[40K] Battle Report: One Night in Aquae Sulis

40K Fourth Edition | Night Fight | 1000 points | Night Lords vs. Thirteenth Company (Ben S. commanding)

“What would really help, lord, is refreshing the hydroponics bays. The starboard spinal is a wreck, the lower starboard corrupted beyond belief; taint is spreading through the deckhands. I already have armsmen purging and flushing the materiel, but a good third of the ship will be next to uninhabitable unless it’s replaced. I and my crew are sworn to serve the Legion to the last breath, and we do so gladly, but we cannot eat or breathe the void.”

“Starving and suffocating thralls are no use to the Long War.” Garinol turned his bulk around, the armature vents on his back scraping the ceiling of the war room. “In my… condition, captain, it is easy to forget the requirements of mortals. What do you need?”

“Potable water – not recyc, we’re almost at the end of viability in the current supply – and living plant matter. I’ve taken the liberty of consulting the charts Navigator Caius… left behind. Sulis Alpha IV lies just along a navigable warp route, here – not too far out of our way. An ice world, at the lower end of the designate spectrum. Plenty of water, and enough vegetation around the equator to last us sixty years if we’re careful in the harvest.”

A taloned hand reached across Serana’s field of vision; a claw that could have choked her indicated the Tenebrous Overlord’s internal vox. “Inform Mercurio that we have a new destination. Tell him he’ll be joining us on the surface; it’s been too long since he put that armour of his to the test. And bring me some of those corrupted crewmen from the starboard bay. We may as well make use of them…”

Army Lists

Much more photogenic!
  • HQ: Garinol, Daemon Prince with Mark of Chaos Undivided, Personal Icon, Daemonic Aura, Daemonic Essence, Daemonic Stature, Daemonic Rune, Daemonic Speed, Daemonic Visage and great weapon (178 points)
  • HQ: Mercurio, Chaos Lieutenant with Mark of Chaos Undivided, Night Vision, Personal Icon, Sorcerer (Doombolt, Warp Focus, Warp Talisman), Personal Icon and Terminator armour (power weapon) (145 points)
  • Troops: The Invoked, 10 Plaguebearers (160 points)
  • Troops: The Broken, 10 Chaos Space Marines with Mark of Chaos Undivided, Night Vision, frag grenades, two plasma guns and Baradas, a Champion with a master-crafted plasma pistol (223 points)
  • Troops: The Beaten, 5 Chaos Space Marines with Mark of Chaos Undivided, Night Vision, frag and krak grenades, a plasma pistol and Kos Janok, a Champion with a master-crafted plasma pistol (138 points)
  • Elites: The Damned, 5 Possessed Chaos Space Marines with Mark of Chaos Undivided, Daemonic Talons, and Iscend, a Champion (155 points)

Astute eyes will observe that I am not, in fact, using the Night Lords’ Book of Chaos. This is mostly because I want to put a coherent-looking army – that means fully painted models from similar-looking periods in the evolving range – on the table, and that means bringing my Plaguebearers. I don’t lose much by doing this, other than a handful of points spent on Night Vision for my infantry squads. I haven’t bothered taking it on Garinol as he doesn’t have a ranged attack anyway and the Possessed can’t have it, so I’m assuming being all Daemonised and manky overrides being from Nostramo.

I requested the Night Fight scenario to start with, because frankly I wanted to get my money’s worth out of my army’s thing at least once. Tactically, the idea was that my Sorcerer and large infantry squad hold the home quarter, while everything else stacked up and swung left or right depending on what Ben brought along for me, and the Plaguebearers would manifest near either of the HQ models – whoever needed the screen more.

Since I mashed Ben’s list together on Battlescribe before we started, I actually have the full details for once! I’ve also taken the liberty of naming his characters (with a little help), because of who I am as a person. Any complaints from the S division will be taken on board and flung over the side as soon as we leave harbour.

  • HQ: Aesgyr, Hunter of the Bloody Wyrm: Wolf Lord with Belt of Russ, Lightning Claw, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Tooth Necklace
  • HQ: Horthvik Penderhame: Wolf Priest with plasma pistol & healing balms
  • Elites: The Abominable Dolkborn: 6 Wulfen
  • Elites: Vengeful Custodians: 6 Storm Claws: one power fist
  • Troops: Snarling Vigil: 7 Grey Slayers: one meltagun: Wolf Guard Battle Leader Kruga Long-Hand with Terminator armour (power fist, storm bolter) and Mark of the Wulfen
  • Troops: Winter Hunt: 7 Grey Slayers: one meltagun, Wolf Guard Battle Leader Leifnir Brotintann with Terminator armour (power fist, storm bolter) and Mark of the Wulfen

While his brothers feasted, quieting the hunger of the warp-jump in the shadow of an artificial monolith of carven ice, Aesgyr turned over one of the bodies with his boot. The mortal wore something like a naval serf’s uniform, with crude rebreather and gauntlets over the tattered indigo cloth. Its heraldry was known to him; the winged skull of damned-and-burned Nostramo. The Eighth, not the Fifteenth. Traitors, nonetheless. Quarry. Prey. Aesgyr tuned the vox.

+ Leifnir. Kruga. Gather your packs. Brother Horthvik – rein in the Dolkborn if you can. These are but slaves; their masters will doubtless come calling for them soon. +

+ We’ll be waiting, + Kruga the Long-Hand voxed back.

Deployment

B.I.G. had laid out a rather spiffy ice table to which I rapidly laid claim (it matches the bases and suits the match-up, bags it!). Only the area terrain (the ruins and woods) and the central pillar of ice (impassable, LOS blocking) would really matter, though. Both of us had stacked for a push into the same quarter, but the order of placement left my Prince somewhat blocked out.

The Action

Night Fighting and the limited capacity of boltguns to be fired from the hip led to a quiet start – Fenrisian tracking and Nostraman preysight both suggesting there was something out there in the dark. Although the Wolves took first blood, shooting down one of the Broken CSM, battle wasn’t truly joined until the Wulfen surged out and engaged the Possessed. Those things hit hard – I wasn’t expecting them to be as strong as Possessed and faster to boot – and by the time they were done only the Champion was left standing, although he’d do sterling work in continuing to survive and picking them off with his Daemonic Talons over the next few rounds.

On the other flank, my Sorcerer did sterling work, picking off a couple of Wolves with his Doombolt before charging in and absolutely messing up the Battle Leader (the rest of the squad had received a slightly too generous hail of plasma to the face, as I’d overlooked that pistols require the wielder to stand still if they wish to fire twice: we played this correctly in subsequent rounds).

Ensuing combat revealed my Daemon Prince wasn’t enormously well designed. I’d so overinvested in “resilience tech” that he’d ended up bereft of attacks; he could very efficiently cleave the Wolf Priest in twain on his charge, but was only throwing three dice a round after that, and taking a wound or two every round from the sheer volume of attacks the Wulfen were putting into him, as he just couldn’t kill them fast enough.

To keep him screened I’d been forced to have the Beaten CSM fan out between him and the two packs escorting Ben’s Wolf Lord; they didn’t survive the ensuing hail of short ranged bolts from the Grey Slayers, while the Storm Claws went off to see what had happened to their mates and dogpiled my Sorcerer.

He accounted for himself very well, but not well enough. The last Storm Claw had a power fist and proceeded to uppercut my Sorcerer out of action with a single mighty blow! Cold comfort though; the Broken CSM absolutely annihilated him with another volley of close range plasma shots (although they did lose one of their gunners doing it).

Just as the Wolf Lord and his pack were sizing up my Daemon Prince, reality rent asunder and the Plaguebearers arrived right on time! I sent them out to chaff up the Wolves, not really caring if they died so long as they bought me a turn to finish off the Wulfen. Nurgle’s Rot didn’t kill anyone and the Daemons took their lumps from the Wolf Lord’s deluge of attacks, but they did manage to kill all but two of the Grey Slayers over two rounds.

Somehow, at this point, there were only three Space Wolves left, but they could still achieve a draw if they managed to off the Daemon Prince and stay out of sight of the Broken CSM. Since Garinol was on one wound, I decided to back him up – if they wanted the kill, they’d have to come out and get into rapid fire range of the Broken to do it, or trust to their Pack Leader’s storm bolter.

Since their meltagun whiffed, it was in fact that storm bolter that took the kill. The Broken took them out with the subsequent volley, and were left undisputed masters of an otherwise deserted battlefield.

VICTORY TO THE NIGHT LORDS | DEATH TO THE FALSE EMPEROR!

Reflections

I don’t have a great deal to say about my plan; it was simple, effective, and it worked, although I took rather more in the way of losses than I’d like, mostly because those Wulfen hit so fast and so hard, and because I stuffed up the Beaten’s deployment and movement (maybe they should have piled into the ruins and had a go with their pistols, but I was worried about Garinol eating a charge before he’d had a chance to clear out the Wulfen). Mercurio did the work but was left out of position and didn’t quite have enough attacks to save himself.

I’d like to trick out my characters a little bit more, adding some Spiky Bits and Daemonic Mutations to smooth out their performance in combat a bit more. A better version of Garinol might well end up with Daemonic Talons and Strength instead of his Rune, gaining an attack and the opportunity to Rend a vehicle apart on 2d6-pick-highest-then-another-d6 if the dice are with me. I could claw back a few points by adopting the Night Lords rule set properly and acquiring some Furies to replace the Plaguebearers – sadly, I sold my Furies to Alex S a while back and I don’t know what he’s done with them.

Returning to 40K 4.0 was like putting on an old favourite shirt I’d not worn for a while. I had to look up more than I thought I’d have to, but less as things went on; it’s definitely coming back to me. The biggest snags were persnickety little things like “this guy moved and has a pistol, he only gets one shot, but the rapid fire plasma gun in the same squad gets two?”

I’m looking forward to a) popping a vehicle on the board in the next game and b) the Gothic War narrative event next year, which was among the spurs for renewed effort on the Chaos front in the first place. The release of a new Heretic Astartes Codex for the modern game is another – my pre order copy arrived while I was writing this report, and I’ll be exploring that over this long weekend off work that I’ve taken. I’d like to at least give the new game the old college try, although I won’t lie – thanks to Ben and also to Brother Brutus, a new contender for “system of choice for round based follies” has entered the arena. More on this in the next post!

Holstering his pistol, and gesturing with his twisted right arm for his Claw to fan out, Baradas surveyed the scene. A few stray rounds had impacted the stack of ice their serfs had carved and carried to this place, but not too many – it would be salvageable. So would the armour of the VI Legion – and it looked as though these had been reduced to something of the sort themselves.

Six of them lay in a ring of gnarled, befouled earth, and in the centre of the ring knelt Iscend. The twice-born fiend was still alive, then – indeed, he was pulling himself upwards with the haft of his glaive, wheezing and groaning wetly over the vox. Whatever daemon held the Damned in pact wasn’t about to let them go just yet, it seemed.

Were any of the others still standing? Lord Garinol seemed absent, and Baradas had seen Mercurio felled by an uppercut from the Rout veteran. Iscend wouldn’t challenge him for leadership…

+ Stop posturing and help me up, damn your eyes! +

Mercurio’s armour was rocking where it had fallen. Stunned, then, and laid out, but not dispatched; merely trapped in the heavy, clumsy mass of toppled Terminator armour. It was so, so tempting to put a few plasma bursts into the sorcerer – but then, who would steer the ship? Who would hold them in contact with the Legions of the Long War?

Sighing, Baradas made his way over, and with two of his brothers levered Mercurio’s bulk half upright. His staff found purchase, and he was able to drag himself the rest of the way.

+ Excellent work! Is Lord Garinol – +

+ Shot down, + Iscend rasped, with a flex of his too-long tongue inside his helm. + Saw it happen. After he cleared the mutant ones off me. +

+ What a pity, + voxed Mercurio. + In that case, Sixty-Fourth, as your new leader, I – +

+ Speak not so soon. +

The presence was overwhelming. It spoke on every channel of the company’s vox, flipping them all open at once and booming in buzzing, distorted discord with itself. Mercurio dropped to a knee again, the spikes on his helm dipping as he bowed his head in agony.

+ Speak not so soon, little legionaries. I still have work for Garinol, and for you… +

2 thoughts on “[40K] Battle Report: One Night in Aquae Sulis

  1. EXCELLENT report, LOTS of fun to read, informative, and engagingly written. :) Looking forward to more reports, and your future experiences with GrimDark Future. :)

    Like

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