Archive for campaign


Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on August 14, 2015 by krautscientist


Hey everyone,

just a quick update for today, and a plea for your support: In time for the weekend, let us all give a fellow hobbyist a bit of a leg up! So what is this about?

If you have been reading the posts about my recent Knight-related work, you have probably picked up on the fact that I consider JeffTibbetts’ Imperial Knight conversion – dubbed “The Queen Bee” – one of the best, if not the best, Knight model around:

QueenBee WIP converted and painted by JeffTibbetts

QueenBee WIP converted and painted by JeffTibbetts

Although not quite finished yet, the model is a gorgeous piece of work, and one I have been borrowing a massive bunch of ideas from when painting my own converted Imperial Knight.

Now mobile game developer Pixel Toys has announced a game called “Freeblade”, that will allow you to play customisable Imperial Knights, and Jeff seems to be dead-set on making his Queen Bee appear in that game as an unlockable skin. So he has launched a bit of a campaign for that, and I would encourage you all to support him in his endeavour! Jeff’s a great guy and a superb hobbyist, and I owe him a great debt of honour for stealing so many ideas from him, so head over to his blog, read his post on the matter and support his little campaign, please! Thanks in advance!

So, anyway, that is all for today. I’ll be returning to my own WIP Knight now. Have a great weekend, everyone!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The campaign trail

Posted in Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by krautscientist

Right in time for the release of the Crusade of Fire book, I noticed quite a few people mouthing off on the forums how campaigns and narrative gaming were basically a waste of time. Now while I may not have years and years of gaming experience under my belt, I feel I would still like to present the other side to that argument.

Instead of talking about GW’s new campaign book, though, let’s rather take a general look at what narrative gaming can do for you:

One of the criticisms leveled at narrative gaming in general and campaigns in particular tends to be that both can end up feeling rather gimmicky: After all, all the special rules and setpieces can make for a rather unbalanced gaming experience, right? But does it really take all those special rules in the first place in order to have a narrative experience? Case in point: The small campaign I have been running for quite a while now with cousin Andy and a couple of his buddies:

Haestia Primaris’ Mardias subcontinent – the stage for our campaign

The campaign is set on the world of Haestia Primaris, in the Segmentum Pacificus. The planet has been isolated from much of the rest of the Imperium of Man by the warp storm Maluriel for some fifty years, and it has taken all the power of the authorities to keep the planetary population in line in the face of adversity. Now the storm is over, but what should be a joyous occasion for the people of Haestia Primaris takes a turn for the worse as several sinister forces arrive to lay claim to the undefended world.

This was all the background we needed for having all kinds of battles involving our different armies, although I decided to add some smaller narrative hooks, in case anyone wanted them: The Craftworld Eldar are trying to retrieve an ancient artifact of their race from Haestia Primaris (known to them as Y’lanth’Ine, a former jewel in the crown of their galaxy spanning empire). The Dark Eldar originally desired nothing more than to prey on the planetary population, but find themselves forced into an uneasy alliance with their Craftworld kin when the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt try to capture the artifact as a worthy prey and tribute to their god. And during all of this, dark things walk the jungles of Candolfus: Is a Daemon invasion inevitable?

We devised a fairly simple set of campaign rules, based on moves on a hex grid. Occupying certain grids bestows smaller buffs to the controlling army. Whenever two (or more) players try to occupy the same grid, there’s a battle. Pretty simple, really. We have also been using the experience system for campaigns from the 5th edition rulebook so far, to show how certain units tend to get stronger over time.

our campaign map halfway through turn three. The green arrows mark games that have yet to be played.

Indeed, the setup doesn’t seem all that sophisticated. But that actually works in our favour: Running a campaign with many players and maintaining a tightly paced narrative may be fantastic, but it is also an enormous challenge. As soon as more than two people are involved, things tend to get complicated rather quickly. And so many a campaign have been running for years and years, without any conclusion in sight. Frustrating, right?

Not necessarily: Our own campaign has been tottering on for more than a year now, with only half a dozen games played so far. But since we are taking a very laidback approach to the whole thing, it’s not that much of a problem. Indeed, we are trying to leave out all the stressful parts (micromanaging the participants’ schedules, writing angry e-mails back and forth,…) and just run the odd game every once in a while. Whenever we do play, however, the game can easily be slotted into the running campaign. After all, the campaign is there as a tool for making games more enjoyable, not as something that should stress us out more than a regular day job.

The games themselves can be as standard or elaborate as we want them to be. But due to the background, all kinds of narrative hooks start presenting themselves, even during the most pedestrian battles. For instance, when three of us were coincidentally vying for control of the same hex, we devised a battle where a coalition of Eldar and Dark Eldar would defend a priceless Eldar artifact against the World Eaters’ fourth assault company (the battle report can be found here).

The forces of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and a mixed Eldar force, duking it out at the Y’lanth’Ine basin

When that game ended in a draw (due to a pretty stupid tactical oversight on my part), the next game was all about the angry Chaos Lord Charun trying to get his revenge on the Xenos filth. When I lost that game, it made me think about how this outcome would affect the officer in charge, and once again, the narrative continued

All of this not only provided more context for our games, but also transformed some of my models from mere playing pieces into veritable characters: I don’t think I would never have come up with such elaborate backstories for Huntmasters Bardolf and Charun and for their simmering rivalry, if not for the campaign.

Huntmaster Bardolf. He and his fellow officer Charun have really come into their own as characters.

Consequently, I have started to conceive my models with at least one eye firmly on their background at all times, creating a collection of characters worthy of a millennia-old Traitor legion. And using them in consecutive games has made me think what their interactions with one another may look like when they are off the battlefield. And you really start growing fond of your little guys, too: For example, I’ll never forget how Skull Champion Bruul lobbed a grenade at an Eldar tank, blowing the damned thing sky high in the process — truly a moment worth remembering!

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg: Playing narratively will also give you all kinds of cool ideas along the way: At one point I decided to build a custom objective marker for each army I defeat during the campaign. While this makes for a fun hobby project, it’s also a great way of injecting more character into your army and of interacting with other players.

Custom objective markers: a fun way to honour (or ridicule) your opponent

Or you could start to convert your squads to reflect their triumphs, adding trophies or killmarks to the models. Or give some more character to your squad leaders and generals. Granted, you should probably do that anyway, but it feels more satisfying if those additions are actually the consequence of something that happened during a game (or a string of games, for that matter).

All of this is not exactly rocket science, of course: It is certainly possible to have far more involved, narrative campaigns than ours, or more spectacular setpieces for single games. But even a small, laidback campaign is far more rewarding than basically just rolling dice all day to see who ends up with more sixes.

All in all, narrative gaming gives your games a sense of context and consequence. It offers all kinds of cool hobby opportunities. And it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. So what are you waiting for?

Do you have any remarks on narrative gaming and campaigns you’d like to share? I’d be glad to hear them in the comments section!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Charun’s Folly – another battle report of sorts

Posted in 40k, Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by krautscientist

The sky was iron grey. The coming storm painted the lush green plains in an evil green, its hue almost neon. Memnar and Bruul were standing at the front of the World Eaters’ force, looking down into the valley basin that would form the stage for today’s battle.

“Almost like an arena, eh brother?” Bruul asked.

“Aye, and we know well how to fight in those.” Memnar looked at the sky: “This weather is ill news, though. It’ll be a downpour before long”

“Don’t tell me a Huntsman of the 4th is afraid of a few drops?”

“Visibility will be poor. The ground will turn into mud. But the water is the least of our concerns, to be sure.” Memnar pointed at the advancing enemy force, visible to the south: “Something is different.”

Bruul nodded. This was not what they had expected. The Xenos were advancing, seemingly to meet the World Eaters head on. This was uncommon. And their lines seemed different too. Instead of fast skimmers and the lithe forms of the Eldar warriors, they could make out huge, misshapen creatures, like nightmares become flesh.

Suddenly thunder growled in the distance and jagged lightning danced across the sky. The first drops of rain were quick to follow.

“It begins.”     

Suddenly, there was some unrest among the legionnaires at their back. Bruul and Memnar turned around to see Lord Charun marching through the ranks and appearing at the front line. There was murder in his eyes.

“Hunters of the 4th assault company”, he roared, “we march into battle today to reclaim our pride.”

“He must mean his own pride”, Bruul muttered under his breath. “I don’t recall losing mine.”

“It seems the enemy wants to meet us head on”, Charun continued. “By all means, let us grant their wish! No one can hope to defeat the World Eaters at close quarters!”

A cheer went up around them, but  Bruul and Memnar just looked at each other knowingly. It was happening again.

The rain had intensified, battering down in huge sheets of water now. Memnar cleared his throat and spoke up:

“My lord, these Xenos are devious. It seems strange that they would move to meet us in the open. Something is amiss here. Maybe we should…”

His voice faltered when Charun turned to face him. In three short steps, he had reached Memnar. Charun’s teeth were bared, and there was something horrifyingly feral in the Huntmaster’s eyes.

“Stand down, Hunter!”, he hissed, “Stand down or stand back! Either way, I will have my hunt. I will have my revenge. Be careful, lest you end up as the first kill this day.”

Memnar stared back for a moment, then bowed his head. “I did not mean to presume, my lord. Lead the way.”

Charun’s eyes were slits now. “I shall, hunter. Khorne knows I shall.” He marched past Memnar to the front of the lines.

Charun drew his nightmare weapon. Its azure glow bathing him in a ghostly glare. The rain was falling heavily now, but it instantly evaporated where it hit the daemonsword’s blade.

“Looks like there are two daemons on the battlefield this day.” Bruul muttered.

“Aye, and it’s the unbound one that scares me.” Memnar gazed at Charun for a moment longer. Then he put on his helmet. “Take care brother, lest you become the prey.”

“And you.” Bruul answered. Their respective squads fell into formation behind them.

“Harriers, with me!”, Charun roared, “Hunters, show the enemy no mercy. Give no quarter. TEAR. THEM. APART!”


If only it had been that easy… But I am getting ahead of myself! So first things first: Let me start with a warning, perhaps: This post will be rather wordy, so if you like your blogging brief and succinct, you might be better served elsewhere.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the next game in our ongoing campaign for the fate of the Haestia system. This time, it was cousin Andy’s Dark Eldar against my World Eaters again. We played at 1.000 points per side and, very true to the piece of background above, decided on annihilation as the mission type.

1000 points were admittedly a bit of a tight fit for me, but I managed to take along two squads of eight Berzerkers in Rhinos, one fully kitted out squad of eight Raptors, one Chaos Dreadnought for heavy fire support and, of course, Lord Charun who would join the Raptors.

Cousin Andy’s army was a combination of fast and deadly (the usual fast skimmers with a dash of firepower) and slow and deadly (two Chronoi and a squad of Grotestques, the latter one accompanied by Urien Rakarth). His troop choices were a rather small unit of Kabalite warriors and a bigger unit of Wracks. Also, we once again had the opportunity of using the FLGS’s amazing terrain:

The table at the beginning of the game. It all went downhill from here…

After deploying our troops, we rolled for first turn and cousin Andy came out on top. Things didn’t get too ugly for me (yet), though: His attempts to destroy my Rhinos failed, and he spent most time maneuvring his models through the narrow space between two ruins.
When my turn came up, I was still a little unsure about how to proceed: My Rhinos moved towards the enemy at full speed, of course, but my Raptors were in a bit of a fix: Everything they could have hurt was hidden away in transports, while everything that wasn’t in transport looked like bad news. In true World Eaters fashion, I didn’t think things through and advanced on the Grotesques, hoping to rough them up a bit during the shooting phase. On the right flank, my Dread missed to hurt anything with his Autocannon, but at least he didn’t flip out and shoot at my own people.

I should have known in advance that these guys were trouble. Just look at them!

When cousin Andy’s turn came up, things started to get rather unpleasant for me: Following the law of nature that the most recently painted model will always be taken out of the game first, Khoron the Undying was instantly destroyed when cousin Andy’s Ravager took a pot shot at him. “The Undying” indeed…

One of my Rhinos was immobilised, leaving the Berzerkers riding in it stranded pretty far away from where they actually needed to be. On the right flank, my other squad of Berzerkers was approached by the skimmer carrying the Wracks: this looked like a nice occasion for combat, so I decided to disembark the squad and prepare for battle.

My Raptors and Andy’s Grotesques soon found themselves locked in combat. At last, the workface of battle! But even though my brave World Eaters dished out quite a lot of damage, the Grotesques just rolled with the punches: not really a surprise at three wounds per model. Cousin Andy also had all kinds of evil gadgets in place to neutralise my attacks. At least the Grotesques didn’t do that much damage, but the overall result was still a little underwhelming, to say the least.

Charun and his Harriers rushing into the thick of it…

Things did pick up a bit in my next turn, when the Berzerkers on the left flank managed to immobilise and stun Andy’s venom. And while the combat between Charun’s Raptors and the Grotesques continued to be a rather grueling affair, the World Eaters actually managed to cause enough damage for the monsters to run away. Keep in mind, though, that none of them had yet been killed by my valiant legionnaires…

On the right flank, things also didn’t look all that promising, because the Wracks turned out to be quite a damage sponge as well.

…and coming face to face with cousin Andy’s Grotesques

When it was cousin Andy’s turn again, things really began to go south for me: On the left flank, a Chronos attacked my Berzerker squad, showering them with all kinds of corrosive liquids. Let me tell you this: Template weapons can be very bad news…

In the center, the Grotesques had managed to pull themselves together once more, so the battle continued. And my once proud Raptor squad started to melt away like a snowball on a particularly warm day in hell. Things didn’t look any better on my right, with the Wracks slowly chewing through my second Berzerker squad.

All of this wasn’t helped by the fact that I played with the strategic farsight of a chimpanzee on fire, making all kinds of tactical blunders and stupid decisions. This game was coming to an end, and it was not going to be a happy one…

A couple of minutes after this picture was taken, I started removing my models from the table by the boatload.

The top of turn three saw my army completely annihilated — not a single model was left. One of my Rhinos and a lone Skull Champion had been the last to go, vapourised by shots from Andy’s Ravager and a bazillion of shots from the Kabalite Warriors, respectively.

The day was lost. And probably in the worst possible way. To add insult to injury, let me just show you the models I actually did manage to take out. Take a look:

I managed to take out TWO models all in all. I had also done all kinds of damage to cousin Andy’s vehicles and dealt a ton of damage to his grotesques, but in the end, those two up there were actually all I actually managed to kill. Quite an achievement for an army that’s supposedly great in close quarters combat…

I have to give it to cousin Andy though: He managed to be quite a gentleman about it. Mabe he was a little too gleeful for my taste when rolling about 25 dice to shoot at my last man standing, but I won’t hold it against him.

The day’s work done, cousin Andy’s abomination takes a moment to catch some rays.

Without a doubt, I had been pounded into the ground. The World Eaters had lost a hex on the campaign map. Unfortunately, this also meant that I would have 50 points less to buy equipment during the next phase of our campaign. But for the time being, this was far outweighed by the feeling of utter defeat…

Dark Eldar troops securing ruins in the Y’lanth’Ine basin after driving back the 4th assault company

Well, that was a bit of a disaster, wasn’t it? Looks like Charun has a lot to answer for. Speaking of which…


The spaceport’s tactical control center had been converted to serve as the 4th assault company’s command post for the Haestia campaign. A projection of the Mardias subcontinent was hanging in the middle of the room, casting a sickly green light on the attendees. The Huntmasters and their commanding officers were standing around in loose groups, conversing in hushed voices as they waited for Lord Lorimar.

Bardolf looked around. The amount of officers was astonishing. It seemed that much of the company had been assembled by now. The campaign was proving to be a challenge, but the World Eaters would rise to it.

“It has been some time, Bardolf.”

The voice was impossibly deep and metallic. Like it came from an iron grave. In a way, it did. Bardolf turned around to face Khoron the Undying. The Dreadnought’s huge frame was imposing, even for a warrior of the fourth. Bardolf had to look up to direct his gaze at the face Khoron had been wearing for the last millennia: a brass mask, wrought in the shape of a skull. Bardolf bowed his head respectfully.

“Well met, older brother. Indeed, it has been too long.” He looked up again. “I did not realise that you had made planetfall already.”

Khoron laughed. The sound recalled sheets of metal grinding against each other. A strange sound for a Dreadnought. Khoron took a step forward and Bardolf could see fresh damage on his armoured form. “Oh, I have been here for a while. As a matter of fact, I was quite honoured to accompany our brother Charun on his latest …sortie.”

“And quite a sortie it was”, came a new voice. Bardolf turned around to face the new arrival. It belonged to Hokar, Lorimar’s Master of the Guard. His Terminator armour was exquisitely crafted,  forming a cowl in the shape of a snarling skull that cast a shadow over his pale features. His expression was utterly inscrutable. Nothing new there.

“I salute you, hunter”, Bardolf addressed him, “I thought you were campaigning in the Diammar sector.”

Hokar’s eyes were like shards of volcanic glass. “Indeed I was. But your inability to keep our brother Charun in check managed to end my hunt somewhat…prematurely. Or did you think our Lord Lorimar brought the majority of the company here for a spot of hiking?”

Bardolf let the slight pass without comment. “What of the first hunter?”

Hokar let out a sigh: “Skarn is hunting to the south. He has set his sights on the secondary Hive.”

Bardolf shook his head: “There is nothing there. The Hive has become a necropolis.”

“Then he shall find enough skulls at least.”, came a booming voice. Deracin joined them, the bionic implants that covered his scarred head glinting in the green half-light.

Bardolf looked at the Keeper of the Forge: “I am glad to see you are well, brother.”

Deracin guffawed: “I was a lot better when you didn’t get my Daemon Engines all shot up, Bardolf. See if I grant you any heavy fire support again.” But there was a glint of humour in his eyes.

Bardolf indulged him: “Grant it to Skarn, then. Maybe he has need of firepower, conquering that boneyard.”

“First hunter Skarn is scouting out the enemies’ defense at my behest.” The voice was not loud, but commanded instant attention.
Nobody knelt when Lorimar entered. To kneel was to be a slave, and no member of the World Eaters legion would ever be a slave again. At least, not to any mortal. But the Huntmasters bowed their heads in unison as their lord marched to the center of the cavernous chamber. His personal guard spread out around him in a wide circle, their only sound the soft scraping of their heavy armour.

“I salute you, hunters.”

Hokar addressed him: “We welcome you, Master of the Hunt. The council is assembled.”

Lorimar looked at each of them in turn. “I have called you here to discuss our strategy. This hunt has proven to be more challenging than we expected.”

“Aye, the hunters in charge do seem rather …challenged to me”, Deracin smirked. Bardolf noticed Charun in the distance, his face twisting into a sneer. He shot a sideways glance at Deracin and stepped forward.

“The Eldar have been a resourceful opponent thus far. We have begun to suspect that they are guarding something very important to their race. Some kind of artifact. This is the fulcrum on which their morale is turning. Take the artifact, and you break their resistance.” He glanced at Charun: “Unfortunately, a number of dubious tactical decisions have seen us defeated time and again, and the artifact has eluded us. We were rash where we should have been more cautious.”

Charun stepped forward as well, staring at Bardolf: “Your overcautious ways ill befit an officer of the XIIth Astartes legion, brother”

“As does your stupidity”, Bardolf replied.

“Since when is it stupid to do battle? It is what we live for!”

Bardolf felt his anger rising. “It is always foolish to pick battles you cannot hope to win. If you continue, your rope will have more black twists than red ‘ere long. Can you not feel it, Charun? The dirt of Mardias in your wounds, chafing against the inside of your armour?”

“The loss of the artifact was not my fault. The Eldar used vile sorcery.”

“Indeed”, Deracin growled, “whoever could have suspected that the Eldar would stoop so low as to use witchraft?” That earned him a number of low chuckles. Before Charun could turn to face him, Huntmaster Bafram spoke up:

“It seems that we should be sorry for actually doing battle instead of only sitting within our walls now. If so, I may have to go around making excuses to my prey before long, eh Bardolf?” There was a murmur of consenting voices, and Bardolf felt himself growing tense. Charun may have been a madman, but he was not without support within the company. Bardolf spoke again:

“We are hunters, not beasts. What we hunt, we take down. That is our way. It has always been our way. What of a hunter who forgets that, I ask? Can he be called a hunter at all? Or has he become something different?”

There was something dangerous in Charun’s voice when he answered, something barely restrained: “You want to lecture me on hunting, Bardolf? Don’t make a fool of yourself! I have been hunting, while you were safe behind the walls of Antilia.

“All that you have been hunting are ghosts! Instead, you should have exercised some caution”

“Your caution could be considered cowardice.”

“And your recklessness could be considered insanity”. Bardolf left the word hanging in the air, the accusation plain to understand. Indeed, the mood in the room had changed. The assembled Huntmasters understood what was at stake here.

As did Charun: His face was a mask of hatred, he almost spat his next words into Bardolf’s face. “Would you like to continue this argument under more …fitting circumstances, my brother? Should we perhaps conduct this discussion on the Hot Dust, do you think? Let us see who is right then!”

“Enough!” The word was no more than a low growl, but it was enough to stop everyone in their tracks. Lorimar gazed at each of them in turn, his expression unreadable.

“I have need of a war council, yet all I hear is an assembly of old crones endlessly bickering. I am growing tired of this.” He turned to Charun:

“You will deploy to the southern plains with your retinue to form a reinforcement for Skarn’s hunting party. The Harriers still at the Y’lanth’Ine basin will remain where they are. Syrax, I trust you will command them wisely until such time as Huntmaster Charun rejoins you.”

Charun’s second in command seemed to have discovered something entirely mesmerizing on the floor in front of him. “Yes, m’lord”, he muttered in a low voice.

“My lord,” Charun seemed incredulous. “I beg you reconsider. There is little strategic value to the southern plains. I could serve the company better if I…”

Lorimar’s voice was icy: “The decision in what capacity you might benefit the company most is mine. Not yours. You may take your leave.”, he adressed the room in general: ““This meeting is adjourned. We shall speak more soon. May your prey be a worthy one. Bardolf and Khoron, you are staying with me. I would speak with you some more.”

The Huntmasters and their lieutenants left. Charun continued glowering for a moment, then he abruptly turned around and marched from the room as well. Bardolf could see that he was seething with ill-contained rage. He turned to Lord Lorimar:

“Charun is no longer sane. He cannot be trusted!”

“Charun is our brother. He has earned our trust. And our respect” Lorimar’s eyes were like cold fire.
Bardolf could not hold his gaze. Then Lorimar turned to Khoron: “What say you, old friend? I would hear your counsel.”

“This fighting amongst ourselves is unwise”, the Dreadnought growled. “A house divided cannot stand. Still, Bardolf has a point.”

Lorimar sighed: “The Butcher’s Nails have transformed Charun. They have transformed us all. Made us more than men. And less.” He was staring into space, at something only he could see.

“My lord, I am only concerned for the company’s survival.”

Lorimar turned to face Bardolf. “As am I. Charun is my concern. The plains of Mardias are yours.” Bardolf inclined his head. The discussion was over. “What of the other factions?”, Lorimar asked.

“It seems the Necrontyr have been sleeping for so long that they might have forgotten how to wake up altogether. We have only had superficial contact and some isolated sightings. For some reason, they are holding back.”

“And the Daemonkin at Candolfus?”

Khoron answered in his abyssal growl: “We cannot know who is in ascendance, so we had best be careful. The whole affair has the stench of Tzeentch upon it.”

“Aye.” Lorimar seemed lost in thought for a few moments, then he gazed at Bardolf:

“Gather a hunting party. I would look upon this prey with my own eyes. We march at first light.”


As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Haestia must burn! A battle report of sorts…

Posted in 40k, Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , on March 9, 2012 by krautscientist

WARNING: This is going to be a HUGE post, so continue at your own risk 😉

I recently played a game of 40k against cousin Andy and one of his buddies at the FLGS as a part of our ongoing campaign. During the campaign, Dark Eldar, Eldar, Necrons, Chaos Daemons and the World Eaters’ 4th assault company are fighting over the planet Haestia Primaris. One subplot has the Eldar trying to salvage an ancient weapon of mass destruction, known as the Hammer of Vaul, from the ruins beneath the planet (which they once knew as the virgin world Y’lanth’Ine).

Our game had Eldar and Dark Eldar team up against my World Eaters in a desperate bid to slow down their advance towards the Hammer of Vaul, considered a worthy trophy by the warriors of the 4th.

The battle had ended up with three players in the first place because all three of us tried to take possession of the same hex during our map-based campaign. So, considering the background outlined above, we thought it would be pretty cool to have the Eldar forces ally against Chaos. We played with 1500 points on both sides (1500 points for World Eaters and 750 for Eldar and Dark Eldar respectively). When I prepared my list, I wanted to try something different with my HQ and swapped out my trusty, footslogging Chaos Lord Bardolf, who had been leading my army during all of my campaign battles up to that point, for a Lord with jump pack. Considering our narrative approach, I cooked up a bit of fluff about the World Eaters’ battle preparations:

Huntmaster Bardolf stood on the precipice, looking down into the valley. Among the ruins, overgrown with dense vegetation, he was just about able to make out figures moving stealthily. The Eldar were here. The stench of their sorcery was polluting the area.
At the northern end of the valley, Bardolf could see a large ruin. The aura of witchcraft was rolling off it in waves. It had to be there. The artefact. The prey. Bardolf could nearly taste it, and it made him furious. The prey was in reach. But not for him.

„I salute you, hunter. “ The voice was full of derision, making Bardolf even angrier. He glanced back over his shoulder.
Huntmaster Charun walked up next to him. His sharp features were twisted into a wolfish grin. His daemon weapon was sheathed at his side. It was he who would be leading the hunt, not Bardolf. Charun pointed at the distant shapes of the Eldar: “Look at them, my brother! Look at them, preparing for war, fortifying their positions.” He chuckled. “It will all be for naught, I fear.”

Bardolf tried to keep his voice even: “What is your plan?”

Charun smiled: “We will be rushing their lines. They will not know what hit them.”
Bardolf snorted: “You hope to outmanoeuvre an Eldar force, Charun? Then you’re even more of a fool than I suspected!”
Charun turned around to face him. His face showed the hatred he was feeling just for an instant, then he smiled again: “You are a foot soldier, my brother. And I will forgive you for thinking like one. We will fall on them from the sky. My Harriers will tear them apart.”

“Be careful, Charun! This is no normal force. The Eldar and their dark kin are fighting side by side. I have seen it. Whatever it is the Eldar are guarding here”, he pointed at the ruin in the distance, “you can feel it. It must be very powerful. Or very dangerous. They will take desperate measures to keep it in their possession. “

Charun’s leering smile grew: “The more despair the better, I say! We will kill them all alike, whether they hail from the Craftworlds or from the Dark City. Their blood will be the same exquisite shade of crimson in the end.” He glanced back at the ranks of the World Eaters: “And how can we fail, knowing that a legend will walk among us?”

As if on cue, a deafening metallic roar rang out. The noise was horrifying. Full of anger. Full of frenzy. Full of despair.
Bardolf couldn’t hide his horror, but Charun’s grin widened even further: „Yes, brother. I have decided to let the Fallen accompany our hunt. It shall be a glorious day.

Bardolf had heard enough. „I shall leave you to your glory then, Charun! “, he hissed and turned to leave.

„You will not be joining us? “

„General Lorimar will make planetfall in a few hours. He has requested my presence at the spaceport.”

“That means that I will not have to worry about your survival this day?”

Bardolf glanced back at Charun: “My survival is the last thing you should be worrying about, brother”, he said and looked directly into Charun’s eyes, “The Fallen is a warning to us all. I hope that this much at least is not lost on you.” Then he left.

Charun looked at Bardolf’s receding shape for a while, then he addressed Skull Champion Memnar, who had witnessed the officers’ exchange from a respectful distance: “Has the hunt been assembled?”

Memnar saluted: „Aye, lord. Lead the way! “

Charun nodded and drew his daemon sword in one fluent movement. The blade was shimmering in a dark inner light. Charun pointed to the valley: “Warriors of the 4th assault company”, he roared, “let us go hunting!”

With the deafening howl of his jump pack, Charun launched himself into the sky. The battle had begun.

Anyway, the day of the battle came, and we were lucky enough to be able to use the awesome terrain at the FLGS. That stuff really puts my meagre efforts at DIY terrain to shame!

The mission was Seize Ground with a Pitched Battle deployment. We placed our markers and I rolled for first turn. Yay! Since Berzerkers really aren’t that good at holding objectives, I decided to just try to annihilate my opponents. Pretty risky, and not that original, I know.

Turn 1: The World Eaters are advancing on the Eldar who have dug in on their half of the table.

The same situation as seen from the other side of the table

At first, things didn’t work out that well: On the right flank, my Defiler (which had earned the “Infiltrator” USR during prior games) managed to sneak up on the Eldar but completely missed them during the shooting phase and was promptly destroyed. My tank killer Raptor squad went down in a hail of shards when cousin Andy’s scratchbuilt Razorwing let rip. On the left flank, one of my Dreads (the shooty one) flipped out and started firing at my own guys. Awesome!

A daemon engine of Khorne, sneaking through the ruins (yeah, right...)

Things began to pick up when a couple of lucky hits managed to destroy a Ravager and a Raider, eliminating the threat posed by the former and leaving the Wyches transported by the latter stranded in the path of my very angry Dread. My dice rolls were also reasonably good, whereas my opponents kept rolling snake eyes whenever they were shooting their big guns. They did manage to be awesome sports about it, though!

My World Eaters' Renegade PDF allies keeping a low profile, trying their best not to piss off the big guy in the background...

For a while there, things really did click for me: At the bottom of turn three, cousin Andy’s Dark Eldar were all but wiped out, leaving a Serpent and a couple of squishy space elves the last line of defense against the wrath of the World Eaters. I, on the other hand, still had two Dreads, a full squad of Berzerkers, a Rhino, a small squad of traitors, a single Raptor with a flamer and my Lord. What could go wrong?

The World Eaters are moving in for the kill...or are they?

Yeah, well,…quite a bit, actually. But first things first: I managed to kill a squad of Howling Banshees, a Dark Eldar Haemonculus and the Eldar Farseer, leaving only the aforementioned Serpent and a squad of Dire Avengers. My Lord had been killed when the Dire Avengers shot a bazillion times at him. Now a couple of things happened in very short order:

1.) We had to hurry up, since the table we used was needed for a MTG tournament. That left us with about 15 minutes to finish our game.

2.) I made a huge mistake and used my Dread to fire at the Dire Avengers instead of attacking the Serpent.

3.) The Berzerkers attacked and completely wiped out the Dire Avengers.

4.) The game ended after turn 6, with my opponents retaining a single model – the Serpent – and thus forcing a draw, since neither of us controlled their objective (I had abandoned mine right at the top of turn 1, remember?).

I was furious! Victory had been so close! I had totally dominated the battle, but hadn’t managed to win. For a few moments there, I considered the whole thing a waste of time!

Fortunately, I managed to cool off a bit and realised a couple of things:

1.) It was really my own fault: For forgetting the actual goal of the mission (things might still have worked out, though), for not thinking things through due to the approaching “deadline” and finally for totally wasting my Dread’s turn: He could easily have destroyed the Serpent in cc, yet I chose to have him fire at the Dire Avengers, where he would – at best – cause 3 or 4 wounds.

2.) It was really stupid of me to get as irritated as I did. My opponents were great about it, though they’d had to face far worse during the game. I should really have taken their  example as an inspiration instead of being angry at the universe when I was clearly the one to blame.

3.) Thinking just for one second that the game had been a waste of time was really dumb: This wasn’t about who controlled a hex field on some campaign map! It was about playing a game with awesome terrain, cool minis and friendly people. That is definitely its own reward. Without thinking, I very nearly cheated myself out of that great experience.

4.) Come to think of it, it really all made a lot of sense from a narrative standpoint: The World Eaters had wanted to run down their prey so badly that they had failed to focus on the bigger picture. They had fallen victim to their own anger once again. The quest for the Hammer of Vaul would have to continue…preferably with a much cooler head!

Anyway, thanks to cousin Andy and the artist known as Rock Howard for a fantastic afternoon! And thanks to you for reading!

Lord Charun, being an all around approachable guy, takes time during the battle to pose for some candids.

Oh, and here’s what happened in the fluff:

Charun tore his daemon weapon free from the body of the Eldar sorcerer, who promptly collapsed. His blood boiled away as it hit the serrated blade. “Kill them!” Charun roared, “Kill them all!”

The Eldar were all but annihilated. The prey was ready for the taking. Charun’s warriors threw themselves at the squad of aspect warriors defending the ruin. Charun could sense waves of power rolling off the artefact. So close now! So close…

Marax the Fallen was tearing apart a squad of Dark Reapers with crackling lightning claws, howling with anger and hatred, a perfect embodiment of death. Charun roared with laughter.

Suddenly, he could feel the sickly taste of witchcraft. It disgusted him. He snapped around, facing the fallen sorcerer he had just struck down. The Eldar was mortally wounded, but his face was full of determination as he moved his hands in arcane patterns. Charun felt the change in the Warp, like an explosion without a sound.

“No”, Charun hissed, “this is impossible!”

The sudden flash of light was so bright that Charun had to cover his eyes to avoid being blinded. “No!” he howled with frustration, “Nooooo!”
When the light abated, the Eldar and the artefact that they had guarded with their lives were gone. Nothing was left, except the dead and a thick smell of ozone.

The prey had escaped.

Stay tuned for more.