Crusade: Rise of an Ancient Threat

Crusade: Rise of an Ancient Threat

Amidst our 40k Planetary Empires campaign my Archon was killed, so I thought it a decent time to adjust to giving my Necrons a spin… this is the beginning of their story.

Prologue

Nemesor Sebekh was accustomed to waiting. He was not accustomed to the terrain of this accursed system. Not a single one of the clustered worlds were tomb worlds, as all of them were too remote and too volatile to have been of use even in the expansion phase of the Necrontyr. “A large world of greenery, teeming with… ugh… life,” thought Sebekh, reflecting on why his dynast had assigned him to this task. Bad enough he had to bring war here, but to do so to meet the bidding of a noble from a different Dynasty. It was that most infamous of Nihilakh–Trazyn the Infinite–that he waited for now. Finally, the shadow of a Night Scythe passed, and the familiar crackle of translocation resonated.

“Ah, Sebekh, glad you could be here,” vocalized Trazyn, while Sebekh sent courtesy glyphs to the newly-arrived Overlord. “I know that our Dynasties have not always cooperated in the past, but the orders from the Silent King are certainly binding enough. We are to cooperate, to gather our strength together.”

Sebekh nodded at this. His Phaeron and that of Trayzn (Krispekh of the Nihilakh) were the ones instructed to cooperate, and perhaps to keep the notoriously disruptive Trazyn at bay, Krispekh empowered him to be the one to cooperate. And thus the duty of Sebekh was to endeavor to do just that. He recalled his own Phaeron’s words of command: “Trazyn has great needs, but also access to great power. You will endeavor to feed his needs, such that we might gain his power on our side.”

Sebekh spoke: “Glad to be here, in the name of dynastic cooperation, Overlord Trazyn. My Phaeron extends his esteem and hospitality, and I’m here to assist whatever pursuit you have amidst these planets. I was not provided further details of those goals in the packets of information about this system, just copious notes about current competitors, flora, fauna, the living cycles and industrial development of the human hive cities here, the precise water cycles of the lake systems on the moon…”

Trazyn interrupted the listing. “Yes, yes. I sent everything that might be needed. One never knows where the key to a puzzle may lie. Even in the music of a world, but that is a story for another time. What matters is this.” Trazyn sent a quick additional packet of information to Sebekh, and immediately the technical details of a casket pillar filled his consciousness.

Trazyn continued “I want you to help me find this. The glyphs suggest it is a boundary marker of sorts, placed by some lost dynasty that may have had claim over this pathetic system. And where there is a marker, there may be a path to the remains of that dynasty… and their historical knowledge of the War in Heaven. Take your forces and scour these planets. The conflict between the various young races at war here will be perfect cover to seek it out. I know only of its dimensions, that it is protected from long-range scan identification, and that the image of it–which I extracted at no small difficulty from the mind of some burrowing degenerate cultist inhabitant–included a set of curious plant growth upon it.”

“While you’re seeking it,” Trazyn continued, “I don’t mind other trophies or items of note from the various combatants in this system: their endless variety excites me, and anything unique you find I welcome you preserve with one of these.” Trazyn handed him a set of small cubes, and quick inspection revealed each to be a stasis projector–Trayzn was a collector and antiquarian, and Sebekh realized that even just sending him some frozen oddities would curry his favor. He placed them in an inter-dimensional pocket for safe-keeping.

Sebekh then responded. “I’ll search with you for this wayward marker, but with my own forces in a manner of my choosing. Investigating in more spots at once will help the search go quickly.” Trazyn’s nod indicated he was pleased with that arrangement, and Sebekh was glad that he would not need to sully his own forces with the Nihilakh amidst them. “Point me in the direction of where you found the inhabitant who saw this structure.”

Game One: Laughter on the Wind

Weeks of scanning had turned up little information on either the marker or natives who may have seen it. Nemesor Sebekh had his tomb ship in synchronized orbit in the system, with full stealth protocols enabled. While the other combatants in the system were racing to grab territory, Sebekh took care to catalogue the forces that were warring, as well as to set up reconstruction matrix projectors into high orbit–disguised as orbital wreckage–to support his troops on every possible battlefront. Sebekh’s adjutant, Warden Nesos, finally prompted that their preparations were likely well-completed, and that ground forces could start to be deployed to likely spots. At the very least the crypteks in reserve in the force could start to sample the soils and sort out how to run more effective ground-piercing data sweeps–as Sebekh had mused that the marker would likely be underground.

They began landing troops on the surface of the main planet of Scylla Prime, the planet’s name in the local vernacular, translated from all the fleet relay messages that were bouncing all over the system. Sebekh had chosen a spot that looked more remote, keen to avoid the places that had the thickest populations of humans and their degenerate mutant versions (both Astartes and the hive-infected qualified in this way to Sebekh’s reckoning). He was keen to also avoid the other marauding forces in the area: the blue-skinned goat-people, the mis-firing weapon of the Old Ones (the Orks), loathsome worshippers of a warp entity, and the inscrutable Tyranids.

Initial landings went well, and seemed utterly un-opposed. That is until the wind started carrying an odd sound that started to register on Sebekh’s and Nesos’ auditory capture nodes: laughter. Sebekh had only just laid down a change to combat protocols when a band of near-phantoms leapt out of hidden portals to strike at his landing forces. He recalled they were a form of theater mummers that fought in the service of the Old Ones: harlequins.

However, the resilience of his forces started to carry the day for Sebekh. While each elf lost from the small roving bands of them left them under-gunned. His block of Immortals not-surprisingly proved to be very effective, even when in such close range to foes. With new blocks of Warriors deploying from a Ghost Ark and spraying the elves with Gauss fire, the Necrons began to prevail.

The harlequins were seeking something that swirled in the winds of the planet’s atmosphere, perhaps drawing a bead on where supplies were stashed for them in webway portals. It made for an erratic fight, and one where even lowly canoptek swarms had a role to play. A particularly deadly harlequin, who dispatched a unit of Wraiths on his own, was stopped by a sacrifice protocol that had the scarabs merely cluster onto him and then detonate their cores–an explosion that he could not dodge in time.

As they had arrived, the harlequins fled in nearly the same breath. It seems like they had failed to get what they were seeking, and even if his forces were oblivious to the objective–his presence and the toll his forces took caused them to retreat. Sebekh’s forces were now bloodied, and he was already concerned that Trazyn’s deployment of him here in this system was going to be a painful experience. He shut down the doubt centers of his mind–slapping an hour ban on them–and got back to work with arraying his forces for survey and acquisition.

Game Two: The Enemy of my Enemy

After a few days of exploration Warden Nesos signaled Sebekh that their Doom Scythe’s long-range arrays detected a firefight in the distance. Swapping his sensor feed to that of the Scythe’s pilot-noble, he saw a tense firefight between an armored column of the blue-skinned goat people and what looked like two combined phalanxes of the mutated human strains–particularly large and ornately decorated mutants of their kind at that. While the initial ambush of the goat-people inflicted huge casualties, it seemed like the mutant strains were defending some sort of crashed cargo pods. “With luck,” thought Sebekh, “our forces can strike amidst the chaos and maul the humans while they’re so focused on stopping the tanks of the goats.”

Sebekh materialized his forces from his ship onto the far side of the battlefield from the rest of the fight, but very quickly his long range shots from Triarch Stalkers were doing enough damage that the humans sent some of their number his way. Two of them on primitive jet propulsion and hover-tech vehicles flew at his front lines, and the screen of Canoptek Wraiths. The Wraiths’ durability kept them distracted, until he commanded the Wraiths simply leave the combat making a firing gallery of his Warriors’ gauss reapers which tore apart the vehicles and their riders in a hail of green flensing energy.

Another wave of the mutated humans, these in more ornate battle plates, came rushing at Sebekh’s forces. As the subsequent volley of gauss fire slew many, and his contingent of cursed flayed ones tore apart the rest, Sebekh got only the most crude of scans underway of the warriors. They all seemed to have the same mutation-set, as if they were planned or literally grown from infant-status into these mutant forms… by design. “Ghastly,” said Sebekh to no one in particular, as he was surrounded by Immortals and Warriors only. “Refined biology is still disgustingly… biologic.”

Sebekh could see that the warriors were surely effective: a single one of their leaders circled and circled one of his Triarch Stalkers, and annoyingly Sebekh had to keep transmitting additional script to activate full quantum shielding on the great walker to keep it alive and functioning amidst the warrior’s onslaught. “All biologics have some crude effectiveness, some apex creatures amidst them,” he thought. “Still, put a mutated monkey-form into ornate golden armor and it’s still just a mutated monkey-form.”

The flank where the goat-people had tried to hit hardest was being reinforced by the humans, their warriors clustered around what seemed to be an escape pod of some sort. Sebekh was under-interested in trying to shift them from that spot, as they seemed determined to keep it.

On the other flank, his forces and the goat-people had eliminated all of the resistance, leaving the other strange pod to them. It seemed to be some sort of crude vat full of biological materials, and disgusted Sebekh ordered it destroyed on the spot. The monkey-forms got one, lost one. Good enough. The seeming leader of the goat-people had flown to that point as well, and perhaps he was interested in what remained of it. But of course, the flayed ones that Sebekh had somewhat reluctantly released alongside his troops were particularly interested in what was inside of this suit. Hopefully he didn’t tarry too long at the destroyed vat, lest they crack him open and wear his blue skin as their next decoration.

The battle was ultimately one where no side particularly triumphed over the other, and at least the goat-people had the good sense to not fire their weapons upon his dynastic troops while he too was attacking the mutant humans. Of course he’d have to annihilate them, but for the moment they were a convenient ally. “Enemy of my enemy and all that,” said Sebekh as he reinstated security partitions for the flayed ones in a pocket dimensional stasis. He then ran a debugging protocol on his Warriors to ensure none of them picked up any taint from the cursed flayed ones–but Warriors were the least observant so least likely to fall prey to what they see. “While I’m on old proverbs,” he thought, ruminating on the flayed ones as a dangerous tool to deploy amidst his forces “perhaps ‘monkey-form see, monkey-form do’ is appropriate here.”

Painting Progress

Part of this switch was the relative fragility of my Drukhari forces, but also part of it was finally pushing myself to complete the white whale of the Necrons army: the Ghost Ark. It was such a pain to complete, but now that it’s done I absolutely love the look of it and have enjoyed it in both games so far.

Also painted up a new Overlord to lead my forces, the one with the glaive and tachyon arrow. I adjusted the arm to have it pointing, which was a little conversion but one I’m really pleased with.

I’m nearly done with another ten Warriors (I’ll surely have them painted in the next post, for the next phase of the campaign), and have more to go after that.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Necrons 2022 Power Level Painted: 14/365

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 53/365

Crusade: A Planet Revealed and a Leader Fallen

I’ve been playing in a Planetary Empires Crusade campaign (see all the posts starting with “Crusade” hah?), and after the first phase it was time to expand onto the planets–including the emergence of a whole new planet for conquest. The map below shows where all the forces are located.

Huge shout out to Sean for making this great map and keeping it updated

My initial starting area with the Drukhari was on Scylla Prime (as I was the LAST of the 15 players to get to choose hah), where my home base was the star port. That lets me more easily conquer tiles that are non-adjacent, so you’ll see in the first phase I spread my forces to take two other star ports: one on Glaucus and one on Phorcys, the newly revealed planet. Given that the Harlequins player Frank seized the Hive City on Phorcys, we’ve declared that “Elf Planet” and are determined to take more of it in the next phase (perhaps Steve’s Aeldari will be willing to help in the next expansion phase). I’m proud because at least my luck was strong on the planetary phase, and I’m currently holding 6 tiles (while every other force holds 5 or fewer). I’ve got my eyes set on expanding on Phorcys, because the lava paint scheme matches my basing of my models.

And double-huge shout out to Justin for making and painting these beautiful tiles, and organizing the campaign as a whole.

Managed to get three games in to this cycle of clashes, and the battle reports are below. I’m still toying with what my army should contain, as while I’ve been skewing a bit toward shooting I realize I might need to have a bit more melee punch.

Game Five

Archon Vÿr was determined to re-establish leadership in his raiding force. What he needed was a target where he could out-maneuver the foe, and keep them guessing. No doubt the herd-like Tyranids would prove easy prey for this purpose, he mused. While his adjutants were nervous, Vÿr’s blusterous manner seemed to at least motivate the Kabalites if nothing else.

Vÿr unleashed his forces, ensuring that they struck at the leadership beasts of the Tyranids. His speeding Venom cornered the mind-beasts of the horde, driving a wedge into their command while his Ravagers opened up and decimated the Warrior caste beasts.

Meanwhile Haemonculus Oribraq was much more cagey with his forces, knowing just how violent and savvy the Tyranids could be. He committed his Talos pain engine to take out a massed group of Termagaunts and drive the attack into the Neurothrope behind the force. Disposable pain beast were better to commit than other warriors in this case, as the stinging attacks of the Tyranids surely took their toll.

Archon Vÿr rushed forward, desperate to get into personal combat himself. He cut his way to a hulking Broodlord, and engaged it in extended combat. His strikes eventually overwhelmed the beast, and while it cut at him frequently and with deadly force, his Shadowfield held and he went unscathed by the beast. With enough damage inflicted on the leadership of the throng, the various smaller beasts started to wander, and the Drukhari retreated with a victory. Archon Vÿr felt confident–that show of force would make his raiders cleave to him. This was all going to go well.

Game Six

Still riding high from victory, Archon Vÿr took his forces to raid some mon-keigh industrial facilities, and take more prisoners. His Kabalites were echoing his elevated spirits, plunging into the buildings and fighting to assail the victims within with gleeful abandon.

The mon-keigh had reached out to their supporting forces, and in this case the call for help was answered by some of the most able warriors amongst their brutish enclaves: a different company of their corpse-god protectors the Custodes.

While the Drukhari outnumbered and out-speeded the Custodes, the insert strikes of the elite warriors took a dreadful toll. Archon Vÿr scrambled to call in reinforcements, but found his communications jammed while the Custodes controlled a set of Imperial command nodes that brought other forces in the area toward their site: great Imperial battleships and phalanxes of star warriors turned their eyes toward the spot where Archon Vÿr’s small group was operating.

It was an ancient warrior encased in a full tactical battlesuit that proved most disruptive of the Drukhari forces. It shattered the last hope of Vÿr’s force sending messages for reinforcements, downed two of his vehicles, and eliminated all the newly-recruited Scourges that he had recruited. Vÿr cursed them, as they were specifically equipped with vehicle-destroying weaponry and failed to take the marauding suit down. He once again sounded a retreat and fled from the force. Vÿr brooded in his quarters of their raiding ship, the lessons of the recent battles skewing his thoughts toward the need for he himself leaping into the fray to motivate his warriors in battle.

Game Seven

One of the forces of the mon-keigh that blocked his path may not have been arriving to help, but rather to attack the planet dwellers themselves. These augmented warriors were pox-marked and swollen, no doubt given to horrific disease. Even the plants of the area were wilting with the vaporous clouds of death emitted from their armor.

Vÿr had his forces stay at range best he could, even with his recent swell of bravado. These mon-keigh were almost no longer human, and worse yet, their bodies were so torn and broken that the damage done to them did nothing to help the Drukhari’s own souls in feeling release. At times clusters of splinter fire from the Venom and the Kabalites didn’t even seem to register with them when they pierced armor and shredded skin.

Vÿr hung behind his forces, waiting for a moment to strike–but was ambushed by a teleportation attack from the mon-keigh opponents themselves. A number of their hulking warriors, and no doubt the one that was their leader, appeared in a shimmer of energy and rushed his position and that of his warriors. The warriors were dissolved in spurts of acid from sprayers before being cleaved down by massive scythes the warriors hewed.

Vÿr fought desperately against the leader, but the Shadowfield’s protections from strikes were not able to protect him from the creeping poisons and disease that sprayed across him in the battle. Finally, with a sweeping strike the leader’s roaring, spinning-bladed axe caught his left leg, shearing it entirely off. Vÿr fell to the ground, and as he looked down even a moment saw the flies landing on the stump and laying their eggs. He dragged himself back as best he could, and called for assistance. As always, his faithful warriors managed to grab him and drag him aboard a transport. But as he lay there on the deck with strange diseases eating into him, a dread worry started to reach his mind. It was as if his soul was being spoken to, and the Great Deceiver whispered his name as his force retreated into the night. “Vÿr… I dine on your soul tonight.”

Painting Progress

One unit to add to the painted list at least…

These Drukhari Scourges with Haywire Blasters were a lot of work to paint. Especially the wings. They took a lot more layers and blending than I normally do, and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The effort was worth it, and while that slowed down my painting progress I’ve loved to see them on the table. Of course, they’ve been entirely underwhelming with their weapons hah. And their survivability is just the pits. So I’ve got to work on tactically supporting them better and positioning them in ways that they can be useful but not exposed.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 53/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365

Crusade: Rise and Fall

Crusade: Rise and Fall

More Crusade games these weeks, and some more painting progress as well. Got three games in, setting me up decently for the first expansion phase on the Planetary Empires side of the battle (that we’re pairing with the Crusade-style rules).

Game Two

Archon Vÿr was keen on pursuing more easy prey across the surface of Scylla Prime, and that posed a problem. Succubus Maril’eth, the harridan who he suffered in his presence only because of her command of the Wych Cult forces he needed, exceeded in the face of the more backwards and simple of prey. The running of his raid was a carefully balanced endeavor, ensuring that neither Maril’eth nor his Haeomonculus advisor–Oribraq–got too much power or glory from any fight. He had set his sights on some mon-keigh forces that had high numbers of infantry soldiers–from their designations a large number of whom were indentured criminals forced to fight.

His forces prepared an ambush of sorts, using Archon Vÿr’s own presence as the bait for the mon-keigh. They hid in wait amid some ruined buildings as the legions of conscripts approached to try and capture the leader of the raiding force that was so obviously shown to their sensors. It was too easy, herding the prey like this, tricking them into hunting him down while his forces waited to pounce.

He set Succubus Maril’eth and her Wyches upon the regimental troopers, the ones who herded their own convict squads ahead of them. As expected, they had a fair amount more fight in them, and the Wyches took heavy losses–losing almost as many as they killed of the mon-keigh due to massed firepower. Meanwhile, Archon Vÿr strode confidently into the fray, his blade carving through the conscript forces.

It was then when Vÿr’s arrogant miscalculations came home to roost, as the conscript prisoners were not the meek sheep of those indentured to Drukhari forces, but possessed the menacing threat of thirty-some hardened criminals who knew how to shoot and to fight. He slew them time and again, but yet the waves of them were able to continue to attack. Soon enough, the sheer press of las-rifle fire managed to finally short out Archon Vÿr’s shadow field. He hoped that no panicked tone was present in his voice when he called his Raider for extraction. He had taken a number of hits that bored thru his armor and left smoking holes punched thru his limbs when he finally was able to leap over the press of assailants onto the deck of one of his Raiders. As he hauled himself up he heard the clucking tone of Haemonculus Oribraq: “I suppose I’ll need to start growing you a new right arm and leg… who would have known that their chattel soldiers could fight quite so well…”

Archon Vÿr steamed and nursed his wounds, knowing that nursing his pride would need an action of much more immensity–and perhaps Oribraq’s tragic demise.

Game Three

Archon Vÿr desperately needed easy pickings to satiate the rapacious tendencies of his forces, so he struck out to try and make a raid on a distracted foe. Noting a spot where the last remnants of the Genestealer Cult remained (must be a strain that did not share the same blood transfusions as the others he eliminated), he waited for them to strike at a rampaging Ork force that was in the area. His plan was to strike both sides suddenly when they were engaged, and make off with captives.

At first, it worked well–the Talos pain engine pulped enough Ork boyz that the few remaining could be subdued, and loaded onto the waiting Venom as captives. These would give Haemonculus Oribraq something to investigate, and tide him over for a while. The more distracted Oribraq got, the more stable Archon Vÿr’s raiding force would remain.

Meanwhile Archon Vÿr’s forces attempted to distract the Genecult forces. His Voidraven Bomber screamed overhead, killing the leader of the Genecult who stood exposed. They were of far less interest to his forces than the Orks, as getting some good arena beasts seemed to be a popular aim with his Kabalites as well.

The Kabalites managed to decimate the Orks, luring them to attack them in cover and then striking hard with the bayonets of their splinter rifles and their curved Kabal blades. Four or five of the beasts were subdued by them, and bundled to be carried off.

Just when Archon Vÿr felt things were going his way, the Genecult struck. They had been holding back some horrific warriors, four-armed creatures that came rushing out of crevices in the broken earth, no doubt concealed by mining tunnels on their approach. The creatures tore into the center of his force, while their Genecult outriders’ demolition charges blew up a Raider and a Ravager both. With the sudden reversal, there was nothing to do but flee again–even leaving all but the Coven-gathered Orks behind. Archon Vÿr faced an even more unhappy Kabal, and having to again draw from his households reserves to replenish the fighting forces he lost.

Game Four

With Archon Vÿr’s support in flux, Haemonculus Oribraq had a chance to assert a bit of control. He knew that Archon Vÿr was haughty and proud, and giving him a gambit to exploit that would pay off. Oribraq nudged that they work to destabilize nearby mon-keigh elites, as a force of the augmented armored mon-keigh was holding some nearby terrain. What brought them was unclear, but they served as a good way to get Vÿr to perhaps die at one of their hands.

Oribraq’s own forces fought admirably, his Wracks managing to hold off one of the crude mon-keigh jetbikes while Oribraq set up for the kill himself. His ichor injector proved deadly, and his scissorhand more than enough to cleave thru the armor and slice the leg off the passing biker. Oribraq scoffed, thinking what a pity the mon-keigh were so… limited… in their imaginations of what could be done with genetic engineering, cellular growth cultivation, and organ improvement.

The armored mon-keigh however proved to be more than a match for the remaining wyches that accompanied Archon Vÿr’s raid. A group of them were fighting atop an industrial structure, and the limited space for mobility made the lightly-armored fighters easy prey for one of the mon-keigh’s deadly swordsmen.

Much to Haemonculus Oribraq’s dismay, Archon Vÿr and his Kabalites managed to hold on to a victory through shrewd crowding of the foe. Only a single teleporting mon-keigh in golden armor remained at the heart of the battle near the end, his blows falling fruitlessly on Vÿr’s Shadowfield. With a laugh, he managed to intrude upon the space enough to disrupt the mon-keigh’s plans. The raid always had to strike then fade, and this time was no different. The mon-keigh were bested, and the Drukhari escaped with spoils from the community left un-protected by the golden warriors and their arrogance.

“I’ll have to try harder next time to get him killed,” thought Haemonculus Oribraq, as Archon Vÿr strolled back to his command seat of the retreating skimmer.

Painting Progress

Added two big things that have both been on my painting table for a while: 10 more Kabalite Warriors to round out a full squad of 20 as a firebase, and the Voidraven Bomber I’ve been mucking with for ages.

Definitely like how these Kabalites turn out, and they look so epic in the big squads. Have got to do up another blob like this with Shredders and Splinter Cannons.
Voidraven Bomber. Really, really pleased by this one. Trying to get the highlights down was harder than I expected, but I’m pleased.

As my list is forming up to a more clear “this is how I’ll be structuring the Crusade” feeling, I’ve got to get rolling on more painting ahead: definitely more Kabalites and Venoms in my future.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 48/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365

Arena of Vect

Arena of Vect

[Updated! Note the Arena Beasts list at the bottom]

Well it’s time for a new Drawbridge Games mega-event, similar to our other big events last year:

Dogfight December (https://archonandseer.com/2021/11/21/dogfight-december/)

TANKS-Giving (https://archonandseer.com/2021/09/26/tanks-giving/)

And of course Knight Night Fight Night (https://archonandseer.com/2021/05/17/knight-night-fight-night/)

This time we’re focusing in on the Gladiatorial Arenas of the master of the Drukhari, Asdrubael Vect, where anything and everything from the Galaxy may well appear to appease the blood-sport lusts of The Commorragh and its denizens.

We’re building a special set of boards to conduct this, to represent a Webway-based gladiatorial arena, where Vect’s agents have procured all manner of warriors from every race to face dreadful monsters, beasts, and finally: each other. Players will get credit for their wins in the arena, where strange-bedfellows may combine to fight the most horrid of monsters, as well as for their success in the final combat between all gladiators. Players can also paint and field the monsters that people will face (which is great change to paint up some big beastie from Age of Sigmar or some other system just for fun). As always we’ll have a drawing for prizes at the end of the event, and the more you painted and brought and the more you win in the event, the more times your name will be in the draw. Prepare for an evening of fun fantastical 40k combats, and amusing stories of legends meeting in the gladiatorial arena.

WHEN: Thursday, March 24th. Set up begins at 6:30 with dice rolling on the first beast matches at 7:00. Later arrivals can be accommodated in the second round of beast matches. We’ll hopefully start the grand melee between all surviving gladiators at 8:15, with culmination and prizes before 10:00pm.

WHERE: Drawbridge Games (https://www.facebook.com/groups/499640580206921) in Castle Shannon, PA. Event is free to all Gatecrashers ($35 for the year to be a Gatecrasher, which includes 10% discount on all product and 20% discount on certain preorders), and $5 for non-Gatecrashers.

WHO: Each player can bring one HQ choice (or sometimes an Elite choice) character from selected 40k armies (see list below). They cannot be special-named characters, but instead need to be the generic type (often ones that you can choose equipment with). They may have a Warlord Trait and a Relic. These form the pool of Gladiators. Players may also bring an Arena Beast, and the Arena Beasts can be whatever you imagine. I’ve got some suggestions below, but they should be things that are reasonably like big gribbly monsters that the Drukhari have in a holding pen waiting to unleash them on the Gladiators. You’ll get to run your own Arena Beast, tho the rules for the beast will be decided in advance by the event team (and given to you only when they enter the arena, for fun). Players can also choose to only bring one or the other as well (some may just have a Gladiator, others may only have an Arena Beast). There will be some randomization that will group the Gladiators into teams to fight the Arena Beasts, and successive rounds where winnowing numbers of Gladiators (most likely) face tougher and tougher beasts. Then all surviving Gladiators will be put into the final arena together for a last-fighter-standing battle against each other.

Adeptus AstartesCaptains, Chaplains, Librarians, Techmarines, Apothecaries, Champions, Ancients, Judicar
Adepta SororitasCanoness, Missionary, Palatine, Diologus, Dogmata, Hospitaller, Imagifier, Preacher, Repentia Superior
Adeptus MechanicusSkitarii Marshal, Tech-Priest Dominus, Tech-Priest Enginseer, Tech-Priest Manipulus, Technoarcheologist, Cybernetica Datasmith
CustodesBlade Champion, Shield-Captain, Knight-Centura
Grey KnightsCaptains, Champions, Librarians, Techmarines, Grand Master (infantry-only), Ancients, Apothecaries
Astra MilitariumCommanders, Commissars, Primaris Psyker, Tech-Priest Enginseer
Chaos Space Marines*Chaos Lords, Dark Apostle, Master of Executions, Sorcerers, Warpsmiths
Death GuardChaos Lord, Lord of Contagion, Lord of Virulence, Malignant Plaguecaster, Biologus Putrifier, Noxious Blightbringer, Plague Surgeon, Tallyman, Foul Blightspawn
Thousand SonsSorcerers, Infernal Masters
OrksBeastboss, Big Meks, Painboss, Warbosses, Weirdboy, Wurrboy, Mek, Painboy
NecronsChronomancer, Lord, Overlord, Lokhust Lord, Plasmancer, Psychomancer, Royal Warden, Skorpekh Lord, Technomancer,
T’au EmpireCadre Fireblade, Commanders, Ethereals, Kroot Shapers
Genestealer CultsPatriarch, Magus, Primus, Acolyte Iconward, Abominant, Biophagus, Clamavus, Kelermorph, Locus, Nexos, Sanctus
AeldariShadowseer, Troupe Master, Death Jester, Solitaire, Autarch, Farseer, Spiritseer, Warlock
DrukhariArchon, Haemonculus
DaemonsSorry, you’re monsters. Check the next chart.
TyranidsSorry, you’re monsters. Check the next chart or field a Broodlord as a GSC Patriarch
* No model may have a Mark of Slaanesh

Those are the options for Gladiators, and you can equip them as normal with any of their current codex options. They can have any single chapter/cult creed/kabal/company selectable keyword and rules as if they were battle-forged. Again, they can also take a single Warlord trait from their codex per normal limitations, and one Relic (again as normally available). They must be painted (3 colors at least) and based to participate.

Now let’s think about what might work great as Arena Beasts. Note that we’ll have a set of categories for them, and they can vary wildly depending on what people decide to bring. Everyone should clear what they’re bringing with the Event Organizers in advance, mostly so we know what you’re bringing along and can ensure we’ve got rules for you. Again, all models must be painted and based to participate.

Existing 40k Rules Wee BeastiesClawed Fiend, Sslyth, Medusae, Pair of Ur-Ghuls, Pair of Khymerae, Lictor, Tyranid Warrior, Krootox Rider, Pair of Kroot Hounds, Killa Kan, Pair of Flesh Hounds of Khorne, Beast of Nurgle, Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch, Ogryn, Wraithblade, Pair of Arco-Flagellants, Squad of 10x Imperial Guard Conscripts, Squad of 10x Drukhari Wyches, Drukhari Succubus, Drukhari Beastmaster (bonus points for bringing one of these)
Specialist Games Wee BeastiesUnderworlds Beasties (any combinations of Crab, Monkey, Fish, Parrot, Mollog, Mollog’s weird mushroom or flying squig), Necromunda Beasties (sets of Escher Wyld Runner pets, groups of Orlock Dogs, or that weird Delaque Nacht-Ghul Thing)
Existing 40k Rules Big GribbliesHaruspex, Mawloc, Toxicrene, Carnifex, Deff Dread, Bloodthirster
Age of Sigmar Wee BeastiesMangler Squigs, Fomoroid Crusher, Mindstealer Sphiranx, Troggoth, Troggboss, Frost Sabre
Age of Sigmar Big GribbliesMega Gargant, Kragnos, Drycha Hamadreth, Cygor, Ghorgon, War Hydra (bonus points for bringing one of these), Treelord, Mancrusher Gargant, Slaughterbrute, Vortex Beast, Morathi (big snake version), Karazi, Krondys, or any other suitably big beastie as long as it doesn’t have a rider on it.

Obviously this list is a lot more flexible, and what we’re looking for is a mix of things: some big bads, some relative pushovers, for the Arena Beasts. Again, be in touch with the Event Organizers to clear what you’re thinking of bringing. Depending on the number of these that people bring to use, we may have a roll-off for what groups of Gladiators face in the first rounds (or they may face two types of Wee Beasties at once). You’ll still get credit for painting

WHAT: Initial rounds we’ll have Gladiators teamed up in groups (randomized) and facing randomized Arena Beasts. There will be three adjacent Arena rings (the amazing Ryan is building a whole set for us, and I’m supplying the Drukhari onlookers in the crowds), so we can have three groupings going at once. The pairings will then be re-shuffled amongst those that survived the first round, and again groups facing Arena Beasts will happen. All survivors after that round will be put into one large combat in the central arena against each other for a winner-take-all, last man-or-mutant-or-elf-or-ork-or-strangely-bovine-tau-standing. Be sure to bring the relevant codex for rules, and enough d6’s to run your models. Players that field beasties in one round will get to field their gladiators in the next set–we’ll ensure everyone gets a chance at everything. These should be quick and brutal pit fights, so expect them to go fast! For the final king-of-the-hill we’ll use randomized order, for all the gladiator team matches it will be a roll-off between team and foe(s). Should be good silly fun as always with our Drawbridge events.

PRIZES: As always with our Drawbridge events, we’ll have a prize drawing at the end for Games Workshop prizes. Everyone who plays will get one entry for the drawing. If you painted a new Gladiator for the event, and/or new Arena Beasts, you’ll get an entry for each new thing you painted that you’ve brought. For each round your Gladiator survives, you’ll get an additional entry. Finally, the winner of the overall scrum will get 5 bonus entries. And there will be a bonus 5 entries for best painted Gladiator and best painted Arena Beast.

Arena MonikerUnit NamePlayer Bringing
Sisters of Death5x WychesAndrew*
Deathclaw and HandlerBeastmaster and Clawed FiendAndrew*
Lady ViolenceSuccubus with Triptych WhipAndrew*
Cluster from Planet X-712x Surprise modelsSpace
Offspring of That Which Skitters in the Dark5 Rat WolvesJustin
Cockatrice Brood6 Warcry RazorbeaksHazlett
Commorragh Spirebrood6 Warcry HarpiesHazlett
Spindle Drones4 Blackstone Spindle DronesRyan*
ZoatZoatRyan*
The Burble-beastShub-NgrathSpace
Exodite SpiritwalkerArch-RevenantMicycle
Fenrisian ThundertrollMollogDave
   
Awakened Exodite SpiritSpirit of DurthuHazlett
Forbidden Necrontyr ShardTranscendent C’tanJustin*
Herd Beast OneGhorgonChris
Herd Beast TwoGhorgonRyan
Mockery of the Phoenix-ScourgePhoenix ElementalColton
Rage Beast OneKhorgorathDave
Rage Beast TwoKhorgorathColton
Ancient Kul-kath-glahBig Sea Elf TurtleSteve
Greatest of the Mon-KeighGargantDave
That Which Skitters in the DarkHell Pit AbominationJustin
Mon-Keigh Corpse-suitWolfen DreadnaughtJake*
* Note that the player bringing the model should bring along the relevant rules for these, as they have 40k rules already

What are the stats of these deadly monsters and terrible threats? Show up and find out what sorts of challenges await!

Crusade: Treachery and Comeback

Crusade: Treachery and Comeback

So we’re starting a new Crusade at my local gaming store, Drawbridge Games, and this is the set-up and first game of my force. I’ll include both the arrival of my force in the campaign (as I started with a couple of Genestealer Cult games before deciding on Drukhari) and the first game with them. I’ll do another more general Crusade story post when we hit the first advancement on the map: it’s a Planetary Empires campaign using Crusade armies–all the narrative fun!

Army Background

The Biophagus lay coughing on the ground, while the Clamavus stood frozen nearby, not moving lest the Haemonculus’ Needle Pistol fire and cut him down.

The Archon spoke:

“It was easy, you see. We’ve been wanting to hunt in the Scylla Quintus planetary cluster for some time. So much agony, so many foes all clashing. It called out to us through the webway. But it’s been a matter of where to start. Where to strike? Who to usurp first?”

“The Space Marines would be burdensome to tackle first, even more so the ones who work directly for their Corpse-God. The Tyranids are pointless to fight as their suffering isn’t even felt. The Tau, those dopey herbivores, are so stunningly un-imaginative except with technology, so their suffering is even less interesting than that of the human soldiers of the Corpse-God, who are already walking dead and given in to their run-down existence. And our Aeldari cousins, also fun to torment, are at very least our distant-if-absurdly-optimistic kin. They’ll be around in the future.”

The Biophagus stared up, his eyes bulging as poisoned blood seeped from out his ears. The Archon continued, whether or not the poor dying creature could hear.

“But you, Cult of the Twisted Helix. You made it so easy. Your practice of sharing blood, passing the same tinctures all around? Made it simple for my Haemonculus here to concoct a poison that would delay just enough before killing each and every one of you. My agents slipped it in to your equipment, and then you…” he pointed at the Clamavus “… you so obligingly sounded the call that all in the Cult should join in ritual sharing of the blood again. What sustained and strengthened you all, now kills you. Each one will become a husk, slight delays only by individual constitutions. But all will die. What a kind practice you’ve shared. My hope is that there are branches of your Cult elsewhere, so that all your bastardized combinations of two despicable races in this galaxy are so easily and politely dispatched.”

The Archon stalked away with the Haemonculus trailing him, leaving the Clamavus scratching at the site where he too so recently received the Biophagus’ transfusion. He nearly wished that the elves had killed him as he felt a creeping chill inside his spine. Instead he went to find others, to see if they were truly dying, and to call fervently to the Star Children to arrive… and avenge.

Game One

Having established a sally port webway entrance on the Scylla Prime, the Drukhari set their sights on nearby prey. While the Tau had their primary beachhead in the contested system on the ice moon of Glaucus, they were dispatching small expansion cadres all across the surface of the larger planet. Archon Vÿr was hankering for a daring challenge, as while his Haemonculus Oribraq’s plan for taking out the Genestealer Cult was entirely successful, it was also clear to the rest of the Raiding force that it was Oribraq’s doing. Vÿr had to make some deft strokes to make certain it was him who ruled, not his underling alchemist assistant.

Archon Vÿr dispatched Oribraq and his creations to cover a flank, while his Kabalites and the Wych cult forces in his employ tackled the main line of the Tau. Between a Raider full of Wyches and a Beastmaster with a new Clawed Fiend (some aquatic version of the monster that looked mostly like a giant crab), Vÿr was confident that the Tau would be swept away.

Unfortunately the Tau seem to have undergone some technical upgrades, in both the behavior of their drones and the quality of their battlesuits. And whatever new ammunition they were using in their tanks’ rail cannons proved to be especially devastating: the Night Shields of his Raider seemed to do nothing as the solid shot blew it apart on arrival. Even the new crab-like Clawed Fiend was ruthlessly gunned down by the foes before it could fight.

It was time to make a statement, a signature kill, to show everyone just who was in charge and how to stop the horrid bovine Tau in their tracks. Archon Vÿr strode straight forward into the face of the towering battlesuit that anchored the middle of the Tau line. He began darting about, landing blow after blow, only to realize that something had changed: the Tau must have reinforced the suit and made it more vehicle and less pilot. His poisons were doing nothing to the mighty creature. More depressingly its missiles and arm cannon eventually overwhelmed his Shadowfield. As he took a devastating kick from the thing, in melee no less, he was only saved by the arrival of Haemonculus Oribraq’s Talos which finished off the mighty battlesuit.

Meanwhile Oribraq and his Wracks were dominating their side of the field, including stopping the Tau Commander in their tracks after surviving their comet-like descent. With a number of Tau warriors chained up and headed for Oribraq’s lab, the tide finally began to swing for the Drukhari. Archon Vÿr’s Flayed Skull Ravager managed to finish off both of the Tau rail-bearing tanks with a final bit of help from the rampaging Talos. It was the only bright spot of his forces amidst a narrow victory. And he had to concede that without Haemonculus Oribraq’s contributions to the fight (both personal violence meted out and that of his hellish creations), what should have been a loss became a narrow victory for the Drukhari raiding party.

Archon Vÿr licked his wounds and watched for any potential upstarts and assassins rising against him thanks to the relative disgrace of his Kabal amidst the broader victory. He’d need to think more carefully about where to deploy Haemonculus Oribraq’s forces: both to batter the foe, and to ensure that they did not get too much glory.

Painting Progress

As always, more painting updates for each game I play. Finished up a couple of things for this game, and I’m really close on a few others that I’ll hopefully have finished for the next.

Realspace Raiders is a podcast that is doing a Talos painting competition, so I wanted to do up a Talos for it. I’m really pleased with how it turned out–and its first outing on the tabletop was quite impressive.
I’ve shown the Beastmaster conversion before, but every Beastmaster needs a Beast! So here’s the “Clawed Fiend” for him. I’ve been dying to paint up the crab miniature from Underworlds, and this was finally the right timing to do so. I won’t field him too often as I’d need a big unit, but was fun to paint up and pleases me.

Obviously this means more work toward my Aeldari 2022 goals, which is likely to continue given that I’ll be doing the Crusade and Planetary Empires campaign with them over the next few months. Fun times and good painting joy ahead.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 33/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365

By Sky and By Ground

By Sky and By Ground

So of course the moment I get rolling on my Aeldari Apocalypse force, I also get strongly tempted by the new rules of the Genestealer Cult codex. Readers of my updates will see a fair amount of vacillation between the two (and also dabbling with like three other armies, gah). While the previews for Genestealer Cult kind of got me down on them ultimately (or maybe, more clearly, it was leaks for other forces like Aeldari and Tau previews for Custodes)–the book really did deliver what looks like a lot of fun.

So I’m going to be sort of exploring a two-pronged approach. I’ll see if I can’t work on both forces at the same time. I’m going to do up a similar thing to my Aeldari Apocalypse picture for the GSC. And we’re kicking off a campaign at my local store, and I’m leaning toward using Genestealer Cult for it. I’ll do another post focused on Genestealer Cult goals (heh, cult goals). With that army, given that it’s somewhat limited in scope and model choices–and the models are quite few points–I’m going to go for 365 total painted (including prior to the 2022 calendar year).

Here’s my painting progress, which has been both sky-borne Drukhari and tunnel-infesting Genestealer Cult.

More Kabalite Warriors to bolster my existing unit of them.
Conversion of the original metal Dark Eldar Beastmaster model on a modern Hellion skyboard. Still a silly model (oh that codpiece). But kinda pleased with the result.
Jackal Alphus for the Genestealer Cult. This is one of my favorite models from this force. Just really dynamic looking with the sniper rifle and the bike.
20 Neophyte Hybrids. Well, actually 23 as I did them in two batches and adjusted the weapon choices in the second batch. This squad will be leader with web pistol, standard, 4 webbers, and the rest shotguns. Excited to give them a try in games as my Patriarch’s bodyguard.
Five Acolyte Hybrids with hand flamers. All set to pop up behind enemies and set up crossfire situations. These guys take a lot of time, as the tyrannic flesh has a lot of layers (including mixing a pink wash, bringing up to white, then a purple wash, and finally back up to white again). But I’m really pleased with how they end up looking.

All told a ton of painting. Really pleased with this progress in general, and with the promise of both forces going forward. I’ll need to eventually specialize, lest I end up painting 710 PL haha.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 25/365

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365

Aeldari Apocalypse

Aeldari Apocalypse

As I mentioned in my prior post, I’m aiming at painting up 365 points of Aeldari for 40k as my 2022 year goal. Which is a pretty ambitious undertaking. I’m doing so because I want to build a Ynnari but mostly Drukhari force for Apocalypse-sized games. I wanted to visualize what I have and want to paint next, sort of a virtual measure of progress toward goals of a pretty big and impressive force. So I did up the following graphic:

I like this because it’s actually a pretty good look at what I’d want the full force to look like eventually. It doesn’t include what I’ve already painted (which is a lot: 47 PL / 980 pts. already finished and magnetized). As I paint going forward, I’ll color in the models I’ve completed. I meant to do this with a T’au project that sort of flubbed as it started early in Covid, but I like the idea and wanted to give it a go.

Mustering a big force like this for me means a few large centerpiece models, plus that whole host of ground troops to be arrayed at their feet. That’s why my next project is a very un-exciting big blob of Kabalite Warriors. Need to have that “look” to the battles of the 41st Millennium: the swathes of infantry being blown up on the landscape where Titans stride.

Archon and Seer in 2022

Archon and Seer in 2022

So it’s a new year, and that means a new painting goal for my hobby gaming. Last year I worked on a lot of models across a lot of different armies, and this year it’s time to focus. I’m going to stick with the one-PL-a-day model for my progress, but keep things clustered in the realm of all things Aeldari. 365 Power Level (or more) of models painted for Aeldari forces. I’m focused on Drukhari, but I plan on splashing in some Craftworlds, Ynnari, and even maybe some Harlequins at some point. It will mean some steady commitment, but I’m arranging some big game events to narratively keep my focus (and painting goals) on track.

I also found the awesome photo of actual galaxies and their connection patterns that I used as the cover photo for this post, and it absolutely reminds of the Webway description from 40k fiction. So I’m going to find a way to do some sort of big webway game soon and use this as the image.

Started the year with a fair push of completing models. Wanted to round out my ability to do a Realspace Raid by adding a Drukhari Haemonculus and a unit of five Wracks to my force.

Was a bit fiddly to assemble, but I like the way they turned out. Was fun to have a model where the red was much more accent and occasional.
These models have a lot going on with them, so I tried to keep it as simple as I could with some of the color choices. I like that their back banners (literal racks for the Wracks) are like deformed versions of the ones that squad leaders, Incubi, and characters have.

I definitely will need more Wracks to make the unit durable enough to hold objectives, but it’s at least a start for small games.

Also, finished up the first of two Ravagers. Went for the one with triple disintegrator cannons first. While I know that the one with Dark Lances will be overall more effective in games, the idea of having a strong basis for good AP and 2 damage shots was just too tempting.

I’m extra happy with the white of the sails on this one, as the picture has them meshing with the background white pretty effectively to the point of being invisible. These take a ton of work with the crew members, but I think it was worth it in the end result.

Overall a solid start to the year of painting all sorts of Aeldari. Expect to see mostly Drukhari for a long portion of it, tho I’ll surely pick up the new releases that have been teased for the Craftworlds Eldar as I start to mess with those components of a force. And I’ve gotten myself a gift from Forgeworld for the end of the year successful painting that I’ll have to do up once I’ve got a bigger basis for this force. So some good things to look forward to.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari Power Level Painted: 15/365

365 and Flight

365 and Flight

End of the year 2021, and it’s the first time I’ve finally hit my painting goal for the Brush Wielder’s Union. This year it was 365+ PL of 40k models and at least 12 Marvel Crisis Protocol models. Really proud to have hit the mark, when I fell short of what I had promised to do in both 2019 and 2020 (the latter for good reason). I set the Brush Wielder’s Union code as the top image for this post, and if anyone is interested in checking them out, I find it to be the best Patreon that I back. I get a journal to track my painting, a community that is always supportive, a letter each month of painting encouragement, and just plain accountability for my painting goals (and this year I actually get the goal pin!). Check them out here: https://www.patreon.com/brushwielders

I ended up at 376 total PL for 40k, having completed the other Flyer model I took to Dogfight December–a Tyranid Hive Crone.

In addition, I finished up the year with painting some Aeronautica Imperialis models, some Asuryani planes.

I’ll be fielding those in the upcoming “Bummer Bowl”, which I’ll post more about in the new year (were going to get it in the week before new year’s, but had to be delayed… a bummer in and of itself).

All-in-all a hard year but one where at the very least I turned the corner with my painting. Really felt like I hit a good pace and stride, and saw how clearly having events to aim at helped me get things done. Schedule more games, get more painted. That’s the trick.

Happy new year to any and all, and I’ll unveil my new 2022 pledge goal (an even more ambitious one!) with my next post.

Miniature Painting Goals 2021 – Total for 2021

40k Power Points Painted 376/365

Marvel Crisis Protocol Miniatures Painted 13/12

Plus a bonus 4 Aeronautica Imperialis planes

Limiting the Skies

Limiting the Skies

Hit a big milestone with a new piece completed. Finished up a Valkyrie Sky Talon for our Dogfight December event at Drawbridge Games in Pittsburgh, PA. That brought me to over 365 Power Level painted for the year of 2021, as well as giving me some further feeling of joy with my Genestealer Cult forces.

The Sky Talon is a Forgeworld piece, and a Legends model to boot, mostly because it was designed for the Elysian Drop Troops which are not an active product line. I don’t have any Elysians, but what I loved about this plane is that it looks very much like a utility vehicle repurposed and used for battle. It’s clearly a bulk hauler. I picture it as carrying cargo containers on some space dock where the dock crew have mysteriously opaque atmosphere gear.

Similar pic I know, but I wanted to also show my first Aeronautica Imperialis piece that I’ve finished–a matching Valkyrie. I modded it so it’s got clamps, and is lugging a small shipping container: as if the signal for revolt has happened, and the crew is just rushing there without even unloading.

Anyhow, pleased to make progress in a fun way like this. And really glad to have hit my yearly goals. December 17 means there was plenty of time left in the year to finish it up hah.

Miniature Painting Goals 2021 – Totals so Far

40k Power Points Painted 368/365

Marvel Crisis Protocol Miniatures Painted 13/12