+ inload: The Ashes of Armageddon +

 + Armageddon in retrospect +

+ Imperial Hiveworld, site of three iconic wars, and supposed ancestral homeworld of the orks, Armageddon is a place that's been featuring in the background of my  projects for the past few years. +

+ Being the setting for the training missions in Warhammer 40,000 second edition, it's at the heart of 'retrohammer' for me, so I thought I'd scribble down a few thoughts on its history. 

+ Armageddon in total – note that North is off to the top left of the map; which explains why the jungles are  called 'equatorial', despite running vertically. Given the state of the Dead Lands and Fire Wastes, it seems Armageddon has a very weird climate! +

+ Armageddon loomed large in the 90s, as it was the setting for the boxed set of Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition. While not the de facto setting for 40k itself, anyone who played through the six short training missions in the Battle for Armageddon scenario booklet (penned by Andy Chambers and Bill King, this being back in the days when writers were specifically credited) would have had a scrap or two on the world. +

+ The release of 2nd edition 40k was accompanied by White Dwarf battle reports that were fought over a (curiously green part of) Armageddon, and the world would also turn up in Epic battle reports over the years, too. +

+ As was the fashion, these battles – and presumably the Studio's own in-house campaigns and plans – built to create a really rich environment for the planet, that was painted in quite broad brushstrokes. This really appeals to me, as it leaves space for exploration. While there was lots to go on, not everything was detailed – perfect for capturing the imagination. +

+ My Blood Angels are implicitly themed around Armageddon, being based on the studio army of the day. +


+ Strategic warfare +

+ A boxed game in GW's short-lived Wargame series, The Battle for Armageddon, was released fairly soon afterwards. This had a map of Armageddon Secundus – the more densely populated of the planet's two inhabited continents – and detailed the invasion of Armageddon by Ghazghkull Thraka.  +

+ The initial Imperial set-up for Battle for Armageddon +

+ Essentially a reskinning of the Eastern Front of World War II, the game was played at the strategic level, with cardboard chits representing entire strikeforces. It detailed Waa-Ghazghkull's assault out from the steamy central jungles south east into Armageddon Secundus. Three tribes sallied out from their base in the equatorial jungles to fight against a rather poxy and ill-prepared Imperial defence force (thanks to Herman von Strab, the indolent Imperial Commander). The game starts heavily weighted towards the orks, but the Imperials have the industrial might of a continent – and the timely arrival of three Space Marine Chapters midway through – to attempt to stem the tide. It's a fun and diverting game. +

+ The game had an expansion called Chaos Attack, which was interesting because it detailed the (hitherto unknown) First War for Armageddon, in which the daemon Primarch Angron led an attack on Armageddon Secundus some time prior to Ghazghkull's invasion. +

(+ Incidentally, this expansion is the reason that Angron is the only Primarch to have been realised in plastic, resin, metal and cardboard :D +)

+ My Salamanders are explicitly themed around Armageddon; being the prototype for the broader project below... +

+ It was a very interesting expansion because, in addition to providing the chits to represent Angron's chaos forces, it also gave details for alternative scenarios for the original game. Herman von Strab, the psychotic and treacherous Governor, for example, got a chit that worked against the Imperial player; there was an alterative building method; and most intriguing of all, we also got an insight into what was going on in Armageddon Prime... +

+ Sharing a crop of the same cover as the main game, this picture – depicting Salamanders fighting Word Bearers and a Titan with red heraldry – doesn't actually relate to either the First or Second War for Armageddon as detailed in the games. Still, it is an awesome piece of artwork, and definitely gets the spirit right!


+ Armageddon Prime +

+ If you look at the map above, you'll see five arrows coming out of the ork glyph in the jungles. Three point southeast into Armageddon Secundus, and in the 'historical' scenario, these are the Goff, Bad Moon and Evil Sun tribes. Chaos Attack provides the chits for two more – the Snakebites and Blood Axes. It is explained that these two tribes invaded Armageddon Prime (hence the two arrows pointing north), where they encountered other Imperial allies – the Squats of Golgotha. +

+ Well 'ard Goffs +

+ Chaos Attack provided the opportunity to play an alternate history of the Second Battle of Armageddon, where Ghazghkull leads different tribes into Secundus, and where the Space Marines and Squats who arrived to support Secundus and Prime respectively, instead went to fight in the other continent. +

+ You could use the variations in any combination, so there was a lot of replay value – and that's got my imagination firing. +


+ More well 'ard Goffs +

+ A global campaign +

+ The planet would later play host to the Third War for Armageddon, which I think is much more broadly remembered. GW really pulled the stops out to detail a still more grandiose subsequent invasion by Ghazghkull, accompanying the event with a real life worldwide campaign that was well supported by the studio and very warmly received by the community; plus new models – the Steel Legion – and Codex: Armageddon, an interesting little artefact in its own right. +

+ Of relevance here is that GW produced an awesome mini website that had huge amounts of inspirational info, models and artwork. I wanted to see if we could produce something of the same spirit today. +


+ 2024 project: The Ashes of Armageddon +

+ In 2024, I'd like to run another project along the lines of Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten. STaBLF has been – and continues to be – great fun to work on, but it has grown way beyond my initial rather meagre plans, and I'd like this new project to be a smoother and swifter experience for everyone who gets involved. +

To this end, The Ashes of Armageddon will be intentionally smaller in scope and run with a rather tighter hand on the reins in terms of which articles are written. Unlike STaBLF, which was almost completely freeform and community-created, we've got a lot of existing info on the 'historical' Second War for Armageddon. This has allowed me to create a framework, so everyone will be singing from the same hymnsheet, so to speak. +


+ The concept +

+ In essence, I wanted to explore the Second Battle for Armageddon in more detail, 'zooming in' to explore the interesting little hints and dark corners of the campaign. +

+ I will invite people to contribute articles based on the 'chits' – so someone might cover the Bad Moon ork horde chit (top left quadrant), while someone else will detail the Hive Gangs of Infernus, or the Imperial Guard 3rd Tank division, for example. +

+ Not all of the chits will need detailing, of course – but while there's not much to distinguish the Imperial Guard 3rd army from the Imperial Guard 4th army or one Goff Horde from another at the strategic level, that's precisely  the sort of stuff that can be explored at this level. +

+ I'll revise and expand the list below, but if you're quietly interested in following along or contributing, it'll give you a good idea of what might be of interest – but if you can think of anything else, please feel free to suggest it. +

+ As with STaBLF, I'll be on hand to help with research – the main thing I'm after are writers and hobbyists to contribute their awesome models! +

Armageddon Prime


  • Steel Legion
  • Squats of Golgotha

Waaagh! Ghazghkull

  • Snakebites
  • Death Skulls

Dramatis personae

  • Inquisitor Horst
  • [Unnamed Golgothan Squat Warlord]
  • [Unnamed Ork warboss under Ghazghkull]

Armageddon Secundus


  • Blood Angels
  • Salamanders
  • Ultramarines
  • Steel Legion
  • Hive gangs
  • Iron Skulls Titan Legion

Waaagh! Ghazghkull

  • Goffs
  • Bad Moons
  • Evil Sunz

Dramatis personae

  • Herman von Strab
  • Dante
  • Yarrick
  • Tu'Shan
  • Marneus Calgar
  • Princeps Senioris Kurtiz Mannheim

+ If this has sparked your interest, then here's what you can do while you wait:
  • Make or paint models to fit the theme – and if you're unsure, Orks and Steel Legion of any stripe will always be very welcome!
  • Register your interest in the comments here, or on the Death of a Rubricist Facebook group
  • Keep an eye out on the blog for the creation of a Discord group – I think this is going to be a better way for me to share and organise things than email!

1 comment:

Tentacle_Shogun said...

First of all, lovely concept. I was always very enthralled by the GW worldwide campaigns as a child and I think it's great that you're calling back to that concept in spirit if not in fact.

For Armageddon Prime, I noticed that you mentioned the original game used the Snakebites and Blood Axes as the chit clans. In your writeup of the factions you'd like to detail, however, the Blood Axes appear to have been replaced with the Deathskulls. Is that a result of personal preference, or ambiguity in the what the old chits were meant to portray? I know there's some overlap between the two clans where the use of looted Imperial tech are concerned.