Saturday, August 11, 2012

2nd Battle for Ehdiciun VI

Kharsis led his warband across the scattered plains of the isolated world.  His maw still tasted the sweet victory in crushing the Imperial minions and chasing them away.  No meaningless soldiers of a doomed empire were going to stop the Chaos Lord from building his.  Knowing that they had kloms to march, Kharsis looked back at the warriors and screamed for them to move.  Even 'Mouth', the Defiler, picked up the pace.

Far away and long ago a Farseer, named Xi'Saryk, drew the lines of fate to an imminent catastrophe for his craftworld.  He had seen that a monstrous follower of the Dark Gods had attained enough power to open a warp-storm in realspace and destroy dozens of systems and anything in between.  This included the massive world-ship he and his kind existed in.  Having only just finished a campaign against mon-keigh of the most brutal sort, he mobilized some small forces to disupt the fateful deployment of the Chaos Marines.  Using the ancient webways and navigating across light-years in mere instants, he and his small force intercepted the Daemon Prince and his warband while on the march.  Xi'Saryk, still healing himself and without massive forces, planned only to kill the Daemon Lord and delay for the 'Dark Angels'.  Even these forces are affected by the machinations of the Eldar...

The 1st Coterie had deployed in some ruins facing a wooded area, finding a squad of Guardians lurking in the shadows of the branches.  Little did the renegades realize that those Guardians were accompanied by the great Farseer himself.  The 2nd Coterie found themselves hidden in trees on the opposite end of the battlefield, but they had their flank guarded by the massive Defiler.  As the squad maintained the west end of the line, the Defiler could advance on the center and get anywhere it needed to go.  Kharsis himself decided to remain behind, finding a tall hill away from the battlefield to view all the action and pray to his patrons.  The Daemon Prince did, however, order his Possessed to join the 1st in the ruins, and found his mutated Raptors to pray with him.  As he and his grotesque bodyguard surveyed the ambusing line of space elves, he saw a massive battletank behind the woods where the weaklings hid, he saw a grav-tank hovering behind a hill to the west and south of the Defiler, and he sensed the Farseer's location.  This battle was going to be easy, thought the Prince.

The battle began as the cannon boomed from the Defiler and struck the thin frame of the Wave Serpent, dealing no damage.  The 1st Coterie Fired at the shadowy Guardians, successfully killing the Warlock and ending their 'concealment' voodoo.  The Possessed leapt foward from the ruins and began charging across the battlefield.  Xi'Saryk cast his psychic wards, giving his Guardians the protection of Fortune and the foretelling of Guidance.  Using these powers, the Guardians fired their Scatter Laser into the advancing Daemon-kin and killed a couple.  The Falcon and Wave Serpent skimmed from cover towards the center of the battlefield and took aim at the Daemon Engine.  The Wave Serpent was still adjusting after being shot and so was ineffective, but the Falcon managed to blast a massive chunk of armor off.  Unfortunately, the Defiler continued to advance...

Kharsis was far too bloodthirsty to sit back and observe the battle for long.  Seeking only the briefest of prayers, he beat his massive wings and arced to the battlefield.  The Farseer was no fool and had anticipated this, summoning a blast of wind and batting the Daemon Lord down before he wanted to.  This same blast of wind kept the Raptors from joining their lord.  Misfortune struck those who payed too little homage, and Kharsis cursed himself for forgetting such.  He bellowed the howl of war which was answered by the Possessed, still dashing across the open ground towards the woodline.  The 1st responded with another Frag Missle and some shots into that treeline, but the Farseer's Fortune led to everyone being safe at exactly the right moment.  The 2nd finally decided to advance behind the Defiler, but the gun-laden Wave Serpent convinced them to move cautiously.  While the Word Bearers army watched, the Eldar suddenly multiplied and appeared from everywhere.

A unit of Warp Spiders rended their way into reality just in front of the racing Daemon-kin, causing the Possessed to halt in surprise (even their Rage taken away for a moment!).  Unleashing their mysterious Spinners, the Aspect Squad obliterated two of the last three creatures.  Laughing, they watched the remaining Possessed grow angry yet stand still to gather strength for a moment.  Meanwhile, the Guardians moved through the woods easily, coming to the line facing the towering Deamon Prince.  At exactly the same moment, the Wave Serpent dropped a squad of indigo Dire Avengers and sped off to spin and face back again, and the Falcon disembarked a squad of bright Fire Dragons and then jetted over the Deamon Prince's back and settled directly in the path of the Defiler.  The Chaos force felt the eternity of all this simultaneous action and crawling reality of tactical genius, yet it all took mere seconds in real time.  It was Xi'Saryk at work, and Kharsis unblessed!  With barely a sound at all, shurikens filled the air, bright balls of plasma energy and vaporized atmosphere sped into targets with expert guidance.  The Defiler was the first victim.  First, a beam of dark energy pierced the thick armor followed by a Krak Missle which detonated inside the turret.  The explosion lit the entire landscape and even resulted in the death of a Chaos Marine who stood too close.  Unfortunately, the favor was returned when the 2nd charged the grav-tank and wrecked it with grenades.

The Wave Serpent fired its Starcannons and joined the Avenger Shurikens, Fusion bolts, and Guardian Shurikens that all targetted the too-near Daemon Prince.  Wound after wound openned as the cursed flesh flashed with damage.  Most of the impacts were deflected or immediately regenerated, but Kharsis suffered terribly by the time the shooting stopped.  With the Falcon dead behind him and the remaining Possessed charging straight into the Warp Spiders, he stood staring at the balance of the xenos force.  Rage overtook him again and his pain disappeared, compelling the Lord to scream a challenge and charge the Dire Avengers.  Out of ammo, the plumed warriors had to accept the charge and pray that Asuryan watched them that day.  It was no good as the Exarch declined the challenge and watched three of his battle-brothers die suddenly, but they held and stood their ground nonetheless.  The Warp Spiders saw the Possessed leap straight past them and into the woods, ripping into the oblivious ranks of the Guardians.  Their laughing ceased immediately as they realized they, ancient masters in the art of war, had been outwitted by this daemon-thing.  With the odd sense of inferiority, they engaged their teleporters and winked away from the woods.  The Guardians fought bravely, but the curse-forged skin fo the Daemon-kin was too tough.  The resolve of the Guardians broke and they fled, the Farseer forced to chase after them and leaving the battlefield.  This was irony, thought the Farseer. 

The 2nd Coterie, now free of the rough terrain of their woods, ran and assaulted the hovering Wave Serpent.  The Aspiring Champion turned and winked across the battlefield at the 1st Coterie, thrilled that the other squad had chosen that moment to leap out and charge the suddenly appearing Warp Spiders.  All the tactical genius in the galaxy meant little when facing the Legionnaires of the XVIIth!  The Wave Serpent was quickly wrecked and the Warp Spiders faired only slightly better, being slaughtered completely after only killing one in return.  Now the horde of renegade Marines advanced across the battlefield, intent on clearing this ambush the only right way- with a blade!

The Dire Avengers continued to lose but stand their ground and brought a sense of pride to the sneaking Fire Dragons.  After seeing their Farseer flee the battlefield, the Exarch decided that redeploying away from that position would be wise, and standing ready to finish the Daemon Prince with their Fusion Guns was the primary concern.  Watching their Aspect-cousins, the Dire Avengers, stand for so long against this daemonic lord was impressive and held their attention...  for too long.  They didn't notice the daemon-infested Raptors land west of their position, and they realized far too late that the pistols and flamer from that squad were their death.  The screams died away just as the final Possessed, pumped by his slaughterfest across the battlefield, joined his lord in the combat against the remaining Dire Avengers.  Daemon-blade and daemon-claw rended and chopped the remaining eldar warriors apart, leaving a quiet battlefield marred by unsatisfied howls of anger from unnatural mouths...

The Eldar army was no more, just as quickly dispatched as they'd arrived.  Although the battle had been brief, it was just long enough to give Mazarius time to heal and rally his forces for the next battle.  Xi'Saryk wept for his lost warriors, but his strategy had proved successful and arguably aspirational.  He took his force back through the webway, marching across space in slow steps of grief, other concerns requiring his attention.  This would be the only part the Farseer would play in this conflict, but it would not be the last time he faced this Daemon Lord...

For this battle, we kicked our armies up to 1,000 points.  I wanted to show my brother what it was like to play something other than Space Marines and he was surprised at how different it was.  I was proud of the way the Eldar laid the hurting on those Chaos Marines, but surprised by the inability to cause that last wound and finish off anything.  The deadly Daemon Prince and the fanatic Possessed should have died a few times, but neither seemed vulnerable once I had gotten them down to the last wound or last model.  The Word Bearers ultimately won by a score of 5-1, but they were barely a half dozen casualties/wounds from being a drawn game.  It was close, but damn that last wound!!!

The best part of the game was Turn 3-4, when all the 'tactical genius' played out.  It started with the bottom and the Eldar turn, and suddenly position and shooting was perfectly timed and obviously lethal.  But some great luck on saves started the Chaos Comeback, where everything went perfect for him and the Eldar army was instantly neutralized.  It was awesome!

Another batrep to come soon.  Happy Gaming!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

1st Battle of Ehdiciun VI

The Dark Angels, commanded by Master Mazarius, had assumed garrison duties on this backwater planet.  Although the battle company had been fighting in a dozen wars for a decade, it was finally time to rotate assignments and the force was recalled and deployed to quiet outposts under the Chapter's protection.

Little did Mazarius know that a raiding force of Word Bearers had set sights on this world and something important to them, snatching peace away just as the Dark Angels were settling in.  The renegade marines, led by Daemon Prince Kharsis, had just finished a campaign against a hated foe and now sallied the remaining veterans foward to obtain an ancient deamonic text.  The Chaos Gods had warned that this artifact was stubbornly defended by their First Legion rivals, which made Kharsis even more hungry to carry out this mission.  The Book Battles of Ehdicium VI began soon after...

The first battle was met in the open woodlands of the western plains, when the astropath informed Mazarius of a disturbance in the area.  The company master grabbed a dozen or so marines and the revered Dreadnought, Ancient Rashiel, and rushed out to the plains to recon the incident.  Just as his forced had reached some old ruins, he was set upon by a Defiler's massive cannon and saw crimson-colored warriors charging his position. 

The Defiler successfully targetted and blew the Assault Cannon from Rashiel's mounting, and the 1st Coterie's Missle Launcher smashed the Razorback in the center with a well-placed Krak round, but failed to cause any real damage.  The 2nd Coterie had advanced from ruins located in the northeast of the battlefield, implacably advancing on the Dark Angels.  Mazarius ordered the crawling Razorback to destroy the Defiler, but failed to get the targetting systems calibrated quickly enough.  Rashiel advanced on the Defiler and the other Tactical Squad hunkered in the woods and took shots-of-opportunity at the Chaos Marines.

Kharsis was eager to kill the enemy commander that had the nerve to obstruct his quest; beating his huge wings he descended on the Razorback and let out a terrifying howl of challenge.  Needless to say, (especially with the Dark Angels' prediliction for discretion) there was no answer.  The 1st advanced and fired their missles and plasma shots into the Razorback, finally turning it to a smoking hulk.  The company master and his combat squad piled out of the vehicle and took shelter in the nearby woods, as far away from that tainted monster as they could.  The 2nd continued to advance into the Angel's Tactical Squad, suffering some casualties all the way.  The Defiler again targetted the ancient Dreadnought, spraying armor chunks as the Reapers bit but couldn't penetrate.  Kharsis could taste his victory already, even if he couldn't charge this moment.

Rashiel, tired of being shot at, advanced and then charged straight into the massive war machine Defiler.  His experience and his speed saw the Dreadnought rip the armor plates and machinery from the body of his enemy, resulting in a stellar explosion that incinerated nothing, the close-by renegades' power armor more than enough protection against it.  The Combat Squad, led by Mazarius, stepped from behind the ruined Razorback and squared directly at the Daemon Prince.  Unleasing all the plasma and bolter firepower they could, the unit poured everything they had at the beast.  When the smoke finally cleared and the situation could be assessed, courage began to fail as Kharsis was completely unharmed, and mere feet from the commander and his bodyguard...

The Dreadnought was charged by the 1st Coterie and quickly dispatched- all the skill and experience meaning nothing compared to many well-placed Krak Grenades.  The 2nd Coterie finally moved into combat with the loyalist squad in the woods, suffering nothing from the overwatch and easily bounding through the foliage.  That melee continued until the end of the battle, neither unit willing to give ground or even lose!  The most important battle began as Kharsis howled a roar and charged straight into the Dark Angel Combat Squad.  Bellowing the same challenge again, it was the squad's sergeant that stepped foward, grimly facing absolute defeat, but distracting the Daemon Prince from his true target for a time.  Luckily for the Sergeant, this was easier as the Prince wasn't even looking at him as he swung the massive daemon-blade, allowing the marine a moment of hope.  It was for naught as his squad saw him fail to land a single blow with his sword on the frightening creature...

With little left to do, Mazarius ordered the Dark Angels to gather their wounded and quit the battlefield, obviously understanding that he was outmatched this day.  Striking a last few blows and firing off some quick shots, the defenders fled an orderly retreat and left Kharsis and his renegades standing alone and victorious.

This battle was a teaching battle for my brother (using Chaos) and a chance to start playing the new rules (with my Dark Angels).  The game was a blast, even as I got creamed and annihilited and the final score was 4-1.  That being said, this game represented combat very well, even if only with small armies, and made learning and teaching the rules very simple and intuitive.  The cool thing is that this battle is the first of three in only two days, so you should see some more batreps coming soon.  Stay clicked in!

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ode to 6th edition

I've finally joined the 41st Millenium and have gotten a copy of the rulebook.  I have spent two nights reading all 130 pages of rules again and again, and I've effectively absorbed that thing.  What's my impression?  Awesome!!!

Even having used the interwebs as my source of info on the new rules, I was so pumped to actually read the wording myself that I allowed my excitement to show over and over.  I misunderstood a couple of rules (such as character-sniping with blast weapons), couldn't find certain rules (such as snap-shooting only after jink rolls), and rejoiced at some useless things (like ruins without bases counting as open terrain for movement on the ground floor).  All in all, it's nice having the 'truth' in my hands finally.

Of course, impressions matter little if you don't put your newly-learned information to use.  So I invited my other brother to finally learn and play the game, and he did.  He picked up the rules very well (it appears that my family produces some halfway-intelligent monkeys) and actually enjoyed the game!  I do have to make some very strong points on things I missed, messed up, and generally didn't do right:

1.  Auto-arrive occurs in turn 4 now.  I assumed turn 5, as of old, in a situation and screwed his Daemon Prince out of attacking for an entire turn.
2.  Vehicles may only EVER move 6" if they disembark troops, regardless of whether they drop-and-go or move-and-drop.  I successfully shielded a unit from harm by dropping, speeding up 12", and playing goalie with some Chaos Marines.
3.  Initiative pile-ins are done by both players, starting with the one whose turn it is.  I didn't allow charging models to do so, and this stopped him from being able to react properly.
4.  Challenges are issued at the beginning of the fight phase, so models that are not engaged in combat before their pile-in moves are immune to issuing and accepting challenges. 
5.  Walkers MAY snap fire!  A Defiler and a Dreadnought each suffered from the inability to point their guns and shoot at the crazies with kraks coming right for them...

Other than that, we didn't miss a whole lot.  Contrary to the prevailing opinion of some of the more cynical gamers, this edition's rules changes are neither complicated nor many.  I was truly worried about teaching such a 'conditional' ruleset to newbies, as well as how crunchy I was going to feel for getting so much wrong after such a long and focussed career of doing just this.  As it turns out, very luckily for me, it wasn't a problem.  Although you see a list of the rules I messed up, that's pretty good considering that I'd only skimmed the rulebook at that time.  It took an honest reading to figure out where I went wrong, and the game itself suffered little for it.

I can't lie, I feel strongly that GW made this ruleset just for me.  I'm sure that I won't feel so strongly when the DA codex gets released, or three years from now when I'm trying to hold my own at Adepticon again, but overall I LOVE these rules.  They're intuitive, simple, expansive, and downright fun!  Random charge lengths?  Freakin' awesome!  Mysterious terrain?  Of course!  Hull Points?  Why'd it take this long to figure that out? 

Thank you, GW, for giving me a new set of rules that is easy to teach, simple to play, and fun to use.  It's been years, but you made my gaming life fresh again! 

Ave Imperium!