Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Assault on Angelis: A Prelude to War

My Swords and Wizardry campaign is on temporary hiatus for the next few months as our group has decided to take a break to run a Warhammer 40K campaign.  I'm pretty excited by this as my usual miniature gaming consists of pick-up games against random opponents at the local game store, which lacks the context of an ongoing series of battles with the continuity and story line that is only possible in a campaign.  It also gives me a strong incentive to get my Ork army painted.

For those unfamiliar with Warhammer 40K, it is a game of gothic sci-fi horror set in the 41st millennium, and emulates the cinematic action of such movies as Aliens, Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, and Starship Troopers.  Mankind has spread across the galaxy, a founding a vast empire ruled by the Emperor on Terra, who has occupied the Golden Throne for over 10,000 years - kept alive only by his supreme force of will, his broken, decayed body maintained by stasis fields and psi-fusion reactors.  But mankind teeters on the precipice of extinction, assailed on all sides by enemies - from the ravenous and horrific Tyranid Hive Fleets, the rapacious and warlike Ork hordes, and the treachery of Chaos,which seduces and twists even the Emperor's most loyal subjects.

The antagonists in our campaign:
The Dark Angels (Garth Bowman) are one of the founding chapters of the Space Marines.  There are one thousand space marine chapters consisting of one thousand men.  This works out to about one space marine for each inhabited world in the Imperium.  The product of genetic engineering, brutal training, and the most advanced weaponry known to man, the space marines are mankind's ultimate warriors.  Each marine's battle armour provides the armament and protection of a modern tank.  Picture a cross-between the Imperial Sardaukar troops from Dune, and the Mobile Infantry from Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and you've got the picture.  The space marines are humanity's first line of defense, endlessly pitting their skill and courage against insurmountable odds.

Space Marines from the Crimson Fists chapter

Chaos Space Marines (Jordan Nykolaishen) are apostate space marines who have become corrupted by the taint of chaos and have forsworn their oaths to the Emperor; they now serve the dark gods and their own twisted desires.  Betrayers and traitors all, there can be no greater stain on the honour of the space marines than their fallen bretheren.

Chaos Space Marine
 (picture shamelessly swiped from Google Images)

The Tyranids (Steve Snaz) hail from beyond the outer reaches of our galaxy and travel through space their Hive Fleets consuming all biomass in their path, leaving nothing but barren, lifeless worlds in their wake.  Most tyranid broods are mindless killing machines whose actions are psychically controlled by synaptic link to the inscrutable and horrific hive mind; they are protected by chitinous exoskeletons and armed with teeth, talons, and biomorphic weaponry.

Tyranid Hormagant of Hive Fleet Cthonian

Orks (Sean Robson) are the most warlike alien race in the 41st millennium, and they adhere to single over-riding principle: the weak are ruled by the strong. There is no corner of the galaxy free of the ork menace - they roam the space ways in drifting hulks and fleets of Kill Cruisa's, looking for new worlds to conquer and dominate; they don't much care where they go as long as there is something to kill when they get there.  If the orks were ever to unite under a single banner they would over-run the galaxy with a green-skinned tide.

Ork Nob with prosthetic power-claw

I'll be posting periodic campaign synopses and battle reports detailing the struggle for control of Angelis Prime, which should be of interest to the participants at least, if no one else.


sirlarkins said...

That's a nice mix of armies. Never played 40K, but I used to play a lot of Epic Space Marine and I had an Ork army--my force was a mix of Bad Moons, Snakebites, and the Kult of Speed clans.

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