Sunday, August 26, 2018

Foramen Campaign 2608_018M42

Hadron Expanse 08_018M42

New Gregoria taken over by Crusade

For months the system of Vandrax had remained quiescent as Archmagos Cybixx continued his research in what had become known as his "domain". Without Vorushko overseeing his work Inquisitor Hathek, though remaining opposed to the Crusade and what it stood for, had little interest in attempting to wrestle the now heavily fortified system out of the Crusade's hands. His attention had turned to heresy elsewhere, and the loyalist assault against chaos. This refocus also lead to a thawing of relations somewhat between the loyalist and Crusade forces as their efforts were firmly fixed on defeating the ruinous powers.

The one thorn in the Crusade's side remained the watch station and Imperial base of New Gregoria, the outermost ice planet of the system. Here the loyalists and Hathek's agents had set up a base, spying on the Crusade and watching Cybixx. Although this was annoying, because the Imperial Fists retained a small garrison on the planet, Cybixx was told in no uncertain terms to avoid assaults on the astartes. The base remained.

This changed in 08.018M42 as the Fists gave over command of their base to the Hammers of the Emperor Chapter, as they prepared for their assault on Tarlius. The rest of the Imperial Fists were needed in the Hadron Expanse, so the base had to be left in the hands of others, but Hathek demanded an astartes presence to ward off an invasion by the "rogue" adeptus mechanicus.

Unfortunately the Hammers of the Emperor were the worst choice. The Crusade would never attack the Imperial Fists as they had become battle brothers with the Grey Knights, a key supported of Vorushko's aims, in their assaults against chaos. However there was no love lost between the Ordo Malleus astartes and the Hammers chapter, as the relatively new arrivals to the sector had already been attacked by the Grey Knights over their defence of "deamon harbouring" Novgorod Guard regiments.

Now, with the Imperial Fists out of the way, Cybixx was clever enough to inform the Grey Knights of the change in garrison. The Ordo Malleus soon arrived at New Gregoria, demanding at once the inspection of the base for chaos taint. The Hammers, angered by the presumption of the Grey Knights and still bitter over the attack in the Hadron Expanse, once again refused to yield. The situation quickly escalated and the Grey Knights soon began an all out assault on the base. For a while the Hammers of the Emperor gave battle before realising the deamonhunters had them outgunned and outclassed. The loyalist astartes company rapidly abandoned the base and its loyalist workers, who were subsequently rounded up and subjected to "investigation" by inquisition agents.

The outcome of the battle meant that Vandrax became a wholly Crusade controlled system, and Cybixx was now allowed to continue his research free from Hathek's - or Vorushko's - prying eyes. Meanwhile the Hammers of the Emperor protested vehemently over their treatment by the Grey Knights, whose authority they now openly questioned. Whose side were they on?

Eldar make gains at Destino

While the loyalists in the Hadron Expanse continued to make gains and put the alliance under pressure, in the Foramen region the focus of the Imperial forces had shifted to Tarlius. The eldar however feared the sudden "detente" between the Crusade and loyalist factions and worried significantly about imperial success at Tarlius. If a united Imperium took Tarlius, they would control both the Foramen Majoris and the Foramen Minoris, giving them unprecedented access to the Perseus Deeps and beyond. 

Inevitably this control would lead to the defeat of the Alliance and all other forces in the local Imperium Nihilis, with disastrous consequences for the eldar plans. Eventually the Aeldari knew that the Imperium would become corrupted by the forces of chaos, and the galaxy would once again fall to the ruinous powers.

To stop this in the long run, the eldar continued their policy of divide and conquer. With the Imperium finding success elsewhere, the eldar, this time the Rillietan or Harlequins, decided to reopen a second front in the Foramen campaign. If they could take a second planet at Destino other than Alarielle's triumph, significant loyalist forces would have to be diverted in order to counter the eldar threat. If not, the eldar would simply take the Destino system and use it as a base to blockade the Foramen Minoris from Imperial traffic, restoring the galactic balance in the Aleph Sector.

The Harlequins devised a trap. Knowing the Imperial Fists aspred to retake the one world not controlled by the Imperium at Destino, the xenos feigned weakness, duping the astartes chapter into landing a significant force. Once they had landed the Rillietan unleashed their highly mobile forces onto the space marines, surrounding them and conducting a prolonged set of hit and run raids which drew in more and more imperial forces over the course of several days. By 2808.018M42 the Imperial Fists realised the trap they had been drawn into, as the small outpost on Destino II stopped responding to signals. The eldar had secretly used their knowledge of the webway to land and massacre the imperial garrison and established listening posts all over the planet. Destino II was now under the control of the Aeldari and the Imperial Fists were fighting a pointless and protracted battle with the Rillietan on the outer world. The astartes withdrew, reporting the new incursion to Imperial high command. Titus Luthor now had to decide whether to press the war at Tarlius or deal with the emergent alien threat at Destino. Meanwhile the Crusade and Cybixx remained an unknown factor at neighbouring Vandrax.

Loyalists overrun Dnatha system

With the ongoing raids and the appearance of the Imperail fleet ad Dnatha, the alliance knew full well that a full scale invasion of Dnatha Prime could not be long in coming. Since their arrival the Federacy had not been able to construct meaningful defences on the world, and the entire planet was little more than a home for a few million nomadic goat-herders. 

The Federacy had seen Dnatha as ripe for Federal colonisation, and made it plain to the Tau Empire that they wanted the base to themselves. This had been agreed, but with the loss of the eldar webway portal and the Tau fleet defending Echo Reach itself, the Federal fleet now had to make a difficult decision. Fight Admiral Barham's vessels and potentially lose the entire expeditionary force, or flee and hope that reinforcing the troops on the ground would be enough to prevent the invasion.

The Federacy chose the later, withdrawing their fleet to New Titania in the Mimir system, where it was badly needed to protect their main base from the forces of chaos. On the ground, expecting a mainly imperial guard landing, the Librian defenders were reinforced with Baneblade support and a handful of Tallaxian air corps fighters and observation aircraft. This was expected to be sufficient to see off even a Lycaon Guard assault on the planet.

The Imperium however did not intend to merely land Guard units and face the Federacy in an equal battle. The Knights of House Eagleclaw alredy had a debt to settle with the Federal forces over the loss of one of their pilots, and now the Imperial battlegroup prepared to send in their most powerful war engines to smash the Librian defenders, allowing the Lycaon guard to mop up and pacify the rest of the planet. The alliance forces were clustered around their main base awaiting the invasion, making the task of meeting and destroying the enemy all the more simple.

House Eagleclaw landed and immediately pushed into the Librian lines led by their Knight Gallant. This was a semi-suicidal tactic, but the close combat knight once again weathered the storm of enemy fire long enough to distract much of the Librian firepower, which took an awfully long time to finally bring down the marauding knight. Meanwhile, the remaining knights used their awesome mid range weaponry to simply pick off the Librian armour, making short work of even the baneblade support sent to reinforce the federal positions. The Lycaon guard mostly watched and waited, although some of their elite armoured units supported the assault by Eagleclaw from range.

By 2708.018M42 it was clear to the federal commander that the planet could not be held. House Eagleclaw had broken through their lines and were swarming all over the populated settlements and the planet's only base capable of supporting bulk landers was coming under threat. Realising their defensive strategy had been wrong the Librians withdrew, abandoning the planet and rescuing what troops and equipment they could.

The fall of Dnatha Prime had been a salutary lesson for the Federacy. Although the Librian Guard had been improved and were now a credible fighting force, the appearance of knight houses in the Hadron Expanse required their military planners to think more strategically about their military plans. Simply pushing icons round a map would not suffice, and each battlegroup needed to be reorganised in order to ensure that every one had the capability of dealing with multiple threats. The Librians defending Dnatha Prime had virtually no chance once the Imperium decided to employ House Eagleclaw in the vanguard strike, a mistake the federal strategists had paid for with the loss an important strategic system.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Hadron Deeps

While the rest of the Ultramarines company that had come to aid in the Hadron Expanse moved on to the Echo Cluster, a small force stayed in the Hadron Deeps to investigate strange energy readings emanating from a nebula close to the main warp lane from the Zadoc subsector. Upon investigating the Ultramarines found an enormous space hulk drifting through the void and immediately investigated.

Unfortunately for the small squad sent onto the hulk as a boarding party, the hulk had become infested with genestealers, and despite a brief firefight every one of the astartes send to board the vessel was mercilessly ripped to shreds by the aliens on board. Stunned and somewhat shamed by these events, the Ultramarines simply marked the area as "perdita" and did not immediately report the Xenos infestation to any other imperial authority. Only time would tell whether this would be an action the Imperium would later have cause to regret.

Dnatha: Astartes carry out raids

The war between the federacy and the imperium at Dnatha continued in 08.018 as the imperium utilised small astartes raiding forces in order to reduce the federal fighting ability before a full scale invasion of Dnatha Prime began. 

The Hammers of the emperor sent in several teams to locate and rescue a knight pilot from house Eagleclaw. The imperium feared that the federacy and their tau allies would use their new captive in order to reverse engineer MIU technology, a technology even the Tallaxians did not yet have. This could pave the way for federal knights or war engines, or even more efficient tau battle suits. Clearly unacceptable the imperium made every effort to locate and rescue - or kill - the knight pilot, but were unsuccessful, driven off by stubborn special operations soldiers from the federal elite. 

Meanwhile the Ultramarines managed to launch a much more successful raid against a suspected eldar webway portal on Dnatha Prime. The imperium were concerned that the “Alliance” with the Aeldari Xenos would lead to a counter attack once the invasion was underway. The Ultramarines located the portal and managed to hold off federal counter attacks long enough for the squad to bury the portal in thousands of tons of rubble. It wouldn’t seal off the portal forever, but for now the Federacy would be isolated from the eldar when the imperium made their move. 

Hussaria: Assault on Hussaria III

For many months the crusade at Hussaria had tolerated the small loyalist base spying on their every move from Hussaria III. With the battle against chaos pre-eminent in the minds of both Vorushko and Hathek, the ongoing dispute between the two Inquisitors had been largely put to one side. 

Now as the fight against the chaos forces appeared to be going the way of the imperium on all fronts, the Crusade at Hussaria decided to make their move on the small Novgorod garrison. Unfortunately the Crusade forces were turned away by the mere presence of a small astartes force, as the Hammers of the Emperor chapter had responded to the distress signal from the loyalists. 

Vorushko was reticent to order a full scale assault against astartes, but the Grey Knights took matters into their own hands, demanding the removal of the astartes so they could subject the Novgorod to cleansing, claiming the guard had been exposed to daemons at Boltarean and were an extant threat to the imperium. 

The Hammers of the Emperor refused the request and so on 1808.018M42 came under orbital assault from the Grey Knights. The astartes fought stubbornly but were forced to give ground, despite taking a heavy toll on the Ordo Malleus men and equipment. Days later the base was overrun and annihilated with fire as the crusade forced the loyalist forces to abandon the Hussaria system, but not before a new flare up of the inquisition war and two chapters of imperial space marines warring with one another. 

Dark Eldar raid Ceti

By mid 08.018M42 the Aeldari were fully engaged in the Hadron Expanse, primarily warring with the Imperium as they attempted to uncover the wealth and secrets of the region. For once the factions of the eldar race were somewhat united in their goal of preventing any alien power from uncovering the secrets of the Bahotek Dynasty. By this time Vlokarion's kabal of the Crimson Blade had removed Barham's forces from the Vespae system and had removed many of the artefacts the eldar were hoping the humans would never find. This was turning into a profitable activity for the Dark Eldar lord, and the Kel Sandros Eldar had their own concerns over the profiteering of their dark kin, but for now they were serving their purpose. Tarquil's issues with Vlokarion would wait.

Next on the target list was the Imperial forward base at Ceti, a system where the necrons remained in their slumber. Once again Vlokarian readied his by now experienced raiding force, expecting a straightforward cleansing of the ice world of Ceti. However the dark eldar archon was unaware that the base had recently been reinforced by the Knight House of Eagleclaw and a regiment of Lycaon Guard. When the dark eldar arrived, they were in for an almighty shock.

The drukhari attacked as normal, modifying their plans to take on the imperial war machines. However as they attacked in close formation, a brave or foolhardy Knight Gallant charged into the midst of the xenos force. The close combat war machine was eventually laid low by the combined forces of the dark eldar, but the ensuing catastrophic plasma drive overload vaporised almost half of Vlokarion's raiding force. Stunned, the drukhari immediately began a fighting withdrawal as the rest of the imperial force followed up in the wake of the carnage. the remaining dark eldar escaped but Vlokarian had suffered an unfortunate reverse in fortunes, while the imperial base at Ceti remained, plumbing the ancient ruins on her surface for her ancient secrets.

Tarlius: Tarlius IV taken by Imperial Fists

With the Iron Warriors having fully taken the Tarlius System, the Imperium couldn't afford to allow it to remain unassailed to act as a base for deep space operations. However, with Chaos controlling the system orbital defences and having their own large fleets in the system the Imperial forces could not simply sail in. The Imperial Fists therefore launched a daring strike, hitting Tarlius IV like a thunderbolt, claiming and entrenching the existing deep space cannons to drive away the Chaos picket ships and allow their own fleet a base to operate from.

After the sons of Dorn turned the weapons on the Chaos ships however, the Ruinous Powers intervened directly. Led by Ahriman of the Thousand Sons and a vast Lord of Change, a colossal tide of Daemons assailed the Space Marines, attempting to reclaim the orbital guns and turn them on the Strike Cruiser above.

Captain Ajax and Fifth Company, striking in a spearhead of a Spartan accompanying the Chapter's heavy relic Dreadnoughts and the recently refitted Imperial Knight Eagleheart moved to intercept the Daemons at the firing relays, hoping to hold them long enough to secure control in space. As they broke the small prancing daemons at the vanguard of the enemy attack however, the sheer number of the foe began to take a toll. Expecting Iron Warrior opposition, the Fists had not deployed the kind of firepower needed to clear the hordes quickly, and the right flank was overrun by a great wave of red hellspawn wielding glowing blades that made a mockery of Power Armour.

Having lost several squads and Lieutenant Hector dragged down in their midst, the situation looked precarious for the noble Marines, as Captain Ajax committed the reserves, striding into the forefront of the battle alongside the veterans of the First Company, their Storm Shields weathering the glowing blades, and the ancient Leviathan Dreadnought Brother Efried slaying the Daemon Prince leading the red tide in single combat.

With the Daemons struggling to bring down the heavy armour of the Imperial force, Tzeentch's attention elsewhere, and the Fists refusing to give ground around the defence guns, the two armies ground each other down, with the Dreadnoughts and Terminators emerging from the colossal melee against Khorne's minions battered and bloodied but victorious, and Ajax and Lieutenant Scipio bringing down the Changeling before succumbing to Ahriman and his Cabal, who were denied the chance to finish the Astartes Officers, driven off as the fire of the Spartan caused them to desperately summon a portal to pull themselves away and out of its' line of fire.

Only the Dreadnoughts and a handful of Marines remained standing, the Imperial Fists recovered their wounded and finished their task, forcing the remaining Chaos ships in space to limp away. They began construction of the bulwarks they would need to ensure the planet could keep the system accessible to the Imperial war effort.

Following the assault, the outer system of Tarlius was declared safe for Imperial Vessels, and as Stahl consolidated his fleet nearer the major planets, Commander D'Oyly-Hughes was able to move his Imperial battlegroup to the outer edges of the Tarlius system, along with regiments of Guard and Noble knight houses, ready for a full invasion of the Tarlius system.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Eldar harlequins ransack Barham's Vespae base

After many weeks of quiet, the small team of Imperial explorators in the system of Vespae were finally nearing a breakthrough. Until now the Durkhari and Aeldari xenos had been persistently and stubbornly intervening whenever the Imperium, led by the Adeptus Mechanicus, had attempted to explore the apparent wealth of ancient archeotect that permeated the system. The dark eldar had massacred all who trespassed on the moon of the inner world, while the eldar had raided and cut down every member of the team investigating the obelisks on the outer planets.

However the Imperium were undeterred.Reports of investigations on the third planet hinted at a necron device of great power which might be harnessed for mankind. On 1807_018M42 the messages abruptly stopped.

In early 08_018M42 a company of astartes of the Hammers of the Emperor's chapter arrived in the expanse. Known by Imperial record as Imperatoris Malleo, the Hammers' presence was welcomed, but realistically one company of astartes was unlikely to be able to add to the major offensives. Instead, the captain of the company decided to independently investigate or respond to smaller events.

One Cobra class escort carried half the company to Dale, to aid the re-invasion of Palantir by the Imperium, while another travelled to the galactic east, and to the city of Vespae. What the Hammers found was no trace of Imperials whatsoever. The xenos had once again removed all trace of human investigation. As the small team of space marines investigated, the Aeldari attacked.

This time the Rillietan or Harlequins responded to the trespassing Mon'keigh as they blundered about in their clumsy armoured suits through the ruins of an ancient foe every bit as deadly as chaos. The necrons, that had so recently awoken briefly in the Perseus Deeps, cutting a swathe of destruction, were still in hibernation in the Expanse, and the eldar desparately wanted to keep it that way. Soon the graceful acrobatic forms of the Harlequin troupe met the unyielding astartes brothers in brutal close combat. Cutting them down to a single battle brother, the harlequins finally spoke to the survivor, instructing him to inform his leaders that this system and all its worlds were off limits to the race of man.

Tarlius: Grey Knights destroy defence laser

In 08.018M42 the Grey Knights returned once again to Tarlius, this time at the head of an astartes force which over time was planning operations in order to retake Tarlius from the forces of Chaos. Before this could begin, the astartes recognised that the system had been heavily fortified by the Iron Warriors, with gun emplacements, forts and space ports established on most world. The outermost of these was a small but powerful defence laser on Tarlius 5.


Dropping a small squad of Grey Knights onto the laser emplacement itself caused a great deal of havoc as the chaos defenders struggled to respond to the sudden appearance of super humans in their midst. At first, the Grey Knights found the going easy, slaughtering the local slave workers and Dark Mechanicus. However, the planet was not undefended, and a small force of Death Guard supported by expendable pox walkers attempted to break through the Grey Knight's small perimeter as the loyalist adeptus mechanicus began putting the laser silo out of action.


Despite a lone pox walker breaking through the Grey Knights' cordon and infecting the mechanicum adepts, their sacrifice was not in vain. As the Grey Knights teleported back to their orbiting escort vessel they looked back in satisfaction as the entire installation detonated, destroying it as a defensive position and leaving only a crater. Once again a small astartes strike team had got past formidable defences and dealt a powerful blow to the forces of chaos. Now the astartes would follow up with a full scale invasion, while the Iron Warriors - dealing with "situations" on Mordecai - were unable to defend their gains.

Hammers of the Emperor infiltrate Dale

While the other demi company was investigating Vespae, the rest of the hammers of the Emperor travelled to the Palantir system to aid in the re-invasion of the worlds overrun by chaos. Hobbiton had already fallen and the Chaos fleet ejected, but the defences of Dale precluded an orbital drop without first dealing with the defence lasers.

To deal with the defences from orbit would be to condemn the settlements and settlers of Dale to ruin, so the Hammers of the Emperor, a small elite force, dropped three squads of marines on the world virtually unnoticed. From their dropsite the super humans trecked over 100km overland before immediately going into battle against the Iron Warriors Thorakitai, who had been brought in to guard the Dale defences.

The Iron Warriors only grudgingly aided their allies in the Hadron Expanse, but Stahl approved of lesser forces to be sent to "distract" the Imperium from his main task - the Foramen Interdictum. Thus the Hammers of the Emperor faced superior numbers of maddened cultists and fanatics, but were able to brush them aside. Despite taking losses, enough astartes made it to the defence lasers in order to set the demolition charges. An hour later the astartes escaped, just minutes before the charges exploded, detonating the defence lasers and allowing the Imperial fleet to close with the planet.

In addition to this act, the rest of the Astartes demi-company conducted raids, drawing out a small force of Emperor's Children before ambushing them in the ruins of the planet's defences. By 0908_018M42 the constant small raids by the space marines had secured a bridgehead on the planet, with the minimum use of assets and almost zero heavy equipment.