Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daughters of the Final Autumn - Retributor Squad Greta

For decades Greta fought as a Battle Sister of the Order of Our Martyred Lady, serving with distinction in battle after battle.  Even as an older woman, she survived the Third War for Armageddon as a Veteran Retributor Superior.  Her squad recorded scores of Ork kills, tearing piles upon piles of greenskins to pieces with Heavy Bolter fire.  Though her squad suffered fifty percent casualties, they still counted themselves lucky at the end of that engagement.  So many of their comrades had not.

Unfortunately for Greta, as she aged and became less and less expendable, she developed a nasty habit of standing up to the Ministorum.  She rarely questioned any influence they tried to impose in battle, though she did grumble about it a few times.  No, she was a consummate warrior who obeyed orders. It was the time between engagements which brought out her coarse attitude towards these men. Her experience, strength, confidence, and respect from her peers inflated her ego and she became less and less willing to endure the arrogance and conceit of the Ministorum Priests and Confessors who served with the Order.

Greta's seminal moment came, as they sometimes do, very late in her life.  A young Abbot named Erocus was assigned to the Order of Our Martyred Lady after the losses suffered at Armageddon.  He was to oversee their operations in the Convent, including the orphanages and the spiritual well-being of the Adepta Sororitas. The "disgusting little despot", as Greta secretly labeled him, swiftly assumed as many responsibilities as his station allowed, making swift, hollow decisions.  He was obsessed with sin and the cleansing of the spirit. He insisted that it was his duty to forge the shame of sin into spiritual steel fit for service to the Emperor.  He often took it upon himself to personally scourge the sin from parishioners and Sisters alike.

The younger Sororitas accepted this behavior, of course.  Their prevue was battle, of course; not The Message. It was not their place to question it. Of course, Greta had learned to detect certain behaviors in men, particularly those placed in unfit and undeserved positions of power.  She kept a close eye on his activities whenever she could make the time, though she also had many confidants and spies throughout the order reporting to her.  

It was on a cold day in the depths of winter when she received a note from one of her informants. Young Sister Ovis had been taken by Erocus for aggressive questioning.  Tears stood in her hard, sunken eyes at the thought of the sweet and loyal Battle Sister taking lashes and floggings, and possibly (Emperor make it not so) because of Greta's scrutiny.

In an extremely uncharacteristically hasty move, she dashed for the Abbot's quarters where a pair of Sororitas flanked the closed door from which muffled screams emanated.  One glare from the respected (and unarmed) Veteran Sister Superior made the young, armored Battle Sisters back away from their posts. 

Even without her power armor, the aged Greta easily kicked the locked portal open with a crash and she beheld a ghastly sight.  The disgusting, pink, naked, writhing Abbot intertwined with the weeping, bruised, and bloody young Battle Sister.  Greta only had a moment to note the girl's eyes were filled not with fear, but rage and embarrassment.  Greta felt fleeting pride, but then bounded across the room, mindlessly scooping up the Abbot's rosary.  

She blacked out.

Minutes later, she came to her senses.  She saw an image of herself in a massive, gaudy mirror.  She held the lifeless body of the Abbot with her powerful legs and she had the rosary constricted around his slim neck.  His eyes bugged out from their sockets and his face was purple, contorted into a ghoulish mask of its former dashing appearance.  No, she thought, that had been the visage.  This was his real face.  She unceremoniously allowed the corpse to slump to the cold floor and she spat upon it.

Greta quietly stood up and walked towards the door.

"Oh, Sister Superior, no!" Ovis had finally become fearful.

She didn't even look at the young Sororitas.  "Do not show weakness in front of me, girl. Put your clothes back on."

She walked out of the room and down the twenty flights of stairs to the dungeons where she incarcerated herself so she could stand trial and executed for her crime against the Imperium.

Of course, that is not the end of her story.  

Oddly, her trial was delayed for weeks.  She was treated well by the young sisters she had previously instructed.  This, of course, quite disgusted her.  She was a traitor to the Emperor! Had she not taught them to hate people like her and seek vengeance against her for such crimes?  Still, a small, secret part of her was glad to have been so beloved.

In time, she had a visitor.  A smiling woman in a longcoat entered her cell with two Sisters in tow.  The two seasoned Sisters showed a hint of fear on their faces.  This gave Greta pause.  Greta's visitor could have been her daughter, probably in her mid forties.  She had a hard face and a very severe hair style wound up so tight her face must have screamed for mercy at the stretching.  

"Are you here to pass judgement upon me for my treachery?"

"And burn you at the stake?" She did not mask her amusement as she removed her purple, silk gloves.


The woman tittered as she removed her longcoat, revealing from underneath the accouterments of a Lord Inquisitor.  

For once in her life, Greta's countenance fell.  She tried like hell to regain her composure, but she could find no breath.

"My name is Lady Inquisitor Deborah Webster of the Ordo Originatus. You have been tapped for service to resurrect and restructure the Adepta Sororitas Order of Autumn which is now called the Daughters of the Final Autumn.  Your tenacity and quality of character are exactly what we need for our new Mistress of Recruits."  She smiled warmly.

If Greta recalled correctly, that Order had been admonished by the Inquisition only a few short years ago.  Admonished with sin-cleansing flame.  "Our?", Greta whispered. 

"Forgive me.  Their.  Of course."

Greta had annoyed the Inquisitor.  She glanced at the Sisters who had escorted the Inquisitor into the cell.  They seemed quite shocked.  Drawing strength from that, Greta quickly  found herself.  "Yes. Yes you do.  Of course you do.  That Order was nearly destroyed by damned fools.  You'll need people like me to keep new recruits from running afoul of more damned fools." 

"My thoughts exactly."

~ * ~

This is my first unit in both the Independent Characters Hobby Progress Challenge and the Freebootas Motivational Challenge.  I wanted to make sure I got this in before January ended, though it meant putting off my commission again.  Now that this is done, I'll have to move on to that again.

At any rate, I think this is the scheme I'm sticking with.  The guns are a little sloppy, but I'm happy with them overall.  This squad's banner depicts the planet Jupiter.  All of the squads will use a celestial body in the Terran system for unit designation.  As with all the Characters in this army, this one is named after a strong woman in my life who selflessly helped raise me; my grandmother, Greta.

The model looks nothing like her.

Remember to *CLICK* to zoom!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Star Eagles Battle Report - 2000 Points versus Space Wolves

Captain Taigana glared at the Space Wolf Battle Barge hanging above the planet.  Malice baked off the courageous III Company Captain.  Sergeant Chane shuffled next to him, unsure of what to say.  Fortunately for him, the Captain broke the silence himself.  "How did it come to this, Chane?  How is it that we find ourselves in this position?"

"The Wolves like a fight, sir."

"But how much longer must we entertain these... frivolities.  We have serious business to attend to."

"Yes sir."

"And the drinking.  Our supply of spirits has nearly run dry!  Have you ever seen such drinking?"

"Not ever, sir.  However..."

"However what, Sergeant?"  Danger! Danger!

"I was just going to say, it has been a treat to fight them. The 7th and 9th Company Brothers are learning a lot.  Their combat simulators are better than ours.  It doesn't hurt that they fight much like Chaos does."

"Don't let them hear you say that,"  Chane could hear the grin cracking across the Captain's face in his voice.

"Not a chance, sir."

"Well, let's make sure they are the ones supplying the drinks tonight!"

"Certainly, sir."

~ * ~

I had a game last night against Phil's Space Wolves.  We rolled up a regular mission, getting The Relic and Dawn of War.

Phil brought Logan Grimnar, a Rune Priest, a huge squad of Blood Claws, two units of Longfangs with missiles and Lascannons, a unit of Wolfguard in a Rhino, a separate squad of Wolf Guard as sergeant attachments, two or three Wolf Guard Battle Leaders, a unit of Grey Hunters in a Rhino, a Dreadnought, and a Vindicator.

(Remember, be sure to *CLICK* the images to see them larger!)

I brought Captain Taigana (Calgar), Mganga Moto Mwitaji (Level 2 Librarian taking Pyromancy - rolled Molten Beam and the Primaris), a squad of seven Assault Marines in a Pod with a power Axe and two flamers, six Tactical Squads in Drop Pods all with matching special and combi weapons (3 Melta, 1 plasma, 1 grav, and 1 flamer) and 2 Deathwind Missile Launchers, a 5-man squad of Kivuli (Legion of the Damned) with 3 melta, and a 6-man Devastator squad with 4 Heavy Bolters. 

Phil won the roll and chose to go second.  The Devastators deployed on a building.  He deployed his army in one large cluster on his left flank with one devastator squad alone on his right.  Phil rightly chose to reserve his Terminators and Vindicator.   As I nearly always do, I combat squadded the entire army.

I dropped in on turn one, putting the three Melta pods against the main firebase and the Assault Squad with my HQs against the single Devastator squad on his right flank.  I figured in this way, I could overwhelm him with the troops and save the command for counter-assault and tying up the bulk of his army while a late-game pod took the Relic.  I stunned a rhino and vaporizing the other, then blew both weapons off the Dreadnought.  

 I did some light troop damage throughout his army.

Phil manages to obliterate a combat squad and spread a bunch of damage around in both shooting and assault.  A couple of the Combat Squads are able to get away thanks to Taigana's (Calgar's) tactical acumen!

Sadly, the Blood Claws fail their charge.  This was a really unfortunate turn of events for Phil. 
More Star Eagles arrive and put lots of holes in the Space Wolves' lines.  

Mwitaji burns very large holes in the remainder of the right flank.

Several squads charge into the remaining Wolf Guard and Grey Hunters.

The Vindicator and Terminators arrive, destroying a Drop Pod and killing a few marines.  The Blood Claws assault into the scrum while the two Wolf Guard attached to the squad go after a different combat squad.
This happens.

The remains of a combat squad which had escaped from the clutches of the Wolf Guard Battle Leaders, with the assistance of a single, lonely Marine with a Meltagun, destroy the Wolf Guard.  

Taigana challenges Logan and the epic combat on the enemy lines continues!

The fight on the enemy's left flanks slowly grinds throughout the game.

"No you don't, Megatron!" The Brave (and probably nuts) Mganga pushes Taigana out of the way to fight the challenge for him!  Madly enough, Logan only does one wound to the insane pyromancer.

"Get out of the way, Hot Rod!"  Taigana jumps in and shoves the Mganga away only to be cut down by Grimnar!

The VII Company boys drop in and grab the Relic.  "Who wants a treat?  Come get your bone! Come get it, boy!"
With the remnants of the Space Wolf troops tied up in assaults or on the far side of the board, the game ends with a 5-1 Star Eagle victory.


I've played four games with a Pyromancy Librarian so far and I must say that I quite like him.  This time, having the Level 2 upgrade on him was really nice from a utility standpoint and well worth the 25 points.

Of course, Calgar is an amazing choice.  I honestly love being able to basically use the old Combat Tactics.  I may have to add some bitz to better represent him on my Taigana model.  Right now, the model can have two fists magnetized on, but I need to add a sword.   Phil said he didn't see the guns on the fists, but I insist that the fists are the guns... they shoot off his arms with rockets, punch the opponent, then return to the character!  Fist Rocket-A-Rang!

The special weapon mixture seems to be working really well.  With two squads of flamers, a squad of Grav, a squad of Plasma, and three squads of melta, I seem to always have the tools I need to get the job done.

The small squad of heavy bolter Devestators was nice to have.  They made quick work doing cleanup throughout the fight, but they were useless for two or three turns as they watched on as the enemy was tied up in combat.  It was a neat way to try something new and fill my last block of points, at any rate.

Not having any anti-air might be a problem for this list.  It wasn't much of a problem the last time I took it against some other lists, but it still hasn't really been properly tested against a flyer-heavy list, particularly Heldrakes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Time of Adepticon Waxes and, Once Again, List Angst!

Another Adepticon is in the crosshairs.  I'm fairly certain that my kvetching from the previous Adepticon and from Da Boyz GT will not make a resurgence.  I think that I know I want to bring nice-looking and fun models over competitive choices.  That's kind of a given at this point as I always come out of a GT glad that I brought the pretty models and received accolades for them.

Having said all of that, I do foresee a little bit of hemming and hawing.

The thing is, I do want to compete. I want to build a cohesive list which stands a chance against at least half of my opponents.  The list needs to be fun not only for me, but my opponent.  If I can at least surprise a tough opponent, if not win, that'll please me.

SSSSHHHH! Be vewwy vewwy quiet! I'm 'unting 'UMMIES!

This year, I think that WAAGH! Drillteef really does need to hire Boss Snikrot again. It's been quite some time since their paths have crossed, but I'm having trouble shifting my opponents' forces around the board and threatening their flanks.  Given, Snikrot can no longer assault after coming in from reserve, but he's still a threat, especially with Mad Doc attached and a couple of Burnas in there. Snikrot, combined with Shazzo Blitzklaws (Boss Zagstruk),  I might generate enough threat to get my opponents to bunch up.  If I can get my opponents to bunch their models up, I should be able to focus my assaults and support my own units when they invariably lose their transports.

With the use of the Stormboyz and Kommandos (and probably a pair of Dakkajets because they are among my best models), It may be that it's time to take the Defense Line out of retirement or use WAAGH! Tower (my Bastion) with the Comms Relay.  That Relay can be a real help when you absolutely need models to come in or stay out at a clutch moment.  It's not a guarantee, but it's something. Although WAAGH! Tower is kind of a pain in the butt, it does give me something to hide an objective behind and provides a pillbox for Lootaz.

I would also love to bring some Flash Gitz, but I'm probably gonna draw the line there.  My Goff Rockers models would be so rad for that unit and I could use the Electrork Mayhem as their transport. The unfortunate part is that they're a heavy choice and I don't think I'm ready to give up a Heavy slot just to bring in the band.

So here's a list of the stuff I think is on the "must have" list for various reasons:

Adepticon 2014 - 04

1414 out of 1850 Pts spent

1 Mad Doc Drillteef, 160 pts (Warlord)

1 Big Chef Grubzog, 40 pts (Bosspole)

10 Gretchin, 40 pts
   1 Runtherd

1 Deff Dread, 105 pts (Count as Troop Troops; Dreadnought CCW x2)

3 Meganobz, 180 pts (Cybork Body)
   1 Trukk (Red Paint Job; Reinforced Ram)

4 Kommandos, 155 pts (Burna x2)
   1 Boss Snikrot

1 Dakkajet, 130 pts (TL Supa Shoota x3; Flyboss)

1 Dakkajet, 130 pts (TL Supa Shoota x3; Flyboss)

7 Stormboyz, 169 pts
   1 Shazzo Blitzklaws

1 The Fat Pig, 105 pts (Red Paint Job; Reinforced Ram; Big Shoota x1)

1 Orktimus Prime, 105 pts (Red Paint Job; Reinforced Ram; Big Shoota x1)

1 WAAGH! Tower, 95 pts (Emplaced Heavy Bolters x4; Comms Relay)

That leaves us very little room for Troops.  I'm kind of torn on the Looted Paladins. They are one of my coolest konversions as far as I'm concerned and I'd miss them sorely.  Having said that, I really hate going in light on Boyz and I'd also love to add more bodies to Snikrot's squad and possibly Cybork Bodies.

Also in my head is the possibility of dropping my Big Chef and taking Old Greg (Zogwort).  It would really delight me if I even got one opportunity to make a Buff Commander or some other jerk turn into a Squig.

Not sure. I'm going to leave the rest open for discussion and thought for now.  Please throw a comment below if you've got any ideas besides asking Adepticon to give Orks more points... **because that's what we really need**!  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Aftermath of the Grim Dark of January and Things to Come

Before getting into it, I want to genuinely thank all the players who came to the event.  I know some guys have kids and one gentleman drove all the way from Poughkeepsie.  Thanks also go to all the wonderful stores (Dirty Goblin Games), Forums (the Freebootas and the ICs), and clubs (the Overlords, some local colleges) who let me promote the event.  Thanks, of course, to Grimfoe Games for hosting the event.

My initial feelings going into the first tournament our group has run since moving to Grimfoe were trepidatious to say the least. I'd been ill for a couple of days prior and the responses to the store for sign-ups were light.  However, think I shouldn't have fretted so.  I believe that, as we have more events and get the word out about our commitment to the community and friendly attitude, we should start drawing more people.

When the day of the event came, however, everyone came on time and were excited about starting.  As the first game progressed, I felt really comfortable with the turn-out of our first tournament and I feel that, as we gain a reputation for running events, that should improve.  It was good to start using the format and getting people used to using it.

During the first game, one of the store owners informed me that they had some damaged box goods that we could use to sweeten the pot and make another trophy with.  I thought that was a rad idea, so I took one of the kits, built it, and made another trophy.  So, the winner this time got $40 store credit, The Goldensprue Cup, and The Damaged Box Bonus Prize.  I think that, in the future, this prize might instead go to the furthest traveler or the person who took last place.  We also gave away a $30 second place prize and a $30 hobby prize going to the best army which did not win first or second place.

Congratulations to all the winners!

For the most part, response to the Bay Area Open format was very positive.  Some players would rather see less of one deployment or mission, but that's all personal preference.  I won't be making changes to any of that.

The attendees also seemed to really like the effort to compromise on terrain placement.  In case you are unaware, we had set narrative terrain for the tournament with the positions marked underneath with masking tape.  Players with Fortifications replaced one of the pre-set pieces completely on their half of the table with their Fortification and then players were all allowed to move one piece of terrain completely on their half of the table.  This allowed players to have some say in what their deployment zone looked like while, at the same time, reducing aggressive terrain placement and saving time during the event.

I would say the terrain density and placement compromise was an unqualified success.

The games were a fun mixture.  I randomized which missions would be played and this is what we ended up with:

Game 1:  Bay Area Open Scenario 4 - Crusade primary and Emperor's Will secondary
Game 2:  Bay Area Open Scenario 3 - The Relic primary and Big Guns Never Tire secondary
Game 3:  Bay Area Open Scenario 2 - The Scouring primary and Purge the Alien secondary

People seemed to enjoy this mixture of scenarios. However, I should note that folks were a little scared of what to expect on game three. Some really hoped we would not get a similar game or deployment to the previous two games.  I think that, in the future, for these small tournaments that having a few different 3-game sets to choose from might be a good idea instead of making each and every game random.

At any rate, we had a fine time for the most part.  There were some really fun moments and a couple of frustrating moments for our players as tournaments tend to draw out in people.

Here are the standings.  The sheet from the last game went missing, so I am unsure whether our Ultramrarines player truly had 13 points or 16 points. It doesn't matter anyways, because win/loss comes before Battle Points in the standings which is an important feature for me.

Place W/L/D Battle Points
Tyranids (5th Edition) Take all comers with biovores, doom, ymgarls, Tervigons, gaunts, hive guard, and some flying monstrous creatures
Ultramarines Extremely mixed bag with a stormtalon, a thunderfire cannon, assault centurions, devastators, assault marines, tactical marines, and a captain with a command squad in a drop pod.
Blood Angels Another nice mix including a Librarian with a jump pack, several mixed assault squads, a tactical squad or two, a dakka dread, an aegis with a quadgun, and a ba'al predator.
Imperial Guard Huge infantry army led by Yarrick.
Iron Hands Bike army with a captain and a chapter master, one on a bike and one with a jump pack, a Storm Talon, with a stalker and vindicator for support.
Black Templars A mixed bag of troops in rhinos, on bikes, and in a land raider with a bike commander leading them and vindicators for support.

In the end, Curtis's 5th Edition Tyranid list makes a great showing and he hoists his trophies in victory, sweet victory!

And then a few of us took a delightful trip to Denny's...

At the end of the day, this was a great event for trying out this format.  We'll have another tournament after school lets out in June. Between now and then, I'll be running a 40k campaign in the store. Details shall emerge sometime in early February.

If you'd like to see more images, go ahead and click one of the pics below to zoom in and you should be able to page back and forth to view them all.