[This is a battle report from game one of our Shrine World Planetary Invasion set of linked games that I and a few friends are running]
It was a near dawn, and quiet in the courtyard of memorials honoring those who sacrificed their lives during the fifth Donarian Gulf expedition. The Shrine World of Suldon Tertius was covered in such collections–pilgrims who wanted to pay proper respects could expect to spend sixteen months of dedication to visit each and every site on the planet. However, most of the current pilgrims were currently held in large hab defense structures, hastily armed with what firearms they could be provided as rough masses of conscript infantry. As the Orks had arrived at Suldon.
The center of the park, with its entry-ways to the the underground catacombs of the penitent fallen and carefully manicured hedges and park-lets of trees, had fallen under the shadow of the Roks that had appeared in the system. The space battle had been short and quick, as even with the Space Wolves Battle Barge present to support the system defenses the Orks were just too numerous and the Astartes transport had to retreat to a safe distance on the far side of the system’s sun after considerable damage. The fact that it had destroyed six of the Ork Roks and still had to retreat was a testament to the multitudes of force that the Orks had brought: a full sixteen Roks remained operational, with countless Kroozas and escort craft circling around them.
The Sisters of Battle and the Space Wolves who had landed had begun fanning out across the surface of the Shrine World, but with Ork assaults there was always some uncertainty. Different pods of defense started forming, gravitating toward the various shrines of fallen warriors almost subconsciously. When the Orks could strike anywhere, being close to the statue immortalizing a fallen comrade or martyr had just just seemed… natural.
The delay in the Ork landings was worrying all the Imperial commanders. There were clearly bulk landers all through the Ork forces, but the normal uncoordinated stream of them toward the ground was not happening. They were delaying for some reason. That may have calmed some of the Ministorum leadership, but the Space Wolves were wary–as any time Orks acted oddly there was something bigger at stake. What command were they waiting for?
Turned out it wasn’t a command so much as a strategy, as with a sudden shuddering corona of energy in the sky huge discharges started firing on each one of the Roks. There were huge engines in them with enormous whirling gyros, presumed to be part of the crude vessels’ propulsion systems. And maybe they still were. But the bursts of electric blue sparks across each of them were answered by huge bursts of electric blue on the surface of the Shrine world. Millions of glass candle holders exploded in unison across all the shrines as wave after wave of strange electrical discharge were focused on the ground all across the planet. And soon enough, what had seemed to be some sort of planetary-sized energy weapon at first revealed its true nature: they were bursts of crude teleportation energy. The Orks were teleporting their vanguard forces to the surface all over, and raiding groups charged even while they were starting to materialize. From bands of whole Meganobz striking in spearhead formation to sets of trukks, wagons, and even larger vehicles of destruction, whole Ork warbands were materializing in haphazard fashion all over the surface of the planet. Only then did the bulk haulers start to descend on the planet, seeming to use the teleport strike as the window to land the rest.
The initial onslaught of the Orks was sudden and came from every direction. Materializing trukks took off at breakneck speed, disgorging their Trukk Mobz right into the lines of the Adeptus Sororitas. While flamers took their toll, the raw force of the Orks’ savagery dropped Battle Sisters left and right.
At the heart of the Sororitas’ forces were some Paragon Warsuits and an Immolator tank. The flames and raw firepower from both started clearing Orks as fast as they could arrive. A desperate group of Kommandos tried to unleash a Bomb Squig to detonate on the tank, but sadly the wiring or explosives must have been a dud as the beast was merely crushed under the steel tracks of the Sororitas tank.
The Space Wolves unleashed their elite Wulfen infantry to bolster the Sororitas lines, answering Ork fury with their own. The sheer numbers of Orks and the deadly Power Claw of their Nob slowly whittled down the savage warriors–their contemptuous armor only able to stop most blows but not all, and the sheer volume of Orks they faced seemed innumerable.
On another front of the battlefield, one of the Ork Warbosses charged past his lines with a frenzy to reach a Space Wolves dreadnaught. With a mighty howl he braved the guns, the bullets bouncing off of his armor and flames charring his skin. Reaching the dreadnaught, his power claw tore into it, disabling cables and pistons before finally sheering the central column of the metal giant itself. The suit tumbled to the ground as he howled in triumph.
Not every Warboss fared as well: the Bad Moonz Warboss found himself facing a Wulfen Dreadnaught. Even with his shiny armor he could not withstand the frenzy of the Space Wolves’ ancient, and he was forced to retreat with a huge set of gashes and one of his arms hanging by just a string of tendons (he was already thinking about which Mad Dok would be best to staple it back on for him so he could get back into the fight).
Subsequent waves of Orks kept appearing as the tellyportas flared on the Roks in the sky. Ancient battlewagons that have seen hundreds of battles (and hundreds of repairs) emerged from the shimmering energy, all laden with more and more Orks. A valiant Castigator crew started firing their multitude of heavy bolters and turret cannon into the hordes, cutting them down as fast as they were arriving. Because the Orks were showing up piecemeal, the Space Wolves and Sisters both got chances to reload, recover, and recoup ground in the face of the onslaught.
A band of Meganobz surged forward to try and loot the shrine they presumed was at the foot of a great hero statue, only to be answered by an intense counter-charge from the Space Wolves. While the ordinary chain swords did little to the armored behemoths–literally each almost a tank or dreadnaught themselves–the merciless Thunder Hammer of the Sergeant of the squad laid considerable waste to them. The Orks were finally cut down, leaving the shrine intact and that side of the battlefield safe from Ork aggression.
Sustaining the tellyporta attack seemed to be starting to cause problems. One of the remaining Roks in the sky suddenly exploded with blue energy as the engines used to power the transporters must have overcome whatever non-existent safety procedures the Orks didn’t put in place. A set of cruel battlewagons with drill-like nosecones started to shimmer into the battlefield but instead disappeared into the void with the explosion. The Orks were finally bringing some bigger units, but it was proving to be too little and too late to give them a foothold on the center of the Shrine city. Even a mighty Skullhamma battle fortress was brought to a standstill thanks to the resilience and might of the Paragon Warsuits.
One band of Shoota Boyz was able to close on the entrance to the catacombs, even while the rest of the forces were repelled. A squad of Sisters of Battle stood resolute, pouring bolter fire and flamer promethium into the advancing Orks to keep them at bay. Not a single Ork survived to fight them, and the entrance to the catacombs–where the real prize of tens of thousands of martyr’s skulls, and the teeth inside them, waited.
The Orks had been beaten due to their piecemeal arrival, and their tellyporta sneak attack effetively blunted. With the shock and awe of the strike passed, the reinvigorated forces of the Imperium intended to push the advantage: finding pockets of Orks from the various landing craft, surrounding them, and eliminating them. Meanwhile the Warbosses were desperately trying to organize all the disparate bands of Orks and materiel into proper krumpin’ shape to push back against the humans’ advances. The next battle for the Shrine world loomed on the horizon.
Painted up a few units for this battle, including a Warboss that I’m particularly pleased with. I’ve been swapping around which Clan I’ve wanted to play, and tried a few in the game. So I wanted one who could reasonably be most any clan: Goffs, Snakebites, or Evil Sunz could all work for this, and certainly Blood Axes (no uniform camo but uniformity in armor) and a Freebootaz clan would work too. I’m especially liking the yellow squigs with all the red (and I want to paint up a unit of Squighog Boyz soon to see if that continues to look good on the larger models.
I finished the highlighting on the first of the units of Meganobz. I’ve got two other trios almost there (just need the final bright highlights on the armor). Pretty pleased with them, and my plans of doing a “Deffwing” style army seem to be well-placed. It’s silly, probably not very good, but a lot of fun to run!
Finally, the battlewagon that never showed up for the battle (my reserve rolls were horrendous in this game… literally 15 PL of models never were placed on the table until it was far too late for them to make a difference). This is a slight mod and repaint of a Death Guard assault drill I modded up (from a Mantic Games cyber-rats driller kit): added some Ork plates and glyphs and a single big shoota, and behold: a Bonebreaka Battlewagon. It turned out pretty slick, and just kinda silly to imagine the Big Mek who decided that drilling their way into a fight made sense.
That’s all on the painting front: for the next update I’ll certainly have more Meganobz done, and perhaps a fun bigger surprise!
Painting Challenge 2022 Progress
Warhammer 40k Orks Power Level Painted: 27/365