Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bothorion: Orks hold Tyranid menace

While the Imperium was reeling from Ork assaults on Danelloth the Orks were finding their own problems in the neighbouring system of Bothorion. The greenskins had landed on Bothorion largely by chance, but once there realised the strategic advantage they would gain if they established a base on the world.

Bothorion. a lush wet world, is largely uninhabited, though much of the world bears the ruins of a once prosperous Imperial society before the appalling loss of the world several milenia ago. Caught in a voracious warp storm the planet was rediscovered devoid of intelligent life upon its rediscovery and many now consider the world "haunted".

The Orks believed no such thing, but following their landing in the wide overgrown expanses, they found it did harbour unexpected beasts. Tyranids. Clearly the lead element of Hive Fleet Triton which had ravaged Libria V had now reached the Mabb Nebula. The Orks managed to hold on to their landing zone following wave after wave of alien attack, but were unable to pursue and hunt down the creatures in the vast forests of the northern hemisphere of Bothorion. The human workers on the planet, not usually ones to favour Imperial visits, urgently contacted the sector capital, informing the high command that not one but two alien invaders had been sighted on their world.

Danelloth: Imperium in retreat

Following the Librian defence of Danelloth's main spaceport and the marginally successful mission by the Dark Angels, Imperial intelligence determined that the Ork strength on the planet was stronger than originally anticipated. Unfortunately the subsequent actions of two unrelated military organisations seriously jepoardised Lethbridge-Stewarts men on the ground.

First, Inquisition forces landed on the planet and launched their own assault on the Orks, without consulting with the Imperial commander, following their own agenda. The assault became a massacres, with the Orks taking the opportunity to move several miles closer to the planet's main spaceport after driving off what remained of the Inquisition forces.

This action undoubtedly stirred up the Orks, and greenskin reinforcements poured onto the planet days later, dropping from their crudely constructed "Roks", evading the small Imperial fleet in the system.

The Dark Angels reacted to this growing threat by throwing their weight against the Orks on Danelloth for the second time. The reinforcments were not of Nazghat's waagh, and Imperial speculation suggested the heightened violence on the planet had simply attracted more Orks in the vicinity to join the latest action. Lethbridge-Stewart contacted his superiors, warning that if the pattern continued, they would have awoken a hornets nest, and a new Waagh would fall upon the Zadoc subsector.

The Librian commander's concerns were taken as alarmist, and the Dark Angels pursued with their attack. In a bloody encounter the Orks managed to gain the upper hand, though fortune played a major part. Even so the 4th company were obliged to withdraw and several thousand Orks (some estimated as many a a hundred thousand) clustered around the Imperial perimeter, tightening the noose on Danelloth spaceport.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Zadoc Subsector Activity

Admiral Thok repelled at Rhesius

Admiral Jellicoe knew that the warp rift at Rhesius, quasi-stable, was strategically vital to the defence of Caitlen station and the Librian warp run. He knew that any new offensive by the forces of Chaos would likely start there, so stationed a fleet of four cruisers and a number of defence monitors around the most distant planet, Simius.

The ringed planet therefore played host to a battlegroup consisting of two dominator class vessels, Black Prince and Warrior, supported by the carriers Illustrious and Intrepid. These ships remained on station, but were at risk of being caught unawares, the warp rift hindering sensor and psychic sweeps, potentially allowing a surprise attack by enemy forces. This is precisely what happened.

Admiral Thok managed to slip four cruisers, including the heavy Styx class Hand Of Loki, into the system without the Imperial battlegroup detecting them. When they began their attack run all but Black Prince quickly reacted to the attack, but as the Chaos fleet split up the Warrior found itself in a one-sided firefight with the Hand of Loki and another cruiser, while the other two Chaos ships were attacked by the carriers Illustrious and Intrepid. Warrior, crippled, soon disengaged, and the main Chaos force continued their attack, catching Black Prince on the far side of the planet Simius.

Four Iconoclast cruisers also launched a suicidal attack on the Intrepid, throwing caution to the wind and using the warp rift to jump into the space between the planet Simius and its rings. There, after causing minor damage to Intrepid the escort vessels were blown to pieces by Black Prince and the attendant system ships. Intrepid then moved off to engage two Chaos ships, along with her larger carrier consort Illustrious.

The Chaos cruisers Nebelung and Wyrmfire, the latter having been crippled early on from a lucky nova cannon shot, found themselves outgunned and outfought by the Imperial carriers. Soon the Nebelung exploded allowing Wyrmfire to drift away. Now the Imperial carriers tried desperately to aid their comrades aboard Black Prince who were coming under a sustained and brutal attack from the main Chaos battle force.

Fortunately for the Imperium the attack craft launched from Hand of Loki were clearly inexperienced, causing little damage. In the one-sided engagement the Black Prince was eventually reduced to a hulk, but not before the Syx class Chaos ship exploded in dramatic fashion.

Brunhilde, the last remaining Chaos vessel then made a last ditch charge against the Imperial carriers, quite to the bafflement of Captain McManners on Illustrious. The attack failed, Brunhilde being reduced to a wreck and then boarded by Imperial stormtroopers. Most of the crew were dead and the prize was taken in tow. Wyrmfire was never found.

The attack was a setback for Admiral Thok, who flew into a rage when he heard that three more of his cruisers had been destroyed or captured and a fourth was missing. The Imperium had lost Black Prince temporarily, but she would be refitted, probably along with Brunhilde at Caitlen station. In the long run the battle would be a net gain for Admiral Jellicoe.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Imperial Forces repel Nazghat

With Warlord Nazghat building up massive Ork forces on Danelloth the Imperium had to act. A week after the Orks had landed on the planet the Imperial fleet arrived. The carrier Illustrious escorted the Librian 14th and Librian 12th Grenadiers, some 20,000 men, travelling in two massive troop transports, into the heart of the Danelloth system.

The troops disembarked and made a defensive perimeter around the capital, a group of larger mining facilities clustered around the main spaceport with their attendant commercial districts and hab zones. The city, merely named “Danelloth” by the inhabitants became a fortress.

The Imperial commander in charge was Brigadier Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, who soon found that the Orks seemed unwilling to attack such a fortified position. His army needed to deal with the threat quickly, so he ordered the Librian 12th out to Mining Complex PKS-112 to investigate reports of a large Ork force. He was not disappointed. The Orks, under a dangerous Warlord, possibly one of Nazghat’s closest subordinates, attacked the Librians in the ruins of the old mining complex next to the current facility.

Mines on Danelloth were abandoned to ruin once their ore has run out, so the Orks had plenty of rubble stretching for miles to hide in. The Ork attack was ferocious but the greenskin infantry suffered badly at the hands of the Imperial Hellhounds and Leman Russ, with hundreds burned alive or blown to bits by high explosive shells. Many of their comrades made a run for it away from the battlefield, but the Warlord and his retinue were able to wreak revenge before abandoning the battle, destroying a number of Imperial tanks in close combat.

The victory however was solid enough, and Lethbridge-Stewart was able to report that mining complex PKS-113 had been cleared of Ork infestation. He then reported the actions of the Ork Warlord, who the Dark Angels decided to assassinate. The Dark Angels merely submitted the following short communiqué:

+++Intelligence from Imperial Command falsely indicated that the landing sight chosen for the Danelloth intervention was clear. Soon after disembarking from their Thunderhawks the Dark Angel's perimeter was attacked by massive Ork forces that had been hiding in the nearby ruins. Advanced scouts called in elements of the 1st company the halt the green tide and buy time for Captain Angelus to bring up his forces and strike directly at the Ork Warboss. Casualties were high with many battle brothers slain or crippled. These brothers will be moved into command positions within the fleet and brothers from the10th drafted in to replace them.+++

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was irritated in the extreme by the Dark Angels’ comments. He felt in no way responsible for the Dark Angels’ inability to recognise a potential threat. At the time of his report the area had been clear of Orks, it was not his fault they had returned. Even so the Brigadier was far too junior an officer to make any kind of formal complaint.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Zadoc subsector - Nazghat arrives on Danelloth

The first action in the Shadow worlds in 008M42 fell upon the small world of Danelloth. Somehow they had managed to evade Jellicoe’s fleet so escaped the same fate as their comrades in the Mabb Nebula, and a large force of greenskins deployed on the far side of the planet.

Their landing however did not go un-noticed and before long they found themselves under attack from a Necron horde, presumably woken into action by the Orls’ arrival. On the far side of the planet from the human colony,the sighting of the Necrons caused quite a stir amongst the population, and they were not relieved to find out that the high-tech aliens had been crushed utterly by Nazghat’s waagh!

The colonists now waited, wondering what the Ork Warlord would do next.Meanwhile the Imperium became increasingly concerned that the colonists would agree an alliance with Nutbasher, making it an ideal base of forward operations. Hastily, a force was prepared to remove the greenskin threat.

Zadoc subsector - Coronus: Necrons defeated by Dark Angels

With the sighting of Necrons on Coronus the Dark Angels unexpectedly moved in to land a sizeable force on Coronus. Almost a company and its attendant fleet arrived in system without warning and immediately quarantined a large area in the southern hemisphere of the planet. The local populace did not argue.

The Dark Angels then began a systematic search of the area while the locals pledged, rather insincerely, their renewed faith in the Emperor and his servants. Then, after several hours the space marine chapter came under heavy fire from a Necron force. This was what the Dark Angels had been looking for.

After a brief but devastating firefight the Necrons were destroyed or phased out, leaving the Marines in control of the field. With that, the commander declared the planet “clean” and had broken orbit before the end of the day! Many of the inhabitants didn’t know what to make of the day’s events, whether to be appalled at the sudden and unannounced arrival of the“Angels of Death”, or the fact that the dreaded Necrons had been on their world…

Melberg - Dark Angels Escape

The first the Tau authorities knew of the Dark Angels attempted rescue mission was the detection of a strike cruiser dropping out of warp dangerously close to the planet. Immediately the fleet was ordered to intercept so the Dark Angels knew they had to work fast. The chapter had dropped the strike cruiser out of the warp as close as they could to the planet. The intention, to extract the remaining space marines from the planet and leave it to its fate. The chapter knew that while the world was now excommunicate traitoris, greater threats lurked in the Zadoc subsector, and the time and place to make a stand against the Tau was not on Melberg in 008M42.

The Dark Angels struck quickly by Thunderhawk on the northern shores of Terris Kingdom near to the border with Veraconia. At first the Tau were taken by surprise, shocked by the ferocity and suddenness of the attack and fell back. Then it became clear the air bases cut into the rocky ground of the northern peninsular were the target, and Tau resistance stiffened. The Dark Angels 4th company began to sustain heavy casualties, but their momentum was enough to carry them into three of the important air bases along the coast.

Hundreds of Tau aircraft were destroyed by the lightning raids while many more were evacuated to safer bases further south. This was the Dark Angels’ plan. Now that the Tau air caste had fled from the space marine ground attack the second phase of the operation could begin. Free from air attack thunderhawks quickly ferried Astartes men and equipment to the waiting strike cruiser while the captain of the vessel nervously watched the closing Tau fleet.

Seventeen hours after the beginning operation the 4th company broke off their engagement and extracted the survivors from the action. Casualties had been heavy, but the Tau’s had been far worse. Additionally, the casualties were far less than the amount of troops and equipment evacuated from Veraconia. Forces which could now be rapidly redeployed against the growing threat further north.

With the Dark Angels gone the Tau could at last start discussing peace terms without the threat of Astartes reprisals, but Sunstrike knew he had missed an opportunity to seriously reduce the combat effectiveness of his most implacable enemy. The Dark Angels had escaped and would no doubt return to face his forces again in the future.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Zadoc Subsector

The Subsector
The Zadoc subsector in 008M42 was the key link in the entire sector to the rest of the Imperium. Since the loss of the Aleph subsector to the rebel UFP, the Zadoc subsector now became the very border between the Empire of Mankind and the ever growing Tau Empire.The subsector itself consisted of six major planetary systems ruled nominally from the capital Zadoc. Libria, the most populous system was recovering from a tyranid invasion,and Tyranteous and the Sisters (Alphe and Betor) were sparsely populated Agri-Worlds. Zadoc and Tarsis Major were the two most important worlds, heavily defended and protected by the substantial Zadoc subsector fleet.

These were not the only worlds, just the most important. Off the major space lanes lay many more worlds, some Imperial, some neutral and others alien or unexplored. The centre of the subsector harboured the large expanse of space covered by the Mabb Nebula, where Forts Aerin and Sparcos stood guard against Ork forrays from Kallack. Deeper into the nebula Imperial agents knew lay other more hazardous threats, including the Eldar and Necrons.

Hubward of the subsector lay the Perseus Deeps, a lawless area of space. Grimlock, on the edge of this wilderness, had long since fallen from the Emperor's light, and Chaos raids were common. The key link in the chain of defences was Caitlen station, a vast and heavily defended system of space stations and shipyards. It was here that the subsector fleet spent much of its time.

Two areas of smaller planets held the key to the subsector. Towards the galactic core the Rim world, on the edge of the Perseus Deeps, mainly neutral worlds or small outposts, provided an ideal base to launch a crusade either into the Deeps or the other way, into the core of Imperial territory. The Shadow worlds, a similar set of small outposts and mining ventures, lay on the edges of the Mabb nebula, and would always be on the front line of any escalation of hostilities.

In mid-008M42 the various factions in the Aleph sector were not strong enough to launch any campaign against each sides' main worlds. Melberg had drained the Imperium and the Tau, while the very lack of Eldar numbers meant conquest of an Imperial world was simply out of the question. Instead each side sought to gain influence, through diplomacy or terror, over the Rim and Shadow worlds, to build up their forces for the next phase of operations.

The Tau favoured separate approaches, led by the water caste, but backed up by the might of the fire caste. Elan Ro was sent into the Mabb nebula, while Shadowstrike headed for the Rim worlds. The Tau hoped to win over the worlds in the Zadoc subsector in order to isolate, and then acquire the major worlds. However, they were under no illusion that this would be easy, but after Melberg an all out shooting war with the Imperium was unthinkable.

The Dark Angels also headed into the Shadow worlds, investigating reports of Necron and alien activity, as well as following their own mysterious agenda. The Imperium as a whole mainly acted through the Inquisition, who were determined to put a stop to the Tau encroachment on Imperial territory, as well as rooting out backsliding and laxity on the part of the Imperium's forces.

The mad Chaos Admiral Thok also intended to make his mark, and his ambitions turned to the Rim Worlds, with the final intention of taking Caitlen station and the valuable shipyards. From there he could gather enough support to launch an attack on his old enemies... Whoever they were.

The Eldar meanwhile were disturbed by the idea that the myriad aliens of the sector should be encroaching on their realm. The Mabb Nebula shielded a number of exodite worlds which they did not want discovered. In addition the nebula contained several Necron Tomb worlds, and the Eldar were convinced that the stupid blundering races infesting the area would no doubt wake them up. In the Perseus Deeps the Eldar were also concerned with the actions of Grand Admiral Thok, someone they would even ally themselves to the Imperium if that meant stopping his insane antics.

And then there were the Orks. For to long the Vork Ork Empire had been left in relative peace. Now like a plague or infection the Orks had multiplied so that their Warlords now had to look outside their borders for new conquest. Ork raids increased and it was only a matter of time before events escalated into a full blown Waagh! The Ork Warlord Nutbasher began his crusade on the very fringes of the Mabb nebula, clearly intending to break the stranglehold on the Ork world of Kellack.

Finally, though beaten and fragmented, the Tyranid Hive fleets moved steadily north east, and from their attack on Libria the Imperium reasoned that they would next fall upon the Rim Worlds. New Sparta and Rhesius would feel their presence first, and to protect them the Imperium sent out patrols, but could not locate the Hive fleets in deep space, much to the frustration of Admiral Jellicoe.

New Campaign Open

Campaign system detailed here: