Tag: Planetary Empires Crusade

Crusade: Waaagh

Crusade: Waaagh

The Planetary Empires Crusade campaign at my local shop (the amazing Drawbridge Games in Pittsburgh, PA: https://www.facebook.com/groups/499640580206921) continues to go on, as new players join and the cluster of planets are joined by some mysterious asteroids. And while I’d been doing some raiding (just taking territory away from others as I swapped thru lists/armies), it’s time to rejoin with an active terrain-taking faction. And a new project. Because of course, new project.

Prologue

Aboard the Rok star fort, Big Mek Ursatz, was putting the finishing touches on the last of the tellyporta pads. His Warboss, Drozgurk, was planning something big. They’d maneuvered the Rok into the system alongside some larger chunks of a moon or planet that were loosely swirling a bunch of planets–planets where wars were raging with all sorts of foes. Perfect spot for the attack. Drozgurk knew that this was Bad Moonz space, so he had taken his time–and had Ursatz really make sure the boyz had all the good gear. They’d kitted up a whole host of Nobz in Mega Armor, ready for teleport strikes all over the surfaces of these planets: landing groups to create the beachhead that the other boyz could come through with conventional landings. With the chanting reaching a fever pitch, Ursatz went to the grand control panel, where a big switch was waiting to be thrown. He could see rows and rows of the clanking armored Meganobz watching him, and without a second thought flipped the switch so the tellyportas started buzzing and sending each group off to who knows where.

Game One:

Big Mek Ursatz’ group landed in a Shrine area of a planet, and immediately set out to do what they do best: loot and destroy. Soon enough, the Sisters of Battle answered the call, as the Orks were poking around the sacred shrines of the planet. At this point the Sisters command didn’t realize what the Orks were looking for, so they committed a small expeditionary force to probe the Ork force and find its origin (still not realizing these were teleport strikes from high in the system).

While the Sisters had some heavy weapons, they did not have enough to deal with the sheer weight of the heavy armored Meganobz that clomped their way through the Imperial streets. The occasional melta shot would demolish one of them, but the flamers and bolters did very little to halt the nobz’ advance. And once they got there, the sisters were torn to shreds by the furious attacks.

It was the lone Canoness who held the line against the Ork attack longer than expected. Maimed survivors fled to the rear lines where hospitallers waited. She survived wave after wave of assaults, managing to take blows as glancing and continuing to dish out destruction, primarily with her plasma pistol (that was running white hot with use). Finally, only after the last of the Sisters had made it free was did she finally try to retreat herself, only to be cut down at that point by the last few Meganobz. Already, imagifiers are working to spin the stories of her valiant sacrifice in the face of the Ork onslaught.

Game Two:

Bike Captain Telleem had his hands full on this mission to the Scylla Quintus system. The “Fangs of Shang”, the Deathwatch contingent that worked with Inquisitor Kryia Draxus, had been notified of the sheer number of different xenos that were plaguing the system and pitching raids against Imperial targets and each other. While Brother Lothar the Dreadnaught served as a stalwart, the rest of Telleem’s forces were experiencing the usual moments of confusion when battle brothers hard-drilled for centuries to fight with their own Chapters now had to team up with warriors of various different sorts. The differences in fighting styles across the Adeptus Astartes never failed to wow him when he thought about it.

Orks had been in the system for a while, but it seems like a new Clan was sending massed raiding parties in every direction through the system now. The prior ones were of the Bad Moon Clan, focused on their firearms. These new raiders were more heavily armored, and had devastatingly struck a blow against the Sisters of Battle in another quadrant. Their armor was Red, but it was unclear which Clan they might be (as every Clan had the belief that red pigment paints and dyes increase velocity potential of those that wear the color). Bike Captain Telleem had dispatched scouts and outriders both to watch for signs of Ork planetfall, and was surprised when his squad of Eliminators radioed in that they’d found an Ork assault party–but there was no telltale trace of smoke or sounds of crashing jet that explained their presence. It’s almost like the Orks appeared out of thin air. It was doubly-concerning, as the entire gang of them were outfitted in the heaviest of Ork armors available. Telleem raced his forces to reach the site where his Eliminators were staked out and observing the Ork advance.

The Orks were trudging their way through a persistent radiation cloud, their feet turning up the dust into the air that carried the radioactivity from some prior weapons strike. Telleem’s forces struck, and had the advantage of range on the slower-moving Orks. Eventually some of them reached Brother Lothar, only to be pulped by his massive power fist–the ancient war suit suffering only minor damage from their tearing claws. The final wave of Orks fell, leaving much of Telleem’s force intact.

Yet he had not figured out how they were getting to the surface, and where the broader Ork force’s punch would fall. Telleem finished filing his report for Inquisitor Draxus with the following conclusion: “Initial Ork foray in sector 14 neutralized, source of assaults unknown. Seek further intelligence to isolate threat.” He then went to break up a fight that was brewing between a petulant Mantis Warrior and a surly Son of Medusa. The work of the Deathwatch was what he was made for when xenos were approaching on the battlefield. Less so at other times.

Painting Progress

Some initial painting on the Orks. This is the test model for the color scheme, which is the same exact scheme I use on my Drukhari hah. I think the highlights are a bit toward the comic style but then the Orks benefit from that–and it accentuates the battle damage and shoddy construction without having to look “messy”.

First finished Unit is a Big Mek in Mega Armor with Kustom Force Field and Grot Oiler. He’s likely of much more use with other non-Mega Armored models (as a weapon needs to be a -5 modifier for his Kustom Force Field to matter). But still, I liked the model and wanted to start with him.

More to come: going to get to a full 9 Meganobz at first, then grow from there.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Well… now it’s Orks… maybe? Maybe I should lump all my stuff this year together? But let’s get it started with Orks and maybe we can hit the big number hah. So here goes:

Warhammer 40k Orks Power Level Painted: 6/365

Crusade: The Nightbringer Cometh

Crusade: The Nightbringer Cometh

The Planetary Empires crusade continues, here’s the current map of the system with my force’s holdings. I grabbed a home base as a Star Port, and expanded to another Star Port on the ice planet. The advantage of those structures is that I count as adjacent to all tiles on all planets, which makes sense given that my Crusade represents an Acquisition Phalanx deploying from an orbital tomb ship.

Game Three: A Scythe in the Fields

“So many… unclean… biologicals…” said Nemesor Sebekh out loud, choosing to emphasize his ire by deploying his vocalizers. The group of Warriors next to him stood at attention, barely understanding the words he said. They were not part of their war-programming, so just washed over the near-mindless rank and file. Across the battlefield was a massing swarm of strange bug-creatures.

He let his distance oculars zoom in on one side of the swarm. Sebekh had to marvel just a bit: the sheer capability of these beasts to manifest the weapons they needed for a fight. From sword-like extensions on their limbs to massive bio-cannons, they were a strangely engineered race. In a way they reminded him of the destroyer cults amongst the Necrontyr: constantly refining their bodies to destroy all biomass. Sebekh shook his head: no, these creatures didn’t want to destroy all biomass. They wanted to consume it all, and turn it into more of themselves. They were unclean biology and needed destroyed, as fast as possible as far as he was concerned.

Sebekh sent a command to the Doom Scythe, to target the creatures that would be able to target it back. The crescent-shaped flyer dove across the enemy lines, scouring them with its flensing death ray and killing one of the massive gun beasts. A mighty winged leader-beast tried to reach it with flight, no doubt hoping its razor-sharp sword of bone could slice the flyer to pieces. But the pilot–some minor noble from his dynasty–jinked at the last moment and the beast’s flying charge fell short. The Doom Scythe turned down the lines and obliterated the other larger gun beast. With both of the gun beasts downed, the flyer moved to further distance to begin damaging the forces at more range.

Sebekh ordered his ground forces to close on the hordes, their burning gauss and tesla shots cutting swathes thru the foe. A few of the clawed beasts managed to reach the Ghost Ark and damage its integrity enough to deploy the warriors it carried, but other than that the biologicals were all stopped before they reached his lines proper. The last few beasts streamed away when their leadership fell, and the biologicals fled before him. Nemesor Sebekh felt that odd pulse down inside him that had reflected on the destroyers’ notions surge a bit. “Scour all life,” he whispered to himself, and began super-heating his body to burn even the grass he stood on.

Game Four: Night of the Wolves

With the Tyranids fled, Nemesor Sebekh set about ordering his units to conduct scans of the area. He would have preferred his Cryptek advisors be supporting the forces, but he needed their technical knowledge to find Trazyn’s prize for him. Soon enough, he got an interstitial alert from one of them. The Cryptek’s voice had a certain wheezing quality, perhaps an affectation from the time when she had flesh. Sebekh had hoped for news of the beacon, but instead she warned that a human ship was moving into high orbit at rapid speed, and that a land-based force was marching fast to match it’s approach. The human ship started dropping cargo containers which floated down on gravitic parachutes. A resupply mission, and by the looks of the approaching force it was another group of the augmented humans racing to get their hands on the supplies: no doubt ammunitions and fuel to power their fighting. “Now, that cannot do…” said Sebekh. He motioned to Warden Nesos, and issued a command to attack with all forces.

This breed of mutant warriors wore different, more utilitarian armor than the prior ones his forces had clashed with. They operated in much more tactical fashion as well, standing off and firing at times rather than simply rushing into melee with despite lacking numbers. A cluster of them guarded a spot where a supply pod was drifting toward, and unleashed their chemical propellant weapons at the Ghost Ark.

Sebekh’s Flayed Ones took a different track, and came up against one of the mutant biologicals’ transports. He hated unleashing them, as he had to watch for any signs of degeneration and curse amidst the others in his command. But they were effective at times. Setting them to tear apart the vehicle best they could, Sebekh readied another weapon he had brought for these battles. Too many of these mutant humans in their armor had refractive shield generators borne amidst their armor–and that was blunting too many of his attacks. So he had gone to the reliquary on the Tomb Ship and removed a potent surprise.

Sebekh’s dynasty, the Szerakhan, had captured a number of the fragments of the Nightbringer during their war of vengeance upon the C’tan. A row of them were stored in stasis units on the ship, and he had brought one along. Setting down the unit, he released the swirling entity inside out onto the battlefield, directing it with the enslavement protocols of its capture system toward the lines of the mutant warriors. A roaring metal suit–which scans said contained a corpse of a fallen mutant–rushed forward from the lines to face the swirling mass of C’tan energy, but it was quickly sliced down by the massive scythe of the thing. With the Nightbringer shard controlling the middle of the field, Sebekh’s forces were expanding on all fronts but one.

The leader of the mutants emerged from the transport, a frozen sawblade of a sword in his hands, and laid waste to the Flayed Ones. While they managed to drag down the squad that emerged with him, they were no match for his destructive might. Sebekh watched the carnage at a distance, and recorded the battle patterns of the great warrior. He would be a worthy match in the future. With the supply drops entirely disrupted, Sebekh ordered his forces to withdraw with their victory–to not damage more of their forces unduly. The sky-blue armored warriors would have to scrounge for ammo and fuel, and that would slow their advances on the spaces that Sebekh needed to search. “Good enough for now,” he mused.

Game Five: Mindshackle Interrogation

“Honored Nemesor, we have word of a human scout,” messaged Warden Nesos after a period of further searching–this time amidst the dusty ruins of a city. “Some manner of surveyor team for the humans has been creeping through the ruins. Should we intercept them and see if they’ve seen our objective?”

Sebekh sent glyphs of acceptance and satisfaction in response. His forces moved quickly into the city, and started searching the various spots where the surveyors may have hidden. Unfortunately, they must have issued a distress call, as with flashes of translation black-armored warriors from that same group of over-adorned mutant monkey-forms started appearing and massing for an assault.

His initial forces sallied forth to delay their attacks, including even his Canoptek Reanimator sacrificing itself to slow down the vanguard of the approaching force. The armored warriors fought well and with what he presumed they would describe as “heroism”. But their defenses and protection meant that they moved slowly. As long as he fed their jetbike unit things to distract them and whittle them down, he would have time for the search.

Ranged fire from the ornate monkey-form warriors’ weapons wrought terrible losses amongst his Flayed Ones in particular, downing all but one of the unit. However, one was still enough. Say what you wanted about the curse that held them in their thrall, but the one upside was that their scent for organics–at least those with proper “meat” to them–was ideal. It tracked the movements of the scout group of humans, and indicated to the Immortals where they were hiding: in a bolt-hole of a trenchworks.

A few were killed in the extraction, but the Immortals finally hauled up one poor Imperial scout–a trembling human who likely used his field glasses far more than the crude light-emitting sidearm he carried. Sebekh approached, and realized just what an inconvenience this meat-form was going to be. He couldn’t just translate away and take this one along for proper interrogation, and yet the warriors seeking to rescue him were coming in strong force and slicing through everything he sent to stop them.

“This needs to be quick, and I need to buy more time,” he thought. Sebekh ordered his Warriors into delaying actions. All he needed to do was keep the monkey-forms at bay long enough. The main group of warriors surged around the leader of the foes, and the combat ground on and on. The leader was close, had teleported in, and could only watch amidst his destroying of the Warriors while Sebekh issued a set of mindshackle scarabs onto the skin of the scout. As the burrowed in the man started screeching and screaming, as the skin on his forehead and temples writhed as the scarabs made their way into his very thoughts.

Again, Sebekh deployed the Nightbringer shard, this time to delay and confound the enemy with its strange permanence. Eventually it was smashed down by their forces, their blades finally taking their toll. The leader of the mutant monkey-forms continued to fight on, and Warden Nesos had withdrawn the Warriors to use their gauss reapers on him rather than continue the fight. Which was the window the warrior needed to attack Sebekh himself. The leader was lightning-fast despite his bulk, and Sebekh quickly realized he was outmatched in melee. “I guess I watch this one from afar,” he said, and recalled himself to the Tomb Ship while slaving his consciousness over-ride to the Doom Scythe so he could keep viewing the assault. The monkey-form leader seemed to do much the same with his own teleportation matrix that must be embedded in his armor, as a fusillade of tesla fire from the Immortals found weak points in his armor thanks to sheer volume.

At the end there were two lone warriors of the ornate monkey-form mutants left, suffering the fire of his forces while they stood back to back and slowly advanced. The had reached the edge of the trench, and could see only the remnants of the man they were seeking to rescue as he lay at the feet of the Immortals. His eyes were blank, glassy, and his jaw moved slowly as if he was speaking. Small bulbs on his head would bubble up where a scarab moved from one vantage point on his mind to another, crawling between skull and skin. With a final squealing screech, the last of his mind was well and truly stripped. Sebekh reviewed what had been obtained: only things of interest to the monkey-forms. Not a bit about his beacon. “Bah,” he said aloud. “Initiate full recall. Let the last of the monkey-forms have their rescue.” His forces began phasing out, all except the mindshackle scarabs themselves. They had nothing more to recover from the man’s broken mind, but Sebekh instructed them to stay. To become even more visible on his skin, and start causing pain. The ornately-armored monkey-forms would find their prize to be in very poor state, and no doubt need to carry out their xenophobic judgment on their own ally and subject of their rescue, thanks to the presence of the scarabs. “A little gift from me to you,” Sebekh said to the air, as if the monkey-form leader was there with him. “Enjoy.”

Painting Progress

Finished up the Nightbringer C’tan shard. This isn’t the original Games Workshop model, but a resin model from Creature Caster (called their Death Elemental). I think it makes an amazing alternative Nightbringer model. Really pleased with how it turned out, and I like the way it’s got hints of the Necron color scheme in the metal portions and weapon.

A reverse view to show the portal it’s emerging from is below. This does a good job too of making it feel like a shard: just a piece of the entity of cosmic power.

I also finished up 10 Warriors with Gauss Reapers, these are the ones that get ported around in the Ghost Ark. Good to have more models finished to round out options for the force.

In all some good painting progress. I’m still behind pace on hitting the goal (today is exactly 70 days into the year, so at a PL-per-day pace I would be at 70. But such is, and I’m still really pleased with the project.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Necrons 2022 Power Level Painted: 39/365

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 53/365

Crusade: Rise of an Ancient Threat

Crusade: Rise of an Ancient Threat

Amidst our 40k Planetary Empires campaign my Archon was killed, so I thought it a decent time to adjust to giving my Necrons a spin… this is the beginning of their story.

Prologue

Nemesor Sebekh was accustomed to waiting. He was not accustomed to the terrain of this accursed system. Not a single one of the clustered worlds were tomb worlds, as all of them were too remote and too volatile to have been of use even in the expansion phase of the Necrontyr. “A large world of greenery, teeming with… ugh… life,” thought Sebekh, reflecting on why his dynast had assigned him to this task. Bad enough he had to bring war here, but to do so to meet the bidding of a noble from a different Dynasty. It was that most infamous of Nihilakh–Trazyn the Infinite–that he waited for now. Finally, the shadow of a Night Scythe passed, and the familiar crackle of translocation resonated.

“Ah, Sebekh, glad you could be here,” vocalized Trazyn, while Sebekh sent courtesy glyphs to the newly-arrived Overlord. “I know that our Dynasties have not always cooperated in the past, but the orders from the Silent King are certainly binding enough. We are to cooperate, to gather our strength together.”

Sebekh nodded at this. His Phaeron and that of Trayzn (Krispekh of the Nihilakh) were the ones instructed to cooperate, and perhaps to keep the notoriously disruptive Trazyn at bay, Krispekh empowered him to be the one to cooperate. And thus the duty of Sebekh was to endeavor to do just that. He recalled his own Phaeron’s words of command: “Trazyn has great needs, but also access to great power. You will endeavor to feed his needs, such that we might gain his power on our side.”

Sebekh spoke: “Glad to be here, in the name of dynastic cooperation, Overlord Trazyn. My Phaeron extends his esteem and hospitality, and I’m here to assist whatever pursuit you have amidst these planets. I was not provided further details of those goals in the packets of information about this system, just copious notes about current competitors, flora, fauna, the living cycles and industrial development of the human hive cities here, the precise water cycles of the lake systems on the moon…”

Trazyn interrupted the listing. “Yes, yes. I sent everything that might be needed. One never knows where the key to a puzzle may lie. Even in the music of a world, but that is a story for another time. What matters is this.” Trazyn sent a quick additional packet of information to Sebekh, and immediately the technical details of a casket pillar filled his consciousness.

Trazyn continued “I want you to help me find this. The glyphs suggest it is a boundary marker of sorts, placed by some lost dynasty that may have had claim over this pathetic system. And where there is a marker, there may be a path to the remains of that dynasty… and their historical knowledge of the War in Heaven. Take your forces and scour these planets. The conflict between the various young races at war here will be perfect cover to seek it out. I know only of its dimensions, that it is protected from long-range scan identification, and that the image of it–which I extracted at no small difficulty from the mind of some burrowing degenerate cultist inhabitant–included a set of curious plant growth upon it.”

“While you’re seeking it,” Trazyn continued, “I don’t mind other trophies or items of note from the various combatants in this system: their endless variety excites me, and anything unique you find I welcome you preserve with one of these.” Trazyn handed him a set of small cubes, and quick inspection revealed each to be a stasis projector–Trayzn was a collector and antiquarian, and Sebekh realized that even just sending him some frozen oddities would curry his favor. He placed them in an inter-dimensional pocket for safe-keeping.

Sebekh then responded. “I’ll search with you for this wayward marker, but with my own forces in a manner of my choosing. Investigating in more spots at once will help the search go quickly.” Trazyn’s nod indicated he was pleased with that arrangement, and Sebekh was glad that he would not need to sully his own forces with the Nihilakh amidst them. “Point me in the direction of where you found the inhabitant who saw this structure.”

Game One: Laughter on the Wind

Weeks of scanning had turned up little information on either the marker or natives who may have seen it. Nemesor Sebekh had his tomb ship in synchronized orbit in the system, with full stealth protocols enabled. While the other combatants in the system were racing to grab territory, Sebekh took care to catalogue the forces that were warring, as well as to set up reconstruction matrix projectors into high orbit–disguised as orbital wreckage–to support his troops on every possible battlefront. Sebekh’s adjutant, Warden Nesos, finally prompted that their preparations were likely well-completed, and that ground forces could start to be deployed to likely spots. At the very least the crypteks in reserve in the force could start to sample the soils and sort out how to run more effective ground-piercing data sweeps–as Sebekh had mused that the marker would likely be underground.

They began landing troops on the surface of the main planet of Scylla Prime, the planet’s name in the local vernacular, translated from all the fleet relay messages that were bouncing all over the system. Sebekh had chosen a spot that looked more remote, keen to avoid the places that had the thickest populations of humans and their degenerate mutant versions (both Astartes and the hive-infected qualified in this way to Sebekh’s reckoning). He was keen to also avoid the other marauding forces in the area: the blue-skinned goat-people, the mis-firing weapon of the Old Ones (the Orks), loathsome worshippers of a warp entity, and the inscrutable Tyranids.

Initial landings went well, and seemed utterly un-opposed. That is until the wind started carrying an odd sound that started to register on Sebekh’s and Nesos’ auditory capture nodes: laughter. Sebekh had only just laid down a change to combat protocols when a band of near-phantoms leapt out of hidden portals to strike at his landing forces. He recalled they were a form of theater mummers that fought in the service of the Old Ones: harlequins.

However, the resilience of his forces started to carry the day for Sebekh. While each elf lost from the small roving bands of them left them under-gunned. His block of Immortals not-surprisingly proved to be very effective, even when in such close range to foes. With new blocks of Warriors deploying from a Ghost Ark and spraying the elves with Gauss fire, the Necrons began to prevail.

The harlequins were seeking something that swirled in the winds of the planet’s atmosphere, perhaps drawing a bead on where supplies were stashed for them in webway portals. It made for an erratic fight, and one where even lowly canoptek swarms had a role to play. A particularly deadly harlequin, who dispatched a unit of Wraiths on his own, was stopped by a sacrifice protocol that had the scarabs merely cluster onto him and then detonate their cores–an explosion that he could not dodge in time.

As they had arrived, the harlequins fled in nearly the same breath. It seems like they had failed to get what they were seeking, and even if his forces were oblivious to the objective–his presence and the toll his forces took caused them to retreat. Sebekh’s forces were now bloodied, and he was already concerned that Trazyn’s deployment of him here in this system was going to be a painful experience. He shut down the doubt centers of his mind–slapping an hour ban on them–and got back to work with arraying his forces for survey and acquisition.

Game Two: The Enemy of my Enemy

After a few days of exploration Warden Nesos signaled Sebekh that their Doom Scythe’s long-range arrays detected a firefight in the distance. Swapping his sensor feed to that of the Scythe’s pilot-noble, he saw a tense firefight between an armored column of the blue-skinned goat people and what looked like two combined phalanxes of the mutated human strains–particularly large and ornately decorated mutants of their kind at that. While the initial ambush of the goat-people inflicted huge casualties, it seemed like the mutant strains were defending some sort of crashed cargo pods. “With luck,” thought Sebekh, “our forces can strike amidst the chaos and maul the humans while they’re so focused on stopping the tanks of the goats.”

Sebekh materialized his forces from his ship onto the far side of the battlefield from the rest of the fight, but very quickly his long range shots from Triarch Stalkers were doing enough damage that the humans sent some of their number his way. Two of them on primitive jet propulsion and hover-tech vehicles flew at his front lines, and the screen of Canoptek Wraiths. The Wraiths’ durability kept them distracted, until he commanded the Wraiths simply leave the combat making a firing gallery of his Warriors’ gauss reapers which tore apart the vehicles and their riders in a hail of green flensing energy.

Another wave of the mutated humans, these in more ornate battle plates, came rushing at Sebekh’s forces. As the subsequent volley of gauss fire slew many, and his contingent of cursed flayed ones tore apart the rest, Sebekh got only the most crude of scans underway of the warriors. They all seemed to have the same mutation-set, as if they were planned or literally grown from infant-status into these mutant forms… by design. “Ghastly,” said Sebekh to no one in particular, as he was surrounded by Immortals and Warriors only. “Refined biology is still disgustingly… biologic.”

Sebekh could see that the warriors were surely effective: a single one of their leaders circled and circled one of his Triarch Stalkers, and annoyingly Sebekh had to keep transmitting additional script to activate full quantum shielding on the great walker to keep it alive and functioning amidst the warrior’s onslaught. “All biologics have some crude effectiveness, some apex creatures amidst them,” he thought. “Still, put a mutated monkey-form into ornate golden armor and it’s still just a mutated monkey-form.”

The flank where the goat-people had tried to hit hardest was being reinforced by the humans, their warriors clustered around what seemed to be an escape pod of some sort. Sebekh was under-interested in trying to shift them from that spot, as they seemed determined to keep it.

On the other flank, his forces and the goat-people had eliminated all of the resistance, leaving the other strange pod to them. It seemed to be some sort of crude vat full of biological materials, and disgusted Sebekh ordered it destroyed on the spot. The monkey-forms got one, lost one. Good enough. The seeming leader of the goat-people had flown to that point as well, and perhaps he was interested in what remained of it. But of course, the flayed ones that Sebekh had somewhat reluctantly released alongside his troops were particularly interested in what was inside of this suit. Hopefully he didn’t tarry too long at the destroyed vat, lest they crack him open and wear his blue skin as their next decoration.

The battle was ultimately one where no side particularly triumphed over the other, and at least the goat-people had the good sense to not fire their weapons upon his dynastic troops while he too was attacking the mutant humans. Of course he’d have to annihilate them, but for the moment they were a convenient ally. “Enemy of my enemy and all that,” said Sebekh as he reinstated security partitions for the flayed ones in a pocket dimensional stasis. He then ran a debugging protocol on his Warriors to ensure none of them picked up any taint from the cursed flayed ones–but Warriors were the least observant so least likely to fall prey to what they see. “While I’m on old proverbs,” he thought, ruminating on the flayed ones as a dangerous tool to deploy amidst his forces “perhaps ‘monkey-form see, monkey-form do’ is appropriate here.”

Painting Progress

Part of this switch was the relative fragility of my Drukhari forces, but also part of it was finally pushing myself to complete the white whale of the Necrons army: the Ghost Ark. It was such a pain to complete, but now that it’s done I absolutely love the look of it and have enjoyed it in both games so far.

Also painted up a new Overlord to lead my forces, the one with the glaive and tachyon arrow. I adjusted the arm to have it pointing, which was a little conversion but one I’m really pleased with.

I’m nearly done with another ten Warriors (I’ll surely have them painted in the next post, for the next phase of the campaign), and have more to go after that.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Necrons 2022 Power Level Painted: 14/365

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 53/365

Crusade: A Planet Revealed and a Leader Fallen

I’ve been playing in a Planetary Empires Crusade campaign (see all the posts starting with “Crusade” hah?), and after the first phase it was time to expand onto the planets–including the emergence of a whole new planet for conquest. The map below shows where all the forces are located.

Huge shout out to Sean for making this great map and keeping it updated

My initial starting area with the Drukhari was on Scylla Prime (as I was the LAST of the 15 players to get to choose hah), where my home base was the star port. That lets me more easily conquer tiles that are non-adjacent, so you’ll see in the first phase I spread my forces to take two other star ports: one on Glaucus and one on Phorcys, the newly revealed planet. Given that the Harlequins player Frank seized the Hive City on Phorcys, we’ve declared that “Elf Planet” and are determined to take more of it in the next phase (perhaps Steve’s Aeldari will be willing to help in the next expansion phase). I’m proud because at least my luck was strong on the planetary phase, and I’m currently holding 6 tiles (while every other force holds 5 or fewer). I’ve got my eyes set on expanding on Phorcys, because the lava paint scheme matches my basing of my models.

And double-huge shout out to Justin for making and painting these beautiful tiles, and organizing the campaign as a whole.

Managed to get three games in to this cycle of clashes, and the battle reports are below. I’m still toying with what my army should contain, as while I’ve been skewing a bit toward shooting I realize I might need to have a bit more melee punch.

Game Five

Archon Vÿr was determined to re-establish leadership in his raiding force. What he needed was a target where he could out-maneuver the foe, and keep them guessing. No doubt the herd-like Tyranids would prove easy prey for this purpose, he mused. While his adjutants were nervous, Vÿr’s blusterous manner seemed to at least motivate the Kabalites if nothing else.

Vÿr unleashed his forces, ensuring that they struck at the leadership beasts of the Tyranids. His speeding Venom cornered the mind-beasts of the horde, driving a wedge into their command while his Ravagers opened up and decimated the Warrior caste beasts.

Meanwhile Haemonculus Oribraq was much more cagey with his forces, knowing just how violent and savvy the Tyranids could be. He committed his Talos pain engine to take out a massed group of Termagaunts and drive the attack into the Neurothrope behind the force. Disposable pain beast were better to commit than other warriors in this case, as the stinging attacks of the Tyranids surely took their toll.

Archon Vÿr rushed forward, desperate to get into personal combat himself. He cut his way to a hulking Broodlord, and engaged it in extended combat. His strikes eventually overwhelmed the beast, and while it cut at him frequently and with deadly force, his Shadowfield held and he went unscathed by the beast. With enough damage inflicted on the leadership of the throng, the various smaller beasts started to wander, and the Drukhari retreated with a victory. Archon Vÿr felt confident–that show of force would make his raiders cleave to him. This was all going to go well.

Game Six

Still riding high from victory, Archon Vÿr took his forces to raid some mon-keigh industrial facilities, and take more prisoners. His Kabalites were echoing his elevated spirits, plunging into the buildings and fighting to assail the victims within with gleeful abandon.

The mon-keigh had reached out to their supporting forces, and in this case the call for help was answered by some of the most able warriors amongst their brutish enclaves: a different company of their corpse-god protectors the Custodes.

While the Drukhari outnumbered and out-speeded the Custodes, the insert strikes of the elite warriors took a dreadful toll. Archon Vÿr scrambled to call in reinforcements, but found his communications jammed while the Custodes controlled a set of Imperial command nodes that brought other forces in the area toward their site: great Imperial battleships and phalanxes of star warriors turned their eyes toward the spot where Archon Vÿr’s small group was operating.

It was an ancient warrior encased in a full tactical battlesuit that proved most disruptive of the Drukhari forces. It shattered the last hope of Vÿr’s force sending messages for reinforcements, downed two of his vehicles, and eliminated all the newly-recruited Scourges that he had recruited. Vÿr cursed them, as they were specifically equipped with vehicle-destroying weaponry and failed to take the marauding suit down. He once again sounded a retreat and fled from the force. Vÿr brooded in his quarters of their raiding ship, the lessons of the recent battles skewing his thoughts toward the need for he himself leaping into the fray to motivate his warriors in battle.

Game Seven

One of the forces of the mon-keigh that blocked his path may not have been arriving to help, but rather to attack the planet dwellers themselves. These augmented warriors were pox-marked and swollen, no doubt given to horrific disease. Even the plants of the area were wilting with the vaporous clouds of death emitted from their armor.

Vÿr had his forces stay at range best he could, even with his recent swell of bravado. These mon-keigh were almost no longer human, and worse yet, their bodies were so torn and broken that the damage done to them did nothing to help the Drukhari’s own souls in feeling release. At times clusters of splinter fire from the Venom and the Kabalites didn’t even seem to register with them when they pierced armor and shredded skin.

Vÿr hung behind his forces, waiting for a moment to strike–but was ambushed by a teleportation attack from the mon-keigh opponents themselves. A number of their hulking warriors, and no doubt the one that was their leader, appeared in a shimmer of energy and rushed his position and that of his warriors. The warriors were dissolved in spurts of acid from sprayers before being cleaved down by massive scythes the warriors hewed.

Vÿr fought desperately against the leader, but the Shadowfield’s protections from strikes were not able to protect him from the creeping poisons and disease that sprayed across him in the battle. Finally, with a sweeping strike the leader’s roaring, spinning-bladed axe caught his left leg, shearing it entirely off. Vÿr fell to the ground, and as he looked down even a moment saw the flies landing on the stump and laying their eggs. He dragged himself back as best he could, and called for assistance. As always, his faithful warriors managed to grab him and drag him aboard a transport. But as he lay there on the deck with strange diseases eating into him, a dread worry started to reach his mind. It was as if his soul was being spoken to, and the Great Deceiver whispered his name as his force retreated into the night. “Vÿr… I dine on your soul tonight.”

Painting Progress

One unit to add to the painted list at least…

These Drukhari Scourges with Haywire Blasters were a lot of work to paint. Especially the wings. They took a lot more layers and blending than I normally do, and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The effort was worth it, and while that slowed down my painting progress I’ve loved to see them on the table. Of course, they’ve been entirely underwhelming with their weapons hah. And their survivability is just the pits. So I’ve got to work on tactically supporting them better and positioning them in ways that they can be useful but not exposed.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 53/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365

Crusade: Rise and Fall

Crusade: Rise and Fall

More Crusade games these weeks, and some more painting progress as well. Got three games in, setting me up decently for the first expansion phase on the Planetary Empires side of the battle (that we’re pairing with the Crusade-style rules).

Game Two

Archon Vÿr was keen on pursuing more easy prey across the surface of Scylla Prime, and that posed a problem. Succubus Maril’eth, the harridan who he suffered in his presence only because of her command of the Wych Cult forces he needed, exceeded in the face of the more backwards and simple of prey. The running of his raid was a carefully balanced endeavor, ensuring that neither Maril’eth nor his Haeomonculus advisor–Oribraq–got too much power or glory from any fight. He had set his sights on some mon-keigh forces that had high numbers of infantry soldiers–from their designations a large number of whom were indentured criminals forced to fight.

His forces prepared an ambush of sorts, using Archon Vÿr’s own presence as the bait for the mon-keigh. They hid in wait amid some ruined buildings as the legions of conscripts approached to try and capture the leader of the raiding force that was so obviously shown to their sensors. It was too easy, herding the prey like this, tricking them into hunting him down while his forces waited to pounce.

He set Succubus Maril’eth and her Wyches upon the regimental troopers, the ones who herded their own convict squads ahead of them. As expected, they had a fair amount more fight in them, and the Wyches took heavy losses–losing almost as many as they killed of the mon-keigh due to massed firepower. Meanwhile, Archon Vÿr strode confidently into the fray, his blade carving through the conscript forces.

It was then when Vÿr’s arrogant miscalculations came home to roost, as the conscript prisoners were not the meek sheep of those indentured to Drukhari forces, but possessed the menacing threat of thirty-some hardened criminals who knew how to shoot and to fight. He slew them time and again, but yet the waves of them were able to continue to attack. Soon enough, the sheer press of las-rifle fire managed to finally short out Archon Vÿr’s shadow field. He hoped that no panicked tone was present in his voice when he called his Raider for extraction. He had taken a number of hits that bored thru his armor and left smoking holes punched thru his limbs when he finally was able to leap over the press of assailants onto the deck of one of his Raiders. As he hauled himself up he heard the clucking tone of Haemonculus Oribraq: “I suppose I’ll need to start growing you a new right arm and leg… who would have known that their chattel soldiers could fight quite so well…”

Archon Vÿr steamed and nursed his wounds, knowing that nursing his pride would need an action of much more immensity–and perhaps Oribraq’s tragic demise.

Game Three

Archon Vÿr desperately needed easy pickings to satiate the rapacious tendencies of his forces, so he struck out to try and make a raid on a distracted foe. Noting a spot where the last remnants of the Genestealer Cult remained (must be a strain that did not share the same blood transfusions as the others he eliminated), he waited for them to strike at a rampaging Ork force that was in the area. His plan was to strike both sides suddenly when they were engaged, and make off with captives.

At first, it worked well–the Talos pain engine pulped enough Ork boyz that the few remaining could be subdued, and loaded onto the waiting Venom as captives. These would give Haemonculus Oribraq something to investigate, and tide him over for a while. The more distracted Oribraq got, the more stable Archon Vÿr’s raiding force would remain.

Meanwhile Archon Vÿr’s forces attempted to distract the Genecult forces. His Voidraven Bomber screamed overhead, killing the leader of the Genecult who stood exposed. They were of far less interest to his forces than the Orks, as getting some good arena beasts seemed to be a popular aim with his Kabalites as well.

The Kabalites managed to decimate the Orks, luring them to attack them in cover and then striking hard with the bayonets of their splinter rifles and their curved Kabal blades. Four or five of the beasts were subdued by them, and bundled to be carried off.

Just when Archon Vÿr felt things were going his way, the Genecult struck. They had been holding back some horrific warriors, four-armed creatures that came rushing out of crevices in the broken earth, no doubt concealed by mining tunnels on their approach. The creatures tore into the center of his force, while their Genecult outriders’ demolition charges blew up a Raider and a Ravager both. With the sudden reversal, there was nothing to do but flee again–even leaving all but the Coven-gathered Orks behind. Archon Vÿr faced an even more unhappy Kabal, and having to again draw from his households reserves to replenish the fighting forces he lost.

Game Four

With Archon Vÿr’s support in flux, Haemonculus Oribraq had a chance to assert a bit of control. He knew that Archon Vÿr was haughty and proud, and giving him a gambit to exploit that would pay off. Oribraq nudged that they work to destabilize nearby mon-keigh elites, as a force of the augmented armored mon-keigh was holding some nearby terrain. What brought them was unclear, but they served as a good way to get Vÿr to perhaps die at one of their hands.

Oribraq’s own forces fought admirably, his Wracks managing to hold off one of the crude mon-keigh jetbikes while Oribraq set up for the kill himself. His ichor injector proved deadly, and his scissorhand more than enough to cleave thru the armor and slice the leg off the passing biker. Oribraq scoffed, thinking what a pity the mon-keigh were so… limited… in their imaginations of what could be done with genetic engineering, cellular growth cultivation, and organ improvement.

The armored mon-keigh however proved to be more than a match for the remaining wyches that accompanied Archon Vÿr’s raid. A group of them were fighting atop an industrial structure, and the limited space for mobility made the lightly-armored fighters easy prey for one of the mon-keigh’s deadly swordsmen.

Much to Haemonculus Oribraq’s dismay, Archon Vÿr and his Kabalites managed to hold on to a victory through shrewd crowding of the foe. Only a single teleporting mon-keigh in golden armor remained at the heart of the battle near the end, his blows falling fruitlessly on Vÿr’s Shadowfield. With a laugh, he managed to intrude upon the space enough to disrupt the mon-keigh’s plans. The raid always had to strike then fade, and this time was no different. The mon-keigh were bested, and the Drukhari escaped with spoils from the community left un-protected by the golden warriors and their arrogance.

“I’ll have to try harder next time to get him killed,” thought Haemonculus Oribraq, as Archon Vÿr strolled back to his command seat of the retreating skimmer.

Painting Progress

Added two big things that have both been on my painting table for a while: 10 more Kabalite Warriors to round out a full squad of 20 as a firebase, and the Voidraven Bomber I’ve been mucking with for ages.

Definitely like how these Kabalites turn out, and they look so epic in the big squads. Have got to do up another blob like this with Shredders and Splinter Cannons.
Voidraven Bomber. Really, really pleased by this one. Trying to get the highlights down was harder than I expected, but I’m pleased.

As my list is forming up to a more clear “this is how I’ll be structuring the Crusade” feeling, I’ve got to get rolling on more painting ahead: definitely more Kabalites and Venoms in my future.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 48/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365

Crusade: Treachery and Comeback

Crusade: Treachery and Comeback

So we’re starting a new Crusade at my local gaming store, Drawbridge Games, and this is the set-up and first game of my force. I’ll include both the arrival of my force in the campaign (as I started with a couple of Genestealer Cult games before deciding on Drukhari) and the first game with them. I’ll do another more general Crusade story post when we hit the first advancement on the map: it’s a Planetary Empires campaign using Crusade armies–all the narrative fun!

Army Background

The Biophagus lay coughing on the ground, while the Clamavus stood frozen nearby, not moving lest the Haemonculus’ Needle Pistol fire and cut him down.

The Archon spoke:

“It was easy, you see. We’ve been wanting to hunt in the Scylla Quintus planetary cluster for some time. So much agony, so many foes all clashing. It called out to us through the webway. But it’s been a matter of where to start. Where to strike? Who to usurp first?”

“The Space Marines would be burdensome to tackle first, even more so the ones who work directly for their Corpse-God. The Tyranids are pointless to fight as their suffering isn’t even felt. The Tau, those dopey herbivores, are so stunningly un-imaginative except with technology, so their suffering is even less interesting than that of the human soldiers of the Corpse-God, who are already walking dead and given in to their run-down existence. And our Aeldari cousins, also fun to torment, are at very least our distant-if-absurdly-optimistic kin. They’ll be around in the future.”

The Biophagus stared up, his eyes bulging as poisoned blood seeped from out his ears. The Archon continued, whether or not the poor dying creature could hear.

“But you, Cult of the Twisted Helix. You made it so easy. Your practice of sharing blood, passing the same tinctures all around? Made it simple for my Haemonculus here to concoct a poison that would delay just enough before killing each and every one of you. My agents slipped it in to your equipment, and then you…” he pointed at the Clamavus “… you so obligingly sounded the call that all in the Cult should join in ritual sharing of the blood again. What sustained and strengthened you all, now kills you. Each one will become a husk, slight delays only by individual constitutions. But all will die. What a kind practice you’ve shared. My hope is that there are branches of your Cult elsewhere, so that all your bastardized combinations of two despicable races in this galaxy are so easily and politely dispatched.”

The Archon stalked away with the Haemonculus trailing him, leaving the Clamavus scratching at the site where he too so recently received the Biophagus’ transfusion. He nearly wished that the elves had killed him as he felt a creeping chill inside his spine. Instead he went to find others, to see if they were truly dying, and to call fervently to the Star Children to arrive… and avenge.

Game One

Having established a sally port webway entrance on the Scylla Prime, the Drukhari set their sights on nearby prey. While the Tau had their primary beachhead in the contested system on the ice moon of Glaucus, they were dispatching small expansion cadres all across the surface of the larger planet. Archon Vÿr was hankering for a daring challenge, as while his Haemonculus Oribraq’s plan for taking out the Genestealer Cult was entirely successful, it was also clear to the rest of the Raiding force that it was Oribraq’s doing. Vÿr had to make some deft strokes to make certain it was him who ruled, not his underling alchemist assistant.

Archon Vÿr dispatched Oribraq and his creations to cover a flank, while his Kabalites and the Wych cult forces in his employ tackled the main line of the Tau. Between a Raider full of Wyches and a Beastmaster with a new Clawed Fiend (some aquatic version of the monster that looked mostly like a giant crab), Vÿr was confident that the Tau would be swept away.

Unfortunately the Tau seem to have undergone some technical upgrades, in both the behavior of their drones and the quality of their battlesuits. And whatever new ammunition they were using in their tanks’ rail cannons proved to be especially devastating: the Night Shields of his Raider seemed to do nothing as the solid shot blew it apart on arrival. Even the new crab-like Clawed Fiend was ruthlessly gunned down by the foes before it could fight.

It was time to make a statement, a signature kill, to show everyone just who was in charge and how to stop the horrid bovine Tau in their tracks. Archon Vÿr strode straight forward into the face of the towering battlesuit that anchored the middle of the Tau line. He began darting about, landing blow after blow, only to realize that something had changed: the Tau must have reinforced the suit and made it more vehicle and less pilot. His poisons were doing nothing to the mighty creature. More depressingly its missiles and arm cannon eventually overwhelmed his Shadowfield. As he took a devastating kick from the thing, in melee no less, he was only saved by the arrival of Haemonculus Oribraq’s Talos which finished off the mighty battlesuit.

Meanwhile Oribraq and his Wracks were dominating their side of the field, including stopping the Tau Commander in their tracks after surviving their comet-like descent. With a number of Tau warriors chained up and headed for Oribraq’s lab, the tide finally began to swing for the Drukhari. Archon Vÿr’s Flayed Skull Ravager managed to finish off both of the Tau rail-bearing tanks with a final bit of help from the rampaging Talos. It was the only bright spot of his forces amidst a narrow victory. And he had to concede that without Haemonculus Oribraq’s contributions to the fight (both personal violence meted out and that of his hellish creations), what should have been a loss became a narrow victory for the Drukhari raiding party.

Archon Vÿr licked his wounds and watched for any potential upstarts and assassins rising against him thanks to the relative disgrace of his Kabal amidst the broader victory. He’d need to think more carefully about where to deploy Haemonculus Oribraq’s forces: both to batter the foe, and to ensure that they did not get too much glory.

Painting Progress

As always, more painting updates for each game I play. Finished up a couple of things for this game, and I’m really close on a few others that I’ll hopefully have finished for the next.

Realspace Raiders is a podcast that is doing a Talos painting competition, so I wanted to do up a Talos for it. I’m really pleased with how it turned out–and its first outing on the tabletop was quite impressive.
I’ve shown the Beastmaster conversion before, but every Beastmaster needs a Beast! So here’s the “Clawed Fiend” for him. I’ve been dying to paint up the crab miniature from Underworlds, and this was finally the right timing to do so. I won’t field him too often as I’d need a big unit, but was fun to paint up and pleases me.

Obviously this means more work toward my Aeldari 2022 goals, which is likely to continue given that I’ll be doing the Crusade and Planetary Empires campaign with them over the next few months. Fun times and good painting joy ahead.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 33/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365