Category Archives: Warhammer 40k

Last Son of Caliban: At Close Quarters

Bors barreled his way through the hallways of the Chaos-infested ship.  The mockery of his Imperium fed his rage and the massive thunder hammer in his hand provided his only outlet.  He smashed at the thralls and traitor marines with equal abandon, the cataclysmic smashing of his weapon echoing on the bare metal.  Behind him, the inceptors of Sergeant Uriah towered, their massive armor letting them see clean over their smaller brother, and their twin assault bolters hammered any knots of resistance, paving the way for the white-hot fury of the Lieutenant.

Bors lived two lives on the ship.  At once the winged angel of vengeance, hammer and combi-melta dealing out potent justice to the traitors and at the same time a detached, brilliant commander of half of a company of the Emperor’s finest.  Swiftly he pushed his force along, corralling the enemy into a trap to be sprung at the perfect moment.  Bors knew in his hearts that the 5th was his.  He had served in the Ravenwing and the Deathwing, rising to be a sergeant in the Deathwing Knights, he had been on the cusp of rising to be the Master of the 5th when Guilliman had turned his interest to the Unforgiven and asked very pointed questions that had changed everything.  He did not blame Master Cain or Supreme Grand Master Azrael.  He knew the pressures and demands both worked under, and he was not a weak mind to suffer jealousy.  He served his Master and his Legion to the limit of his abilities, and his limits were very high indeed.

He checked the position of his demi-company one last time before plunging down a side passage.  Scattering the thralls and crew of the ship they broke onto a gantry overlooking a wide gallery.  Behind him the Inceptors stomped around to cover the other entrances with their rapid fire, short ranged assault bolters.  The smaller Astartes tactical squads and Primaris inceptor squad in the demi company lined the railing, while the two Devastator squads lined up on either side of the Lieutenant.  One of the devastator squads carried the Plasma Cannons so beloved by the Dark Angels.  The other carried missile launchers and Multi-Meltas.  They stood at the inboard bulkhead, facing down at the back of the bulkhead of the room just inboard of the rest of the company.

“Fire” ordered Bors over the Vox.  The powerful melta guns roared, missiles screamed from the launchers, and the bulkhead shattered under the assault.  The Iron Warriors on the other side of the bulkhead were some of the toughest defenders, and most determined attackers, of all the astartes created, but they didn’t shift between plans easily.  Undisturbed they could have mown down Cain’s company as they broke out from their lodgement.  Now they faced heavy weapons in superior position thanks to Bors swift assault.  They began to move, but the rest of Bors strike force got in a massive first salvo.  The Plasma guns launched blue bursts of starfire while the Bolters and Bolt Rifles of the marines lining the sides engaged targets bereft of cover, many still facing the wrong way.

Another roar announced that Master Cain had launched his breakout.  Bolter and Plasma Incinerator fire smashed into the barricades, forcing the Iron Warriors to hug their fragile shields or risk a certain death.  A monstrously huge traitor legionnaire, with an armature similar to a techmarine bellowed and gestured, physically dragging some of his men into a makeshift line to offer some opposition to Bors’ fire.  The Iron Warriors shook off their stunned surprise and while some executed the old plan, pouring a withering fire into Cain’s troops, still hidden by the remains of the bulkhead the rest brought their weapons to bear on the more vulnerable devastators, whose lighter armor and less resilient bodies could take far less punishment than the newer Primaris.

“Uriah, follow me!  Jubal, Zebediah, cover the doorways.  For the Lion! For the Emperor!” he barked brandishing his hammer before igniting his jump pack to launch himself into the enemy leader.  He felt the massive impact of the inceptors as they rode their own columns of blue flame to the lower level, trying to unseat the enemy before they could truly settle in.  Bors swung his hammer down even as he landed, catching the traitor Warsmith on his knee, shattering it and his lower leg.  The veteran of the long war didn’t flinch, the long mechanical arm on his back grabbed the wing on Bors’ assault pack shoving him back while the chainaxe the warrior carried swung in a brutal arc.  A quick mental command from Bors unclipped the ornamental wings and he ducked the axe, losing half the back of his helmet to the close call.  Stunned a moment he still rolled with the blow and came up swinging, pulping a hand of the traitor before standing with a flourish, with a brutal, simple waist high uppercut swing, smashing under the armpit of his enemy.  The thunder hammer discharged, shattering armor and ribcage as the traitorous leader exploded in a shower of viscera and armor.

Even as his opponent fell he grabbed his combi weapon from the mag lock on his thigh and vaporized the head of a Iron Warrior lining up on Master Cain, leading a rush of intercessors and Assault Marines to try to unify the company.  Within moments a flurry of blades and bolter fire the company stood together.

“Master Cain” Bors intoned with a bow of his head.

“Brother.  You and your men take the honors today I think.”

Lieutenant Nabbuk walked up, still punching information into his arm computer.  “Master, Lieutenant, we have accounted for nearly two hundred and fifty traitor astartes, and at least a thousand thralls.  Assuming this ship lost some men on the planet I do not think they have more than 50 astartes on board, and we can sweep the thralls away with small arms.  Might I suggest we cripple the ship before withdrawing?”

Cain looked at him, then at Bors.  “Lieutenant, your team will hold here.  I will be with you, but I’m giving Sergeant Uriah to Lieutenant Nabbuk.  He will take the other strike force to the engine room to rig demolition charges.  When they are on the way back your force will extract by Thunderhawk, there should be enough time for a round trip that will let the entire force extract smoothly.”

Bors looked at the Master for a moment, then at Nabbuk before nodding and going to order his troops into position to cover the bridgehead.  Bors knew he had led his men that day and many others, and that Nabbuk must prove his mettle, commanding without close supervision if his men were to trust him, and even a mission against the light opposition expected would give the much less experienced officer some seasoning.

As the reinforced strike team marched aft Bors knelt behind cover, popping off his savaged helmet.  Not seeing Master Cain approaching.

“Are you wounded brother?”  asked the Master, not used to seeing any of his men unhelmed in a combat situation.

“No, master, not a hair on my head is disturbed.”

“… You shave your head brother.”

“Then I do not lie.  That traitor nearly tried to get at the ones still below the skin though.  Another centimeter or two and he might have found a way to make me a liar.”

Master Cain shook his head.  The sons of the Lion did not offer much humor, and it seemed jarring when it happened.  Indeed Bors reminded him much of the sons of Russ he had served with amongst the unnumbered sons.  Looking over the hastily established, nearly impregnable defenses Bors had established he could hardly argue he was any less than a full Son of the Lion, as he continued to prove with every plan, with every battle, with every duel.  The heavy weapons had commanding fields of fire, yet were well protected by barricades.  Their blind spots, the few that existed, were overlooked by full squads, ready to catch anyone trying to sneak up on the big guns in a hail of bolter shells.  In the back of the defense, sheltered in a large barricade were a squad of veteran astartes, carrying a meltagun, and Sergeant Elias, who for this battle had brought a grav gun and power axe of his own.  Cain already knew that if any attack threatened to break the line Bors would lead this force into combat, the small group carrying far more firepower than their numbers would indicate, and the acumen of the two leaders would see it employed to the fullest.

 

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Last Son of Caliban: Iron Within, Lions Without

Champion Joab stood, unmoving, at the very forefront of the boarding torpedo.  Already he pressed against the harness locking him in place, the front of his helmet nearly kissing the blast panel that separated him from the potent melta-charge ready to bore a hole through the hull of their target.  His right hand held a massive blade from ancient Caliban.  His left a shield, blessed and carefully worked, incorporating a heavy bolt pistol enabling him to vent his fury even outside the press and cut of melee.

Joab epitomised the Astartes of the Fifth in a way even Bors couldn’t.  Bors outpaced them, faster, tougher, smarter, he eclipsed them clearly, almost as much as their new Primaris brothers.  Their soul rested with Ancient Uriah, his banner as much a part of him as his heart or his black carapace.  Joab was their avatar.  The incarnation of their combative spirit.

Outside the Deathwing, the Dark Angels bore a reputation as a stolid, conservative fighting force, a moving wall of firepower, reducing their enemies to ash as they implacably advanced, or a perfect bastion of defence, sweeping away any who dared take the offensive against them.  While there was truth to this, it was not the whole truth.  The Dark Angels could eagerly take the offensive, unleashing devastating firepower and crushing close quarters attacks with more than the Deathwing.  They lack the primal lust for carnage of the Blood Angels or the Space Wolves, or the preternatural stealth of the Raven Guard, but their tactical precision and tightly controlled fury, properly channeled, gave them their own unique flair for close combat.

Joab didn’t move.  Didn’t fidget as many warriors, even Astartes might do before battle.  His blade pointed straight down by his leg.  His shield held at an angle, covering his body, ready to snap into aim should a target present himself.  The only sign of incipient combat came from the aura around him.  The air around him seemed hot and close, even in the chill atmosphere the Dark Angels preferred for their ships.  The first warriors behind him seemed almost to undulate, first leaning into their idol, then away from his towering contempt and rage.

Cain stood behind the honor guard selected by Sergeant Shamgar.  The Primaris didn’t know what to make of Joab.  The torpedo rocked to the rhythm of the incoming fire.  The rest of Shamagar’s men stood behind Cain.  Sergeant Shamgar had been ordered to the “slack” position at the rear, charged with ensuring no opening was left unguarded, no opportunity missed in the first flurry of combat.

The odd, warbling, hollow peal of the warning bell sounded, cutting through the noise of the torpedo.  Cain and Shamgar both intoned “10 seconds to launch.”

Joab didn’t move.  The rest of the boarding squad braced, even Cain, veteran as old as the metal of Caliban in Joab’s hand unconsciously braced himself against the unimaginable force.

Some fraction of eternity later a hammer of force smashed the torpedo free of its launch tube.  Joab didn’t move.  Sensors and relays embedded in the hull of the torpedo gave them information.  Peleg had pressed close, every torpedo carried an unbelievably precious cargo and Peleg had sacrificed greatly among her ship and crew to ensure they struck home.  Scarce 10 seconds from launch, within seconds of the torpedo’s engine guttering out the bell pealed again.

“FIVE SECONDS” called Cain, even his normally controlled voice pitched louder as combat neared.  The party leaned into their harnesses, preparing for the immense crash as the torpedo struck.

Joab didn’t move.

The light cut out and suddenly Joab’s sword was point up, so fast a soft crack cut through the cacophony of battle.  A moment later the small torpedo struck the Iron Warriors cruiser, burrowing deep before the melta charge burned through As the panel disintegrated, cut to shrapnel by precise charges, Joab, unleashed, raced into the confusion.

The two Iron Warriors in the room never stood a chance, even the stolid sons of Perturabo took a moment to recover from the catastrophic blast of a boarding torpedo.  Ignoring the few surviving mortals Joab ran his blade under the arm of one, the point emerging from the other as he finally triggered the generator of the relic power sword, the initial energy discharge detonating the chest cavity and armor of the millenia old warrior he had just reduced to gore and scrap.  The bolt pistol in his shield barked twice, reducing the unhelmed head of the other Iron Warrior to a gory wreck before the first Primaris lifted a foot to join him.

Within moments the squad flooded the chamber, combat blades and boots silencing forever the mortals still struggling to comprehend the calamity that had befallen their fortress in the void.  Beacons bloomed as the rest of the boarding parties reported and Joab turned to follow the icon Cain had selected as the rally point for the party.  A large gallery that each team should be able to reach quickly.  Shield raised to just under his eyes, blade up and back, ready strike Joab ran the corridors as if he’d lived a lifetime in this ship.

Joab flowed down the corridors his legs a blur, his upper body rolling in the graceful rhythm of a swordsmen, always in perfect balance over his hips.  They erupted into the first blocking position the Iron Warriors tried to put in their way, almost a score of veterans of the long war, hastily but precisely building their defense.  They were not set when Joab erupted into their midst.  His blade flickered and danced, he moved with precisely controlled violence, denying the Iron Warriors a chance to fire at the Primaris emerging behind him while opening precise lanes for the Primaris to lay down the withering fire of their Bolt Rifles.  Any Iron Warrior hefting his bolter found himself using it to fend off a blade, anyone reading a blade found himself exposed to the fire erupting down the passage.

Suddenly an eruption of violence throws the Primaris back.  A champion of the Iron Warriors and his escort bursts in from a corridor, throwing back the two Primaris covering that corridor.  One crumpled, a giant power axe cleaving deep into his chest and erupting from his back.  A shower of gore exploded through the room as the top of his torso flopped loosely, held by a shard of armor and a flap of flesh and gristle.  The other warrior went down grappling with his assailant, combat blade and chainsword cutting at adamantium armor.  The other Iron Warrior came at Cain, his Plasma pistol scorching deep into Cain’s shoulder pad, he felt the burn on his flesh underneath, smelled the charred flesh.  He caught the Power Axe as it swung down on him, enfolding its haft with his power fist and snapping it.  Cain jammed his own pistol under the chin of the Cultist Astartes and pulled the trigger.

Joab turned from his last victim and brought his blade up in swift salute to the traitor champion.  Snapping the blade down he hefted his shield, angling it precisely.  The Iron Warrior brandished his own blade.  “IRON WITHIN, IRON WITHOUT!” he bellowed and swung his blade down.

Joab leaned to one side, catching the hook of the axe with the top of his shield and hooking the champion forward.  His own blade cut down sharply, cutting deep into the thigh of the warrior under the armor.  Strangely orange blood showered the deck.

“Blood within, scorn without!” called Joab, spinning around, hauling the axe down with his shield and decapitating the champion with a single, swift blow.

“Master Cain, Strike Force Bors requesting a landing beacon.  Our escort is heavily engaged and we cannot remain in the defense envelope of the cruiser much longer.”

Cain focused on the overlay a moment.  His force stood less than 30 meters from the rally point, the other boarding squads already occupied it.  “Bors, they will counterattack momentarily.  Breach the hull here,” he caused a beacon to blossom on a higher deck.  “And bring your firepower to bear on them in the galleries inward and below your entry point.”

“Affirmative, master”

Joab stood still as a statue by the corridor forward, Shamgar and two of his squad stood at the rear.  “Onward brothers, it will not be long before the Iron Warriors attack our lodgement.  We will form the shield for them to strike, Bors will be the hammer to shatter their forces.”  Without cheer or exaltation, Joab swung into motion, leading them into their fortress.

 

Little Green Men: The Repulsor

I like most of the new Primaris line.  The models are well made, they look great on the table exuding a solid efficiency which goes especially well with the determined Dark Angels.  While not as flexible as the classic Astartes they work well, especially in larger battles.

What I don’t like is the Repulsor.  The concept of a heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle isn’t a bad one, especially for the 40k universe.  The problem comes in the execution of… pretty much everything.  The kit itself is something of a mixed bag.  It’s highly detailed, solid, massive looking, but at the same time it’s busy, complicated, underscaled and fairly poorly designed.

When you assemble the kit it’s incredibly frustrating because gapping is inevitable. To have an $80 model that cannot be built without gapping even with a generous application of sanding, rubber bands and masses of glue is incredibly frustrating.  And I still need 3 more to complete my battle company because it’s the only transport that can carry Primaris.  In addition having a transport capacity of only 10 (as opposed to 12) means that any HQ characters need their own battle taxi.  In addition even when fully assembled it looks busy.  Every inch of the upper hull and turret seems covered with bric-a-brac.  Painting these is going to be a nightmare.

The rules for it are a mess as well.  Instead of making it a super Razorback, with beefier weapons and maybe an additional secondary weapon, they made it a super Land Raider with multiple primary weapons and a plethora of secondary weapons that requires a cheat card during the shooting phase to make sure you remember all your weapons.  Add to this the previously mentioned problem with finding a space for characters with your 10 man squads and these vehicles just have problems in the rulebook.

Finally, this Land-Raider sized vehicle is way too small.  I’m not kidding.  The doors are too small, the turret simply doesn’t have room for even a gunner and all the ammunition feeds for the half dozen weapons in it.  The hull doesn’t have room for a drive system, driver, ammunition/power supplies for the weapons and more than a couple passengers.  I really wish they’d brought in a level headed veteran to help them with the design.  I think the vehicle would be vastly improved by removing several turret weapons, some of the hull weapons, adding a couple passenger seats, and just being about 25% larger.  This would make it make more sense, be less of a time sink to use in a battle, and much more efficient (even with a slight price increase for the added size) as you don’t need an extra one just to be a 300 point commander’s taxi.

The problem with the Repulsor isn’t that it’s bad.  Because it really isn’t.  The problem with the Repulsor is that it’s mediocre from top to bottom.  It can’t QUITE carry enough.  It’s size doesn’t QUITE make sense.  It’s got just a FEW too many weapons to use without being frustrating for you and your opponent.  And the assembly is, frankly, bad.  Yes when that huge wall of lead smashes whole squads and a tank it can be a lot of fun.  Yes it’s real nice to zoom 10 intercessors out to an objective and then have a wall of metal and guns sitting there daring someone to make them move, but their captain is running along behind trying to get in range to bubble them, 10 hours later you’re done with your shooting phase, and all you can see is the gaps in the model.

Maybe GW has a Primaris Rhino planned for release.  It would be nice.

40k A Belated New Years

Hello readers and welcome to 2018!  It’s only almost April…

40k is still progressing.  I’ve played all of 2 or 3 games even!  I have yet to complete any models but I have gotten a lot of airbrushing done.  I have a squad of Hellblasters, 5 devastators, a Lieutenant (Bors gets a model!) all green, I need to assemble and prime/green the rest of the devastators (I’m awash in tac marine sprues for some reason).  I also have a LOT of wings and jump packs from the Sanguinary Guard which should let me make Bors, as well as another 5 assault marines as the awesome looking squad I already have.

This means that really all I have left to collect is vehicles.  Painting wise I am focusing on 5th company elements, then I will push more terminators and the Ravenwing elements.  Look for some pictures of my Fire Support teams soon, as well as an updated TOE for the company.  I’ve been putting some thought into it.  I am going to do some writing on the fiction as and when it strikes me, and I’m working on a HUGE major project for next year that I think will interest most of you.  For now, plan on seeing some miniatures next week!

Little Green Men: Last of the Year

So this has been a very productive year for painting.  More than 40 miniatures painted, including several vehicles, and all to a standard I’m very happy with.  December has been a rocky month with work being absolutely crazy but next month is already looking much better.  I have 10 Hellblasters, 4 heavy weapons, a Sergeant, a Lieutenant, a techmarine, and a medic all ready to go Tomorrow or Saturday I should be able to assemble the other 6 heavy weapons and get myself ready to paint my heavy weapons infantry and remaining characters.

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Sorry about the potato picture quality.  I didn’t have much time to set it up.  Better stuff to come.

Currently I have 22 Tacticals in 3 squads (6,6,10) 10 Intercessors, 5 Assault Marines, a Captain, 3 Lieutenants, an Ancient, Zeke, a Predator, a Rhino, a Razorback, 8 Terminators all painted.  I want to get the 10 Devastators and 10 Hellblasters done ASAP.  They are so good in this edition.

2nd and 3rd I’m going to be doing some painting, at a minimum getting the Hellblasters done.  More than likely getting the devastators done as well.  This will get me to the point where I really just have the Inceptors, some of the Assault troopers, and vehicles to get the battle company done.  I know I’ve talked a lot about the bikes but I’ve re focused myself.  I want to get the entire 5th Company painted and on the table.  I need to get a couple other primaris characters, and paint a few others, but the command group is looking really good and the army itself is filling out nicely.  Purchase wise I believe I’m down to vehicles unless I add another Intercessor squad.  I have all the traditional astartes I need, including heavy weapons and specialists, while I do have a Veteran Squad I’d like to do they will be very expensive and require some additional skills I’ll need to work on to get them done.  I also would like to do another 5 Dark Angel Assault Troops with Sanguinary Guard wings, but again, 90 dollars for 5 marines is a lot.  Especially when I have 5 perfectly good assault marines sitting there waiting for paint.

I’m excited for next year.  I’m excited to see where the hobby goes and where my skills take me.  I’m already planning for Armies on Parade, for expanding beyond the 5th Company, and for what to do with all the Aeldari my wife has.

 

40k Year in Review

So I’m going to do a simple year in review for 40k.  Not much structure as this is just a horrifically busy week for me.  More an overview.

The Best of Times

8th Edition Release(s)

So after going through the fiasco that was the Age of Simar release, and watching as PP fucks up Warmahordes almost as bad with their 3rd Edition release, GW manages to orchestrate a very careful, organized launch, and carry that momentum clear through the end of the year, starting well before the actual release with the return of Magnus and Guilliman, and continuing through the release of 10 codexes this year, massive upgrades to Space Marine armies, and some pretty solid balancing of armies.

The New Kits

Holy shit these are great.  The Primaris look very good, even if they are a bit of a pain to assemble, the Death Guard look amazing, and all of the Primarchs look simply incredible on the table.

Events galore

Fate of Konor was a ton of fun.  Armies on Parade was great fun.  There’s plenty of chances for events from purely collecting/modeling competitions to ultra-competitive high intensity tournaments.  Des Moines has had at least 1 major event every month, and that’s JUST for 40k.

On Message, On Target

Ok, look, we all know I’m a feminist, and that representation in 40k is a bit lacking.  Female dominated armies are a bit lacking, and boobplate shows up a lot more than it should.  In addition the features of nearly every sculpt are very “European” even for armies that supposedly aren’t.  GW has been vocal about increasing diversity and cutting down on some of the more sexist elements of their models.  While there has been limited opportunity for them to do it with their long pipeline from project inception to release, they’ve played a lot of the right notes, now let’s see if the players on stage match the music.

Living Rules

I mean, yeah buying Chapter Approved every year is going to be a bit of a drain, but MAN it’s nice to see them FAQing and Errata-ing and just maintaining things.  SO nice.

The Worst of Times

(Not) Fixing the Rules

So the biggest things they needed to fix were invuln saves and re-rolls.  They did not fix them.  They added mortal wounds.  Now there’s army comps that can spam them through psychic powers that made the problem with Alpha Strikes just incredibly worse.  I think they will need to figure out what to do about the huge number of 4++ or better invuln saves (I think even special characters shouldn’t have them very often) and re-roll auras… I like how they make any character interesting but holy hell does it slow down the game.  Just give a +1 to hit or wound and call it a day.

Alpha Strike

First turn is huge.  Way too big.  I’m hoping next year’s Chapter Approved brings us some alternating activation because the way things are it’s just ugly sometimes.  You can be crippled in a turn and that before you get a chance to go.

Marines are great, what else is there?

Not.  Much.  Eldar got a brief re-release of old models.  No real upgrades or new releases.  Nids got a little love, but not much.  Grey Knights got nothing.  CSM other than Death Guard got nothing.  Other Chaos got only stuff originally designed for AoS.  I get that Space Marines sell better than anything, but they HAVE more than anything.  Give Eldar or Orks that kind of love and see what happens!

Blue-Washing

Things aren’t all steak and sunshine even for the Marines.  More and more, chapters with distinct and carefully developed histories are being turned into Ultramarines.  This isn’t good, it isn’t interesting and it doesn’t help the narrative.  Hopefully GW starts looking at the issue and either puts someone in charge of fluff development that isn’t Matt Ward.

It’s been a great year.  Probably the best for 40k in a long damn time.  There’s clouds on the horizon but there’s a lot of sun and a lot of clear seas too.  Just a matter of navigating the waters wisely, and so far GW seems to have hit more clear water the storms.

Last Son of Caliban: The Gift of Hate

Habbakuk sat in his quarters, looking at the dagger before him.  The dull green glow of the stone in its pommel seemed improbable coming from such an ill-cut lump.  The stone looked like it had been shaped with crude stone tools, yet it still glowed, even in the dull candlelight of Habbakuk’s quarters.  Interrogator-Chaplains lived in quarters far less spartan than the humble cells most of the Dark Angels brotherhood lived in.  Their role as both spiritual leaders, and guardians came with many trappings, some easy to understand, some far subtler.  Habbakuk hated the banners and the books.  Habbakuk hated the litanies and the lies.  Habbakuk hated the traitors and the easily led astray.  Habbakuk hated everything except the pure, clean truth.  But Habbakuk understood the need for shields between the true horror of the Fallen and the unprepared minds of his brothers.  He hated their weakness, but he understood their potential.  Habbakuk led them in the litanies he despised, steeling them that they might ascend to a higher understanding.

He contemplated the dagger.  A weapon of old earth, brought to Caliban and saved from the wreckage of Caliban’s destruction by the watchers in the dark.  The Khazd had crafted the stone in ages long forgotten.  Habbakuk knew that if he picked up the blade the stone would glow even brighter, responding to the strength deep within him despite its humble-seeming carving.   The Khazd must have been master craftsmen, but according to the documents that went with the stone they had been weak.  While commissioned to place this stone and other great ones into a necklace they had tried to steal it from a great king of the Telar resulting in a great war.  The necklace had been lost but the stone recognized when discovered in the early days of the Emperor’s reign.  A thing seemingly crude, yet possessed of a subtle strength it carried a powerful message.  One which Habbakuk wished to use.

Every warrior of the Dark Angels possessed a reliquary of weapons.  From the humble Neophyte with his noble bolter and simple carapace to Supreme Grand Master Azrael with an arsenal fit to arm a full company in splendor, the warriors of the First venerated the instruments of war, and Habbakuk was no exception to the rule.  The Inquisitor-Chaplain had fought for decades before ascending to the chaplaincy, and decades more before taking up the keys and blades of an Interrogator.  He brought with him weapons, armor and artifacts dating back to the dawn of the Empire and before.  Not to bear to war, his wargear he kept simple, but to use as tools in his quest to save the Unforgiven.

The door chimed as Master Cain requested entry.  Habbakuk signaled assent and the door slid aside with a soft chuff.  Rising to his full height the Interrogator refused to look up at the towering figure before him.  “Master Cain, you have come into much knowledge that we guard most jealously.”  He paused a moment.  “We protect the spirit of our brothers most zealously” he spat out in a voice suitable to grind rocks.

Master Cain looked back impassively.  Looking at the glowing coals of Habbakuk’s eye slits.  Even here in his quarters the Interrogator Chaplain sat prepared for war.  As if sensing the Master’s thoughts Habbakuk went on, grinding out the sentences.  “You must guard this information well, yet use it.  You must guide your brothers and your warriors, prepare them for their own day of enlightenment.  Grand Master Ezekiel and I hunt the Fallen.  You carry out your mission and help us guard the secret.  That is all you must do.  That is all you shall do.”

Master Cain glared into the lenses, his presence potent.  Habbakuk ignored it as a boulder ignores a wave crashing over it.  In a flash Habbakuk snatched the dagger by the handle, flipped it and hurled it at the Primaris.  Keyed up by Habbakuk’s hostility the Master snatched the dagger by the blade even as its tip pricked his chest.  Only his arm had moved, his gaze still locked on the black avatar of hate before him, he lifted the dagger to look at it before unfreezing to examine the beautifully crafted weapon, and the brilliant gem in its pommel.

“This is Nargond’s dagger.  The stone comes from old Earth, the blade from Caliban.  It has two loyalties, two homes.  It serves one Master.  Contemplate it as you master your new duties.  That is all.”

Little Green Men: Slow Holiday Blues

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Ancient Uriah joins his Battle-Brothers.  The banner isn’t terribly exciting yet but I’ve got a couple ideas.  My freehand game is weak but I have a lot of transfers to work with so we will find some embellishments to add to it.  I got Lieutenant Smiley and built him with a helmet.  His smiling face might make it onto a librarian later, I decided to paint him by hand after priming him with an airbrush.  All the green you are looking at is Caliban green.  20171219_171618.jpg

Getting an even coat on the GW Base Caliban Green was not easy.  He’s going to take a lot of touching up.  I still have a total of 3 Lieutenants to do, an Apothecary and a Company Champion.  Oh and some Tarterus terminators.  That I’m doing cork bases for.  You may have noticed.

I also got a nice gift from a friend including a Dark Angels venerable Dreadnought.  The instructions are… The usual Forgeworld lack of instructions.  It’s not like it’s a difficult model but wow that is sparse.  I also have some Rhino doors to kit out the new Razorback.  I need to get some assault cannons for it, but that’s easy enough.  I also have a box of Hellblasters to assemble.  That’s going to be a bit of a chore as there’s a lot of part for not a lot of poseability.  They do look really good, and I can do a couple things to make them look even better, especially since the new Dark Angels Hellblasters box comes with not one but TWO accessory sprues and a really good Dark Angels transfer sheet that has both the Infantry and Vehicle decals all on one monster sheet.  It could be arranged better but it’s still an amazing added value to the box.

This leaves me with basically a box of Devastators, two Razorbacks, two Rhinos, two Repulsors, a Primaris Apothecary, Chaplain, and Librarian, a box of assault marines and Sanguinary guard to finish the assault squad, and that should get me the models for the whole battle company.  That’s an intimidating list, and I probably want another squad of Primaris Intercessors and their Repulsor as well just because they are so damn good!

Painting wise I’m going to whittle away at the command group a little bit more.  I want to get at least 2 of the LTs this week, ideally all three, and the apothecary to boot.  I’m still focusing on the “Greenwing” company, but I need to work on the bikes.  They are too good in the codex to ignore.  This project is going to last well into the summer just to get the company as it exists in the story on the table fully painted, but it will happen, and when it does, I’m going to have to find an Apocalypse game to play!

Little Green Men: Codex and Battle

The long-awaited day is partially here.  We have the codex, I have mine and Lt. Smiley in hand.  I also have hellblasters.  I’m quite happy.

So the books is… unexceptional.  I’m happy with it, don’t get me wrong.  There’s some really neat bits to it.  The emphasis on plasma is really fun and fluffy and can be super scary.  If you save some CP for the end of the game where you can overcharge without losing so much if someone switches it from “burrito” to “self-immolation” you can put out a TON of S8, D3(!) shots with -4 AP

The characters are good, Azrael took a glancing blow from the nerf bat but is still in auto-include territory for competition.  Getting Stormravens is SUPER nice.  Razorbacks got nerfed pretty hard, understandably so.  Stratagems are very good, Contemptor is great, Psychic powers are very fluffy, but it almost feels like you want Zeke AND another psyker to make sure you have the coverage you need.

So we played a battle today.  2x Dark angels at 60 PP.  I had an Astartes LT with Combi-Melta, Power Sword, and the shroud relic, Zeke, a Techmarine, 2x 5 tacticals, 2x 5 intercessors, a rhino, a lazorback, a repulsor, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Warlord was the LT with the recycle CP Warlord Trait.

25354035_10160111533660221_3056547024613387985_n.jpgPlanetstrike was the game mode, so our opponents had 50 points of nids and 50 points of Death Guard.  The Nids player picked a gunline with exocrines, a zoanthrope, and a couple hive guard units.  No gaunts, stealers, nothing small.  Death guard brought a medium unit of poxwalkers, two units of something that could take a shit ton of special weapons, two predator annihilators and a pair of sorcerers.

We actually picked a narrow table edge, and our opponents compressed the board by deploying way far away.  I think they should have tried to jam more.  Firestorm barrage went off, forcing both opponents to burn 2 CP to push them away from concentrations of troops.  Even this didn’t save them as 1 hive guard was killed and another brought down to 1 wound.  Everything except my repulsor filled with inceptors showed up on turn one, the Flyer showed up deep behind the nid gunline, spitting out a nasty deathwing blob that proceeded to begin to wreak havoc behind the nid gunline.  My rhino / razorback raced up the side, advancing each of the first two turns to get into attack range of the nearest objective.

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We misplayed the buildings, giving the defenders a lot of free bunkers, but I’m sure we messed up some things on the attack as well.  Anyway their turn one they turned on the terminators with a vengeance but… terminators are tough and only two died to the concentrated fire of the entire enemy team.  Our turn two my repulsor showed up and spit out two 5 man intercessor squads which immediately split up, half going to take the objective held by the weakened Hive Guard, half spreading out to guard the flanks of the character blob.

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While the Repulsor’s firing was thoroughly disgusting, resulting in only a couple wounds on the predator, the one intercesor squad managed to secure the objective on the hill, killing the final hive guard in melee.  Meanwhile the Storm Raven proceeded to lay waste with its heavy guns, and Belial, Asmodai, and the rest of the deathwing proceeded to butcher the nids heavy shooters.

The character blob weathered some more fire, aided by both predators burning down my repulsor in one turn, showing the inexperienced intercessors how tank crews should do it.  Some fire from the death guard debouching from the bunker below the hill forced my intercessors to basically exchange fire until they got picked off one by one, while the other squad died shielding the flanks of the character blob from the other bunker.  The pox walkers and sorcerers tried to stop my infantry from the midfield objectives, resulting in Zeke being tarpitted after his covering squad died, the LT scoring 6 wounds on the sorcerer and watching 5 of the wounds get saved by Disgustingly resilient…

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He ended up on one wound after the melee, killed the LT, then got gunned down by the Rhino, which proceeded to pile into the pox walkers.  The Lazorback avenged the Repulsor on one dread, while the Storm Raven killed the other.  Belial butchered the remaining enemy sorcerer, while the rest of the character blob secured two of the objectives.  The remaining plague marines finally killed the intercessors on the hill objective but the Razorback claimed the center objective, Belial another, and two more by Asmodai and the other terminator squad.  We killed both enemy warlords, they killed mine, leaving us with a 14-4 win as Zeke and the Techmarine finished off the last of the poxwalkers, leaving the surviving plague marines hiding in their bunker, surrounded by loyalists bent on purging the field.

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Man of the match goes to the intercessors on the hill who soaked up a simply incredible volume of fire before finally going down the second to last turn.  Ezekiel was very entertaining battling poxwalkers, denying 0 powers, and only getting off a couple himself, although he did manage to kill 7 poxwalkers in one turn.  The Repulsor was the wimp of the match, terrible shooting results and then volleyed off the table.  The character blob was amazing, shredding nearly all the tyranids, while my partners apothecary managed to heal 0 wounds and 0 fallen brothers over the course of the battle.  Thanks medic!

We’re all still learning with 8th.  We all made rules mistakes.  Fortunately we are in a really great and supportive community.  We made as many mistakes in our opponents favor as our own, and every game we make fewer mistakes.  Other than forgetting the psychic phase.  Which everyone did at least once.

I’m looking forward to more games, and enjoying the ones I’ve played, I’m excited to see how things go for my Dark Angels, and still hoping we get the Lion back sometime this year.  Given some rumors I’ve seen it looks like we might get Khan, which would be a SUPER neat model, and a very interesting choice, Lorgar, who I would LOVE to see, a demon equivalent of Bobby G, and then the Lion towards the end of the year.  That would make for a great year for 40k.

Anyway, another victory for the First Legion!  Not sure when I’ll get to play again during the holidays but tuesday there should be a lot of painting, writing, and taking pictures to update my progress on the hobby aspect!

The False Heresy

The Emperor was clearly surprised by the Horus Heresy.  He had JUST entrusted Horus to the role of Warmaster, he had embarked on a massive project that would require nearly all of his attention.  His key components for this were Horus, as warmaster, taking the mantle of leadership for his military operations, and Magnus, who would be filling in the Golden Throne running the Astronomicon and helping protect the webway gate beneath the throne.

Let’s rewind a bit.  The Emperor struggled greatly to bring the Primarch project to fruition.  He simply didn’t have all the tools and knowledge he needed to bring forth 20 beings so mighty as to enable him to carry out his plans for mankind.  He simply couldn’t bring forth the generals who would lead, and help create (in every sense) the armies that would carry out this great campaign.  So he does what anyone would do when work piles up and you never make any headway.  He took a vacation.  Specifically he headed to Molech.  A minor world with a neat little gate that made for the perfect tourist attraction.

During his visit the Emperor did what any reasonable tourist would do when stressed about work.  He made a deal with the Dark Gods he planned to destroy to enable him to finish his work project.  What hasn’t been stated, and can only be guessed at, is what exactly the bargain was, specifically, what the Emperor’s payment would be.  I’m going to place a bit of a wager here and say that the bargain was twofold.  First the creation would be imperfect, the beings so created would be scattered across the galaxy, and only brought back only with great effort and loss.  The real doozy though?  The second part.  I’m going to hazard a guess that the wording was along the lines of “Some” of the primarchs being lost forever.  If you look at the abilities of the Primarchs they had a lot of overlap.  There’s artisans and generals, tacticians and strategists, empire builders and savage destroyers.  The Emperor clearly designed them with losing “some” in mind.  During the great Crusade, sometime before Corvus Corax and Alpharius were rescued, two primarchs and their legions disappeared.

The lack of information regarding the pair is so scant as to call it “reading tea leaves” is an insult to the accuracy of tea leaf readers everywhere.  I’m choosing here to read a lot into the phrase “The forgotten and the purged” so let’s take a moment and do that.  By referring to The forgotten and The purged (emphasis mine) it seems to indicate that one has been forgotten, and one deliberately purged.  I think that gives some indication of how they might have been lost.  Being Forgotten doesn’t seem a terribly harsh punishment.  Harsh, yes, but I think it represents a failure not of judgement, but something in their basic makeup.  A mutation so atrocious that they could no longer be tolerated.  Sanguinius alludes to this when talking to Horus and stating that if their “Red Thirst” were to become common knowledge, there would be a third missing statue at the walls of Terra.

Purging seems to hint at something greater.  Something so far from the orthodoxy that it was hunted down and exterminated with prejudice.  Leman Russ talks about Astartes fighting Astartes before the Horus Heresy and I believe he shows more than a little relish in it.  This and references to being the “Emperor’s executioners” and his actions in dispatching squads to keep an eye on all the Primarchs during the opening stages of the Horus Heresy (including some that had already turned traitor… oops) hints that he had more than a little involvement in the purging.  Purging also implies removing a taint.  I think that this taint was the taint of chaos.  I believe that one legion went beyond the arcane learning of the Thousand Sons and become so lost to warpcraft that they had to be destroyed as chaos worshippers.

So imagine this, you are the Emperor.  You have created your Primarchs, completing the Dark Gods portion of the payment.  They were scattered during your creation of them, and during your reclamation of your instruments, “some” were lost, one to incidental corruption, one to more diabolical corruption.  Great!  Now that that’s all behind us let’s deal with the biggest threat to stability (Orks) and make with the Empire Building!  My trusty son Horus will be of great help in seeing that all this comes to fruition!