+ 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? + 


1 comment:

Dutch_Law said...

Great writing and photography. Good to hear that you found Kill Team enjoyable as well - I've found a great way for kicking off a game with little overhead, but still manages to deliver a rewarding game.