Saturday, March 30, 2019

Second necron faction encountered in the ash wastes

Outpost 436 was a remote vehicle storage and repair facility located far behind the front lines on Hexis. It was garrisoned by only a single platoon of guardsmen from the Sycorax regiments, who had been stationed there to recover from psychological trauma sustained in combat against the forces of chaos. After one standard month they were due to be re-evaluated by the Medicae Animo and then either returned to front line duty or signed off for humane cleansing by military internal security. No one was expecting trouble and readiness was poor so it was almost 20 minutes before officers realised the perimeter sentries had gone silent.

As troops began to run half dressed from their barracks, corralled into action by the shouts of their officers they were astonished to witness the forms of Necrons wandering around the camp, apparently examining the stationary forms of parked vehicles and heavy equipment. The automated sentry guns and warning sensors had all spontaneously deactivated and gone into hibernation.

As the troops waited uncertainly engineers finally succeeded in getting one of the superheavy tanks started up, an ancient Baneblade called Nobilem Dignitate. As it rumbled forward the Necrons finally took notice of the lumbering war engine and attacked, but rather than focus all their firepower against it they appeared to shoot it with one type of weapon at a time is if testing how it responded.

Not caring about the reason for this bizarre behaviour the Baneblade opened fire, blowing away huge chunks of the milling Necrons. Having tested the vehicles armour and firepower and found both to be formidable the Necrons seemed to fade out of existence along with the destroyed remnants of their dead.

A report of this strange incident was filed with central command and was flagged for investigation by military intelligence, but when officers came to interview the witnesses they had all already been executed by the Commisariate for dereliction of duty due to their shoddy perimeter security protocols. All security picts were found to have mysteriously shut down along with the base defences during the incident leaving no evidence the event had even taken place.

Stahl launches fresh invasion of Mordecai Tersius

The invasion of Mordecai Tersius by the forces of chaos had been expected since the fall of Paradorn. With supplies drying up despite the imperium stationing two fleets in the system they were powerless to stop Tragean and Thok’s war fleets from reentering the system and fortifying the docks. In addition, Stahl had arranged for the lead elements of his Iron Warriors to transit in system with them and only a few days later, the traitor astartes made landfall on the outer planet. 

General Kutuzov had been made overall Commander of the Mordecai system, an unfortunate poison chalice. In just weeks the planned invasion of the primary world had to be scrapped in favour of a hastily organised defence of Tersius. The Imperisl Fists - architects of the planet’s final capitulation to the imperium - heeded the call for aid, but would not be available in strength for several weeks. Kutuzov had only a few Guard regiments and the Sky Lords strike force - now repurposed as a rapid reaction force intended to inflict maximum damage on the invading chaos forces. 

Kutuzov planned a strategic defence, not pointlessly holding ground but giving up ground as slowly as possible, while inflicting heavy attritional damage on the enemy. He knew if he traded territory for time then eventually the chaos forces would exhaust themselves. Perhaps not at Mordecai, but certainly on Bastien. Kutuzov was well aware of Stahl’s obsession with that world and Parthenope - both worlds of the former chaos empire in the Perseus Deeps. 

Mordecai Tersius had not had time to be entrenched, so the Sky Lords were forced to react to Stahl’s invasion. The lightning assault on Parmera was ignored, but at Slaydon - the capital of the world, the invading chaos army was challenged by the Loyalist Astartes. 

The Sky Lords deployed in a defensive stance, maximising their killing grounds with their Repulsor tanks and Centurions. However the traitors struck first with their heavy weapons swaying the astartes’ air support from the skies. As the iron warriors advanced, it was clear that the havocs were a severe threat, whether armed with lascannons or the reaper chaincannons, which laid down withering fire on the Sky Lords’ positions. 

The Sky Lords did hit back, the Repulsors destroying the enemy transports and causing several explosions in the Iron Warriors’ lines, but the traitors were more suited to this war of attrition. Even so the vanguard of the chaos force crashed headlong into the centre of the imperial positions, with Chapter Master Potitus banishing a daemon prince back to the warp. A fearsome chaos lord, mounted on a blasphemous parody of an astartes bike, cut down the loyalist standard bearer and librarian, but found himself no match for the heavy firepower of the Centurions. 

While close combat was distracting the Sky Lords’ command, the rest of their army was being systematically exterminated by the firepower of the traitors. Despite some heroic deeds by the Sky Lords’ scouts, the intervention of a team of Obliterators only added more firepower to Stahl’s men. The Repulsors were brought down, followed by the Hellblasters. While the traitors did suffer casualties, their force had a strategic reserve, and command of the battlefield. Eventually the Sky Lords were once again surrounded then eliminated. By the end of 0104.019M42 resistance at Slaydon had been overcome and the Iron Warriors were establishing their new bridgehead. The forces of chaos had secured a solid foothold on Mordecai Tersius, and the astartes had been unable to make them pay in enough blood for their gains. 

Necron uprising on Hexis

The necron threat on Hexis had not been taken seriously by the imperial or chaos forces. Attacks from the Ha’Tek dynasty had been disorganised and relatively easily to fend off since the planet had been invaded, and other forces of necrons had been sighted, but these seemed more strange than intent on removing either force. 

General Randolph’s second army had been cut off for weeks following the chaos victory over the alliance, and were unprepared for the ferocity of the necron attack that suddenly developed from the wastes. These necrons were new, and angry. The force managed to stay behind the Lycaon defences, weathering the hail of imperial guard fire and then ripping into the wall of Leman Russ Randolph had sent to meet the threat. In a violent engagement the isolated second army was annihilated in just a few hours. 

 Simultaneously the necrons suddenly appeared in the centre of Konev’s lines further east. Assaulting the Last of Sycorax heavy tank regiment, the imperial force was quickly forced into an all out retreat. Several super heavy vehicles were destroyed in the ensuing rout, and Konev scrambled to plug the gap in his lines. Fearing being overrun by the resurgent necrons, the imperial general seriously considered evacuation, but the necrons suddenly vanished as quickly as they had appeared. 

Dumbfounded by the actions of the alien army, the imperial forces reorganised their tattered defences, and the chaos armies seemed content not to push this sudden catastrophe that had befallen their enemies, presumably fearing an attack on their own lines. The motives of the necrons remained a mystery, as once again no communication was forthcoming from the xenos, but the obvious capability of the necron threat that now lurked in the deserts and under the ground gave the commander of humanities forces in Hexis even more headaches. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Imperium fatally overstretched?

In 03.029M42 it appeared the imperium had reached their zenith in the sector. Since the coming of the Cicatrix the forces of mankind had established bases in the Foramen, allowing them to conduct sweeping campaigns in the newly accessible Hadron Expanse. The imperium has conquered Awarath, Dnatha, Hussaria and Palantir, and held on to their gains despite concerted attacks from chaos and the alliance. The imperial fleets had reached as far as Hexis, and established an army there, even controlling the vital necron device for a while. 

However, by the end of 03.019M42 cracks on the imperial strategic position had become yawning chasms. The defences in the Foramen systems of Paradorn and Destino had not been strong enough for a combined assault by the forces of chaos and the perfidious eldar, who arranged a temporary alliance in order to harm the imperial cause. The Zadoc subsector had been bypassed, leaving dangerously powerful alliance and chaos worlds in the imperial supply rear. Worst of all, the former Crusade Mechanicum Archmagos, Cybixx, had been left to his own devices at the critical system of Vandrax. 

Following the collapse of the crusade and inquisitor Vorushko’s order to stand down for the good of mankind, Cybixx had rebelled. However Vorushko was now far off in the Expanse, tending to the new worlds and overseeing events on Hexis. Cybixx, she left to Inquisitor Hathek. 

This was a tragically unwise move. Hathek had no resources with which to monitor the renegade Magos. First, Cybixx rebelled against the imperium. Finally, in 019M42 he revealed the full extent of his heresy. Declaring for chaos on 2003.019M42, the systems of Vandrax and most of Destino now fell to the ruinous powers. At the same time, the Emerald Serpent wiped the imperium off the map in the Foramen Interdictum. 

Even the eldar were alarmed by this turn of events, and now that Maximus’ forces in the Imperium Nihilis were cut off, the eldar ended their agreement with chaos. The war in the Foramen would continue - between chaos and the Aeldari. 

In the dark imperium resources dried up. Unable to adequately supply their armies, Maximus ordered a scorched earth policy as his forces went over to the defensive sector wide. The alliance and chaos armies must pay in blood for every inch of the emperor’s lands he ordered, and training in guerrilla and rearguard actions was stepped up across the region. The imperium would be unable to take ground off their enemies, but if they could grind down chaos and alliance forces in protracted wars of attrition, they might be able to hold on long enough to launch a new campaign against the Foramen that were a lifeline to their armies. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Surprise attack at Mimir

While the imperium were pushed out of the Foramen and the alliance were assaulting Hussaria, the Emerald Serpent realised that eventually the forces of the tau would turn their attention to their vital stronghold of Boltarean. Deciding on a pre-emotive strike, the forces of chaos launched an invasion of The weakest alliance system - Mimir. 

Invading one of the outer worlds the chaos force challenged the alliance to respond. This they did, with a cadre of Malkaor’s troops reacting and seeking to remove the enemy forces. As the tau responded, the Emerald Serpent summoned a host of nurgle daemons, unleashing a deadly infection of pox on the enemy troops. Worse still, as the tau were forced to leave their defenders positions to face the daemonic threat, the obliterators then appeared, massacring the tau infantry and isolating the heavy xenos units. As the elite terminator force teleported into the heart of the action the tau force withdrew, rationalising that the outer worlds were not worth the losses. Meanwhile the federal and tau forces began to prepare their defences against the vital world of New Titania. 

Konev defeats necron threat

While the Imperium were being ejected from the Foramen and retreating at Hussaria, the stalemate on Hexis continued. Warsmith Stahl had actually left the system by this point, but his armies remained, content it appeared to suffer the horrors of nuclear shelling and not reacting to Konev's obvious provocations. The forces of chaos knew Konev no longer had the capability for offensive operations in a meaningful way, at least for the time being.

Underlining this, on 2003.019M42 on of the chaos fleets stationed at the Lysis system abruptly left. Now the imperium had a technical advantage in ships, but without supplies getting through, this wasn't much use to Konev. Aggressive actions against the chaos forces remained beyond his army's capability.

The necrons too seemed to think that the Imperium at least were weak. Mustering a significant host in the northern deserts. the Ha'Tek dynasty, once again led by the necron lord Teal'c, posed a significant threat to Konev's army. Days passed with no response from the Imperium, until the necron force moved closer to Konev's army. Waiting until the xenos were within 50km in order to save fuel, the Imperial forces then struck. Led by their cavalry the Novgorod Guard smashed the necron host in the desert, securing their position on Hexis and once again frustrating the ancient dynasty, who realised theur simply did not have the combat power to overcome the interlopers. More necrons would need to be awakened from their slumber.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Imperium lose foothold in Foramen

By 2303.019M42 the Imperium were close to defeat at the Paradorn system. Lord Maximus, Commander of all armed forces in the sector, was already preparing his invasion of Mordecai, but the loss of Paradorn would represent the Imperium being ejected wholesale from the Foramen Interdictum. Without a foothold in any system in the narrow corridors of stable real space across the Cicatrix, supplies to the Imperium Nihilis would all but dry up, leaving imperial worlds on the wrong side of the rift cut off and vulnerable. 

The Sky Lords appealed to Maximus to withdraw from some worlds in the Expanse to shorten supply lines and to be better able to protect important imperial assets. Maximus refused. This left the Sky Lords with no choice other to help the remaining defenders of Paradorn to cling on against the invading eldar. However, it was not the xenos that led to the decisive confrontation. 

The Emerald Serpent, recognising the strategic significance of the imperial foothold, mustered their elite forces to finally remove them from the system. This would have the double benefit of crippling the imperium while ensuring the eldar did not completely control the entire Paradorn system. 

The chaos force comprised of the most powerful elements the Emerald Serpent could muster. Two daemon princes, including the legendary Andreos Cain, led a force of elite terminators and a host of plaguebearers. In command, Ahriman himself led the force in order to remove the imperium from Paradorn. 

Defending, the Sky Lords could still call on powerful units themselves, and they would need to, as the imperial defenders in the Paradorn Pocket had been reduced to scratch formations. Taking up positions in the last imperial settlement, the Sky Lords deployed their Repulsor tanks and waited for the chaos onslaught. 

The initial phase of the battle appeared to go well for the imperium, as massed firepower cut down a host of plaguebearers and were able to move forward to take vital objectives. However, Ahriman proved his mastery of the warp, overcoming the Sky Lords’ librarian again and again. Then, as it seemed that the chaos assault was faltering, the Emerald Serpent deployed their terminators on the imperial right flank, as obliterators appeared in the vanguard of the chaos lines. 

The heretical constructs quickly destroyed one Repulsor and crippled another, devastating the Sky Lords’ firebase. This allowed the terminators to begin a slow advance on the imperial lines, while the daemon prince Andreos showed his hand, flying into the heart of the Sky Lords’ lines and destroying the astartes banner bearer with psychic bolts of energy. 

The attack by Andreos led to his demise. The Sky Lords’ Commander charged into battle, cutting down the daemon prince and banishing him once more to the warp. However, the sight of the proud imperial banner lying in the dirt profoundly affected the Sky Lords’ morale, and their withering fire slackened. The Emerald Serpent closed in on the shrinking imperial pocket from all directions, and after a protracted fight in the ruins of the settlement, the battle finally ended with the loss of the Sky Lords’ command as the chaos forces closed in for the kill. 

Little remained of the imperial defenders of the Imperial pocket. The loss of Paradorn immediately crippled the imperial ability to conduct offensive operations in the Imperium Nihilis. Suddenly all convoys stopped, and the forces of the Emperor found themselves struggling to defend their now isolated territories. Once again the Sky Lords appealed for a withdrawal from less strategically important worlds and systems, and once again the Lord Commander ignored the astartes, pointing out it was the astartes who kept failing to defend the Emperor’s worlds. With the imperium in crisis, the relations between high command and the Sky Lords fell to an all time low. 


Necrons dealt with on Hexis

The Novgarod 1567th stationed on Hexis first became aware of the interlopers behind their lines when a roving patrol blundered straight into them as they rounded a rocky outcrop. The encounter should have been fatal but instead of attacking the sizeable Necron force completely ignored the Novgarod patrol, as if failing to consider it of any interest or relevance. Passing within feet of the frightened Novgarod the Necrons simply continued on their way. Their complete failure to react to the armed patrol was not the only thing out of place. These Necrons wore dynastic colours not seen before on Hexis or elsewhere in the sector and seemed to move with a complete absence of sound. They trudged forward at a steady and predictable gate but if an observer were to blink or look away for a moment the eeire xenos would suddenly be somewhere else, as if having moved with impossible speed in the blink of an eye. Although unsettling to look upon it was only when reviewing pict feed that their true strangeness was revealed, seeming blurry and out of focus, in some frames suddenly invisible and in others semi-transparent or clouded by static.

Despite the increasingly numerous Imperial forces shadowing them the Necrons continued to ignore the humans, roving about the barren ash wastes as if at random and going from one rocky outcrop to another. It was only when a regiment of Novgarod supported by tanks barred their path that the xenos finally reacted to the human presence, if only to stop and idle for a few minutes. Then, without warning they attacked.

Some of the Necrons marched steadily forward, firing their weaponry into the Imperial lines whilst others seemed to stutter forwards at an impossible rate, though when interviewed later no trooper ever saw one of them moving faster than walking pace. One squad of guardsmen who had been busy changing containment capsules on their plasma guns looked up to find the canoptek constructs that had until that point been scanning the rocky outcrops suddenly in the midst of them and didn't even have time to scream in terror before dying to the sweeping void blades mounted on their tails.

Despite the unsettling nature of their foe the guardsmen kept good discipline and eventually all of their alien foe lay dead. Except, they didn't as the moment someone blinked or looked away the damaged and dismembered remains of their enemy had simply vanished leaving only dead guardsmen and the scouring of weapon impacts on the rocky terrain as evidence that any battle had ever taken place.

The incident was reported to High Command where it was marked as low-importance by a junior intelligence officer and immediately lost amidst mountains of other reports being received from the front lines.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Emerald Serpent ejected from Webway

The forces of chaos had not been idle while General Konev pounded their positions on Hexis. The Emerald Serpent, led by Ahriman himself, determined to outplay the Imperium in the Hadron Expance. While the worshippers of the corpse god dug in on Hexis, despite not even controlling the necron device or the alignment of the Foramen Ignotum, dug in on Hexis, the Emerald Serpent would find another way to assert their dominance over the region.

At Vespae the eldar and dark eldar had been highly active, stealing or concealing many ancient ruins once part of a gigantic necron empire. The sorcerers of Tzeentch theorised that on the world may lie an exposed entrance to the webway, and this was confirmed by a patrol team. Realising the value of such a breach in the eldar domain, the Emerald Serpent sent a strong force to Vespae, moving into the webway en masse, searching for a "back door" onto Hexis that would end the imperial struggle and confirm chaos as the pre-eminent force in the Expanse.

Unfortunately for Ahriman, the eldar detected the blasphemous presence in their domain, and sent a strong force to oppose them. Bitter fighting ensued under a sunless light, as the webway recoiled from the violence, psychically attuned to the slaughter happening within. In the fighting, Ahriman was struck down and had to be evacuated by his remaining followers, while a unit of cultists, unseen by the eldar and forgotten in the chaos of the fighting, managed to slay the eldar commander before the rest of the xenos ejected the chaos forces from the webway. The fighting had been bloody, but the webway protected. The eldar resolved to fortify Vespae, using wards to conceal its presence from their enemies. The Emerald Serpent had failed, this time, to deal a decisive blow in the war in the Expanse, but they resolved to keep trying.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Malkaor pushes forward on Hussaria

Chapter Master Potitus of the Sky Lords recovered from his injuries suffered on Paradorn, and with his forces relieved by the Novgorod Guard, the small Sky Lords force boarded their strike cruiser Eagleclaw and prepared to make an emergency jump to the Hadron Expanse. Thanks to the small size of the battlegroup and astartes mastery of the warp, the strike cruiser arrived at Hussaria just in time to face the arrival of tau forces at the imperial colony. 

The Alliance, taking advantage of the strategically stretched imperium, had invaded Hussaria with elite Federal Forces. While these had gained the Alliance a strong position on the major world, with the capture of Svartan, the federal forces were ill equipped to move across the ocean towards the city of Narke, and onto the capital at Orebro. To cover this vast distance the tau moved in their forces, led by the Expeditionary Force of Commander Malkaor. These fast moving mobile formations would be able to swiftly take the islands in front of Narke, enabling a quick move on Orebro for hopefully a swift capitulation of remaining imperial forces. 

Malkaor got a shock however, as his forces encountered the elite astartes of the Sky Lords, barring the way at the tau landing sites on the west coast of the main Hussaria continent. Malkaor would have to deal with this threat, so sent in his armoured suits backed up by tau infantry men. 

The tau were not expecting the Primaris force deployed in front of them, and very quickly the tau commander regretted his forward deployment of broadsides, as massed repulsor and centurion fire ripped them apart, even while the centurions fell to the tau weaponry firing in reply. Worse was to follow, as the Repulsors proved difficult to destroy, and one managed to get past the line of suits to obliterate several tau infantry units. Another tau infantry force, sent around the flank of the space marine force to secure vital objectives, was simply mown down by gattling cannon fire. 

The tau were now in some trouble. Pinned down on their beachhead and suffering horrendous casualties, only the riptides were now an effective fighting force. Malkaor ordered his commanders to conduct a suicide mission - for the greater good. Realising the cohesion of the astartes force centred around their librarian and chapter banner, the tau commander on the ground conducted an assault, leaping behind the enemy lines and gunning down both. In response, chapter master Potitus charged the tau battle suit, utterly destroying it and its pilot with his double power fists. 

The daring attack had however stabilised the situation. The tau eventually managed to bring down the repulsor tanks, and now moved forward to deal with the dwindling astartes force. Scouts were blasted off objectives by deep striking battle suits, while the riptides moved in to deal with the now surrounded chapter master. Potitus charged, but was unable to destroy the giant war machines. As they retreated and cut him down in a hail of fire, a lucky shot from his modified storm bolters did fell one of the Tau engines, but the other made sure of his demise by stamping on him. Even so, the chapter master of the Sky Lords would live to fight another day, his modified power armour saving his body and after dark Sky Lords aircraft evaded the Alliance sensor net to salvage their brethren, both living and dead. The Repulsors however had been reduced to scrap, and without any reserves to commit, the space marines were once again forced to withdraw, abandoning the scant defence force on Hussaria to its fate. Orebro soon fell to the tau onslaught, but the price had been high, and Malkaor was keenly aware of how close to victory the imperium had come, and resolved to conduct a thorough investigation of what went wrong on the shores of Hussaria. 

Hunt for artefacts continues on Hexis

On the far side of Hexis the search for ancient archeotech continued. With alliance and imperial teams battered in recent weeks, it was the forces of chaos who made progress, their kill teams penetrating deep into the warren of ancient Xenos ruins covered by dust. The chaos factions, united under Stahl in the main theatre, began to show their own fractious nature far from the battlezone however. In particular, the Majnun Medjai, a faction of the Thousand Sons, showed no inclination to work with the Emerald Serpent. This angered the preeminent Tzeentch faction of chaos, and the Emerald Serpent turned their weapons on their brethren, opening fire on them in the shadow of an alien pyramid.

The Medjai were driven off, allowing the Emerald Serpent to progress further towards the energy source, but the Medjai's problems were not over. Escaping the first chaos warband, they ran headlong into another, a force known as "the Host of Eschar" attacked the thousand sons and their accompanying Tzangor forces, sending waves of poxwalkers ahead of the plasma armed traitor astartes. Caught between the infected and the horrific weaponry of the Death Guard, the thousand sons stood no chance, and several were cut down before once again the chaos warband was forced to flee.

Whether the Host were working with the Emerald Serpent remained unknown, but even so, despite the conflict between the chaos warbands, it was now the traitors who were making progress in the ruins, controlling much of the territory in the region in which the energy signal was detectable.

Meanwhile on the Praxis side of Hexis the war had entered a period of stalemate. Once again the Imperium unleashed their devastating nuclear weaponry, destroying one chaos base, only to find Stahl had constructed another, this time in the already irradiated wasteland. Many began to question - at least privately - Konev's strategy for the prosecution of the war.

Battles rage over Mordecai

While the Imperium faced stalemate at Hexis and were suffering defeats at Paradorn, the Imperium continued their offensive against the most powerful chaos system in the Perseus Deeps, Mordecai. To Lord Maximus, this made sense. Continued pressure at Mordecai would focus Chaos attentions there, as losing Mordecai would cause a major setback to chaos plans across the sector, especially as it was a vital naval base. However, there were others in Maximus' command who suggested abandoning the Mordecai offensive in favour of defending Mordecai and overcoming Chaos at Hexis. The new lord commander dismissed these views, stating that Hexis was too far from Imperial supply to reach a swift conclusion, and the the eldar attack at Paradorn was being supported by chaos fleets. Destruction of the chaos hold on Mordecai was a strategically sound decision.

In order to soften up the defences of Mordecai Primaris, which were significant, the Imperial Fleet of Admiral Dreyer was sent in against the chaos fleets patrolling the outer reaches of Mordecai. Dreyer took command of most of Hughes' torpedo armed vessels as part of an ad-hoc battlegroup, and closed to near point blank range with the Emerald Serpent fleet, supported by units of Tragean's force. The battle was a decisive victory for the imperium, crippling most of the Emerald Serpent's vessels and forcing Tragean to abandon Mordecai and retreat to Kendrenec. For the loss of only one capital ship, the Imperium had cleared the way for strikes to take place against the planet itself. The space docks, protected by a powerful space fortress, would also have to be dealt with, but first the missile silos and spaceport on Mordecai Primaris would need neutralising, or any invasion would be massacred.

The missile siloes were pounded for hours by Dreyer's fleet, but the spaceport, protected by energy shields, would need direct attention. The Grey Knights eagerly offered to help, knowing Mordecai was a hotbed of daemonic incursions and blasphemous rituals. Landing outside the space port, the astartes force faced the Emerald Serpent, who had deployed to defend the installation from this expected attack. However, early on in the engagement the Grey Knights destroyed the Emerald Serpent's renegade Knight, which detonated so spectacularly, that it very nearly levelled the space port by itself. Shattered by this turn of events, the Emerald Serpent force withdrew, abandoning the space port and having to watch as Mordecai Primaris' key link to the wider sector was ruthlessly torn apart by the victorious imperial forces. By the time the defenders had rallied a second defensive force, the Grey Knights were gone, leaving behind little more than burning rubble for the chaos lords to reoccupy.

With the offensive going well, Lord Maximus appointed a supreme commander in the Mordecai system, who now set about marshalling his forces for the full scale invasion of the second planet. Using Mordecai Secundus as a jumping off point, the General planned a two stage operation, simultaneously using the Imperial Fleet to knock out the space station and docks, while making a landing in force with mainly Novgorod Guard regiments, although the Imperial Fists, Grey Knights and Sky Lords all made commitments to the system. The war in the Mordecai system was entering a critical phase.

Paradorn on the brink

With the Sky Lords forced to withdraw it fell to the massed Novgarod regiments of the Imperial Guard to repel the Eldar onslaught. When mounted scouts identified an Eldar warhost that had slipped through the Imperial sensor net onto the surface of Paradorn III the Novgarod wasted no time mobilising and massed ranks of infantry supported by batteries of artillery moved to crush the interlopers. Accompanying them were roving bands of religious fanatics, flagellating themselves and crying their praise to the God Emperor of mankind as their priests whipped them up into a mindless frenzy.

The Eldar warhost could not hope to oppose such numbers, yet held its ground anyway. As the hordes of infantry stormed forward the Eldar met them with an equally aggressive counter attack and fierce close quarter fighting erupted. The pilgrims were cut down in the opening seconds of the engagement, massacred by massed shuriken fire or roasted alive by prismatic flame. With deafening psychic shrieks Howling Banshees burst through the gaps in the line and Warp Spiders materialised to cut down their prophets and priests.

Despite the Eldar's success the casualties they were taking were unsustainable, yet still they pushed on. Tarquil himself strode into the centre of the fray, lending the full potency of his psychic might. Spitting arcs of warp lightning slew guardsmen all around as the Farseer's ghostly projection stepped forward to cut down even more. With the human tide held back for the time being Tarquil turned his efforts to more esoteric matters. The runes on his armour glowed hot, imbued with power from his seer council as he inscribed ancient sigils into the air before him.

Finally the dam holding the massed guardsmen back broke. As the last aspect warriors were slain about him Tarquil found himself surrounded by mon-keigh who jabbed and pawed at him with bayonets and rifle butts. His magical wards held back the worst of the assault but it was too much. Finally the officer leading the humans stepped up and thrust his sword into the ancient Farseer, but the last laugh was Tarquil's as the phoenix gem he wore exploded, taking with it his attackers and the proud Novgarod commander. When the mist of blood cleared Tarquil had vanished and the remnants of his warhost began to withdraw.

The Novgorod raised a cheer, believing they had won the day but then universe seemed to split in two in front of them and in a blinding burst of light the first Phantom Titan stepped into reality. Tarquil had succeeded in opening a long sealed webway portal that lay on the planet allowing the full might of the craftworld's warhosts to pour onto the planets surface.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Aleph Sector: Current warzones

Hexis - Hadron Expanse 
Forces: Imperium, Chaos pact, other war bands and kill teams 
At Hexis, deep in the Hadron Expanse, general Konev has dug in his imperial forces for a long campaign, striking chaos fortifications with weapons of mass destruction, only increasing the devastation of the already ruined and inhospitable wastelands. Chaos still control Praxis and the device, but the imperium have vowed to continue the campaign.

Meanwhile under the surface, kill teams battle in the catacombs to find the source of strange energy signatures emanating from deep underground. Chaos and imperial forces face more than alliance and eldar insertion teams however, as the tendrils of Hive Fleet Ryleh have already begun infesting the caverns. 

Ideal for pick up and play 40k and titanicus games, as well as kill team. 

Paradorn - Foramen Interdictum
Forces: Eldar, Coalition, Imperium
At Paradorn the imperium are clinging on desperately as the Kel Sandros eldar, in “Coalition” with Cybixx and the forces of chaos, invade the system. The plan is to remove the imperial forces from their last foothold in the Foramen Interdictum, cutting off their supplies to the Imperium Nihilis. 

Ideal for pick up and play, kill team missions against imperial assets, and narrative games. 

Hussaria - Hadron Expanse 
Forces: Alliance, Imperium
While the imperium is stretched, the alliance is taking advantage by invading worlds in the Hadron Expanse, knowing the imperial fleet cannot be everywhere at once. 

Ideal for pick up and play, kill team missions against imperial assets, and narrative games

Mordecai - Perseus Deeps 
Forces: Imperium, Chaos 
Despite being pushed on many fronts, and their supply lines overstretches, Lord Maximus wants to take the fight to the enemy, forcing chaos to divide their forces between Hexis and Mordecai, their power base in the Perseus Deeps. The Imperium have secured the outer world, but the defences of the inner planets are formidable. These will need reducing before a full scale of Mordecai Primaris can take place. 

Ideal for kill team missions against chaos assets, and narrative games for raids and bridgeheads. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Planet Focus: Mordecai Primaris

System Information

Star: M1 V Red Dwarf

Mordecai is the most powerful system left in the Perseus Deeps of the once sector spanning empire. It has three major worlds - Mordecai Primaris, the main world, Mordecai Secundus - a hot inhospitable rock mined for its resources, and Mordecai Tersius, a small but important agri-world. The system is self sufficient and is home to the mighty warfleets of several chaos lords including Admiral Thok.

Mordecai Primaris is home to 1 billion citizens, forced to labour in forges and manufactorums to generate equipment and wargear for the chaos cause. Ruled independently by traitor technocrats, Mordecai serves as an important base of operations for any would be traitor warlord.

The system has extensive space docks and defences, and although the Imperium have tried to establish a bridgehead on the outer world of Mordecai Tersius on a number of occasions, each time the power of the system defences and chaos fleets has repulsed them, until 019M42, when combined Novgorod and astartes forces, led by the Imperial Fists, finally took the agri-world. Now Lord Commander Justinian Flavius Maximus is looking to conquer the Chaos capital of the Perseus Deeps.

Mordecai Primaris

Type: Terrestrial World
Orbital Radius: 3.13 x 107 km   (0.21 AU)
Period: 1.46 x 103 hours   (0.17 earth years)
Physics: Large iron/silicate
Gravity: 15.35 m/s2 (1.57 x earth)
Hydrosphere: 10 % water, 16 % ice
Atmosphere: Thin corrosive
Classification: Chaos World
Pop: Approx 1 Billion

Hive sprawls spread across the barren landscape, as little in the way of life still remains outside the cities. Polution and the natural harsh conditions on Mordecai Primaris prevent anything more than scrubland and other desert plants from surviving. Fauna is limited to insects and small reptiles, many of which are deadly to humans.

The population of Mordecai Primaris live int the cities. The main cities ring the north pole of the world, surrounding a giant needle like artefact known as the warp spire. Bolts of aetheric energy constantly bridge the void between the needle and poleward pointing spires that dot the hive cities of the ring. Although Hamen is the largest independent city, there are three hive spires representing the major factions of the chaos pantheon in the Aleph Sector, as well as abandoned and ruined spires from previous chaos warlords.

Stahl's fortress is the Iron Warriors dwelling on Mordecai, a slab sided brutal structure, contrasting with the gleaming spires of the Crystal Citadel, home of Lord Tragean when he visits the world. Admiral Thok does not hold a dwelling on the planet's surface, preferring to maintain quarters in the docks that orbit the world. The Emerald Serpent are currently constructing a spire, while the ruins of Lorek's fortress, destroyed in a petulant rage by the Iron Warriors, remain as a testament to the uneasy alliance between chaos forces on Mordecai.

Closer to the equator the hivesprawls and their cities are home to slave lords who are responsible for the production of much of the chaos wargear and equipment in the sector, and Mordecai Primaris is second only to Charybdis in the Enceladus subsector in terms of power and production.

Current Modifiers and rules for Mordecai Primaris

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Lord Maximus orders war on all fronts

The war against chaos prosecuted by the new Lord General covered the entire sector, as Maximus declared “total war” on the traitors. On Hexis, new deliveries of nuclear ammunition allowed Konev to continue “degrading” chaos positions, destroying Warsmith Stahl’s fortress in the Shifting Sands. The continuation of the nuclear war had begun to turn the surface of Hexis into a poisonous radioactive hell, something Konev’s troops were less equipped for than the forces of the enemy. The astartes forces on Hexis raised their concerns but for now the General insisted the nuclear bombardment continue. 

At Mordecai Maximus conducted a carefully planned raid of the second world, testing its defences and setting down an entire regiment of Novgorod Guard. The Emerald Serpent reacted quickly, and the appearance of elite terminators and daemon forces almost caused the complete failure of the mission. However the guard forces managed to hold their line long enough for the attached adeptus mechanicus forces to destroy several orbital assets on Mordecai Secundus, as preparations for a full scale invasion began in earnest. 

At Paradorn the appearance of the Eldar became a grave concern, as Lord Maximus surmised that a combined chaos-eldar Coalition was working against the imperium in order to deny them access to the vital Foramen Interdictum. Despite the loss of Paradorn I to the xenos, the lord general ordered full scale defensive preparations, with the imperial guard digging in fortifying the third planet, as it became clear that Paradorn III would be the eldar’s next target. Paradorn must be held at all costs. 

Paradorn I invaded

After the loss of Destino the Paradorn system remained the last Imperial bastion securing access to the Foramens Majoris and Minoris. If it were to fall the Imperium would no longer be able to force its supply convoys through into the dark Imperium. Its loss would spell disaster for the Imperial war effort on Hexis and leave the worlds of the Imperium Nihilus ripe for the taking. The danger was obvious and the Imperium had stationed every available fleet in the system and fortified its worlds to guard against the expected invasion.

Taking it alone would be a long and costly process but Tarquil saw an easier path, although to contemplate it filled him with unease. The forces of Chaos, equally aware of the system's strategic importance, had multiple fleets in the area which could shift the balance of power if they could be persuaded to co-ordinate with the Eldar's attack. Tarquil sent emissaries to Stahl to propose this and discuss terms. Stahl proved a reluctant partner and Tarquil reflected that the humans corruption by the dark powers of chaos had done nothing to alter his race's hatred and distrust of the xenos. Eventually the obvious strategic advantage of the plan for his war against the Imperium overcame Stahl's deeply ingrained bigotry but there would be no wider alliance or co-operation, the loss of this vital crossroads to the Imperium would be enough to satisfy both factions.

At the appointed time the Chaos fleets began manoeuvring to draw the Imperial vessels away from their stations around Paradorn I. When the coast was clear a fleet of corsair privateers appeared from a concealed webway exit and began their orbital invasion of the planet even as its defence lasers were once again sabotaged by the Sisters of Quartz. Kel Sandros lacked the excellent intelligence data Cybixx had provided at Destino so their aspect hosts were going in blind. It came as a surprise to them when instead of the massed guard regiments they had expected they were once more confronted by the Sky Lords.

Despite their defeat at Destino the Sky Lords had not withdrawn from the theatre but instead moved their forces to Paradorn to oppose what they knew must be the next step in the Eldar's plan. Without time to rebuild their forces from the casualties suffered at Destino the Sky Lords were lacking in numbers but not in bravery and resolve. Clustered around their Chapter's banner they had all vowed oaths of moment to fight to the death in defence of this world. They were soon surrounded and outnumbered but they had left no gaps in their overlapping fields of fire and simply unloaded everything they had at their attackers. When warriors were wounded they continued to fire from where they lay until death claimed them.

One by one the Sky Lords fell until only their Chapter Master remained, standing atop a rocky outcrop and bellowing his defiance. Impressed by the human's resolve in the face of total defeat Autarch Elissa met his challenge and the two clashed in single combat. One by one the Autarch's flashing blade severed the servo clusters of the Astartes' power armour rendering him all but helpless. Even then Master Potitus fought on, lashing out clumsily as he fought against the weight of his own battle armour. Dodging the attacks Elissa finally brought him down with a thrust that would have killed even an enraged Ork. Yet this human still lived. The Eldar Autarch could not bring herself to butcher in cold blood a foe that had fought with such valour and courage. Offering a salute to the badly wounded Astartes the Autarch ordered the Eldar warhost to move on, leaving the narrow pass a charnel house of dead warriors. The Astartes lay where they had made their last stand and the bodies of dead Aeldari lay in concentric rings around them. Paradorn III belonged to the Eldar, but once more the cost had been high.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Underground battles on Hexis intensify

The violence on the dark side of Hexis escalated as 03.019M42 progressed. The Sisters of Quartz arrived after the Federacy showed no signs of pushing any further into the catacombs. Worried that the forces of chaos would find the necron artefact behind the energy signatures, the eldar first had to overcome a squad of skittarii who were guarding a new adeptus mechanicus expedition intent on investigating the distant ruins. The Sisters charged the Mechanicum force, overwhelming them and gaining access to the inner chambers. 

Down below, the Sisters of Quartz soon encountered the Majnun Medjai in the catacombs, and a violent and bloody encounter ensued. The Sisters managed to push forward and hold key objectives, but they were soon pinned down and struggling to extricate themselves from the situation. After hours of fighting the Sisters were forced to pull back, unable to dislodge the Thousand Sons warband. Reluctantly the eldar harlequins decided to investigate elsewhere, and hopefully deal with the chaos interlopers later. 

Deeper in the underground ruins, amidst the crumbling tunnels and warren of passageways, the harlequins found an even more frightening threat. Lurking deep beneath the ground the tyranids infested the passageways. The Sisters of Quartz charged, but the aliens proved a difficult enemy. Despite their acrobatic ability, the eldar warriors struggled to deal with the horde of hormagaunts, backed up by Tyranid warriors and a lictor. Once again the eldar were driven off, forced to look for alternative passages towards the centre of the necron maze. 

Narrative games in the campaign

Applies to 40k narrative missions

Narrative games

Narrative games gain both sides +1 campaign point for their game size. So a 1500-2000 will yield the winner 6 points (plus positive modifiers if any) and the loser 1 point. 

Many narrative games have an attacker and defender. Once a game has been arranged the attacker may choose to have more points, up to a maximum of 1/3 of the defenders points. So this might be 2000 vs. 1500. If the attacker chooses to do this, then after the game they must give one of their campaign points to the loser should they win. Thus the winner would get 5 and the loser 2. 

Should the defender win, the points are as normal and no reallocation occurs. This represents the greater strategic effort involved in the attacker’s mission. 

Narrative games should be chosen relevant to the campaign, but the attacker could be either side - for example a planetary invasion could result in the campaign “attacker” defending a bridgehead from a counter attack. Use your imagination!

Narrative games should be chosen before army selection, and for some missions some units may be inappropriate. It is up to players to use their judgement and often the mission will suggest units that may be more fitting. 

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Tyranids encountered under Hexis

The forces of Kel Sandros had not entirely left Hexis. Although they had left the discovery of the strange emanations to the Alliance, the eldar had kept small teams of warriors on the planet to disrupt the operations of chaos and imperial forces on the world. However, in 03.019M42 they stumbled across something far more worrying in an old abandoned underground complex while investigating energy signatures.

Expecting the energy readings to be from an imperial base which they could raid or sabotage the eldar forces entered the subterranean complex. Here they did indeed find an imperial installation, still running, appearing to be the start of an expedition into the underground alien chambers. However of the original creators of the generator units there was no sign. Instead, the Kel Sandros unit found itself in battle with monstrous creatures of the tyranid xenos. Towering over them tyranid warriors and a lictor gave the eldar a nasty shock, before they managed to conduct a fighting retreat, forcing the alien monsters into the vast sprawling network of underground caverns. Having seen of the alien threat the eldar destroyed the complex and sealed the entrance to the necron catacombs. Who were these new tyranids? Later analysis showed this was not Nemesis, but a new strain, possibly related. For now the Kel Sandros Craftworld kept this information to themselves, and looked for new targets to raid in order to disrupt the war on Hexis.

Hexis current positions

Nuclear weaponry used on Hexis

As 019M42 progressed, the war on Hexis became even more grim, as the Imperium began shelling the enemy positions with atomic weaponry from their newly created nuclear artillery in the deserts of Calth. The use of the weaponry was still controversial, as although it proved effective at reducing chaos fortifications, there were two worries. First, irradiated zones risked the lives of loyal imperial guardsmen, or more accurately, increased the resource cost of retaking these regions. Human resources, although not difficult to replace, could become difficult to command if they became aware of the dangers of the radiation they were being sent into. For now however, General Konev was concentrating on military objectives, namely the destruction of enemy fortresses and supply bases. The second fear was that the forces of chaos would retaliate in kind, or worse, use warp spawned weaponry against the hundreds of thousands of guardsmen now defending the imperial lines.

Three salvoes were fired at chaos positions in early 03.019M42, exhausting the current imperial nuclear arsenal but meeting with significant success. The fortifications in Old Town were obliterated, with mass cultist casualties, while in South Praxis, the warp beacon set up by chaos to guide in ships was similarly annihilated. In West Praxis, the region of Hakhor was bombarded, destroying chaos supply dumps and killing the defenders in that part of the city. The Imperium were unable to follow up the success by taking ground, but that wasn't the point. Konev was determined to grind down the enemy and destroy their ability to fight, before pushing into the city of Praxis itself.

Fight back at Paradorn

To remove the chaos threat from Paradorn Lord General Maximus ordered all forces to hold the system at all costs. With this in mind the Novgorod were sent in against chaos forces holding the third planet following the initial invasion. Hoping the enemy were not yet dug in, the Novgorod Guard launched a full scale counter invasion only to find the planet strongly defended by the Emerald Serpent. 

Fielding a mix of daemonic entities backed up by Darrantine Guard regiments, the Emerald Serpent proved difficult to overcome, and Novgorod casualties soon began mounting. However, the imperial force knew that defeat here would probably mean the loss of the system, so the imperial force stubbornly pursued their objectives despite horrific losses. More men were pushed into the front, and the beachhead was eventually secured. Fighting raged over key installations for days, but eventually the imperium pushed the chaos forces to breaking point first.

By 0403.019M42 the Emerald Serpent had lost much of their daemonic support, and the planet could no longer be held. The remaining useful chaos forces were evacuated by Stahl and Thok's fleets, while the remainder were slowly mopped up by the exhausted invaders. Paradorn 3 had been retaken, but the situation in the system remained difficult. 

Hexis 2 taken by Death Guard

In early 03.019M42 imperial attention turned to the second world of the Lysis system, simply known as Hexis II or Hexis moon. The planet, smaller than Hexis, is a companion of the major world, orbiting the larger celestial body once every 28 days. Although smaller, the planet was once colonised and has a thin breathable atmosphere, although hardly any water. Ruined structures cover the surface, suggesting this world was once part of the civilisation of men that had colonised the system.

Despite being close to Hexis itself, the Hexis moon showed no signed of Necron activity, and it was believed that the ancient race did not bother to settle the world. Its lack of immediate strategic significance had seen little action on its surface, but the Imperium soon found out that the forces of chaos were setting up a large installation on Hexis moon, creating a secondary base which could mean the constant support by the traitor fleets would no longer be as necessary. Realising the strategic threat, the Sky Lords sent in their first company of terminators to deal with the chaos forces. Unfortunately for the astartes as soon as they made landfall they found the heretic base defended by Death Guard terminators of Mortarion's own first plague company.

The Sky Lords sent in their elite against the traitors, and they had the numbers advantage. Leaving the scouts to secure their own objectives and protect the flanks, Chapter Master Potitus led his terminators against the chaos force, who were now slowly marching forward to the Sky Lords' positions. The imperial force had a firepower advantage, but the blight lord terminators and the death shroud proved hard to defeat with guns alone, and the commander of the astartes knew his force would have to take on the deaths shroud in close combat to deal the traitors a decisive blow. Aiming to strike first, he ordered his own combat squad supported by power fist armed terminators to perform a double charge on the enemy force that was still lumbering forward. Despite his commands and the use of psychic forces from his own librarian, the charges failed, and the Sky Lords were now stuck in the open against the full force of the Death Guard host.

The loyalist terminators withstood much of the withering firepower, but pinned down, the first company of the Sky Lords had no chance when the remaining death shroud terminators struck home with their fearsome plague weapons. Millennia of experience and the blessings of Grandfather Nurgle saw the traitor marines make short work of Potitus' elite squads, and despite an energetic charge by his remaining warriors on the space marine left flank, the Death Guard could not be held. The chapter master ordered a retreat, narrowly avoiding the fate of his lieutenant, who was cut down by a Death Guard chaos lord, but the plague marines eventually caught up with the Sky Lords' chapter master, bludgeoning him to the ground. Only later did Potitus manage to escape, seriously wounded, once his scouts had been evacuated.

The mission to secure Hexis moon had failed, and the forces of chaos, led by the Death Guard, continued work on their installations, creating a thorn in General Konev's side which would be extremely difficult to remove.

Alliance invade Hussaria

With the Imperium and Chaos forces locked in epic struggles on Hexis and in the Foramen Interdictum, the Alliance began implementing their next phase of operations. The Federacy decided to commit more forces to the combined Tau-Federal expansion plans, and sent a number of Librian and Tallaxian regiments to bolster the Alliance forces. In addition, for the first time in the Aleph wars, the Hartak titan legion known as the Squad Confederacy was shipped for operations against the Imperium.

The Squat Confederacy was the final success of the Federacy on Hartak. Combining ancient Imperial designs with tau and Tallaxian scientific knowledge, the squats of Hartak had finally mastered how to re-engineer the MIU of titan machine spirits in order to wield these mighty war engines in battle. In their first engagement, the success of the project would be tested to the limit, as on the Alliance target world of Hussaria, the Titan Legion Gryphonnicus had been deployed at the request of Vorushko , as the Imperium found themselves strategically overstretched with their wars on Hexis and the Foramen.

The squat titans engaged Legio Gryphonnicus on the plains of the major world after the Federal Fleet, assisted by Shadowstrike's tau vessels, outran Stark's fleet to reach the key planet of the Hussaria system. The initial landing caught the imperial defenders by surprise, but near the city of Svartån the Imperial titan legion but up a stubborn defence. However the loyalist titans suffered several misfortunes, having their warhound scout titans annihilated and their reaver blown apart by the might of the squat war engines. By 0303.019M42 the federal invasion had destroyed the imperial defences and taken Svartån, putting the imperium firmly on the defensive in the Hussaria system.