Monday, October 26, 2009

Grismeire Valley Campaign - Initial Positions

My gaming group and I are currently in the middle of a Warhammer Fantasy map based campaign, using the Mighty Empires map tiles with campaign rules I came up with myself. You can read my map campaign rules in a previous blog post here.

The campaign ended up having four players (at least until recently, when one had to drop out). The campaign map below shows the positions of each player's base of operations, their armies, and all of the towns and villages in the area with their names labeled. Click the picture for a larger version.

The Green flags you can just make out in the upper left of the picture are the Beastman armies. The Red flags in the upper right are the Vampire Counts armies, played by me. In the lower left are two of the Blue flags, representing Bretonnian armies. In the lower right are three Purple flags for the High Elf armies, as well as the third Blue Bretonnian army.

In the coming weeks I'll be posting the background we wrote up for the campaign for each of these factions. After that, I'll start posting updates on how the campaign has progressed so far and continue to its conclusion.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Warrior Priest Character Story

Before there was a Warhammer 40,000 Roleplaying game, we used to sometimes use the Inquisitor rules to do some action heavy roleplaying campaigns. At one point, a friend of mine was going to adapt the rules to do a similar action roleplaying campaign based in the Warhammer Fantasy setting. He never got around to actually running the game, but I did write up a story for the insane warrior priest character I was going to play as. So I figured I'd post it here for posterity.

The character was a normal warrior priest in the Empire, until he found himself trapped in a quarantined settlement that had fallen to Nurgle, the god of decay. Eventually, everyone in the settlement except for the priest succumbed to Nurgle's rot, and upon their death from the horrible disease, became plague zombies. Being locked in the settlement, the warrior priest has to single-handedly fight off the diseased corpses of all the former residents of the settlement, who had been his congregation. The horrifying experience left him a little unbalanced, and now wherever he perceives moral corruption, he sees physical decay and insists on destroying it.

He thrashes in his sleep, rolling around on the cold hard ground. Father Raleigh, or rather the man who used to be Father Raleigh, is haunted by vivid nightmares. He sees visions of horror beyond description, of madness beyond imagination. He sees the world engulfed in the terrifying shadow of Chaos. An unstoppable, festering decay consuming all in its path. Not only the realms of men, but the entire world is turned into a hellish nightmare of hopelessness. All is consumed. All is lost. Even life itself becomes nothing more than disgusting, rotting filth, a sick and twisted mockery of its true potential. The gift of life is but fleeting glimmer of light stamped out by the eternal darkness of evil, and all that is left is emptiness, nothingness, and the slow agonizing death of eternal decay. The Earth itself rots away, now nothing more than a barren rock drifting through a lifeless universe conquered by Chaos.

He awakens suddenly, but the nightmare continues. The maddening visions still grip him, as vividly as in his dreams. As vividly as if they were real. He lets out a scream he can’t even hear, frantically trying to force the visions out of his mind. They are too powerful for him to ignore. He begins to wonder if he is still asleep, still dreaming. Or, is he even still alive? Perhaps this is hell. What else could this be? He quickly grabs the short knife from his belt and presses it hard against his forearm. His hand shaking, he slowly drags the blade across his flesh, leaving a deep, jagged cut spewing blood. The sharp, intense pain briefly distracts him from the visions. The pain is all he has. It takes his mind off the terrible visions. It reminds him that he is still alive. It proves to him that he is real. That the world is real. That he even exists.

He continues to carve uneven cuts into his arm. Now he can think clearly. Now it all makes sense. All is pain. His mind is filled completely with the pain, pushing his nightmares into the deep recesses of his subconscious mind. He now moves the knife up to his forehead, plunging the sharp tip into his skin. He makes several straight cuts. He presses the knife so hard to his head that it scrapes ruts into his skull. Blood flows over his face as he brings the knife back down. Without any conscious thought to do so, he has carved the word “SIN” into his forehead.

He puts the knife back away and stands up in one motion. He immediately begins to walk. Blood is now dripping from his chin with every step. His face is hard and determined. His eyes are wide and wild, peering maniacally even though they see nothing but the desolate wilderness before them. His muscular body would be almost pure white from the cold if it were not covered entirely in bloodstains and massive bruises. His Book of Sigmar hangs from a chain attached to a metal collar, and sways back and forth as he walks. With each step he takes, he drags behind him three heavy warhammers. One chained to each leg, and another chained to a metal bracelet on his right arm. The hammers dig up snow and earth, leaving deep bloodstained ruts in his wake.

He keeps walking at a constant pace. All around him, in every direction, things look the same. There is nothing but snow and thin, bare trees. From time to time he passes some corpses frozen stiff in the woods. The corpses of those who fled for their lives from the outpost. Though the cold has kept their bodies from decomposing, he sees them only as rotting carcasses. Rotting, festering corpses, just like everything around him. He pays them no mind and continues his journey. He is on no path. He walks where Sigmar guides him, and trusts that he will find his way to where he needs to be. Just as he did the day before, when he walked nonstop until nightfall and then collapsed in exhaustion. His limbs could carry him no farther.

When he woke up, his whole body was sore. Only through incredible force of will was he able to convince his limbs to move. As soon as he stood up, his legs burned in agony and fatigue. But yet he continues to walk. He welcomes the constant pain. He keeps his mind sharply focused on the pain to the exclusion of all other thoughts. This wards off the visions while he walks. But the strain on his body becomes too much. When his legs start to give out on him, he pulls on the chain attached to his right arm. He drags the chain until he is able to pull the hammer up into his hands. And then, while he continues walking, he viciously beats his thighs with the hammer. He beats them into submission, refusing to allow them to give out on him. He continues to trudge through the snow. His bare feet are nearly frozen as he comes near to the end of his second straight day of walking through the frozen wilderness. But somehow, frostbite has not yet set in on his swollen, bruised feet. If it did, he would simply beat the evil decay out of them.

This is his punishment, and he shall accept it. The world has sinned against Sigmar. The world has turned their back on Sigmar and become corrupt. The moral decay of mankind has caused Sigmar to turn his back on the decaying world. That is why Sigmar would allow it to be destroyed by Chaos. It does not deserve to survive in its state of moral weakness. He realizes now that he has sinned, as well. He has not done as much as he could have to change things, to make the world better. To eliminate those who are corrupt and redeem those who can be saved. Yes, he is guilty of this sin. Perhaps the greatest sin of all. Complacency. He has failed in his duty to Sigmar. He has not done everything in his power to seek out and destroy the festering evils of the world. Now he repents for his sin, and now he pays his penance. He continues plodding through the freezing cold, dragging the massive war hammers behind him. His suffering is his penance to Sigmar. His suffering is his redemption. Soon the world of men will repent and find redemption. Soon the world of men will pay its penance. He will see to that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Work In Progress: Renegade Techmarines

Chaos Space Marines Warhammer 40k
I don't really like the models for the Chaos Space Marine Obliterators, and inviting such mutation doesn't really fit in with the theme of my renegade marine chapter. I also never understood why the Chaos Space Marine army list didn't include Techmarines, since renegade chapters would obviously still need them to take care of their vehicles and equipment. So, for the Obliterators in my Chaos Marine army, I decided to convert some renegade Techmarines with all sorts of weapons built into their bionic attachments. The 2+ save, 2 wounds, and invulnerable save could represent particularly well-made armor, bionics, and personal force fields.

So I recently started working on the first two conversions. I can't do a third yet, because I need to get a third Techmarine model. Unfortunately, if I want a different techmarine base model from the two I already have, I either have to spend over $40 for one that comes with a bunch of servitors that I don't need, or spend almost $50 to get the even nicer one (just because it looks more different from the two I already have) that comes with a Thunderfire Cannon that I don't need. So I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: Epilogue

I played a game of Warhammer 40,000 recently up at the Battle Bunker in Downer's Grove, Illinois. They have tons of space there, and a lot of really great tables to play on that are definitely an interesting change of pace from the tables and terrain I am used to playing on.

The game was a Planetstrike, with 1500 points of my Chaos Space Marines as the attacker, and 1500 points of Orks defending. We played on a great looking table of an Ork camp with lots of destroyed vehicles and debris all over the table, and several ramshackle Ork buildings. It was my second game of Planetstrike, and my opponent's first. He placed one Bastion on the table to represent an overrun former Imperial defensive position that the Orks captured and built their camp around. This we didn't make an objective. Instead, we selected three of the Ork buildings to act as objectives. We assigned them an armor value of 12, because they didn't look very sturdy. The buildings already had some defensive weapons built into them, and we added a few others. We played the first mission in the Planetstrike book.

Because it was my Chaos Space Marine army facing Orks, I decided I should tie the story into the Attraignnor IV campaign storyline. It takes place right after the conclusion of the campaign. The Orks that had infested Attraignnor IV had been driven from the capitol city, at great cost, by the planetary defense forces shortly before the beginning of the campaign. The remnants of the Ork force congregated outside the city walls and were mostly ignored while the civil war raged in the capitol city. During this time, the Orks mostly squabbled amongst themselves, but eventually one of them managed to gain dominance over the bickering groups and become Warboss of the remaining Orks.

The new Warboss created an Ork base camp outside the capitol city constructed of the leftover junk from the war and began preparing his forces to attack the human defenders once again. With its defense forces so completely depleted by the original war with the Orks, followed by the brutal civil war in the streets of the capitol, defending the city from a renewed Ork attack might prove difficult for the exhausted planetary defense force. So just before leaving the planet, the Crusaders chapter of Chaos Space marines decided to help the world out once more by decapitating the Ork threat. They located the base camp where the Warboss was located, and sent in an elite force to eliminate it.

The spear tip was led by Lord Agramon himself, barely recovered from his previous wounds during the campaign for the capitol city. He would drop into the middle of the camp with two units of 6 Terminators, a unit of 7 Raptors, and a unit of three obliterators. Unfortunately, during the campaign several members of the chapter succumbed to the warping, corrupting influence of chaos and became mutated possessed marines. These would drop in with the initial force as well, in hopes that they would redeem their disgrace by dying gloriously. To support the attack, two units of Khorne Berzerkers mounted in Rhinos would approach the camp at full speed along a road leading from the city, and plow headlong into the fight. It was hoped that they would arrive just as the rest of the force teleported down into the center of the camp. The timing was slightly off, however. One unit arrived slightly late, and the other was delayed by mechanical trouble and never arrived at all!

There was actually only one unit of Berzerkers in the army list, but I took the strategem that allows you to select a unit of troops, and once they are eliminated from the game, an identical unit shows up the next turn. I choose the Berzerkers, as they were my only troops, but since they never got wiped out, their replacements never arrived.

The Orks had a pretty elite force of their own, since the camp was mostly occupied by the Warboss's personal bodyguards. He had with him three units of nobs, all of them drugged up so they could shrug off all but the most severe wounds. There were also two large units of boyz defending the camp and some grot artillery as well as a weirdboy, who was probably the warboss's spiritual advisor/seer. They also had a dreadnaught and a battle tank next to one of the buildings. The Orks were not expecting an attack, and were mostly in or on top of the ramshackle buildings. The artillery was on the roof of the highest building to provide fire support in case of an attack, though they were mostly concerned with an attack from other Orks trying to usurp the new warboss.

Just before dawn, the chaos fleet fired a single barrage at the Ork camp. One of the buildings was destroyed by the barrage, which also killed several Orks and stunned the Dreadnaught. In the resulting confusion immediately following the barrage, the spear tip force teleported into the midst of the camp, taking the Orks completely by surprise. Considering the darkness, the teleportation was fairly accurate. However, one unit of Terminators which was attempting to land close enough to capture the tallest building, went a little off course. Too far away from the destroyed building to assault its inhabitants, they fired on the nearest unit of Ork boyz outside a second building. But their exposed position left them vulnerable to a charge from the Warboss and his retinue. The fighting was fierce, but the ferocity of the Orks with their power klaws who were nearly impervious to harm overwhelmed the Terminators.

A second unit of Terminators and Lord Agramon landed near another building. As he swooped down on his daemonic wings, Lord Agramon was targeted by the automated quad-interceptor autocannons. The uncannily accurate defensive fire from these batteries managed to inflict two serious wounds on the commander before the battle even began. He landed on the battlefield in a fury, looking for revenge.

The terminators fired on the same unit of boyz the other unit had fired on, since they were the most immediate threat. They killed several, mostly with their heavy flamer, but many remained. The terminators charged the survivors, killing many and losing two of their own, but the Orks were still numerous enough to stay and fight. After another round of brutal melee another Terminator had fallen, but most of the remaining Orks were killed. The few survivors fled the battle.

Upon landing, Agramon immediately charged at the middle building, wanting to get at the Orks inside. With all of his might he kicked down the large steel front door. The door went flying through the inside of the building, taking out several structural supports, before blasting out the back wall, destroying a bank of automated lasguns. The damage caused the building to collapse, pinning the unit of Nobz inside it.

The Obliterators landed on a hill in the far corner of the battlefield near the third to give them the best line of sight. They opened fire on the building in front of them, which had a large unit of Ork boyz on the roof. The building also contained the Ork ammunition stores, which the multi-melta shots hit, causing the building to explode in spectacular fashion. Many of the Orks on the room were killed in the blast, and the rest slowly pulled their way out of the rubble to fire off a few ineffective shots back at the Obliterators.

The raptors landed right on target behind the tank and the dreadnaught, who were next to the third building. The dreadnaught had been stunned by the orbital bombardment, and was therefore no immediate threat. So the raptors targeted the tank with their melta gun and a plasma pistol, and managed to blow up the main cannon. They followed up by charging at the rear of the tank, pelting it with krak grenades while the champion placed a melta bomb on the tracks. The shower of grenades took out the twin-linked big shootas, and the meltabomb blew off the tracks immobilizing the weaponless tank. The crew hunkered inside the now harmless vehicle.

The long range artillery and defensive weapons the Orks had were largely ineffective the entire battle. Due to the darkness, the Orks and their automated weapons had difficulty picking out the black armored Chaos Marines.

The disgraced Possessed Marines made their way out of the pile of rubble they had dropped into, and suicidally charged towards the Warboss and his retinue, hoping to redeem themselves in death. They only managed to kill one nob and wounding the Warboss before being slaughtered by the fury of the massive Orks, their daemonic protection completely failing them as they were smashed apart by flailing power klaws. The Warboss's unit had now massacred his way through two units without slowing down, though the casualties to his retinue were beginning to mount.

The three remaining Terminators near the second building advanced on the pinned nobz in the building's wreckage. The fired on them, their heavy flamer particularly effective, but the drugged up nobz shrugged off the worst of it. The Terminators then charged in to finish them off. One more of the Terminators was cut down, but the rest killed most of the nobz, with the single survivor retreating from the battle. Just as the two final Terminators were regrouping from the combat, the Warboss charged them. Both the Warboss and the Terminators were exhausted from fighting their way through two enemy units as they readed to do battle again. Power fists and power klaw struck home, and the result was both terminators and the Warboss being taken out of the fight with grievous wounds. Several nobz and the painboy remained, demoralized at the loss of their leader.

After knocking down the building, Lord Agramon turned his attention to the recovering dreadnaught. He furiously pummeled the walking tin can with his gauntleted fists, but could manage no more than to shake and stun the vehicle, which hardly affected its ability to fight back. He Ork pilot inside held his ground, eventually smashing Lord Agramon to the ground with the dreadnaught's massive fist.

Thinking Lord Agramon would take care of the Dreadnaught, the Raptors flew over to the wreckage of the third building. They fired flamer and bolt pistols at the Ork boyz tangled up in the wreckage, and followed up by assaulting the survivors. The ferocious onslaught was too much, and the Orks were completely wiped out. At the same time, the first unit of Khorne Berzerkers arrived on the battlefield, tearing down the road that ran down the length of the battlefield at full speed, towards the middle building which now contained the remnants of the Warboss's retinue.

After more ineffective defensive fire from the Ork automated weapons, dawn finally began to show itself. They Raptors saw Lord Agramon lying unconscious before the Dreadnaught and came immediately to his aid. Their meltagunner fired at the machine at point blank range, and it exploded in a magnificent fireball, which luckily didn't injure any of the Raptors.

The Berzerkers continued at full speed towards the middle Ork building, while in the growing daylight the obliterators poured fire into the remaining Nobz inside it. Two more were killed, and without their Warboss to lead them, the rest lost their will to fight and retreated.

The three Obliterators moved up to capture the third building, and the Berzerkers disembarked from their rhino to capture the middle building. The Raptors moved at full speed towards the remains of the tallest building, which had been destroyed by the initial bombardment. It was now only guarded by a handful of grots, with the weirdboy and one nob remaining outside the building. But they saw that the battle was lost, and retreated as well.

With the Warboss dead and the camp captured, the Orks surrounding it scattered to the winds to once again fight amongst themselves until a new boss could emerge to unite them by conquest. The Crusaders marines turned the area over to the people of Attraignnor IV, who would station all of the planetary defense forces they could spare in the ruined areas outside the capitol city walls to try and fend off any future attack from the remaining Orks. But Orks can be rather hard to get rid of, and the people of Attraignnor IV had not yet seen the last of the invaders.

Monday, October 5, 2009

3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment

I finished painting my fifth unit of Civil War Confederate Infantry. They are vaguely meant to represent the 3rd Arkansas, which completes my Hood's Texas Brigade. The 3rd Arkansas were added to the brigade long after Hood had been promoted away, and they were never in at the same time as the 18th Georgia, but I intend to use them all in the brigade anyway. That will make the brigade have the same number of regiments as my Union Irish Brigade, so it'll keep the forces even.

In the future when I have larger forces to draw from, I can always remove this unit from the Texas Brigade as appropriate and use it as some other infantry regiment, as there is nothing about them that specifically identifies them in any way as the 3rd Arkansas. I did give the colonel a light colored beard, so I have no idea if he even looks like the commander of any particular regiment. That was just a stylistic choice to make him different than the other ones I had painted.