Friday 27 July 2018

Preparing Blessings Unheralded - Wrath and Glory Intro Adventure


I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that I like a bit of 40K. I also play a lot of D&D. So when I heard about a new 40K based RPG with a focus on narrative and streamlined mechanics, I got all excited. I have played several previous 40K RPGs from Fantasy Flight Games, mostly Dark Heresy, and to be fair, had a lot of fun with them, but I always found the mechanics somewhat obtuse. When D&D 5E came into my life I pretty much abandoned the FFG games.

Wrath and Glory (by Ulisses), is something that looks much more to my liking. Having followed bits and pieces over the internet, including the rather spiffing comic features on the Warhammer Community, I find myself liking almost all of the design decisions made for this. I'm pretty much ready to love this game already, however RPG books are expensive and I've not gone full irrational fanboy just yet. What I really need is to try the game for a session or two first...

Enter Blessings Unheralded. An intro adventure that was until recently available to download for free. (It's now available for around 4 dollars from DriveThruRPG - other RPG PDF sites are available). I've managed to arrange to GM the adventure on Monday for a group including my wife and her LARPer buddies (NERDS!). So I've been spending a fair amount of time reading through the rules and the module and making notes, printing character sheets etc.

Most of the basics of the game rules seem to be in here, which seem quite nicely designed. Nice, simple, flexible core mechanics and enough complexity in options that I'm sure it'll cover most of the ideas the players have for creative ways to kill stuff. I personally am very interested in the character creation/tier system that seems exceptionally wide in scope, but none of that is in here yet so I'll have to trust that it will be good. The characters that are in here are rather well fleshed out though, with multiple special abilities and gear and a nice lump of background, including a really cool mechanic for objectives. Essentially the players roll a D6 at the start of the session, and consult the objective table for their specific character. The objectives are all narrative, for example Commissar Victoria Linn (who will be played by the wife - read into that what you will) has an objective that calls for her to threaten to execute someone for cowardice. Achieving the objective will grant an in game resource called Wrath that can be used for rerolls and other bonuses. It's a similar but more defined system to the Inspiration in D&D 5E.

(Image stolen from here)

The biggest issue for me will be running the adventure itself. I've never actually run a pregenerated adventure before, I've always made up my own stuff (with various degrees of success) so this is a little intimidating. I've read through it a couple of time and drawn myself a handy flow chart to get through it, so I'm doing my homework. I even found and listened to a recorded play through on Youtube - run by someone called ELH Mk 1 (who mostly seems to play Star Trek Adventures). Obviously if you are planning on playing the module, spoilers are found here!

My initial thoughts on the adventure is that it is quite well put together, with a nice investigative segment and some appropriately scaled fights, but does require a certain amount of 'bad stuff kicks off just as the PCs happen to turn up' which to me breaks the immersion a little - though perhaps it will be less noticeable to the players. As a pregen for a one shot it is naturally a bit railroady and most of the investigation just 'happens' when the players go to the right places, but I figure this will not be an issue if the players are proactive with their decisions, and if they are not then it's nice that they won't just be sitting around twiddling thumbs until things happen. I'm also happy to go off the rails if the players come up with some crazy ideas - which, let's face it, they probably will.

So I'm looking forward to Monday night. At this stage I'm nearly sold on the game, so I guess marketing works? I'll be back to post my 'review' of how the session goes sometime next week. Stay tuned!

The Fiery Fowlers’ First Foray onto the Field


Just came back from a fun week visiting friends and family in sun-soaked south Devon. During this time I managed to fit in a game of Blood Bowl at a lovely new games shop that has popped up since I last visited - Taylored Games in Kingsbridge. On the off chance that anyone reading this is in the area but hasn't already been in the shop, I thoroughly recommend it. Staff and customers were very friendly and welcoming (to humans and dogs) and they have a good range of nerd stuff.

So back to the Blood Bowl. The Fiery Fowlers (Sponsored by Nan Doe's Spicy Chicken) took to the field for a 'friendly' against an as yet unnamed Dark Elf team, coached by George. Given their current unbranded grey kit and their palid grey skin, I shall refer to them as the Injection Molded Marauders. 

Apologies in advance for the extra poor camera work on this one. The goblin snapper had shaky hands.

The Injection Molded Marauders received first and set up very aggressively, moving quickly up the flank. Flawless passing and pick ups got the ball moving quickly across the field.

I think these two brave 'flings got the Fowler's first removal - KO-ing an elf trying to move up the other side.

However this couldn't be replicated on the ball carrier, who managed to break free of the Halflings nibbling at his knees to run in the first Touchdown.

Upon receiving the ball the Fiery Fowlers tried to get the ball protected and moving up the field, but they were soon overwhelmed by the elf Marauders who quickly relocated almost entirely into the Halfling side of the pitch. Without the room to amble slowly up the field, the Fowlers got the ball carrier up to one of the mighty Treemen and flung him deep down towards the end zone. Sadly he landed on his head, which quickly led to another Dark Elf Touchdown.  

At the end of the first half the Fowlers had another go, and so nearly made it. I failed the Go For It roll into the end zone for the thrown Halfling having already used my reroll to dodge the ball carrier away from some elves. I then remembered the Halflings have dodge so I could have used that and saved the reroll. Oops.

For the second half the goblin got distracted by the Halfling Chef and only took the one usable photo. The Fowlers finally got points on the board with a third thrown Halfling. This was followed up later in the half with a fourth and a second touchdown for the Fowlers, though the IMM scored another as well. I remembered the Dodge skill and made good use of it to move the 'flings around the place and out of the grasps of those naughty elves. George had his elves get all up in my little Halfling faces, causing several injuries, though one of the Trees punched back hard, grinding one of the Line-elves into the dirt.

In the last turns of the game the Elves broke into the Fowler half with the ball once more. A spirited defense put the runner under pressure and knocked the ball off the pitch, but the bounce was sadly not enough for the 'flings to recover and score, allowing the Dark Elves to pick up, blitz through the defenders and score again. The Final Score: 4-2 to the Injection Molded Marauders in both Touchdowns and Casualties. Handshakes all round, beer out of the chiller, chicken off the grill. A defeat, but a fighting one and all things considered not a bad start for the Fiery Fowlers!

Sunday 22 July 2018

Battle Report - Mechanicus and Knights vs Chaos Marines


Another Admech/Knights vs Chaos Battle Report. This one was played a little while ago so I'm a little fuzzy on the details. It was 1750 points against John's 'current' tournament list (since then it has changed dramatically several times), playing Tactical Gambit with the short edge deployment.

My list was a Ryza Battalion and a Taranis Superheavy detachment.
HQ: Tech Priest Dominus (command point farm trait, Volkite blaster relic), Tech Priest Enginseer
Troops: 7 Rangers, 7 Vanguard, 6 Plasma Kataphron Destroyers
Heavy Support: 2 Shooty Kastelan Robots
Lords of War: Knight Crusader with thermal cannon and stormspear rockets (command point spent for Endless Fury relic), 2 Armiger Warglaives with meltaguns.

John took an Emperor's children Battalion and a Superheavy Auxilary
HQ: Daemon Prince (Elixer relic), Sorcerer on Steed (Warlord - bonus wound and feel no pain trait)
Troops: 2 units of Cultists (I think 12 per unit?), 18 Noise Marines
Heavy Support: 2 Deredeo Dreads with Butcher cannons, 1 with missiles, 1 with force field
Lord of War: Spartan

Deployment. I wedged my Destroyers behind a building and flanked with the Armigers, while John deployed mostly far back, with the Noise Marines in the Spartan. I kept the ranger unit at the back to cover a rear objective and protect against Tide of Traitors shinanigens. John got the first turn.

John kept his army back and his Noise Marines in their metal box. Some shuffling allowed targeting of an Armiger, which died. Some bonus firepower killed off the Vanguard. With a low gamble John took around 4 points with first blood. I realised I'd forgotten to use my Knight House trait (6+ FNP style save) and vowed to remember next time.

I gambled 2 and got the appropriate cards to get them. Knight and Robots moved up onto objectives, while the Destroyers had to slowly advance forward, being out of range of everything except cultists (which were mostly Phosphered to death). Armiger and Knight opened up on one of the Deredeos, aiming to reduce the firepower, while the Endless Fury split off to kill around 4 whole cultists.

Look at this. 7 wounds taken. Poor rolling from the Knight this turn! At this point I wish I'd taken the Taranis Thermal Canon relic instead of the Endless Fury. I did pick up enough points to meet my gambit and level the score.

John's turn 2 and the Noise Marines got out. Spartan ran off to backline while a single remaining cultist ran over to take an objective. I think John gambled and achieved 1 objective. Shooting took out the last Armiger and put some significant damage on the Knight, though most of it came from lucky shooting from the Noise Marines. After the shooting I realised I'd forgotten my 6+ Taranis saves. Never again, I told myself!

Due to decent table position I gambled for 3 objectives. Got an achievable draw with a requirement to kill a vehicle without it exploding, Hold the Line and Psychological Warfare. The characters wandered off backwards into the deployment zone while the Knight looked to secure the other parts by firing again everything at the Deredeo apart from the Endless Fury and the cultists it had previously failed to remove. I got 'lucky' and whiffed again with the gatling cannon, dropping the cultists enough to force a failed morale but not removing the unit. The anti tank shooting succeeded in taking the Deredeo down without it exploding. The Robots and Destroyers used the Elimination Volley stratagem to eliminate a truckload of Noise Marines. I think at this point I went into the lead on points.

John's turn and it was 'focus the Knight' time. He got cards to claim the objective in front of the Knight, which was precariously being claimed by one remaining cultist. John also needed to kill a character - in this case the Crusader!

Heavy fire from John's whole force killed off the Knight, but of course I pulled out Our Darkest Hour and he climbed back up to his feet on one wound at the end of the phase. This forced the Deredeo to fire elsewhere, killing off a few servitors. Needing to remove the Knight this turn to claim his gambit, John charged the remaining Noise Marines in, who died to overwatch, then failed to kill it with their shooting upon death. He then charged the Prince in, who survived the overwatch...

The Prince did enough to take him down! I played the Heroic Sacrifice stratagem to explode, killing that cultist and wounding the Prince. The Prince had just enough consolidation movement to stand on the objective and achieve John's gambit. As I removed my Knight I remembered that I had yet again forgotten my Taranis saves. Could have made a difference here, but wasn't to be.

My Turn 3 and suddenly looking in a bit of a weak position. Not much left, though the characters and Rangers were pretty far back and relatively safe, and the Robots were still in Aegis Protocols and therefore should be tough to shift.

Some shuffling got the Enginseer to claim an objective and enough shots on the Daemon Prince to comfortably remove him. Still got a few points but most of the hard hitters had already gone.

Johns turn. I forget the objectives he had but the Spartan and Sorcerer started to move up. The Lascannons made the Robots go away, while the Deredeo did likewise with the Destroyers. Ouch.

Moving into the later turns of the game, I was forced to gamble for 1 card, picking up a few points but giving some up as well. The warlord sacrificed himself to score the central objective, while the Rangers cowered, hoping for their objective to come up!

Newly painted Enginseer went into hide mode, trying to keep me from being tabled and hoping John didn't rack up a big score.

Another turn down the line and the Enginseer had resorted to examining this container.

The game went deep, turn 7 coming up and the Rangers had a mad dash to try and stay out of LoS of something while maybe hurting the Sorcerer.

Sadly they didn't achieve either. The game ended after the Sorcerer made a long charge into the Enginseer, who survived the combat on 1 wound. In my last turn he withdrew from combat into the back of the container, where the steed wouldn't be able to reach. So I avoided the tabling, and picked up a solid 20 points. However thanks to some strong, unopposed late turns John had piled on a massive 32 points!

I think this was a game where we both thought the other's army was stronger. John was quite scared of the Destroyers, but the deep deployment effectively delayed their shooting and allowed John to focus other targets. I also think I got pretty unlucky with the Knight's rolls this game (and it didn't help that I forgot half of them). In the end I think these were the factors that enabled John to come out comfortably ahead. 

Sunday 15 July 2018

Snakebite Gorkanaut Completed!


You may remember that I was working on a Gorkanaut before the Knight codex came out and I got all excited about my Armigers. Well, now I have finished that big old, rusty, steam-powered killing machine!

So this post is basically just me dumping all the pictures for you to look at, enjoy!

Monday 9 July 2018

Battle Report - Imperial Knights and Sisters of Battle vs Chaos Marines and Daemons


So this is the final game from John's birthday weekend 40k-athon, this time a 'quick' 1500 point 2v2 game. In this one I teamed up with the wife (who also took some of the pictures - probably the good ones) against Jim and John. We played Deadlock (start with 6 objective cards, maximum drops by one each turn) with the quartered deployment zones.

Our list featured a Super Heavy Detachment with 2 Armiger Warglaives and a Knight Errant -Camulus the Warlord with Cunning Commander (+1 command point and bonus reroll) and the Armour of the Sainted Ion (2+ save). We also took a Battalion of Adepta Sororitas, including Saint Celestine (obviously), a Canoness with Eviscerator, 3 squads of 5 Battle Sisters (2 with storm bolter/heavy bolter, one with flamer/heavy flamer), a squad of 5 Dominions with all flamers, a Rhino and a flamer Immolator.

Jim took a Supreme Command detachment with 2 Bloodthirsters and a Khorne Herald. One of the 'thirsters was the Warlord with some kind of feel no pain ability and a 4+ invulnerable save - I'm not really familiar with the daemon rules at all. John took an Emperor's Children battalion of Lord and Sorcerer on Steeds, 2 units of Cultists and a big unit of Noise Marines loaded up with Sonic Weapons.

I was pretty scared of those 'thirsters getting at my Knights, and of the Noise Marines having free reign to blast the Sisters...

Deployment. Sisters are in cover or in tanks, Armigers holding the flank with Camulus free to go where required. The Chaos forces form a wedge with the Bloodthirsters ready to leap out and cause trouble. The Noise Marines are behind the tower ready to move into the area terrain behind the tank traps.

We rolled first turn, and the Chaos forces failed to seize the initiative.

We got a reasonable draw of cards, requiring use to defend the objective far in our corner (a unit of sisters sat on it all game) and claim the objective that was by the cultists. Thanks to the Immolator/Dominions 'scout' move, they were able to get right up to the objective and burn the cultists off it. They prepared to sell their lives dearly. On the other flank the Armigers shuffled and Celestine waited for her moment to strike. My first Armiger fired at a Bloodthirster, causing the Warp Surge stratagem to be played. Camulus and the other Armiger then fired at the other Bloodthirster, taking a chunk of wounds off him.

Unsurprisingly the Khorne Daemons make short work of the Dominions. Jim decided against sending either of them after the Knights as I had moved back far enough to make it a very difficult charge, instead opting for the insurance policy of overkilling the sisters. I got a bit of flak for this 'dishonourable' move, but it was the smart option and I was taking this game much more seriously than the previous one, as I obviously had to impress the wife!

On the Knight flank, the Noise Marines poured Prescience/Veterans of the Long War fire into one of the Armigers, dropping it down to two wounds under weight of dice. John and Jim debated long and hard about how to split the fire from the inevitable Endless Cacophony second round of shooting, eventually deciding to split between the two Armigers. Somewhat predictably I passed all my saves for the already injured one, leaving me with two to play with.

I think they got a point or two for the other squad of cultists running around by some objectives, but I think we were ahead, having defended an objective at the back.

In our turn 2, we had some more reasonable cards, including Ascendancy and Hold the Line (love isn't always on time) but more importantly we had to deal with the key enemy units. The Knights moved up to the Noise Marines, firing from the hip at the Bloodthirsters. Both Armigers made it in on the charge, the injured one under the effects of Machine Spirit Resurgent to make the most of his chain cleaver. Camulus failed the charge however, which was disappointing for a number of reasons, one of which was that he wasn't quite in range of that objective denying us Ascendancy.

The Armigers took a chunk out of the Noise Marines, who in turn took out one of the Sisters squads while they died. This was extra annoying because they were the third unit in our deployment zone for Hold the Line. The Lord intervened, and between the two units they killed off one Armiger but left the badly damaged one alive.

Elsewhere on the battlefield fire from the Knights and now disembarked Battle Sisters took out the warlord Bloodthirster, while Celestine and the Canoness moved up to take the other out in heroic combat. It was previously wounded from the Dominion's overwatch so Celestine fancied her chances.

The sisters went in to the Bloodthirster, who was clearly disrespecting the Sisters by turning his back on them. Choppy stuff happened and the daemon was felled, but not before the monster interrupted and targeted Celestine, dropping her to one wound.

Daemons mostly cleared, but we missed out on 2D3 points from the cards. John and Jim didn't have many options to respond, but the Khorne herald avenged his greater brothers by charging and killing Celestine (for the first time) and the Noise Marines finally brought down the damaged Armiger.

With most of the threat removed Our turn 3 consisted mostly of Camulus and the resurrected Celestine charging Emperor's Children. We also had a squad of Sisters use an act of faith to double move and advance onto an objective to try again at grabbing Ascendancy, while the Canoness finished off the last daemon.

Celestine flew into the Lord, but failed to kill him and suffered serious wounds from the Lightning Claws in return. Camulus stomped on the Noise Marines, and followed up with a Thunderstomp Stratagem, reducing them significantly, and annoyingly killing off that Sister squad on the objective with their shots upon dying.

The last couple of turns featured the Lord killing Celestine (for real this time) and the Canoness and Camulus killing basically everything else, including atomising the Sorcerer with the Thermal Cannon and blasting cultists with carapace weapon that I consistently failed to remember the name of - now known as the 'hat gun'. Thanks to his 2+ save the Knight barely took any damage and at the end of the game he was facing down against a wounded Chaos Lord. I think we were ahead on objectives, but it mattered little because the Lord was about to receive a Reaper Chainsword to the face. John Conceded.

This felt like a fairly one sided game, but by the end John and Jim had picked up a respectable number of objectives and had killed off a lot of our force. We were left with the Errant, a Rhino and a squad of Sisters hiding at the back. I think we did well controlling the board and putting our units into favourable match ups - Knights vs Noise Marines and Sisters vs Daemons. It also has to be said that we were also largely lucky with our rolls. Our little group has given me the nickname 'Above Average Dan', I lived up to it this game and quite frankly the wife was even luckier. Clearly the Emperor/Omnissiah was with us against these dirty heretics!

Friday 6 July 2018

Battle Report - Adeptus Mechanicus and Chaos Marines vs Chaos Marines and Daemons


Bit of a crazy one this time! Regular-opponent-John and Irregular-opponent-Jim both had 1750 lists they want to try out (a fair amount of which is still being finished) so they stuck them together against two seperate 1750 point armies of mine. So for this game those Alpha Legion are totally legit loyalists, honest!

John's Emperor's Children had a bunch of cultists, some steed riding characters, 2 Deredeo dreads, and a (currently green and black) Spartan loaded with 18 Noise Marines. Jim's army was aligned to Khorne, with a combination of Daemons and Marines - 3 Troops, 3 Daemon Princes and 2 Bloodthirsters!

My force was made up of a 1750 point Ryza/Taranis alliance, featuring 2 Priests, Vanguard, Breachers, 6 Destroyers, an Onager, 2 Warglaives and an Errant. Alongside them stood the proudly loyal Alpha Legion, with a Lord, 2 Sorcerers, Dark Apostle, 3 Cultist units, 3 Marine units in 2 Rhinos, Autocannon Havocs, Claw Terminators and 2 Predators.

The set up. We decided to to long edges because on an 8x4 board short edges would just be silly. We also played that each 1750 point list had its own Warlord and Relic, and the mission was essentially 'classic' maelstrom, except expanded so that we held up to 6 cards each turn. With command points coming out of my ears I made use of Forward Operatives, dumping a big unit of Cultists by the daemons, shielding the Terminators and Dark Apos... I mean Chaplain. I won the roll off for first turn, but Jim seized with an Iron Warriors dice.

Predictably the Khorne units surged forward. A host of Daemons descended on the Terminators after shooting butchered most of the cultists. The Iron Warriors prince finished off the last of the cultists to allow the other Prince and the Bloodthirster to pile into and attack the Terminators. The Prince whiffed majorly and the Terminators interrupted to put some wounds on him, before the Bloodthirster turned them into paste. The Dark Apostle ended up surrounded by Daemons, but managed to do some damage with the Black Mace. (I mean Crozius Arcanum...)

Elsewhere not much of note. Some Spawn claimed an objective near an enormous pack of chicken (Chaos did it). John tried to focus fire on the Kataphron Destroyers but only managed to kill off 2.

My turn to respond and the Knights march forward. Elsewhere some marines get out of their Rhinos to charge up their plasma guns in the direction of a Daemon. My wife turned up with a lovely cake and took this picture. Look it's my hand! Shooting was good in places, reducing the Bloodthirster by the Knight to a lower bracket and clearing his Bloodletter screen. I played the Plasma Specialist stratagem on the remaining Destroyers and supercharged their guns into one of the Deredeos, killing it comfortably along with one of the servitors.

The 'Chaplain' killed the Prince with the help of a close range Daemon shell, but before he could explain himself the 'thirster chopped him down. My shooting on this side of the board was a bit more disappointing, failing to kill the Iron Warrior prince.

Tally Ho! The Knights of House Taranis go charging in. Camulus, riding the Errant, aimed to strike down the wounded Bloodthirster, but fails in his task. 

In reply the Bloodthirster cuts down the mighty warrior! I tried to play the Noble Sacrifice stratagem to cause a hilarious explosion, but fail to do so, even with a reroll. 

In John/Jim's turn the flying Daemons from the Terminator graveyard popped into the centre of the Alpha Legion force, trying to claim an objective by removing a squad of marines and the Rhino from it. Iron Warrior marines piled into another squad of Alpha Legionnaires. Elsewhere John's Emperor's children take a heavy toll on the forces of Ryza, reducing both units of servitors to one model and removing the Onager.

The Daemons find the Rhino tough to shift, and in my turn the Alpha Legion manage to clear the immediate threats, thanks to the psychic powers of the 'Librarians' and shooting from the heavy support units. However the Ad Mech force is very diminished, with only one Warglaive remaining, struggling to deal with a unit of Bloodletters. John's Emperor's Children still had a lot of shooting remaining...

John and Jim's turn 3 saw the Noise Marines finally disembark and butcher the majority of the remaining Ad Mech. Fire from the remaining Deredo and the Spartan took out one of my Predators and they grabbed a few more objectives. The last remaining Daemon Prince went into the damaged Armiger but failed rather spectacularly to destroy it.

At the start of my turn 3 I had a smattering of under strength Marine squads, some assorted characters, the Havocs, Predator, Rhinos and a damaged Armiger that was about to be killed by the Prince. We counted up the cards and found John and Jim were already ahead of me, and controlling much of the board. As much as I'd have liked to fight to the bitter end I decided to concede to save time and get a third game in.

In my mind the Alpha Legion Lord looked over to the stricken remnants of the Ryza force, then at the Emperor's Children Lord, giving him a knowing wink, and ordering the remaining forces to fall back. All part of the plan...