The Sword and the Maw
During the Indomitus Crusade, half-whispered rumors of a sinister vision circulated throughout the upper echelons of Imperial Command. Reports garnered from half crazed Astropaths and the Emperor’s tarot spoke of death, carnage, and destruction. Though those days of darkness were certainly filled with their fair share of war, snippets gathered from the far reaches of Imperial space revealed the visions to all have one thing in common; an image of a giant maw, wreathed in flame, and a broken black sword shielding an Aquila from the approaching darkness.
Though Guilliman quickly deduced that the maw represented the crazed brethren of his traitorous brother Angron, he did not fully understand the rest of the vision. Since the Great Rift opened up, World Eater war-bands had been seen in increasing numbers, rampaging and reaping skulls for their bloody master. The black sword, however, perplexed him; the imagery of the sword was common amongst Astartes and the Astra Militarum alike, and there was no way of knowing to which Regiment or Chapter it referred. This greatly troubled the Primarch, though he quickly found his attention drawn elsewhere. As with all things the Primordial Enemy sought to deceive, and this distraction could be willingly enacted to keep him from his duties.
The visions remained a mystery until a Dark Angels strike cruiser, the Penitent Warrior, began Warp translation en route to reinforce the Consecrators and aid in their campaign against T’au forces of the Sa’cea Sept. Containing elements of the 5th Company, Ravenwing, and Deathwing under the Command of 5th Company Master Hithram, the Penitent Warrior’s Gellar Field began to flicker and fail once in the Warp. Their astropaths’ minds became gateways for daemonic possession, and through the halls of the ship stalked unnatural, hellish creatures bent only on claiming the souls of the mortals onboard. Only through great effort by the Astartes of the 5th Company did the Penitent Warrior survive long enough to reach its destination. Upon realspace translation, however, a new problem made itself known.
Rather than heading to Ymcarl II to aid the Consecrators in their campaign against the upstart T’au, the Penitent Warrior found itself orbiting a Crone World, those worlds of the ancient Eldar’s Empire that was consumed by Slaanesh upon his birth into the Chaos pantheon. How this world, which was formerly located deep in the Eye of Terror, came to be positioned in Realspace outside of the Great Rift was a mystery to all on board. Realizing they were brought here by forces beyond their control, Hithram led his forces to the surface to establish a base of operations in the hope that they could contact Imperial forces about their sudden disappearance. During a recon of the area, Dark Angel scouts discovered an inactive Webway gate. Though initial auspex scans revealed that it lie dormant, the gate began to shimmer and shine with an unnatural light, and with a burst of energy it sprung into incandescent life.
Hithram, realizing that his options were limited, dispatched several squads of scouts into the portal. After what seemed like an eternity they returned with incredulous news; this webway gate led directly to a hidden gate on Terra, specifically in Hive City Golgotha, a city of immense importance in supplying penal labor to the immediate planets in the Sol System. Astonished, Hithram gathered his forces around the gate and ordered the Dark Angels to take up defensive positions while he met with members of his command to discuss his options.
From outside Hithram’s command platform, members from the 5th Company Veterans sounded the first alarm that this mission would be ill fated. Unnatural lightning flickered across the sky and an eerie mist rose like a tidal wall across the plain. Ethereal voices and whispers drifted amongst the hardened warriors of the Lion, speaking of power, glory, and death. Emerging from his command control center Hithram surveilled the perimeter, and as his robes bellowed in the unnatural wind he realized that his forces were going to be caught in a one of the fiercest warp storms that he had seen in his two centuries of service.
In orbit around the crone world, the Penitent Warrior lost contact with its ground forces as interference from the Warp storm jammed all their communications. Due to the nature of the 5th Company’s discovery groundside, almost all of the Astartes and their vehicles and equipment had been deployed to the surface. All that remained on board were the mortal crew, at least the ones that survived the warp journey, and a small force of Assault and Tactical Marines to guard the ship. As they watched the massive eye of the warp storm form and head towards Hithram’s position, their warning glyphs and runes lit up. With barely a chance to react, an ancient white strike cruiser from the time of Heresy made translation on its starboard side. In one instant the devastating broadside from the new arrival obliterated the Penitent Warrior, and all those upon it died in fire.
On the command deck of Red Steel, a warrior clad in the color of spilt blood felt the rage creeping up the back of his neck as he watched the Penitent Warrior breakup under the punishing broadside. He had been promised eternal slaughter by an Eldar witch in exchange for her life during his last campaign. The witch spoke of a gateway that would lead to Holy Terra itself and the millions of souls that occupied it. He had immediately eviscerated her of course, and armed with her information he made haste to the location described by her. Now that he was here it seemed he had been tricked, sent to a backwater planet of no importance, with nothing but the pathetic sons of a dead Primarch to slaughter. He turned away from the doomed ship, cut the head off the nearest cultist, and headed away from the command deck to the drop pods. With nothing but the raising of his fist, he committed the Astartes of the World Eaters and their Renegade Militia to a planetside attack. After all, the Blood god cared not from whence the blood flowed.
As the atmosphere, already writhing with unnatural lightning, lit up with the tell-tale streaks of drop pod entry and low altitude landing craft, Hithram realized they were not alone. All attempts to raise the Penitent Warrior were met with silence. It was only then that Hithram realized that some of those streaks were part of the Penitent Warrior’s hull breaking up in atmospheric re-entry. Dark Angel scouts spotted columns of armor and infantry, all adorned with skulls and the maw of the World Eaters, moving towards their position. And it did not take binoculars or the Astartes’ modified hearing to recognize the sound of superhuman voices repeating the same phrase over and over; Kill, Maim, Burn.
World Eater Renegade Militia forces drew up in practiced and regimented battle lines; Leman Russes thundered their projectiles towards the Dark Angel defenses, Las-Guns flashed in devastating fusillades, and the Astartes of the World Eaters charged forward with their Chain Axes revving, screaming in anticipation of the coming slaughter. In turn the Dark Angels stood resolute, contempt upon their faces for these bezerkers. Plasma melted men to dust and armor to slag, Ravenwing Bikers circled the enemy and picked them apart like the raptors of old, and the Deathwing arrived in brilliant flashes, weapons raised and storm bolters roaring.
Thus the battle of Hive Golgotha came to pass. Hithram realized that the Webway gate could not be lost to the World Eaters, while the commander of the Blood Tide, realizing that the Xenos witch had spoken true, sought to carve a bloody path to it. Hithram did not wish to sacrifice the bulk of the 5th Company willingly, and his Librarian and second in command Turmiel was already working on a way in which the Dark Angels could fall back through the portal and essentially short circuit it on their way out. However this required time and the survival of Turmiel to complete. Hithram, though optimistic, realized that if they could not survive they would destroy the Webway gate, thereby sacrificing their lives for the greater good of the Imperium.
On advanced the relentless horde of the World Eaters and their allies, the giant maw emblazoned in blood upon their arms and armor. Raising his black Heavenfall blade high, Hithram, clad in relic Cataphractii plate adorned with the broken sword indicating service to the Deathwing, raised a cry of defiance. Thus did the two armies clash over the fate of Hive City Golgotha in the eye of a ferocious warp storm, and the vision of Guilliman made manifest. Could the Dark Angels hold the World Eaters at bay? Or would the Sons of Angron claim victory for the Blood God?
Objectives and Win Conditions
Unlike other campaigns conducted throughout the universe, this one remains simple. The Dark Angels must hold the Webway Gate at the end of Turn 5 to earn a victory whereas the World Eaters must hold the Webway Gate at the end of Turn 5 to earn a victory. At the end of Turn 5, the player whose turn it would be next can roll a D6. On a 4+, the battle continues for one more turn. This dice cannot be rerolled through the use of Command Points.
However, there can be a major victory achieved for each force.
- Major Victory: The player controls the Webway Gate at the end of Turn 5 and killed Turmiel before the end of Turn 4. Turmiel’s death ensures that any attempts made by the Dark Angels to retreat will fail, their deaths ensured as only a matter of time.
- Major Victory: The player controls the Webway Gate at the end of Turn 5 and Turmiel survives through the end of Turn 4. His survival ensures that the Dark Angels can retreat through the Webway and short-circuit it, leaving the World Eaters to howl in desperate madness as their prey and opportunity slips through their grasp.
Deployment and Environment
The two armies will be deployed upon the long edge of the board using the alternating deployment method. Because the Dark Angels had prepared their defensive positions ahead of time, the Dark Angels player will go first and deploy one unit within 9” of their deployment zone, and then the second player will place one unit within 9” of their deployment zone, and so on and so forth until one player runs out of unit. The first player to do so gets to go in the first Turn, and at that point the second player finishes deploying their forces.
However, the second player can attempt to seize the initiative.
- If the World Eater player ends up being the person chosen to go second in the first battle round, that player can roll a D6 to seize the initiative. Due to the savage nature of the World Eaters, instead of only seizing the initiative on a 5+ they seize it on a 4+
- If the Dark Angels player ends up being the person chosen to go second in the first battle round, that player can roll a D6 to seize the initiative. However, because the Dark Angels have dug in to defensive positions, instead of seizing the initiative on a 5+ they seize it on a 6+.
The battle will take place during a Warp Storm, and thus will be subject to the rules and results present in the Chapter Approved 2017 Book.
Special Rules and Clarification
Each force will be approximately 3,000 points in strength.
For this battle, there will be a few special rules to represent the narrative campaign.
- Ethereal Dispersion: The raging Warp storm plays havoc upon previously reliable equipment. Those that are brave enough to deep strike or grav-chute into the battlefield are subject to the whims of the denizens of the warp. Unnatural claws scrape across their armor and nightmarish hellscapes dance before their vision as they attempt to land where they are needed most.
Roll a D6 when a unit arrives from reserves upon the battlefield. Units in reserve are those units that are not deployed upon the battlefield Turn 1 but arrive through deep striking or a similar rule.
On a result of 4-6, nothing happens and they arrive normally.
On a roll of 2-3, the deep strikers are dispersed. Roll a D6 and a directional dice; this represents where they would land measured from the spot chosen for them to land originally. If for some reason they cannot land because of enemy units or terrain features, put them as near as possible to the original point to where they can maintain unit cohesion. Disputes will be settled amongst the platers. Please note that this can result in them landing closer than 9” away from enemy units, though they may not be closer than 1” from an enemy unit.
On a roll of 1, the deep strikers are attacked by denizens of the warp. Repeat the above process. Additionally, the unit also suffers D3 mortal wounds and suffers a -1 penalty to shooting, charge distances, and fighting. This is cumulative for other modifiers for reinforcements, such as the -1 for shooting heavy weapons after arriving. Thus a terminator with an Assault Cannon would be hitting on 5+ instead of 4+ due to the -2 modifier.
- Battle-Hardened Resolve: Despite Warp interference, the fearless leaders of the armies stand fast and do not waver. Deep striking is second nature to them, and coupled with their iron will nothing will deter them from landing where they are needed most.
Characters are never affected by Etherial Dispersion and always arrive normally deep striking. However, this also means that the character in question cannot choose to be dispersed with his squad, and separation from those he commands is a calculated risk when battling the enemy.
- Psychic Powers: Smite beta rules apply during the game. However, unlike the beta rules you can still attempt a psychic power that failed with a different psyker.
For example, if Turmiel attempts to manifest Righteous Repugnance and it fails, Turmiel cannot attempt to manifest Righteous Repugance a second time. However, a second Dark Angels psyker can attempt to manifest Righteous Repugance. If this psyker succeeds, then no other psykers can cast Righteous Repugnance. If that psyker fails, he cannot attempt to manifest the same power again but another one can, so on and so forth.
- Deep Striking: In addition to Ethereal dispersion, this game will adhere to the Deep Striking beta rules.
- The Rule of Three: Due to the nature of the game, the rule of three will restrict the ability to create a thematic and fluffy army that fits the narrative play. This rule will be ignored.
Edited by Company Master Holden, 20 April 2018 - 02:55 PM.