Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Aleph Sector: Current Situation


+++INTERCEPTED MESSAGE+++

+++Date: 1809_018M42+++
+++Access point: Farport Station Astropathic Relay+++
+++Security Clearance: Gamma Epsilon+++
+++Ref: ALEPH-SECTOR-BRIEFING 09_018M42+++
+++Originator: Inquisitor Vayron+++
+++Recipient: Imperial Commander #####
+++Thought for the day: A coward always seeks compromise.+++
+++SUBJECT FOLLOWS+++

My Lord,


Since you are to begin undertakings in the Aleph Sector, this is your primary briefing. Further information can be accessed on the attached encrypted files. May the Emperor protect us all.


The Aleph Sector

Sitting on the far eastern fringe between Ultramar and the Tau Empire the region has been rent by the Cicatrix Maledictum.The Imperial Governor of the sector, Titus Luthor, has decreed the time of the "Noctis Aeterna" to be void, and the date is 09.018M42. The sector itself is divided into several subsectors and regions. The most important are detailed below:

Cross-reference-data-file: Aleph Subsectors


The main theatres of war are currently in the Hadron expanse, a region of re-discovery and wealth since the warp storms separating that region were blown away by the coming of the Great Rift. Here, the Imperium is battling with the forces of chaos, the Tau-Federacy Alliance, and a far more ancient foe.

Main Theatres:

File: The Hadron Expanse
File: The Foramen Interdictum
File: The Perseus Deeps

Main Factions
The Imperium of Mankind: In the Aleph Sector the Imperium has been losing ground for sometime. The Aleph and Vastrid subsectors are all but lost, and this has led to an ongoing schism within the Imperium, between the monodominant Inquisitor Vorushko and her opponent, amalthian Inquisitor Hathek. These powerful inquisitor lords have had major differences recently, leading to the Librian War, and the ongoing situation in the Foramen Interdictum, where Vorushko opposes Hathek's quest to control the access points across the Cicatrix himself. In the Hadron Expanse and elsewhere however, the two "sides" usually work together in common interest.

The Forces of Chaos: The Iron Warriors, Warsmith Stahl, The Emerald Serpent, The Emperor's Children, Admiral Thok, Lord Tragaen, The Death Guard. Just some of the names associated with the ever present threat of chaos in the region. Chaos recently came close to securing the Foramen Interdictum themselves, cutting off access to the Imperial worlds in the Perseus Deeps, however for now this has been averted.


The Alliance: Although not all factions of Eldar appear wholeheartedly behind the Kel Sandros Craftworld's plans to defeat chaos through the Tau, their alliance with the Xenos, and their alliance with the sepratist Federacy have crafted a faction of great power. It is against the alliance that the Imperium are fighting in the Hadron Expanse, as this area lies close to the Tau heartlands. Thanks to the machinations of the eldar, the Federacy also have secure passage through the Cicatrix.


The Xenos Threat: Many other Xenos pose a significant risk to the sector. In the Perseus Deeps the Harakhty and Charnovokh necron dynasties appear to be dormant, at least for now, while in the Hadron Expanse the Bahotek dynasty is showing signs of re-awakening. The orks may have found a new leader in "Russtoof", while the hive fleet "Nemesis" is so far "missing" - last seen in deep space. Vigilance must be kept against these threats as none can ever be said to have been vanquished entirely.


The enemy within: Cults and uprisings are an ever present danger to the Imperium. Not least on the hive world of Farport, where the capital of Dirtside seems to be falling prey to greater lawlessness and gang warfare with every passing day.

File: Dirtside-Gangs

This is merely an introduction. Please see the attached data files for a more thorough examination of the Aleph Sector.





+++End Message+++


Want to get involved? SImply turn up, play and let the GM know how you got on - simple as that! Want to do more? Find out how the campaign "works" here: Campaign Primer



Monday, September 17, 2018

Palantir fully retaken by Imperium

Despite the (re) invasion of Palantir being nominally a loyalist venture, the Grey Knights had no qualms about aiding their imperial comrades in order to deal chaos a fateful blow. Already aware of the malign influence of chaos in the Hadron Expanse, the astartes chapter had told Vorushko in no uncertain terms that where the "loyalists" had goals in line with their own, they would assist them. Vorushko understood this position and in any case never considered the Grey Knights to be truly part of her "Crusade" - or her argument with Hathek. Only the Inquisitor lord's penchant for allowing guardsmen who had fought daemons to survive had drawn the Knights to her side.

The Grey Knights made no explanation for their arrival at Palantir, but Barham's battlegroup were not particularly aware of the Crusade war going on in the Foramen in any case, and cheered the arrival of the Emperor's finest. Dropping simultaneously on Bree and Dale, the astartes found pockets of resistance, mainly from the Emperor's Children. It seemed as though the Emerald Serpent had not been keeping the system particularly defended, and the Orde Malleus marines made short work of the few traitor marines and daemonic entities they found. Having secured the remaining planets, the Grey Knights ordered all settlements which had come into contact with daemonic beings to be cleansed. The liberation of the inner planets soon became almost as hard to bear as the chaos invasion itself.

Echo Reach invasion thwarted by Alliance

In mid 09_018M42, after the abortive initial invasion by Barham's battlegroup, Admiral Enkvist arrived with his fleet, escorting a Hammers of the Emperor Strike Cruiser and several transports carrying fresh Novgorod forces. In overall command on the ground, general Chuikov would allow the astartes to take the initial action, this time against the Federacy held outer world of Vostar. First however, the space lanes needed to be cleared.

In order to prevent Admiral Sunstrike from interfering with the invasion of Vostar, Enkvist deliberately took his warships, complete with a new Dominion class battlecruiser and two nova cannon equipped Dominators into a thretening position near to the tau base at Naitonaito. Swiftstar could not allow the Imperial Fleet to come within bombardment range, so for the first time in the Hadron Expanse Sphere campaign the tau gave battle. Approaching cautiously, Swiftstar was careful to keep his fleet togehter to maximise firepower, but this allowed the dominator class Tsushima an array of targets, and the battle opened with the protector class Sun Sword being ripped apart by explosions as a devastating volley overwhelmed her shields.

The battle then became a stalemate, as neither side were able to land telling blows. All Enkvist's vessels had upgraded turret protection, neutralising the threat from Swiftstar's mantas and torpedoes, while the Imperial Vipers were unable to get their own torpedoes through the accurate and numerous tau close action weaponry. Gradually the fleets got closer and closer, before the distance became uncomfortable for even the Imperium. One imperial cruiser attempted to board Dawn Sight, but accurate weapon fire and repeated manta wave attacks had crippled her, and the action was repulsed by the Xenos.

As the two fleets passed by each other the tau were able to overwhelm the imperial defence turrets by timing their torpedo and manta attacks, finally wrecking Tanenberg and Vorskla. In return however Dawn Sight, which had spent much of the battle taking evasive manouevres dodging incessant lance fire from the battleship Kulikovo, finally succumbed, exploding dramatically after internal safety mechanisms failed, leading to her plasma core overheating. At the same time the battle between the escort forces was no less dramatic, with all but one of Enkvist's Vipers taken out of action, the last one lucky to escape concentrated fire from the tau fleet. The tau too lost their escorts, and as the fleets drew away a final volley from Kulikovo heavily damaged the tau battleship Vigilence. The tau also lost the emissary class Lightfoot, although her battered hull was later recovered and towed back to Echo Reach.

As both fleets drew away from one another both sides rescued what they could, and Enkvist briefly considered pressing the attack. Two of his cruisers had been put out of action and he had lost all his escorts, so instead the Novgorod admiral returned to the system jump point. Although an inconclusive action, the imperial admiral knew he had at least done enough to ensure the next part of the operation would not suffer interference from the tau fleet.

Imperial Losses
Vorskla hulked
Tanenberg hulked
Several Viper escorts destroyed

Tau Losses
Vigilence crippled
Sun Sword destroyed
Dawn Sight destroyed
Lightfoot destroyed
Several escorts destroyed

With the space above Vostar cleared, the Imperial transports moved into orbit. First however the Hammers of the Emperor launched their planned attack on the main federal bases on the planet. These needed taking out, otherwise the ensuing guard landing would turn into a massacre. Landing a fair distance away from the federal defences, the Hammers then made their way overland towards their enemy, keeping their elite captains in Thunderhawks ready to charge into the action where they were needed the most.

Once contact was made, the marines soon set up a firebase in one of the outer buildings of the federal complexes, breaching the line before the federal Librians were even fully aware of the attack. The Librians rallied however although many of their Leman Russ battle tanks were taken out in the opening minutes of the main firefight. Charging forward the hellhounds subjected the charging astartes to horrendous casualties, and in the centre of the battle line the Librian infantry fought valiantly against superior foes, despite eventually being overcome by the genetically engineered enemies in brutal hand to hand fighting.

Now the Hammers sent in their captains, while their firebase continued to wreak havoc against the Librian armour. Only the Librian artillery, carefully deployed out of sight, was not eliminated. This would prove costly. As the astartes captains and the remaining marines dealt with the rest of the Librian infantry, the artillery began pounding the Federacy's own lines. shells poured in from above, with the Librians using their few spotting aircraft to home in on even the lone captains. The marines at the firebase were then ordered to move forward and take the objectives, but they too were cut down by incessant and accurate Basilisk fire. 

By the end of 1809_018M42 the remaining space marines had been cut down, or escaped during the long night of Vostar. Casualties were high, but the Federacy had taken terrible punishment from the astartes raid. Nevertheless, Chiukov had to reluctantly admit that despite the damage, the main federal bases were still intact, and no landing would be possible. The operation to take Vostar was postponed.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Necrons subdued at Ceti

In mid 09.018M42 the Imperial forces at the Ceti system began probing deeper into the system, landing expeditionary forces on the rocky planet of Ceti 1, still giving Ceti 2 or "Bal of Bones" a wide berth. Hoping to excavate long abandoned ruins of the ancient necron civilisation the expedition was joined by an Inquisition force, believed to be acting on behalf of the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Lord Huron. Eager to learn the secrets of the ancient race, the inquisition were also joined by senior Adeptus Mechanicus agents, as well as a company of Hammers of the Emperor astartes.

The addition of the Space Marines would prove fortuitious, as on 1209_018M42 the excavation teams opened up what they thought to be an inert chamber, only to find the inner voids home to thousands of dormant necron warriors. The necrons, awoken by the interference of the intruders, quickly reanimated and eliminated the investigation team.

The alarm reached the Hammers of the Emperor at the newly constructed Imperial base of operations, and they immediately launched a ferocious pre-emptive assault against the re-awakened tomb. Fortunately for the marines, the necrons still appeared to be operating below their optimal capacity, and after a day of intense fighting, the aliens were eliminated. The imperial forces rejoiced and began expanding their base, but secretly the Inquisition had become aware that a signal had been sent back to Bal of Bones itself. How long would the far larger tomb world remain in hibernation? How many necrons lay slumbering on the neighbouring world?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Foramen: Tarlius base retaken by chaos

With the Imperial Fleet now firmly in control of the outer system and Stahl fortifying the inner worlds, there remained an Achilles heel to the Imperial foothold in the Tarlius system within the Foramen Majoris. The outermost world was only lightly defended and host to a single imperial installation. If the forces of chaos could take this through stealth, the Imperium would find themselves with a hostile force behind their lines. Not a great threat on its own but a vital aid to Stahl and the chaos cause in monitoring Imperial build up, troop and fleet movements.

The Imperium had not completely neglected the outer world's defence, stationing a squad of astartes of the Hammers of the Emperor Chapter to maintain a vigilant watch over the facility. However, they did not expect to come under attack suddenly and without warning by a small but elite force of Death Guard. By using the arcane "device", of which only a few Imperial commanders were aware, the small force was deposited on the outer world from the inner sanctum of Stahl's domain. The hardiest of soldiers, the Death Guard were then able to infiltrate the base before ambushing the small squad of loyalist astartes.

A vicious firefight developed inside the cramped confines of the outpost facility, but the Death Guard overcame the defenders, killing the space marines and putting the workers to the sword, save for those who were kept on in order to maintain its function. The imperial forces were alerted to the chao presence, but now had to decide whether to spend valuable resources retaking the facility, or to simply blast it from space. However they knew now that even if destroyed, the chaos forces could return and install yet another listening post. Either a force needed to be established on the ground or a permanent watch by naval vessels, a patrol the Imperial navy could scarcely afford. The naval option looked attractive compared to the landing of troops on what was otherwise a lifeless worthless rock, but Admiral D'Oyly-Hughes was hesitant to split off a force of escorts lest they become prey for a larger chaos force of ships. The Death Guard act had driven a serious thorn into the loyalist invasion plans of the rest of the Tarlius system.

Echo Reach: Malkaor repulses Imperial Invasion at Naitonaito

On 1009_018M42 the Imperial forces in the Echo cluster were in a strong position. Having taken Dnatha and with only mopping up to do at Palantir, Admiral Barham's battlegroup moved to the next strategic objective. Echo Reach itself. Barham was give overall responsibility for the Echo System while General Chuikov planned the ground invasion. Barham's task was simple. By placing the fleet in the outer reaches of the system he challenged the Tau to battle. They declined, knowing that to give battle now would be to invite Enkvist to arrive at Echo Reach itself unopposed. Instead the Tau remained in defensive formations around their primary base.

The strategic position dictated the Imperium's next move. The main planet was unassailable, so Chuikov chose to challenge the Tau by landing and taking Echo IV or "Naitonaito" as it had been named by the Tau. Bypassing the ice giant of Vostar, the Imperial battlegroup made for the smaller Tau world hoping to take it and establish a fortress. Leading the intial assault were House Corvus, as knights had been shown to be devastatingly effective against the Tau, supported by the Imperial Navy and loyalist Librian Stormtroopers. Once the main tau fortifications had been overrun the Novgorod and Lycaon forces would be sent in to finish off any remaining Tau resistance.

Malkaor had no intention of surrendering Naitonaito however, and prepared a defensive strategy at key points on the planet. Three main tau bases existed, but Malkaor knew the lynchpin of these would be the main tau settlement and command post. Taking this would almost guarantee an Imperial victory. As the Imperium landed in the frozen wastelands, the tau deployed with defence in depth, providing a killing ground, then layered defences in order to slow, then halt the imperial advance.

The prepared defences proved their worth in the opening minutes of the engagement, as the tau were immediately able to disable a Knight Errant, but the imperial general had committed almost all of House Corvus to this assault, so the tau faced a seemingly endless stream of giant war engines lumbering into view through the driving snow. However, unable to concentrate the knights before the assault, the imperium suffered dearly as the tau were able to pick them off one by one. Nonetheless, the Helverins decimated the tau infantry, and some of the larger Knights were able to close with the tau and engage in close combat. In close quarters fighting the tau technological advantage showed once more. Although the weaponry on the Knights Errant were terrifying, tau shield technology held, allowing Riptides to escape from the knights' clutches again and again using their jet packs. Chuikov became concerned that the Tau were more difficult to remove than he had considered. 

The Librian infantry did manage to penetrate the tau defences by an airborne drop, and held out for some time, waiting for their ground forces to link up with them. However House Corvus, struggling to dispatch the Riptides, was unable to make the link up before the same Riptides appeared over the Librian positions. Withering fire from tau battlesuits gradually whittled down the Librian defenders, whowere eventually slain to a man. Gradually the imperial assaults became ever more desperate as the sun began to fall below the horizon. Soon the temperature would plummet and all advances would have to cease until the morning, giving the tau time to repair their defences and reorganise their troops. The tau however were running low on defenders, as they had taken massive casualties from the relentless assault. As night fell a few Riptides and battlesuits were all that stood between the imperium and the central command base, but it was enough.

As the temperatures plummeted to -150C as the sun set, Chuikov recalled his remaining troops. The assault had failed and now the loyalist forces had to regroup and decide on their next steps. Creating a beachhead would be possible, but costly in terms of resupply, and it would pin the imperial fleet in place allowing the tau free reign. The strategy had hinged on a quick victory at Naitonaito, and with that no longer possible Chuikov would have to think again.



Hadron Expanse Hulk explored again

Following the Ultramarines' abortive investigation on the space hulk in the Hadron space lanes, history would repeat itself just weeks later when the hulk was located again by imperial ships. Reporting its position a freighter gave it a wide berth, before a strike cruiser arrived with a squad of Deathwatch marines intent on exploring the giant wreck. Sadly the Ultramarines had failed to report their findings, an ommission which may have avoided the unfortunate events from unfolding just moments later, as the Deathwatch squad encountered the same foul Xenos as soon as they set foot on the hulk.

Unaware of the genestealer presence, the Deathwatch were unprepared for the ferocity of the aliena assault, and within scant minutes the squad was ripped to shreds, with none making it back to the cruiser. This time however the hulk was reported to the imperial command authorities, and the hulk was named Perditious on charts.

Malkaor removes chaos threat from Mimir

With the bulk of the Emerald Serpent elite forces carrying out the invasion of the Goreen system and the Emperor's Children so few in number, the bulk of the defenders of the chaos worlds in the Mimir system were made up of Darrantine Guard formations, with support from the traitor Knight House the Aether Striders. These were thought sufficient by the Chaos factions to defend their holdings from the beseiged federal forces on New Titania, but Malkaor was able in mid 08.018M42 to send a significant task force to the system via the warp lane from Echo Reach.

The combined strength of the tau and federal fleet at Mimir left the chaos forces isolated on their worlds, and separate assaults were carried out on each world almost simultaneously. Despite having access to powerful equipment and a number of Knight phallanxes, the Emerald Serpent had no defensive positions or fortifications, and were caught in the open against withering Tau firepower supported by the air cast and imperial navy. On all three worlds the battles became a shooting gallery, and within a week all three were pacified and returned to alliance control.

Chaos had been removed from the Mimir system, and the Tau immediately began work on bases and fortifications on the newly named worlds, Asashin ha, Shinda kishi and Yukan'na shobo-shi. The Federacy would have to accept once again that they needed the Tau in order to prosecute successful operations in the Hadron Expansion Sphere. 


Emerald Serpent penetrate "Goreen"

In mid 08.018M42 the Emerald Serpent, having lost control of Palntir, sought to outflank the Crusade forces in the Hadron Expanse, who had already established bases on the outer worlds of the Boltarean System. Unable to directly attack the strongholds at Arawath and hearing of riches in the Orenn - now "Goreen" system, the forces of Tzeentch made a concerted attack on the outer worlds of the system. Here the forces of chaos faced stiff resistance on the second outer world, as orks including looted imperial super heavies and a Stompa, which caused the Emerald Serpent considerable concern.

Once again however the sorceries of Tzeentch were able to successfuly summon a shard of the Thousand Sons Primarch, and the might of Magnus the Red turned the tide of battle. The orks and their equipment were no match for a daemonic Primarch, and soon all ork resistance on the outermost world had crumbled, with the orks retreating to cave systems in the hills of Goreen V. For the forces of chaos it was a start, but they still had a lot to do to create a meaningful base of operations, let alone subdue the whole system.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Foramen Campaign 2608_018M42


Hadron Expanse 08_018M42


New Gregoria taken over by Crusade

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

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

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

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

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

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


Eldar make gains at Destino

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

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

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

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

Loyalists overrun Dnatha system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Hadron Deeps

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

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

Dnatha: Astartes carry out raids

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

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

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

Hussaria: Assault on Hussaria III

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

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

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

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

Dark Eldar raid Ceti

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

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

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

Tarlius: Tarlius IV taken by Imperial Fists


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, August 05, 2018

Eldar harlequins ransack Barham's Vespae base

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

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

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

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

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

Tarlius: Grey Knights destroy defence laser

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

 

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

 

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

Hammers of the Emperor infiltrate Dale

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

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

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

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