Monday, January 21, 2013

Crusade of Fire, Week 3 - Hunting the Wolves

The howling frozen winds of Alfrost swept away the smell of decay and rot. Eres Imunditious stood on the frozen ridge overlooking the valley below.

In the half light, the armor of the Imperial whelps blended into the blue-gray ice. If his eyes were the ones he had been born with, he would probably never have seen the mewling fools that called themselves the Sons of Russ.

ah Leman Russ…

Imunditious thought back to the foolish Grand Crusade. He remembered when the Death Guard and the Space Wolf legions shattered the last defenses of the Vitigian Theocracy. The implacable advance of the Death Guard supported by the wild charges of the Wolves destroyed even the illusion of escape for the defenders. Mortarion and his Curatrix smashed open the nave of the Theocracy's Ecclastellum, and the Theocrat was run down and slain by Leman Russ as Vitigia was bloodily brought back into the Imperial fold.

He remembered how later that night Russ caroused through the bivouac, creating a moving victory party that swept up all it encountered. He remembered how Russ sang and drank, and how he laughed with scorn at the dirgesongs of Barbarus. How he told everyone that living on Fenris was the true measure of an Imperial man, and how his drunken revelry swung from belligerent drinking contests to open weeping when he heard some puerile skald sing a tale of the wolf homeworld.

Imunditious felt the frozen skin on his lips crack as he smiled. Ten millennia and the memory of a drunken, weeping Leman Russ still brought a smile to his face. He turned and gestured to the sorcerer, Ulceratio Taint.

“Bring them through from the warpkage. Let us hunt wolves this night…”

For this battle, the Space Wolves were defending their starport on the planet of Alfrost. We agreed on 1500 point forces, and the special rules for the campaign meant that any dangerous terrain tests caused a wound on a roll of a 1 or a 2, and no weapons could "get hot". We didn't have an iceworld board to play on, so storywise my Death Guard is attacking the Space Wolves near the equatorial tundra.

The mission rolled was "Purge the Alien" and the deployment rolled was a Vanguard Strike. The primary objective for this mission means that you get a Victory Point for each unit destroyed. Since Joseph brought 11 units (including the transports) and I only six (with my Lord and Terminators in reserves), I would start the battle outnumbered two to one.

The Wolves won the roll for first turn, and set up with a free Skyshield platform. Joseph was running a Runepriest, three Long Fang squads (all with missle launchers, ooph!) two Grey Hunter squads (with meltas), three Dreadnoughts (assault cannons and missle pods), a Landspeeder Typhoon, and five Razorback transports for all the marines (two with twin-linked assault cannons and three with las-plas combo). It looked like this:

The dreads are parked up under the skyshield and two squads of Long Fangs are deployed in the building.

The fact that the Wolves had 19 missile launchers aimed my way from the get go didn't bode well for my chances.

I was running a chaos sorcerer (mastery level 3) attached to a six man Plaguemarine squad, a seven man Plaguemarine squad (with plasmaguns), a Helbrute (with a twin-linked lascannon), a seven man unit of Havocs (yay four autocannons), and a lascannon heavy Predator. My force was set up on the opposite corner of the board and looked like this:

If you're thinking "There's not a lot there." You'd be right.

You can see the sorcerer's squad on the ground floor, and the Havocs on the upper levels.

Nurgle was obviously smiling on me (or maybe it was just gas), but I won the roll to seize the initiative and took the first turn. My initial plan was to get across the table as fast as possible with my two Plaguemarine squads and fire up the las/plas Razorbacks. I figured if I could get across fast enough, I might be able to roll up the flank, assault the Long Fangs in the building, and keep it between me and the Runepriest, Dreadnoughts, and Grey Hunters.

In my initial salvo, my Helbrute and Predator was able to kill two of the Razorbacks, but my Plaguemarine squads were trapped out in the open and it was time for retaliation.

Hot lascannon and missle vengence from the Space Wolves
I had moved the sorcerer's squad out in front of the building during my first turn, but the Space Wolves were having none of that. Three squads of Long Fangs fired 15 krak missles into the squad killing four of Nurgle's finest, and forcing me to pull them back into the cover of the building during the next turn.

Even though the sorcerer was pretty much out of the game, having a psychic mastery level of three did mean that I was able to sit in cover and shut down almost all of the Runepriest's psychic attacks during the game.

Dreadnoughts on the march!
During the next few turns the Space Wolves tried repeatedly to destroy the Chaos Predator that racked up an impressive number of kills (two Razorbacks, two Dreadnoughts and a couple of Long Fangs). Additionally, the Havocs took minimal casualties and eliminated the Typhoon and a Dreadnought.

And on Turn Three, this happened:

Hooray for Deep Striking with no deviation! 

Admittedly, I couldn't charge, and neither my bolters nor my Reaper Autocannon did any damage to the Long Fangs on the Skyshield, but I did set myself up for a charge in Turn Four. I also set myself up for several missile launcher shots to the face (which killed one of my Lightning Claw termies) and a Jaws of the World Wolf psychic power (which slipped past my boosted Deny the Witch roll, killed the other Lightning Claw Termie, but bounced off the Invul saves of my Lord and the rest.)

In my next turn, my Lord charged the Runepriest and killed him right in his wolfy face, and the rest of my terminators put the beatdown on the Long Fangs who broke and fled to the ground, hoofing it to the closest table edge. Staying close enough over the next few turns, my Lord and retinue kept the remainder of the broken squad fleeing even though the Razorbacks with Assault Cannons and the other Long Fang squad did their best to kill them.

In the end, I had only lost my Helbrute and Predator (pretty much the game MVP for killing so much and soaking up so much fire). The Wolves lost three Dreadnoughts, three Razorbacks, a Typhoon, a Long Fangs squad, and the Runepriest. The spaceport of Alfrost now belonged to Nurgle.

The icy wind suddenly dropped to nothing. What had been a howling gale now whimpered across the battlefield. 

Those damned Long Fangs grabbed the Runepriest before Imunditious could take him prisoner. Rolling over the edge of the Skyshield, the whelps executed a brilliant tactical withdrawal into the coming dark. Just like cowardly dogs...

Again, Imunditious smiled. It mattered not. The warpsmith had assured the warlord that the Space Wolf Razorbacks could be recovered and pressed into use as transports for the Praesidio Mors, and some of the pups that survived were already wan and feverish. Their gaunt cheeks and bright eyes told the tale of Nurgle's touch ravaging their superhuman physiques. If they were worthy enough, perhaps they would find some way to serve the Pestilence Lord's designs in the Corvus sector. 

If not? Well, the nurglings must be kept fed. 

Crusade of Fire cover image property of games workshop. Used without permission.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

crusade of fire, week 2 – the relic

ulceratio taint, sorcerer and pox-master, looked up from the rapidly decomposing entrails pulled from the cooling body of the fire warrior. 

“the foul divinations guide us true, eres imunditious. there is a cache of powerful tau weapons hidden on corvus majoris. if we move quickly, we can deny the childling fools an advantage.”

the air within the confines of the warpkage was smoky, hot, and foul. the cloying aroma of sweet incense did nothing to mask the stench of burning blood, ruptured entrails, and foetid rot. time was broken here. ancient screams, new shrieks of raw pain, and despondant whimpers intertwined to create a symphony of anguish and despair. eres imunditious, lord of the sevenfold path, lifted his gaze from the bloodied symbols and twisted intestines to look at the sorcerer. 

“your castings are fortuitous, ulceratio. manipul leprosius and i will advance in the van. 

you will take manipul cholerus and provide support. manipul bubonicus and manipul bonewrack will provide protection on the flanks. tell the warpsmiths to awaken brother pandemicus and brother phage. they will lend their madness and armor to our endeavor. 

we deploy within the hour to secure this cache of weapons, and if we cannot, we will corrupt it thoroughly.” 

ulceratio nodded curtly, “as you command, my lord.” with a gesture, the sorcerer tore the very walls of reality asunder. the image of a shallow valley shimmered through the screaming portal to corvus majoris. “we can depart the warpkage here, lord imunditious. my portal will put us within striking distance of the tau cache.”

"very good, ulceratio. let us teach these foolish children what the greater good means to our lord and master, grandfather nurgle.”

crusade of fire cover image property of games workshop. used without permission.

crusade of fire

so some friends and i have decided to try out the new games workshop 40k campaign ruleset: crusade of fire.

since i have a brand new army for 40k (yay death guard!), i figured i would have some fun getting a some games in, really work to learn the new 6e rules, and hopefully do a bit better than usual (losing game after game).

the first week of the campaign has already taken place and even though i had a challenge against our tau player, neither he nor i were able to get our game in. my coverage of the campaign will pick up in week two.

stay tuned!

crusade of fire image property of games workshop. used without permission.