The hastily improvised scenario concerned an Imperial research station that had been razed by xenos raiders and in its death throes had released a spherical warp storm. This would move randomly warping all those who come too close. If marines suffered the sphere's baleful glare there was the chance that both their bodies and minds would be warped causing them to switch allegiance.
The fall of the research station and subsequent warp 'leak' was the result of a raid by an unlikely alliance of chaos squats and orks. These xenos remained on site. Space marines had been mobilised to evacuate scientists on the scene. These scientists were hidden in the forest too scared to move out on their own. Meanwhile scattered around the landing zone were crates some of which contained teleport beacons that could be used by either side to bring in fresh forces.
|The devastated research station with warp sphere looming overhead. Pic prior to deployment.|
|The xenos variant crusader bot would operate on remote until its programming could engage the enemy.|
|The infamous Ork fat bastard Kulo. Troll with meltagun in background along with some of the ladz.|
|The xenos line. Two ork squads, a troll, some chaos squats and a crusader bot.|
|The space wolf bullock jet cycles split up to locate the teleport beacon and missing scientists.|
Brother Dorn swooped his cycle low over the forest. He spotted a ground car full of scientists. This was lucky as he had feared the evacuation would take some time. The scientists started the cars engine and slowly navigated through the woods.
< First turn a ground car was discovered. There were 6 'wood' sections on the board with the odds of finding a ground car 1 in 6. >
|The warp sphere moves towards the xenos.|
|The baleful glare of the warp sphere gifts long necks, scaly skin and poisonous flatulence.|
The warp sphere raced towards the xenos line causing chaotic transformations amongst the troops.
<While initially a neat idea the warp sphere proved impractical in play. We rolled mutations using the mutation table in rogue trader for each model within 3d6 inches of the warp sphere. Most of the mutations were cosmetic and none had an impact on the game. In hindsight it would have been better to have the sphere blast out randomly with models killed mutating into primordial ooze.>
The marine jet cycles kept a slow pace scouting the woods for the second group of scientists. While they didn't find them they did locate a teleport beacon and would be able to beam down a squad of Mk 1 Goodwin pattern terminators.
Brother Rogal powered down his bullock cycle guiding it into the cover of a ruined building before taking a pot shot at an advancing ork. The first shot fired in the game. He missed.
|The second ground car full of scientists is discovered by the chaos squats.|
|The first car load of scientists is halted by a variant crusader bot freshly teleported in.|
<The bots programming was fixated on the closest target, which in this case was the ground car. This kept it locked down for the game slowly whittling away at the cars large pool of damage points, doing one or two damage each turn from the cars total of 25. It was going to be a long slog unless a lucky blow took out the fuel tank.>
|The terminators port in and charge. The xenos flee. Sensible cowards!|
Russ and his brothers arrived on the xenos flank. He called on his brothers to charge the stunted ones while he brought his righteous storm hammer to bear on the crusader bot. The xenos fled, their stunted legs pumping, leaving the terminators looking foolish and out in the open.
The chaos squats, who had recently fled, turned and fired at the terminators. Their rounds bounced harmlessly off the marines terminator armour. Korgan the unburnt lit up the car sheltering in the woods causing the scientists to slam the now blazing vehicle into reverse.
<When charged you can stand and shoot or run away. Running away looks like a smart option with no downside. At least from our read of the rules.>
|Commander Russ hammers into the back of the bot which does not flee as it has WS 8! Korgan the unburnt watches on.|
<The Captain shouldn't have won this duel as he was outclassed. I got luck and rolled lots of 6's to hit. Bots are very hard to kill. Reducing them to 0 damage just means each subsequent damaging hit causes a malfunction where you roll on a table and need to get lucky to put the bot down. The table is too fiddly requiring you to keep track of lots of little things as bits are slowly damaged or destroyed.>
With the scientists located the jet cycles roared towards the xenos line hoping their speed would see them avoid ground fire. The squats and orks shrugged off the cycles bolter rounds and returned fire. Flames and bolter shells engulfed the bullock cycles causing their tanks to explode spectacularly. The flaming wreckage of three bullock cycles crashed into the forest starting a small blaze.
The warp sphere had drifted off the field of battle earlier as it floated past the xenos line and across the ocean. It returned to a largely abandoned quadrant where a crusader bot was slowly tearing apart a ground car full of scientists.
|Kulo dodges heavy flamer fire.|
|The bots programming sees it wailing on the ground car instead of more important targets.|
|Fragile jet cycles lit up by an ork flamer.|
|The warp sphere re-entered the board and warped the carload of terrified scientists.|
The terrified screams of the scientists changed to garbled chaotic gibbering and feral snarls. The scientists inside the car were warped into monstrosities and tore each other apart within the confined space. All the while the bot continued rending and tearing at the vehicle that steadfastly refused to blow up.
|After a failed charge Kulo is 'terminated'.|
|A crusader bot was knocked to the ground by the terminator Commander Russ. With damaged sensors it was 'out'.|
|The second carload of scientists reversed their flaming car to the teleport beacon and escaped.|
The scientists reversed the car to the ruins that housed the teleport beacon. This was no small task as the vehicle had been burning for some time after being hit by Kurgan the unburnt's flamer. The flames finally died down as the scientists scrambled into the ruins and huddled around the beacon. High above them the Imperial battle barge activated the teleporter whisking the scientists to safety. They had been evacuated. The forces of the Imperium were triumphant. The remaining leaderless xenos scattered into the ruins.
Here's what I learned:
- We did the jet cycle rules wrong. When reduced to 0 damage they should roll on the malfunction chart and not simply blow up. That should make them more resilient.
- The warp sphere was a non event. It had the potential to deny zones to the marines with its threat of corruption but its random movement saw it play no real role.
- Robots and vehicles are hard to kill. The malfunction charts don't escalate in severity when high amounts of damage is inflicted. The dreadnought malfunction tables are better thought out.
- Finally running from a charge seems to be a sensible tactic with no down side. Who knew.