Friday, 3 October 2008

Our brilliant campaign that ran in 2008/09

This is a narrative campaign, set against a backdrop of an Imperial task force (consisting of an alliance of several Space Marine Chapters, and the Inquisition plus their inducted Guard regiments) hunting down a war-mongering warband of traitorous, Chaos-worshipping Marines.

Here is a summary of the setting:

“For almost 1,000 years a force of rogue Space Marines, dubbed the Legion of Taurus, have plagued the Odothese Sector; raiding naval patrols and outposts, defiling holy temples, and inciting uprisings of Chaos cultists on several worlds.

The forces of the Imperium, led by the Inquisition, have finally traced these Traitors to a small, uninhabitable mining planet in a region of ungoverned space – Xergev’s Folly.

Avenging Eagles Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes thought they had the element of surprise when they launched their attack – but they were walking in to a trap, and the Space Marines were almost entirely decimated. The forces of Chaos had lured them deliberately.

Now other Chapters are being drawn to the planet, as well as Imperial Guard regiments indentured by the Inquisition – all aiming to hunt down and crush the traitorous Marines and the followers of Chaos once and for all.

But the
Legion of Taurus are expecting them.

And they have a plan...”

I'll just say a few things about the campaign:

  • although the narrative is focussed on Imperials v Chaos, ANY 40k army can take part.
  • the campaign will last for 4 fortnights (each fortnight making up a 'campaign phase'), and will culminate with an Apocalypse mega-battle.
  • at the beginning of every fortnight/campaign phase a list of scenarios will be given out, which are to be played by all participants.
  • at the end of each campaign phase the results of every battle will be added up, and which side has the advantage/upper hand will effect which scenarios are played in the next campaign phase.
  • each phase will have an additional twist to keep things interesting, e.g. from phase 3 players will be able to use an Apocalypse formation in their army, to reflect the escalating conflict

If you have any specific questions about the Campaign please visit this thread on the boards.

**edit - final conclusion **

If ever a man should gaze upon Hell, then surely he might see such as this, thought Brother Sergeant Lexus of the Ice Novas, as he crouched down on the parapet of the altar.  Around him were his squad, chosen honour guard of Captain Enigmius, crouched down also, as though at devotion – but merely attempting to shield themselves from the maelstrom that was breaking around them.  The parapet of the altar was slowly crumbling in on itself, being replaced by a swirling morass of dark energies, leering, snarling and forlorn faces momentarily appearing in the roiling tempest of unreality.  Either side of the altar a tumult of daemons was tearing in to the Imperials and their allies, slaying Tau, lunging at Grey Knights, blades clashing and sparking, dancing over the scores of traitor bodies beneath their feet.  Above them shot blasts of searing red plasma, fired from the immense form of a Warhound Titan, vaporising Marines as it struck beyond them.

Though the aural filters in his helmet kept out the sheer pandemonium of noise that was crashing around him, he felt each explosion and the slow destruction of the altar through his power armour, right through to his very bones.

Then suddenly a voice spoke through the vox-link in his ear, and the maelstrom of battle evaporated from his consciousness for a few moments.

“Brother Lexus”, said Captain Enigmius, the deep tones of his voice given a harsh edge by the distortion of the vox-link, “our battle line is breaking.  We have afflicted heavy casualties on the traitors, but we cannot repell the firepower of that Titan.  I have given signal to Captain Barrack to commence the bombardment.  The transmitter is in place, the charges will be here in minutes.  Give the signal to our forces to withdraw.”

“Yes, Captain,” responded Lexus without hesitation.  He signaled to his squad, and with the fluid motion of soldiers who have fought together for countless years, they scrambled back down the edge of the altar, pausing to cover their brothers with occasional bursts of bolter fire.

Charkaradon could feel the hunger of the daemon blade he wielded growing by the minute; it had tasted the blood of Imperial marines, Grey Knights no less, and it wanted more.  Despite the bulk of his Terminator armour, he spun and dived, thrusting and parrying with his blade.  He was so filled with rage and bloodlust that he did not notice at first when, one-by-one, the Imperials began to withdraw from the mêlée, fending off blows from the multitude of daemons as they did so.

Then he looked up at the altar.  Where the parapet had been was now an ever-changing havoc of dark coloured energies.  Bolts of dark power shot out and exploded against the walls of the cavern, causing dagger-tipped shards of rock to rain down.  Slowly, the very altar itself was collapsing in to the still growing warp rift.

Then Charkaradon noticed that beyond the altar, the Imperials were withdrawing.  He felt a moment of disgust that the loyalists were pulling out of the fray, but this vanished when he began to feel a deep, sonorous rumble rising up from his feet.  Suddenly this rumble became a roar, the ground shaking beneath his feet, and there was a deep, muffled booming noise, before a deep hole suddenly appeared in the ground behind his forces.  This chasm grew and grew, dragging a Defiler in to the fathomless depths beneath, the daemon engine clawing frantically at the edge and letting a hysterical metallic squeal before it vanished.
He began to feel the same rumbling beneath his feet before there was another muffled booming, and another chasm appeared, this one causing one of the stone columns supporting the cavern roof to collapse, and with a mighty clamour a large stretch of it caved in, smashing in to the Titan and swallowing it in a squall of dust and shrieking metal.
Charkaradon sneered.  So this is how these dogs think they will have their victory, he thought.  He looked around him; there were scores of bodies, a few Imperial, though mostly his own forces.  His own bodyguard had been struck down, all that stood near him were Khaine and the remnants of his Shadow Stalkers.  But there were dozens of daemons, snarling and enraged.

And there was Tauran.  His Master, now given flesh in the realm of mortals; now restored to reclaim what was rightly his.  The great Beast roared its defiance at the retreating Imperials from the steps leading up to the crumbling altar.  A cruel smile spread across Charkaradon’s mouth; the Imperials held the exit to the cavern, and now launched their seismic charges to bring it down on Tauran and his forces.  But they had not figured on an alternative route of escape for the surviving traitors.

Charkaradon nodded to Khaine, and to the daemons, and one by one they turned towards the still growing warp rift.  Before walking towards it, each grabbed the corpse of a fallen marine – traitor or loyalist – and hefted them up in their arms.

Then with Tauran at their head they carried them in to the warp rift, its energies enveloping them all, before a final salvo of seismic charges detonated, bringing the cavern down upon the spot where the altar had stood only minutes earlier.

In orbit above Xergev, two Imperial Cruisers and the Astartes vessel Purge of Weakness launched salvo after salvo of Planetquake bombs in to the surface, first causing immense ruptures to appear, then firing even more in to the massive chasms.  Then suddenly, they all stopped, and one by one began to turn away from the planet, heading towards the route out of the asteroid belt, back to safe space.

They were well clear of Xergev when the last of the bombs detonated, causing a cataclysmic shock wave to spread across the planet’s crust.  In a matter of hours enormous chasms that went all the way to the planets core split its surface apart.  As the core itself was ruptured, an immense gravity well began to pull the broken fragments back in on themselves, each turning and shattering and repeating, until after less than 24 hours, Xergev’s Folly was nothing more than an obliterated mass of stone and debris, lost in a massive, astral sea of floating rocks.

*           *           *
The Imperial Histories would record the campaign on Xergev’s Folly as a success; it had seen the traitors forced back, taking heavy losses – and as no contacts with the Legion of Taurus were to be recorded for more than a century, it seemed that the war had fulfilled its greatest aim.

For those who had fought in and survived the campaign however, the deeper truth belied a campaign which had been bloody and fraught with many losses.  The Space Marines of the Black Cross still kept watch over the broken body of their Captain, their apothecaries working day and night to restore him following his grievous wounds at the hands of the traitor’s Ork allies.  The Imperium’s Tau allies had lost one of their finest Shas’El, and their Ethereal had sustained terrible wounds.

And above all, the inducted Imperial Guard regiments and Storm trooper battalions commanded by Inquisitor Lazerus had seen scores of their men killed or incapacitated by the war.  It was the simple fighting soldiers who had given the most in their blood, sweat and tears in the prosecution of the enemy – a sacrifice that is all too often overlooked in the histories.

But there would be legends and heroes whose feats would be held in awe and wonder by those who followed.  Such was the reputation of Inquisitor Lazerus, who had led his forces to the greatest number of victories during the campaign, that rumours circulated of divine blessings, and there began a movement to call upon his instatement as Lord Inquisitor of the Odothese Sector.  It is not known how, if at all, he responded to these calls – but it is clear he did not heed them, as soon after the campaign he returned immediately to his duties, leading a number of investigations in its aftermath.

For the Space Marine chapters that had taken part, veterans of the campaign were granted the opportunity to mark upon their armour a badge representing the sand of Xergev and the blood of the traitor spilt upon it.  But there was little ceremony on the part of any of the Chapters, just records in their respective Librariums of the names of those Brothers who had been lost.  The Imperial Fists held laments for the falling of the 4th company Captain, Avron, engraving in to the stone walls of their Fortress-battle station Phalanx details of every victory he had lead, every traitor he had slain, until he fell at the hands of the daemons on Xergev.  The aftermath of the campaign was especially bitter for the Avenging Eagles and the Imperial Fists, as their brothers had been unable to rescue the bodies of the fallen from the traitor’s stronghold – the Eagles had therefore lost the gene-seed of almost an entire company.  Chaplain Athiel, the company’s acting commander, took a quest of penitence, vowing vengeance for the fallen, leaving his brethren for space unknown.

There were few military awards given for the campaign, although notably Sergeant Johnson of Lazerus’ Storm trooper battalions was awarded the Macharian Cross and the Purple Cross for his bravery and steadfastness in leading squads of troops on Xergev, and for his doggedness and determination even when injured during a battle with the Legion of Taurus.  He was offered a senior command post in the battalion, but turned it down, saying he preferred to fight as the other men and if necessary give his life as he had seen so many give theirs.

History would not record the role that Xenos allies played in the Imperium’s victory.  Indeed, shortly after the war the Imperial vessel that had been holding them was found adrift in the neighbouring system, its Naval crew and all Imperial personnel all dead, including Inquisitor Baxtren and his retinue.  Of the Tau there was no trace; their whereabouts remained unknown for many years after the campaign on Xergev, although some in the Inquisition linked it to an increased in sightings of Eldar vessels in the parts of the sector for some years afterwards.  Whether the Tau had been captured, or had willingly turned themselves over to the ancient Xenos, would remain an unanswered question.  But it was known amongst those in the Inquisition who had dealings with Baxtren that his charges were said to be growing increasingly unhappy with their arrangement with him...

Neither would the Imperial histories record the fate of the traitors and their allies, but their story would not end on Xergev.  The Space Marines of the Shadow Stalkers who had forsaken their oaths to the Emperor and thrown their allegiance to the forces of Chaos had taken heavy losses in the war.  Almost two entire companies had turned, and of it only a dozen survived, including their commander, Captain Khaine.  That such a number of loyal Astartes could turn traitor was a great stain to the rest of the Shadow Stalkers chapter, and they were ordered to undertake a Penitent Crusade to strike at the heart of Ork-worlds neighbouring the Gundate sector, in the hope their sacrifice might blunt the growing Waaagh! that would one day sweep across that sector.  As one of his duties following the war on Xergev, Inquisitor Lazerus lead an investigation in to corruption of the chapter, starting by checking their very gene-seed for inherent flaws.

The Orks of Warboss Lorimek had taken heavy losses during the war – so much so that before the war was over Lorimek had fled Xergev, with only a handful of boyz that had survived from his warband.  But typical of his race, the Warboss did not consider himself beaten – indeed, the war had seen him grow to one of the most powerful specimens of his race, and the few boyz that survived were now hulking, battle-hardened Nobs.  He returned to the Ork-held worlds beyond Gundate, and when there he commenced rebuilding his warband, challenging and beating a succession of lesser Warbosses.  Lorimek had foreseen the Waaagh! rising, ready to smash in to the ‘Humie wurldz’ in Gundate.  And his time spent with the ‘Spikey Beakies’ had taught him much that many others of his race would not understand – ‘taktiks’, sneakin’, and ‘just bein dedd kunnin’.  When the Waaagh! erupted he knew exactly what he was going to do.  Sneak round the side, like in an ambush, and attack ‘da humiez’ where they weren’t expecting it.  And the systems in the galactic South-east of Odothese, closest to the Gundate sector, looked like the best bet...

Although officially there would be no record of the presence of Tyranids during the war on Xergev, Inquisition agents were most perturbed by their presence, and investigations were launched to ascertain the nature of their presence.  It was still unknown, although the theory that had most credence was that they were captured by the forces of Chaos when their Hive Ship had become lost in the warp.  The other option, that they were part of a splinter fleet, was a harder and more worrying consideration...  Either way, the Tyranids observed on Xergev were not seen again – in the chaos of the destruction of Xergev, as the Imperial Fleet fled from the death of the planet, they did not notice a number of ships escaping in their wake – among them a small Hive Ship, that drifted silently across the Odothese sector, as though it were a hibernating creature, unnoticed by any Human vessels or other.  But its presence there did not go unnoticed across the vastness of space, and many light years a single-minded multitude felt its presence in the Odothese sector like a tiny beacon shining in the darkest night.  Though it would take many years, it would find this lost Hive.

Finally, the Legion of Taurus had suffered numerous defeats in the war, a source of much anger to their commander Lord Charkaradon – who himself had been one of the handful of traitors that had escaped the destruction of Xergev, fleeing in to the warp.  Although he had not committed the entirety of his forces to the war, those that had been lost were a blow to the Legion of Taurus.  There was some consolation that Khaine and his handful of surviving Shadow Stalkers pledged allegiance to the Legion of Taurus, repainting their armour in the brazen brass livery of the traitorous warband.

But ultimately, whatever the nature of their losses, the overall plan of Charkaradon and his forces had succeeded.  They had restored their master, the ancient daemon Tauran, the ‘Bull-headed God’, back to its mortal form, and now it would be ready to renew its conquest of that region of space.  Before this could happen, the Legion of Taurus would need to replenish its numbers, and Lord Charkaradon began making plans to this effect.

The resurrection of Tauran would be the greatest omission by the Imperial histories, an over sight that had the potential to be a costly one.  Few survived who had witnessed the emergence of this daemon, and they found little credibility amongst Imperial authorities.  Inquisitor Lazerus petitioned the head of his order to begin a full investigation in to the whereabouts of the daemon, and to purge any sign of its cult on Imperial worlds; but there were some of his fellow Inquisitors that were unconvinced of the evidence he provided.  Foremost amongst them was Inquisitor Chastaine, who argued that Tauran was a myth, and ancient pre-Imperial story that belonged to the heathen beliefs that held sway before the reign of the Emperor.  Though not all would agree, Chastaine’s argument had done enough to prevent to full resources of Odothese’s Inquisition being at Lazerus’ disposal in his investigation.

Yet this did not deter Lazerus, who sent his agents to uncover what they could about Tauran and the daemon’s possible whereabouts.  He was backed up in this by several senior Astartes from several chapters, including the Black Cross, the Ice Novas, the Avenging Eagles, the Imperial Fists, and the Marines Malevolent, who made a vow that they would keep watch over Odothese and its surrounding Sectors for any sign of the daemon’s activities.

It would not yet be proven however if the watchful eyes of the Inquisition and the Astartes would be enough to protect Odothese, as a storm was brewing in the Sector, slowly taking form in hidden chambers and secret meeting places on almost every Imperial world there.  For the resurrection of Tauran had not gone unnoticed to those who worshipped the Bull-headed God.  And when their Master came to lead them in the re-conquest of the worlds of the Odothese sector, they would be ready to rise up against the Imperium.
But, at least, when they did so, Inquisitor Lazerus and his allies would be ready to fight the forces of Tauran once more in the name of the Emperor.

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Liu Liu said...
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