Sunday 20 October 2013

Athena Jones and the Temple of Gloom....Rogue Trader

Greetings Readers;

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 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.

After having read my last battle report my girlfriend commented on how she would like to play a game on the traditional 80's scenery board that I had used as opposed to the modern GW industrial ruins that I usually field.

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.
The ruins in which the PDF troopers were last seen were in fact the ram-shackle remnants of a temple to the Dark Gods of Chaos that have been disused for some millenia.  This formed the key terrain within the battlefield.

I then proceeded to scatter hedges, woods and rocky outcrops around the battleground in order to provide models cover during the game.

The Inquisitorial forces (led by my girlfriend) were commanded by the female Inquisitor Athena.  This character started out with the stats of a basic Inquisitor from the RT Rulebook, however in true retro style we took the option to roll in order to improve her profile.  Initially my girlfriend rolled a D10 to see how many D6's that she could roll to generate additional profile points, she presently rolled a 0 meaning she was able to roll the maximum of seven D6's.  I dug out a handful of dice and handed them to her, she then proceeded to roll these and came up with a score of 21, meaning she had 21 additional points with which to improve her basic stats (this was some impressive rolling giving her only two fewer points than the maximum of 23). She distributed these evenly amongst the model's individual traits and  generated a greatly enhanced warrior who was faster, stronger and more agile than the best of the Space Marines.  Truly Inquisitor Athena would prove a worthy adversary.  In her quest to cleanse the Temple of Gloom she would be assisted by Captain Simba of the Crimson Fists Space Marine Chapter, ten of his battle brothers and five PDF troopers.

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.
To Arms.....

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.


  1. Hey, that's a nice battle and report, pretty enjoyable!
    Hmm, vehicles can be somekind messy, but you're going to enjoy them too!

  2. Cool stuff, sounds like a great game. Where did you find this angel you speak of? The lady who insists on retro 80s scenery and asks for more tanks? May I suggest you marry her ASAP.

  3. She is a goddess amongst us mere mortals and every day I thank my lucky stars I have found her. As for how we met; it's a long story and would fit into a Rogue Trader style narrative with ease! Also she reads my blog so feel free to say hello!

    Suber; I know what you mean about vehicles; I don't think RT handles them very well and it can be a bit over-complicated. I remember reading somewhere that Rick Priestly didn't actually intend to include vehicles but people wanted them so he wrote them in.
    I need the opinion of fellow retro gamers; what RT vehicle rules are the best; the ones from the original book; the update in the compendium or the final update in the 1991 Vehicle Manual (I have a mint copy with the plastic acetate targeting grid which to be honest looks a bit fiddly!!) I would greatly appreciate some guidance on this one as I don't want to use rules that slow things down to much and shatter the momentum and suspension of disbelief that I think is vital in a narrative game!

    1. The vehicle rules were a 'work in progress' until 2nd edition came out really. I would suggest using one vehicle each and memorising as much as you can about the relevant rules before the game. The acetate targeting system is clunky, but kind of fun. If you treat the rules as guidelines and get comfortable with some house rules that feel right then you'll get the best results.

      Hello to 'Athena' by the way!

  4. Cheers for the information; yeah I'm sure the target matrix could be fun; but I get the impression it may be open to all types of ambiguity!! I might start off with the humble Rhino and work up from there.

    Oh Paul I read your Space Pirate/Stealer cult battle report over on your blog mate; it was very entertaining. If anyone hasn't read it and fancies some more Rogue Trader 40k fun then I heartily recommend it at....

  5. Nice report! Great to see the old RT rules still in action. I do find that retro scenery (loving the clumps of lichen!) helps with the RT 'atmosphere' of the game. I personally like to use retro (or retro looking) models as well, but anything works as long as you enjoy the game!

  6. I love that green lichen stuff too; Its one of my favourite terrain accessories! Uber Retro.

    Yeah I like using my RT Salamanders/Guard usually, but sometimes its nice for a bit of variation!

  7. All very excellent! As regards vehicle rules, I would suggest using the rules from the compendium. The vehicle rules in the original rulebook seemed somewhat incomplete as I recall and the compendium rules gave vehicles the same sort of makeover that dreadnoughts and robots had. Just two things: 1) you may need to have a cold towel on stand-by to wrap around your head when dealing with rules concerning turning radius ratios; and 2) vehicles can be very powerful under the compendium rules. Be sure to post a report of how you get on!

  8. Cheers for the input mate. Yeah I was looking at the rules for vehicles and the turning rules do seem a bit complicated to be fair. I think I will definitely limit it to one vehicle per side when we give them a to!!

  9. Wow great battle report! I love me some retro gaming. I just stumbled across your blog and really like what ive read so far. I bought a buddy of mine a Rogue Trader rule book years ago for Xmas and now wish I would have gotten myself one as well. I never thought I would ever play 40k but have always loved GW board games.(Warhammer Quest is a favorite of me and my wife!) Now its 2014 and I have 4 modest armies. Ive only play ed Dark Angels so far though. Anyway love your blog and happy gaming!