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EVENT - The Schism of Mars

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#351
bluntblade

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Got a speech by Alex that I need to work out. Should come before the Mariner Plain.


Edited by bluntblade, 14 May 2018 - 05:29 PM.


#352
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The Mountain Torn Open

  With the surrounding terrain firmly under his control, Alexandros handed over tactical command to Niklaas, whose expertise in siege warfare far outstripped his own. With the grim magi of the Ordo Reductor, Charon Discut prominent among them, the Steel Prince began to lay down plans that would see the gates of Olympus Mons shattered. In total there were six of the grand entrances into Olympus Mons, alongside dozens of smaller passageways. The largest of these was set into Olympus Mons' northern wall. While its fall would be the hardest to achieve, it would be the most symbolic blow, a blunt display of how the treacherous could never escape the vengeance of the righteous. 
 
  The Ordinatus Nox, an apocalyptically powerful weapon capable of dueling with starships in orbit and the only surviving Ordinatus Majoris on Mars, would be given the task of breaching the wall. Yet there was a danger. A fortress’ entrance is always its weakest point, and as such it is always the most fortified. Olympus Mons was no exception. The mightiest gate to Kelbor-Hal's domain was studded with weapons varying from heavy bolters to macro cannon emplacements and even vortex missile silos. The Loyalists were loath to risk their most powerful weapon against such concentrated fire, so a solution was devised. 
 
  While Niklaas masterminded the assault, the Abyssii often claim and with reasonable cause that the breaking of the gate was their triumph. Not only would it be their weapon that shattered the gates, it would be their machinations that compromised the inner defenses. Not content to use the research gleaned from the Ater stations for defensive purposes alone, Mortera had ordered a Djinn-virus weapon of limited capability be placed at her disposal, in preparation for circumstances that might necessitate its use. Such circumstances had assuredly arisen. It would have to be activated within almost immediate proximity if the defenses data network, but once activated the weapons surrounding the target would be rendered impotent. 
 
  Mortera presented this device to Niklaas as plunder looted from Traitor facilities later razed to the ground. No sooner had Niklaas been informed of this than strike and infiltration forces were assembled, composed of Xth Legion Seeker squads, Skitarii Rangers and Thallax. Utilising a portion of the transportation network that had once brought supplies and personnel from across the domains of the Red Planet to within the walls of Olympus Mons they would fight their way to a location within range of the targeted machinery: once there it would be activated. Their chances of success were deemed relatively high. Their chances of survival were not. 
 
  In the depths of the Martian night, the strike and infiltration forces set out. Four hours elapsed between their departure and a report that the objective had been obtained. Sergeant Baruk spoke only to confirm that dozens of Astartes had fallen and the Thallax had been destroyed in their entirety, but the device had been activated. Nothing else would be heard from him and the remaining infiltrators until their miraculous return to the surface a day later, greater events serving to conceal their withdrawal.
 
  Niklaas and Mortera could verify that fact for themselves within a minute. The data-virus spread rapidly, halting guns, jamming auto-loaders and sending turrets into a fizzing, sputtering dance across the circumference of Olympus Mons. Auspex scans reported a concurrent spike of activity within the walls, the panicking Traitor magi rushing to identify the cause and remedy it. Even as the colossus began to grind its way forward, desperate measures were taken to prevent its attack.
 
  Those Insurrectionist Titans still remaining before the gates, faintly lit by the rising sun, strode forth in a vain attempt to impede the Ordinatus Nox's progress and were felled by the blistering fire of pre-positioned artillery bombardments previously planned by the Primarch. The Burning Stars Warlord Ictum Interficiens and its escorts ignored any other target in favour of closing the distance between themselves and the Abyssii war engine. Their guns set the Ordinatus’ shields rippling, but it was too little and much too late. 
 
  With the sound of the air being torn in twain a searing beam of energy flashed forth. An outlying Warhound was spared briefly, but its fellows vanished in the blink of an eye. For another second the Ictum Interficiens reeled amid the glare, then it too was annihilated. The momentary obstruction gone, the beam lanced into the gate structure itself. An edifice built to resist armies was reduced to a funeral pyre for the troops that lay within, thousands of them incinerated in a heartbeat. Within moments, the growl of combat machines and the tramp of steel-shod limbs rose to a crescendo. Legio Tonarum Titans raised their guns and felled the last Burning Star in a flurry of missiles and plasma. With Niklaas at their head, the armies of the Warmaster marched onwards.


#353
bluntblade

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Fire-Crowned Towers
  Niklaas and Alexandros had no intention of forcing breaches at ground level alone. Indeed, to a siege master such as Niklaas, to simply break down the greatest gate of so vast a city was an offensively crude proposition. Olympus Mons was to be breached in many places, all across its expanse, and the minds of the Steel Prince and all his lieutenants were set to the task. Points along the cyclopean wall were identified for bombardment by Ordinati, Titans and massed artillery. Transport tunnels were made the target of Skitarii infiltrators, Vorax automata and Astartes Seeker squads.
 
  Above ground level too, Niklaas sought and found opportunities. As the gates and walls came under attack, the clouds above Olympus Mons were split. Wings of Corsair bombers, aglow with the heat of atmospheric entry, descended from on high, accompanied by interceptors and fighter craft. Niklaas had deployed hundreds of Xth Legion craft for this task, and they rained fire down upon the proud spires of Olympus Mons. Anti-air batteries blazed up at the attackers, destroying scores of them, but already the Loyalist craft were loosing bombs and missiles against them. 
 
  Kelbor Hal ordered his city’s air fleet into the skies, but even as fighters and ornithopters rose from their hangars, the second Loyalist wave was inbound. Vth Legion Xiphon interceptors and Lightning-Primaris fighters homed in on the city from the south and the northwest, hugging the red sands until they drew close. The Fire Keepers craft pulled clear of the spires to regroup, and as the traitors rose to pursue them, so too did the Halcyon Wardens strike from below. Another force of Fire Keepers craft came screaming down from orbit, and the Insurrectionist squadrons were dismembered like a great shoal of fish caught by ocean predators. 
 
  As the Loyalists cemented their control of the skies, the bombing runs were renewed. Most of these targeted the massive cannons which threatened their ground forces, but here and there gaping holes were torn in the upper walls of Olympus Mons’ towers. These appeared to be mere side effects of the onslaught, but this assumption was proven wrong as Legion assault rams and gunships emerged from the clouds. Niklaas had identified areas where Astartes might enter the upper levels of the metropolis and severely disrupt Kelbor-Hal’s defences. The Caestus rams used their magna-meltas to widen breaches made by the Corsairs, and in their wake came Stormbirds and their lesser kindred. 
 
  Mortera’s aerial forces were hardly idle at this stage, and at her command Abyssii craft joined the attack. Hundreds of Arvus lighters swept in, holds filled with Skitarii, Thallax and combat servitors, while larger transports ferried robots and Kataphron servitors to the breaches. Though the traitors’ defences had destroyed scores of craft, Niklaas’ careful planning had seen the gun emplacements entirely destroyed, and Kelbor Hal’s aircraft had been reduced to fragments, raining still more destruction down upon the sprawl.
 
  The first wave of Loyalists who penetrated the city from above comprised some 8,000 Astartes and 20,000 Skitarii, the latter aided by sundry other Mechanicum units. A large part of the Astartes were Terminator, breacher and assault units, as these stood the best chance of success of establishing beachheads and fending off the hordes of Adescularis, Skitarii and automata sent to kill them. More followed, bolstered by Dreadnought talons. In claustrophobic passageways and vast forge chambers, battle was joined with bolter and blade.
 
  The most daring of these assaults was carried out by Nibaasiniiwi’s Iron Bears and Tribe Barinthus of the Fire Keepers - a direct attack on Hangar Eydisiun in the northern part of the city. Flanked by Fire Raptors, they deployed by Stormbird into the hangar even as the gunships’ cannons turned the space into a mess of scrap metal. With them came Thunderhawk transporters carrying Predators and Sicaran Battle Tanks, but these paled beside the bulk transport that followed once the gunships had destroyed the turrets emplaced within the hangar. Setting down, its embarkation ramp lowered to reveal seventeen Knights of House Blinstrubas. They strode out to face the rallying traitor forces, war sirens blaring and weapons thundering.
 
  The defenders had already roused automata and tanks, fearing the Loyalists’ intent, but with their forces stretched across the city, they could not overcome the vanguard. Skitarii and thralls were deployed in their thousands, only to be destroyed by the Iron Bears and Fire Keepers, who were rapidly entrenching themselves and bringing in more troops. In his desperation, the zone commander sought and received permission to use greater force, and a detachment of House Morbidia were sent into battle, twenty grim walkers manned by pilots who lived only to kill in Kelbor Hal’s name.
 
  These condemned warriors met the Knights of Blinstrubas in the middle of the cavernous hangar, and such was the violence of their clash that even the Astartes took cover. Any lesser combatants caught between the warring Knights were obliterated in the crossfire. Morbidia fielded the more resilient machines, but Blinstrubas fought with the greater fury, and several carried armaments crafted by Daer’dd himself. They were quite capable of meeting the threat that Morbidia posed.
 
  Several of the Sicarans were of the formidable Ustor variant, armed with volkite cascades which had already devastated the defending machines, and reduced servitors and Skitarii to ash by the hundred. Advancing in support of their Knight allies, they brought these murderous weapons to bear upon Morbidia. Five Blinstrubas Knights had fallen, but aided by the tanks and Astartes’, the rest savaged the slave-Knights and tore them down. Thus the hangar was secured, paving the way for more Astartes to land, followed by tercios of Solar Auxilia and Graian taghma. From this point the Loyalists began to steadily advance, slaying all those who obstructed them.


#354
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Beyond the Gates
As Niklaas ordered the Ordinatus Nox into position, offensives began against the other five main gates. Ordinati and Titans were brought forward to batter the defences into submission, bombers and gunships swooping overhead to add their weapons to the firestorm and wipe out any remaining emplacements which might threaten their allies. Shields burst, ferrocrete crumbled and metal ran molten under the bombardments. One by one, the gates and walls fell, and the Loyalists brought judgement to Olympus Mons.

The Abyssi’s siegemaster Charon Discut was the first to break through after Niklaas, his Triaros entering the city behind the Titans of Carnifex. Chief Eshad of Tribe Grannus began his escalade shortly afterwards, and before long the rest were advancing too. At the Galvanius Gate, the Legio Tempestus cast down the great lightning-marked door, and Irvin Ruel’s tank companies thundered over the threshold. Gliding in above them came Stormbirds, and no ordinary Stormbirds at that. These were Maahres-pattern gunships, adapted from the vast Apophis template on Nox and fitted with even more punishing weaponry. The Abyssii had designed them for the master of the Vth Legion, and sure enough it was Alexandros and his chosen companies who rode them into battle.

At each gate, the Loyalists’ most redoubtable elements had been placed at the fore. Squadrons of Proteus and Achilles pattern Land Raiders and Spartans rumbled behind siege tanks, Leviathan and Deredeo Dreadnoughts striding with them. The Mechanicum forces called upon the most robust automata at their disposal; Castellax, Cataphracts and Colossi in the main. Here and there were rarer, more advanced machines. Domitar robots formed spearheads for melee combat, while the monstrous Thanatar towered over their compatriots. Still larger loomed Knights and Titans; so high were the arches of the greatest gates that Warlords could pass underneath them.

Taghmata stood ready to halt the Loyalists, among them the surviving Traitor Titans and Knights, arrayed on the greatest of the city's concourses. Yet the Loyalists’ strength was the greater, and their fire raked across the inner defences. Within an hour, whole blocks around the gates had been levelled. Skitarii and other machine soldiers simply ceased to exist, their remains lost in the dust of ferrocrete and stone. Knights and Titans collapsed on splintered limbs. But on came strange war machines, many of which bore no resemblance to any yet encountered, and here the Loyalist Knights and Titans found a sterner test. At the Galvanius Gate a swarm of insectile machines, moving at implausible speed and bearing energy weapons of fiendish power, cut off several companies of Halcyon Wardens. Laying waste several Rhino squadrons, they would have massacred the Astartes had the Knights of Zivich not intervened and destroyed them in a hard-fought melee.

To give a blow-by-blow account of the battle within the walls is to court futility, for in truth it was a war in its own right. For a week the Loyalists fought their way deeper into the Grand Mountain and destroyed all the enemies they found there, but faced an unforgiving struggle. Kelbor Hal marshalled his remaining forces to hold back his foes, the last of his elite Skitarii among them, and even the forge-thralls of the city were compelled to fight via their electoo implants. Many of the Army units found themselves occupied with fending off the hordes that resulted, and the corpses piled in the streets. Servitors prowled behind the Loyalist advance, gathering Loyalist corpses for cremation and those of Traitors, willing and enslaved alike, for processing.

The Astartes were just the tip of the spear once the gates were taken, vastly outnumbered by the Skitarii and mortal soldiers who fought alongside them. Against the garrison of the Fabricator-General, now augmented by Kelbor Hal’s tech-heresies, the brave men and women of the Excertus Imperialis suffered greatly, the death toll running into the hundreds of thousands in the first three days. But the momentum was with them, and street by street, chamber by chamber, the city was swept clean. Urtzi Malevolus was slain on the second day, his personal hangar torched by Fire Raptors and the Heretek incinerated by Xth Legion Terminators.

Kelbor Hal watched as his dominion crumbled away, the soldiers of the hated Warmaster and his own erstwhile vassals cutting down his guards, and knew he must flee or perish. With the Loyalists snapping at his heels, he fled with the Eagle Warriors and magi of Cognis to a concealed hangar in the bowels of the city. Icarion, after the debacle over Madrigal, had known of this possibility and dispatched a series of vessels to evacuate him. Most of these were intercepted and destroyed before they even arrived, but a Grave Stalkers vessel, a strike cruiser named the Subtle Knife, successfully made its way to the Sol System.

By the strange and sinister arts of Lasaris, it escaped detection until it drew near to the Red World on the fifth day of the battle, and made its presence known to the hereteks. Several squads of Eagle Warriors mounted a rearguard action along with the Cognis Skitarii and robots accompanying them. Assailed by Mortera’s elite Myrmidons they were slain to a man, but their purpose was achieved. Kelbor Hal and a clutch of his surviving cronies fled the surface along with the Abysii, dozens of craft spending themselves to enable the escape. The Subtle Knife took in the escapees before any Loyalist vessel could intercept them, and though the Fire Keepers cruiser Wrath of Aldimach gouged its armour and blasted one of its spinal towers to smithereens, it slipped the net and fled the system.

With Olympus Mons in their grasp but denied their prey, Alexandros, Niklaas and Mortera scoured the Grand Mountain from peak to roots over a week after the battle. Kelbor Hal had covered his tracks with suicide parties of Skitarii, automata and thralls, along with traps which would require the attention of techmarines and magi to disarm. The purge of Mars itself would take much longer, but the Traitors’ hold over the world was gone and the Sol System secured.

Edited by bluntblade, 15 May 2018 - 10:10 PM.


#355
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The Red Dust Settles
Kelbor-Hal arrived in Icarion’s realm with his authority greatly diminished, but not reduced utterly. Certainly at this stage no rival to his power existed within the Mechanicum sects pledged to the Stormlord, and the dread authority of the Fabricator General was not easily negated. Kelbor-Hal turned his brilliance and adamantine will to shoring up his position without delay. Seeking a new base of operations from which to do this, close to the centre of Icarion’s power, he alighted on the Loyalist Forge World of Sarum.

Sarum had been bonded to the Warmaster’s own Legion for over a century, its Redjak Cult slowly evolving from their savage, survivalist origins to something more in line with the Martian mold, yet steadfastly loyal to Alexandros. It is likely that, even with such stunted emotions as his augmetics left him, Kelbor-Hal viewed them with loathing and relished the chance to wreak some measure of vengeance upon the Warmaster. While Icarion’s forces had blockaded Sarum until this stage, now Kelbor-Hal mustered an invasion force from the taghmata of several Forge Worlds and his surviving followers, and launched an all-out assault upon the world. The defenders of Sarum, including a garrison of Halcyon Wardens, were butchered, the Redjak Cult's surviving works turned to the cruel purposes of Kelbor-Hal.

While none yet challenged Kelbor-Hal’s primacy, there were those who took note, and began to scheme. Certainly several factions escalated their work with a newfound zeal, foremost among them Xana and Cognis. Freed from many of the constraints their Loyalist counterparts continued to toil under, Icarion’s allies delved headlong into forbidden sciences, many senior adepts driven by personal and factional ambition as much as they were by religious fervour or scientific curiosity. For the cunning, powerful and well-connected, disorder was a ladder, and untold power beckoned from the top.

Not that there were no disincentives at this time. While the Cognis delegation and their Eagle Warrior escorts had successfully fled Olympus Mons with what little of Moravec's artifacts they could spirit away, they were soon held to account by no other than Icarion Anasen himself. It seems that the carnage unleashed on Mars went far beyond the Stormborn's intentions. Cognis’ actions placed them under suspicion of being influenced by powers Icarion would have no truck with. These events and suspicions would undermine the relationship between Icarion and the Archmagos Xander for years.

Soon enough a message was sent to the Stormlord, stating that the delegation would be summarily turned over to him for judgment, along with countless platitudes regarding the catastrophic mishap that had occurred. Not long after another correspondence was exchanged in which Icarion accepted Xander's apologies, sentenced the involved priests to execution, and retracted his sanction for any further use of scrapcode weaponry. Throughout all these communications, the seized records hold no mention of any devices retrieved from the Vault of Moravec, despite numerous pict-captures that show the renegade tech-priests escaping with an assortment of small and well secured storage units.

The victorious Loyalists had much to attend to on the Red World. Mars was placed under the control of a diumvirate of Zagreus Kane, the most senior of the loyal magos to survive the Schism, and Mortera. The representatives of other Forge Worlds did not presume to challenge her, for the Abyssii had spent far more blood and treasure in the campaign than any other sect not of Mars. However, the rest did each lay claim to territories which had formerly lain in Traitor hands. Under the oversight of Mortera and Kane, Mars returned to productivity, though it was severely diminished. While great effort and vast resources were expended to restore what had been lost, many works such as Zeth’s Akashic Reader could not be repaired or replicated. The sheer extent of prototype or relic technologies lost forever is long enough that no serious attempt has been made to catalogue them.

Shipments of raw materials, held back for up to half a Terran year if they had not been directed elsewhere, were renewed, transports flooding the Martian skies. Forge cities, depopulated by collateral damage and the Traitors’ desperate shoring of their armies, were filled with imported labour. Already the Insurrection had produced billions of refugees, and even a lifetime of toil on the Red World could be a more attractive prospect that a dislocated and uncertain existence. Still, it would be the work of several years to replace that lost manpower, even with nearby forge worlds contributing millions of their own surplus thralls and later on with prisoners of war added to the influx. The Red World’s restoration would only be achieved at the price of great hardship.

Mars had been dragged back into the fold, denying its produce to the enemy and ensuring that the core system of the Imperium remained whole. A leading Insurrectionist had suffered a very public disgrace into the bargain, and a much-needed, prominent victory had been won by the Emperor’s servants. The Loyalists had little reason to celebrate, however, as they counted the cost and viewed events beyond the Sol System. For while the Imperium’s heart and the surrounding Segmentum were secure, events elsewhere threatened to overwhelm the Warmaster’s forces.


(end with Akylles' memoir)

Edited by bluntblade, 06 August 2018 - 08:53 PM.

  • simison and Beren like this

#356
Beren

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'sending turrets into a fizzing, spluttering dance'- in hindsight, sparking might be more appropriate.

I also still don't think the Akashic Reader should be explicitly mentioned. Also may I suggest a small box on the elimination of the Techmarines in training and their mentors.

Brilliant to see the main narrative body finished.

Edited by Beren, 15 May 2018 - 06:19 PM.


#357
bluntblade

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No argument here, will sort tomorrow if I have time

#358
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So if I'm correct there is just Alexandros' speech, the Copper and Iron red box(if we're still using it) left to do. I've got the techmarine purge written up pending approval of the concept ad well. Is the Abyssii disposition being folded into their fluff section?

For the Dark Mech, depending on how we're handling it, I propose dividing it into the following sections:

Personal Forces of Kelbor Hal

Forces of his main allies(Chrom, Malevolus, and Melgator)

Lesser Allies( Examples include the Cydonian Sisterhood, Scopulan Phase Fullatrix, the forges responsible for the deployment of the nuclear and life eater virus weaponries and the Ordo Reductor Diemon Gordecor.)

The Titan Legios


Numbers and exact dispositions may be something of a problem, but any scarcity in detail can be explained as part of the general information loss and chaos.

#359
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I need to post the Bears' one, I think the Halcyon Wardens' blurb can be folded into their War Disposition as can the Abyssii's and Fire Keepers'.



#360
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The Cull of the Artisan Astartes

Across Mars those Astartes who had been selected to
learn the secrets of the enigmatic priesthood were given their rituals of induction in numerous tower preceptories, each holding some 30 aspirants of different levels of training at a time. For Kelbor Hal this had long been a bitter symbol of the Imperiums domination, only endured for the same reason of all other aspects of the Martian submission; he had no choice. To him the Techmarines were unworthy outsiders whose induction defiled the true Omnissiah's divine secrets and their instructors, those Techpriests known as the Artisan Astartes, were little more than traitors. Their destruction would not only see the elimination of a minor threat, but a symbolic blow struck for Martian liberty. Shortly prior to the outbreak of all out violence the Fabricator-General summoned the entirety of the Artisan Astartes to Olympus Mons. A Techmarine that ultimately survived the Schism later traced their augmentics to various smelting and recycling plants through records dredged from the systems of a surviving data console. With the Artisans eliminated their students became easy targets. Not only were the Techmarines in training isolated from all information, they were left only with whatever armaments they had been working on for their education. Soon this lack of preparation proved lethal as elite and specially selected forces of Skitarii swarmed the preceptories. In some cases the edifices were levelled by Titans in grand displays of destruction. Many of the newer initiates originating from Traitor Legions were able to evade the massacre entirely or even aid in it, being forewarned by the Eagle Warrior delegations present on Mars. For those nearing their trainings completion, those who had been inducted in to the mysteries of the machine before Icarion's machinations even began, those whose loyalty might lie closer to the Omnissiah-Emperor than their Primarchs; there was no mercy. A scattered minority of the targeted Astartes, commonly those who had been in the final stage of their training, survived to encounter Loyalist forces during the ensuing conflict. The culling also served to engender irritation amongst several of the Traitor Primarchs that the better trained members of their Legions had not been spared the blade.


Have we mentioned Legio Destructor at any point? They seem to have had a princeps present at the Titan Legions council prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

Edited by Beren, 30 May 2018 - 03:24 PM.


#361
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Yet another thing I did.

The mysteries of Magna City.

While Adept Koriel Zeth's disregard for the Fabricator-General had been long known of thought the Red Planet, but true enmity between the two originated some 60 years prior to the Death of Innocence. Upon an otherwise unremarkable day Magna City was engulfed in an anomaly of vast proportions. The sky above the city erupted with an inexplicable and uncontrolled flare of astropathic energy so great that it briefly disrupted the Astronomicon itself. This anomaly immediately attracted the attention of not only Kelbor Hal but, due to the disruptions nature, emissaries of organisations vested with the authority of the Emperor himself. Despite a prolonged and exhaustive investigation by the two and often conflicting parties the source of the event was never determined. The Adepts 'cooperation' was reluctant at best and obstructive at worst. The investigation was only halted after the Terran representatives were forced to intervene in order to prevent bloodshed after Zeth's protégé, Magos Polk, had his memory centers fused in a suspected electronic attack. Despite the investigations closure, Magna city remained under heavy monitoring almost up until the Schism. Rumours still speak of a vault, hidden in some forsaken corner of Mars' wastelands or perhaps lost with Maximal's final catastrophic sacrifice.

#362
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Stuff from Mechanicum for the Dark Mech chapter .

Another interesting note is that Chrom had gifted Kane with an automata a year prior, but Kane never activated it out of distaste for automatas.

Lukas Chrom: Protectors with a communal battle link , 'long barreled high energy weapons’, ‘silver bands around each Protector's skull... the hard-wired component of a targeting web.”

Legio Destructor: Have we mentioned these yet? Princeps Graine.

Kelbor Hal: ‘A score( 20) of battle Titans lined the wide road.’ Unknown Legio standing watch at Olympus Mons.
‘A host of Skitarii stood to attention at the base of the tower, hulking brutes in gleaming breastplates, cockaded helmets of bronze and fur-lined cloaks. Taller and broader than Kane, these warriors were designed to intimidate, their bearing that of men bred to kill and feel nothing beyond the need for combat. Strength enhancers, metabolic aggression spikes and pain-suppressers were worked into their flesh as augmetics or glanded into their nervous systems’ Kelbor Hal's personal guard.

Kelbor Half possessed multiple Ordinati.
Magos Chevain sent Skitarii to aid the traitors.
Maximal was under attack by half a million at an 'conservative estimate' skitarii with power mauls and vortex mines.

“Beetle-backed servitors with spiked armour and hissing weapon arms bounded forward, unleashing rippling beams of incandescent light that shrieked like banshees and incinerated men and obliterated armoured vehicles with equal ease.

Bizarre tanks scuttled forward on spider-like legs to clamber over the wrecks of destroyed vehicles and slice through armour and flesh with every sweep of their energy-sheathed pincer arm.” Difficult to know how much of this was due to scrapcode corruption.

Magna City was attacked with vortex missiles and graviton cannons.

Melgator was guarded by a “cohort of brutal, ogre-like skitarii armed with fearsome beam weapons and flame lances.”

#363
bluntblade

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I'm so keen for the day that the brute Skitarii like those and the big Konor dudes in KNW get models. If I ever enter the modelling side of the hobby, I'm going Black Legion with a heavy DarkMech presence.

#364
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I'd be curious to see how the two different types of Skitarii interacted with one another. The ones with independent thought functions anyway.

Edited by Beren, 04 June 2018 - 07:02 PM.


#365
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Intro and section on Kelbor Hal's forces. Thoughts on length, layout and general quality?

The forces of the Martian secessionists were , as typical of the Mechanic's Taghmata, drawn from myriad different forces under myriad masters. The Fabrictor-General as would be expected held sway over by far the greatest number of battle oriented subjects but was reliant upon his numerous allies for military support. Some of these had voyaged across the stars to partake in Mars' desecration. These forces had the benefit of years of preparation to prepare for their self engendered maelstrom of violence and their full numbers will never truly be known. No longer bound by the Emperor's dictates they fielded many heretek aberrations, portents of the warp tainted abominations that would prove a curse in the Insurrection's later years.

The Personal Armies of Kelbor Hal.

As the most influential individual within the domains of the Mechanicum, excepting only the Omnissiah himself, Kelbor Hal had military forces far outside the standard remit for Forge Adepts. A significant quantity of these were his Skitarii.

Alongside the ubiquitous Skitarii Rangers were more specialised detachments. The Scopulan Phase Fusillatrix for example were one those groups dispatched to end the lives of Loyalist Tech-Marines and did so fully armed with the weapons that were their namesakes. It is testament both to the methods of treachery and these Skitarii's skill that scarcely any such Astartes survived. A more common Skitarii archetype was the template used to form a personal guard for the Master of Mars. Built both as much for intimidation as effectiveness and being as much gene-bulked biological muscle as mechanical components, these were never intended to meet the improbable impossibility of their overlord's sanctum being breached. Regardless, it was their stim-pumped corpses and those of their brutally mauled victims that bought their master the leeway needed to escape.

In addition to these tech-warriors, Kelbor Hal also deployed masses of Praetorian battle servitors. Being comparatively quick and simple to construct they were manufactured en masse leading up to the civil war's outbreak by both the Fabricator-General and his allies. As the Martian war ground on these would be supplanted by swathes of Adsecularis whose members were drawn from the populace of Olympus Mons itself. The Forge's overseer had initially avoided this option in order to avoid suspicion and to limit civil unrest while his armies were deployed elsewhere, but with vengeful Loyalists grinding their way towards his abode the Martian leader began mass conversion to shore up his depleted armies. These normally expendable but troops were reserved until the Forge was breached before being unleashed to drown the attackers in sheer numbers within the city's close confines.

In addition to sheer numbers, the Taghmata Hal also equipped to a pedigree that outmatched many of their foes. The force responsible for besieging Ipluvien Maximal was an army estimated to be in excess of half a million- one of the few reliable figures of the conflict- that were mass equipped with power mauls and even vortex weaponry used to tear through Maximal's defences. These infantry were in turn supported by several Ordinati, colossal engines of destruction that rent breaches throughout the crater wall. That the Master of Mars possessed several of these revered constructs in comparison to Adept Zeth's lone Ordinatus or even the three Ordinati-Minoris possessed by the Forgeworld of Xana is a clear indicator of Kelbor Hal's military strength at the war's onset.

Edited by Beren, 25 June 2018 - 07:07 PM.


#366
Talonair

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I don't believe the Skitarius were, as an entire branch, loyal solely to the Fabricator-General of Mars, since Skitarii belonging to specific forge worlds and tech-priests are mentioned several times in the lore.



#367
bluntblade

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They certainly weren't.

#368
simison

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So, before getting into the micro-level stuff, I want to talk about a few points on the macro level. This is supposed to be a fluff chapter for the 'Dark Mechanicum' faction. What forces are going to be described in this chapter? It used to be that the Cognis would gain their own chapter later on, but that seems to be up in the air. As such, will this chapter cover them? I would think they should be saved for later. 

 

If this chapter is solely for Kelbor-Hal's forces, then that's fine. But, it needs to receive the proper treatment of a faction. That means a history section, an organization section, and exemplary battles. 


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#369
bluntblade

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Solar Auxilia and Knight Houses don't get exemplary battles.

Personally I'd rather we just did the Abyssii

Edited by bluntblade, 21 June 2018 - 02:46 PM.


#370
Beren

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I was following the vague outline in mentioned further up the page based on the Forces of the Warmaster sectionswithin Inferno and Conquest to describe the different categories of forces used by the traitors on Mars. The bit on Kelbor Hal's forces is only what I've finished so far. I was going to mention the Cognis, but only in relation to their specific forces present on Mars.

The closest parallel in the Black Books might be the Taghmata Barbarel from book five. A collective army for a specific occasion, but not a unified faction. The Taghmata Barbarel also didn't fit in with Legion fluff archetype in regards to exemplary battles either.

#371
Beren

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Regarding the Skitarius, the Bellicosa Potential Omnissiah describes them as 'principally loyal to the office of the Fabricator General' and as well as being 'outside the Taghmata' and 'assigned at the behest of the Lords of Mars'. They were also used as enforcement on one of the Conquest Forgeworlds. I also presumed that Skitarii are not exclusive to the Skitarius in the same way that automata are not exclusive to the Legions Cybernetica and Thallax are not exclusive to the Ordo Reductor.

Edit: The Bellicose Potentis Omnissiah also places Tech-guard regiments separately from the Skitarius.

Edited by Beren, 22 June 2018 - 06:47 PM.


#372
Beren

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The Allied Warlords

Being both Kelbor Hal's greatest sycophants and prestigious individuals in their own right, Lukas Chrom and Urtzi Malevolus provided their own significant forces to the rebellion.

Chrom's Taghmata revolved principally around warrior Skitarii and Cohorts of Cybernetica. Although most of these could not match creations of his own hand they were constructed based upon his insights and inventions. As a result these automata showed many deviations from standardised design that made them more effective and fearsome fighters. Due to Chrom's close connections to the Fabricator General any of modifications which might be considered questionable were overlooked, allowing the scientist to delve deeper into the craftsmanship of forbidden machinery. While these acted as something of an anvil his Skitarii would swarm the foe from all sides until they had been torn to pieces.Surprisingly the number of thse troops committed to battle outside Lukas Chrom's domain during the Schism were few, with the majority still being present when the Abyssii wrought their wrath upon Mondus Gamma. A few constructs were later found to have been directed to Olympus Mons in earlier days, though this did not save them from their reckoning.

The forces of Urtzi Malevolus were perhaps less distinct in composition, but far greater in numbers. They also took a comparatively more active role in the Schism and formed the primary body infantry for the attack on Mondays Occulum. The sheer size of the Magos' forces afforded him tactical liberties not usually utilized by the Mechanicum. Cohorts of Thallax and Ursurax would lead swarm attacks against the enemy, surrounding them while thrall packed Triarios drew closer to unleash their numbers. While these attacks were far from being as wasteful as similar Imperial Army attacks they did allow the prevailing of numbers where arcane firepower or brute force had failed. Furthermore, atypically large degrees of independence were granted to the Thallax and Ursurax, allowing their semi-independence to be used to its full potential. In the vast and often chaotic assaults launched by Malevolus they were even noted to assume command of small thrall sections on a temporary basis, using instinct and experience in lieu of a Magos' enhanced cognitive abilities. This allowed many units of Malevolus' Taghmata to survive and escape defeats during the reclamation of Mars, some escaping into the wastes until their supplies failed them.

The Lesser Forges

Amongst Mars' dunes and upon its rocky outcrops lay hundreds of distinct facilities of varying size and importance. Many of these also fell to the lure of treachery, motivated by personal gain and old grudges. While these lacked the strength of aforementioned factions they were both more numerous and less observed. The cohorts of these petty warlords were already spilling blood and oil prior to the Schism's official outbreak. However lesser size typically relegated them to either targeting armies of a similar profile or serving under the banner of another. Magi who wished to avoid this took a different approach, manufacturing weapons of devastating potency to annihilate targets outright without the loss of a single construct.

More specialized organisations typically avoided both. One example of this was the Sisters of Cydonia, whose services are suspected to have resulted in the assassination of a number of important individuals over the course of the war. The sisterhood would later slink deeper into the shadows as their clients fell. Even the stringent and sometimes unwanted attempts of the Abyssii to eliminate the assassins only netted a handful of operatives before the attempt was called off. Another example was Ordo Reductor Gordecor. Despite not having set foot on Mars for decades, Diamon Gordecor was supposedly present for resupply when the Martian Civil War began. While his ship partook in the destruction of the Kepler Dorsum drydocks on Phobos, Gordecor was utilising his skills and that of his troops to crack open loyalist hold outs on the Red Planet's surface. During the run up to Insurrection Knight Houses loyal to the traitor Magos Mechanicum were equipped with the Knight chassis variants that would prove the most deadly to their former brethren: Knights Atrapos, Porphyrion and Proioxis.





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