Thursday, 3 December 2009

Itkovian's Pre-Heresy Modelling Guide

At first glance collecting a Pre-Heresy force can seem like a daunting task. Not only is there an abundance of wargear and weaponry not normally found within the 40k universe (or if it is, it looks different!), but it can be quite difficult to ascertain where to obtain materials for conversions and how to attempt them.

Fortunately, for anyone attempting a Pre-Heresy force yet with questions about this aspect of the hobby, Iktovian over at Not Yet D
one has created an excellent Pre-Heresy Guide. Not only are their descriptions of the various armour types, but there are also details on how to obtain conversion materials and a comprehensive set of links to various methods of creating them.

I really can't recommend this highly enough, and while at some point I might well add a World Eaters specific addendum to his guide, I strongly suggest a trip over to his Blog for a look see!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Land Raider Transport & Conversion

Though much of the surface of Konos III was characterised by wide and open expanses of featureless desert, the military strongpoints of the defenders often featured bunker networks and tunnel systems which rebel forces used to facilitate their covert assaults. These attacks proved to be effective against the invading forces, with supply lines being damaged or destroyed before a response could be brought to bare.

The Land Raider was in common use during the compliance actions of the 12th Legion, its thick armour all but impervious to the conventional weapons of the resistance forces. This particular vehicle has been modified by the fleet tech-adepts, with its lascannons (whose attributes were poorly suited to combating the light-infantry and skirmishing attacks of the defenders) replaced with heavy flame units which were ideal for flushing out areas thought to conceal tunnel networks or rebels. It is also features a marine utilising a pintle-mounted twin-linked bolter, a common defense against ambushes while the vehicle is travelling through built up areas.

I originally bought this Land Raider for use in the AoTE II campaign, although I was severely rushed in painting the miniature - I think it was done in something like 3 hours! However, due to its exemplary performance in that campaign, as well as it being a centre-point for my forces, I thought it might be due some more attention.

I made a small number of changes to the standard 'Redeemer' kit: The assault cannons were removed and replaced with dual-autocannons (counting as a Quad Cannon as part of the AoTE rules pack), I removed the majority of Imperial iconography, and made some small alterations to the pintle-mounted bolter, so it looked less like a stormbolter (which were not generally available during this period).

Even though technically the Redeemer is a post-heresy invention, there is much evidence in the background material that vehicles and weaponry technology was being constantly updated and developed during the Great Crusade - if there were the need for a particular form of weapon, or jury-rigged vehicle for a particular situation, then the techmarines and adepts would have far less hesistation about performing such alterations. In fact, I can imagine that such initiative would be almost encouraged (otherwise, how would 7 different marks of armour, and numerous exotic weapons have been created throughout a 200 year period?). This draws attention to one of the main differences between the 30k and 40k universes: The difference in terms of the culture surrounding technology and its development.

There is also a small addition to the rear of the tank - I figured that it would be impractical for the Marines to carry around the heads they had collected during assaults and advances, and they probably wouldn't want to leave them behind, so a net on the rear of the tank would be ideal...

The 'head pile' is comprised of a variety of spare heads from my bits box, from WFB zombies and empire soldiers, to an RT-era Imperial guardsman helmet I found. The net itself is just a hair net, superglued in place.

Rather than just paint the tank in blue as my other tanks are (which has no justification, other than my cowardice concerning the painting of large areas of white!) I thought a tank this size would benefit from having a bit more of a colour scheme.

As far as gaming is concerned, at the moment this vehicle has difficulty fitting in. The BA codex was released prior to the LR Redeemer being released, and so doesn't have this weapon option for the vehicle. Still, I have found most opponents I have played have had little problem with it being used as such, and if I do play someone unwilling it stands ready to be a 'counts as' standard Raider.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Veteran Unit 'Linebreakers'

Back before I began work on this army there was a section of the original Rogue Trader rulebook, concerning the Astartes, which really caught my eye, and made me want to create a unit which represented the idea. Here is the extract:

"Space marine assault squads are equipped with hand-to-hand combat weapons such as chainswords, power swords and bolt pistols. Entry into buildings, or through the reinforced hulls of space craft, is gained using a las-cutter or phase-field generator. As the first wave of attackers goes through, casualites are always very high. The first troopers into the breach are almost inevitably shot dead instantly. Inclusion in an assault squad is a great honour. There is never any shortage of volunteers for suicide missions such as this."

To me, the idea of rushing through a breach in a wall, despite the risk of almost certainly being blown to bits, seems to fit the character of the World Eaters perfectly! I've given this squad the equivalent of 30k riot-shields, and armed one of them with a las-cutter proxy in the form of a kind of acetyline melta-cutter.

You can imagine the guy with the torch melting a hole in the wall, while the rest of the squad with shields wait bunched up behind him, ready to rush through.

As with my other units, I have helped designate a Veteran unit by using a mix of armour types (seen here are mk3 and mk4, although there are also mk5 and mk6 in the squad). I've also tried to model a fair amount of battle damage onto their armour.

The shields are WFB ogre gut-plates - as much as I would love to lay claim to this idea, it was actually that of 'Lonewolf', who frequents some forums such as Greatcrusade and B&C.

A close-up of the marine with the Acetyline torch. Its essentially a broken up Imperial Guard flamer, with a little tubing attached.

In game, the unit counts as Veterans, with the torch acting as a melta-gun equivalent.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Gedren Battle Report: The Final Battle

Somehow he still lived. Somehow, despite the death of thousands of his progeny, utterly annihilated by the forces of atmospheric re-entry and impact, Malibron clung to life. What forces had his father dabbled with, what lost secrets and knowledge had been re-learned, to create beings of such majesty? Though one of the twenty sons of the Emporer himself, Corax marvalled at his brothers tenacity, the divine nature of his being.

But now, another stark realisation of the conflict they pursued: The Heart of Balethimor had not merely been laid low by just any Gedrenite ship. No, the vessel belonged to a long lost offshoot of the Martian Mechanicum, brothers of those whom the Emporer had allied the Great Crusade alongside. Brothers who through confusion and misunderstanding had fought in favour of the Fief Lords of Gedren and their long standing allies.

Malibron could not be consoled. He wept tears of rage, anger at his lost progeny, the grievous wound to his Legion that they might never recover from. Ignoring the sympathy and messages of support of his brothers, he immediately made his way to one of his ships and the remains of his fleet; Their destination, the Mechanicum world of Gedren VI. As the ships entered orbit the Imperial Fleet looked on in disbelief, unable to act as the 11th Legion unleashed its wrath upon the surrendered and unsuspecting populace. Its payload, the most dreaded of the Imperiums weaponry; The Exterminatus.

Just as this was occurring, and the biological matter of Gedren VI was utterly annihilated by the virus sweeping accross its surface, Corax was made aware of yet another dismaying discovery: The cloning technology of Gedren, captured by the now deceased Captain Eli of the Blood Angels, was missing - its guards slain, the gruesome effects of bolter and chainsword marking their corpses.

It was obvious what his brother Malibron planned. Though spurned on by Leman Russ to take more aggressive action, Corax considered his next orders carefully - Malibron and his legion were to be apprehended, cast in chains, and returned to Terra to face the judgement of his father. But, as he made ready to call the remaining Astartes back to the fleet from their final operations within the system, yet another disaster struck. Suddenly and without warning all of the communications systems and channels flooded with static - tactical displays revealed them surrounded by hostile vessels, only for them to dissapear. Collision warning klaxons and enemy troop boardings sounded, only to be silenced before beginning once more. Corax immediately ordered systems shut down, and the bridge of his Capital ship was plunged into half-light. Outside his view port, the other ships of the fleet made emergency manouvers and counter-measures to combat a threat which did not exist. After a moment Lance weapons flaired as they opened fire, and explosions blossomed in silence as the atmosphere of ships within the fleet was exposed to the void....


Sevruk looked to Sergeant Warule, a look of disbelief adorned his face, as much as such a thing was possible with his his horribly scarred and pitted features. The enemy firebase in the sector had finally been destroyed, the few remaining defenders having little stomach for a fight, and many defenders had simply lain down their arms. But now the neighbouring region, one which had been placed under the auspices of the Space Wolves and previously marked as secure, showed multiple enemy units moving to engage. Surely the enemy lacked the resources to form such an aggressive counter attack?

The War Hound Captain grinned to himself and thumbed the safety of his chainaxe, its motor choking slightly on the blood and detritus which covered its surface. Barking a quick order into his comm system, he turned to his brother marines and ordered them to make ready: If his brother Legion had failed, then his own would succeed in their stead...


Wolf Lord Mjolnir muttered to himself as he surveyed the surface from his assault vessel. Though the attack on the system had been successful, many of his brothers had perished, their efforts in preventing heavy armour units from reaching Gedren Prime paid for in blood. And now, the final operations upon Gedren Prime had been utterly uneventful - pockets of resistance with no stomach for the fight, and little opportunity for his Legion to regain some of its lost honour.

Such thoughts were immediately pushed from his head as the comm systems filled with static and proximity alarms blared. Wincing as his heightened senses absorbed the full effect of the screeching and hissing blaring through his communications node, Mjolnir threw the device onto the floor. The display grid revealed the ajacent sector compromised, the previous location of the War Hound task force now clogged with enemy combatants. The grizzled Space Wolf grinned to himself despite what such an occurance represented. Perhaps the humans here had some teeth after all?

Shouting to his comrades to order the assault, and convey the order to the units on the surface, he immediately headed for the vessels drop ships.
As Mjolnir stormed from the room, the dial on the discarded communications node blinked red: its priority message from fleet command going unheeded....

What was meant to be a final assault on the beleagued defenders of Gedren was suddenly turned on its head! Originally intended to be a 3000pt doubles game, with myself partnering Dave (Wolf Lord Mjolnir from thegreatcrusade) was now a fight of World Eaters (well, War Hounds) against Space Wolves - and notably, the first Marine vs. Marine action of the Great Crusade!

The game was played using the Night Fighting rules for the first turn, and with 3 objectives to be contested. Essentially the troops of both sides have been ordered in to attack - as far as their scanners and readouts are concerned, the enemy ahead are Gedrenites, and by the time they charge out of the darkness, and the drop pods come down, its too late! The conflict has joined!

The Game
Dave had some pretty fiercesome firepower in his army which would make a mockery of power armour, including two Vindicators and a Land Raider. Despite the darkness of the first turn, most of my army set up in cover (not very World Eater-ey but needs must!)

The first turn was marked by a dreaded Lucius Drop Pod arriving right behind my Razorback. The armoured walker stomped out, its power fist making short work of the vehicles rear armour.

However this victory was short lived, A War Hound Dreadnought coming on from reserve behind it and smashing it to bits. Meanwhile on the right flank, two other drop pods arrived, Grey Hunter marines spilling out onto the objective.

The firepower as they arrived was impressive, almost completely wiping out the Veteran squad, only the marine with the melta gun surviving.

He then leapt into the squad transports rhino, and raced forward - firing out the side of the vehicle he hit the landraider and destroyed it! The Terminator-armoured Wolf Guard squad climbed out of the wreckage, Wolf Lord Mjolnir wounded by the attack. The Space Wolf Vindicators opened fire, hammering the marines hidden amongst the foliage, although the cover protected them (I made some extremely lucky cover saves at this point!)

The Commander with his honour guard jetted forward and grabbed one of the objectives, a broken down and abandoned Space Wolf Fellblade.

Turns 3 & 4
With a howl of chainaxes and roar of turbo-fans Sevruk and his 'assault unit'* attacked the Grey Hunters on the nearest objective. Although the Space Wolves rallied and counter-charged into combat, the fighting was short and bloody and the War Hounds butchered their opponents to a man.
*(Berserkers in the rules, although they should not exist at this point in time so they are just a particularly hard assault unit!)

Meanwhile their was a loud pop as the air around the Vindicators displaced, and the War Hound terminators teleported onto the field. There was a slight error in the process however, and they appeared in a circular formation directly infront of the Space Wolf tanks.. I was punished at this point for forgetting to run them and try and spread the unit out - once both Vindicator cannons had fired, only a single terminator still stood. However, this was short lived as the bolter on top of the vehicle managed to kill him!

The lo
ne War Hound with the melta gun in the rhino continued his 'drive by' and raced up to the Vindicators, wanting to avenge the terminators - his shot managed to temporarily stun the vehicle.

Turns 5 & 6
Sevruk and his assault unit jetted forwards and took on the other Grey Hunter unit, although this time their number was reduced by the previous turns fire by the Wolf Guard. Still, the War Hound unit slew the Space Wolves, but no sooner had they done so then the bulky forms of the Wolf Guard charged into combat with them! The fight was bloody indeed, by the end of the game only Wolf Lord Mjolnir still lived, locked in a bloody struggle with Sevruk and a single War Hound marine (both of the characters on a single wound!)

The Space Wolf assault was by this time spent - the War Hound units who had spent the game sheltering from demolisher shells finally raced forward to seize the objectives, the Commander and his honour guard flying out from some trees (one of them died!) to destroy a Vindicator. The game was over, with victory falling to the War Hounds!

Thoughts on the Game
First of all I have to say how great it was to play against Dave's army, the amount of effort he has put into even the standard troops choices is astounding, and I'm not suprised at all that it won the 'Best Army' award at AoTE 2, as well as being chosen to sit in the display case at Warhammer World!

The game was really a lot closer than it looked, and came down to several very fortunate dice rolls on my part - the cover saves of my units protecting them from Demolisher shells from the Vindicators, my 'drive by' marine melting the Land Raider, and then my 'Berserkers' surviving for far longer than they had any right to and hacking their way through half of Dave's army while the rest of my force poked their heads out from the woods. Overall though, a thoroughly enjoyable game and a great way to finish the weekend!


Warule slumped to the ground, clutching the loop of his innards in one hand, his armour shattered and slicked red with blood. That last Space Wolf had cut horizontally with his blade even as he had fallen, his chainblade ripping through his already weakened armour. Power had failed in his suit and he ripped his helm from his head, throwing it to the floor and surveying the remains of battle around him. How had it come to this?

Grimmacing he looked up to see Sevruk, embroiled in ferocious melee with what must surely have been the Commander of the Space Wolf force. Both of their weapons lay on the floor, and their armour was red with spilled blood, but that seemed to matter little as they swung puches and attempted to grapple each other to the floor..

As Warule watched on, the communications node in his ear finally burst into life, the sceeching static replaced by the anxious voice of fleet command.. "... to cease all hostilities immediately.. I repeat, all combatants in sectors twelve and fourteen to cease hostilities.. " Wincing with pain, he reached for a discarded boltgun which lay on the floor in front of him.


Mjolnir swung a ferocious uppercut into the face of the reeling War Hound, and grunted as his fist connected, sending the War Hound officer opposite him flying backwards with a sickening crunch. Satisfied that his blow had been sufficient to lay his opponent low, he searched around for his power blade, and upon locating the weapon strode over to the prone form of his fallen foe.

Why had the 12th Legion attacked them? It mattered little.. this one would die along with his fellows for the deaths of his comrades and the slight on his Legions honour. He raised his blade, just as the War Hound beneath him began to regain conciousness.

"Stop!" A vox-enhanced voice boomed from alongside him, and Mjolnir turned to see a heavily wounded War Hound pointing a bolter in his direction. His blade hovered above the prone form of the officer and was ready to commit the killing blow. "We are... we are to cease hostilities.. by order of Corax and your Primarch.." The War Hound gasped, and the bolter in his hand wavered.. "but I swear, move another inch and I will end your life.."

Mjolnir paused for a moment.. was this some form of trickery? He snarled, lips drawn back to reveal sizeable fangs beneath, ready to swing his weapon. But then, why had the trooper not simply shot him? The Wolf Lord looked down at the wounded body of the Marine beneath him, who now lay staring at Mjolnir through his single, artificial eye. His horrifically scarred visage betrayed no emotion.

After a pause the Space Wolf reached down and offered his hand to the Marine, just as other white and blue-clad Astartes began to approach them, their bolt guns raised. The War Hound ignored the proferred hand, gingerly pulling himself to his feet.

A Stormbird of the Raven Guard approached above as the two marines faced each other at eye-level, the roar of its engines drowning out any comment either could make. For a moment they both simply stood, staring at one another, calm despite the turbulence caused by the nearby aircraft. Mjolnir saw his own reflection in the gemmed eyepiece of the marine, tinted red yet still revealing the extent of his own wounds.

The Wolf Lord looked about him.. the slain forms of his Wolf Guard, his Land Raider surely damaged beyond repair, and all about him the remains of the War Hound assault squad which he had slain. Mjolnir's shoulders slumped visibly, and he looked to the floor as the reality of what they had wrought here began to dawn upon him..


Sadly, no conclusion was ever written for this campaign, although the following was read out by Laurie as a narrative:

Malibron, the Primarch of the 11th Legion, was sent to the Emperor in chains. There, he would face his father who would dispense his judgement as he saw fit, for his son had committed an atrocity of the highest degree.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Legions stationed at Gedren Prime received orders to transit to another system where a gathering of Legions, more vast than had ever been known before, were to come together at the Ullanor system.

The cloning facilities of the Gedrenites were brought aboard the Flagship of Corax's fleet, who would oversee the destruction of such a dangerous technology personally....

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Battle Report: Assault on Gedren Prime

For several weeks now the compliance of the Gedren System had been underway. A logistical nightmare of hundreds of thousands of Imperial soldiers, their munitions, not to mention the actions of the Legions themselves, had been taken in his stride by Corax. The forces of the Blood Angels, under Captain Eli, had successfully neutralised the cloning facilities of Gedren II. Space Wolves under the command of Wolf Lord Mjolnir had intercepted an armoured convoy travelling to reinforce the capital, and the War Hounds of Captain Sevruk had captured the fearsome artillery on Gedren IV.

However, not all t
he battles fought had been resolved in favour of the Imperium. Members of the 11th legion under Malibron had failed to capture the communications centres of Gedren V, and the Primarch now resolved to regain the honour by directing his forces towards Gedren Prime from his capital ship.

Now the Imperium's invasion entered its final and most vital phase; The
compliance of the capital, Gedren Prime. Although the defenders had been subjected to massive assault over the previous weeks, the stronghold there remained heavily defended. Corax, with advice from his Brother Primarchs, ordered the assault to begin. A spearhead of veterans from each legion would launch from orbit and attempt to hold key points of the Gedren defense line in the capital. Once that was achieved, it would allow the massed units of Imperial Army and other Legion reserves to deploy on the planet. If they could succeed, victory would be assured.

The Game
This was a massive, apocalypse, planetstike game! The forces of the defenders, controlled by Laurie, Steve and Will (Shroudfilm, H-Gate and Titus Pullo of TGC forum) would face a multitude of Imperial invaders, who each had a 500pt force. This included the War Hounds, White Scars, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines and of course the 11th Legion! All in all there was something around 4000pts of Gedrenite units on the board, with more coming in as reserve.

The results of the previous games would have an impact on this one: We would have increased artillery support from my own previous game, The Gedrenites would not have clone reinforcement thanks to Lucius's Blood Angels, and a Shadowsword would not be present on the table thank to WL Mjolnir's Space Wolves. However, the defenders still had their communications node intact, allowing orders to be directed to any unit on the board, and outside of their usual range.

Before any of the attacking units and planetstrike began, the tabletop looked something like this - Please click for a larger picture (but ignore the White Scars!)

Victory in the game would be decided by the capture of four key points, denoted by the Bastions on each end of the board, and two parts of the fortress wall which had quad cannon fixtures on them.

Before the game began, there was a firestorm although this was largely ineffectual, destroying a couple of basilisks and no doubt making the defenders pull their helmets down over their heads! The basilisks had been identified as a key target in the initial assault, as their massive 240" range and indirect fire could prove troublesome!

As the game began, a set of extremely poor reserve rolls by all commanders present meant that the Imperial units landed piecemeal. This was down in part to the presence of a commander of the fleet on the table and the continued action of the Gedrenite fleet against the Imperial invaders.

On the Eastern flank the Wolf Guard landed enitrely unsupported, and the entirety of the Gedrenite force there under the command of Steve turned their guns on the attackers.....

White Scar jetbikes raced into the city, deftly avoiding anti-aircraft fire, although once again they were left rather exposed and in the sights of many of the defenders manning the ramparts..

The situation on the Western flank was looking far better for the Imperials - drop pods of both the White Scars and the Blood Angels arrived, the
marines inside racing out of the pods firing while once again the defenders manning the fortress walls unleashed everything they had at them. One of the Fief Lords, Nils Macon, directed his forces from within his chimera (seen at the bottom of the photo)

The defenders turn saw an absolute torrent of firepower fall onto the smattering of Astartes scattering throughout the battlefield. The Wolf Guard on the Eastern flank were killed to a man, battlecannon shells, lascannon shots and finally ranked lasgun fire mowing them down. The White Scars and Blood Angels lead by Eli on the Western flank fared little better - barely a handful survived. Only a War Hound assault squad, which had landed off target and right in the corner of the board (seemingly forgotten about by the defenders!) survived and carefully scouted around a building, keen to keep themselves out of sight of the enemy.

The unit then jumped forward and landed behind a Gedrenite artillery piece, the Sergeant's power fist punching through the thin rear armour of the tank. Unfortunately they must have hit an ammo store, and the vehicle exploded taking several of the squad with it!

The second and third turns saw a lot more Imperial units arrive. The War Hound terminators and Blood Angel assault unit arrived on the left flank in support of the handful of Blood Angels and Captain Eli who somehow still survived, although he was grievously wounded. Many of the White Scar bike and attack bike units also arrived, their anti-tank weaponry and melta-bombs proving to be the bane of many of the Gedrenite reinforcements.

The attack on Gedren Prime was supported by none other than the Khan himself! Jag'hati was teleported down onto the field of battle, and set to destroying some of the defending armour.

The War Hound terminators were taking torrential fire from the defenders in the Western-most bastion, as well as several heavy weapons teams and a basilisk. Nevertheless they began the grim task of knocking down the fortification, although it took some time to get through its armour. The Blood Angel assault marines (who had lost several of their number to a basilisk shell) jumped in to assault the heavy weapons teams. They had killed around half of them when Captain Eli noticed Fief Lord Nils Macon had left his Chimera and was directing nearby troops. Despite being completely unsupported, and badly wounded, he charged into the commander and his unit! Managing to hack his way through the commanders bodyguard he reached Macon himself, but it was all in vain and the scheming tyrant killed him, skewering him through both his hearts! (Somewhat amusingly Titus Pollo wrote this in the battle report, and power-emoted the captains death!)

In the photo below, eventually the Terminators would get to the infantry squad within, and supported by the remains of Blood Angel and War Hound units there would extol a bloody revenge on the infantry platoon within..

The battle hung on a knife edge, but up above in orbit an event occurred which would swing things in favour of the assault. The titanic ship battles which were taking place above the battle for Gedren Prime had resulted in the destruction of a Capital ship. A massive component of the ships hull landed miles away from the warzone, the megaton explosion which resulted knocking many of the battlefield combatants to their feet. Furthermore, bits of wreckage landed amongst the battlefield, destroying portions of the wall and entire units! The battlefield was beginning to look somewhat less pristine than it had done previously...

The Eastern flank was still looking very tenuous for the Imperials. Although further Imperial Fist and 11th Legions drop pods had arrived, Sevruk and his blood crazed assault unit jetted down from orbit to assist this flank. They charged straight into combat amongst the ogryns lead by a Psyker, and massacred them all, the Psyker's refractor field no defense against the frenzied swinging of chain axes (it was the case of a fistful of dice all needing to land 5+!) But as the blood-letting finished, the disciplined fire of the defenders ripped into the War Hounds, slaying all but one of them and Captain Sevruk (looking at the photo below, the one survivor obviously tripped over the remains of a Wofl Guard which saved him!) You can also see members of the 11th Legion who have successfully destroyed a Leman Russ.

Realising that their deaths would be certain amongst the large number of defenders on that flank, the surviving assault trooper and Sevruk gunned their jetpacks and leapt up onto the barricades. There they made short work of the lascannon teams who had killed several of their number last turn.

By this point in the battle, the number of troops on the table had been drastically reduced. Here, the remaining units of Gedrenites muster behind the walls in an attempt to push the War Hounds and lone Space Wolf from the objectives.

The two surviving War Hounds then jetted over to the quad cannon and used it to destroy the weapon of a nearby Chimera. This was one of the most cinematic moments in the game - you can imagine how the fight against the Ogryns must have looked, the survivers emerging dazed from the melee and then getting mown down by the defenders guns. Undaunted they rocketed off with their jetpacks (no doubt smashing through the walls!) and flung some defenders from the battlements, then sprinted onto the next tower and used the quad gun to blow the turret from a nearby Chimera! These marines definately deserved a commendation :)

Gradually the battlefield became silent.. on the Western flank, only a single terminator and assault trooper remained, although they had finally managed to take their objective.

There were still some defenders holding the fort in the centre, but all but one of the strongpoints was now in the hands of the invading Imperials..

So, the battle was over! I have to say this was the most fun (and longest) I have ever had with a game of planetstrike. Laurie and Will acted as great GMs, giving the Imperials a bit of extra support at the beginning when it looked like they would be thrashed, and the game was very close and hard fought! All in all it was a real battle of attrition, by the end of the game there were just a few isolated pockets of fighters still slugging it out, and the battlefield was a mess :)

Although Gedren Prime had fallen, the conflict was far from over and events would conspire which would ensure yet more blood would be spilt on these worlds...


Corax looked on in shocked disbelief as the Heart of Balethimor split in two. The titanic battle had raged in space above Gedren Prime even as the Imperial troops fought for control of the capital, blasted wreckage of ships on both sides left slowly tumbling as they vented their atmospheres to the void. But even as the Imperial Fleet had prevailed, the tactical prowess of Corax proving too much for the defending vessels, the last Gedrenite ship had used it last vestiges of power to ram the capital ship of the 11th Legion.

Now the bridge of the Raven Guard's battle barge looked on in stunned silence as the ship burnt up in the atmosphere, secondary explosions wripping it to pieces as gravity finished what the final suicidal act of the Gedrenites had begun. Several thousand Astartes of the 11th Legion had been stationed on that ship. Not only those marines, but the progenitor of that Legion - Malibron.

Even as Jag'hait Khan contacted his brother Primarch to let him know that the capital had been successfully captured, Corax was ordering rescue crews into position. But the inscrutable, raven-haired Primarch spoke in grim and measured tones as he gave this order, his stony visage revealing nothing of the storm which raged within. Surely, nothing, not even a Primarch, could have survived that scale of destruction?

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Battle Report: Gedren Campaign

This is a battle report from the Gedren Prime Pre-Heresy event from last weekend. Information concerning the event itself can be found here, and a full background and event blog on the Great Crusade forum.

Amongst the armies of the Fief Lords of Gedren IV, most feared was the artillery compliment of the tyrant Nils Macon. Primarch of the Raven Guard Corax understood that for any foothold to be successful upon the planet the defensive gun emplacements would need to be destroyed. Although a bombardment from orbit would annihilate the entire area and any leave no trace of the guns, ever the pragmatist Corax knew that the potent military might of Gedren IV's artillery compliment might be of more use in the coming weeks of the campaign. Alpha Legion operatives under the command of the enigmatically named Commander 'H' located the guns. Knowing that the strike would need to be decisive, Corax requested Captain Sevruk of the War Hounds to lead a small contingent of troops at nightfall to capture the artillery. The young marine nodded without emotion as Corax informed him to expect casualties of 80% or more even if the mission were successful, and saluted before going to select volunteers for the assault mission...

The Game
As part of the Gedren Prime Campaign, this ope
ning battle featured the following special rules:
- Night Assault: The entire game would be played using the nightfighting special rules. Furthermore, we had almost complete darkness in the room, with only a few red-coloured spot bulbs! I felt my white and blue miniatures were at a distinct disadvantage ;)
- Dangerous Environment: The surface of Ge
dren IV featured a high percentage of the extremely volatile substance Pyrox. Any terrain feature hit by fire would result in a potentially lethal explosion!
- Clone Defenders: The artillery was based in the heart of a vast military complex, and some of Nils Macon's most experienced clone units defended it. Any defending unit destroyed would instantly come back on as a reserve the next turn, with no need for a reserve roll!
-The Objective: The artillery crews
had withdrawn behind their lines as defensive units moved forward. Victory in the game would be determined by whoever controlled the emplacement.

Thoughts on the game
This was a game where both of our armies would have a massive advantage; My opponent, Will (Titus Pollo from TheGreatCrusade) had the ab
ility to bring destroyed units back every time. I was able to advance under cover of darkness and would no doubt arrive at nearly full strength, something that invariably doesn't happen in normal games. I didn't have a specific plan, other than to keep an eye on the objective. Alot of my losses have come down to the World Eater (or here, War Hound!) ethos going to my head and me just trying to 'kill stuff' and I have been left in a poor position to contest the game. I deployed second - Will seemed to have put an even mix of units on each flank. My plan was to use the veterans in the Razorback and Dreadnought to try and hold up his mechanised unit and giant block of infantry, this would then free up the assault units and tactical units to destroy the units on and around the left flank and then hopefully move onto the objective towards the end of the game.

Turn 1 & 2
I won the roll for the first turn and chose to go second. Will kept most of his units on the left flank stationary, while the mechanised moved forward cautiously. The War Hound units sped forward, confident that the darkness would hide their movements.

On the left flank the defenders mortar platoon took a pot shot towards the sound of approaching turbo-fans, but their shot hit the embankment directly in front of them, which promptly exploded and killed several of the Gedrenites defending it! The unstable landscape of Gedren IV had claimed its first victims! Other troops fired wildly into the darkness, although a keen-eyed lascannon gunner (Will rolled a triple 6!) drew a bead on the approaching rhino and immobilised it. The tactical combat squad within lept out and took cover behind it.

At this point it looked like the defenders would overwhelm my right flank, with 3 chimera variants, a large infantry platoon and some veterans all encircling my attack. The dreadnought and razorback sped off to face them, the veterans within grimly acknowledging that their attack was to act as a diversion from the main assault.

Turn 3 & 4
With the howl of chainweapons and turbo-fans t
he assault squads on the left flank arrived at their targets. Charging into combat with the command squad, heavy weapon units and a veteran squad the fighting was short and bloody, with all the defending units ripped to shreds in a matter of moments.

The combat on the right flank was far less d
ecisive. Although a chimera had been destroyed, killing several of the defending veterans within it, and the dreadnought had stunned another, the Gedrenites fire was punishing and the War Hound veteran squad was killed to a man! The dreadnought went some way to avenging their deaths by flipping the chimera over, and the banewolf, not wishing to share the fate of its fellow vehicle, sped off in the other direction.

The razorback and dreadnought desperately tried to stem the attack on the right flank, after the Veterans were wiped out.

Turns 4 & 5
It was now that the 'Clones' special rules came into their own. All of the units destroyed on the previous turn returned to the field, many choosing to come back to combat the assault units embroiled with the banewolf on the left flank. Out of cover and at short range they faired badly, and all of the assault marines were destroyed to a man although they did manage to take some of the reserves down with them! On the right flank the dreadnought destroyed another 2 veteran squads before finally succumbing to them as they returned for a 3rd

A tactical squad advances while the last remaining assault marines attempt to destroy the banewolf. Their sacrifice would be notable, pinning the dreaded marine-killer in place would be decisive to the game.

The tactical combat squad desperately attempted to charge the returning units massing on the left flank, but they too were mobbed by the new influx of clones. Now only a single combat squad (the one which had dismounted from the immobilised rhino) and the razorback remained active for the War Hounds. It was turn five, and realising the only chance for victory was with a last minute objective snatch (and then the game to end!) they ran forward and onto the guns. The razorback on the right flank desperately reversed, the driver trying to give the marines some cover. Fortunately the sacrifice by the assault units and tactical squad had just given their brother marines enough breathing space.

It was the end of turn 5, Will rolled a dice for the game end which it duly did! The marines had earned a victory by the skin of their teeth...

Game Summary
All in all this was a really enjoyable game, with the special rules making it a unique experience! The massive advantge of my troops advancing under cover of darkness (meaning they attacked in full strength) matched by the endless supplies of clone troopers who ultimately proved their undoing. It was awesome to be playing such a well made and painted army (Will had even painted up a 'Fief Lord' especially for this campaign), and the extra narrative added a real gravitas to the proceedings.

Had the game lasted another turn, the game would have certainly been a draw at the very least, with the banewolf and big guard unit making a defender victory quite probable.

As it was, the War Hounds had captured the guns despite appaling casualties. Captain Sevruk's battered and broken body was recovered from atop a pile of dead Gedrenites, somehow still clinging to life although his unit had been slain to a man, and the Big Guns of Nils Macon would add their weight of fire to the assault on the the capital city of Gedren Prime, which even now was being planned by Corax and his brother Primarchs....

Friday, 30 October 2009

Great Crusade Short Fiction contest

The Great Crusade forum is running another one of its Pre-Heresy themed competitions, this time for short fiction.

The story can be about anything providing that its vaguely pre-heresy or great crusade-era in nature. Here is a story I have written for it, concerning an issue which I think is central to the World Eaters as a legion:


That other Place

‘Drip..... Drip...... Drip.....’

Warule sat entranced by the steady stream of condensation as it fell from the roof and rolled down one wall, pooling near the feet of the crouching form of Sergeant Buseyt. Though the liquid was stained and clouded it reminded him of something else; of blood, of the way which the crimson fluid stuck to a surface until sufficient weight forced it through gravity to descend, forming in rivulets and pooling like mercury. Its faint reflective aspect represented in a myriad of colours and shades, the mirror image of another world. But the water which crept morosely down the wall was very much of this reality, a sorry contrast to the dominant white and blue of the Astartes crouched throughout the room. Poor comparison to faded red, the remains of stained blood not entirely removed.

“Make yourselves ready, cohort!” The harsh digital representation of Buseyt’s voice chimed in Warule’s earpiece, breaking him from his reverie. Instinctively he gripped the haft of his chainaxe, running his gauntleted thumb over the well worn activation rune. Lime-green diagnostics winked positive in his visor; compartmentalised diagrams of his turbofans at once became opaque and then disappeared as the systems in the device were checked by the control centre of his armour. Warule had seen each and every step on a hundred occasions and anticipation built in him as it moved through its sequence: Auto-senses, environmental integrity, power levels, each confirmed in turn until only a single system remained. The diagnostic interface, as if sensing the weight of occasion, paused for a moment before an image of opened fangs enveloped the cross section of his mk3 helm; His Bio-neural implants were ready. The image faded, leaving Warule’s image intensifier staring once more at coarse granite and pool of discoloured water.

When Buseyt spoke again, this time in more measured tones, it came to Warule as if he were submerged beneath that thin film of water and in another world. Flat, undisturbed, a shade of nothing; “Ignatov is pinned down in those ruins two hundred metres ahead. Machine gun nests, a trench, heavy machine weapon fire.” the Sergeant’s words came broken and halting. Despite the digital translation, all of them well knew the crushing sense of anticipation inherent in his tone. The sense of eagerness mixed with fear. After what seemed like an eternity he spoke again, but this time the words rushed forth like a torrent, bursting to come out, “We attack from above. For Angron. For the Emperor.”

A pause.

A drip of water.

The hollow echo of his breath faded into silence, and it hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity.

“Activation code...”

The world that existed around Warule collapsed, and the man that was the Astartes did not hear that final half muttered utterance. A torrent of images cascaded through his mind, a bursting flash of memories and experience which flowed through him, fleeting, never giving him respite or chance to reflect: Of the blood red skies of Lalonde, Brother Gasker lying in his arms his life blood draining away, Commander Dreyt falling to the Reavers, The howls of his brothers caught in the Maelstrom of Iskar slain without pause, Of blood, The training camps of Bodt a thousand white glowing gauntlets held to the sky fists clenched and the galaxy their prize. The images faded to the background, decades of war, of death and destruction, condensed into a heartbeat. There and gone like the flash of bolter muzzle.

With a scream of exaltation the faded world of greys fell away from him and the veils which cloaked his vision were discarded as he burst through the surface of that sterility. To Warule it did not matter that special biological pre-cursors had been activated, that carefully targeted hormones and chemical programs were being released into his brain. That reservoirs of adrenalin and more exotic components were being dumped directly into his bloodstream.

It did not matter. At that moment it felt like lightning had struck him. As if tens of thousands of volts of electricity were arcing through his body, as his muscular frame arched and threatened to tear itself loose from his skin of armour and launch itself through the ceiling. Twin hearts hammered in his heaving chest like pistons, his helmet desperately struggling to pump air into his lungs fast enough as they heaved in great undulating and ragged gasps. As his teeth clamped together, threatening to splinter apart, he gripped the haft of his chainaxe; it roared to life, the scream of its serrated blades echoing the fire which coursed through his veins. His eyes bulged, dancing wildly and rolling backwards in their sockets with a crazed intensity. He barely noticed his brother marines in front of him, seemingly wrestling with their own invisible daemons as their bodies were wracked with the tremendous forces raging within. Ceramite strained at the seams as they stumbled out of the building, those too inexperienced not to have loosened the bonds on their armour joints now paying the price; wracked with pain as their hyper-extended musculature expanded and bulged within their armour.

Warule bounded after them in great strides, barely able to keep his footing as his legs drove him forward, chain-axe singing its chorus of death and destruction. A serrated blade symphony which occupied his attention entirely, precluding any moment other than the one he now lived in.

Moments later they found themselves in an open space of sand covered pavements and roads. Warule’s heart sang at what was to come next and he thundered to a halt beside his squad, sending chips of dirt tumbling through the air. Placing his arms by his sides he planted his feet into the ground and squatted. He looked up into the red-tinged hue of the sky. To Warule it looked as though scarlet clouds drifted amidst the falling blood of his colleagues. Of Gasker, of Dreyt, of every World Eater who had ever fought and fallen.

Diagnostics blinked positive and screams of exaltation sounded in his earpiece as with a thunderous roar the turbofans in his jump pack ignited. His armour shook, feeling as though it would tear itself to pieces and with an almighty and ear splitting crescendo he was launched into the sky in a corkscrewing trail of black smoke and ozone.

Towards his enemies, towards blood and destruction, towards that world which existed so fleetingly and to which he always longed to return.