Friday, April 29, 2022

Rifts of Hecate update

In late 04.022M42 despite the emerging threat from the Tyranids, the other factions in the Rifts of Hecate continued to pursue their aims against one another. On Mendesum, the forces of chaos continued to build up their forces despite the unwanted attention from several raids. First the Drukhari attempted an opportunistic raid on chaos forces, but the Thousand Sons intervened, leading to an attritional battle the dark eldar most certainly did not desire. Utilising their almost invulnerable terminator forces, the battle saw both sides lose their commanding officer, before the Drukhari decided the raid was no longer worth the losses, and abandoned the endeavour.

Later on, the forces of the Imperium arrived. This was in fact an error. The Imperium were now under the unified command of newly appointed Crusade General Justinian Flavius Maximus, but the commanders of the astartes, mechanicum and Guard forces already engaged in the Rifts of Hecate had not accurately updated the General on the situation on the ground, and Maximus was still adhering to the old and now out of date battle plans. He sent in a regiment of Guard to establish control over what he believed to be a system with a small population of humans, completely oblivious to the fact the chaos forces had already been establishing their own bases there. The result was predictable as an Iron Warriors force quickly intercepted the imperial arrivals, massacring their infantry and forcing their armoured units to withdraw unsupported. The Iron Warriors almost had their sorcerer assassinated, but he escaped gravely injured.

Another failure caused by the lack of communication in the Imperial high command saw an Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet land on Garmenes almost totally unsupported by other imperial elements. The Tau, who had been building their own base on the world, reacted swiftly, unleashing a storm of accurate fire on the Mechanicum forces, and inflicting severe losses. Later analysis of the encounter suggested the Adeptus Mechanicus might have used a different strategy and established a foothold on the planet, but in the heat of the sudden unexpected battle, this option only came to light in hindsight. For now, the two imperial disasters woke General Maximus up to the disjointed and fractious nature of imperial forces in the Rifts of Hecate, and he ordered all new forces to Ferrosiun where he set up his HQ. The first order of the day was to establish the deployments of Imperial forces and create a Crusade war council. Then he would gather intelligence and draw up a battle plan for systematically gaining control over the worlds of the region.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Rifts of Hecate 2504_022M42


Hadron Expanse: Ynnari halt Tyranid advance

Although by late 04.022M42 Candic Major's rich biosphere had been consumed by the hive mind, now a union or mishmash of the genetic streams known as "Jormunandr" and "R'yleh", the tyranids were still not yet capable of full scale hive fleet operations. Though the other races were not fully aware of this, the tyranids in the Rifts of Hecate were in fact a vanguard force of multiple genetic lineages, and had "seeded" the worlds in order to create their mighty hive ships from the abundant resources the worlds presented to them.

The orks landed at Candic Major, now a lifeless husk, more by accident than design, but the response from the swarms of aliens now covering the barren planet was the same. the larger creatures of "R'lyeh" crashed into the orks as they emerged from their ramshackle landing craft - mostly converted asteroids - and after a furious fight overcame the ork invasion. This was welcome biomass, as the tyranids made good use of it, beginning work on what can only be described as a "bio-space station", a giant "mothership" which would become the literal mother to hive ships that were now being gestated in this biological abomination.

The Ynnari then entered the fray, alarmed by the repeated failure of the younger races to adequately deal with the emerging tyranid threat. The Aeldari coalition found more success, raiding the planet in several places and once again deliberately attacking key hive nodes to disrupt the progress of the creation of a new fully formed hive fleet. The raids were a success, but the Ynarri knew this would only ever be a delaying tactic. Unless the other races of the region tackled the xenos threat, there was a real risk of the area being consumed, and a new hive fleet flooding through the Hecate Gap, consuming the entire Hadron Expanse.

Mordecai: Dark Angels retake Sathugar Mines

Following the over-extension of the World Eaters in their reckless but savage attack on the Black Templars at the Sathugar Mines, the Dark Angels now moved in to fix the hole in Imperial defences they had created. Rather than attacking the pocket directly, the loyalist astartes moved swiftly to attack the units to the flanks of the World Eaters, along the more northern sector of the Central Front, defended by the Death Guard. the Dark Angels intended to strike the slow moving worshippers of Nurgle before the forces of chaos could move in to secure the salient the World Eaters had created, thus isolating the other traitor marines for mopping up operations.

The attack by the Dark Angels was a bloody slog, but the Death Guard were slowly but surely forced back, widening the gap between them and their allies in the Sathugar mines. By the end of 2504.022M42 the Dark Angels had managed to all but surround the World Eaters, though it came at the cost of their commanding officer, cut down by the Death Guard eventually. Nevertheless this sacrifice was not in vain, as the World Eaters, unsupplied and cut off thanks to the attack on the Death Guard, dispersed and slipped back to chaos territory under the cover of darkness. The Sathugar mines were once more in Imperial hands.

Astartes battle orks on Mezria VI

On Mezria VI both the orks and Imperium were gradually building up forces as the battle for the world became an all out war between the two opposing sides. By 04.022M42 the Bloodfang tribe had landed several greenskin armies, but the Imperium were still in the process of building up their forces. The main participants in this phase of the Mezria VI campaign were astartes chapters, and the Dark Angels and Hammers of the Emperor had sent almost a company each of the elite superhuman troops.

There wasn't exactly a "front line" on the planet as such, given the vast distances involved and the small size of the participating forces. Instead the orks persistently sent out roving patrol forces, which would then clash with whatever enemy they found. Initially this caused problems for the Imperium, as the Dark Angels were caught by surprise in the open on 2204.022M42. Barely any of the astartes survived, and it was a lesson for the Imperium. The strategy changed to using scouts and Adeptus Mechanicus scans of the surface to identify ork forces and their movements.

The Hammers of the Emperor took full advantage of this a few days later, identifying a large mob of orks which appeared to be centred around important orks that may be HQ or leader elements. The Hammers drove directly into the mass of greenskins, taking out these key targets, before withstanding the inevitable onslaught as the giant horde of angry orks charges the marines. The Hammers held on long enough to be evacuated, and their objectives had been met. As the Hammers of the Emperor withdrew to the relative safety of the almost complete imperial bases, the orks devolved into fighting with one another now that their leaders had been assassinated. The war on Mezria VI was not over however, as the greenskins roamed unchallenged across half the planet, though the construction of imperial bases was now well underway.

Candic Minor consumed

The eldar had managed to disrupt the consumption of the habitable world in the Candic Minor system by the tyranid threat in 03.022M42 but during 04.022M42 they were unable to spare the resources any further. Instead the eldar attempted to use subtle manipulation of the winds of fate, tipping off the Imperium to reports of an undiscovered STC on the planet in order to divert the vast resources of the Mon-Keigh to deal with the alien threat now bearing down on the entire Hadron Expanse.

The eldar ploy was successful, as the Adeptus Mechanicus, following up on any rumour of ancient human technology to be reclaimed, sent a small explorator fleet to the system. What the Aeldari were unable to do however, was decide the outcome of the inevitable showdown that followed. The Mechanicum found the world already stripped of its vegetation and swarming with tyranid creatures, and the shadow in the warp had already become significant. The followers of the Omnissiah did land on the world and attempted to set up a base of operations, but the hive mind reacted quickly, sending hordes of creatures against the interlopers, including some extremely tough large beasts. Unable to overcome the psychic fog that now enveloped the system, the weapons of the Adeptus Mechanicus were less than effective at dealing with the attack, and the attempt to investigate the world was abandoned. Candic Minor was completely consumed some days later.

World Eaters push on Sathugar mines

On Mordecai Secundus the ongoing war between the Imperium and the forces of chaos had lapsed into another attritional stalemate with little in the way of sweeping offensives by 04.022M42. The Imperial position was strong, though the forces of chaos, led at least de facto by the Emerald Serpent, had the superior logistics thanks to the presence of the daemon world of Astralis. In mid 04.022M42 the World Eaters arrived once more, keen to create havoc and destruction, though less intent on changing the strategic situation in favour of the chaos coalition on the planet, and more intent on causing destruction to the Black Templars who they had followed to the world.

The Templars took position upon their arrival in the Central Sector of the Mordecai Secundus front, nominally to defend against any incursion against the Sathugar mines, but more importantly to establish a base of operations from where they could conduct offensive operations against their hated ancient foes in the form of traitor astartes. They got their chance relatively swiftly, as the World Eaters wasted no time in preparation and launched an immediate aggressive attack on the front lines, barrelling through the imperial defences and heading straight for the newly arrived loyalist marines.

The result was carnage, as the World Eaters caught the Black Templars of guard, massacring a company and forcing the loyalists to abandon their base and retreat back to their strike cruiser. The strategic situation however was little changed. The forces of chaos had managed to breach Kutuzov's lines, but in their haste to get to grips with their hated enemy the traitors were now over-exposed and under supplied. Kutuzov met with his war council and hastily prepared a counter attack.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Rifts of Hecate 2004_022M42

Thousand Sons defeat Tau at Mendesum

The Tau had come late to the Rifts of Hecate. The base on Garmenes was under construction, but incomplete. Nevertheless the Tau moved in force in mid 04.022M42 towards other worlds. Skirting Calthingum and Pyrrho Zeta, identified as having significant chaos forces, and avoiding Mezria VI where an imperial fleet had been detected, the Tau landed on Mendesum with the intent of setting up another forward base deep into the Rifts.

The Thousand Sons however moved swiftly to counter this landing, as the system had already been identified as a possible location of important ancient scrolls, something the Emerald Serpent were keen to locate and utilise for their own strategic ends. Hitting the Tau hard and early would prevent the aliens from getting a foothold, so on 1504.022M42 a force of traitor astartes emerged from the warp over the lush world of Mendesum.

The Tau were taken by surprise by the sudden intervention of the elite forces of the Emerald Serpent, and struggled to fend off the relentless advance by the Rubric Marines. After a bloody firefight the Tau abandoned their positions and withdrew from Mendesum. Increasingly the Tau were being shut out of the exploration of the Rifts of Hecate, and the forces of chaos were creating a significant hub of systems in the eastern part of the region.

Ravenguard defeat orks at Mezria VI

On Mezria VI both the orks and Imperium had established small forward bases. The world itself had no population, but was strewn with ruins across the surface of the world from a previous civilisation now lost to the mists of time. The entire world was shrouded in a sickly green fog, lending a dystopian feeling to an already barren world, but the planet was inhabitable, rich in resources and in a strategically central position in the Rifts.

The inevitable clash between the two forces started in early 04.022M42 as an ork patrol ran into a unit of Ravenguard astartes. Both sides then poured more and more forces into an escalating engagement, which soon became a maelstrom of fast moving firefights and skirmishes. The astartes dominated the engagement, and routed the orks, establishing the imperial base and forcing the orks onto the back foot. The war on Mezria was however far from decided.

Imperial Expansion in the Rifts of Hecate

As 04.022M42 progressed a series of small skirmishes took place across the Rifts of Hecate typifying the engagements in the Hadron Expanse. Unlike the wars of the Perseus Deeps and other more populous subsectors, battles in the Rifts were often small and lonely affairs. By this time even the Imperium only had a few regiments and a handful of astartes companies assigned to the campaign arena, and most of those were concentrated at the main imperial base on Ferrosiun, and a small army had been established on clearing Helos Majoris of the tyranid infestation.

The Sisters of Battle lent a hand in the clearing of tyranid and genestealer cults on Helos Majoris as the Imperium began to bring their religion to the sparse human population of the world. In early 04.022M42 small bands of Sororitas would accompany the Imperial Guard on patrols, keen to show the population of the planet that they were here to save them and bring them under the righteous rule of the Emperor of Mankind.

By mis 04.022M42, several skirmishes against remnant genestealer cults had pushed the xenos back into the rugged terrain of the western hemisphere, and the Sisters pursued them with righteous fire, burning them out of the caves and other hiding places. By the end of the month, the planet would be declared clean, and Helos Majoris was added to the list of imperial worlds.

Further into the Rifts, an expeditionary force had reached the Lodax system. A contingent of Knights from House Corvus had been assigned to the investigation of Lodax and the establishment of a forward base. The Sisters of Battle went ahead of this force, scouting out the twin inhabitable worlds of the system. On Lodax Prime they found nothing, not even life above the microbial substrate that covered the ground, but there were signs of previous habitation by humans, now long since fallen into ruin. On Lodax Secundus, a mars like world of deserts and dust, the Sisters of Battle encountered vast tomb complexes, and were beaten off by small bands of necron warriors that had reanimated to defend their sleeping brothers.

Identifying the necrons as from the Ha'Tek dynasty, the Sisters pressed on with their investigations of further tomb complexes, only to be ambushed and driven off this time by the eldar, who seemed very keen on preventing the Mon-Keigh from blundering into the necron tombs and waking the entire tombworld up. The eldar succeeded in convincing the Adeptus Sororitas from investigating further, but the necrons had already been awoken.

The Ha'Tek dynasty, enraged by the arrival of the lesser races in their domain, sent a significant force against the invaders on Lodax Prime, and attacked the forces of the Imperium as they continued with the construction of a forward base. House Corvus however were ready and willing to engage the necrons, and unleashed their vast firepower on the necron army. The engagement was very one sided, as the xenos struggled to deal with the power of the imperial war engines. House Corvus' Knight Errants charged the necron lines, tearing apart the aliens in close combat, while the mighty Castellan supported by Helverins pummelled their enemies with seemingly unlimited ordnance. Even the intervention of a monolith made no difference, though the Knights were forced to accept some losses before annihilating the necron threat.

By mid 04.022M42 the Imperial base on Lodax Prime had been established, but the tombworld on Lodax Secundus remained the domain of the Ha'tek dynasty, and the activity within the tomb complex showed an increase as more of the xenos emerged from their long slumber.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Rifts of Hecate - strategic 04.022M42


Mordecai: Dark Angels advance on Nazurgal

On Mordecai the titanic struggle between the Imperium and Chaos continued into 04.022M42 with no sign of either side gaining a strategic advantage. The imperial position had been restored following the retaking of Festergax, but in the south the forces of chaos had recaptured the twin cities of Ur'Ghar and Burroneus. To move forward the Imperium would need to take more cities and strategic resources from their enemy, and in early 04.022M42 the Dark Angels launched a small offensive in the direction of Nazurgal. They made progress towards the city in a bloody battle which at times could have gone either way, but the real motivation for the astartes assault was less focussed on the aims of general Kutuzov and victory on Mordecai, and more towards the aims of the Dark Angels themselves.

The loyalist astartes fought in a bloody battle against the Thousand Sons in an engagement that seemed more of a grudge match than anything else, losing their commander and many battle brothers in the process. Whether they achieved their own aims remained unknown to imperial high command, but general Kutuzov was moderately pleased with the advance made towards the chaos city and the fort of Parganath in the central sector of the front. He could now plan for the next offensive which would almost certainly revolve around the three cities of Ur'Ghar, Burroneus and now Nazurgal.

Hadron Expanse Activity

As 04.022M42 began there was a great deal of activity in the Rifts of Hecate as several factions attempted to expand their influence and control over the habitable systems of the region. The Tyranids found themselves on the backfoot as their arrival at Lodax did not go to plan. Spores had finally germinated on the planet, and a swarm of tyranid creatures began exploring the surface of the planet for threats. they soon found them however, as they stumbled across an ancient alien tomb complex. Inadvertently awoken by the invading xenos, the Ha'Tek dynasty were not best pleased that their worlds were now being swarmed over by lesser organic races, and swiftly roused their armies. The tyranids on Lodax were eliminated, and the Lords of the Ha'Tek dynasty, particularly irritable after their millennia of slumber, started to make plans to rid their former empire of this new violation. Meanwhile the tyranids on Helos Majoris were slowly driven back into the wilderness regions of the planet, as small Imperial Guard forces were sent in "kill teams" to isolate and kill any of the xenos creatures as they were detected, searching always for the hive nodes that controlled their behaviour.

On Ferrosiun Prime, the orks continued to create structures - defences, war machines and settlements as the beginnings of a waagh! began to take shape. There was the question of leadership however, as the two main ork tribes attempted to work out which was more suited to the guidance of ork aims and strategy. This could only ever be resolved in traditional greenskin fashion, and the Hobgobbos of Grunk Prime met the Blood Fang tribe on the field of battle on the plains of their primary world. A fierce battle took place as both factions enthusiastically applied themselves to the endeavour, with the eventual winner proving to be the Blood Fang tribe. They would now lead the orks in terms of strategy, although from an outsiders perspective this simply appeared to be "get stuff, build stuff, go places, hit stuff". 

The orks wasted little time in enacting this... "plan", arriving at the system of Mezria just days later. Their first landing was met by a small force of Crimson Fists who had begun to set up a base near the small imperial outpost, but the astartes were unable to prevent the Hobgobbos from establishing a bridgehead. Later on, a small band of roving orks encountered an Imperial Guard Patrol nearer the single human settlement, but were driven off by imperial guard disciplined firepower.