um.. Johnson, sir.." Slowly a smile creapt onto Johnson's dirty, scarred face. It was the first in over ten years...

Out of his fugue, Mikey saw a golden hand come out of the increasingly murky haze that was the rest of the world. His arm was a torn mess, attached by mere threads of sinew. "Laying down on the job, Guardsman?" the voice boomed from the ether. The words tumbled from his shivering lips in a flood, " ..f'course not.. no.. ... .. wait," the words finally hit him, "Guard.. Guardsman? but.. my arm!" "No excuse, trooper. You can always get another arm!" Brother Howard burst into thundering laughter as he helped the wounded man to his feet. Strangely, Mikey found himself laughing, too..

Brother Saotome loaded the krak missile with a soft prayer, raised his weapon, and fired..

The fire warriors defending the makeshift defenses of the spaceport cheered when they saw their great commander, Shas'O Vostru soaring out of the city. The rest of the cadre would be right behind him, and they could finally leave this blighted world behind them. Their moral was finally broken when the missile soared from the city and impacted cleanly with Vostru's battlesuit. The tau looked on in horror as their great commander, their great hero, plummeted, lifeless, to the earth. The tau defense was broken before the score of Alpha Legion bikes roared from the streets, before the crimson assault marines lept from the rooftops, before the hordes of Attraignorian citizens swarmed from the buildings. The tau defense fled. Their escape had become a rout...

The Tau Landing Zone, Attraignor Space Port
Aun Chie Zuhis watched as Shas'O Vor Suelo and a full half of his cadre set up their haphazard defense of the landing zone as the gunshots and explosions signifying the humans' attack drew ever nearer. He had already called down one of the much more survivable Manta class gunships to get himself off-planet safely. For the Greater Good, of course. Suelo was a competent commander, but the ethereal knew the fire caste would not last long after he, himself, had departed. Their moral would break, and they would flee and be cut down. At least half of the cadre would make it to safety... and Aun Chie made quite sure it was the more promising half...

Vor's stealth teams reported that the humans would be within sight in moments. Their clan-destine ambushes had not even slowed the attack. It was as if the humans did not even care about casualties among their citizens!...

Sgt. Smith saw the haze/blur and had barely enough time to toss one of the last of the ganger scum in front of himself before the searing heat of the alien melta squeeled to life. Before the charred human body hit the floor, squad Smith had opened fire on the xenos...

A motley horde of ragtag humans rushed from the cover of the Tau's own fortifications into the massive open plain that was the spaceport. Shas'O Suelo gave the order, and his warriors opened fire, cutting the foolish attackers down by the hundreds. Just as the assault began to falter, a screaming roar filled the air as the human super-soldiers, the first seen this battle, unleashed a massed strike upon growling bikes and screeching jetpacks. Vor Suelo, however, was ready for this. His hammerheads and broadsides were in perfect positions to redeploy and meet this dire threat. Suelo was not ready for the ominous sound of one of the Orca dropships detonating violently behind him...

Aun Chie Zuhis ran as the Manta soared from the heavens. More lightning fields began to crackle around the remaining Orca even as its crew ditched the fuel lines in preparation for an emergency takeoff. The massive human super soldiers' battlesuits that had just teleported in and casually destroyed the first Orca had immediately headed towards the rear of the fire caste's line, ignoring the last Orca. Now Aun Chie knew why. He reached the Manta and vaulted aboard before the ramp had opened fully. Upon reaching the bridge, he ordered the immediate take-off of the ship. The Air Caste crew did not even question his order, knowing that leaving the rest of Shas'O Vor Suelo's cadre behind must be for the Greater Good. As an after thought, Aun Zuhis ordered the ship to fire upon the human battlesuits approaching from the wreckage of the second Orca, the remains of best and brightest from Shas'O Suelo's cadre still smoldering. The Manta easily took what meager firepower the battlesuits could bring to bear. Aun Chie Zuhis sighed in relief as the Manta soared into the heavens...

Shas'O saw his last hope fade with the departing Manta. His cadre was beset from both front and rear, and he now saw the despicable Aun Chie Zuhis for the coward that he was. It was as if a veil was lifted from his eyes. Looking out at what remained of his warriors, he knew they saw the truth as well. At almost the same time, a massive human tank ground to a halt not ten jumps from the Tau Commander. It's golden hull emblazoned with a halo'ed black human fist and crescent moon. The assault ramp yawned wide and a single human stepped forward. He hailed the commander in perfect Tau. He spoke of many things, and Vor Suelo found himself believing this truly honorable warrior before him. The remaining tau, fighting for their lives just a mere instant before, found themselves unopposed as they moved to better hear the words of the two leaders. Shas'O Suelo knew at that moment that he had been fooled. His life had been a lie....

Octavio Ferranus smiled. The little voice of his intuition had been completely right again. The xenos battlesuit before him opened wide and a diminutive alien stepped out and prostrated himself in the most respectful bow of his kind. Seeing the fealty of their leader, the remaining xenos soon fell to their knees before the High King's glance. Just one small step remained...

Low Orbit, Attraignnor IV
The Manta had just gained a visual of their mothership when the shiver went through the ship's controls and displays. The crew looked quizzically at their captain. Kor'O Yissil pointed at the drive master, and he immediately moved towards the exit to investigate the slight disturbance. As soon as he reached the hatchway, the entire hatch exploded in, flattening the poor Kor'Vre. Aun Chie looked on in horror as a truly massive human battlesuit crushed the wall around it as it entered the now claustrophobic bridge, a massive glowing hammer in its fist. To their credit, Yissel and the remaining Kor'Vres drew their miniscule sidearms and opened fire on the monster before them. The beast actually laughed as it swung a battered shield before it, the crackling and sparking forcefield still managing to deflect the paltry resistance. With but two mighty swings of that mighty hammer, Aun Chie's seven remaining protectors were no more. The eight dead tau lay all around him. Before the ethereal could even grasp the idea of running, the monstrous human super soldier was upon him. Aun Chie cried out as he's thrown to the ground, feeling bones shatter with the impact. He lays broken and sobbing, surrounded by the dead. He screams again and again as the beast rips his arms and legs away. The world begins to fade. An unknown substance is injected into his chest, ripping him from the bliss of unconsciousness back to the reality of pain. The esteemed Aun Chie Zuhis' screams grow impossibly louder as his intestines are torn from his destroyed body. The torture finally ends with the removal of his tongue. The gurgling blood quiet his screams. As his vision darkens, the monster swings his hammer again, destroying the control centers of the Manta. He turns again and his cold stare pierces Aun Chie's very soul as the lightning again comes and takes the monster away...

Tau Landing Zone, Attraignnor Space Port
The figure is kneeling before the lightning field of teleportation fades, and High King Octavio Ferranus looks down upon his mighty champion.
"Arise, Laotzu. A success as usual, I assume?"
"'Tis done, My Liege."
Lord Captain Ferranus knew it was so as a new, eight pointed star bloomed in the heavens. A truly cyclopean cheer arose from his people. The celebrations of this great victory would go on for months, of that he would make sure. The people would see that they made the right choice. They would love him. Then the rest of the system would be liberated. Ferranus smiled...
Warhammer 40k campaign map

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Battle for Mork's Throne - Part 1

I got to do some gaming on February 21st. We played 2 linked games, my Chaos Space Marines against my friend's Orks. First was a game of Battlefleet Gothic, with the Orks attacking to try and break through a Chaos Space Marine blockade. The second, a game of Warhammer 40,000. If the Orks won the Battlefleet Gothic game, they would get the benefit of two preliminary bombardments against the Chaos Space Marines in the Warhammer 40,000 game. If the Chaos Marines won the Battlefleet Gothic game, in the second game at least half of the Ork army (in terms of points) would have to come on in reserve, due to their fleet arriving piecemeal. We came up with a basic story for the linked games.

Renegade Space Marines of the Crusaders chapter are on an unimportant world in the Sagittarius Arm to perform an arcane ritual. As their fleet patrols the outer reaches of the system, and small Ork fleet appears out of nowhere. It is a splinter force of a large Ork Krusade to reclaim important and powerful cultural artifacts of the Ork race. Finding a fleet of ships defending the system and guarding one planet in particular, the Orks assume there must be something important there, and they attack in an attempt to break through the Chaos blockade.

In the pictures below, I used blue lines to represent the movement of ships, and the red lines to show firing. The red felt areas are gas/dust clouds. The white pieces of paper are asteroid fields. Here is the layout.
Mork's Throne 1-1 Mork's Throne 1-2

The Ork fleet contained (from left to right in the first picture): A squadron with 2 Onslaughts and 2 Savages, a Kill Kroozer, a squadron of 2 Ravagers, and two squadrons each of two Brute Ram Ships. The Chaos fleet contained: A squadron of 3 Idolators, a Carnage class cruiser, a squadron of 5 Infidels, a Devastation class cruiser with a Warmaster, and two squadrons each of 4 Iconoclasts. The Chaos defenders had to be set up first, with each ship or squadron forced to be in a random third of the table. The Orks then deployed together to attack the Chaos line where it was weakest.

The Orks had the first turn and advanced at full speed. The Ravagers fired off some torpedoes to disrupt the middle group of ships as they tried to turn around.
Mork's Throne 1-3

On the Chaos turn, the squadron of Idolators moved out from behind the asteroid field and turnd to face the approaching Ork fleet. The rest of the Chaos fleet frantically tried to turn their ships around to come to the aid of the Idolators.
Mork's Throne 1-4

The Orks continued their rapid advance. A squad of Brute Ram Ships fired on the squad of Infidels but only caused on hit on their shields. The Kill Kroozer fired on the Idolators, destroying one of them. The Ravager squadron managed to run out of torpedoes.
Mork's Throne 1-5 Mork's Throne 1-6

On the Chaos turn, the squadron of Infidels got around the asteroid field and fired on the Ork Kill Kroozer, causing minimal damage. Then they fired a brutal salvo of torpedoes that destroyed two Ork Savage Gunships. The remaining two Idolators flew into an asteroid field, preparing to spring a trap in the rear of the Ork fleet. The Carnage cruiser and Iconoclast squadrons continued to move at full speed toward the bulk of the Ork fleet. They fired on a squadron of Brute Ram Ships, destroying them easily.
Mork's Throne 1-8 Mork's Throne 1-7 Mork's Throne 1-9 Mork's Throne 1-10

The Ork fleet continued to advance at full speed. The Kill Kroozer and two Onslaught gunships opened fire on the chaos Infidel squadron. All but one were destroyed, despite them bracing for impact. Their bracing for impact was completely ineffective, perhaps due to extremely close range leaving little time to prepare for the attack.
Mork's Throne 1-11 Mork's Throne 1-12 Mork's Throne 1-13

Ready to spring their trap on the Ork fleet, the two Idolators proceeded to crash spectacularly in the asteroid field and destroy themselves. The Carnage cruser advanced behind the Ravager squadron and opened fire on them, destroying them both. The one remaining Infidel got behind the Ork Onslaughts, gunning to get revenge for its former comrades, but its fire was ineffective. The two squadrons of Iconoclasts continued advancing as well. One squadron opened fire on the remaining Brute Ram Ships, but did no damage.
Mork's Throne 1-14 Mork's Throne 1-15

The Orks again advanced at full speed in an attempt to punch through the blockade. The Kill Kroozer fired on a squadron of Iconoclasts, destroying one of them.
Mork's Throne 1-16

The two squadrons of Iconoclasts moved toward the Kill Kroozer and fired on it, causing some damage, but nothing major. The Devastation class cruiser continued moving toward the battle, while some bombers it had launched in the previous turn flew towards their intended target, the Kill Kroozer. The Carnage class cruiser and the one remaining Infidel escort got behind the Ork ships and fired on the two Onslaughts, destroying one of them.
Mork's Throne 1-17 Mork's Throne 1-18

The Ork ships again continued to advance at full speed. The Kill Kroozer locked on to the menacing group of Chaos bombers that was approaching it, and incredibly managed to shoot them down. The largest threat to the Kill Kroozer was now eliminated. In addition, the two Brute Ram Ships managed to make it off the table edge, and past the blockade.
Mork's Throne 1-19

On the final Chaos turn, the squadron of three Iconoclasts and the one remaining Infidel moved towards the final Onslaught gunship. They fired, and in a small measure of revenge for it's fallen squadron mates, the final remaining Infidel destroyed the Ork ship.
Mork's Throne 1-20

In the next turn, the Ork Kill Kroozer made it off the table and past the blockade. Both sides had suffered some serious losses, but with the Kill Kroozer making it past the blockade relatively intact, it was a clear victory for the Orks. They would be able to land and support of pretty significant force on the planet they had chosen to attack, and the renegade Space Marines on the planet's surface would have their work cut out for them.