+ inload: Battle report – Devils in Hong Tan +

Whatever happened to Shas'Nel Naseel, the unfortunate Fireblade sent to stop the advance of the Bleak Vespers towards Waygoan City in the battle report detailed here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]? That's what we set out to explore; as the Tau veterans defending Or'Na decide to rescue their compatriot.

This was an introduction to Kill Team, 40k's small-scale brother, for me – Bob Hunk led me through the rules for a tense and exciting game!

+ Game type: Kill Team
+ Mission: Rescue
+ Combatants: Apologist, commanding the Prokemina, Death Guard counter-insurgents; vs Bob Hunk, commanding brave Tau special forces team The Unblinking Eye.
+ Battleground: The Septworld Or'Na – a day's march from the G'loshes Pass lie the ruins of Hong Tan, an industrial district that the Bleak Vespers have converted into a forward operating base.

+ The forces +

+ Prokimena +

Before the mass of the Bleak Vespers advance the Prokemina, advance parties of Plague Marines skilled in infiltration and small unit tactics. Seeding unrest, fear and destruction amongst the luckless foe's rear lines, the Prokemina's true threat is not to the fuel bowers they sabotage or sentries they kill; but in the moral and physical pestilence that blooms in their wake.
  • Mečiar – Plague Champion [Leader] with plague knife, boltgun, blight grenades and krak grenades (15)
  • Konstantin – Plague Marine Gunner [Heavy] with plague knife, meltagun, blight grenades and krak grenades (15+3)
  • Bezdeda – Plague Marine Gunner with plague knife, plague spewer, blight grenades and krak grenades (15+4)
  • Oratorio – Plague Marine [Veteran] with plague knife, boltgun, blight grenades and krak grenades (14)
  • Chrobák – Plague Marine [Demolitions] with plague knife, boltgun, blight grenades and krak grenades (14)
  • Bastian – Poxwalker (3)
  • Un'Ela – Poxwalker (3)
  • Damocles – Poxwalker (3)
  • The Bohemian – Poxwalker (3)
  • Osto – Poxwalker (3)
  • Tenzig – Poxwalker (3)

+ Recon Team The Unblinking Eye +

A veteran of the Fourth Sphere expansions and the Brightsword annexation of Imperial space in this sector, Teisat'su and his Pathfinders lead the operations of this recon team. Supo'ta and his Fire Section are experienced veterans of patrol and enforcement operations on newly annexed worlds, often operating without immediate cadre support for days or weeks at a time. Okam'i is a veteran Stealth Suit operator and last survivor of his unit. He works with others only reluctantly, and only ever for the Greater Good. Ren'as and Ren'por are local scouts and guides working with the T'au. Referred to as 'The Twins' by their T'au comrades, their actual familial relationship is actually unclear.
  • Teisat'su 'Clear Sight' – Pathfinder Shas'Ui, [Leader]
  • 2 x Pathfinder Shas'ui
  • Supo'ta 'The Vigilant' – Fire Warrior Shas'Ui, [Comms]
  • 4 x Fire Warrior Shas'ui
  • Okam'i 'The Wolf' – Stealth Suit Shas'vre, [Veteran
  • Ren'as - Kroot Carnivore, [Scout] 
  • Ren'por - Kroot Carnivore
  • Helper - MV1 Gun Drone

+ The Game +

The main force of the Bleak Vespers had pushed on to Waygoan City, there to begin the siege of the T'au's strongpoint on the world. Mečiar, however, was invested with considerable leeway by his lord Simargi. Perhaps alerted by whispers in the warp, he had doubled back, taking his hand-picked troops – and some of the swaying, regretful humans that had welcomed them as rescuers – with him.

Picking their way through the ruins, his hunch proved correct – the booby traps that laced the ritual area had been de-activated.
+ Bob Hunk had had his fingers burned by booby traps in another game – and our scouting phase options cancelled each other out. +

Still, the crates and barrels that contained the critical sacrifices were still intact. Dread Mečiar cautiously waved his forces forward.

Praying to Grandfather, his men watched in detachment as seizures surged over their leader's body, and he slumped to the floor in a torpor.
+ Not an auspicious start for the Death Guard, as I used a strategem to call Nurgle's favour... only for my commander to prove unworthy and keel over! As the first roll of the game, Bob Hunk graciously offered to let me re-take things; but sometimes the best stories come out of things like this. We may be able to write it in as some sort of vision from Nurgle – or perhaps he'll learn his lesson and do something impressive in-game before calling for his god's blessing next time! +

The Death Guard veteran, Oratorio, caught sight of Tau clambering over the ruins opposite, and barked an order to his comrades. As one, they broke cover and surged forward as the Tau readied their rifles menacingly. Konstantin sprinted towards a Pathfinder Shas'ui, who nervously trained a markerlight on him. His run had caught him some cover, and his armour proved sufficient shelter from those that could target him.

Okam'i noiselessly jetted up to the top of the ruin, and opened up with his burst cannon on Bezdeda as he strode forwards, the tanks of his plaguespurter sloshing. Ion fire spanged from the Death Guard's ceramite, sending him staggering but unhurt. He turned his blue lenses on his attacker.

Cracks of boltgun fire reverberated, but to little effect.

Konstantin slammed into the Pathfinder with his shoulder, sending him sprawling; but unharmed.

Oratorio cracked shots off on the move, but they either failed to hit, or were frustrated by the Fire Warrior's armour. The Poxwalkers sprinter to the base of the ruins, out of line of sight.

Okam'i checked his sensors again – there seemed to be life signs near this point. Perhaps in the rubble..? His attention was broken as a wave of pestilent filth sprayed up from Bezdeda on the floor below. He grimaced as the bubbling matter melted plates of armour and drew blood.

Supo'ta directed the shots of his Fireteam, splitting poxwalkers into shards of bubbling black flesh; but the Astartes were proving as frustratingly tough as their reputation.

Okam'i jetted from the roof to the objective opposite, but the plaguespurter's tide of waste followed the elegant arc of his jump. He crashed to the floor and lay, unmoving.

Clear Sight clambered to the roof alongside a comrade – and as he unbuckled his clamber-gravharness, he heard a weak voice cry out. It was Shas'Nel Naseel! The Tau instantly called for medical evacuation.
'Courage now, honoured one. We will depart shortly.' He gritted his hard palette and began shooting down at the Plague Marines, who had all ominously turned to look at him.

One poxwalker died a second death to the readied guns of the Tau firebase, but the other managed to get into contact with the front T'au. Meanwhile, the Astartes clambered to the roof.

Bloodied but unbowed, the brave Clear Sight managed to fend off the clubbing blows of the Death Guard just enough for help to arrive and whisk the team away from the dread grasp of the Death Guard.

+ Result: Tau Victory

+ Thoughts on the game +

+ A fantastically close game that came right down to the wire – with two Death Guard and two Tau models near the objective, the rescuers (Tau) would win ties – but both Helper the drone and Clear Sight were badly injured. If they failed their flesh wound rolls, the Death Guard would carry the day. +

+ As it was, Bob Hunk used his very last command point to reroll the failed result, just scraping enough to rescue their comrade – phew! A victory for the goodies. +

+ I thouht that was a great introduction to Kill Team, and a great way to showcase how a little thought can lead to an unfolding narrative from game to game. Shas'Nel Naseel was a character created purely to lead a force in a previous game of 40k; but put up enough of an entertaining fight for us to wonder what became of him. He was thus a perfect excuse for a rescue mission. +

+ The game was clean, quick and fun; and I'm interested to play a bit more Kill Team. +

+ Thoughts on narrative and character +

+ Captured and rescued, is the Shas'Nel that's going home the same one who led his forces bravely? Will he recover from his trauma, or become embittered and vengeful? Worse, is this all a trick? Has the stolid Fireblade become a Trojan Horse for the siege of Waygoan City? Will he become a shining symbol of overcoming adversity – a propaganda coup for all the Tau in the embattled Tzi'Na region? +

+ All these things are possible, but the important thing is that it'll all unfold organically – and according to what Bob Hunk wants to do with the character. +

+ Dread Mečiar is another thread we can pull. The bald game rules killed him off before he did anything; but that can be spun into something more interesting – Did a vision from Nurgle overcome him? Was he stricken down for hubris? How will he react? Not everything needs hard rules; sometimes it's enough to have the only thing special about a character be his or her story. +

+ Of course, not everything needs to be followed up. Sometimes characters like Mečiar can just die; but it's worth making a note of amusing, heroic or unlikely things that figures do in your games, as they lead to the development of character and narrative. The PCRC have another game set in the Tzi'Na Crisis coming up soon – perhaps what's happening on Or'Na will affect that? + 


+ inload: Continuing campaigns of the Alien Wars +

+ Requesting fire support! +

+ Further following the Lamb's Worlders around, I wanted to add some thanks to the contributions and brilliant conversions for various Guard regiments I've seen on the + Death of a Rubricist + Facebook group [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +


+ Highside +

Circa 379.M34 Highside made contact with the outside. Hesitant at first when the bubble of reality began to break down and fragments of the greater galaxy broke through. Had the traitors won? Did the Imperium stand? 
Sadly, the genetic forces of the Geno Zweitausend, lauded and hailed as heroes on Highside, were seen as aberrants and walking visions of distrust in the Imperium of today. 
Sidelined out of the Imperial forces they remain as the PDF of Highside.

Extr. Liber Corvus – Scribator Tewarts Finlay-Dye

The Highside Reintegration Campigns were a series of hard-fought battles between Regiments loyal to the Old Imperium, who invaded the long-lost Forge World with the intention of housing settlers displaced by warfare with Nova Terra. The Highside defenders – only recently finding the world's place in the Imperium – fought the clearances bitterly amongst the highlands and rocky places of their planet.

At the core of the – eventually successful – resistance, were the Geno Zweitausend; a genetically modified elite corps that outmatched even the Lamb's World own elite Grenadier corps.

+ With thanks to Andy of Corvuspaints for the fantastic setting. I hope to feature his Highsiders as a guestinload soon. +

+ XXIX: Braxas Bree. Highside Reitegration Campaigns. KIA confirmed – punjee trap +

+ XVII: Chastener Abrams Meph. Highside Reintegration Campaigns. KIA confirmed – martyred by ploughshare. +

+ XXX and XXXI: Ob Cwmbrae and Maras Fell. Highside Reintegration Campaigns. KIA confirmed – counter battery fire. +

+ XXXII and XXXIII: Zara Fanwy and Teeh Senwicce. Highside Reintegration Campaigns. KIA unconfirmed – MIA. +

+ XXXIV: Breffy Ap Tyl. Highside Reintegration Campaigns. KIA confirmed – blood loss. +

+ LeGuin's Star campaign +

Lamb's World forces were deployed alongside the Salizar 71st and 13th during the attempted Pacification of Urras. They operated with distinction under the command of Salizarian General Lõpez. The death of the reactionary Caef-Maior Tunte early in the war saw a brevet promotion for an up-and-coming officer Rhian ap Humphrey. Her canny leadership improved relations with the Salizarian forces, and saw LeGuin's Star won for the Nova Terrans in short order. +

+ XXXV: Briony Van Dam. LeGuin's Star campaign. KIA confirmed – Multiple bayonet wounds. +

+ XXXVI: Osc Druit. LeGuin's Star campaign. KIA confirmed – Decapitation. +

+ XXXVI: Keel Taif. LeGuin's Star campaign. KIA unconfirmed +

+ XXXVII: Genny Isdda . LeGuin's Star campaign. KIA confirmed – Insubordiation  +

+ Chu Tzu Offensive +

The chem-swamps of Chu Tzu – a 'protectorate' of the little-known Fomor species – proved a deadly deathtrap for the Lamb's World 103rd; with the regiment suffering near total losses in the brief hours of the initial offensive. Specialists from Veet Ling and abhumans from Balzene were deployed in support, but the campaign settled into a bloody quagmire for years afterwards. Hundreds dies of swamprot and fever; but many thousands more simply vanished into the mists during patrols.

+ XXXVIII: Mothy Shirefew. Chu Tzu Offensive. KIA confirmed – battlefield execution following being rendered unfit for service through limb loss. +

+ XXXIX: Bran Shummer. Chu Tzu Offensive. KIA unconfirmed + 

+ XL: Mothy Shirefew. Chu Tzu Offensive. KIA unconfirmed. +

+ Camazotz War +

Fought against the Krell over the previously-Imperial world of Camazotz, the Lamb's Worlders found themselves in a good position to finish the job begun by the Stellar Steeds Chapter Astartes. Deployed in an anti-insurgency role, the Lamb's Worlders took part in only one set-piece battle, a one-sided affair that saw the herds of dominated citizenry sent across a desert plain against the long-range specialists of the Lamb's World 88th.

+  XLI: Soddo Caprig. Camazotz War. KIA confirmed – battlefield execution. +

+ XLII: Bantas Toast. Camazotz War. KIA confirmed: caught in explosion. +

+ XLIII: Capy Fenton. Camazotz War. KIA confirmed: limb loss. +

+ Neomunda +

The Lamb's World 12th Armoured Corps were deployed to the borderworld of Neomunda (formerly New Mundus; renamed following its double-secession from both Old Imperium and subsequently Nova Terran forces). A month-long three-way armoured duel began between the forces of the Old Imperium, Nova Terrans and the Neomundan's own Stalk-Brigades.

+ XLIV: Caspor Brokenspar. Neomunda. KIA confirmed – catastrophic haemorrhage +

+ XLV: Crew of the Delivery Service. Neomunda. Lost with all hands – artillery strike. +

+ XLVI: Isti Vayl, Commander of the Echo of Breakers. Neomunda. KIA – asphyxiation. +

+ XLVII: Remaining crew of the Echo of Breakers. Neomunda. Lost with all hands – unidentified cause. +

+ XLVIII: Crew of the Lamb of the God-Emperor. Neomunda. Lost with all hands – magazine detonation. +

+ XLIX: Crew of the Lovely Girl. Neomunda. Lost with all hands – boarded. +

+ L: Enders Walt. Neomunda. KIA – mass-driver strike. +

+ LI: Erun Iax. Neomunda. KIA – dehydration. +


+ inload: Lamb's World Tanks +

+ Armour +

+ 'What are you waiting for, a gilded invitation? Get in!' +

+ A recent visit to the Tank Museum down in Dorset was a huge inspiration, and caused me to get very frothy about tanks. 40k-wise, I've always been more of an infantry man, but the tank museum really showed how tanks can be varied and personalised – so I had to add some more to my Lamb's World army. +

+ Years back I bought some conversion kits for the GW Chimera, but ended up giving them to a PCRC mate, Lord Blood the Hungry. He generously gave them back to me, along with a whole pile of Elysians (cheers chum – I owe you one!). Perfect to add a mechanised element to my existing army. +

+ Along with the chimera conversion bits, I bought a Elysian Valkyrie riders set, a short-lived Forge World release. I used one of them sitting figures on Echo-118, the tank above (painted goodness knows how long ago); but now have the opportunity to put them where I'd intended to put them on purchase: inside the chimera. +

+ It's a very characterful set of figures, and I'm glad I snapped up a set when I had the chance. It's understandable that sets like this, which have little in-game purpose, tend to get crowded out by game-suitable figures. Still a shame they're out of print, though. +

+ As with all my Lamb's Worlders, they're based on Elysian figures. I trimmed away the respirators and decapitated them, replacing the heads. For these, I used a mix of Cadian FW respirator heads and some Van Saar heads, to create a nice mix. +

+ Being designed for the older Chimera kit, the third party conversion kit itself has a wonky fit. There are misalignments in anumber of places – an explanation for why can be found at Warfrog's Hobby Blog [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. I'm going to camouflage them as best I can with gap filling and stowage, rather than attempt a more serious cut-and-shut fix. Slightly disheartening, but I don't think it'll be too glaring on the table – and sometimes done is better than perfect. +

+ I'll be leaving the top of the Chimera open, and have magnetised the seated figures so they can be removed – either to add a bit of verisimilitude during a game, or simply to inspect the lovely sculpts. +

+ I'm also tempted to turn some or all of the holes in the upper hull (intended for lasguns) into portholes. This will allow more light in, and bring focus to the figures. If I do so, I think I'll keep one set of lasguns in place – perhaps representing some sort of volley gun to explain the in-game stats. + 


+ Artillery and Tanks +

+ It's not just Infantry Fighting Vehicles, though. A win on eBay saw me take ownership of a Manticore artillery piece [SCRAPSHUNTERROABORT – and not the Medusa I called it originally!]. Artillery's not something that I've used much. I had a Basilisk back in 2nd edition, but that's as far as it went. This was very much terra incognita for me. I used the same approach as for my other tanks, but left the piece more lightly weathered than the front-line tank. +

+ The ideas for the decoration – such as the manufactory code (detail third from right at the bottom of the image), came from the Tank Museum visit. I thought it'd be a fun opportunity to adds some PCRC references, so the artillery piece got the code BZOA439-NTI as a nod to Lucifer216's Forgeworld Bezoa. The NTI is meaningless in-universe, but is a real world reference to the Alien Wars project, referring to Nova Terra Interregnum. +

+ Finally, I wanted to finish off the other Leman Russ, and bought a Vanquisher turret, to fit in with the Leman Russ company I have in Epic scale (these usually have a Vanquisher as the Company Command vehicle). It'll be fun to be able to field a whole Tank platoon plus command – and perhaps give me a fighting chance against the Knights popping up in the PCRC! +

+ inload: 40k Battle report – Tensions over Neues Tremo part II +

+ This is the second part of a Warhammer 40,000 (8th edition) battle report. The first datasquirt can be found here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]

+ There are six objectives; three on each side, including one on the board edge of each player. At the end of the third or subsequent turns, a commander can claim victory if he has achieved at least two of the following objectives, and the other commander has achieved fewer.
  • Blitzkrieg: Capture the objective on the enemy board edge.
  • Take and Hold: Capture at least two objectives on the enemy table half.
  • Defend the Flag: Hold all objectives on the friendly table half.
  • They Shall Not Pass: No enemy units completely within the friendly table half.
  • Break their spirit: Completely destroy the opponent's most expensive unit (in this case, a Leman Russ squadron for Lamb's World [30PL]; and a unit of Vorax [24PL] for the Bezoans.

+ The veteran Caef Whittaker commanded the Lamb's World 18th during the battle. +

+ Late turns and end of game +

+ The battle was in full swing. On the face of it, the Guard seemed to have the upper hand; having thinned out the Skitarii for fewer losses of their own. The sides had traded a flyer each (Valkyrie for a Vulturax); but the armour was otherwise largely unscathed – and the Guard's part thanks in no small part to the jury-rigging strategem and the ministrations of the Slav Nasr Enginseers repairing the damage caused by the Vulturax. +

+ However, early turns tend to favour the long-ranged Guard; and the Skitarii were getting into a position that would begin to favour them. Their armour and heavy servitors were all but untouched. It would perhaps be decided by whether the Guard could place the killing blow before the Bezoans got their specialists into position. +


Aware that objectives must be taken, the Leman Russ squadron divided; two tanks pushing up the central road to see off the Archmagos and her Dunestriders and provide support for the advancing infantry. Their attendant techpriests scuttled along in the tanks' shadow.

In the centre, the Guard advance more cautiously, the weight of their lasrifle fire increasing at the barks of Caef Whittaker and his staff. The attached Ratling snipers take shots of opportunity, knocking down individual electropriests.

On the right, things were tense. The Commissar led an officer and his command squad forward, ready to engage the Vorax if the ogryns' strength failed. The remainder of the platoon tried to ignore the nearby melee and continued to provide fire support into the centre; mortar shells and sniper fire whistling downfield.

The Rapiers and heavy bolters, so far held in reserve, moved to shore up the right flank; ready to open up on the robots.

...but it was in the centre where the conflict would be decided. The electropriests rounded the corner of the shrine, haloed in dreadful auras that set the Lamb's Worlders' teeth on edge. The objective became contested.

Archmagos Toshiba snarls and orders her remaining forces forwards. The Kataphracts abandon the rearmost objective and lend weight of fire to the Dunestriders. The concerted fire from the Mechanicus forces all but knocks out the Tank Commander (centre of the Lamb's World army), and it crawls into cover, smouldering. In the centre, the electropriests reduce the melta gun specialist squad to dust and ash.

The surviving Vulturax, having warily moved back into the cover of the ruined manufactorum. The Guard infantry that are picking their way into the factory flinch as the hovering drone sends a glittering beam through a window. It strikes the Tauros Venator; which just about remains mobile.

The Guard's next barrage proves decisive, small arms and infantry support weapons causing heavy casualties to the Skitarii infantry, and the tanks and artillery destroying one of the Dunestriders and many of the heavy servitors.

The Guard shift to secure the objectives nearer their side. Whittaker himself pushes forward, urging the men and women under his command onwards with great bellows and encouragement.

As the smoke clears, the Guard infantry advance, claiming the manufactorum. The smouldering Venator sweeps in, heavy las-fire warding off the heavy servitors. Victory became clear; and the Guard cheered to see the Bezoans turn and pick their way backwards, retreating from the field.


+ Objectives

  • Blitzkrieg: Capture the objective on the enemy board edge. 
  • Take and Hold: Capture at least two objectives on the enemy table half. [Lamb's World objective secured]
  • Defend the Flag: Hold all objectives on the friendly table half. [Lamb's World objective secured]
  • They Shall Not Pass: No enemy units completely within the friendly table half. [Lamb's World objective secured]
  • Break their spirit: Completely destroy the opponent's most expensive unit (in this case, a Leman Russ squadron for Lamb's World [30PL]; and a unit of Vorax [24PL] for the Bezoans.

+ Outcome: Victory for Lamb's World +

+ Thoughts on the battle +

+ I think I held the advantage from a relatively early stage – but that the final result was flattering to my generalship. In truth, I suspect it was largely a combination of hot dice on my side, and familiarity with my army that told in the end. + 

+ This was the first time I've used a Manticore, and it was a lot of fun. The pressure you can exert with such long-range indirect fire was, I suspect, part of the reason the Vorax battle-automata were deployed opposite. As a result, I was able to bog down these heavy hitters with the ogryns. Had they been more centrally placed, I suspect I would have had to have been much more cautious in my advance with my infantry, as these robots would have chewed through squad after squad. However, hindsight is always 20:20; and had the ogryns failed to make it in, things might have been very different; allowing the Ad Mech to exploit the opening and achieve their Blitzkrieg objective. +

+ Perhaps the overall downfall of the Bezoans here was their inability to put pressure on a particular point. Fearing the heavy weapons of the Kataphractii servitors, I avoided the open ground; and the terrain then played to the infantry's favour, sheltering them while they moved up to capture the objectives. I though Lucifer216 did well to avoid the central road turning into a killing ground – despite me having twice as many big tank guns, he managed to keep his Dunestriders hidden and repaired, and drawing the fire of my armour. +

+ Anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable game against an ever-gracious player; and a visual feast. Lucfier216's Bezoans are a beautiful army, and I'm hoping we can get another game in soon. I'm told the Bezoans will be returning with heavier forces – and given what their light robots can do, Whittaker will have to pull something very special out of the bag to secure victory next time! +