Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Chaos gods clash for control

Deep in the Hadron Expanse, in the Rifts of Hecate, the forces of chaos had established a strong presence by 06.022M42, but the chaos gods were not aligned in their plans. The House of Eschar, a faction of the Death Guard, had established a base on Calthingum, where they planned to develop new plagues and pestilences to further their expansion plans into the Aleph Sector proper. this was a slow and long running plan, but it was too slow and too predictable for the armies of Slaanesh.

And so in late 05.022M42 a small warband of Emperor's Children, accompanied by daemons of Slaanesh, raided the Death Guard intending to thwart the Lord of Decay's plans, and take over their facilities for their own usage. The assault did not start well however, as a keeper of secrets was quickly banished by accurate and determined firepower from the Death Guard war engines, and the inevitable charge by the forces of Slaanesh crumpled as it met an implacable wall of Death Guard plague marines. As the battle bogged down, the forces of nurgle called in their terminators, whose arrival behind the enemy army sealed their fate. The raid petered out and the House of Eschar continued their dogged progress to produce new plagues to unleash on their hated enemies.

Events escalate at Lodax

The Aeldari had so far tolerated the ork presence on Lodax II, judging that the curious and meddling Mon-Keigh posed the greater risk of disturbing the slumbering Necron tomb complexes. The greenskin menace wasn't a situation that could be ignored indefinitely though, and with the humans blocked from the largest Necron complexes by Eldar warhosts the Aeldari resolved to remove the Orks from Lodax II before the infestation got out of control.

Eldar rangers identified a large speed waaagh of ramshackle contraptions pulled by giant squigs lumbering across the desert, its path easily visible from the massive dust cloud it kicked up. Barely visible in the dust cloud was the massive form of an ork warboss of such prodigious size that the Eldar war council determined it must be the leader of all Orks on the planet, if not the entire rifts of Hecate. Assassinating him could cause the  complete collapse of the orks as an organised fighting force.

The aspect warriors of Kel Sandros lay in wait but their perfectly constructed ambush immediately went wrong as one of the grotz on the lumbering squig train got a bad case of “da feelz” and started blasting away randomly at a derelict building. Soon every grot on the train was also blazing away just so they could feel like they were part of the fun and the building, along with the Dire Avengers concealed within vanished in a hail of explosive munitions.

Without hesitation the Autarch ordered her aspect warriors to spring their trap. The entire warhost pivoting in well drilled unison and launched an all out attack at the flank of the squig train. Two of the lumbering beasts fell to the expertly focused onslaught and the grots riding the massive beasts were slaughtered as they spilled out onto the sands.

It was then that the lumbering behemoth of the ork warboss loomed out of the dust storm and fell upon the fire dragons, butchering them with its massive power claws. With their prey identified the sleek forms of the shining spears, held in reserve until this moment, launched forward and layed the brute low, only to find out too late that the foe they had killed was not a massive alpha warboss but actually a grot in a large mechanised suit.

With the ambush sprung prematurely the greenskins fought back and casualties began to mount amongst the Eldar who had been expecting a quick and clean victory. The Eldar fought back with equal savagery and the battle eventually began to swing in their favour. It was then, with victory in sight that disaster struck.

Riding high on a lumbering squig a grot weirdboy suddenly belched out a roiling wave of chaotic psychic energy which sparked about the Avatar of Khain. When it finally cleared the god of war had been transformed into a maddened squig which bounced out of control and launched itself at the autarch and gobbled him down whole.

Aghast at this turn of events the Eldar turned the full force of their fury on the remaining squig contraptions and destroyed them without mercy. Victory belonged to the Eldar and a sizeable greenskin force had been destroyed, but it wasn't the clean assassination of a high value target they had hoped for. The campaign against the orks would need to continue.

Back on Kel Sandros the greatest seers of the craftworld convened. It would take all of their combined psychic might to perform a ritual capable of transforming the Avatar of Khain back from its new squig form. Until then the creature would have to be kept in a pen and fed regular treats to keep it docile.

While the eldar were dealing with another incursion of necrons on Lodax II, the ancient xenos race turned up once more at Lodax Prime, keen to exact their revenge agains the Imperium that had brought ruin upon them. By now the necrons were so enraged they were less interested in strategic gain than they were bringing deth and misery, but General Maximus had predicted such necron pettiness, and hada asked the Dark Angels to deploy in the Lodax system to perform rapid reaction strikes. When the necrons emerged from the webway the astartes went into action, battling the Novokh Dynasty on the desolate plains of the world, well away from areas of strategic importance. The Dark Angels were victorious, and this incursion by necron forces was eventually defeated.

Necrons defeated at Lodax

Having defeated the Imperial forces on Lodax II the necrons were not done. Insulted by the vermin human species desecrating their tombs, the necrons launched their own punitive attack on the Adeptus Mechanicus on Lodax Prime, bypassing the planetary defences set up by the Imperium by their advanced knowledge of the webway. Particularly energised and accompanied by several echelons of the disturbing warriors known as "flayed ones", the necron force quickly overwhelmed the Mechanicum defenders, moving into close combat with alarming speed.
The flayed ones and Immortals of the necron army proved almost impossible to kill, and the imperial force would cut the enemy warriors down, only to see them reassemble and reanimate infront of their eyes. The Adeptus Mechanicus put up a strong defence, but were eventually obliged to retreat from their positions, abandoning their main base and excavations on Lodax Prime.
All was not lost however, as the Imperial Guard had by now deployed in force in the Lodax system. General Maximus ordered an immediate attack, sending in a complete regiment of Novgorod Guard into the path of the invading xenos army. The necrons charged the highly disciplined defence lines of the Novogorod, losing a great deal of soldiers in a frontal assault that was horrendously attritional. Eventually the necrons managed to grind their way through the front line infantry, even though their C'tan shard had been eliminated by an unlikely cavalry charge by roughriders. The necrons realised however, upon seeing the Novgorod second line still intact, that the continuation of the battle was pointless, and phased out, leaving Lodax Prime in Imperial hands.
On Lodax II, while the necrons had been taking punitive action against the Imperium, the Bloodfang tribe had been running amok, looting and pillaging the ancient tombs and piling in ever more greenskin warriors. The Ichortek Dynasty did try to intervene, but with several armies engaged against the Imperium they lacked support. After a brief confused battle the orks were victorious, and the ransacking of the tombs of Lodax II was complete. By the end of 05.022M42 the necrons would not control any ground on either world, and their ancient empire lay in ruins.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Rifts of Hecate roundup


Rifts of Hecate: Imperial Knights deploy in force

With the Imperial expedition to Lodax now coming under attack from necron, ork and eldar forces, General Maximus took charge and ordered a full lance of Knights from House Taranis to the system. In addition a second force of knights was sent to Mezria VI, where the Imperium were under attack from both orks and tyranid forces.

On Mezria the arrival of the knight heavy firepower made an immediate difference as they led an assault into tyranid infested territory. The alien beasts fought savagely however, and the knights of House Taranis were made to pay dearly for their headlong charge into hostile ground. The knights lost their venerable commander, while the tyranids were thrown into disarray. The offensive had been a success, as the xenos had been pushed back from imperial controlled land, allowing the foot soldiers of mankind to continue building a solid base with defences, but the cost had been high.

On Lodax, the Knights were barely deployed in system before finding themselves under surprise attack from the Kel Sandros Eldar. The craftworld which had been mostly passive over the previous years now moved in force along with other eldar, with one simple goal. Eradicate all factions from Lodax and ensure the necrons were kept in their slumber.

The eldar moved swiftly to target the Cerastus pattern night, which they had identified as a real threat in the engagement, first sending a mighty avatar into combat with the imperial war enging. Machine spirit clashed with ancient eldar sentience, causing the very ground to shake, but the Lancer shocked the Aeldari by shrugging off the blows from a god of war, before despatching the alien spirit entity almost in one sweep. There was a brief pause as the collective psyche of the Kel Sandros Eldar reeled at the sheer insult of what had just happened, but quickly moved to correct the situation. Fire Dragons stepped up unleashing a concentrated and disciplined hail of lethal fire into the knight, overloading its void shields in seconds and reducing the otherwise invulnerable walking death machine into worthless slag.

Having dealt with the Cerastus pattern knight, the eldar were now in a more favourable position, able to outmanoeuvre the lumbering walkers and cutting their supply lines. The battle raged for some time, but the eldar were not raiding, but ensuring they gained control over the entire world. At some cost, the Kel Sandros Eldar defeated the Knights of House Taranis, taking more ground away from the Imperium and forcing them back to an ever decreasing perimeter.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Rifts of Hecate Strategic Situation


Eldar assault Imperium on Lodax Prime

The eldar had been watching the events in the Lodax system and were not content with the removal of the Imperium from Lodax II. They knew that the orks could be dealt with later, but that for now the Imperium still posed the greater threat. Not only were the Mon-Keigh poking around the sleeping ancient enemy, threatening to bring a new necron offensive onto the whole sector, they were also credibly capable of learning important and forbidden secrets of the ancient race in a way the orks could not.

The eldar arranged a council meeting with a number of Craftworlds and the decision was made. Lodax I would be invaded, secured and taken from the Imperium, and the whole system would be declared forbidden for all lesser races, on pain of death. The eldar had intervened before, but this would be their largest deployment for many years.

Knowing the problems they had with artillery previously, the Eldar brought with them a mobile webway gate in the form of a storm serpent. This reduced the eldar casualties by allowing the eldar to deliver a formation of banshees right into the heart of The Imperial Guard firebase, severely disrupting the imperial defence almost immediately after the attack had begun. As the Imperium scrambled to reorganise their defences, the eldar secured key objectives and - as planned - dug in. This was unexpected and as the eldar force withdrew from the main imperial battelfield only then did the imperial commander realise the true intent of this eldar attack. This hadn't been a raid, this was an invasion.

Imperium abandon Lodax Secundus

The Adeptus Mechanicus expedition to Lodax II, while being of interest to the Inquisition, was led by and patronised by the forge world of Ryza. It was these Mechanicum forces that with the loss of their Cadian support, and the redeployment of astartes and Novgorod regiments by the new crusade general, stood alone against the necron threat they were trying to gain information on. This may have been possible, but unfortunately the Imperium were not the only faction interested in the spoils to be found on Lodax II.

The orks of the Blood Fang tribe were less interested in the detailed and arcane knowledge of the necrons. To them, scrap was scrap, all equally useful and desirable, and to be found aplenty on Lodax II. They had arrived on the world some weeks prior but now were able to deploy a stompa against the Adeptus Mechanicus forces, who they merely considered "in the way" of their looting expedition. Plus the Ryza forge world also had good scrap.

The orks attacked the mechanicum forces in a headlong assault. The fighting was bloody as the worshippers of the Omnissiah fought furiously to keep their mission on Lodax alive, with one particularly angry Dunecrawler invoking the spirit of the machine god itself as it bathed its enemies with sterilising holy rays, scattering their atoms to the wind. the orks lost their warlord, but were seemingly un-phased as the greeenskins continued to send in more and more forces. Realising the situation was untenable the Magos Dominus withdrew, calling on general Maximus for reinforcements. The remaining Adeptus Mechanicus forces pulled back to Lodax I, allowing the orks to pick over the spoils of the battlefield.

Rifts of Hecate activity early 05.042M42

In the Rifts of Hecate the worlds in the centre of the region now became incredibly important strategically, as all factions became aware of the importance of controlling the Hecate Gap. This set up a complicated dynamic within the Rifts, as the tyranids, necrons and ork forces were looking for ways out of the Rifts, while the tau, chaos, imperial and eldar forces were extremely committed to that not coming to pass. 

On Mezria VI the Imperium were struggling with two xenos problems, the orks and the tyranids, but the deployment of the Deathwatch in small kill teams yielded much useful intelligence regarding the latter, determining that amongst the indigenous sparse population, the genestealers had been infiltrating for many decades. A series of missions hunting down these cult cells was initiated.

Meanwhile the Space Wolves, who only had a small force in the Rifts of Hecate were given general Maximus's blessing to carry the war to the forces of chaos. Overall the Imperium had avoided clashing with this enemy, as the interests of both had not yet come into direct conflict. However with the increasing importance of controlling the Hecate Gap, Maximus could no longer ignore the threat of a chaos base at Calthingum, and on 0805.022M42 the small force of Space Wolves landed on the chaos controlled world, fighting off the Iron Warriors to establish a bridgehead.

The decision to start moving against chaos by the Imperium soon seemed rash however. Though the Space Wolf force was small, resources being allocated to Calthingum were now necessarily not available for the emerging and escalating conflict at Lodax. Here the Imperium held Lodax I, but with no significant defences, and on 1002.022M42 the imperial expedition to the necron tomb world on Lodax II suffered a serious setback. The Ordo Xenos, quietly directing the operation from behind the scenes, had underestimated the interest and capability of the Ichortek Dynasty, and a sudden surprise assault shattered the Cadian regiment sent to protect the imperial perimeter. This was a serious setback as it now left the Adeptus Mechanicus on Lodax II with no supporting forces, and the investigation of tomb complexes was suspended.

Dark Angels strike back on Mordecai

Following the chaos offensive in the southern sector of the Mordecai Secundus Front, general Kutuzov agreed with his war council to stiffen the defences around the Sathugar mines. The Dark Angels meanwhile agreed to undertake an assault against the Emerald Serpent, as the forces of chaos were now uncomfortably close to where Kutuzov desired to fortify, threatening to disrupt the defensive operation.

the Dark Angels were more than happy to get to grips with the elite Thousand Sons within the Emerald Serpent armies, and their opening salvo proved particularly devastating as they charged south from imperial fortified areas. The traitor astartes attempted to use the power of the warp to hold back the loyalist advance, but the winds of fate were not with them, and gradually the rubric marines were cut down in the face of withering firepower. Finally the Dark Angels delivered a charge that broke the chaos lines, forcing the Emerald Serpent to withdraw to more defensible positions. The threat of interference removed, Kutuzov's men began building their new trench system.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

New chaos offensive on Mordecai

On Mordecai the start of 05.022M42 saw the first movement on the front lines of the southern sector, or in fact anywhere along the front lines in some time, as a force of chaos knights crashed into imperial lines between the Sarkar traps and lake Pargenath, a small strip of basalt plain separating the two lava seas and forming a vital strategic route between chaos held Nazurgal and the Sathugar ore mines.

The power of the war engines quickly overwhelmed the Imperial Guard defences, and the Order of the Bloody Rose - a chapter of the Adeptus Soritas, left their Fortress of Celestine to deal with this new threat. Unfortunately for the Sisters of Battle, the power of the enemy Knights overwhelmed them, and the counter attack overwhelmed them, inflicting a serious tactical defeat on the Imperium and opening up a gateway towards the now undefended mining complexes that had seen so much fighting.

General Kutuzov, recently informed of his new commanders, now had to plan once again operations to shore up his lines, and he desperately needed something to address the worsening strategic situation on Mordecai Secundus. The initial invasion of Mordecai Secundus back in 10.019M42 was supposed to have delivered victory in 6 months. 31 months later and the Imperium barely held one third of the planet - and Mordecai Primaris was still the largest world in the system.

Crimson Fists land on Calthingum

While the fighting on Lodax continued to intensify, and the tyranids arrived on Mezria VI, the overall commander of imperial forces in the Rifts of Hecate, newly appointed general Maximus, had not yet established full control over the units he was at least nominally in command of. As an imperial general, he could not order the astartes to bend to his will, but he was making attempts to establish a war council. While appointed as "Crusade General" - nominally a senior role, Justinian Flavius Maximus was under no illusions that his posting was to get him as far away from the sector HQ as possible. He now felt, quite correctly, that the Inquisition were suspicious of him thanks to the closeness of his relationship with ex-sector commander Titus Luthor, and Maximus was under no illusions that his commander had been taken out, rather than "retired". Maximus had not even been allocated any direct forces, and had spent the first weeks of his new deployment trying to work out just what forces were at his disposal, or even in the region.

He was therefore, taken by surprise, but not shocked to learn that a demi-company of Crimson Fists had arrived at Calthingum, an emerging chaos base, and annihilated a small force of Thousand Sons they discovered there. Fielding entirely Primaris astartes, Maximus was keen to get into contact with the Fists, who had now established a small base of operations on the world. The Imperium needed a strategic focus and soon, rather than sending their forces on disparate and uncoordinated operations.

Confused fighting at Lodax

The situation on Lodax continued to deteriorate as 05.022M42 began. The eldar, extremely unhappy at the increasing encroachment of the lesser races on forbidden territory, launched another offensive against the Imperium. This time the eldar attacked in greater strength, and came up against the Novgorod Guard who had built up a sizeable force on the planer, including several units of heavy artillery. The imperial artillery hammered the eldar as they attacked, but the xenos used their superior speed to avoid the larger concentrations of imperial troops, and captured key objectives.

The Guard forces were obliged to retreat, lest they be surrounded, allowing the eldar to claim victory and prevent the Imperium from accessing several necron tomb complexes, but the situation became even more confused as lead elements of the emerging greenskin Waagh! turned up only a few days later. A terrifyingly confusing engagement then ensued, with the necrons also emerging from their tombs and attacking the invaders. The Guard found themselves temporarily "allied" with the orks, as both eldar and necron forces - mortal enemies - seemingly worked together on the primary goal of getting the inferior interlopers away from the ancient tomb complexes.

It wasn't enough however, and the Imperium and orks made gains after an epic struggle. A necron warlord was crushed under the mighty foot of an ork Stompa, while the eldar warhost melted away back into the webway. In all of this the Imperium discovered that these necrons were yet another dynasty, the Ichortek, adding to the imperial knowledge of the complexity of this ancient empire.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

+++Imperial Sector Edict+++

+++DATE 0105_022M42 


+++BY SERVITOR 331.11














Ergura's Fall and Haven discovered in the Hecate Gap

With multiple factions now vying for the various worlds of the Rifts of Hecate and the discovery of Orks, Tyranids and Necron forces already in situ, the attention of all the races started to turn to the Hecate Gap as 05.022M42 began. Winning worlds in the Rifts had been the aims of chaos, the Imperium and Tau, but now the realisation began to set in that if the Rift worlds fell, the Hecate Gap was not just a gateway into the region, but a way out as well.

With some urgency the Tau and Imperium in particular began to look for suitable bases in the Hecate Gap itself. Here two uninhabited worlds were identified as places to start building on and fortifying, just in case the worst were to happen and either the tyranids or emerging ork threat were to gain control of, or consume the Rifts, then use the Hecate Gap to pour out into the Hadron Expanse and beyond. 

Tyranids reach Mezria VI

While a large and confused conflict was escalating in the Lodax system, the tyranid menace was continuing to pursue its own alien agenda. Having consumed Candic Minor the first small hive ships had already been constructed, or birthed, and the hive mind began sending out vanguard forces to link up with its pre-seeded spores on other worlds within the Rifts of Hecate. The next world to fall under the hive mind's influence was Mezria VI, where the Imperium and orks were already fighting for control of the world.

two distinct strains of the tyranid genome arrived on the world at the same time, named by the Imperium as Poseidon and R'Lyeh. The former was relatively new, and it came as a surprise to the Imperium that the two strains of the tyranid creatures immediately began fighting with one another. Initially this gave observers cause for hope. Perhaps the hive mind wasn't unified at all, and would fall into infighting as with other alien enemies such as the orks. However, as the warriors of Poseidon overcame their brethren in R'lyeh, the biomass of the latter was added to the former, leading to an even more evolved next generation of creatures. The tyranids had not been infighting to their detriment, but to determine the best combination of genetics to perfect their living weapons.

And so when Hive Fleet Poseidon fell upon the orks on Mezria VI, the Imperium looked on in horror and dread as the greenskin army that moved to meet the alien invaders was swiftly massacred by the xenos creatures. Carnifexes charged into a mighty Stompa, ripping it apart in mere minutes, while the rest of the orks were overwhelmed as their own charge faltered. Few greenskins escaped the massacre and the tyranids were now entrenched and staring down on the imperial garrisons as well.

Rifts of Hecate: Hard fighting on Lodax

The end of 04.022M42 saw the main action in the Rifts of Hecate focus on the system of Lodax. Two planets were of interest, and the Imperium had set up a base on the inner world, as the outer had clearly been a necron tombworld in aeons past. The Imperium were very interested in uncovering the secrets of Lodax II, but the Aeldari were equally determined to prevent any of the "lesser races" from uncovering any of the treasure of their mortal enemies, knowing also that to blunder around ancient necron tombs was also risking the full awakening, or full attention of the necron dynasties in the region.

Several eldar forces appeared on Lodax I almost simultaneously. The Ynnari took a company of Carcharadons by surprise, massacring them in short order and threatening the imperial presence on the world. At the same time, the Kel Sandros Eldar made their presence known, attacking a force of Dark Angels who were attempting to secure the area around the main imperial base. This engagement was a much tighter affair, with both sides giving no quarter. Eventually however the stubbornness and toughness of the astartes overcame the swiftness and ancient grace of he Aeldari, and despite suffering significant casualties, the eldar were driven off, ensuring the planned investigation of Lodax II would go ahead.

The invasion of Lodax II had already started, but the Ha'Tek dynasty had responded, attacking from their ancient tombs. In order to expand their perimeter of operations the general of Novgorod forces planned a traditional ground offensive, which they undertook with their usual lack of subtlety. The Ha'Tek dynasty organised a considerable counter attack as the Imperium approached important tomb complexes, and the Novgorod forces were forced to yield significant ground to absorb this assault. This resulted in high casualties amongst the infantry, but the Guard were able to keep their artillery intact, despite losing their tanks. Assisted by a small contingent of Hammers of the Emperor astartes, who were present directing an orbital bombardment from their strike cruiser, the imperial force did manage to hold their lines, while inflicting crippling casualties on the necron attackers.

By the end of 04.022M42 the necron counter attack had petered out, and the Imperium once again began to move slowly but inexorably towards their goals. They were not alone. While the Imperium conducted a traditional war of holding and expanding their territorial control, the Death Guard arrived with a pinpoint assault against the embattled necrons, defeating one of the Ha'tek dynasty's armies and quickly investigating one tomb, before leaving with their spoils. Well aware of the likelihood of Aeldari attack, the chaos forces declined for the moment to pursue a conquest strategy, and instead withdrew after their victory to strengthen their bases on Mendesum and Pyrrho Zeta.

Palantir cleared of Chaos forces

With the main fighting between the forces of chaos and the Imperium focussed on the major war in on Mordecai, and exploration of the Rifts of Hecate, little in the way of progress had been made in the Palantir system, which had been subjected to the arrival of first forces under the control of the Emerald Serpent, and latterly the predations of the Death Guard, who with the creation of Fecus Major sought to spread plague and sorrow amongst the inhabitants of the system.

However in late 04.022M42, on their way to join the now "crusade" in the Rifts, a force of Adeptus Custodes stopped off on their way to deal with the chaos incursion into the Palantir system. Upon landing on the world of Dale they found much of the world covered in pestilence, and the very surface of the planet had started to develop patches of mould and decay, as the influence of Fecus Major began to spread across the system.

While the main force of Custodes assaulted the Death Guard encampment on Dale, smaller forces of Guard were sent on skirmish missions. The forces of the Death Guard were thinly spread and not numerous, and the Imperium resolved to remove their enemy from the Emperor's soil before then purifying the population and the land itself. The greater purge of the nurgle filth would take longer, but the arrival of the Adeptus Custodes was successful in inflicting a significant defeat on the traitor astartes, breaking their grip over the system. Unable to respond to the lightning attacks made by the Emperor's finest warriors, the disciples of Mortarion abandoned the system for now, and the arrival of an imperial fleet saw the daemonworld of Fecus Major disappear from the skies over Dale and Hobbiton. Palantir was purged of chaos, although the whereabouts of the daemonworld were as yet unknown.