+ inload: Battle report: The Revenge of Toshiba part I +

+ The Revenge of Toshiba: part I +

+ A Warhammer 40,000 9th edition battle report +

+ The Reginae Obscurae looms over the quailing Lamb's Worlders... +

+++Doctrinal integrity at 23% and falling+++ 

+++Noradrenaline spike detected+++

+++Dopamine levels flat-lining+++

Archmagos Murasaki Toshiba wiped away lubricant tears from her compound optical nodes with the heavy sleeve of her rubberised red robes, as she approached the sealed vault. Her attendant flock of servo-skulls and cybercherubs wailed binaric litanies of lamentation. 

As she began entering the hexagrammatic code commands into an ancient but scrupulously maintained terminal, the sacred metal of its outer casing almost completely obscured by solidified wax and purity seals, she felt the holy rage build inside her. Her mem-nodes involuntarily autospooled back to the logically impossible events that had taken place scant days ago when the fleshunits of the provincially-named 'Lambs Worlders' had somehow managed to defeat her forces  – despite a woeful lack of augmentation, and using the most rudimentary of combat STC templates. 

This blasphemy, this shame, could not be suffered. That drive, an emotional response so strong that it ate at the adamantine-hard strings of her logic like the oxidative process that transmuted holy iron into worthless rust, had brought her here to this place, this tomb of proscribed wonders. 

The last of the command codes entered, the silence was broken by the metronomic thunder of vast gears at work and the vast portal began – 

+++Doctrinal integrity at 48% and rising+++

+++Dopamine spike detected+++

– to open. She stepped past the threshold, her many mechanical insect-jointed legs clicking on the hard floor as she did so. With a thought, the head of her axe of office ignited, casting a wan light across the chamber. Dimly, it reflected from the red lenses of scores of ancient battle-automata – Domitars, Castellax, Kastelans... even the mighty Thanatar. They stood in their serried ranks, unmoving, their compact reactor cores quiescent. 

+++Rise. Awaken. Your Hive Queen demands it. Rise. Awaken+++

+ Magos Toshiba of Bezoa, amid a sea of her underlings. Defeat, she decided, would be avoided by placing her reliance entirely in the hands of capable machines, not puling partial-fleshunits. +


Game type and Mission +

Belligerents: Bezoan Skitarii and allies (Lucifer216); Lamb's World Imperial Guard (Apologist) +
Limitations of conflict: 200 Power Level +
Battle site: Westward Spill, the outskirts of a proto-hive on Neues Tremo, a frontiersworld in the Magyar system, Sector Antona Australis. [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] +

+ An unapologetic 'big game', Lucifer216 and I had been keen to continue the campaign begun in Tensions over Neues Tremo [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], where the plucky boys and girls of Lamb's World had pulled off an unlikely victory over the increasingly erratic Bezoans. The roots of the war lay in a conflict of doctrine between the Bezoans and the Slav Nasr Enginseers assigned to the Lamb's World regiments. Toshiba of Bezoa an ambitious, and covetous Magos, had secretly instigated conflict on a frontier world and manipulated events to ensure Lamb's World regiments were assigned to suppress the rebellion – which left them, so she supposed, isolated and vulnerable to destruction at the hands of her forces. +

+ Alas for Toshiba, Caef Whittaker of the Lamb's World 18th proved a capable commander, and he managed to fight off the ambush. As the Bezoans retreated to lick their wounds, Whittaker and his forces high-tailed it to Westward Spill, where he hoped to report the betrayal. Scant days passed before the Bezoans appeared again, and the exhausted forces of the Lamb's Worlders were forced back into the field. +

+ Caef Whittaker, of the Lamb's World 18th, frantically redirecting his forces to avoid a collapse of morale in the face of the Lords of War. +

+ I mustered pretty much everything Lamb's World related that I could find, and the inimitable Omricon pledged an allied platoon from the Lastrati 3rd Rifles, supplemented by the famed Righteous Indignation, an ancient and storied Baneblade. +

+ Magos Toshiba (commanded by Lucifer216) meanwhile, opted to shelve the partial-fleshunits that had clearly caused her defeat(!) and raided the deep vaults of Bezoa in search of the dubiously-permitted technomancy that she calculated would bring her victory. +

+ Mighty robots from 'the Hive' – some sanctioned, others... not so much. +

+ In addition to an army of robots, she called in favours from the ill-starred House Temporis, a peculiar – and arguably* heretical – Navigator-led Knight Household. Two Knights of legend attended the Magos: Gnosis and the Reginae Obscurae. +

+ Being a bit rusty on the rules, and aware we'd have our work cut out with such a big game, we opted to minimise additional rules, so there were no warlord traits, non-modelled unit upgrades or the like in this game – just a big game involving the simple underlying engine of 9th edition. +

+ There were six objectives to fight over – these represented critical noospheric spoor that the Bezoans could use to justify their apparently treasonous attack on the Slav Nasr Enginseers (and – by the by, as far as the Bezoans are concerned – their Lamb's World and Lastrati hosts). Denied these, the attack would be completely unjustifiable – and there were be call in higher places to sanction the aggression of Bezoa. Perhaps worse for Toshiba, they might instigate investigations into their shadowy domains. +

* Omricon's Inquisitor Josiah Maltheus always argued they were!


Nothing happened for the span of many mortal hearts and breaths. With machine-born patience, Toshiba waited in the silent azure gloom. Then she felt it, the first waves of electromagnetism as the fire in reactor-hearts kindled. Turbines spun up, heavy metal limbs let out pneumatic hisses and the blue glow of her axe gradually gave way to the blood red glow coming from countless active sensor nodes and diode displays. 

The local noosphere, a moment ago near-absent, sprung into eager, buzzing life. It was filled with dozens of reports indicating successful activation. In a microsecond they were drowned out by a flurry of failed target acquisition notifications. If Toshiba had retained her human throat, she would have swallowed involuntarily. The sheer… hunger of the automata always took her by surprise, despite her eidetic recall. That and the extent of their animalistic awareness.

+++Bide. Target acquisition will commence in 22 hours sidereal. Such is the will of the Omnissah. Follow+++

With that cant, Toshiba turned, ignoring the thunderous cacophony behind her, and began to march out of the tomb, beginning the long procession to the bulk lifters that would carry this maniple of machines to where they would make holy murder in the Machine God’s name.  


+ Set up and deployment +

+ Move up, we can barely breathe! +

+ Coo, well this was a big game. More than a hundred Guard infantry, a score of robots, nearly a dozen tanks and three super-heavies meant that the Guard barely fitted on an 8 x 4ft board – and with the number of huge bases on the Mechanicus side, things weren't better there! To an extent, this is part of the problem of the increasing size of games (not much room for meaningful manouevre), but as we were aiming for spectacle, I think it works well! +

+ Guard's-eye view. The forces barely fit into the 12in deployment zone – not, I suspect, that these Lamb's Worlders would complain about the shield of steel around them! +


+ For big games, we find it generally more sensible to discuss set up etc. rather than rely on the luck of the dice. A diagonal deployment might have worked, but short edges would have just meant most stuff wasn't involved. Long board edges mean everything can get stuck in – for maximum carnage and over-the-top spectacle. +

+ Three-quarters of the board represented part of the badland deserts of Neues Tremo, the remainder representing a small xeno-archaeological outpost of the planet's proto-hive. The Guard gathered in the south, while the Mechanicus approached from the north. +

+ The Lamb's Worlders deployed an armoured wedge in the centre, anchored by the Righteous Indignation and supported by first platoon – directly behind the tanks. To their west, their urban-fighting allies, the Lastrati 3rd, waited in the urban edges of the Spill (bottom of picture), supported by a heavy weapon platoon (a battery of mortars and heavy bolters) and a Rapier squadron. +

+ To the east of the Baneblade, Second Platoon and the company's auxiliaries (Rough Riders and Ogryns) advanced alongside the grumbling Lastrati tanks. _

+ Opposite this gathering of might drew up the dread robots of the Mechanicus, with the unmistakable Knights seeking a mighty kill in the centre. In the Spill, skittered a mass of Vorax, directed by a Datasmith. +


+ Early turns +

+ Vorax rush forward to secure the peculiar xenos technology + 

+ Commanding the Mechanicus western flank, Datasmith Teslo Murakoshi urged his Vorax forward, keen to push up to the walls of the complex, where they could muster for a brutal assault, sheltered from the small arms of the Guard. +

+ As Whittaker struggled to direct his forces through vox-static, Toshiba  smoothly ordered her unshakeable forces forward. A sea of bloodshed-eager robots kicked up clouds of dust in their urgency. The Magos lingered over an irrelevant feeling of satisfaction; but dismissed it. Such indulgences, she mused, were clearly the cause of her earlier defeat. +

+ The Lastrati, a mongrel regiment made up of the battered survivors of decade-long conflicts, grimly looked down their sights. With no targets visible, they were wearily aware that the order to advance must come – the noospheric datapackets must be kept from the hands of this lunatic priesthood. +

+ A battery of Lamb's World mortars begins to bombard Murakoshi's forces, arcing high over the reinforced walls – with the aim of softening up the defenders and make the Lastrati's work easier. Alas, anti-personnel shells do little to robots designed to withstand high-intensity attacks. + 

+ Urged forward with the digital equivalent of bloodlust, the battle-automata made advance at the double, their shooting paltry. +

+ The noise is cacophonous, the confusion total! +

+ With what little sense of self-preservation being furiously overridden by the Magos, they marched towards a killing field. +

+ Before events overtook them, the order came for a general advance. Whittaker favoured a policy of oversaturating target acquisition – in essence, by making everything an equal threat, unwary opponents would spread out their fire, diluting its effect instead of concentrating on key targets. +

+ To ensure compliance, Commissars and Priests were seeded amongst the Lamb's Worlders – though thus far, the nearby Righteous Indignation had proven a reassuring presence for the Guardsmen. +

+ Toshiba had adopted a 'horns of the bull' strategy, with a solid centre flanked by faster units on both the west and east. Hovering drones spearheaded the eastern flank, their Thallax jet-troops making the most of the Munitorum supply depot, which had only just seen the end of the assault on the proto-hive. +

+ With neither side willing to back down, the centre of the battlefield quickly filled with troops and vehicles from both sides. Casualties at first were light, with the Mechanicus' short-to-medium range weaponry unable to cover the distance. +

+ The same could not be said for the Guard. Shells and missiles began to fall amongst the centre, blasting apart the advancing Castellax. The Rapier squadron in particular proved their worth, an entire maniple of the battle-automata being reduced to scrap metal in one volley. +

+ The Leman Russ squadrons focussed their fire on the Knights – Whittaker was all too aware that these Lords of War would be intent on the biggest prize... +

+ Second platoon, spearheaded by the Company's elite mounted Grenadiers, lends their fire to the attack, their small arms contributing little in damage. +


+ Mid battle +

+ Toshiba's forces have taken the majority of the damage and casualties at this point – but the forces are now arrayed at the optimum range for the inhuman robots. Besides, casualties overall have been light. The Reginae Obscurae and Gnosis, both smoking but operational, close in on the Righteous Indignation, determined to claim the scalp. +

+ For its part, the Righteous Indignation was living up to its name, it weapons proving considerably more effective than the slightly-smaller bore battle cannons of the Lamb's World tanks. +

+ A Valkyrie swept in, performing a strafing run on the Vorax as it carried its Grenadier squad towards the central objective. Murakoshi's forces had little to answer, and so continued their metallic advance, heedless of the myriad small explosions around them. +

+ This was not a battle that men could win by strength of arms – but perhaps the power of their weaponry could overcome their hulking foes? This Special Weapons team finds out the hard way that even melta guns can fail to find their mark... +

+ A panoramic shot shows the flow of the battle. The two forces are poised to meet in the middle, where the bulk of the noospheric datapackets lie. The speed of the Mechanicus means that three lie in Bezoan hands – and this keen eye on the mission early on is to prove crucial. +

+ Second Platoon demonstrate why the Mechanicus cannot rest on their laurels – fewer than a dozen Thallax now need to hold their prize from a reinforced platoon of determined Guardsmen for an extended period. +

+ The duel of the Superheavies heats up. The Reginae Obscurae and Righteous Indignation trade hammerblows, both taking grievous damage. The Gnosis, meanwhile, almost disappears under battlecannon and Manticore fire...+

+ As the battle begins to stretch, the two forces grapple with each other; neither yet able to find the telling advantage. Where will victory fall? +

+ We'll find out in part two! +


+ [+ Part II currently inloading – [awaitpend] updates +] +


  1. Exciting stuff! Huge battles like this can be a slog, but the narrative you've built makes it seem like good fun.

  2. So damn awesome! I need more!!


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