Well it's Sunday night again and the weekend is nearly over, however fear not....I have a new battle report to cheer you up and keep those Monday morning blues at bay a little longer!
This battle report is another Rogue Trader game, a system which is rapidly taking it's rightful place as my favourite set of rules once again. This weekend my dedicated and wonderful girlfriend came down to visit me and agreed to partake in a battle in the war torn 41st Millennium with me....now that's love.
We've had a few sixth edition battles previously and she has proven herself to be quite the general (with a near perfect victory ratio) so I thought I would expose her to the more narrative driven WH40K 1987 style.
So in light of this narrative approach I decided that a story was in order to drive the game:
Recent incidents on the planet of Iridia IX have displayed a pattern of events that has drawn the attention of the Imperial Inquisition. Events had started off small, predominantly involving strange disappearances amongst the local populace; an agri-worker missing here, a PDF trooper presumed AWOL for over a month...unusual, but not normally enough for the Imperial authorities to take notice.
That was until a routine sweep by the PDF noted unusual activity near a set of pre-Imperial ruins located on the outskirts of one of the rural farming communities on the planet's southern most continent. As the planet was a backwater that had rarely experienced any form of prolonged conflict the patrol had no reason to be fearful and so moved in to conduct a more thorough investigation...within minutes all ten soldiers were dead before they had even had a chance to report back to their chain of command.
Despite their brutal demise a few short seconds of footage from the squad leader's helmet camera was subsequently recovered, it was blurry and distorted but a few images could be made out; an eight pointed star daubed on a wall in blood and the silhouette of a giant in iron grey plate armour.
Within an hour of the Planetary Governor viewing the footage the entire area had been declared quarantined and a request for aid had been forwarded to the Imperium via astropathic relay. A short while later the Governor's lead astropath emerged from her quarters, blood running from her eyes and nostrils, she staggered into the Imperial Commander's office holding a piece of yellowed parchment...she then collapsed on the floor and expired before any staff present could move to offer her assistance.
The Governor knelt over the astopath's withered body and pulled the parchment from her clasped hand, gasping in horror as he recognised the symbol rendered upon it in the dead psychic's blood; a letter 'I' bi-sected by three horizontal bars...The universal symbol of the Imperial Inquisition.
In light of this request I once again dug out the classic green battlemat; grey slate buildings and green hedges and constructed an appropriate battlefield.
I then proceeded to scatter hedges, woods and rocky outcrops around the battleground in order to provide models cover during the game.
Athena wore power armour and carried a power weapon and plasma pistol, Simba was wearing power armour whilst wielding a boltgun and heavy duty power axe. The marines each carried boltguns, bolt pistols and knives, though the squad sergeant's had exchanged their bolters for chainswords; one marine also carried a belt fed heavy bolter for a bit of extra firepower. The PDF soldiers wore carapace armour and wielded lasguns, laspistols and knives.
The enemy forces were Chaos Space Marines of the Iron Warriors Legion; stoic and brutal soldiers of the Dark Gods. These wicked traitors were commanded by a nameless champion wearing Mk III Iron Armour, and wielding a plasma pistol and chainsword. The majority of his men were equipped with bolters, bolt pistols and knives, but once again squad leaders had chosen to replace their bolters with chainswords the better to shred the flesh of the Imperial whelps. One traitor marine had cast aside his boltgun so as to carry a symbol of his foul patrons, whilst another had upgraded his primary weapon to a plasma gun.
Imperial: Inquisitor Athena's force's primary mission was for their commander to enter the temple's main altar (top left of the image below) and remain there unmolested for one entire turn in order to plant Melta Bombs with which to destroy this fane of darkness. Their secondary goal was to kill the Chaos Warrior who carried the icon of Tzeentch.
Traitor: The traitor marine's main goal was to kill the meddling inquisitor in order to prevent her interfering in their nefarious plans. In addition to this the Iron Warriors natural hatred of all scions of Rogal Dorn meant their secondary mission was to butcher every Crimson Fist on the field so that they could later defile their worthless geneseed.
The Iron Warriors secured themselves in the temple precinct with one squad in the damaged building at the front, another to the rear of the temple grounds and the final squad hunkered down on the left hand side. In addition their mighty champion took position by the main altar. (Note: The D10 in these pictures indicates the turn number).
The Imperial forces dispersed themselves evenly across their side of the battlefield, one squad behind the hedges on each flank and another holed up in the small ruins in the centre. Commander Simba joined the centre squad while the noble Inquisitor hid behind the meat shield of the left hand formation.
The Imperial forces moved first and decided that a rapid advance was required in order to successfully achieve their objectives. As such all squads sprinted forwards foregoing the opportunity to fire at the traitors. The left hand squad vaulted the hedge line whilst the PDF warriors on the right tried to move in a manner which would maximise the the advantage of all available cover. The marines in the centre moved through the building they were sheltering in.
The Iron Warriors at the rear of the ruins then ran forwards so as to get into weapons range next turn. Meanwhile the squad who were situated on the left flank edged forwards slowly in order that they could still use their weapons. They took aim with their bolters and let fly with a volley of bolt shells at the PDF troops that were creeping around the hedges, felling one of the mortal warriors.
The Chaos Marines to the front of the temple complex remained in situ as their current location provided them good arcs of fire conversely coupled with hard cover from which to deflect enemy shots. These warriors opened fire on the Imperial forces that were directly in front of them, felling two of Dorn's tawdry progeny and laughing harshly as blue power armour was shredded by explosive bolts.
In the next turn the left hand squad sergeant ordered the marine with the heavy weapon to detach himself from the squad (allowed in the old rules) and set himself up in a position where he could provide covering fire to the rest of the force's advance into enemy held territory. This he did, remaining in place and thanks to the old 'following fire' rule (as long as your shot hits and wounds then you can keep firing until you either miss or fail to wound) he cut down three of the closest Iron Warriors.
Horrified by the deaths of brothers who had fought the Long War alongside them for over a hundred centuries the Iron Warriors screamed in rage and opened fire once again on the sons of the Imperial Fists, killing a further two of them and leaving Inquisitor Athena worryingly exposed.
The heavy bolter marine remained in place to provide fire support whilst the other marine squad and Captain Simba moved forward. On the other side of the battlefield the PDF crept into the woods which slowed them down but provided great cover. Most mortals would be terrified at the prospect of engaging Chaos Space Marines in close combat, but thanks to the earlier intervention of the Dice Gods the plucky Inquisitor had no such reluctance and sprinted into a punch-up with the Iron Warriors, this combat ended up being a draw for this turn at least.
With the PDF tucked away in the forestry block the left hand Iron Warriors were unable to shoot them and so instead turned their evil attentions to Captain Simba's squad. Even at this long range the Chaos Gods guide their gunfire and the bullets slayed another two of the Emperor's finest soldiery. The rear most Iron Warriors squad sprinted forwards in order to bolster the exposed right flank.
The butchery intensified even further this turn as the PDF troops emerged from the wood line, broke out their laspistols and slaughtered four Chaos Marines; the lone survivor is understandably shaken by this massacre but managed to pass his leadership test and remain in place. Meanwhile Athena proves why the attention of the Inquisition is to be feared by felling the two Iron Warriors that she was locked in close combat with. Simultaneously Captain Simba's squad charged the nearby Iron Warriors; losing one Crimson Fist for a return of two Chaos Marines. Having lost the combat the Iron Warriors are pushed back two inches.
Worried by the arrival of the Imperial soldiers within their dark temple the Iron Warriors Commander charged into the Space Marine Captain and they proceeded to hack at each other with their vicious blades. The nearby Crimson Fists tore apart another of their foes in the assault phase of the turn.
The surviving Iron Warrior was keen to atone for the death of his brothers last turn and so levelled his plasma gun at the recently emerged PDF soldiers. A blinding light engulfed his field of vision for a nano-second and when it cleared all of the mortal troops were in pieces scattered around the wood line. Once again 'following fire' proved its lethality as four men died in one murderous volley..... I absolutely love the uber-potent weaponry that troops were allowed to wield in Rogue Trader...unbalanced, yes; over-powered, yes; fun....f**cking right!!
Back in the temple the Iron Warrior Champion scored a blow against the Space Marine Captain which meant that he won this round of close combat, and pushed his opponent back two inches. However things didn't go so well for his nearby traitor brother and another Iron Warrior died in a welter of tainted blood.
My girlfriend showed herself to be a master tactician at this point and kept her mission parameters in the front of her mind as her Inquisitor took advantage of the nearby confusion in order to sprint into the temple's main altar where she settled down to plant her explosives.
Subsequently the Crimson Fist with the heavy bolter and the Iron Warrior with the Plasma Gun engaged each other in a 'following fire' shoot out. The Emperor guided his loyal Astartes and the traitor marine came off worst as a high-velocity round breached his armour killing him outright. The icon wielding Chaos Marines was also killed this turn meaning that the Imperial Forces achieved their secondary mission. However the noble Space Marine Captain paid with his life as the Champion's chainsword chewed through his vital organs.
In the final turn of the game the Chaos Commander slayed the two nearby marines again using his plasma pistol's 'following fire' feature to great effect. However it was to no avail as the Inquisitor had already achieved her mission and planted her melta bombs in the ruined temple.
Primary Objective: Achieved
Secondary Objective: Achieved
Primary Objective: Failed
Secondary Objective Failed.
Well that was a thoroughly exciting game full of cinematic moments, like the lone survivor of a Chaos Marine squad butchering his brother's slayers with one deadly volley of plasma fire... or two mighty Astartes champions battling each other to the death in the ruins of an ancient temple...stirring stuff!
Once again my girlfriend has continued to prove her worth as a general by kicking my ass, but I had so much fun that I don't mind in slightest! We had a great time and both really enjoyed ourselves telling the story of the brave Inquisitor as she battled some of the darkest forces know to man.
She is keen to play RT again but has asked if we can use a tank or two next time...I'm sure that I can accommodate that wish but I'll have to familiarise myself with the Rogue Trader vehicle rules ASAP.