Jump to content

Welcome to The Bolter and Chainsword
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Faction: Cult of the Living Thresher (GSC)

Genestealer Cult

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1
ThePenitentOne

ThePenitentOne

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,424 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada
  • Faction: Sisters of Battle

This thread will be a repository for all information related to the Cult of the Living Thresher, a Genestealer Cult Crusade. In order to make this thread easier to navigate as it grows, this post will act as a Table of Contents.

 

01. Background

02. Prologue: The Fate of the Ashallon's Rage

03. Space Hulk Mission: Escaping the Ashallon's Rage

04. Escaping Ashallon's Rage Battle Report

05. Epilogue: Planetfall

 


  • Brother Dallo and walter h like this

#2
ThePenitentOne

ThePenitentOne

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,424 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada
  • Faction: Sisters of Battle

01. Background

 

My gateway into Warhammer 40k was Space Hulk; I played my first game in 1989, on a scratch built 3d board. Through Spacehulk, I learned about genestealer cults, and followed up by dabbling in Rogue Trader. I had the White Dwarf article with the GSC Limmo, and assembled a small warband. When Warhammer 40k 2nd edition dropped and we were shoehorned into the 'Nid dex, the warband grew to a small army- perhaps the heyday of the GSC. Then we went underground. I followed Tim Huckleberry's list- a great iteration of the GSC- but it always felt like I was asking for permission to play my army because they weren't mainstream. And without mainstream model support, my original GSC withered on the vine and I moved on.

 

Much of the motivation for this campaign came from my interest in exactly replicating the growth of a GSC from a single brood of Purestrain Genestealers. In order to succeed in this campaign, the GSC must infect Imperial Citizens on the small Agriworld of Orison's Wake, while avoiding detection by Sisters of Saint Katherine's Aegis or the garrisons of Imperial Guard. I thought it fitting to kick the campaign off by returning to my point of entry: Space Hulk.

 

This is a custom Space Hulk scenario that sees two terminator squads from the Blood Angels being torn out of reality by the Cicatrix Maledictum aboard a Hunter Class Destroyer. Little do they know, their ship is compromised by a particularly cunning brood of genestealers...


  • walter h likes this

#3
ThePenitentOne

ThePenitentOne

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,424 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada
  • Faction: Sisters of Battle

02: The Fate of the Ashellon's Rage

 

Long has the Imperium been beset upon all sides; even while Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade launched the final assault which would break the Cadian Gate, the Blood Angels defending the planet Ashallon were under siege by Hive Fleet Leviathan. Desperate battle raged upon the surface, and a membranous blockade of Tyranid Bio-ships surrounded the planet to prevent any attempts at evacuation. With each passing hour, the swarm closed in, pushing toward the last bastions of defense, and the shadow cast upon the warp by Leviathan had severed interplanetary communication.

 

In a desperate gambit, the Hunter Class Destroyer Ashallon’s Rage was dispatched to break the blockade. The Master of the Fleet had determined that a small vessel may be able to use its superior mobility to evade the long-range firepower and close-range attack organisms of the bio-fleet. If they could break the blockade, the tyranids would be unlikely to divide their forces to pursue a single destroyer.

 

The mission was simple: before the full might of the Tyranid hive fleet had revealed itself, the Blood Angels had reached out to the Ordo Xenos to secure tactical support for the war effort. Inquisitor Taryn Faust had marshalled 3 Deathwatch Kill teams and support units to assist, and with any luck, Ashallon’s Rage would meet them on the far side of the Leviathan blockade. Terminator Squad Cygnus under the command of Sargeant Varo Argentus and Terminator Squad Xenocide under the Command of Sergeant Ophaniel Pollus had been dispatched with the Destroyer to defend against boarding actions by the Hive Fleet. Their numbers were small, but the battle for the surface of Ashallon could not afford to spare additional assets on a mission that was widely acknowledged to be a great risk.

 

Breaking from the orbital dock above the war-torn surface, Ashallon’s Rage angled into the blockade to offer the smallest possible target profile to the massed enemy. Two of the larger, more aggressive Hive ships broke formation to engage, angling to attempt a pincer assault against the Marine vessel. Sergeant Argentus could feel the ship feint an ascent above the plane of the pincer before snapping into a tight descent to escape the coordinated attack of the ancient and deadly Leviathan Hive ships. As the lesser Drones that made up the bulk of the blockade scrambled to fill the holes left in the formation by the larger vessels, Ashallon’s Rage angled through another bone-grinding course correction, marked her exit point and accelerated into the gap.

 

The Terminators of Squad Cygnus were not afforded a visual image of the maneuver, but Sergeant Argentus could feel the impact when the ship was hit by a Strangler Drone. The aft quarters of the ship lurched as the tentacles of the Strangler constricted, and the corridors rang with the screech of chitin shearing metal as the diamond hard beak breached the hull on the starboard side. As one, the battle brothers released the harnesses that secured them and readied their weapons. The Strangler would release dozens of assault organisms into the confines of the ship if they did not act quickly to secure the breach.

 

And at that exact moment, halfway across the galaxy, the Cadian Gate fell and Chaos exploded into the Imperium, and the Cicatrix Maledictum tore a ragged scar across realspace. The Ashallon’s Rage was taken full force on a tide of raw warp energy, and the vessel was permeated by a roaring storm that broke everything down into static- Argentus felt as if the molecules of his flesh were separating, losing cohesion as the fury of the warp battered against the ceramite of his terminator armour. The Strangler Drone screamed into the breach as it was torn apart by open warp- one of thousands of bio-ships throughout the Red Scar that would be shattered by the storm.

 

Time lost meaning in the force of the storm, and Argentus and his battle brothers shouted prayers to Sanguinus and the Emperor as consciousness faded and Ashallon’s Rage was hurtled through the immaterium to the far side of space.

 

Upon emergence from the stuff of raw chaos hours or days later, the Ashallon’s Rage found herself lost in unfamiliar space, communication and sensor arrays scrambled, and surviving on auxiliary power. Though their Terminator Armour had kept Squads Cygnus and Xenocide safe, many among the ship’s human crew did not awake. Some had been ripped apart by daemonic entities in transit through the warp, while others had succumbed to the psychic shock of the Cicatrix Maledictum itself. Fortunately, the ships Navigator and Enginseers had also survived the ordeal, and as more and more of the crew regained consciousness, the repair efforts began in earnest.

 

With dead sensors, it was impossible to determine whether or not the Strangler Drone had dispersed assault organisms into the close quarters of Ashallon’s Rage before being torn asunder by the warp storm that had set them adrift through time and space. Argentus and Pollus divided their teams to support the repair effort, and set out into darkened corridors and silent catwalks…


Edited by ThePenitentOne, 07 February 2021 - 09:51 PM.

  • walter h likes this

#4
ThePenitentOne

ThePenitentOne

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,424 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada
  • Faction: Sisters of Battle

03: Space Hulk Mission: Escaping the Ashallon's Rage

 

As it urns out, the Strangler Drone did manage to deliver twenty purestrain genestealers into the Ashallon's Rage before it was destroyed in the warp storm. Unfortunately for the crew, these specimens hail from a Vanguard Splinter of Leviathan; many amongst them have fostered insurrections before- bonding with hosts telepathically often enough that they have developed a basic comprehension of human tools... And they know what must be done to make planetfall. 

 

Ashallon's Rage: Space Hulk Board

 

In a reversal of a classic Space Hulk scenario, the purestrains are attempting to evacuate the ship using automated evacuation pods, while the Marines are hoping to secure the ship. Two evacuation pods are located at each of the two mid-ship branches of the main upper and lower corridors. We represented these by placing the four escape pods from Kill Team: Rogue Trader in the vertical position; these would be moved into a horizontal position to represent the launch of the first pod and removed from the board to represent the launch of the second pod. 

 

This mission does not use blips. Instead, deploy 1d3 genestealers individually at any of the points marked 1, 2 or 3 at the end of every genestealer turn.

 

Because the Marines in this scenario begin scattered, you may only deploy one marine at each of the points marked A, B or C; one additional marine may be deployed at the end of each marine turn, entering play at A, B or C.

 

The primary goal of the genestealers is to escape the ship by reaching the pods. Once all 8 pods are launched, any remaining genestealers will then seek to destroy all of the Terminators.

 

A Few Notes on Design: The first two launch sites that the stealers encounter are easy to reach before the marines can get there. The remaining launch sites are much harder for the stealers to claim. This is by design: if fewer than four stealers escape, it may be hard for the cult to take hold. By the same token, if all 8 stealers escape, the Cult may grow so explosively in its early games that it overwhelms the other factions. The lower exit of room 1 and the upper exit of room 3 are so close to the evacuation pods that we blocked the passage with a bulkhead rather than a door. The bulkhead could be wounded on 6's and required two hits to be destroyed. This gave the stealer player the option of taking the clear path or investing the time up front to carve a more efficient route to the target.

 

A Few Notes on the Ship: I asked for lore support from B&C Fraters about ships before designing this ship. I wanted to find a ship whose silhouette could be mimicked by Space Hulk tiles. The Hunter Class Destroyer was as close as we could get. While my ship does reflect the silhouette of a Hunter, it is NOWHERE near scale. I've always had an interest in large scale ships as terrain, and I briefly considered modeling up the Ashallon's Rage. But I know there will be other ships that I can build that would be more central to the campaign, and it rather build one of those. I am not expecting this ship to make a second appearance in the campaign at this time, though stranger things have been known to happen.

 

If you're curious about the conversations that lead to the creation of the ship, you can find them here:  http://www.bolterand...ic-and-crusade/


Edited by ThePenitentOne, 08 February 2021 - 12:39 AM.

  • walter h likes this

#5
ThePenitentOne

ThePenitentOne

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,424 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada
  • Faction: Sisters of Battle

04. Escaping the Ashallon's Rage Battle Report

 

This won't be a full turn by turn breakdown of the game- turns are many in Space Hulk, and they go fast.

 

Escape from Ashallon's Rage Deployment

 

On the port side of the ship, the first Stealer to deploy went to work on the bulkhead to clear a path for the broodmates who would certainly follow, but the plasteel held fast against rending talons. While the sensors of the ship were still too damaged to detect the exact nature of the threat, the autosenses of the terminator armour detected the sound and vibration of the purestrain's furious assault; Sergeant Argentus proceeded toward the disturbance, ordering a bolter Brother to cover him and another to secure the starboard corridor. A fourth bolter Brother arrived on the battle bridge in response to the call for reinforcements.

 

Three lurking genestealers emerged- one from each crawl space- the port bulkhead held strong against the first stealer, but suffered its first wound at the hands of the second; on the starboard side, the purestrain decided to take a more direct route, hearing the difficulty its broodmates were having with their bulkhead. The genestealer from the center went to reinforce his starboard broodmate as well. Three more genestealers began to lurk.

 

This is where the battle got hazy. I think that command points allowed the bolter brother on the starboard side to eliminate his first Xenoform in the second Marine turn. The port bulkhead collapsed in genstealer turn three, and two stealers pushed for the secure corridor to the aft Evacuation Pod; on the starboard side, an emerging stealer got lucky and tore through the bulkhead in one turn! Two more stealers died in the corridor. By this time, the marines had managed to secure both corridors and the connected rooms in the center, and it was quite a blood bath. A few times, Stealers were able to cause jams or create blindspots, but they never had enough movement left to close the distance and kill.

 

Escape from Ashallon's Rage: the First Escapee!

 

By the time all 4 aft pods had launched, there were only three purestrains left on board. One manged to take out a single terminator in one of the center rooms; he would be the only marine casualty of the battle as all the remaining purestrains were put down in the following marine turn.

 

Post Battle:

 

Four stealers made it out alive. As noted in the previous post, I wanted to make it hard for fewer than four to get away, and also difficult for more than four. I will say that 20 stealers is not a lot when you think of how lethal Space Hulk can be. If I had it to do again, I would limit the marines to Argentus and four brothers with bolters. There's almost nothing marines can do to stop those first four from getting away... but they can really sit back and camp the last four pods, and all the remaining stealers just get chewed in the long fire corridors. I'd also let the Stealer player start with 1d3 Stealers in play rather than having them deploy in the first turn, and maybe make the bulkheads single wound targets. 

 

This battle was a learning experience; it's the first time I've done a battle report, and my opponent was fairly new to the game. I could have put far more into this first battle, but it was meant to be a quick entry point into the campaign, and I feel like I drew it out too much, waiting for it to be perfect when really, it's a small piece of a much, much larger story. Ultimately, it did what it was supposed to do: it determined how many genestealer purestrains would make it to the surface of Orision's Wake, and which models would represent them from here on in. 

 

The four escapees have earned their paint:

 

12 Months of Hobby- February Challenge 1
 
The one left was the first to escape and the one in the front was the second- both from the port side. The stealer in the back was the one who tore through the starboard bulkhead in one turn, and the third to escape. The final stealer to escape was the one on the right.
 
Though this was a Space Hulk game, it is the first game in what will become a Crusade, so I am giving the brood 1 XP. They are an undersized brood, and so not technically legal; this will become even more of a problem when one of them begins to evolve into a patriarch, leaving the first brood with only three models. It doesn't matter whether are legal or not though; I want to field them as is because that's what the story gave me.
 
All in all, it was a reasonably fun game, and a successful launch. I will paint the rest of the purestains and the Kill Team Rogue Trader scenery, and probably even the Blood Angels- and this battle may see itself fought again with the changes listed above, in a fully painted high production number. There will of course be other priorites.
 
Time to randomly determine one last thing: randomly determining which stealers head for which settlements- 1d8 for each stealer:
 
The first escapee rolled a 7: it flees to the ruins of Miro. It is known as the Old One.
The second escapee rolled 3: it flees to Talla. It is known as the Sycophant.

The third escapee rolled an 8: it flees to Nanx. It is known as the Strong One.

The final escape rolled a 5: it flees to Theryll. It is known as the Clever One.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Genestealer Cult

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users