Monday, September 26, 2022

Hecate Gap Campaign

In late 09.022M42 the situation in the Hadron Expanse was becoming critical. By this time, the Aleph Sector, cut in two by the Cicatrix Maledictum, had two very active warzones. In the Perseus Deeps the Imperium were locked in a titanic struggle with the forces of Chaos to control the strategically vital system of Mordecai. In the far east of the sector however, a new trouble was brewing for all the factions seeking to control the sector.

In 021M42 the Rifts of Hecate, an area of the Hadron Expanse that had been inaccessible for Millenia had become the focus of interest for the many factions of the sector, as the warp storms preventing navigation to the region had developed a navigable passage known as the Hecate Gap. This had been achieved by the machinations of the Lord Inquisitor Huron, who had discovered and activated the necron artefact known as the "Nexus Arrangement", which pushed the warp away from realspace using arcane and unfathomable technology.

The forces of the Imperium, Tau and chaos had sent expeditions into the region, seeking to exploit valuable resources or find long lost knowledge, but they had found the region less uninhabited than they would have preferred. In the Rifts, large ork, necron and tyranid forces had been discovered, and by late 09.022M42 it had become aparent that all three of these factions had become aware of, and intended to exploit the creation of the Hecate Gap. Lord Huron had not foreseen that by opening the Gap, he not only allowed a way in, but a way out.

Now the growing forces of the orks and tyranids in particular looked likely and capable of flooding through the gap and into the Hadron Expanse proper. From there they would threaten not only the Hadron Expanse, but the Zadoc subsector and then the Perseus Deeps. To counter this, Inquisitor Cyrus Esquerra, along with Lord Huron, issued an edict to imperial forces to pull back and fortify the gap while the Inquisition attempted to locate and gain control over all such Nexus Arrangements, as it had become apparent there was more than one such device hidden in the rifts. After obtaining them, the decision would then have to be made. Keep the Gap open? Or somehow close it, taking the Nexus Arrangements with them.

The Imperium however were not the only ones with an interest in this, and by this time all factions realised that the fate of the Hecate Gap, along with the course of events in the Hadron Expanse and perhaps wider, would come down to who held two critical systems. Ergura's Fall, and Haven. The focus of the rest of 022M42 would be a struggle to control these two isolated worlds.

Campaign system:

This is a very simple campaign which will run to the end of the year. For each win each faction will get points they can allocate either to Ergura's Fall or Haven. At the end of the year any faction with more than 50% of all points allocated to a each world will control that world. If no faction controls 50%, the two largest factions will nominate a player for a "play off" game for control of the world. If two different factions control each world, there will be a final "play off" arranged for one faction to control both worlds. That faction will then decide the fate of the Hecate Gap (which will likely be to hold it open for Necrons, tyranids and orks, CLOSE IT, for eldar and for chaos/imperial/tau they will need to assess whether they want to take the risk of keeping it open and taking the fight into the rifts, or close it for relative safety but fewer strategic rewards)

Alliances: If you believe your faction has an end goal that is in line with your own faction's goal (e.g orks might believe tyranids will keep the gap open, which is good for them) you may gift your points to that faction. On your head be it if it doesn't pan out as desired.

Points are gained as follows (for 2000 point games of 40k, 3000 epic, 1500 of gothic. Points scaled accordingly for different sizes)

Win (1500/2000): +3 points

Win and double VPs: +1 point

Table opponent: +1 point

Win kill team/AI: +1 point

While the Imperium were fixated on the war against the forces of chaos in the Perseus Deeps, and the emergence of dangerous forces in the Rifts of Hecate, General Percival's forces across the wider Hadron Expanse had been dangerously reduced. This necessarily meant Percival could not adequately defend all imperial holdings across the region, and he was forced to concentrate on holding Vanir, the Lysis system and Palantir. This did not go unnoticed by the Tau and during 022M42 they had already secured much of the far flung Tanis system, leaving the Imperium with a tenuous foothold on Tanis VII.

The guard regiment that held that inhospitable world came under assault in mid 09.022M42 with no strategic backup. Commander Malkaor's forces landed on the world and swept away all resistance, forcing the surrender of any remaining guardsmen who marched demoralised into Tau "re-education facilities".

Now the Tau had to make some decisions. the purpose of Tanis as an outpost had become almost worthless now the system of Lysis held no strategic significance with the closing of the Foramen Ignotum, a former pathway through the Cicatrix Maledictum, long gone ever since the Eldar had removed the necron device holding it open. Palantir however would be the obvious next move for the Tau in their aim to create the Hadron Expansion Sphere, but their expedition to the Rifts of Hecate had made them aware of the serious necron, tyranid and ork threat that could sweep across the Expanse if the Imperium were to be forced out of the region. The decision on how to proceed would need to be taken soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Fierce battles on Mordecai Secundus

The middle of 022M42 was characterised by a number of battles on Mordecai, following the significant strategic reversal of fortunes on the planet after the decisive fleet battle. Throughout 08.022M42 and 09.022M42 supplies and fresh troops had been deploying for the Imperium, and while general Kutuzov built up his armies, the forces of chaos attempted to grind down the front line troops of their enemy as much as possible, aiming to blunt any future offensives and buy time for them to reach a more favourable strategic situation.

The first of these attritional battles occurred in the south of the central front, as the nurgle faction known as the House of Eschar attempted to grind down the imperial guard in the Sathugar Mines region. Employing a number of super heavy tanks the threat was noticed by Kutuzov, and fortunately a recently arrived lance of Imperial Knights of House Eagle Claw was swiftly able to deploy in front of the nurgle force.

Ideally suited to the destruction of enemy heavy tanks, the knights were able to close the distance and wreck each in turn in close combat. Initially the battle looked to be developing into a close run thing as traitor shadowswords annihilated one of the knights as soon as it came into range of their volcano cannons, but the accuracy of the nurgle force wasn't maintained, and the remaining knights were able to despatch the powerful behemoths. With their heavy support smashed, the nurgle forces had to withdraw, allowing House Eagle Claw and the Imperial Guard to move in, retaking the rest of the Sathugar mines and improving yet further the Imperial position on the front lines of Mordecai Secundus.

Imperial intelligence had by mid 08.022M42 caught on to the chaos plan, and general Kutuzov asked his war council of lower ranking generals, astartes commanders and the adeptus sororitas for options. It was the Sisters of Battle who came up with the most attractive plan and also the most aggressive. Although the Imperium was still reinforcing, there was an opportunity once again to besiege Festergax by cutting off the large salient that had developed in previous chaos offensive. 

The plan approved, the Sisters of Battle would attack from the north, covered by the Imperial Fists and Adeptus Mechanicus forces. At fist this went well, as the Sororitas forces swept south with an army of faithful priests chanting the Emperor's name. Unable to resist this insult, the Death Guard resolutely closed with their hated enemy, only to face a wall of multi-meltas which devastated even the tough terminator armoured plague marines. Having smashed the strongest force to oppose them, the Sisters now brushed aside the rest of the chaos forces defending Festergax, encircling the city.

The success of the encirclement was not to last long however as the chaos forces counter attacked strongly with significant traitor astartes involvement. The warband known as "Creations of Bile" clashed with the Imperial Fists, killing the imperial commander and opening up a corridor to Festergax. This was further exploited by the Iron Warriors, who fought in a protracted and tight engagement with the Adeptus Mechanicus, narrowly defeating the imperial force and widening the corridor to the chaos held city.

At this point in late 08.022M42 the imperial move to encircle Festergax appeared to be unravelling, as tenacious and stubborn fighting by traitor astartes forces had all but reversed the imperial gains. However, the imperial logistics situation was now vastly superior to their enemy's and by early 09.022M42 the Sisters of Battle had already resupplied and were ready once again to undertake a major operation.

The Adeptus Sororitas launched another major offensive to encircle Festergax on 1309.022M42. This the astartes opposing them were unable to hold back, and the forces of chaos were forced to summon a host of daemons in the hope that the creatures of the warp would hold back the elite Ecclesiarchy force. At first the appearance of a Bloodthirster caused some concern, as it obliterated two squads of retributors, but sustained multi-melta fire and finally krak grenades sent the creature back to the warp. In the centre of the engagement, a Lord of Change was cut down by the Sisters Repentia, and after the loss of the two greater deamons the task seemed more manageable for the Imperium. This was almost put in doubt by the arrival of a horde of flamers of tzeentch, which caused significant casualties to the back lines of the Sisters of Battle, but by that point it was too little, too late. The daemon army was cast back into the warp and the city of Festergax was cut off once more.

During the middle of 022M42 the change in strategic fortunes on Mordecai was now starting to be felt. Chaos forces were still able to achieve victories at the tactical level, but now every Imperial victory counted effectively three times as much in terms of gains as each stubborn and hard fought chaos success. Only time would tell if the Imperium could keep the momentum to make a decisive breakthrough - one that had not been achieved by either side in the many long years of the Mordecai campaign.