Battle Report – Breach the Line

This week, we have a climactic battle in the Realm of Life in store – the Battle of Blackstone Summit…

 

The Story So Far

The Lady of Vines, carrying Alarielle’s seed pod, had almost reached her destination, where the goddess could be planted and reborn into a more warlike aspect suitable for fighting the forces of Nurgle. However, Blackstone Summit, the burial site of ancient heroes, had already been conquered by Torglug the Despised and his Rotbringers, and they formed a cordon blocking the path of the Lady of Vines and her bodyguard.

The Rotbringers had been joined by a large contingent of Nurgle daemons, led by a Great Unclean One – the forces ranged against the Lady of Vines were formidable, but the God-King Sigmar was watching and into the battle he hurled his most favoured of servants…

 

The Forces

This is a stand-up fight that sees the Lady of Vines try to force her way through a cordon of Nurgle daemons and mortals – never an easy proposition at the best of times.

Rotbringers
Lord of Plagues (Torglug the Despised)
Blightmage
Great Unclean One
Blightkings x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Warriors x 24 (two units of 12)
Plague Drones x 8 (two units of 4)
Plaguebearers x 20 (two units of 10)

Overall, this is a fairly compact force (we have certainly seen larger from the armies of Nurgle), but the presence of the Blightmage and Great Unclean One will ensure a constant stream of summoned daemons, while Torglug and his Blightkings will be enjoying the benefits of the Foulblessed battalion rules. This army may not have a finely tuned cutting edge for dishing out the damage, but it will be very very hard to shift. To make things even worse, Skarbrand’s recent victory on the Realm of Life has granted Torglug an extra Wound as a Triumph.

Stormcast Eternals
Celestant-Prime
Lord-Castellant (Lorrus Grymn)
Lord-Relictor
Gryph-hound
Knight-Vexillor
Knight-Venator
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Protectors x 5
Decimators x 5
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)

Sylvaneth
Branchwraith (Lady of Vines)
Tree Lord Ancient
Tree Lords x 2
Treekin x 4
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)

This is a very similar combined force to those used in the previous battles within the Realm of Life – with the addition of none other than the Celestant-Prime!

The goal of the forces of Order in this battle is to get the Lady of Vines through the Nurgle force and on to the burial ground where Alarielle can be planted. They will benefit greatly from the two battalions they have formed (Grymn’s Brotherhood and the Heartwood Guard), but those battalions are defensive in nature – great for keeping the Lady of Vines alive, not so hot at breaking through Nurgle forces before they summon reinforcements. Hitting the Nurgle spellcasters will be key (though not easy, as one of them is the Great Unclean One).

The Battleplan also gives the Lady of Vines additional levels of protection, allowing her to survive multiple Arcane Bolts, but she will still have to cross the best part of six feet of tabletop…

 

Deployment

While the forces of Order had spread themselves out to form multiple waves with the Lady of Vines safely behind several ranks, Torglug ordered his army to form a tight, solid block of diseased flesh that would likely block any attempt to break through.

IMG_4837

The heavy hitters of the Stormcasts, the Paladins, all deployed on the left flank, along with a Treelord and the Stormcast command staff. However, Torglug was wise to this ploy, and placed not only himself but the Great Unclean One to face them.

 

Battle Round One

With a cry from the Lady of Vines, the forces of Order surged forward, eager to get to grips with Chaos and carve a hole in the opposing army.

IMG_4838

Knowing they would be forging the brunt of the assault, Lord-Castellant Grymn shone his lantern upon a retinue of Retributors, strengthening their armour. The Lady of Vines and Treelord Ancient tried to throw up Mystic Shields to further protect the advance, but their castings were too hurried and both spells failed.

Seeing the Nurgle followers so close together, the Knight-Vexillor unleashed the power of his standard with some glee. A comet plummeted from the heavens to crash within the Chaos force but, after the smoke cleared, only a couple of Chaos followers had fallen and the intended target of the comet strike, the Blightmage, was completely untouched.

Undaunted, the leading elements of Stormcasts and Dryads charged.

IMG_4839

The Retributors hit the line of Chaos Warriors like, well, a hammer, killing five instantly and forcing another three to turn tail and run. On the other side of the battle line, Liberators made nearly as good an account, killing three more Chaos Warriors with no loss. However, while Dryads and a Treelord clashed in the centre, the results were fairly inconclusive with Sylvaneth grinding against Plaguebearer.

IMG_4840

Magical energies surged from the army of Nurgle, with a Plague Wind from the Great Unclean One wilting a Dryad and the Blightmage hurling an Arcane Bolt of filth at a Retributor.

IMG_4841

Torglug ordered a unit of Plague Drones to flank the forces of Order, making their way through a dangerous Sylvaneth Wood. Four Drones entered, but only three emerged…

IMG_4842

The remaining three buzzed out of the wood, however, surprising the Judicators who had taken position on a small rise to rain constant fire over the heads of their comrades and down upon the Chaos line. One crossbow-armed Judicator fell to their attack almost immediately and the rest soon found themselves fighting for their lives.

With a howl, the Blightkings waded into the fight, slaying a Liberator and two Dryads as they tried to push past Chaos Warriors and Plaguebearers. Torglug, for his part, happily waddled into battle with the Retributors but found himself caught up in the brush of the Sylvaneth Wood. His attacks were hampered by branches and vines, and the Retributor-Prime took advantage of this to swing his hammer at Torglug, wounding the Chaos Lord.

IMG_4843

The rest of the Retributors continued to pound away at the Chaos Warriors and Plaguebearers, but reality blinked and more Plaguebearers appeared, surrounding the Dryads and cutting them off from reinforcements.

IMG_4844

Battle Round Two

As Lord-Castallent Grymn continued to shine his lantern upon the Retributors, the Lord-Relictor called upon Sigmar to heal their wounds, keeping them in the fight.

Meanwhile, the Knight-Venator had managed to line up his bow with the Blightmage, and fired his Starfated Arrow – the missile missed completely, much to the chagrin of the Stormcast who had hoped he could deny the Nurgle army of half its magical support with one shot.

IMG_4845

On the left flank, the trees seemed alive as a Treelord rushed towards Torglug and the Protectors began picking their way through the Sylvaneth Wood.

IMG_4846

The Protectors saw their chance and raced through the trees, losing one of their number to the cruel Sylvaneth Wood. They soon happened upon the Great Unclean One and stabbed forward with their glaives. However, the daemon’s hide proved tougher than it looked and they caused only a scratch which began to heal almost immediately.

IMG_4847

Torglug reacted to the Treelord’s charge with a speed that seemed contrary to his immense bulk. His axe carved deep into the Treelord, crippling it, but the Retributor-Prime saw the danger and forced Torglug backwards, wounding him heavily with several heavy hammer blows.

In the centre, the Decimators waded into the Plaguebearers, their axes swinging in huge arcs and, between them and a Treelord close by, finished the daemons off.

IMG_4848

The Great Unclean One completely ignored the Protectors at his feet and unleashed another Plague Wind, slaying a Liberator and healing Torglug, even as the Blightmage hurled Arcane Bolts at a Treelord.

IMG_4849

The Plague Drones were a little wiser to the threat the Protectors posed to the greater daemon, and they dove in, hurling diseased skulls at the Stormcasts before charging, sending one Protector back to Sigmar.

IMG_4850

On the other side of the battlefield, the Judicators managed to bring a drone down with their short blades, but the Nurgle daemons proved to be too much of a match, slaying two of the Stormcasts and forcing the survivors to run.

In the centre, the Decimators crashed into the Blightkings but, despite many strikes from the large axes, the armour of the Blightkings held firm, and only one fell. Torglug was beginning to feel the pressure from the Retributor-Prime as well, who landed several more telling hits with his hammer.

 

Battle Round Three

Casualties on both sides were beginning to mount up now, but the Lady of Vines’ advance had yet to be checked and her bodyguard of Dryads was still intact.

IMG_4851

Close proximity with the forces of Nurgle was beginning to take its toll, and both a Retributor and Liberator finally succumbed to Nurgle’s Rot, while another Retributor, Liberator and a Treelord fell to a Plague Wind from the Great Unclean One. The Great Unclean One then vomited waves of bile onto the Protectors, melting armour and flesh and leaving only the Prime facing the daemon. Seeing that the threat had been more or less neutralised, the Plague Drones retreated from the fight to take position on a low rise behind the battle line.

The Judicators were suffering as well, from the second set of Drones that had managed to flank them. Two Judicators fell to their attacks and another two fled, leaving only the Prime to stop the drones rampaging through the back line and threatening the Lady of Vines.

However, not all was going ill for the forces of Order. In the centre, the Decimators were working well alongside the Treelord as they concentrated their attacks upon the Blightkings. The Decimators killed three Blightkings, the Treelord got another two, and a sixth ran from the battlefield, leaving precious few left.

IMG_4852

While the Nurgle army was far from finished, its centre was now beginning to buckle, and both Stormcasts and Sylvaneth steeled themselves to make the breach wide enough for their forces to pour through.

The Lady of Vines was now close enough to lend her own powers to the assault and she hurled an Arcane Bolt at Torglug, but the Great Unclean One unbound it with contemptuous ease. Them the Knight-Venator lined up a shot against the Chaos Lord…

IMG_4853

And missed. *

Fortunately, the Star-eagle managed to scratch Torglug, while the (frankly heroic) Retributor-Prime caused the Chaos Lord to stagger back under his hammer blows (reducing Torglug to a single wound!).

IMG_4854

The forces of Order began to take advantage of the gaps in the Nurgle line and units raced through. A retinue of Liberators, the Gryph-hound snapping away next to them, rushed the Plague Drones atop the rise, while the Knight-Vexillor led two surviving Retributors against the Great Unclean One, though without much success. The last Protector managed to gore the daemon badly, but was killed when it rolled over him.

IMG_4856

For their part, the Treekin managed to surround the Blightmage, but he proved surprisingly agile and managed to avoid all of their swinging branches.

* Regular readers will know of my tribulations with the Knight-Venator. On paper, he looks great, a real assassin who can hunt down enemy Heroes while leaving them few places to run. In practice… yeah, not so much. After nearly a year of using this guy, he has destroyed one Herald on a Bloodthrone. That is it. Honestly, in this battle he either failed to wound with all of his arrows, or just plain missed, and that is nothing unusual. The Star-eagle does more damage than the Venator himself. Consistently. And the Star-fated Arrow? That has worked once, against the aforementioned Bloodthrone. I am going to try the Venator in the Silver Tower – perhaps he will be happier in a tunnel. Maybe that is the problem…

 

Battle Round Four

With Stormcasts and Sylvaneth now penetrating the ragged Nurgle line, things looked good for the forces of Order – so long as one did not spend too much time contemplating just how few were left on the battlefield. In fact, the Dryad bodyguard surrounding the Lady of Vines was now the only contact unit left on the battlefield, and if the Nurgle forces could muster a counterattack, the Sylvaneth would find themselves hard pushed to respond.

IMG_4857

Nurgle’s Rot continued to spread its contagion, consuming a Retributor and the Gryph-hound, even as the Blightmage summoned Plaguebearers to support himself – however, the Treelord Ancient was close enough to unbind his spell and the Blightmage was left to face the Treekin alone.

The Great Unclean One unleashed another Plague Wind, healing Torglug, wounding a Retributor and the Lord-Relictor, and killing three Dryads. Meanwhile, as the Plague Drones finished off the last Judicator, the Decimators killed the last Blightking.

IMG_4858

By now, a great deal of attention was being placed upon the wounded Torglug, who still posed a serious threat to the Lady of Vines. She threw an Arcane Bolt at him, while the Lord-Relictor rained lightning down (reducing Torglug to a single wound once more!).

Then, the Knight-Venator stepped forward, spying a chance to finish off a critically injured Torglug…

IMG_4860

Yeah, he missed.

This time, though, the Star-eagle was awake, and it was this noble bird that finished off Torglug, knocking him to the ground.

The Great Unclean One was now the major threat to the plans of the :Lady of Vines, but Sigmar himself had been watching this battle and now he hurled his favoured servant onto the battlefield.

IMG_4861

Splintering trees as he descended, the Celestant-Prime had arrived.

Riding a wave of thunder and lightning, the Celestant-Prime took the Great Unclean One completely by surprise and Ghal Maraz savaged the greater daemon, even as the Treekin, on the other side of the battlefield, finally dealt with the Blightmage.

IMG_4864

 

Battle Round Five

All across the battlefield, the tide had turned against the forces of Nurgle, and as Ghal Maraz continued to hammer the Great Unclean One out of existence, the rest of the Nurgle followers were hunted down and exterminated.

IMG_4865

Last to fall was a single Plague Drone, trapped atop the central rise and quickly surrounded by Stormcasts and Sylvaneth.

Torglug came to just as the Plague Drone was dispatched to see the Lady of Vines move towards the seeding ground where Alarielle would be replanted. Then the Celestant-Prime swung Ghal Maraz at Torglug’s head so hard, it literally knocked the Chaos out of him.

 

Conclusion

Well, if the current rumours are true, we are going to be getting a new model for Alarielle very soon, which will match our place in the storyline completely! The Lady of Vines was successful in her mission and, despite hideous, hideous casualties, she has managed to bring the Goddess of Life from the Athelwyrd to Blackstone Summit where she van be reborn into a more warlike aspect.

The Celestant-Prime was a complete brute once more in this battle, but I remain very, very conscious of just how fragile he is. If the Great Unclean One had managed to get just a few hits in, the Celestant-Prime would have been returned to Sigmar very quickly.

As for the Knight-Venator… well, that was just business as usual, really. It is beginning to look like the only thing you can count on him to do is miss with his arrows…

 

The Story Continues…

With matters in the Realm of Life resolved (for now, though you can be sure Nurgle will have more plans for Ghyran!), we are going to take a little sideways trip to take a look at a new set of forces stirring in the Realmgate Wars – and we’ll be travelling to the Realm of Death in order to do so!

Advertisements

Seekers of Slaanesh

Managed to pretty much finish off the Slaaneshi Host this weekend (got the Lord to do this week, and I might throw in the odd Fiend I managed to score on eBay too). This time round, however, I concentrated on the fast moving stuff – the Seekers and their Chariots.

IMG_4866

I had feared these would be a little bit more involved than the Daemonettes I did a short while back but, in the event, these turned out to be very simple and quick too, sticking to the ‘monochromatic’ scheme.

IMG_4867

I was going to do the scales of these beasts the deeper purple and the hair/ridge black but, in hindsight, that would have created something too strong for the overall scheme. Instead, I did the scales the same colour as the skin and just drybrushed them far less heavily.

IMG_4869

The Seeker Chariots would, I thought, be more of a challenge but once I decided that the Chariot itself would be more or less just metallic, everything fell into place quickly.

IMG_4868

The only heartache with these models was caused by this, the Herald on Exalted Seeker Chariot. Building it was a bit or a pain, not least because I had picked it up on eBay and the previous owner had spray undercoated everything on the sprues – this makes putting it together with Liquid Poly something of a chore…

Still, the final effect is worth it!

The Altsain Craftworld

Though a dedicated Imperial player, I have been known to dabble with the Xenos from time-to-time…

 

Homeworld

Drifting listlessly through the southern most sectors of the Imperium, the gigantic Altsain Craftworld follows a seemingly indeterminable course through the remotest of uninhabited systems.  No Imperial scout or Battlegroup has ever seen the immense ship and those that have tried to close with the strange readings on their sensoriums have always been met with the most fearsome defence of Eldar ships.

The Altsain Eldar on board take a typical disinterest in the lives and affairs of Mankind and will go to great lengths to avoid any form of contact with any alien race.  For over a thousand years, they have had to contend with a severe lack of resources in almost all areas.  This has made them far more insular and provincial than most other Craftworlds.

The Craftworld itself has been constantly rebuilt over the centuries with just one thing in mind; invisibility.  Only the most advanced of alien ships has any chance of detecting the Craftworld’s passage and these are turned back by Altsain’s substantial fleet, the main military arm of the Craftworld.

 

Origins

The creation of the Altsain Craftworld came from The Fall as with the other Craftworlds floating through the depths of space.  However, the Altsain Eldar were very keen to protect the Maiden Worlds they managed to find and when they located the Serenity Star Cluster with over a dozen of them, the Craftworld was halted in its course, to serve as guardian to any threat that may come to these precious worlds.  Alien raiders and pirates soon learnt to stay far away from the Craftworld’s watchful forces and even the fledgling Imperium declared the Serenity Star Cluster impassable after many of its scout ships failed to return from their exploratory missions.

The status quo of the Star Cluster was shattered irrevocably over a thousand years ago when the forces of Chaos turned their baleful eye to the peaceful Maiden Worlds.

A large fleet of space hulks ripped their way into reality right in the midst of the Star Cluster. Dispatching multiple fleets of ships, the forces of Chaos spread their way throughout the Eldar worlds like a cancer, dropping landing craft on all the worlds to deploy innumerable hordes that swept the landscapes bare of all life.  Whether these armies of Chaos had intended the Serenity Star Cluster as their target, or whether their arrival was mere chance was never learned, but the Altsain’s fleet of warships were to immediately engage all Chaos vessels they located.

From the start, it was a losing battle for the Eldar.  The titanic hulks spewed forth a seemingly inexhaustible supply of battleships, cruisers and raiders that quickly wore down the Eldar’s technologically superior ships.  Helpless before the marauding invaders, the Maiden worlds were set for ruin as the hulks moved inexorably towards the Altsain Craftworld itself.

Wave upon wave of Chaos assault craft blasted through the Craftworld’s defences, with many capital ships actually ramming their way through the hull of the Craftworld in an effort to disgorge more armies into the heart of the Eldar.  Daemons and Treacher Marines rampaged throughout the Craftworld, cutting down every Eldar they could find and causing severe damage to the Wraithbone Core itself.

For millennia, the Farseers and Exarchs of Altsain had never been in need of aid from the Bloody Handed God, an aspect of their faith they were fearful of.  As more and more of the Craftworld fell to the forces of Chaos, the Farseers moved to a lone chamber within the deepest reaches of the Craftworld, a sacred place that no one had visited since the Craftworld had been created.  The Avatar of Kaela Mensha Khaine was to be called to war.  Only the personification of the Eldar’s darkest bloodlust could save the Craftworld in its final hour.

The forces of Altsain rallied time and again in the face of the most unimaginable horrors of Chaos, desperately trying to buy time for their Avatar to awaken, but only at the most dreadful of costs.  Broken Eldar bodies littered the corridors and forests of the Craftworld, testament to the Eldar’s will to hold back the Chaos hordes.  With a thunderous roar that shook the whole Craftworld and gave both armies pause, Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Bloody Handed God, entered the battle.

With a terrible and murderous rage in his fiery heart, the Avatar strode forward with the Wailing Doom in his grasp.  Raw anger and the need for vengeance consumed him as he smashed into the hordes, carving a bloody trail of carnage that checked the advance of Chaos.

Though many more Eldar were to perish in the battles that followed, the terrible presence of the Avatar broke the back of the Chaos assault, forcing the invaders to retreat.  Repeated strikes of Eldar Aspect Warriors mounted on their rearguard finally routed the forces of Chaos, driving them back to their ships and from there, to the safety of the Warp.  The Eldar had won and their home still stood, but the cost had been so very high.  The Maiden Worlds had been ravaged beyond any hope of repair and the Craftworld itself was all but crippled.

 

Beliefs

The Altsain Craftworld now drifts through space, but its people have not lost heart, despite the grievous hurt they suffered a thousand years ago.  They view the attack of Chaos as a baptism of fire, a new beginning and the start of a new purpose.  Every Eldar on the Altsain Craftworld swears a binding oath that they believe transcends death itself.  They have become dedicated destroyers of Chaos in all its forms, pursuing it with a vengeance rarely seen anywhere in the galaxy.

 

Combat Doctrine

Though the population has been drastically curtailed, perhaps permanently, and resources are rare, the Eldar of the Altsain Craftworld have dedicated themselves to the destruction of Chaos.  What little they have has been forged into weapons of war, grav tanks, titans, ships so the Craftworld has lost none of its fearsome edge in combat.

The invasion of Chaos on the Craftworld and the planets it protected has left its mark on the way the Altsain wage war.  Most of the Warrior Aspects thrive, though the single Shining Spear shrine was destroyed in the Chaos attack.

Throughout the dreadful assault, every able bodied Eldar rose to the defence of their home, but the young, sick and injured were quickly ferried away from the probing Chaos thrusts on board many Falcon grav-tanks.  The crews of these vehicles, believing every Eldar life to be precious beyond price, risked facing entire warbands alone to save the lives of their people.  These brave crews who saved thousands of Eldar are today honoured by the Baptism of Fire Falcons, a series of small squadrons of grav-tanks crewed by the most highly trained crewmen the Altsain Craftworld possesses.

 

Warcry/Motto

‘Bringing the sword to the stars, we travel.’

 

Paint Scheme/Unit Markings

The Aspect Warriors of the Altsain Craftworld follow the typical colours of their shrines religiously, with little variation.  The armour of the Guardians and vehicles are coloured deep purple with black helmets and shoulder pads, or black striping.  Head pieces of Wraithlords and Wraithguard are bone-coloured, whilst the baptism of Fire Falcons break completely from the scheme of the rest of the Craftworld and are brightly decorated with radiating flame designs.  The weapons of both troops and vehicles are constructed from a possibly unique gold-tinted metal.

The Legio Victorum

Once, long ago, I had a rather large force of Titans…

 

Homeworld

Galatia is the second planet orbiting a shrunken and dying sun in the southernmost reaches of the galaxy.  It is a harsh world, blasted for millennia by a once fierce star, now torn apart by huge volcanoes that throw huge plumes of lava and ash high into the permanently blackened atmosphere.  Though human survival was always difficult on this mineral rich planet, this was of little concern to the Adeptus Mechanicus as they sort to find new Forge Worlds after the Heresy ten thousand years previous.

Legions of men, servitors and cyborgs toil in the extreme heat to harness the raw energies of arcane machinery that the Tech Priests themselves now barely understand, their lives spent fuelling the construction of engines of war.  Galatia is a Forge World in a permanent state of war time production levels.

The minions of the Adeptus Mechanicus on this planet manufacture a great proportion of the war materials required by the forces of the Imperium throughout the southern sectors of the galaxy.  From Laspistols, through Leman Russ main battle tanks, right up to the mighty and revered Titans of the Legio Victorum also stationed on Galatia, the servants of the Machine God are vital to the enforced stability of the Imperium.

Both laden with minerals and being the site of one of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ most sacred worlds, Galatia is naturally of vital strategic importance.  The Imperial Navy has a permanent presence here, though the Tech Priests have constructed their own planetary defence systems over the millennia, including an ancient and formidable Ramilies-class Star Fort.  It is rumoured that the planetary defence network relies on captured alien technology for its effectiveness, though any unauthorised space traffic is quickly intercepted and destroyed before it reaches the inner planets.

It has been said that any attacker that actually managed to breach Galatia’s defences would very quickly be up to its neck in its own blood.  The Legio Victorum would be fighting on its own ground with the Titans battling with a doubled fury, being so close to the forges that gave birth to their fiery spirits.  Added to that, there are entire regiments of Imperial Guard permanently garrisoned on the Forge World, for no other reason than to fight and die in defence of the Machine God if the unthinkable should ever happen.  To all intents and purposes, Galatia is impregnable to a direct assault by any known alien race.

 

Origins

The Legio Victorum was originally formed on Mars with the forging of the Primus Malachi, a Reaver-class Titan that was to pass into the legends of the Imperium.  Created with the intention of joining Battlegroup Zara on a crusade of the alien infested galactic core, the Legio Victorum soon found itself embroiled in the civil war that spread quickly across the face of Mars when the Warmaster Horus turned against Mankind’s Emperor during the time known as the Heresy.

The newly born Titans of the Legio were to fight fiercely in the defence of their forges, though they numbered only eight machines in total.  They were denied the ability to find transports to join the Battle of Terra for the rebel forces on Mars constantly threatened to overwhelm the loyalists on this, the most important world in the Imperium after Terra itself.

At the height of the war, the Legio Victorum found itself hard pressed by three rebel Titan Legions that had all but annihilated the Legio’s remaining loyalist allies.  Though the Legio’s Titans were hammered by rebel war machines, their Tech Priests worked tirelessly to repair the crippled machines, the Titan crews rarely leaving their mounts and resting within their cockpits only when their Titan returned to the factories to heal the damage the rebels had wrought.

The turning point in the unequal war came with the forging of the Imperious Cathedra, one of the few Imperator-class Emperor Titans the loyalist Legions were able to produce during the fighting.  The Cathedra proved itself the equal of an entire Battle Group against the rebel Legions, enabling the Legio Victorum to keep fighting on Mars until the Warmaster’s defeat drove his forces from the Terran system.

After the Heresy, major changes were made to the structure of the armies of the Imperium.  The Legio Victorum never received its own fleet of behemoth transports promised before the Heresy and was instead taken to Galatia, a newly developed Forge World far in the new southern frontier of the Imperium.

From the Galatian system, the Legio Victorum started to amass an enviable Roll of Honour as its ranks swelled with newly constructed Titans.  Though the Legion has had losses in its ten thousand year history, it is a matter of some pride that the oldest of the Titans, the Primus Malachi, is still fighting against the enemies of the Machine God.

 

Beliefs

The Legio Victorum has never wavered in its devotion to the Emperor, revered in his form of the Machine God and incarnated in the dominating presence of each Titan that takes to the battlefield.

The screening processes for candidates that may eventually attain the rank of Princeps is extremely vigorous as there are very few mortals that can tame the raging spirits of the Legion’s Titans.  Through their indoctrination to the Legion, they all have one thing in common – an utter belief that Mankind has the sole right of existence in the galaxy.  The fighting men of the Legion do not tolerate the alien in any shape or form.  Their dedication to this goal of eradication has extinguished many races that the Priesthood of Terra originally designated as harmless and has left more powerful alien races, such as the Eldar, extremely wary of the Legion’s presence in any theatre of war.

 

Combat Doctrine

The Titans of the Legio Victorum are renowned for their blitz tactics that are capable of shattering armies of a much greater size.  In battle, their Princeps are adept at taking control of other Imperial units and co-ordinating attacks to cause the maximum amount of damage in the shortest possible time.  Typically, their Titans are armed for medium to long ranged combat with devastating weapons batteries and super heavy weapons predominately featured, though a few Princeps have dedicated themselves to assault, arming their Titans with a variety of close combat weapons that very few enemy war machines can withstand.

 

Warcry/Motto

‘For the alien, nothing.’

 

Paint Scheme/Unit Markings

The Legio Victorum’s Titans have dark blue coloured armour, lined with a rich gold.  Armour plating on the extremities of weapons is typically of a bright yellow, though the more ancient Titans may use bronze instead.  Kill markings are usually displayed as stars on banners slung between a Titan’s legs.  The oldest Titans constructed on Mars have silver metals beneath their armour plating, whilst those built on Galatia are far duller, due to the different minerals present on the two Forge Worlds.

 

1st Ceres Exploratory Squadron

The first record of the Imperial Navy’s use of Exploratory Squadrons dates back to M38, during the defence of Imperial worlds from the Chaos Warlord Tagsa the Vilified by Battlefleet Hecate.  Originally envisioned for long range patrols and deep reconnaissance of unknown worlds, the Exploratory Squadrons of a single Light Cruiser accompanied by four to six Escorts was an attempt to find an effective formation for these tasks without tying up two valuable front line Cruisers.

The 1st Ceres Exploratory Squadron seems to be the first such formation in existence and was primarily used as a forward detection unit to keep track of Warlord Tagsa’s lightning attacks and also to locate the bulk of his main fleet that had eluded Battlefleet Hecate for so long.  This role quickly changed during main battles to an effective combat formation and soon many other Light Cruisers and Escorts were being pulled from their normal fleet structure and re-deployed as Exploratory Squadrons.  With the successful completion of the Tagsa War, their use gradually spread to other Battlefleets throughout the Imperium.

 

Homeworld

Hecate is a frontier sector in the Ultima Segmentum and is perpetually a target for corsair and pirate raids.  Of late, the sector has seen a noticeable increase in activity from Hive Fleet Leviathan that seems to be attempting a combined series of probing attacks on many worlds in this region of space, constantly testing the Imperium’s response and reaction times.

As a frontier sector, Hecate enjoys few of the benefits that more developed areas of the Imperium enjoy and, after four millennia, Battlefleet Hecate is still under strength.  This has given rise to a need for very mobile units within the fleet that can rapidly deploy to counter any threat to the sector’s borders.  The famous Exploratory Squadrons are just one example of the unique tactics that the Battlefleet has been forced to employ as alien forces encroach from all sides.  The few space borne assets available must be preserved at all costs.

 

Combat Doctrine

Throughout its two thousand year history, the 1st Ceres Exploratory Squadron has had all of its vessels replaced at one time or another, mainly due to damage received, but also because of regular ship rotations that enable less experienced crews to train and fight alongside veterans.  The squadron has still managed to maintain its name and identity throughout these changes.

A Dauntless-class Light Cruiser has always been the stable anchor of the 1st Ceres, usually supported by a mix of Sword-class Frigates and Cobra-class Destroyers.  This configuration allows the squadron to combat most threats it must meet alone, though in heavy conflicts it is important to keep a steady amount of escorts in reserve to replace losses in battle, or the squadron will quickly lose its effectiveness.

The 1st Ceres is currently commanded by the Dauntless-class Light Cruiser Pioneer, under Captain Vertasis and is accompanied by the Frigates Exor, Piron and Lustre, along with the Destroyers Evitas and St. Alicia.

Typically, the squadron is utilised in the patrol of Hecate Sector’s borders and to run down small pirate fleets.  When greater threats are uncovered, the squadron has standing orders from Sector Command to maintain distance and track the course of danger.  However, the forces of Battlefleet Hecate are often stretched thin and the 1st Ceres is infrequently required to attempt the interdiction of these threats without hope of reinforcement, most notably during the Haema Ambushes, an action that won Captain Vertasis the coveted Bronze Halo.

 

Beliefs

The 1st Ceres Exploratory Squadron has always maintained a strong sense of tradition, born of the fact that it is the longest known standing formation of its type in the entire Imperium.

Captain Vertasis is a man who appreciates the many years his squadron has served the Imperium and considers the 1st Ceres to be the very front line defence of the Hecate Sector.  To this end, he has proved himself to be a skilled, if a little reckless, Squadron Commander, always willing to put the ships under his leadership in harm’s way in the defence of his beloved Imperium.

 

Unit Markings

As the ships in Exploratory Squadrons are often drawn from many different squadrons, especially in times of war, it is not uncommon for ships to bear diverse markings and paint schemes.  During peace time, however, efforts are usually made to give all ships assigned to the 1st Ceres their traditional blood red prows as used by the very first vessels that formed the squadron during the Tagsa War.

 

Using the Squadron in Battlefleet Gothic

Exploratory Squadrons count as being a single Cruiser for the purposes of fleet composition.  The following entry may be added to the Imperial Navy Fleet List in the Battlefleet Gothic rulebook;

 

0-2 Exploratory Squadrons
One Light Cruiser
2-6 Escorts, of any type.

Only the Leadership of the Light Cruiser is used for the squadron and only this ship may receive Skills and Refits during a campaign.  Otherwise, the Exploratory Squadron follows all the normal rules for squadrons, as detailed in the rulebook.

Neferata, Mortarch of Blood

We have a big scrap in Nulahmia coming up next week, and I am racing to get models done in time – it actually looks like we might have viable armies ready on the day!

Anyway, one of the big ones was the queen of the city herself, Neferata, and she was finished yesterday…

IMG_4831

This is one of those models that you think will take a fair bit of work but, once you break things down, is fairly quick and easy – which is a nice change for a centrepiece model!

IMG_4833

The Dread Abyssal itself is dead easy, the only complication being getting those skulls within the rib cage. In the end, I opted to undercoat black, start building up the highlights on the black bone, and then carefully do the skulls (Celestra Grey, Biel-Tan Green, then drybrush Celestra Grey), before finishing off the highlights on the black (Skavenblight Dinge, building up to Karak Stone).

This was the bit I was most fearing on this model but I am now a lot more confident about doing Mannfred in the near future!

IMG_4832

After that, it is really just a case of doing the Dread Abyssal’s armour and Neferata herself.

I was going to do her skin the typical pale colour, using Rakarth as a base, washing with Fleshshade, and then highlighting with Pallid Wych. However, I thought that would look a bit too healthy and instead switched the Fleshshade for Nuln Oil – perfect, removes any real colour at all, which is just what you want on a vampire.

IMG_4835

Then it was just the robes, I was a bit hesitant about putting purple next to red (and two shades of purple at that), but in the end it worked out quite well, which just goes to show I know nothing about colour and should always pay attention to what the painters at GW do!

IMG_4836

Alongside Neferata, I squeezed these guys in – the Brimestone Horrors from the new Warhammer Quest. These are very much ‘low-hanging fruits’ and I figured they could be done without delaying anything else. I used the same set of washes that I did on the fire for the Fyreslayers (Cassandora Yellow, Fuegan Orange, Carroburg Crimson, and a touch of black on the tips for soot), which is quick, easy, and effective. These models really do take longer to dry than to paint!

This weekend, I am aiming to more or less finish both the Undead and Slaaneshi forces for the siege of Nulahmia, so right now I have a Zombie Dragon, Coven Throne, and a bunch of Seekers and Chariots on the painting table. Expect to see the results next week!

 

Monglor Ogryn Auxilia

‘Krang, there is no problem.’

Captain Traquel eyed the huge muscle-bound Ogryns surrounding his small squad with no little apprehension.  Though his men were well armed, the sheer size of his would be charges always made him a little nervous and this was not aided in any way by the extremely poor reception he had been welcomed with.  He cursed the Pyran Dragoons.  Nominally, it was their duty to recruit the Monglor Auxilia, but they rarely dirtied their hands, preferring others to do the work for them.  So it came down to him.  Really, an officer of the Noctan Strike Forces had better things to do.‘Haven’t we been good to you in the past?  We have fed you when your herding was poor.  We have given you battle.  Isn’t that what you want?’

The massive hulk that formed Krang, the chieftain of the Dead Axe tribe shifted its weight as the Ogryn fingered the gigantic club that was nearly as long as Traquel.  The Captain did not like this.  Something was wrong.

‘We dun good for you days back,’ Krang barked, with noticeable venom.

Days back.  It had been over four years ago since Traquel had last recruited any of the Auxilia.  Did the Colonel hate him that much to repeatedly send him to Monglor?

‘We get heavy for da big guy on urf.  We like that.’  Traquel frowned slightly as he tried to follow the Ogryn leader’s slow guttural tone.  ‘But you not kind to us now.  We like Monglor.  You take us far away, to bad place.’

The mood of the two dozen or more Ogryns was palpable and their imposing presence squeezed something tight in the pit of Traquel’s stomach.  He had often pitied the officers sent to recruit the violent brutes on Krourk and whilst he knew his mission here was really a second rate duty, he believed he could be far worse off.  For nearly eleven years he had been assigned to draw forces from Monglor and Traquel always thought he had grown a certain kinship with the powerful abhumans.  But he had never seen them like this before.  There was trouble here.  Had someone else been speaking to the tribes?  Who?

‘Krang. . .  I know nothing of this.  I am only here because your Emperor needs you.  He likes you.  He knows you fight well.’  Traquel’s voice broke slightly as he saw the angered Ogryns shuffle forward.  He cleared his throat and forced himself to speak in the most simple of terms.  Nothing else would penetrate the dull intellect of these monsters.

‘You want to fight.  That is all we want.  We will not move you.  This world is yours.’

‘You lie!’ roared Krang.  ‘You take Monglor from us!  You take us all to bad place.’

The deep bass rumbling of the other Ogryns muttering their assent of the Chieftain’s words drove vibrations straight through Traquel’s body.  He noticed his own men surreptitiously readying their weapons as the Ogryns, towering over them all, moved closer still.  One brute swiped the air with a huge metal axe.  A Guardsman raised his Lasgun.  Traquel saw what would happen next.

‘No. . .’

He caught a sidelong glimpse of Krang’s massive club whistling through the air before it crushed his skull to a pulp.