Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Possible Blood Pact Stalk Tank ?


So I saw this and thought "Great, its Warlord Games so these things are going to be convertable and affordable." ie plastic.  But they arn't, they're £22 and metal.  Ho hum.

I suppose if Bolt Action Konflict 47 catches on, they'll eventually be released in plastic.  Which is good.

Spinne Light Panzermech

At any rate, imagine it with all manner of sentinel armament and the pilot wearing a grotesque mask and outrageous hat.  Now £22ish is not in itself too much for a vehicle model, but I'm imagining a small detachment of these to go-a-scouting and/or provide a flanking screen for the Blood Pact.  So I'll have to keep my beady eye on them and see if BAK47 takes off to the extent that these are released in plastic...

Friday, 5 August 2016

40k 8th Edition Campaigns: An Exciting Look Ahead - Faeit 212: Warhammer 40k News and Rumors

40k 8th Edition Campaigns: An Exciting Look Ahead - Faeit 212: Warhammer 40k News and Rumors

So, as I write this (Fri 22 Jul 16) I have just blown £140 on a 12' trampoline which takes up a third of the garden.

There's a lot of stuff here which sounds, if it lives up to it (and with GWs new plastics, there's no reason why not), would see me wanting to spend some money.

New Eldar kits, new Word Eaters, new Slanneshi, er, thingies.  All good stuff.  All potentially kool lookin' stuff for the battlefields of Devos IV.

And advancing the storyline is sort of inevitable. FW are going backwards so it stands to reason that GW can go forwards.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Adeptus Astartes likely to be in the vicinity of Devos IV

The Blood Angels were the Adeptus Astartes contribution to the war against WAAAARGH Burkett 800 years ago.  There are Blood Angel artefacts in the Xyphonica Basilica of the Emperor Restored.  Mauven 158, another world in the Dynorwic cluster, saw a Blood Angel strike force deploy to hunt down a detachment of the Emperor’s Children three years ago.  The Long War does not only persist in the minds of those traitor astartes in the Eye of Terror, it is remembered by the descendants of their foes as well.  The ancient fight between the Blood Angels and the Emperor's Children continues - And Eidolon escaped Mauven 158.

PVP's Blood Angels.  4000 point here.  Karitas has some too.
Rune Priests, following their own arcane predictions, have led possibly more than one Great Hunt into the Dynorwic Cluster, ready to respond to further casting of the runes.  Wolf Scouts are not a common sight, naturally, but they are at large on many worlds, sniffing out the situation and following up on leads and sightings, building up a larger and more comprehensive picture than many other of the agencies involved.  The Rune Priests have seen that failure on Devos IV could jeopardise the whole Dynorwic cluster, the attentions of a Deamon Prince from the Horus Heresy make this a fight they will take on.  The presence of Lone Wolves on Devos IV already is no accident.

One of Karitas' Rune Priests.  Gregarious fellows, Rune Priests - they have lots of friends

The Brothers of the Lostwithial, a splinter of a Black Templar Crusade, have come directly to Devos IV in order to fulfil an oath to Inquisitor Blingnor of the OH.  They have already managed to alienate many of the senior command teams at the front line, even if their incessant rituals are indulged at High Command. The mysterious Adeptus Astartes of ‘One Force’, who have previously ‘punished’ Black Templar formations for over enthusiasm (when the Brothers get carried away dispensing the Emperor's Justice in population centres) are possibly shadowing the Brothers.  Only time will tell. 

Andy BG's mysterious One Force, 
Through various agencies (possibly radicals in the OH), the Relictors have learned the fate of the War Griffons Canis Fidelis, now the Khornate Belligera Rex.  Securing any of the Aroctech from a debased  titan could possibly advance their schemes quite some way.   If your purpose is to understand how the warp can effect the laws of nature, the fundamental laws of the universe, then something like a titan, even a small one, amounts to a substantial sample.  Even if it has to be picked up off a battlefield by a thousand men with buckets.

Siph's Relictors - just the middle bits.
The Brothers of the Lostwithial may be already in situ, but their force is likely already depleted by the actions they have already undertaken on Deovs IV.   They view the Blood Angels as heretical.  The view the Relictors as heretical.  When they meet the Sons of Russ, the chances are they won’t take to them either.   Relationships between the other Astartes factions remain a matter of conjecture.  For the time being. 

My vast collection of Black Templars.  Gonna need some more....

And if something attracts four disparate Chapters, then it is almost certain to attract others...

The punisher of errant Astartes. 

Friday, 29 July 2016

Close Air Support

The Arcomet 887th were a 'remains' unit which had been fighting Orks Spinward of the Dynorwic Cluster.  They provided the majority of the close air support for 17 Korps until after the Cudlip Lines had been breached.  After shouldering the burden for so long, the arrival of other assets saw the remains of the Arcomet formations absorbed into appropriate Airborne and Armoured units.

But whilst they were a part of 17 Korps, they were extremely busy.  As can be seen from the following account of one action, the Cadian 144th LRRR had sent teams out to probe into the Hanogal Heights.  One of the recce teams had been ambushed and called for assistance.  Two twin punisher cannon armed call signs were in the vicinity:

Picture curtosy of Karitas, whose IG were the Arcomet 887th for a while.
So I was flying Hunter Six Alpha with Zeb, that is, Tech Bosun Fifoom as my WEO[1] and Lieutenant Anbert flying Hunter Six Beta with TB Jusea as his shotgun.   It was early days so there wasn’t the tanker on standby like we later had out over the prairie.  But we were based in Freeman’s Square in the middle of the city, so covering the high ground to the north and east really wasn’t a problem.

We had been over flying Jeao Balbosa and it was pushing dusk when we got a call from COC about a recce team[2] in trouble at a farm in the hills to the north of the Hanolag Heights.  When we got there, there was a pair of thunderbolts on station but they had been unable to penetrate the low cloud cover without risking hitting the dirt.

The team had a FAC and the thunderbolts had put us on his frequency and briefed us on their situation.  Some Preatorians had ambushed the team, the medicae was seriously wounded and the sergeant had had his lasrifle explode in this face when the battery was hit, wounding him in several places, but he was still ambulatory. 

The thunderbolts, unable to assist further, departed for their base.  They literally just flew off into the sunset. 

By that time we had found the FAC’s voxnet and could hear his commentary.  They had been forced into one building in the corner of the farm complex and were trapped; the Praetorians[3] were just holding their rifles up to the windows at arms length and spraying into the building on full auto, whilst the team were dropping grenades out of the windows to try and keep them at bay.

Well, we weren’t going to listen to them die and fly home for amsec and grox burgers, so we figured out that the valley ran north to south and if lined up over the farm, we’d have a few kloms to get in and hopefully not hit the dirt at the other end.   We made it down through the cloud; the Voss pattern vulture is VTOL capable, but it burns fuel so fast that we don’t really do it.  Besides which, it makes you a stationary target, which isn’t nice.  There were many layers down to about 3000 feet AGL.   We had no local maps and the ‘spex on the Vulture is not set up to navigate NOE at that speed in the dark.

Under the cloud it was practically dark already, the smoke and haze from the firefight just added to the FOW[4].  It was only just bright enough to see, but not yet dark enough to flip the ‘spex for night work.  There were fires in some of the buildings which added more smoke and cast light and shadow making it difficult to figure out what was going on down there.   Zeb said that we could turn the lights on and they’d shoot at us.  He was joking, but the team on the ground were fast running out of time.  Besides, at least we’d be able to see.

So we turned on the searchlight, the navigation lights, the landing lights, everything we had.  The two entirely expected effects were that we could see and that the Praetorians were now giving away their positions by shooting at us, we more or less instantly started taking small arms fire from the ground.  The heat was off the team in the farm and we had targets.  With H6B, we took it in turns and each made seven gun runs over the next twenty five minutes.

Having knocked out the heavy and special weapons (at least for the time being), the ground team managed to fight off the Praetorians immediately outside the building. So the team took the chance and ran for it. 

It was at this point that we changed to danger close gun runs, we were shooting over their shoulders in the dark as they moved.  When they were in the building it was easier to shoot close to them, but once they were on foot it was a bit hairy, really.  We got a bit too close at times, they were dismounted, running and carrying their wounded.  Every time they moved we could see the surface fire aimed at them, which to us was a self nominating target.

Most of the time we were shooting over their heads as we flew directly over them.   Eventually they got far enough away - 800m in the dark, carrying their wounded to meet up with another team.  The Praetorians got fed up with us shooting them, although they were pretty determined.   They weren’t gonna give up until they were beat.   Of course, there was every chance that the recce team were going to die.  Or we could crash and burn trying to save them.  Neither of those things happened in the end. 

We got a thank you from their Commanding Officer, which is nice.  You'd never get that from a Vostroyan Officer. 

[1] Weapon Engineering Officer.  The gunner in any close orbit command airframe.  In this instance, the Arcomet argot is to use the word ‘shotgun’ for the WEO.
[2] They were a six man team from the Cadian 144th LRRR.  They had been mounted in a locally procured technical, but this had been destroyed in the opening shots of the ambush.
[3] The Praetorian 5th had been the Devos XII garrison, they had thrown in their lot with their adopted world when it attempted to secede from the Imperium.
[4] Fog of War.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Just before Operation Dragonfire, in orbit.

There are reasons that the imperial Navy would not drop troops in position around Xyphonica.  And that they would only drop troops at Fort Nuttar when the FLOT was already in the Western Suburbs of the city, hundreds of Kloms away.  All of which date back to the time when it is alleged that the Blood Pact arrived on Devos IV.

Investigations after the event determined that the mass conveyor пелерина Интрига[1] had been converted to a troopship at the Imperial Navy’s Belis Corona naval yards nearly 500 years ago.  It had lifted troops to warzones around the Galactic Core for 157 years, before being attached to the Imperial Navy’s 876th Fleet at the outset of the Sabbat Crusade.  After seven years, including hot dropping onto Balhaut[2], the пелерина Интрига disappears from the record[3].

The ship, all three and half thousand meters of her, appeared at the Naval Way Station at Aurent[4] early in 857.M41 reporting for duty, carrying the Mordant 303rd “Acid Dogs” as a ‘ready to deploy’ Astra Militarum formation.   They were issued with the appropriate codes, assigned an escort[5] and despatched to the Devos system.   All of this is pretty usual.

Two months later, longer than the standard journey time from Agripinna to Devos, but not remarkably so, the пелерина Интрига slid into orbit.  Her escorts remained in their allotted positions as she moved into low orbit, all the time following the instructions delivered by the task force flagship, now the Dictator Class Cruiser “Slaydo”.  The пелерина Интрига announced that she was ready to discharge her cargo and then reported a minor fire in the lower decks. 

The lead ship of what had been her escort detail reported that the four Dencara class escorts[6] were still hot (to move, having not yet powered down to their geo-stationary orbit) and therefore available to move to collect escape pods should the worst occur.

The Slaydo turned her augurs on the пелерина Интрига and failed to locate the reported fire.  In spite of this, she issued the order to move the escorts into rescue positions, even as she demanded that the пелерина Интрига confirm the location and extent of the damage.  The troopship swung into an ever lower orbit, complaining that it was becoming harder to maintain her position. 

Listening in, the four escorts, 11,000km closer, turned their augurs on the supposed location of the fire and also could not detect any damage.  However, what they could clearly see, which the fleet commanders on the Slaydo could not, was her drop ships beginning to cycle through their launch patterns, over the wrong hemisphere of the planet.

The master of the Captain Gunnerson reported this to the Slaydo who challenged the пелерина Интрига; the troops were supposed to be landed at the starport, not directly on the battlefield; this had already been communicated and acknowledged, why were they now disobeying instructions designed to keep Imperial Navy assets safe from ground fire ?  The reply was that if the fire on board became too big to contain, the troops could be saved by disembarking now, before it was too late.

Whilst ostensivly  plausible, this was not consistent with the initial reports of a small fire.  The reports of a small fire were not consistent with the lack of any sign on the augurs, either.   Not the close up view from the escorts nor the powerful sweeps of the Slaydo.   The drop ships dropped.  Taking 22 minutes to make planetfall, 30 minutes to disgorge their load[7] and then 38 minutes to re-dock and then begin loading again.

72AG were immediately on to their Imperial Navy liaison teams.  Why wasn’t the regiment being delivered to the star port ?  If the prime mover was in distress, why could the drop ships not push further west and allow the unit to be extracted later ?  Close Orbit Command, suitably embarrassed, immediately sent as many assets as they had to discern the situation and help where they could.

The пелерина Интрига’s dropships went through three cycles.  The ship was still not giving satisfactory answers to the Slaydo’s questions, the first marauders over the scene reported taking fire from where they expected to find disembarked guardsmen. 

Marauder Destroyers - two Punisher cannons under each wing... Why not ?
The Ordo Hereticus delegation had made sure that one of its members was on duty on the Slaydo at all times.  At this particular moment, that person was Inquisitor Hallas Blingnor.  Having been warned by his immediate superior about spoiling relationships with the other agencies involved in the campaign, he had, perhaps uncharacteristically, refrained from ordering the Captain of the Slaydo, Rear Admiral Devolt, to carry out what ever thing first popped into his reactionary, puritan mind.

Instead, taking advantage of his personal relationship with Castellian Brodeep, Inquisitor Blingnor ordered the Black Templar Strike Cruiser, the Lostwithial, to fire on the  пелерина Интрига.  Un accountably, the troop transport seemed to have been watching for ships powering up their weapon systems.  The troop ship was designed, like a space marine battle barge, to do its job in low orbit under fire.  Its shields went up.  The last round of drop ships departed.  Whoever those people were, barring the usual casualties due to shaking and impact, they were now down[8].

The пелерина Интрига ran away from the Lostwithal and the rest of the Imperial Fleet[9], largely in geo-stationary orbit would take hours to make ready and get underway.  But the Dencara Escorts were close and ready for action.  Flipping from rescue to attack was a change of thought and attitude, with no requirement to change any system.  Already at action stations, they raised their shields and joined the fray.

Whilst they did not have enough fire power to take the пелерина Интрига down straight away, it could not evade or outrun them and didn’t have the firepower of its own to do more than superficial damage to the Commissar Yamoto and Colonel Jacka.  Targeting the drives,  the escorts subjected the пелерина Интрига  to 54 minutes of constant strafing; the troopship was soon drifting.  An hour and seventeen minutes later, the first Black Templar drop pods hit the embarkation decks.  The last four squads of Black Templars from the Lostwithial would assault and clear the пелерина Интрига.

What they found there was evidence that the forces allied to Magister Sholen Skara had seized the vessel in the massive Naval Engagements around Parthenope during the Sabbat Crusades[10].  The vessel had quite obviously, since then, been used by the Great Enemy to ferry his soldiers around.  There was every indication that those landed were kin to the Blood Pact or Sons of Sek.  The Black Templars set the hulk on a course to the sun and recovered their drop pods.

Inquisitor Blingnor had scored a famous victory through his eternal vigilance and keen instinct for confronting heresy[11].

[1] “Cloaked in Intrigue”
[2] 765 M41.
[3] Obviously it remained a part of the Imperial Navy until the Naval Battle at Parthenope, despite the loss or destruction of pertinent records.
[4] The Imperial Navy’s waystation in the Agripinna system.  The major travel nexus into and out of the EoT warzone as well as the home of Klestor Sector Command.
[5] Four Dencara Class Fleet escorts, the Captain Gunnerson, General Estra, Commissar Yamato and Colonel Jacka.
[6] The Dencara class fleet escort is essentially a Firestorm class frigate with the engineering decks configured differently to accommodate an increase in shield generator capacity.
[7] The Infantry units were landed almost in the western suburbs of Xyphonica. An ideal position to assault the city, perhaps, but not much good if you wanted much of the regiment left after the action.
[8] Estimates range from 4000 to 8000 soldiers. 
[9] Taking into account the atmosphere of Devos IV, the пелерина Интрига was over the horizon within 12 minutes.
[10] A notable disaster for the Imperial Navy, 767.M41.
[11] In all his years of shooting them all and letting the Emperor sort it out, it has never once occurred to him that he might be wrong.  

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The systems around Hydraphur have a game….

The game exists in many forms, from child’s board games to more sophisticated games in proper casinos, depending on where you are.   The game is essentially snakes and ladders, but it’s common name is Knovians and Gudrunites.

Merinophia is a terran standard world not too far away from Gundrun.  Merinophia has 40% sea cover and most of the surface is rough terrain, with deep valleys, long dividing ridgelines and heavy vegetation.  Merinophia is a net exporter of people.  There are 108 tribes of Knovians (the peoples of Merinophia), who all jealously guard their own identity and traditions as fiercely as they guard their ancestral territories. 

Gudrun Rifles - modelled on Cadian Shock Troops, most are destined for the Cadian Gate. 
Knovians have a fine tradition of independence, hospitality to travellers and maintaining blood feuds long after the reason for the feud has been forgotten.   This has on occasion led the entire planet to reject the call for the Emperors tithe.   Bringing Merinophia back into the Imperial fold has usually fallen to regiments founded specifically for the task on the nearest high population world.   Historically, this has happened three times in the last three hundred years.

Knovians have a proud history of service to the Imperium and enthusiastically provide small, tribal based units to the Imperial Guard.   Commonly raising Nekye (Platoons), Gars (Companies) and on rare occasions, Teip (Battalions).    Perversely, the Knovians are provided by their planetary governor with armoured vehicles.   Almost exclusively Knovians in the Imperial Guard are either Tank formations, Motor Rifle units, armoured artillery or other modern cavalry type units.  

Knovian Motor Rifle Troops on parade.

Historically, the Knovians have been backwoodsmen, hunters of the wooded valleys, their extended families forming the basis of their society.  Traditionally, the culture on Merinophia was a raiding one, in which young men would prove themselves by raiding their near neighbours – even those with which they are on friendly terms – for beasts of burden, livestock or even brides.  These raids, which were essentially meant to be bloodless (although a raider caught by his intended victim might get a good beating before being released or ransomed), were also a way of maintaining the skills useful in fighting a guerrilla war to defend their homeland.

So the Knovians have been politically fragmented but culturally united.  Whilst sharing the same argot, identity and traditions, each of the 108 tribes was entirely self-governing, except when threatened by some external enemy.   

Traditionally, Gudrunite attitudes towards the Knovians have been complex, a mix of fear, hatred and respect.  Knovians are considered to be generally untrustworthy, wily yet primitive.  Sometimes they were portrayed as noble savages, more often just savages. To a considerable extent, this reflects the tenacity, skill and ferocity with which they have fought off Gudrun’s armies over the centuries.

Gudrun itself has a long and proud history of providing foundings for the Imperial Guard.  Some of the proudest names are those regiments raised for the three Merinophia campaigns.  Knovians also have a long and proud history of Imperial service.   However, such is the force of history, it would be an act of folly to deploy this units in the same formation.