Sunday, 29 June 2014

Holbronx- Turn 3

A quick update on the Holbronx campaign.  It's turn three and we have our first engagement!  The manufactorum at E9 is contested and we are awaiting the outcome... Howard's Dark Eldar have advanced in force while TJ's Blood Angels have used a 'Raid' action, giving him greater reach at the cost of less big guns to use in the coming game of 40k.

TJ has also grabbed the Aeronauticum, giving him the ability to strike deep into enemy territory from next turn.  Might he have overstretched his supply lines? Time will tell....

The imperials have so far concentrated on building a power base, all those resource tokens will come in useful!

Things have got to the stage where most of the hexes have been taken, expect to see a major escalation in violence, explosions, sneakiness and tough times from next turn!

Holbronx: prologue

While the campaign for Holbronx is hotting up we decided to play a final game in the prologue to the campaign.

After the initial occupation of the planet by the Dark Eldar, the beleaguered PDF were reduced to defending themselves from the night time terror tactics of the xenos who could at this point move around the surface of the planet pretty much unhindered, enabling them to harvest human slaves and spread misery at will.  After the desperate rescue of the astropaths by a courageous special forces group the imperials were able to send for help, and fortunately this arrived quickly in the form of a detachment from the Crimson Fists chapter.

The arrival of the Astartes provided a much needed boost to imperial morale as well as the required leadership to turn the tide.  Master Kantor however was confronted by the same problem: how to bring the highly mobile eldar into a pitched battle so he could destroy them.  Realising that the enemy would only attack where the imperials appeared weakest he assigned an Astartes detachment to wait in orbit ready to land at a few minutes notice, while keeping an apparently weak imperial patrol on the ground.

The eldar took the bait, advancing in force on a weakly held outpost they seemed poised to overwhelm the PDF defenders with their scattering of space marine allies, but the trap was sprung as drop pods came from the sky and unleashed their cargo.  The imperials inflicted grievous losses on the enemy, destroying dozens of eldar vehicles in several similar engagements the imperials had managed to break the back of the occupation.

The Dark Eldar are poised to dash forward into a deadly ambush, a taste of their own medicine!

The victory however rang hollow for some, the drop pod of Captain Jorge had scattered deep into enemy lines away from any chance of imperial fire support.  The vile leader of the Eldar, known colloquially as 'Vicious' killed the captain in single combat and was seen decamping from the battlefield, holding the severed head of the battle captain aloft while cackling in his incoherent alien tongue.

These events poised the imperials for a final victory, were it not for the arrival of the Blood Angels and their own selfish motivations.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The battle for Holbronx, preliminary map.

We're nearly ready to kick of this little campaign, and every campaign needs a map so I rustled this one up in Hexographer followed by some tweeks in GIMP.  My graphic design skills are a bit rough and ready but I think it gets the job done.  The triangular continent allows each of the three players to start in a corner and carve out some territory before the fighting begins.  I intend to back this map up with an actual planetary empires map, for which I've converted quite a few tiles, it hasn't escaped me that carting a 45 tile plastic map around isn't the easiest thing in the world so it might not happen and we stick to paper, we'll see.

The campaign kicks off with some background we came up with to tie up a few interesting games of 40k that lead to the campaign idea.  The overall aim is to keep it narrative, the Blood Angels are desperately trying to find a cure for the flaw, but it remains to be seen if they are being lead astray by a scheme of chaos.  The Dark Eldar seek to plunder and pillage as much as possible  before abandoning the planet, while the Crimson Fists and her Imperial Guard allies must secure the planet from all comers.

Campaign Introduction

The planet of Holbronx Prime is an Imperial agri/industrial world of minor note, faithfully supplying a tithe of food, machinery and soldiers to neighbouring imperial planets.  It has a population of 4.2 billion with 95% of production and habitation occurring on the principal continent of Pangea.  The Holbronx system was made compliant in the Great Crusade and has remained a relative backwater since.  Imperial Archaeologists have recorded evidence of ancient xenos activity on the planet.

Date M41.999.  In recent decades the planet has succumbed to the unwelcome attentions of xenos (species: Eldar) raids. At first these started as minor incidents, but escalated as the raiders gained confidence and started annexing larger population centres effectively using the towns and cities as labour camps.  This culminated in large swathes of territory falling into the xenos’ hands as they established a permanent presence on Holbronx and continued using human populace to their own ends (forced exportation, slave labour, sadistic entertainments, gladitorial combat, biological feedstock etc). It is estimated by the present time that 30 million imperial citizens are missing as a result of Eldar action. The local Planetary Defence Force suffered many reversals at first, losing control of their command and communication structure and having to resort to guerilla tactics on their own soil to wrest control of the communications network long enough to request aid from the wider Imperium.

Help arrived in the form of the Crimson Fists chapter, with Pedro Kantor himself marshalling the PDF to prosecute a successful campaign against the Dark Eldar.  The Imperial forces managed to push the invaders back to the coastal fringes of the continent and liberate several cities. They were poised to make the final decisive attack when matters were complicated by the arrival of the Blood Angels chapter.

The Blood Angels arrive

What truly motivates the Blood Angels is a mystery, and the arrival of a battle barge above Holbronx Prime was at first a cause for celebration for the Crimson Fists, whose Primarchs stood together against the tyrant on the walls of the Imperial Palace all those millenia ago.   That the battle barge manoeuvred into an assault stance over the capital while ignoring imperial communications struck the Crimson Fists as arrogance, what happened after was an outrage.  These most humane but aloof of Space Marines harbour the secret doom of the flaw.  One can only speculate how such a genetic flaw influences the decisions and responsibilities of the chapter, and the temptations and pressures that can arise.  It is rumoured that Dante has been forced to relent and allow a faction within the chapter to pursue every possible rumour of a cure, no matter how slim or unlikely.  If this is true then it is plausible that a faction of Blood Angels may be responsible for the massacre of loyal troops that occured in the capital city of Holbronx.  There is no doubt that the attack on the Basilica of the Martyred Angel is outside even the broad mandate of the Astartes, where brother opened fire on brother.  The imperial forces have been left reeling by this act.

This incident is unfortunate, as such desperate behaviour is indicative of the lies and hubris of chaos.  It is possible that the Angels have already taken a step down this path.  It is up to the Blood Angel commander to decide the path of his angels.