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Battle Report – Archeotech Hunt

05/25/2015 Leave a comment

Today, Trenchmate Tim and I took full advantage of the bank holiday and played the new 40K mission, Archeotech Hunt, which can be found in White Dwarf 68.

It’s a simple Altar of War mission but with a different, and incredibly good fun, mysterious objective table.  One player takes the role of Explorator (me in this case) who has to deploy and move first and the deployment map is Vanguard Strike.  Three victory points are awarded for every objective under control at game end as well is the usual ones for Linebreaker, First Blood and Slay the Warlord.

Army Lists

We settled on a 2,500 point limit and pitted my Heralds of Desolation Chaos Marines and Kabal of The Sundered Heart Dark Eldar against Tim’s Reavers Redemptor and Dark Angels.

The Explorators

The Heralds of Desolation

HQ

  • Warlord. Marax The Desolater: Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, a Level Three Psyker with Power Armour, Wings, Close Combat Weapon and Spell Familiar.
  • Valaris: Level Three Sorcerer with Mark of Tzeentch, Power Armour, Aura of Dark Glory, Bolt Pistol, Force Sword and Spell Familiar.

Troops

  • The Disciples of Change: 15 man Cultist Squad with auto pistols, close combat weapons and a heavy flamer
  • Squad Crastor: 9 man Chaos Space Marine Squad Mark of Tzeentch, with Bolt Guns, Bolt Pistols, Close Combat Weapons, Melta Gun, Icon of Flame, Power Weapon (Castor), Combi-Melta (Castor) and Rhino with Havoc Launcher and Combi-Flamer

Elites

  • The Red Butchers: 10 man Khorne Berserker Squad with Bolt Pistols,  2 Plasma Pistols and Rhino with Dirge Caster
  • Novorus The Fallen: Helbrute with Reaper Autocannon, Combi-Bolter and Power Fist

Fast Attack

  • Riders of Excess: 5 man Chaos Bike Squad with Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, Bolt Pistols, Close Combat Weapons and Power Weapon (Champion Only)
  • Hope’s Lament: Heldrake with Baleflamer

Heavy Support

  • Bonebreaker: Predator with Autocannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsors and Combi-Bolter

 

The Kabal of The Sundered Heart

HQ

  • Kystis, The Architect of Flesh: Haemonculus with Gnarlskin, Close Combat Weapons and Stinger Pistol

Troops

  • Bringers of Ruin: Ten man Kabalite Warrior Squad with Dark Lance, Blaster, Blast Pistol (Sybarite Only), Agoniser (Sybarite Only) and Raider with Dark Lance, Night Shields, Splinter Racks and Enhanced Aethersails
  • The Red Veil: Ten man Wych Squad with Splinter Pistols, Close Combat Weapons, Plasma Grenades,  one set of Razor Flails, one set of Hydra Gauntlets, Agoniser (Hekatrix Only), Blast Pistol (Hekatrix Only) and Raider with Blaster, Night Shields, Splinter Racks and Enhanced Aethersails

Elites

  • The Shadowmen: Five man Mandrake Squad with Close Combat Weapons

Fast Attack

  • Winged Malice: 5 man Scourge Squad with Splinter Carbines, Heat Lance, Blaster, Plasma Grenades, Blast Pistol (Solarite Only) and Agoniser (Solarite Only)

 

Fortifications

  • Ageis Defence Line with Quad Gun

 

The Enemy

(Idiot that I am, I forgot to ask Tim for a copy of his roster but if he sends one over I’ll update the article.  Until then, this is the best I can remember.)

Reavers Redemptor

HQ

  • Warlord. Captain with Storm Shield, Power Weapon and probably a Bolt Pistol and Power Armour.  (The model’s a lovely kitbash and is slightly larger than normal, but I’m fairly certain he’s not wearing Tactical Dreadnought Armour)
  • Librarian, Level Two Psyker with Force Staff, Bolt Pistol and Power Armour

Troops

  • Ten man Tactical Squad with Missile Launcher, Grav Gun and Drop Pod with Missile Launcher
  • Ten man Tactical Squad with Missile Launcher, Special Weapon and Drop Pod with Storm Bolter
  • Five Man Scout Squad with Heavy Bolter
  • Five Man Scout Squad with Sniper Rifles and Missile Launcher

Elites

  • Five Man Sternguard Squad with Plasma Gun

Fast Attack

  • 3 Vehicle Land Raider Squadron with Stormtalon Escort

Heavy Support

  • Predator with Twin Linked Lascannon and Lascannon Sponsons
  • Vindicator
  • Land Raider Crusader

 

Dark Angels

HQ

  • Ezekiel, Level Three Librarian with Artificer Armour, Master-Crafted Bolt Pistol, Traitor’s Bane, Book of Salvation and Psychic Hood

Troops

  • Ten man Tactical Squad with Heavy Bolter and Special Weapon

Heavy Support

  • Five man Devastator Squad with Missile Launchers

 

Officio Assassinorum

  • Culexus Assassin with Animus Speculum, Etherium and Psyk-Out Grenades.

 

The Game

Turn One

Turn 1 - The forces of Chaos and their allies move out

Turn 1 – The forces of Chaos and their allies move out, being met by the armoured might of the Adeptus Astartes

The followers of the Corpse God were unable to seize the imitative so my forces moved first.  My Scourges jumped forward to claim their first objective which turned out to be a Shadowsource Drive, this allowed me to enforce the Night Fighting rule for as long as I controlled the objective, a fact that saved my hide on more than one occasion!

I had to reverse the Rhino carrying Squad Crastor as I’d put my Sorcerer in with them and Tim had infiltrated his Assassin close enough to potentially affect the warp charge generated from him.  In doing so, the Rhino with my Khorne loonies jumped forward, intent on taking out this synthskin-clad nightmare.

The Psychic Phase was a let down as I was unable to summon any daemons and nothing else was useful at that time.

Other than that, I really didn’t do much in the first turn.  I took a few pot shots with my heavy weapons which took out a couple of Scouts and a Tactical Marine who was standing in the wrong place, but my initial goals were achieved as my force was now in the right position to advance on the remaining five objectives.

Tim meanwhile dropped his first pod behind the Manufactorum (pictured), while his Land Raider advanced down the middle of the board and fried one of my Mandrakes who’d infiltrated close to his deployment zone.

All was going swimmingly until his Predator blew up my Berserker’s Rhino, forcing them into the guns of his just-dropped Tactical Squad who cut down two of them.

Turn 2

XXX

Hope’s Lament takes to the field and makes for the enemy

My Heldrake arrived and immediately zoomed forward, intent on securing the flank.  I also moved my two raiders along side it (but just out of One Eye Open range).  I also had a ‘fuck it’ moment and flew Marax The Desolater out from his cover and moved my Helbrute up to support him.  I also disembarked my Chaos Marines to take the nearby objective then moved the empty Rhino up to support the Berserkers.  I also moved my surviving Mandrakes through cover to engage with Ezekiel and his Tactical Squad retinue.

Psychically, things still weren’t going well.  Marax attempted to again summon some daemons but was not only Denied by Tim, he also suffered a Perils of The Warp wound but fortunately didn’t crash to the ground.  Unfazed, he then proceeded to burn some of Tim’s annoying little Scouts.

Moving on to the shooting phase, my  Combi-Flamer-equipped Rhino gave the Assassin a bit of a toast, knocking off one wound, while the Berserkers took another with a hail of bolts before charging into combat with it.  Despite the fact that they were attacking at WS1, the sheer numbers of them reduced the Imperial Agent to a nasty smear down the side of the Manufactorum.

Battle 05

Sometimes life’s just not fair! Please note that the Culexus Assassin has cunningly disguised itself as an Astra Militarum Commissar. Tim had forgotten his model so I lent him the most appropriate one I had.

On the other side of the battlefield I attempted the same thing with my Mandrakes.  They managed to take out one of Ezekiel’s bodyguard with a baleblast but lost a member to overwatch on their charge.  In the combat they managed to kill another Marine but honours were even and the combat would continue.

The Unforgiven stand strong against the horror of a Mandrake assault.

The Unforgiven stand strong against the horror of a Mandrake assault.

Tim wasted no time.  His Land Speeder Squadron and escort arrived and headed straight for the Raiders coming up the flank.  Their combined fire power took out the lead craft and the successive attack from the nearby Dark Angels reduced the number of now-grounded Wyches to four.

Intent on avenging the dead Assassin (I’m sure the invoice the Reavers Chapter Master will receive will be somewhat large), the nearby Tactical Squad pummelled the Berserkers, leaving only two standing.  Also helping out was his Predator which nonchalantly dispatched my remaining Rhino.

Most annoyingly though was his Devastator squad who managed to knock a wound off my Daemon Prince with a Flakk Missile, fortunately though he remained airborne.

Finally, the Land Raider rounded on the remaining Dark Eldar Raider.  Despite significantly superior fire power, it only managed to stun the crew and knock off a couple of hull points, looks like paper armour is useful after all!

Turn 3

The game really was on a knife edge by this point.  We’d both secured a couple of objectives and the rest were very for the taking.  I certainly find the third and fourth turns to be the most exciting, it’s at this point that mistakes will really hurt you and one dice roll may be all it takes to make or ruin your day.

I started well, my Slaaneshi bikers came on and turbo boosted down the middle, intent on causing some havoc.  Now that my Haemonculus had arrived at the Shadowsource Drive, I jumped my Scourges next to the side of the Land Raider, hoping that their Heat Lance and Blasters would do some damage.

My Daemon Prince grounded himself among the undoubtedly ecstatic cultists so that he could charge the marines on the Manufactorum the following turn.  Now that he was safe, I turned my Helbrute around and sent it after the Crusader.

My surviving Wyches moved towards the Tactical Squad that had cost them dear, blasting them with splinters but doing no damage, at this time anyway.

Meanwhile, my Heldrake roared overhead and rounded on the Devastator Squad who had the temerity to shoot at his master.

The Psychic Phase finally stated working for me and Marax summoned a squad of Pink Horrors which were placed next to the surviving Berserkers to help shore them up in their assault on the Marines contesting the Manufactorum.  They wasted no time in blasting them with some Flickering Fire which ate up a couple of the post-human dullards.

My shooting phase was, in a word, fun.  The Quad Gun the Cultists were amusing themselves with knocked the pesky Stormtalon from the sky while the ‘Drake’s Baleflamer cooked all four of the Devastators with missile launchers, setting the remaining squad member on fire.

The Scourges certainly did better than last time (they had a little deep strike mishap and got splattered all over the field) and, while they didn’t take out the Land Raider, they knocked off two hull points and left the crew stunned.

The assault phase was certainly bloody.  My Mandrakes failed to make any headway with Ezekiel and his two surviving marines, but likewise neither did they and the combat continued.

Nearby my Wyches charged the other half of the Dark Angel Tactical Squad.  Their overwatch fire took out all but the Hekatrix and I reasonably thought it was all over for that plucky lady.  Boy was I wrong.  With one flick of her Agoniser, she dispatched the remaining marines then consolidated to take their objective.

Tim started his movement phase by taking a bit of a gamble.  He attempted to bring down his remaining drop pod in my deployment zone, this would enable him to take the Shadowsource Drive with ease and allow him to play havoc in an almost completely undefended part of the board.  At least it would have had he not scattered off the board, forcing a roll on the Deep Strike Mishap table which resulted in me placing the pod behind his Predator, a position which would effectively rule that whole squad out for the game.  Harsh words were said.

Despite this hilarious setback, Tim is not a man to take things lying down; he debarked his Warlord, Librarian and Sternguard from the Land Raider and squared up to the combined threat of the Scourges, Raider full of Kabalite Warriors, and the approaching Chaos Bikers.

His shooting phase took care of all the Scourges and two of the five Bikers but still did nothing to the Kabalite Raider (miracles do happen) while around the Manufactorum, his depleted Tactical Squad managed to take a second wound off my Daemon Prince.

It was bound to happen, but my Mandrake’s luck ran out and the Chief Librarian of the Dark Angels swatted them back to the aether and the Tactical Squad at the Manufactorum saw off the last of the Berserkers.  Nevertheless all this may have been too late as Tim’s forces were scattered and significantly depleted, it was looking good for the forces of darkness.

Turn 4

At this point, it was really my game to lose so I was going to do my best and not give in to my usual tactical idiocy.  I moved my Helbrute across the field towards the displaced Tactical Squad, this may seem petty but they were still a threat and the only other option would be to exit the field and go into Ongoing Reserves.  At least this way I’d be placed to fly back towards my lines on turn five.

My surviving Raider moved up the field towards Ezekiel’s position and deployed the Kabalite Warriors within while my Daemon Prince jumped behind the Tactical Marines on the Manufactorum and the Pink Horrors moved to box them in from the other side.

Knowing the outcome was probably not looking good for my surviving bikers, I decided to sacrifice them and charged the Reavers’ Captain.  At the very least they might tar pit his squad for a turn or two.

I used up all my Warp Charges on psychic shooting attacks from my Daemon Prince and Horrors which further reduced the Marines in their path while upfield the Heldrake took out eight of the wandering Tactical Squad with its Baleflamer.

Finally I shot at Ezekiel’s unit to no avail before charging them with the Kabalite Warriors.

Unsurprisingly, my Marax and the Horrors destroyed the surviving Tactical Marines and claimed another objective.  I now held four.  Likewise it was no shock that Tim’s Captain took out the remaining bikes, however the Kabalite Warriors remained locked in combat with Ezekiel and co.

At this point Tim conceded but we played out a bit of the final turn to see if he could shoot down my Heldrake to deny me a VP for Linebreaker, which he managed.

The dust settles and the Imperium retreats to fight another day.

The dust settles and the Imperium retreats to fight another day.

 

Final Score

13 – Heralds of Desolation and Kabal of The Sundered Heart (4×3 for the objectives, 1 for First Blood)

 6 – Reavers Redemptor and Dark Angels

 

Conclusion

This was a very enjoyable game, not only because it is a very rare win for me, especially against Tim.  The mission was a fairly standard secure objective setup but what made it stand out was the special Mysterious Objective table which conveyed very potent benefits to those who controlled them.  My forces, and in particular my Dark Eldar, survived significant amounts of concentrated fire thank to my ability to keep Night Fighting in play and likewise Tim was only able to shoot down my Heldrake thanks to obtaining an Icarus Skyrule Engine.

It does go to show what a simple alteration to the standard rules can do for a game and while it likely too random for competitive play, it’s ideal for an afternoon session between friends.

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A Bit of A Spanking

02/08/2015 2 comments

Well, that could have gone better…

Today, Tim and I played a 2,500 point Maelstrom of War mission pitting his alliance of Reavers Redemptor and Dark Angels/Guardians of The Covenant against my Heralds of Desolation with some Dark Eldar who happened to be passing thorough.

My army, ready to deploy.  So full of hope.

My army, ready to deploy. So full of hope.

It started so well.  I took the first turn and quickly secured some VPs thorough first blood and taking objectives.

Turn one

Turn one

 

Wyches of the Cult of Red Grief clear some Dark Angels from an objective.  In their haste to make the first kill they don't notice the rest of the Unforgiven racing to avenge their fallen brethren...

Wyches of the Cult of Red Grief clear some Dark Angels from an objective. In their haste to make the first kill they don’t notice the rest of the Unforgiven racing to avenge their fallen brethren…

The tide of the battle truly turned when I got cocky with Marax, my Daemon Prince warlord.  In the first turn his psychic attacks caused significant damage and his stat line made me think he’d be able to weather a turn of fire, especially as he was flying.

Fucking Flakk Missiles.

Wounded, he crashed to the ground, and was then picked apart by the combined fire power of several squads.  He didn’t even get the chance to summon any Bloodletters!

With my main psyker gone, Tim took his Culexis Assassin and went after my Sorcerer.  Killing him and his bodyguard (with a little help from the Reaver’s Chapter Master and retinue), the creature was finally brought low by the massed fire of fifteen Cultists.

What didn’t help at all was Heldrake and Terminators getting lost en route to the battle, but the time the turned up it was all over.

My tardy Heldrake and Terminators finally make an appearance.

My tardy Heldrake and Terminators finally make an appearance.

Tim expertly dismantled the remaining elements of my force by the end of the fourth turn.

The final few Heralds make their last stand on top of a manufactorum.

The final few Heralds make their last stand on top of a manufactorum.

What did I learn?  Well once again my impetuousness significantly hurt me early on.  I need to have a better plan for when my reserves don’t turn up and I also need to work on better delivery mechanisms for my Berserkers (so, I basically need a Land Raider).  I also have to remember that just because my Daemon Prince is immortal, doesn’t mean he can’t be banished mid-battle!

Anyhoo, I had a great time against a fine opponent and an excellent chap. After he left I decided to build some more units which I hope to have ready for the next time we meet.  However, rather than getting some power armoured traitors built, I went for a far sexier option.

More Wyches and a new Archon

More Wyches and a new Archon

My plan is to pick up a third Raider next month.  Hopefully next time my Dark Eldar will be a true ally rather than a point sink.  We’ll see 🙂

Getting A Wiggle On

07/08/2013 1 comment

Eek! Today, during a lunchtime email exchange, I agreed to play a 1,500 40K game against my friend and Trenchmates contributor Tim in a couple of weeks’ time.

This means I’ll really have to get a move on a finish my current projects or else I’ll have to enlist the help of my Dark Eldar allies.

So, two weeks (almost, we’re playing on the 21st) to ensure that my Heralds of Desolation as sufficiently pretty to vanquish the Corpse God’s lackeys. I’m not worried, honest.

Trenchmates – The Space Marine Stormtalon by Tim Chant

04/22/2013 1 comment

Welcome to the first Trenchmates article of 2013 and where better to start than where we left off with my good friend and long-suffering opponent Tim Chant who today writes about the most recent addition to his Space Marine army, the awesome Stormtalon.

The Space Marine Stormtalon Kit

I am sure, like many true sons of the Emperor, I was pleased to see the Stormtalon kit appearing on the shelves. I couldn’t resist picking one up from Dark Sphere in London while I was down there for work, but resisted the temptation to break the box open on the train North and assembled over the next couple of evenings. Although I’ve been gaming for a while and have built endless numbers of miniatures, I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to painting. I’m starting to enjoy it, though, and wanted to share my thoughts on building and painting this kit.

Construction

The kit was a real joy to put together, pretty straightforward and with little need to refer to the instructions. It’s a solid miniature, maybe a bit smaller than I was expecting, with a couple of flexible parts (the engine nacelles and the assault cannon mounting). The only really fiddly bit was getting the Techmarine pilot’s arms in the right place. I’d say the only bit you have to be careful with is the dorsal aerial array – I broke one while I was still painting! I left the engine nacelles unglued before painting.

Painting

As with the construction, this was really easy and a joy to paint. I painted the Techmarine pilot and interior of the cockpit during assembly. The pilot is painted in the livery of the Reaver Redemptor 3rd Company, with a black helmet which will become the defining feature of this bike-heavy force (see my previous article about my own codex Chapter for more details of the colour scheme, although I’ve adjusted the helmet colour from bronze to black).

As I have a lot of miniatures requiring painting, and am not the most patient and skilled of painters, I like to try to find ways to speed up the painting process. I’d already experimented with the excellent Vallejo Army Painter sprays, which are coloured undercoats, and they really came into their own with this model. I taped over the clear plastic cockpit and used the Angel Green spray (which will be getting a lot of use when I paint my Dark Angels) on the tail sections and on the separate engine nacelles. I then taped the green sections over and sprayed the rest of the model with the Dragon Red. Both sprays gave a good even colour, and the tape (normal masking tape) gave sharp lines without any bleed between the colours.

The Dragon Red is about equivalent to the old Mechrite Red, which was the basecoat used for most of the Reavers. However, with the change of paints Mephiston Red is the closest shade but is a bit brighter than the Mechrite. The Vallejo Pure Red spray is the right shade, but I find doesn’t give the right coverage and is a bit too watery. I think in future I’ll spray with the Dragon Red and then give it a light covering of Pure Red. As it is, I filled in the gaps in the Dragon Red with Mephiston, then washed with Baal Red, and hand painted the missile pods with Caliban Green. The green areas were drybrushed with Lothern Green and washed black, and the red areas finished with a heavy drybrush of Tin Bitz (I’m really hoping there’s an equivalent paint in the new set) [Warplock Bronze is the closest in the GW range but it’s no Tin Bitz – John] as per the usual Reavers colour scheme. I used the Army Painter large drybrush, which has a broad, flat tip and gives a nice even tone.

I really struggled with the green shading of the colour scheme previously, as I didn’t want a plain dark green but wanted to distinguish from the Dark Angels, as I will be doing some Reavers entirely green. Before taking on the Stormtalon I finished a Rhino I’d been working on for a while, for which the green was a primary colour. I drybrushed with Lothern Green but found it much too light, particularly against the red trim, even after two green washes and a wash of Asurman Blue. At John’s suggestion I tried a black wash and am quite pleased with the distinct colour given – I just need to go back over a full battle company’s worth of Marines, a half dozen drop pods and five tanks to update the colours.

Detailing was pretty straightforward and done after the washes were complete. The missile tips are painted green in layers, to be nice and bright – this is the ‘warning’ colour my talented friend Elizabeth [she of Sexism in the Warhammer Worlds parts one and two] settled on when painting the majority of my Marine force. I removed the assault cannon mounting to paint it (it’s a flexible mount). On John’s advice, I drybrushed Boltgun Metal over corners to give it a weathering effect, and drybrushed black around the engine vents. A final step was to glue the nacelles in place, being careful not to glue the spar between them to allow them to be rotated.

I’m fairly pleased with the result. I did try to give it convincing re-entry burn marks on the tail and back of the wings, as I imagine it would enter the atmosphere belly first (just like ‘Serenity’!). These were achieved with a drybrush of dark brown, then a lighter brown, then black over the top. I’m not overly happy with how it turned out, I’ll need to work on that technique.

Gallery

Stormtalon WIP

Stormtalon 1

Stormtalon 2

Stormtalon 3

Stormtalon 4

Conclusion

I think if I do another Stormtalon (which is almost certain, I think I’d like three), I’ll paint the engines before assembling the nacelles, and paint the interface for the assault cannon mount and the side sponsons mounts before gluing. Aside from that, fairly happy with the approach and pleased with the result. It was surprisingly quick to paint as well – in total I think I spent about four hours on this (quick for me, anyway) [Quick for anyone, and far quicker than me! – John].

Many thanks to Tim for walking us thorough what is sure to be my Helldrake’s main course at some point in the future. In all serious, I think Tim’s effort is superb and I’d dearly love to find an excuse for my Heralds of Desolation to field one, maybe I’ll have to start that Imperial Fist army now…

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Trenchmates – Canticles of Redemption – A Background by Tim Chant

10/25/2012 10 comments

Today we hear from a good friend and regular opponent of mine. Tim’s been working on the background to his marine chapter for a very long time and as you will see, it most definitely shows! As well as detailing his chapter’s history Tim has also provided a gallery of his boys in action as well as a piece where he discusses his inspiration and aspirations for the future of his army.

The Reavers Redemptor

Founding

The Reavers Redemptor came about as a result of an series of administrative errors and misunderstandings in M40, when as part of a small Founding the newly created Emperor’s Reavers were given a homeworld in the far Galactic North, on the border between the Segmenta Obscurus and Ultima. None realised, when the Chapter Fortress was raised upon the world of Nagol’s End to watch East into the Ghoul Stars and defend the Forgeworlds and agrarian colonies of region, that they were trespassing in the protectorate of a much older Chapter – the Crusaders Redemptor.

The name of the official responsible is lost to history, but it is thought to be the same clerk who became known as the Great Disruptor, whose almost heretical incompetence only came to an end when he was demoted to a Filing Servitor.

Little is known of the history of the Crusaders. Their own legends maintain a provenance in the Second Founding, of Ultramarine genestock. A Chapter noted for little more than its perhaps overly strict adherence to the Codex Astartes, it had quietly and competently maintained its watch in the area from its homeworld of Knassos V, with such little incident that Terra had forgotten its very existence.

The Knassos and Nagol systems are scant lightyears apart, so it did not take long for the Crusaders Redemptor to discover the trespassers (as they saw them) in their sector. Not only that, but the Emperor’s Reavers had already begun requiring the fealty of local systems to augment their stocks of munitions, vehicles and ships.

Relations between the two Chapters were cool but cordial to begin with. Excursions of nameless horrors from the Ghoul Stars, an incursion of Dark Eldar pirates and a marauding World Eater war band kept the two busy for a few centuries. Indeed, Crusader and Reaver Companies occasionally fought side-by-side to great effect.

This changed in mid-M41 with the accession of Mordecai Klaass to the position of Chapter Master of the Emperor’s Reavers. Young (a mere century and a half), Klaass had been Captain of the 5th Company and an unlikely candidate for Chapter Master – he rose to the position by dint of being the first to the side of the previous Master as he died, his body racked by a Dark Eldar neurotoxin. His feat in rescuing his predecessors body, armour and weapons from the vile Xenos propelled him into the position.

Unfortunately, it rapidly became apparent that he was not ready to command an entire Chapter. Impatient and reckless, he had become frustrated by the Crusaders’ cautious, methodical approach to warfare. Maintaining personal command of his company despite his weightier responsibilities, he came into conflict with the Crusaders when working with Captain Nuremberg of their 2nd Company. Believing them to be missing an opportunity to crush the same Dark Eldar raiders who had killed his beloved mentor, he rushed the Raiders along with his acolyte Sergeant Tann Hauser and the bike squads for which 3rd Company was famous. He ran straight into and wrecked the careful ambush the Crusaders had set, using a unit of the 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry as bait. In the ensuing firefight, the Xenos slipped away, the Guard suffered horrendous casualties and, at the height of the fighting, the Crusaders and Reavers began exchanging fire.

Tensions over the resources in the area and the differing doctrines of the two Chapters came to a head after this unfortunate incident. A conclave between Chapter Masters on the Forgeworld of Kadesh ended in violence, from which Nuremberg barely escaped with his life thanks to Hauser’s intervention.

For the next two centuries, the two Chapters fought whenever they came into contact. At first it was minor skirmishes, almost honour bouts that did not interfere with their normal duties, but as the divisions deepened the violence became lethal until the Chapters were embroiled in full scale warfare that consumed their entire attention. The focus of the fighting was Kadesh, both chapters seeing the resources and manufactorums as being their right and the key to victory. It became so intense that much of the world was devastated in the full-scale battles between the full strength of the Chapters.

It was the resultant drop off in productivity from Kadesh that brought a resolution of sorts. Noticing the reduction in war materiel from the planet flowing to the arsenals of the Guard, the enigmatic and extremely reclusive Inquisitor Cliranda Montague journeyed to the sector with her entourage. Expecting Xenos interference, sedition or the influence of the Ruinous Powers, what she found disturbed her deeply – brother Marines who had been at war with each other so long they had forgotten their duty to the God Emperor. Indeed, the violence had been so extreme and the war so long that each Chapter could muster barely five hundred warriors apiece.

Montague knew this could be tolerated no longer. While her extensive entourage worked on assessing the extent of the war and infiltrating the alliances each Chapter had built up with planetary governors and even some Guard Regiments, Montague and her closest followers travelled to Maccrage to enlist the aid of Marneus Calgar and the Ultramarines.

The Lord of the Ultramarines took some persuading. Despite having access to some of the most extensive records in the Imperium, his sages could find little record of the Crusaders and certainly no record of them being Primogenitors of his own Chapter. The intensity of Montague’s representation, and the fact that she took the unprecedented step of meeting with him in person rather than through proxies, eventually piqued Calgar’s interest and he travelled with his 2nd Company to the Kadesh system.

Within days of his arrival in the sector, he had brought peace between the two Chapters. His towering rage, force of personality and the backing of some of the finest warriors in the Imperium soon brought the warring brothers to the table. Once again in conclave on the ravished planet of Kadesh, Chapter Masters Klaass and Hieronimo Trent of the Crusaders were offered a stark choice – put aside their differences, or face censure and destruction at the hands of the Ultramarines and other chapters. To ensure the situation never occurred again, Calgar and Montague made a simple decree – the two understrength Chapters were to become on. The Crusaders Redemptor and Emperor’s Reavers would become the Reavers Redemptor. Montague’s investigations had thrown up the surprising fact that the Crusaders’ genestock was actually that of the White Scars, as was that of the Reavers. The two Chapters were fully compatible.

Wearied by an internecine war he had never sought, Trent agreed to the proposals, although many in the Chapter reacted in anger, not least at the suggestion that their long-held belief in their provenance was indeed false. Only Trent’s wisdom and the loyalty he had earned brought the remnant of his Chapter into line.

Klaass reacted with anger and predictable violence. While Calgar was absent, he attempted to bring the war to a conclusion that suited him better by striking at both Trent and the assembled Reavers as they gathered for the final ceremonies of the peace treaty.

Only the intercession of Tann Hauser, now Captain of the Reavers’ 3rd Company, prevented this vile stroke from falling. Realising the folly of Klaass’ actions and that, rather than accepting the presented victory, Calgar would destroy the Reavers, Hauser informed Trent of the attack. Recognising in Hauser an honest Marine as wearied by the war as he was, Trent acknowledged the warning and personally intercepted Klaass and his Honour Guard. Deep in the Great Ash Basin of Kadesh, the two Chapter Masters met and fought for the last time. Despite the fact that by then both men were several centuries old, the struggle was epic, lasting almost seven days and changing the very terrain they fought on. On the third day, Calgar arrived and, recognising the necessity of his grudge being settled, chose to adjudicate rather than interfere.

At the start of the seventh day, Klaass finally made a rash error, letting his guard down briefly and allowing Trent to strike a might blow with his power sword, mortally wounding his opponent.

Trent decreed an end to the fighting and acknowledged the wisdom of Calgar’s plan. Himself wounded beyond recovery, his made each and every one of his four hundred and ninety one surviving Battle Brothers swear that no rancour would remain in their hearts towards their new Brothers. Calgar himself took the personal oaths of the surviving Reavers, beginning with Hauser. The war was over, and out of the crucible of fire and bloodshed the Reavers Redemptor were forged.

Homeworld

The new Chapter was allowed to retain the Fortress Monasteries on both Nagol’s End and Knassos V, but purely as recruiting centres.

Nagol’s End is a wild world of high mountains and broad, windswept planes. The semi-barbarous people exist amongst the ruins of the early colony, which collapsed into anarchy during Old Night. Even millennia later, the inhabitants are able to salvage workable technology from the fallen cities, as well as artefacts they trade with offworlders for what they require. The largest import to the planet are vehicles, bikes in particular, and munitions, for the people of Nagol’s End are either at war with each other or preparing for war. The world revolves around a few permanent Holdings, governed by those who are strong and ruthless enough to maintain their position, built to take advantage of the vast road network of the old colony. These long, broad avenues were laid with a material that remains a mystery to Techmarine and savant alike, and has not decayed despite not being maintained since before Old Night. A nomadic culture exists upon the network, one that survives on warfare and trade and favours those who are able to move and fight at speed. Those who form this culture are known as Blacktoppers, and are particularly favoured by the Astartes recruiters.

In contrast, Knassos V is a world that has maintained a more civilised aspect. Founded during the Great Crusade, it is a pre-eminent centre of art and learning whose burgeoning population relies on the surrounding worlds for food and industrial output. Governorship, though invested in the Reavers Redemptor, is maintained though consensus with the city-states that make up the society. The Marines drawn from its gleaming spires and sprawling suburbs tend to be Knassans who, at an early age, have demonstrated both intellectual excellence and rigour in the pursuit of the classic sports of wrestling, pugilism and athletics.

Calgar and Montague, however, declared that the new Chapter’s Homeworld would be Kadesh, and the semi-derelict Great Port in orbit over the planet was given to them as their new Fortress Monastery. As the war between the Marines had ravished Kadesh, so would the joining between them rebuild it. The Reavers have thrown themselves into their newfound duties, restoring the great hives of the night-bound world, rebuilding the transport network and re-engaging the ancient Manufactora. Like Nagol’s End, Kadesh was founded before the Age of Strife and managed to maintain order and a structured society in the intervening period. Like many Forgeworlds, Kadesh’s environment has long since been poisoned by the effluent of human industry, and the sky has been so burnt that no natural light penetrates the cloud cover. It is never anything more than twilight on Kadesh. Its people are stoic, accustomed to suffering even before the War Between the Chapters, and hardened by their environment. Despite the bitterness left behind by the conflict, the Reavers have begun recruiting on Kadesh. Some Kadeshians take pride in becoming Reavers Redemptor, going from a reborn world to a reborn Chapter, and are often greatly valued as potential Techmarines and tank crew.

Combat Doctrine

In combat, the Reavers Redemptor have combined the studious, Codex-based approach of the former Crusaders with the wild, fluid warfare of the Emperor’s Reavers to great effect. The Crusaders were the masters of careful ambush, surgical orbital strike and well thought-out defensive lines. The Emperor’s Reavers specialised in raiding deep behind enemy lines, often relying on Bikes, Razorbacks and Rhinos, and lightning strikes to decapitate enemy forces. With the added element of the Kadeshian’s native affinity for heavy armour, the Reavers Redemptor have formulated a devastating style of warfare involving targeted Drop Pod and teleport assaults to form redoubts that are then linked up by armoured columns spearheaded and covered by the waves of Blacktoppher bikers. Few can stand against such a devastating combination. In defence, the Reavers utilise heavy firepower in gunlines to break up enemy formations, which are then shattered by Bike countercharges and Drop Pod deployments in the enemy’s rear areas.

This doctrine is enunciated in The Canticles of Redemption. Begun by Chapter Master Trent and continued by his successor Elizias Cutter, formerly Captain of the Crusaders Redemptor’s 1st Company, it contains reflections on combat doctrines to be employed against a variety of foes. Most recently, and tragically, this has included contemplation on the suppression of rebellious Imperial Guard Regiments, as well as countering the raiding of the Xenos filth known as the ‘Dark’ Eldar.

Force Organisation

The Reavers Redemptor. Despite its odd lineage, maintains a reasonably close adherence to the Codex Astartes. Still commanded by Elizias Cutter, it maintains a standard ten-company structure. Few companies are drawn exclusively from a single word, a deliberate tactic to ensure full integration, although recruits from a particular world will tend to gravitate towards the company that best expresses their personal ethos.

The soul deviations from this rule, in terms of organisation, are the 2nd and 3rd Companies. 2nd Company (Captain Rikkard Nuremberg), although commanded by a Knossan, contains a great many Marines of Kadeshian origin and tends to employ a greater number of heavy vehicles than the other companies. At the other end of the scale, 3rd Company is still commanded by Captain Tann Hauser and contains a great many Blacktoppers. Of all of the battle companies, the 3rd is pre-eminent in its use of mounted assault. Despite their differing backgrounds and the fact they often fought against each other, Hauser and Nuremberg are now fast friends and often co-operate to great effect.

The Chapter’s heraldry does reflect its unusual heritage. The Crusaders wore a universally dark green armour and the Emperor’s Reavers’ a dark rust-red. The two colour schemes were combined, with a standard scheme of a red torso and upper legs and green lower legs and torso, company colour on the trim of the shoulder pads and squad designator on the knee pads. The Veterans were allowed the honour of deciding whether to maintain the heraldry of their original chapters, with veterancy denoted by a silver helmet or laurels. Captain Hauser maintained the right for his troops to wear the company colour, a deep burnished gold, in their helmets as well as shoulder pads, maintaining the tradition of the tribe of Blacktoppers he was recruited from.

The Reavers are also one of a handful of chapters to have the dubious honour of having a single squad of Ultramarine veterans attached to them on a rotating basis. Currently Sternguard Squad Apothes has been assigned to the Chapter.

Beliefs

The Reavers Redemptor have found a new devotion to the Imperial Creed, in particular those elements that focus on redemption through struggle and suffering. They have extended their enforcement of a particularly militant interpretation of the Creed to other elements of the Imperial apparatus in their ever-increasing sphere of operations. This has led them into conflict with at least two Imperial Guard Regiments they regard as being rebellious, if not heretical. They have skirmished with elements of the 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry to the Galactic West of their operational zone and fought two full-scale wars with the Genovasian 4th Equatorial, from the Dasop Sector not far from the Reavers’ sphere of influence. The first of these conflicts was precipitated by a Radical Inquisitor, something the Reavers find to be anathema. The second is on-going at the end of M41, triggered by Ecclesiarchal interference with a world recently brought into the Reavers’ domain. To the Reavers, this is tantamount to Heresy, leading some to question whether the entire organ of the Ecclesiarchy has become corrupted.

Inquisitor Montague, through her followers, has maintained close links with the Chapter, both to monitor them and to harness their newfound fervous when her investigations require the most extreme and direct sanction.

Significant/Defining Moment

The fight between Trent and Klaass is seen by many as the pivotal moment in the Chapter’s unhappy history. Indeed, many of the current Reavers lived through the war and the reconciliation. To remind the next generations of the dangers of quarrelling with their brothers, the gruelling Ritual of Dust that new initiates undergo in the arid Dust Plains of Kadesh is focused on the Valley of the Masters. Here the titanic battle actually carved a new topography into the surface of the planet which now stands as mute testament to their struggle.

This moment also gave birth to the Chapter’s darkest secret and greatest shame. Not all of the Battle Brothers of either founding chapter swore the oaths either to Trent or Calgar, and some who did recanted them. These apostates fled the fold of the new Chapter. Some renounced their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor entirely, becoming renegade and Traitor. Ironically, renegade Crusaders and Reavers have found themselves forced to form war bands together to survive. Others, either as individuals or squads, maintain that they are loyal to the Emperor but refuse to accept the authority of the new Chapter. Although most still fight on, as they can, against the enemies of the Imperium, their isolation has driven them all increasingly towards a precipice they cannot return from. Hauser and Nuremberg, between them, have sworn a solemn oath to bring the renegades to justice and attempt to redeem the recidivists.

Battle Cry

‘Imperator Redentor!’ – Emperor the redeemer. Few Chapters feel as much need to seek redemption for past misdeeds and errings.

Geneseed

White Scar stock. The Crusaders Redemptor, although an ancient chapter, are not of the Second Founding or indeed a Primogenitor of the Ultramarines. Their geneseed was drawn from a Primogenitor of the White Scars in the Third Founding. Through the beneficence of the God Emperor, the Emperors’ Reavers geneseed was drawn from the same Chapter, albeit eight thousand years later. There is some debate as to how the geneseed of a wild chapter like the White Scars could have given rise to the strictly doctrinal Crusaders Redemptor. Some even whisper that the original geneseed of the Crusaders had been interfered with in an attempt to abate the wild streak. A few daring or mad souls even suggest that the Crusaders were in fact drawn from Ultramarine stock, and that the Inquisitor Montague lied to all and committed the heresy of combining the geneseed of different lines. Some say it was for pragmatic reasons, others that her motivations were entirely more… radical.

There is little doubt that the combination of the genestocks has led to the Chapter returning to the character of its roots, albeit tempered by the clinical nature of the old Crusaders.

Gallery

Above and below: Captain Tann Hauser leads his bike command squad in pursuit of fleeing Genovasian Imperial Guardsmen during the Bugham’s World Incident.

Brother Reddick supports Terminator Squad Antigor in clearing mysterious ruins on Cribdis, on the outer edge of the Ghoul Stars Cluster.

Tactical Squad Kollan, 2nd Company, deploy from their drop pod into the ruins of the Ork-infested City of Emperor’s Grace during the Purging of Kallandros.

Reavers Redemptor – Writing the fluff and designing the livery

Believe it or not, the original plan for the Reavers Redemptor was to have them in a very light blue and plum red colour scheme (something which horrified my flatmate [Elizabeth Corbett of Sexism in The Warhammer Worlds fame, who does accept commissions if anyone’s interested], who was doomed to paint them). Luckily, I took a trip to the Highlands in autumn and was deeply struck by the combinations of red and green as the trees lost their leaves. A chat with a member of staff in my local GW store and further discussions with the aforementioned flatmate led to the colour scheme, which is built up by (in old money):

  • White undercoat
  • Base of Mechrite Red on torso, upper legs and arms; base of Orkhide Shade on shoulder pads, gloves and shins/boots
  • Washes of Baal Red and Thrakka Green
  • Dry brush of Tin Bitz over the red.

Because I like a bit of variety and Elizabeth didn’t want to get bored painting, there are variations on the theme. Vehicles alternate the blocks of colours, and elite units are either entirely red or entirely green. I haven’t got round to working out how to do the scheme with the new paints. Thankfully, the bulk of the army (entire 2nd Battle Company plus 1st and 3rd Company elements) have already been painted by Elizabeth. Including the mention of Ultramarines will allow me to field the squad of Tyranid Hunters my partner’s brother kindly gave to me, and I’m very tempted to throw in the occasional squad of other Codex Chapters (alongside the small Dark Angel and Space Wolf armies I’m putting together).

Next up I have a few Dreads, a couple of Land Raiders, more Bikes….

As to the background, I have such a large selection at my disposal I like to vary my force composition and tactics (to keep my opponents guessing). I also wanted to give the Chapter a bit of the feel of being right on the edge and being drawn back into the fold – and, let’s face it, I enjoy writing and wanted to come up with something quite interesting. The background I’ve created gives a story to the different styles of play I enjoy. The relationship between the Reavers and Inquisitor Montague, and the situation with the renegades, is also something I’m looking forward to developing through my own writing and the games of Dark Heresy I run.

Many thanks to Tim for this fantastic insight into one of the False Emperor’s armies of lapdogs. Sorry, I came over all Chaosy. However on that subject I’d like to add that Tim and I have tied the backstory of the Reavers to those of my Imperial Guard (The 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry), Dark Eldar (Kabal of The Sundered Heart) and Chaos Space Marine (The Heralds of Desolation) of which more will be detailed very soon.

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