+ Common Core Concepts +

Thursday, June 29, 2017

+ inload: Truescale and Primaris marines +

+ Dark Imperium +

+ The new boxed set of Warhammer 40,000 has arrived, and last night I finally got a chance to start playing around with the models. My first impressions are very positive. Both factions – Death Guard and Space Marines – benefit a great deal from the improvements in manufacture Games Workshop have made, with improved proportions and clean detailing. +

+ The elephant in the room is the increase in size. I've long been a fan of larger marines than standard (it stems from being a guard player – I always wanted enemy marines to tower over my guys), and the new models are great. +



+ I couldn't resist a little kitbashing and minor conversion work (reshaping the ankles to look more like classic marines, removing chest eagles and using older backpacks and heads), but the models built out of the box would be lovely. There are a few problems – mouldlines were more obvious than in Battle for Prospeo, and the small number of parts is a double-edged sword. While it makes assembly quick and easy, a few parts suffer from some softened detail: A couple of the shoulder pad rims and inside lower legs are distorted. However, these are minor faults in an excellent package, and nowhere near as pronounced as the similar problems with the Space Hulk models (which I count amongst my all-time favourite set). +

+ Aside from that, my only slight problem with the new marines is the poses. Most are good; a mix of dynamic and static, but a couple of them are really strangely over-extended and unbalanced-feeling. I initially assumed I'd trimmed the feet incorrectly, or hadn't glued them flat, but it does appear to be an issue with the sculpt. Oddly, if you hold them up to eye level, they look good; it's only when you see them from above that they start to look uncomfortable. It may be a deliberate aesthetic choice, but I wonder if it's something to do with the digital sculpting? +


+ Practical +

+ Hobby time has been sparse recently – I've been snowed under and what little time I had for myself has been spent on a commission (an Iron Warriors kill team) that I hope to show you once it's arrived with the buyer. Dark Imperium has proven an invigorating dose of stimms for my enthusiasm, and I'd recommend the set. The production values are great, and the new rulebook is lovely. +

+ So, what will I be doing with the Primaris marines? As you can see above, I've been building the Intercessors (the standard, bolt rifle-armed marines) with minor conversions, removing the Mark X stuff and incorporating some older mark details, such as helmets and backpacks. My plan for these is to use the Blood Angels army that popped up in White Dwarf issue 138 as the inspiration. This was one of the very first White Dwarf magazines I read, and the army's got nostalgic value for me. +

+ In addition, I like the parallels between the model transitions. That army was built with a combination of the older Mark VI marines and the (then-) newer Mark VII armour. The last time GW did a wholesale update of the Space Marine range's visuals was much more low-key! +

+ I'm not going to be obsessive about the army composition. There'll doubtless be a few nods to old models (I'm particularly keen to have a go at updating the proto-Tycho Blood Angels Captain) and the paint scheme, but the force will be a more general homage to the Blood Angels of the time – so tying in bits from the tail end of Rogue Trader through 2nd edition; particularly the artwork. +

+ To get an idea of the look I'm going for, it'll be based on similar principles to Brother Catabin, who may well join the force as a Lieutenant, Squad Leader or similar minor character:





+ So, that's the Intercessors; what about the rest? The Death Guard will be – unsurpisingly – Death Guard; I'm going to use the Horus Heresy scheme and muddy it up a bit. The remaining Primaris marines will become a Chapter of my own devising; and they'll stay as the new Mark X marines. +


+ Comparisons are odious +

+ ... but oh so fun! I set up one of my truescale marines against the new Primaris marines: 


+ As you can see, they're very similar in height, which is great – I feel pleased that my existing armies are going to look just right alongside other people's now. In fact, the only real differences in the silhouette come from the breadth of the chest and arms, and the size of the pauldrons. +


+ Two banner bearers – although the new models are slightly different, I think that the proportions are similar enough that they'll look good at table distance. +

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

+ inload: The Eightfold Path – Emperor's Children and Imperial Fists +

+ Stratagems, the Emperor's Finest and the Men of Stone +

+ A few tweaks to the basic Line Company gives them  some solid Stratagems to spend their CPs on. If you have any suggestions for Stratagems – whether Legion-specific or more generic – please send 'em in. +

+ A general note on the Legion Stratagems – I'm aware that they're not obviously powerful, often being useful only in special circumstance. It's worth explaining that's because (unlike normal Stratagems) there's no limit on the number of times they can be used in a turn. In addition, because they're replacing the special rules, I wanted to keep them cheap so that they can be used easily. +

+ The 'negative' Stratagems – those that you grant your opponent – are a good opportunity to help create decisions in-game: do you save your points for your turn, or spend them to stymie the enemy? Some may even backfire – dragging that Emperor's Children apothecary forwards might drag him into danger... but it might end up with him tipping the combat! +

+ I also like the fact that your options sometimes depend as much on your opponent as your army, broadening the potential interactions, and thus the interest. +

+ I'm particularly interested in your thoughts on CP costs for them. +


+ The Emperor's Children +

+ For some odd reason, the image keeps turning out very thin, so apologies for legibility. +

+ The Emperor's Children are marked by their perfectionism and speed. Their Initiative-modifying behaviour doesn't really translate to 8th, so I've saved the Counter-offensive Stratagem for them, which simulates the spirit. Hopefully this demonstrates why I'm taking stuff away from other Legions – in order to save 'design space'. +




+ The Legion Stratagems proved a bit tricky here owing to the differences between 7th and 8th; and I was aware that too much speed would tread on the White Scars' (eventual) toes. For this reason, I wanted to give a combination of Legion Stratagems that encouraged the Emperor's Children to position and then work in concert, unlike the Scars, who want to move and circle as much as strike and fade. Exemplars of War thus helps the Emperor's Children position themselves with more reliability than other Legions, while Flawless Execution reflects their ability to pick the best thing to do in any circumstance – stay locked, or pull back at an opportune moment and shoot. +


+ The Imperial Fists +

+  The Fists were a lot of fun to convert; I've both played as and fought against them a lot, and have always enjoyed the background of these staunch warriors. +

+ In Age of Darkness, the Fists share To the Bitter End with the Iron Warriors, extending the game. While I like the symmetry, it reduced the options in classic Iron Warriors versus Imperial Fists grudge-games. For that reason, I've replaced it with No Retreat, No Surrender. This is an expensive Stratagem that allows the enemy to keep the Fists locked in combat, with the intention of evoking the background that the Fists sometimes stay engaged when withdrawing would be more tactically sound. +

+ This stubbornness has an up-side, however. After all, the Legion birthed the Black Templars, and I wanted to move away from all of their rules being purely defensive. Unshakeable Defence is thus a potentially game-winning Stratagem that reflects both the Fists' defensive skills – you'll have to be serious about taking objectives in their half – but also gives the Fists some ability to work more aggressively. Its expense encourages a conservative use of Command Points throughout the game, which I felt reflected the brooding nature of the Legion and its Primarch without tying them into a one-dimensional style. +

+ Disciplined Fire is a cheap, good stratagem that was simple translation from 7th. +

+ Blood and Honour is a fun one. While relatively expensive, it's a good way of making sure that your Champions can get stuck in. I like the mechanic a lot, but wonder if it's too much for the Legion Stratagems – would it be better as a Stratagem granted by the Templar Brethren special unit? +



+ The Stone Gauntlet Detachment was a bit of a struggle. Resolve of Stone is a fairly simple translation, but Shield Charge (which grants Hammer of Wrath) in 7th, doesn't work well at all. I've ended up making it a cheap Strength upgrade, but am not particularly enamoured of it. +

+ I toyed with it forcing a successfully charged enemy to make an immediate Fall Back before the Consolidation part of the charge, as I think that'd be a great in-game visual, but was concerned that was a bit over-complex. Thoughts? +

Monday, June 19, 2017

+ inload: The Eightfold Path: Selecting an Army +

+ Choosing an army in The Eightfold Path +

+ Following on from this inload [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], I've been cracking on with the HQs and the underlying army selection rules.  +

+ Designer's Notes +

+ The approach I've taken is to remove unit special rules in favour of making the Strategems far more important. This is to (hopefully) introduce more of a sense of personal involvement for you, the commander. +

+ It simulates fatigue and battlefield confusion – as you use your Command Points up, your troops will slowly lose their Legion-specific edge: the Emperor's Children will slow down, the Iron Warriors will begin to lose their psychological resistance to shooting, and so forth. +

+ More practically, it keeps all of the relevant rules for your army on a spread or two (including special units), with a handy reference sheet for the Strategems you have access to. This reduces cross-referencing and layering of information. +

+ This is a fairly fundamental change, as it essentially makes all the Legiones Astartes identical once the Command Points run out (barring Legion special rules). However, this is set against the Detachments and army selection rules, which reward those who choose a thematic army – viz. one with plenty of basic troops – without penalising those players who choose more specialist selections. +

+ Anyway, have a (red) butcher's and see what you think. I'd appreciate your thoughts; but please remember this is intended to give a different game experience to standard 40k. +



+ Legion specifics +

+ I've picked the Iron Warriors to start with as they're the army I play – I'll head off accusations of favouritism by holding my hands up: it's a fair cop +

+ Joking aside, I'd like to make best use of my time, and so will be prioritising Legions I use or am likely to face. In any case, the IVth are fundamentally a fairly simple Legion, and so they make a nice easy way to start. Coming up next will be the Imperial Fists, Sons of Horus, Iron Hands and Ultramarines; probably in that order. +


+ The Legion-specific detachment is a neat demonstration of how the keywords system removes the need for screeds of text and helps to keep things condensed. By simply noting that all units have to come from the Iron Warriors faction, you remove the need to make that explicit outside of the box-out. A lot of the rules that needed spelling out – the additional compulsory Troops choice, additional optional Heavy Support and so forth – are simply included as icons. +

+ I've tried to follow the spirit of the rules as well as the letter – so have made the first Heavy Support choice mandatory, and removed a Fast Attack option. Compare the Hammer of Olympia Detachment (above) with the Company Detachment (top) and note the difference in units that grant (or reduce) CPs – the grungy trench infantry-led Hammer of Olympia doesn't gain the benefit of CPs for jump-pack Assault Squads or Flyers, but does for Artillery. +

+ Hail of Fire used to be a special rule that layered on top of others; here it becomes an option for you to spend your finite CP resources upon. +

+ I was in two minds whether to include Sheathed in Steel – I think the Detachment would work without it, and I'm loath to introduce additional rules, but it does help to evoke the character of the Detachment, so I kept it in. +



+ A Legion-specific character, which converts the old Shatter Defences rule into a strategem (Pinpoint Defect). I felt this better reflects the intention of the Legion-specific officers – they bring particular expertise and alter the army's abilities. +


+ The more generic Praetor for comparison +


+ And a sample Alternative Detachment – these will replace the old Rites of War; again folding rules together to reduce duplication and make reference quicker and easier. +

Friday, June 09, 2017

+ inload: 8th Edition and the Age of Darkness: Troops +

+ The Eightfold Path +

+ Using the Legiones Astartes in 8th edition Warhammer 40,000 +

+ As a bit of fun, and stemming from this interesting discussion on the Bolter & Chainsword forum [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] I've started working up some tide-you-over rules for using your Age of Darkness models with the new 8th edition rules. +

+ Designer's notes +

+ I've stuck as closely as possible to the Age of Darkness rules, and have, where possible, used existing 8th edition rules – garnered from previews and leaks – as substitutes. Where rules had no equivalent, or did not make sense in 8th edition, I have gone back to the background descriptions for sparing additions. +

+ I have also applied a general rule of keeping things as simple as possible. This has generally meant that minor rules have been simply folded into unit statistics or (occasionally) discarded if they did not translate well, or made things complicated for little reward. +

+ I have aimed to avoid the Siren-call trap of fan rules – viz. the need to fiddle and needlessly add stuff! Doubtless I've failed to some extent, but I hope you will read such additions in context of the broader scope of the project and give them the benefit of the doubt before condemning them or suggesting replacements. +

+ Of particular note – and probably the most contentious decision I've made here – is using the new Primaris Marine statistics as the basis for all of the marines. The reason for this is threefold:
  1. Having two wounds on each Marine opens up a lot of design space. 
    • It differentiates a lot of the weaponry more than would otherwise be the case; making choice of weaponry more meaningful – important in a game that is mainly based around such similar armies. 
    • Similarly, if Astartes have 2W, it makes them appropriately tougher than Solar Auxilia, Cultists etc. when (and if) I get round to converting them.
  2. It makes the basic Space Marine more meaningful. Many Age of Darkness games revolve around elites and tanks, and an aim of this project is to make large units of Marines more attractive.
    • On a minor note, it ameliorates the jump between 1W and 2W models in the existing Age of Darkness ruleset.
    • Of particular note: certain elite Terminator units in Age of Darkness have 2W, making them more than twice as survivable as their equivalents in other Legions. Starting from a baseline of 2W allows such units to become 3W, making them only 50% more survivable.
  3. I believe the Primaris Marines statistics better represent Astartes, and that the new edition has been written with them in mind; with the existing Astartes rules included for backwards-compatibility.

+ Troops +

+ An obvious starting point, here're the Legion's basic troops. You should be able to click on each image to enlarge it to a more legible size: 



+ Fury of the Legion is based on the idea of the hail of fire described in the background. Rather than adding a firing twice rule, I've effectively given an alternative fire mode. +

+ The Nuncio-vox rules has no equivalent in 8th, so I've taken a leaf from the leaked Imperial Guard orders and applied a minor benefit to encourage squads to stick with their leaders. +

+ A notable absence is the Legiones Astartes special morale rules. Falling back no longer happens, and in all honesty, I think simply having a relatively high Ld characteristic is sufficient and suitable. The Vexilla goes a long way to making the Astartes as staunch as in 7th. +


+ I toyed with Breachers having 2+ armour – effectively, being permanently in cover. However, my gaming group felt that didn't sit right, so I've given the Boarding Shield a similar rule to the Thousand Sons' All Is Dust rule. +

+ The Volkite rule is based on a reverse mechanic to that of the overheating plasma gun. I have not distinguished between Grav and Graviton weaponry, and have simply used the existing 8th edition rules for the Graviton gun. +


+ Combat shields seem pretty awesome here, but the rules are straight from 8th. Points values will probably help here, but that's a long way off! +


+ The Rotor Cannon is a salvo weapon in 7th, which has no equivalent in 8th. I toyed with making it Heavy and giving it a second firing mode when moving, but eventually plumped with the simpler option of making if Rapid Fire. Six shots at half range should make it occasionally worthwhile, too. +


+ Shroud bombs are based on Smoke Launchers from the Imperial Guard; Flanking Manoeuvres on the Rough Riders' rule of the same name, which replaces 7th ed. Outflank. Recon Armour includes the infiltrate equivalent. I could think of no elegant replacement for Acute Senses, but since it's such an minor advantage, I dropped it. +

+ Directed Fire is a new rule based loosely on the Guard's Master of Ordnance special rule, though toned-down to reflect the relative ease with which Reconnaissance marines can get into position and their resilience. This rule is an indulgent addition, but a forgiveable one, I hope – it's intended to encourage a synergistic and inter-reliant approach for the Legiones Astartes (much like the Nuncio-vox rule), which I think fits nicely into the 8th edition design philosophy. More importantly, it neatly reflects the role that the Reconnaissance Marines have – sneaking close to identify targets. +


+++

+ I'd love to hear your thoughts – particularly if you spot an error – and will continue to refine these rules based on emerging rules (e.g. if official rules for the lascutter emerge) and, more importantly your feedback – though please bear in mind I'm just doing this for a bit of fun, so please don't be offended if I don't make particular alterations based on your thoughts, however eloquently they're put forward! +

Thursday, June 08, 2017

+ inload: Stuntwedge's Imperial Fists +

+ Army showcase: Stuntwedge's Team Fisto +


+ Team Fisto is a group project that has been slowly bumping along since 2009. The idea of a large group project was dreamt up when we used to attend the Tempus Fugitives' fantastic campaign weekends. We wanted to take up an entire taskforce of the same army to one of their Age of the Emperor Heresy-era events. +

+ Of course, this being the glory days of the group, where we were all blessed with loads of free time, we took on a very ambitious task – after much discussion the PCRC finally decided that 'true-scale' Imperial Fists were the army to do. +

+ As with all such plans, there were various levels of enthusiasm in the gang, and gradually the idea got whittled down to four of us: Omricon, Bob Hunk, myself and Stuntwedge; and finally just two complete armies. You can read the whole history here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] +

+ Stuntwedge +

+ Regular readers of the blog will be familiar with Bob Hunk's awesome Imperial Fists, who have seen various iterations; but you may not have seen Stuntwedge's wonderful work, as he's more usually a Tau player – having been bumping along with Shas'O Shas'ka Nan of the Starblade Cadre [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] since 3rd edition. +

+ As you'll have seen in the recent battle report, Down Amongst the Dead Men [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], the glorious VIIth came out to fight off the advancing Iron Warriors; and I took the opportunity to get some shots of this lovely army for you. This isn't the whole army – there are a number of vehicles and other bits and bob; all equally beautifully converted and finished in Stuntwedge's cleanly-blended and smoothly-finished style. +

+ Veterans +


+ The Veterans here are a good example of the sort of Horus Heresy-era marines we were making before Games Workshop and Forge World started producing Heresy miniatures. As a result, there's a wonderful baroque quality to them, as Stuntwedge used parts from all over the place. Note the similarity of the altered Chaos backpacks – now referred to as Anvilus pattern – to the current Mark III plastics and resin packs. +

+ Stuntwedge took a slightly different approach to truescaling his marines; combining Terminator legs with altered power-armoured uppers – though there are spacers to increase the height and depth of the chest, to ensure the proportions held up. This gave the advantage of being able to retain more torso detail and greater variety of parts for arms. +

+ Cataphractii Terminators +


+ Another advantage of using the power-armoured marines as the basis was that Stuntwedge was able to make his Terminators distinct from their power-armoured brethren. Never one to take the easy way out, however, he ended up adding considerable bulk to the legs and torsos, and carving down the helms of many – note the similarity of his helmet conversions (right, in the above image) to the Grey Knight Terminators, released just after he'd finished. +


+ The conversion work is subtle and show the maker's eye for detail – and ability to pick out a good bit. I love the Dreadnought sarcophagus used here on the sergeant (centre). +

+ Tactical Marines +


+ The army, themed around the Siege of Terra, includes two ten-man Tactical Squads – they'd work nicely as Veteran Tacticals in the new rules – which are themed around combat squads. One (above) is equipped with shiny new Mark VI 'Corvus' armour. Note the marine reloading on the right. It's easy to gloss over details like this as they're now available in standard kits; but at the time, required careful conversion and sculpting work. +


+ Each of the squads is bolstered by the presence of a squad leader (front row, centre) marked out by the mini-banner – a fond reference to Rogue Trader/2nd ed. organisation. These had no in-game effect, but make for great details. The personal heraldry tiltplate used here is cool, too. +


+ The other half of the squad is decked out in Mark V 'Heresy' armour. I think this is my personal favourite part of the army – the sculpting's great, and the contrast between clean yellow and strong metal is eye-catching and impressive. The heads were gathered from the missile launcher from the then current 40k boxed set – Battle for Black Reach(?); then the only source of plastic Mark V helms. +


+ Stuntwedge picked out this chap as one of his favourite parts of the army – the posing and detail that show the character of the piece are hallmarks of his work. +


+ The second Tactical squad used Forge World's Red Scorpions pack for the heads and torsos. +


+ He enjoyed the challenge of matching the canonical details as precisely as possible – an old hand at 40k, Stuntwedge based a lot of the detail on the formative armour mark models and articles from the Second Edition era. +


+ The missile launcher's another favourite model of his. The occasional bare-headed model (here with sculpted hair) helps to inject some humanity into the army. +



+ Again, a nice balance of dynamic and supporting poses in the squads helps to give them a great balanced feel. Note the crenellated shoulder pads – a nod to the Imperial Fists' Index Astartes article from White Dwarf. +


+ Occasional characterful poses, like this marine pulling a pin from a grenade with his teeth, are scattered through the army, and make for rewarding close observation. +

+ Captain +


+ Based on the Battle for Black Reach Captain, the figure is largely recognisable; it almost appears unconverted.  I think I'm right in saying that Stuntwedge isn't overly fond of this model, but I think it demonstrates a great deal of skill to get your conversion work and sculpting so clean. +

+ As a group +


 + It takes skill to make a great model; and it takes a different set of skills to make for a great looking and cohesive army. Attention to detail and a disciplined, coherent paint scheme and basing style result in a beautiful army. +



Friday, June 02, 2017

+ inload: Down Amongst the Dead Men – Part II +


+ Part I of this battle report can be found here:
[+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]
 +

+++

With bolt shells flying and howls of agony and rage from both sides, the battle was at its height.


The recalcitrant Iron Warrior sergeant finally fell to the blade of the Imperial Fist Captain, and the Imperial Fists resumed their stoic advance up the southern street. They kept close to cover and out of sight of the plasma-armed Iron Warriors.



As the Imperial Fists in the south brought down the Iron Warriors there, a squad of Imperial Fists, pinned down at the entrance of the large central ruin, appraised their brethren of the situation. They were safely out of sight, but too small in number to reliably contest the central objective.



Alerted to the Iron Warriors' numbers, the Imperial Fists' Captain gave a barked order. Ever-disciplined, the bulk of the Fists' force wheeled towards the large ruin to attack the entrenched defenders, enveloping the ruin and advancing from two sides.



Intercepting the vox, Çjarn – injured but standing  turned back with a snarl. He had to buy his men time – but a swift duel saw the Iron Warrior Captain sprawling in the dust, defeated.



Outnumbered and surrounded, and with their Captain down, the bitter IVth Legionaries still held an advantage in objectives claimed and a defended position – if they could drive the Imperial Fists back, or simply prevent them getting close, they could still claim victory.



Seizing the chance, the surviving boltgun-armed squad advanced under the cover of the plasma-armed squad to grab the objective.



Running out of time, those Imperial Fists close enough charged into combat...



...and the charge proved decisive, as the Iron Warriors were brought down. Despite one surviving, the objective was lost.

Victory to the Imperial Fists!

+++

+ Post-battle thoughts +

+ Coo, that was fun. Leaving aside the rules for the new edition for the moment, poor old Çjarn can't catch a break – this is his fifth successive defeat without claiming a kill! :D +

+ I had an absolute blast, and Graham's already challenged me to a rematch, so we'll see if the hapless Centurion can do better next time. +


+ The game was tense and involving, and could have gone either way. Though it should be borne in mind we were playing a small game with few units, my first impression of the new 8th edition rules are that it felt clean and simple. It all felt quite intuitive, too, so there's a balance of familiarity and shiny newness to the ruleset. +

+ I'm slightly disappointed that the you-go-I-go system is still broadly in place, though it is broken up a little by the combat phase, and the speed of the game means that there's more sense of being involved during the other players' turn, so it's certainly an improvement on the increasingly clunky 7th edition on that front. +

+ We were using the rules for the new Primaris Marines – it's nice to have rules that reflect the bigger armies we've been using for a few years now – and they helped to showcase some of the rules. Having two wounds meant that overcharging the plasma weaponry – which would remove the enemy in one hit, but could kill your own troops equally easily – was a proper choice. +

+ That choice is one example of some of the interesting mechanics that popped up. Chargers striking first, 'command auras', and variable damage on weapons, for example, combine to improve the sense that the decisions we were making mattered. In turn, that made for a more immersive experience. +

+ Given that we were playing with such a limited range of units and equipment, I'm very optimistic, and can't wait to try some more games of 8th. +

Thursday, June 01, 2017

+ inload: Down Amongst the Dead Men – An 8th edition Battle Report +


+ Team Fisto – we've seen their likes before. Bob Hunk is a name regular exloaders will be familiar with, but Fisto started as a group project. Another proud member of the golden-armoured VIIth Legion is grahamgilchrist, with whom I played a test game of 8th edition 40k using the rules that have been previewed on the Warhammer Community site recently. +

+ Not having access to the point values, we stuck with a simple mirror match. Each Captain led Four five-man squads of Primaris marines, and one seven-man squad of plasmabastards (Hellblasters). +

+ The mission was simple – four objectives were set up which needed to be claimed at the end of the game for two victory points (VPs) each. An additional D3 were up for grabs if either of us could bring down the opposing Captain. +

+++

Deep in the bowels of the Palace, the Iron Warriors' 242nd Company were advancing quickly through ruins that had been ancient when the Great Crusade was launched. Submerged beneath an old reservoir, the warfare on the surface had caused a breach that had allowed millions of tons of black water to drain away, revealing the lost city of Tu-Banad – an irreplaceable and precious archaeological gem, of which the warring factions were entirely uncaring.

The Fists' commanding Praetor ordered a precious demi-company of his best men to stymie and drive back the opportunistic thrust; and the streets that had known nothing but the tread of microbes for centuries were suddenly alive with the whoosh-bang of boltgun fire.


When contact was made, the Iron Warriors were spread relatively loosely around the large central ruin, with troops drawn up behind barricades in the south (front of picture), looking down a killzone. The Fists rejected the north flank and massed in the centre and south.


The Pillars of Dawn, cyclopean pillars that had suspended a protective rad-canopy over the city still stood; dwarfing even the mighty Astartes of the VIIth, as they closed to engage the intruding Iron Warriors.


Clustered behind cover, the Iron Warriors were determined to make this patch of the Palace their own.


Rushing forward, the Iron Warriors siezed the initiative – and the high ground.


Long-range firepower chipped away at the Fists, but though one or two wounded, the weight of fire was not sufficient to put any of them down.


The Iron Warriors in the south sheltered behind the obstacles, awaiting the Fists' advance.


True to form, the indomitable Fists pushed forward into the southern street. Would it prove a killing ground, or would their plate prove sufficient to protect them?


In the north, the IVth Legion's specialists waited on one of the objectives, safe from harm – but unable to target the Fists.


Small groups of Iron Warriors advance, but the two squads suffer heavy damage at the hands of hte massed Imperial Fists.


The plasma rifles are dangerous enough, but directed by the Captain, they became deadly.
+ The Captain allowed the Hellblasters to reroll to hit rolls of 1 – an obvious synergy with the 'gets hot' roll of their plasma rifles. +


With the Imperial Fists committed on the southern flank, the Iron Warriors started losing more and more men. Captain Çjarn ruthlessly sent his depleted squads forward to engage the Fists, hoping to hold the Fists here for long enough that they would be unable to contest the objectives.


Combat! Two Iron Warriors slam into their hated foes.


Clearly warp-blessed, the sergeant survives a flurry of blows from the Captain, any of which would have ended him.


As the artificial light started to fade, the surviving Iron Warriors on the south pulled back to deeper defences, still aiming to slow and degrade the enemy...

+++

+ The concluding part can be found here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] +