- Imperial Forces: Astartes of the Crimson Fists led by Chapter Master Pedro Kantor. Loyal Death Korps of Krieg.
- Chaos Forces: Traitor marines from the Word Bearer Legion. Demons of Nurgle.
- Points value: total of 1200 points on each side
- Combat objectives Imperium and Chaos: Slay the Warlord. Take minor objectives. From round 4, secret objective revealed.
- No vehicles other than a dreadnought allowed.
- Motion sensors: A unit’s foremost model is represented by a Space-Hulk style “blip”, until spotted by the enemy, when you reveal the unit and place it on the board.
- Lesser objectives: If within an inch of a lesser objective (gear on round bases), it can be picked up by a unit that hasn’t been running, and isn't in close combat. One model may fight at normal strength for that round, the rest have WS 1 and can only shoot snap shotsfor the round the objective is secured. The objective is then removed for 1 VP.
- Power surges: at the start of each gaming round, roll a die. Night fighting in the board section rolled.
- Corrosive gas: at the start of each gaming round, roll a die. Every model in the rolled board section take a S2 hit in the units shooting phace, giving the models time to get out if they are close to another section.
- Secret objective revealed in turn 4: First in each players turn, roll a die for each sector in which you have a unit that is not in close combat. First unit that roll a 6, have found an entrance that goes even deeper. If this objective is controlled at end of the game, you gain 5 VP.
[Author: Mattias (imperial), Jon (chaos)]
The air conditioning in the battered rhino screeched as it worked overtime battling the desert heat coming in from the open door. Inside was a makeshift command center, spartan and cramped. Pedro Kantor, Chapter Master of the Crimson Fists, conferred with captain Lucenzo, drawing up details on the subterranean assault that hopefully would see the end of the chaos incursion and the dark prophet Zebaot. His smoothly shaven head and sharp visage a sharp contrast to the weary and grimy soldiers that milled about making field repairs to vehicles and equipment. Chief of which were the damaged dreadnought Hernando, whose ancient metal sarcophagus housed the undying body of a revered Chapter captain, who fell in combat ages ago.
Former Kommissar-General Ilse Herzog sat in the corner next to the air-con, nursing a drink whose ice had long melted. Her presence was hardly acknowledged in this company, a mere human amongst titans of legend, but still she resented that her knowledge on the foe wasn’t called for. She had been in a strained partnership with Zebaot, and even fought alongside his troops on one occasion. Later her second-in-command Hilda von Stroheim had given in, body and soul, bringing a full brigade of her Krieg guardsmen into the vilest daemon worship and worse. If she had only reached them in time …
She left the shade of the rhino, strolling towards the designated entry points - large manholes leading down to damp tunnels far beneath the bombed-out sector. Better waiting out with her men… at least she had been allowed to take charge of the Krieg soldiers going down, if not leading the operation.
A Krieg medic looked up as she approached. “Scans show high levels of air borne pollutants in the culverts, kommissar. I have done a thorough check on the rebreather equipment for both platoons.” She indicated a stack of crates near the entrance. “Everyone is ordered to change their old mask for a new one. You too, Kommissar.”
Ilse felt her gaze behind the medics mask, and that of the soldiers as they stood ranked up in the unforgiving heat. “They distrust me, after what I have done. And who can blame them.”
She sighed and tried on a mask of her own. It felt secure, as if wearing sunglasses in a crowd. Isolated, safe. Being a watcher, instead of being watched.
As Chapter Master Pedro Kantor and his sternguard strode out of the command center, squads of huge marines in power armour took their positions at the various entry points. She strapped on her sword and took her own place, next behind the captain of the first platoon. As the Kommissar, her responsibility would be to ensure loyalty and courage in the battle to come, even if it meant she had to execute every soldier falling back without being ordered, down to the commanding officer.
The Chapter Master’s voice boomed over the sweltering plaza. “Soldiers. Today we enter unknown territory. We are facing the vilest and most persistent foe mankind has ever faced. We will make combat in cramped, hazardous conditions – this mean we cannot use our most potent weaponry, and will be shut away from outside support. But you will not be alone – I will personally take forward command, and the Emperor’s light will shine upon us all, even as we venture into darkness.” He made the sign of the Aquila, and every soldier fell to their knees, doing the same.
Sector 6, underground Complex:
“Lord Pedro takes the main corridor, securing a larger room revealed by earlier surface scanning, Hernando takes the right corridor. Krieg takes the left entrance and secure the leftmost complex and tries to team up with the Chapter Master when done.” He gave signs to the different squads in the platoon to move and secure, working in tandem in order to minimize the threat of an ambush. Krieg engineers checked for cameras, alarms and traps with professional speed as they quickly moved forward, their shadows jumping from wall to wall as they advanced under the lights.
"Anaat, did you notice anything?"
They had been waiting in this dank tunnel for a while now. Tension had been rising as the hours crept by, and not improved when the... monster had joined them. It was huge, and sat in its own buzzing cloud of clinging darkness. The dim light of the tunnel did nothing ease their feeling that the creature did not have a stable shape. Limbs moved strangely in the darkness, and occasionally it muttered, slurped or tittered to itself. It was said it had been sent by allies of the Great Teacher, allies from beyond the world. But that did not makes its presence easier on their minds, being mere mortals as they were.
"I heard voices, and the sound of many footsteps. Not the foreign demons, I believe, but enemy soldiers."
Sergeant Talea nodded and turned to the rest of the squad.
"This is our moment, friends. We advance here, and try to keep them..."
The beast shuddered, then squealed loudly as it galloped away, towards where the enemy was supposed to be.
"Follow it, but let it lead! Flamer at the ready! Forward!"
Ilse, sector 6:
They heard the enemy. A chattering incomprehensible sound. Something rushed towards them, crashing into the roof, light fixtures and furniture. The flamer guardsman panicked and sprayed burning fuel down the corridor until the canister was empty. The chattering turned into a horrible shriek as the corridor was engulfed in flaming promethium and Ilse felt her stomach churn as her mind tried to comprehend the.. THING she saw rushing for them down the corridor. Slimy tentacles and mouths attached to a central, lumpy body, a chattering sound from various orifices, skin bubbling and fat melting from the heat of flamer fire. But still it came.
As the lights finally flickered on, the beast lay still on the floor. Its bloated body shivered in spasms as the flamer went over every twitching scrap of meat that filled the floor. All in the western corridor was silent, only one ‘blip’ remaining, advancing slowly towards their position. "We need to mop up here quickly, so we can cover the back of the Crimson Fists”, Ilse said. “I’m taking point position. For the Emperor!” She continued down the corridor, the captain falling in behind her lead.
A group of local militia finally stormed around the corner. They never stood a chance and was turned into a heap of burned remains, the air ionized with the concentrated release of energy. Ilse grabbed the vox microphone from the hands of the vox operator. “Kommissar Herzog here. Section secured. We proceed to rendevouz. Over and out”
In another part of the warren of tunnels underneath Amalthea sector, two giants stood like statues. Listening. Waiting. Behind them the tunnel sloped downwards, deeper into the earth.
The vox channels in their helms sparked to life.
"Sensor contact. Six, five. Hounds and maggots."
No acknowledgement was necessary. Everyone knew their role, and the enemy might pick up on their transmissions. They spoke to eachother, mind to mind.
'We go into battle, again.'
'And yet again, you will have to fight without me, my friend. But I have faith in you and our brothers and sisters. The signs are in our favor, our allies are waiting.'
'We will not fail you. I look forward to when we can break these dogs of the False God, once and for all.'
'Not yet. The signs are still changing, and the players are not in their right places. But their time will come.'
'Yes.' One of the statues shuddered and came alive, a glow flickering into life in the lenses of his mask. "I will go join our brothers."
"Go. With my blessing, and the blessings of all Gods."
Zebaot, the Great Teacher of Cerberus, watched his brother walk up the tunnel, towards where the fighting would soon commence. Then he turned and walked the other way, down into the underworld.
They ran into a corridor filled with bloated bodies, large, grotesque. Cyclopean eyes, jagged horns, ruptured skin dripping fluid. Eyes watched him impassively as the horde filled into the hallway, rusty blades dripping poison held in limp, clawed hands. In shock he fell back, protecting his retreat with a scatter of bolter fire. The Krieg guardsmen pinned the enemy down, as Pedro and his Sternguard prepared a counterattack. They fired indiscriminately, blindly, into the mass of bodies, but it held back, as if waiting. Slowly a shadow moved, the wall trembled, turned. The roof cracked as a huge head turned, watching the marines and tiny, mortal soldiers. A shadow, a mound of putrefaction. Abhorrent, abominable, a corrosive stain on reality. A hail of bullets made huge chunks of blubber and flesh slither off, without doing any lasting harm, as a clawed hand reached for the Chapter Master. Pedro heard himself roar into the vox as he emptied his last bolt gun clip and powered up his Power Glove: “All ready squads, secure retreat and convey to position B – this is it – this is the main defense”.
He knew it in his gut this was it, pray the Emperor that his forces would be enough.
Ilse jogged down endless corridors, her Krieg force almost unscathed despite the heavy melee earlier. Why had they spread out so thinly? The vox from Hernando had fallen silent, center positions reported desperate fighting. There she saw it, a large room bathing in laser fire and bolter explosions.
And demons – dozens of them, led by an abomination bearing down on the Chapter Master, who valiantly covered the retreat. A full five squads were emptying their guns into the wall of diseased flesh, but nothing could hold the huge abomination back. It’s enormous sword struck Pedro Kantor time after time as his men fell around him. “Save the Chapter Master, take it down!” the whole room lit up from burning daemon flesh as a last desperate assault was launched, but in vain.
When the dust finally thinned out, all that could be found was pools of corrosive fluids, and the fallen sternguard of the Crimson Fists. Of the Chapter Master nothing remained, but his adorned bolt gun. She checked the motion sensor. Even more enemies were closing in, but cautiously. The fighting had bought them a well needed respite.
“All squads – the Emperor knows that you are keen to avenge our fallen, but news of what has happened here must get back to the Crimson Fists. We will bring Lord Kantors bolter and the story of his heroic sacrifice back to his brothers. Back to the surface - tactical retreat!”
AftermathBrother Magos Marchosias leant against the wall of the tunnel, listening as the sounds of battle faded, as their enemy retreated away.
His vox sparked to life with the voice of Sister Marax. The enemy had been destroyed with minimal losses, apart from some of their demon allies. A dreadnought and a small squad of Crimson fists, their wargear would now be added to the armory of the host of the Flame of Truth. A welcome addition. Over the centuries things wore down.
'The Gods be blessed', he replied. His unit had not fared as well. Focused fire, augmented with some kind of armor piercing ammunition, had cut them down, rending most of them incapable of continuing the battle. He had to return and tend to them, now that the enemy had fled. Hopefully they could recover from their wounds.
The enemy command had in turn been crushed by their allies, the daemon prince itself challenging and destroying the Crimson Fist captain, who only managed to escape using some kind of emergency teleport. Sadly, it had been banished soon afterwards. It would need time, or great sacrifice, to re-body itself again.
But all in all, the losses was not too bad. The local soldiers had been lost in the engagement, but their souls were commended to the Gods already.
This battle had been won. The warp was singing their praise.
Marchosias straightened up, feeling the dull twinge of pain down his side from where a bolter round had penetrated his armor. It was an irritation, nothing more. "Flesh wavers, Will endures, Warp is eternal", he murmured under his breath, as he walked off to tend to the wounded.
On the surface, in the ruins of a bombed out hab block Chapter Master Pedro Kantor lay panting in a pool of his own blood. His hand refused to let go of the portable teleport homer that had saved his life. He had been forced to abandon his troops in the face of horrors that few could hope to survive - this because he knew something the others didn’t. As he fought this pestilence incarnate, it had invaded his thoughts, mocking him. It had shown what insane foulness they defended, deep within the complex. This was bigger than simply rooting out a cult leader. “Chapter Master Pedro Kantor requesting pickup. Pronto.”
He reloaded his bolter pistol, wiped the grime of his face with an armored gauntlet and started to walk back towards the front.
Additional images courtesy of the ECBE (Esteemed Conclave for Battle Evaluation), Astra Militarum. All viewing of these images is considered heresy: