Sunday, April 29, 2007

Somewhere Above the Battle for Gowrain...

“Developments to report, my lord,” spoke the ugly, metallic voice emanating from the swiftly descending servo skull. “Proceed to relay, little one.” Gazak stroked the rusted little object with a single extended talon. These older technologies required a gentle touch, even from a hulking champion of chaos such as himself. “Lord Bulgar’s forces have arrived at the outskirts of the city. The blood of the Emperor’s servants flows freely.” “Losses?” “Brother Ephaedrel is fallen.” The mighty Ephaedrel was long ago entombed in the corpus of an awesome dreadnought, his taste for devastation never faltering. Until, apparently, just now. These Imperials were such a nuisance.

Lord Bulgar was hopelessly addicted to carnage. Strategy was not his specialty, and he could squander valuable resources quite carelessly at times. They had worked the will of the dark Gods together for nearly a thousand years, and it had always been this way.

They had entered orbit two standard days prior, and rather than lay down a simple orbital barrage, Bulgar had led a small cadre of his most savage brethren planetside for a dawn attack on Gowrain's pitiful defenders. Still, the secrets of the ancient C’tan armory would soon be theirs for the taking. And if Bulgar were to fall at the last, Gazak could step forward and claim the prize along with the command. All that, and the prospect of slaughtering possibly thousands of mortals before nightfall… he could linger no longer.

He pulled himself free of the spindly, arachnoid limbs surrounding his command throne and turned to leave the forebridge. With five large strides he arrived at the sleepchamber entrance. It would take only a few moments to revive his brothers and arm for battle, and perhaps a moment more to teleport directly into the fight.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thoughts on Necrons vs. Chaos

This will be sort of a continuation of a discussion with Mack found here. Looking at the odds, it takes an average of 18 warrior shots to kill a terminator and 27 shots to wound the tougher obliterators (who have 2 wounds each). Mass warrior shooting appears to be much more effective against the smaller, weaker chaos units, like the havocs, possessed, and berzerkers (9 shots per wound). Keeping the army in one huge ball seems like the necrons' only hope to survive chaos, teleporting out charged units to a short distance away (getting some WBB rerolls if it's through the monolith), leaving the enemy stranded, and pouring fire into them in the following turn. To stymie power weapons/fists in assault, every WBB unit should always be within 6" of a lord, excepting possibly destroyers, who can usually move fast enough to avoid an assault. When not teleporting (early game?), the monolith should try to put pie plates down on units with a 3+ or worse save.

Battle Report: Chaos vs. Necrons 4-27-07

C. vs. Mack - 1500 points - Secure and Control

Same lists from the last game: C. was playing with the demon prince, two obliterators, 6 terminators, 6 possessed, 5 berzerkers in a rhino, 6 bloodletters, and 6 havocs. Mack had a destroyer lord, a VoD lord on foot, two squads of 10 warriors, one squad of 12 warriors, 5 destroyers, and a monolith. This time there was a little less terrain on the board. The four objective markers were the two necron obelisks and the two missiles.

Turn 1

Necrons: The army moves up as a whole, the destroyers shoot at the obliterators but are out of range.

Chaos: The berzerkers roll blood rage and tear out 10", the rhino pulling ahead of them for cover, firing its smoke launchers. Terminators and obliterators drop five warriors with shooting.

Turn 2

Necrons: Four warriors recover, and the monolith arrives, deep striking in the center of the chaos deployment zone. The destroyers kill two terminators, and the monolith's particle whip misses the berzerkers but hits their rhino, shaking it.

Chaos: The obliterators fire lascannons at the monolith, hitting it but failing to penetrate. Havocs kill a warrior. The demon prince charges into a warrior squad and 6 of their number fall before his mighty axe of khorne.

Turn 3

Necrons: Three warriors recover from the demon prince's assault, thanks to the nearby lord's resurrection orb. Then they are teleported through the monolith's portal, bringing one more additional warrior back with the WBB reroll. The destroyers and warriors put mass fire into the demon prince, nearly wounding him, but he shrugs it off and stands firm. The destroyer lord and warriors by the monolith shoot at the obliterators but do no damage.

Chaos: The terminators move deeper into their building, and together with the havocs drop 5 warriors. Obliterators score 1 glance and 1 penetrate on the monolith but only get a weapon destroyed, which is nearly nothing on the monolith. The demon prince chases down the destroyers, catching them in assault. He kills three and sends them fleeing off the board, afterwards consolidating into the foot lord. Berzerkers charge into a warrior squad and kill five of them.
Turn 4

Necrons: The lord uses veil of darkness to escape the demon prince, landing by the bloodletters behind the ruined church. He kills one with his staff of light.

Chaos: The demon prince and the berzerkers finish off another squad of warriors. The bloodletters charge the necron lord, and each side inflicts two wounds.

Turn 5

Necrons: The surviving necrons pour fire into the obliterators, doing no damage. Five warriors and the destroyer lord charge the obliterators in combat, inflicting one wound, but the lord takes a wound himself.

Chaos: The terminator champion downs the foot lord with his kai gun. The demon prince and berzerkers charge into the last large squad of warriors, killing seven and taking the necrons below their phase out number.

Win for chaos.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Battle Report: Chaos vs. Necrons 4-20-07

C. vs. Mack - 1500 points - Annihilation

A little practice for the tournament. C. was playing with the demon prince, two obliterators, 6 terminators, 6 possessed, 5 berzerkers in a rhino, 6 bloodletters, and 6 havocs. Mack had a destroyer lord, a VoD lord on foot, two squads of 10 warriors, one squad of 12 warriors, 5 destroyers, and a monolith.

Turn 1
(Missed the picture)

Necrons: The destroyers shoot up the havocs, killing one. The monolith moves up.

Chaos: The berzerkers roll blood rage and charge forward; the rhino pulls ahead of them to provide cover, firing off its smoke launchers. The havocs drop two destroyers. Obliterators fire across the board and pick off a couple of warriors.

Turn 2

Necrons: One destroyer recovers and they fire on the havocs, killing another. The monolith moves forward and teleports a squad of 10 warriors through the portal, who open fire and destroy the rhino.

Chaos: The berzerkers charge around the rhino into the necron warriors, killing several. The obliterators pick on the far squad of warriors again. The terminators and havocs wipe out the destroyers.

Turn 3

Necrons: The monolith retreats and pulls the warriors in assault back through the portal again, picking up another WBB roll as they go. They take down the berzerkers in a hail of gauss fire. The foot lord uses veil of darkness to teleport himself and 12 warriors across the table into the chaos deployment zone. They fire but inflict no damage on the obliterators.

Chaos: The obliterators and terminators take down five warriors. The bloodletters deep strike in near the possessed before moving forward en masse towards the rear warriors squad with the demon prince.

Turn 4

Necrons: One warrior recovers from the VoD squad and they move forward, shooting at the obliterators to no avail. The monolith moves forward again, bringing the warriors with it.

Chaos: The obliterators and terminators drop more warriors from the VoD squad. The demon prince and possessed jump forward and wipe out the far squad of warriors.

Turn 5

Necrons: The destroyer lord boosts away from the demon prince. The VoD squad kills a terminator. The monolith and warrior squad move closer to the chaos deployment zone.

Chaos: More shooting from the terminators and obliterators break the squad of warriors and they flee, taking the necrons below phase out number and bringing the match to an end.

Win for chaos.

Vivax Paint Scheme

I really hate yellowjackets, but I think they look pretty cool. At the very least I want my tyranids to inspire fear in me, so I'm going to try and give them a yellow paint scheme with black markings like the bastards pictured above. I plan on shading the ridged areas with some kind of wash, maybe a darker yellow or light brown. I'm also going to use some kind of gloss at the end to shine them up a bit. Eugh, I get the skeevies just thinking about those little turds.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vivax Unpainted

Here we have my next project. I finally decided to strip all my old tyranids, add a few new broods, and voila another 2000 point army to paint. Thankfully, cheap sets of genestealers and fleshborer gaunts from the Battle for Macragge set can be found in abundance on Ebay. I also got some of the new style warrior devourer arms from a bits dealer to use on my old warrior bodies. They look much better than the old metal ones, with the added bonus of looking better fitted on the lower arm sockets, which allows me to move the rending claws to the top sockets to better match my genestealers. I'm also going to move the lictor's scything talons to the middle sockets.

Splinter Fleet Vivax

The planet Vivax was once home to a thriving Imperial civilization, renowned for its highly sophisticated fabricator facilities that produced components of Emperor Class battleships. For all of the technological expertise and political capital at their disposal, however, the wealthy rulers of the system did not foresee the destruction that would come about with the quiet founding of a religious sect on Vivax called the Faith Crimson.

Subsequent investigations have determined that the first recorded appearances of this denomination coincided with the arrival of a deep-space freighter bringing heavy ore from Ghent tithe planets beyond the eastern rim of the galaxy. The sect’s reinvigoration of the Imperial creed was extraordinarily popular, and as a result the Faith Crimson became tightly intertwined with Vivax culture. According to the new sect, every imperial citizen carried the blood of the Emperor in their veins, and loyal subjects were expected to regularly donate small amounts of it in symbolic return for his gifts to all of humanity. Iconography displayed by the planet’s defense forces now included small circles on either side of the imperial “I”, which the faithful believed represented the watchful eyes of the Emperor. Unfortunately, these subtle changes and apparently harmless fads had much more sinister implications. When isolated groups of more conservative citizenry refused to adopt this new “flavor” of worship, what might have otherwise remained a strictly theological disagreement flared suddenly into armed clashes. The planetary Governor declared Hullandose, one of the most conservative hive cities, a den of blood hoarders and heretics, and the city was subsequently occupied by his military. What truly came to pass in Hullandose is unknown, but after a matter of months all resistance to the Faith Crimson disappeared completely. Communication between Vivax and other planets in the system began to break down. Scheduled visits by representatives of the Administratum and Cult Mechanicus were either bribed off or rescheduled indefinitely. After a minor outbreak of a bacterial contagion in one of the smaller hive cities, all traffic from off-world was detoured to the planet’s main orbital station. Something strange was obviously happening on Vivax, but the other planetary governors were too distracted by their own political and economic challenges to effectively relay their concerns to higher authorities. They did not know that the citizenry of Vivax was entirely indoctrinated with a new faith, one that inspired them to construct elaborate temples with vast underground tunnel networks, and inured them to the increasing frequency of mutation in their newborns. And so it was too late when a splinter of Hive Fleet Kraken penetrated the defense cordon on the Eastern Fringe and made its way to Vivax. Greeting their long awaited masters with jubilant celebration, the “human” population went willingly aboard the enormous hive ships, along with the innumerable broods of genestealers they had been breeding below the planet’s surface. As most Imperial forces were committed to the fighting at Ichar IV, the other planets in the Ghent system could afford very little resistance.

Several of the worlds are now declared perdida, their mycetic infestation resistant to even the most devastating bombardment the Imperial navy can muster. Orbital scans show that Tyranid forms still survive deep underground on Vivax and several other nearby worlds in a state of suspended animation. The splinter fleet itself has since moved on to unknown locales.

Monday, April 23, 2007

GW Love/Hate Session #1

Despite the fact that 40k is probably my all-time favorite game, or perhaps because of it, there will always be things that piss me off about Games Workshop and the strange business and content decisions they make. I won't pretend to have any experience running a business myself - in the end all I have is observations made from the point of view of a fervent consumer of their product.

As a show of good faith, I'll begin with a positive. The plastic kits that have been coming out of GW for the past couple of years are a great innovation. A while back I read that they started some sophisticated computer modelling where all the sculpts are first done in virtual 3-D. Armies in the past were really quite disparate in the quality and variety of the models in their respective ranges, with bland plastic sets mixed in with the old squat (no pun intended), clubby pewter models. Nowadays everything's looking much more consistent in scale and level of detail. Another benefit of the multipart plastic sets has been increased ease of conversion. There's still plenty of opportunities for all the human sawmills and greenstuff buffs out there, but newcomers to the hobby can personalize their force with simple cuts and swaps.

Now, onto something bad. My first and oldest problem with GW might sound strange, but here it is anyway: screaming anglocentrism. Apparently, in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only white people. Three of the armies, including the far-and-away most popular one, are supposed to represent mankind in the 41st century. Space Marines are the supermen, created by the Emperor to be the best of the best through genetic engineering and extreme training and conditioning. Imperial Guard is made up of average joes, your basic human males (except, for some reason, grenade launcher specialists from Catachan). Battle Sisters are female humans, highly trained and maybe a little amazonian in appearance but normal for the most part. And they're all crackers, every last one of them. In all my years (since 2nd edition) perusing the above-mentioned miniature ranges in White Dwarfs and Citadel catalogs, I don't remember a single non-caucasian humanoid in either company's collection.

The only person of color I ever saw in the 40k universe was Inquisitor Mordecai Toth in the Dawn of War video game, and I think he turned out to be possessed by a demon. Next closest would have to be the only mildly Mongolian White Scars chapter of Space Marines. With their anime-style vehicles and mecha suits, the Tau could be weakly disguised Asians (unmasked they look just like the engrish-speaking Trade Federation from Star Wars Episode 1 - strange coincidence?), but even if it were true it wouldn't exactly be a respectful inclusion to have them just be aliens. As far as other kinds of diversity, GW killed off the popular Squats, leaving only Ratlings scurrying about (and they're called Ratlings, fer chrissakes!). I assume the orcs of 40k are simply a extension of the fantasy creatures, kin of goblin and troll, but that's probably some old racial stereotype monsterization anyway. I remember in particular GW's gleeful recreation of the Battle of Rorke's Drift (as seen in Zulu) in a White Dwarf battle report between Praetorian Imperial Guard and Orcs.

I'm just saying, is all.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Demon Prince

Here is my Daemon Prince. The most obvious thing about him is that he's basically the old Bloodthirster (Greater Daemon) model. Not so obvious is the fact that this is the second paint job he's seen in his time in my collection, which is substantial given that he was probably the seventh model I ever bought, just after the squad of old metal Khorne Berzerkers (who have themselves gone on to a more badass reincarnation as my Khorne Possessed). Also not obvious is the enormous number of skulls he's harvested over that period of time. I'd need a ton of those old fantasy skeleton sprues to model an accurate pile for him.

After C. adopted the chaos army and fell in love with Khorne's insanity, she fielded him as a Bloodthirster with generally weak results, IIRC. It didn't help that we were getting his instability rules wrong, but he rarely earned his points back. My main reason to switch him over to a DP was confirming that daemonic stature really did make his base toughness to 5 rather than just boost it. This left only Tau railguns and demolishers as a instant-kill threat and gave him the ability to start directly on the table, at a cheaper price to boot.

When I disassembled him and stripped off his old paint, I noticed his hooves were a little uneven on the bottom, as the foot without the post never met the base at a flat angle. This is what gave me the idea to have him pinning down a hapless victim. I just happened to have an extra plastic marine body lying around, and since my chaos terminators already featured Space Wolves helmets in their spiky bits (ostensibly from fighting them all the time), his prey's identity was a gimme. He gets his stability from pins that run from inside his hooves (one through the marine) down into the plastic base below the foam rubble (which is just tall enough to make him 15cm, as required to reflect daemonic stature). I also raised his head a bit and gave him a green stuff neck, so he'd be looking forward instead of straight down.

Here are his vitals:

Daemon Prince (187)

6 3 6 5 3 5 4/5 10 2+/5+

Mark of Khorne
Axe of Khorne
Close combat weapon
Frag grenades (I like to think the whip takes care of this)
Daemonic Aura
Daemonic Flight
Daemonic Stature
Daemonic Strength
Daemonic Visage
Daemon Armor
Feel no pain

Lately, especially since I've been playing guard, this guy is the fucking bane of my existence. Just last night he tore through three different infantry squads, a basilisk and a Leman Russ. Other than a few random anti-tank shots from her obliterators, C. took my whole 1500 army apart with the DP and 5 berzerkers. I hit him once with the demolisher but rolled a '1' to wound. Sigh.

Once he reaches my lines, no amount of shifting can keep the big dog at bay. Lascannons? He pees on your lascannons. So what if he fails his 5+ invulnerable (and he usually passes it)? He's still got a 50% chance to shrug it off, and it only inflicts one wound anyway! A buried commissar powerfist is a possibility, but normally his squad is nested in the center of my infantry and with daemonic flight the DP can bounce around wherever he wants. I guess I'll continue to experiment with squad placement, attempt to disallow those sweeping advances, and hope to catch him stranded with everything I got.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Battle Report: Imperial Guard vs. Necrons 4-20-07

Bullymike vs Mack - 2000 points - Rules of Engagement

We began in the "L"-type deployment zones, Mack drew unconventional warfare (control 2 randomly selected objectives) and I drew hold the line (control both of my objectives). One of Mack's needed objectives turned out to be my fuel tanks just south of the cathedral.

Turn 1

Necrons: The monolith and heavy destroyer take apart the anti-tank team, sending them fleeing off the board.

Guard: Sentinels destroy the monolith with their lascannons. It explodes and one warrior is knocked down. Everyone else fires at the tomb spyder but does no damage.

Turn 2

Necrons: Scarabs deep strike behind the chimeras and hellhound. The lord on foot VoDs with a squad of warriors in front of the Leman Russ and destroy it with massed gauss fire. Wraiths turbo around the monolith's crater to join the tomb spyder in the middle of the table.

Guard: The special weapon squad flames a couple of warriors from atop the Leman Russ wreckage. The destroyers are pinned by a basilisk barrage. The wraiths and the tomb spyder are destroyed by infantry squads. One command squad, its chimera, and the hellhound destroy the scarabs.

Turn 3

Necrons: The lord on foot and warriors assault and kill the special weapon squad, and move on to the nearby command squad.

Guard: Missile launchers, sentinels, ratlings, and heavy bolter teams wipe out the destroyers. One of the infantry squads moves out to intercept the foot lord and warriors.

Turn 4

Necrons: The lord and warriors kill the command squad and follow up into an infantry squad. The destroyer lord and more warriors move up.

Guard: Various warriors are picked off in shooting, and the infantry squad is broken in assault by the foot lord and warriors, but as they flee to their southern edge, they are caught by the necrons' consolidation move.

Turn 5

Necrons: The destroyer lord jumps forward and joins the combat with the infantry squad, and together with the other lord and warriors they wipe the guardsmen out.

Guard: Massed shooting from the chimeras and hellhound wipes out the foot lord and his squad of warriors.

Turn 6

Necrons: The foot lord rises up with one wound and moves forward with the destroyer lord. Their shooting breaks an infantry squad and they flee out of charge range.

Guard: The hellhound and chimera with command squad move to grab the fuel tanks objective, and the command HQ grabs the bunker doors objective.

Win for Imperial Guard!

Friday, April 20, 2007

2d6 Odds

As far as I can figure 'em, here's the odds for 2d6 leadership rolls:

Ld .. % success
2 ... 2.8
3 ... 8.3
4 ... 16.7
5 ... 27.8
6 ... 41.7
7 ... 58.3
8 ... 72.2
9 ... 83.3
10 ... 91.7
11 ... 97.2

10 is the highest base leadership value that I know of, and I don't think you can ever go above 10 with modifiers. Obviously there are plenty of negative modifiers. One interesting thing to note is that losing a point of leadership at either extreme (high or low Ld) does not produce as devastating an effect as losing a point when your Ld is around 7 or 8. Like Blaine says, you lose it there and you're in a world of hurt. From 8 to 6 is pretty much worst case scenario.

Obviously some armies never have to worry about this at all. Chaos has the most fearless units, excepting maybe Tyranids when placed within synapse distance. Necrons is probably the next best, with all units either fearless or at Ld 10. After that come Marines, whose 'know no fear' gives them most of the benefits of fearlessness without making them take saves for being outnumbered when they lose an assault. Eldar and Orks are middle ground, with Guard and Tau being the most vulnerable.

My original purpose for calculating these odds was to evaluate the benefit of the various ways to beef Ld for my Guard army. In the end I settled with the Iron Discipline doctrine for all my officers, and a Company Banner in the main HQ (see previous post). It takes care of the -1 for being below 50%, allows for a Ld reroll which virtually guarantees success, and to top it off my squads can regroup when below 50%. All this for 5 points per officer (15 total for my army) plus 11 for the standard bearer. Compare that to upgrading officers just for one flimsy extra point of Ld (because honestly the extra attack and wound are useless) and it's a no-brainer. Still, if you do go that route, it's cheaper to give a Junior Officer the Honorifica rather than upgrade him to a Heroic Senior. I love my Commissar model but after I made my Command HQ static with a heavy weapon, his benefit is just not worth the points (40+).

Not Completely Insensible

As Lieutenant Parris regained consciousness, his eyes blinking uncontrollably in the daylight that was so quickly replacing the blackness of his concussion, he became aware of a deep hum resonating through the earth underneath his arm. Eventually sounds of higher frequency reached his ears, and he realized his teeth were chattering, cracking out a surprisingly loud cadence that matched the throbbing tempo of the tone. Slowly the strange hum softened and seemed to move away. He clenched his jaw and concentrated on his immediate surroundings. He swept his head around in a half-circle, his vision lagging behind, and saw his men lying scattered around a blackened crater. His arms tensed and he perceived his weapon, intact and ready in his hands. How had he come to this battle? It was battle, to be sure, evidenced by the distant sounds of las weaponry and krak explosions echoing off of the wide wall of the alien building to his ten o’clock. Suddenly, his eyes caught a glimpse of movement, directly ahead of the crater. As five sleek metallic forms glided around the far side of the building, answers came flooding back into memory. The archaeoforest. The magnetic signal. Necrons. And most recently, the destruction of his transport by a bloody enormous floating pyramid.

He crossed the crater to the far side, dropped to the scorched earth, and peeked over the rubble. The flying Necrons were approaching slowly, sweeping their heads from side to side, looking for survivors among the scattered wreckage of the Chimera. As Parris watched, a missile streaked out from behind him and exploded into one of the enemy, sending its smoking hulk smashing into a nearby pile of rubble. He whirled to behold trooper Tyus, apparently the only other survivor of the wreck, throw down his empty rocket launcher and dive to pick up an abandoned lasgun. The resolve of his subordinate filled him with pride, and he turned once more to the enemy, aiming and firing his boltgun at the flying Necrons. Already the mechanized horrors had quickened their pace and his shots either went wide or harmlessly ricocheted off their carriages. As they leveled their weapons in his direction, mesmerizing beams of green neon lanced through the air around him, tearing holes in the fine smoke rising lightly from the ground. As their impacts finally caught his body, his vision fell and he saw trooper Tyus sprinting away from the crater, back to the main battle line. He was a brave young man, but not completely insensible.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

First Post

I plan to use this blog to get out all the 40k junk that bounces around in my head. Good luck! to, uh... myself. Great.

First my thoughts about possibly hosting a little tournament. I'll need to borrow or buy three more MDF boards for a second table, plus find something to set them on. I'm working to finish at least a couple of the cityfight pieces I've been putting off for so long, to supplement my already decent supply of ruins/craters/roads. Also I may try to get some hills flocked and maybe get some trees to represent forested areas for a green table. That shouldn't be too much. C will be running Chaos, a pretty intense 1500 point force that is maybe a little unbalanced on the elites side but not overall abusive... destroy the right units and it can fall hard. But she's gotten pretty wise about cover and timing with her deep-strikers and wiping out the small summoning units out is way easier said than done. Anyway, it's chaos, it's supposed to be elite. Last game they ate my guard's lunch. The demon prince (stature, flight, khorne, visage, axe of khorne, armor, aura) has more than enough power to go from one end of my army to another. Only once was I able to wipe it out before it reached my infantry... the trick, then, is to try and strand it, catch it out of assault in my shooting phase and let fly with everything I have. But meanwhile the folks bringing bloodletters have moved up... one good scatter and the demons are all over me too.

My guard 1500 is just my 2000 minus the demolisher, fire support, anti-tank, and special weapon squads. With a basilisk, hellhound, leman russ, and two chimeras, it still packs a tanky punch. Then on top, a shitload of infiltrating infantry with missile launchers and special weapons. The company banner has worked pretty well for leadership, plus I really like how the model came out. I had just one more plastic catachan left, from a flamer trooper that had come with the big special weapon deal I got on Ebay. He was primed black, but it was pretty thin coat so I ripped both of his arms off, replaced the head, and attached new arms. One is the outstretched pistol hand, which I changed to a lasgun, and in the other arm I drilled a hole and inserted a large paperclip for the banner pole. With some wire I made a cord for the flag. I printed out a little design I made on MS Paint first just to serve as a placeholder, but after painting it up a little bit, it looked perfect. Here he is, inspiring the Red Rifles onto glory.