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  1. THE CRUENTES Arkrath, the Hand of Khorne DAEMON PRINCE, 11PL For ten thousand years, the Astartes who would become Arkrath, Kratus, has led his warband of Chosen Terminators. Entering the Long War as a veteran warrior in the ranks of the XII Legion's Terminator elite, Kratus was frequently found in the most bloody of battles. This boldness amassed for him a significant following of Terminators, and they adopted the moniker of Red Butchers, once a reviled and pitied name but one that had since taken on a new sense of respect in their new worship of Khorne. It was from these same ranks that a warlord named Bardûl rose to prominence, his single-minded devotion to the Blood God eclipsing even Kratus's own. When Bardûl declared the founding of the Aksha'i Cruentes and the start of the Red Crusade, Kratus stood beside him, ready to go to war with the galaxy. As Bardûl's chief bodyguard and confidant, Kratus defended the man who called himself Hand of Khorne, as well as delivering justice to those who impeded the Bloodfather's dominance. It was not uncommon for Kratus to be dispatched to kill other Champions of Khorne who had displeased the Hand in some way. During the War for Janus, however, Bardûl grew impatient with the gifts his Daemonic patrons bestowed upon him, and he drank too greedily from the well of power that is Chaos worship, transforming into a monstrous Chaos Spawn. The power vacuum was quickly filled by the former Terminator Champion, who tore the symbolic chainfist from his erstwhile master's broken Terminator plate and took it for his own. Kratus's ascent was meteoric, and before long he was courting the same Daemonic patrons as his former master. Unlike Bardûl, however, Kratus's ambition and arrogance were tempered by personal sacrifices, having suffered several grievous wounds, including the loss of his own leg. Such losses displayed a certain dedication to the Lord of Battles, however they were still defeats in the eyes of the Blood God and would be punished. After one such defeat, Kratus was whisked away to the Warp before the alien witch's magicks could kill him. It was there that Kratus was first imprisoned and tortured by his patron, known to him as Ska'nzand the Wrathforged. He was held here for eight hundred years, by his perception, however never did his faith and determination waver. Impressed by this, Ska'nzand released Kratus on a quest of penitent rage throughout the Eye of Terror for another eight hundred years. In realspace only hours later, a winged figure manifested before the Cruentes, who were on the verge of tearing themselves apart to find a new leader. Monstrous in stature, this figure was armoured in what appeared to be a mockery of Terminator plate and bore a warped chainfist on its right vambrace. It did not use the name Kratus, for the man who bore that name was dead, it said. This was now Arkrath, the True Hand of Khorne. Warlord Trait: Hatred Incarnate Relic: Gorget of Eternal Hate Rank: Legendary Battle Honours: Scorpion Tail (Chaos Boon) - +1A Serpent's Fangs (Chaos Boon) - +1 to wound in first round of combat Warp Stalker (Chaos boon) - reroll advance and charge Razor-edged - improve AP of melee weapon by 1 Blackstone Shard Amulet - cannot be targeted by psychic powers Null-field Disruptor - ignores invulnerable saves Baruda, Blood Priest of Kharneth DARK APOSTLE, 6PL An early convert to the Cult of the Blood God, Baruda was instrumental in the formation of the Cruentes. He wears the charcoal black armour of Loyalist chaplains in dark mockery of his misguided counterparts. Baruda is an extremely - and some might say excessively - zealous individual, to the point that those around him view him with slight unease. However, there is no denying that his entreaties to the Dark Powers are an effective tool. He knows the Dark Zealotry, Wrathful Entreaty and Illusory Supplication prayers. Warlord Trait: Eternal Vendetta Relic: Mantle of Traitors Rank: Heroic Battle Honours: Detestation (Path of the Righteous) - cannot be targeted by psychic powers Stoic Fervour (Path of the Righteous) - 6+ FNP, 4+ FNP vs mortal wounds Just Killer (Path of the Righteous) - +1S when attacking units smaller than his Daemonic Flesh (via Chaos Reward Requisition) - unit gains +1T Aspect of Khorne (via Chaos Reward Requisition) - once per game free use of Fury of Khorne or Scorn of Sorcery stratagems Razor-edged(?) Crozius (via Victor Bonus) - AP of Crozius improved by 1 Thrax Gorechosen EXALTED CHAMPION, 6PL Thrax is a wandering traveller, claiming to be an original member of the War Hounds Legion and claiming to be the bearer of the coveted relic, Gorefather. Regardless of the truth to his words, the Berzerkers who follow Thrax into battle are invariably inspired to great deeds of bloodshed as Thrax himself frequently seeks out the strongest enemies he can find. Warlord Trait: Flames of Spite Relic: Gorefather Rank: Blooded Battle Honours: Sigil of the Shadowlord - 4+ Invul, 4+ FNP vs mortal wounds Validon's Bloodthunderers 8x KHORNE BERZERKERS, 10PL Validon is one of the Cruentes' longest-serving Berzerker Champions, and has been instrumental to the cohesion of the Cruentes as a fighting force. He instituted a gradual change to the Eternal Warrior's fighting pits: instead of individual combat, the pits would focus more on squad-based combat. Through repeated training in this manner over hundreds of years, the instinct to fight in a squad of brothers became so ingrained that even in the deepest frenzy, Berzerkers would know to fight together. Validon leads seven Berzerkers, collectively known as the Bloodthunderers. Rank: Battle-hardened Battle Honours: Hate-fuelled Butchers - +1 to WS Divine Guidance (Path of the Righteous) - improves melee AP by 1 Dreior's Hunters 8x KHORNE BERZERKERS, 10PL A newer member of the Cruentes, Dreior is a vat-grown gift from Fabius Bile's gene clinics. Implanted with false memories, he believes himself to be a veteran of the Long War, and despite his relative youth, he is a consummate fighter. He and his squad are often seen breaking through enemy lines and hunting down specific targets. Dreior leads seven Berzerkers simply known as the Hunters. Rank: Battle-hardened Battle Honours: Bitter to the Bone - can choose their Wanton state Fervid Focus (Path of the Righteous) - can move horizontally through terrain and models Trusted Hounds (via Warfleet Favour) - can choose a character's aura to always be in range Gorm's Stalkers 8x KHORNE BERZERKERS, 10PL Another long-serving member of the Cruentes, Gorm leads the newest inductees into battle. His strict command gives these initiates their first taste at combat, and puts them on the path to becoming fully-fledged Berzerkers of the Cruentes. Gorm's habit of consuming the flesh of the dead, however, often permeates through the ranks of those under his command. As a result, a significant number of Cruentes share his cannibalistic tendencies. Gorm leads seven Berzerkers known as the Stalkers. Rank: Battle-hardened Battle Honours: Hate-fuelled Butchers - +1 to WS Fervid Focus (Path of the Righteous) - can move horizontally through terrain and models Serpentine Fangs (via Dark God Favour) - Gorm's attacks gain +1 to wound on the charge Covenant of the Bloody Hand 20x CULTIST MOB, 5PL Despite this cultist warband's high attrition rate - or, perhaps, because of it - the cult members rarely have any trouble finding more volunteers for their ranks, as few mortal followers of Khorne can resist being given the opportunity to have their blood spilt on the battlefield. Members of this warband have begun adopting a sigil of a bloody handprint as they are inducted, signifying the dead passing on their covenant to the new warriors. Rank: Blooded Battle Honours: Believers of the True Faith - gain the Let the Galaxy Burn ability Murdax's Butchers 10x CHAOS TERMINATORS, 19PL Led by the dangerously ambitious champion, Murdax, the Butchers are a sub-warband of Terminators within the Aksha'i Cruentes. Fierce warriors all, this warband adopted the nickname of Red Butchers upon their descent into the worship of the Blood God. With Terminator plate being difficult to manufacture amongst the Traitor Legions, and with the World Eaters' excessively high attrition rate, the warriors in the Butchers are, ironically for their namesake, some of the more measured of the Cruentes. However, this should not be taken as a lack of aggression - they are capable of as much as their Berzerker brethren, however they have all trained for millennia to hone their use of the Butcher's Nails. Rank: Heroic Upgrades: Red Butchers (via Specialist Reinforcements Requisition) Battle Honours: Ambition's Edge - Murdax gains +1A, +1W and +1Ld Trusted Hounds - can benefit from certain character auras outside of range Hate-fuelled Butchers - +1WS Fervid Focus (via Path of the Righteous: Glorious Ceremony Requisition) - can move horizontally through terrain and models Vervek the Condemned HELLBRUTE, 7PL Vervek's fate is a cautionary tale for any individual who stands in the way of a mighty Champion of Khorne and his glory, for this former Terminator stole a trophy kill that Kratus had claimed. In the eyes of the Blood Father, of course, such triviality didn't matter - however, in the eyes of the corporeal judge and executioner claiming the god's authority, he was little more than a usurper. Vervek was carved out of his Terminator plate with little care, being no more than a head and torso before he was entombed within a Dreadnought's sarcophagus. Rank: Battle-ready Xarian the Bloody Idiot HELLBRUTE, 7PL Once the champion of a whole Cruentes warband, Xarian - formerly known also as Doomgore - was deposed of his position after it was apparent that he did not deserve to lead. Originally, he was the lieutenant of a rival World Eaters warband, the control over which he seized through betrayal, before he pledged them to the Cruentes. As a reward for bolstering their ranks, Xarian was gifted with command of his own warband and a rebellious Daemon sword. The sword resisted Xarian's ownership at first, having not been seized through combat. However, after several battles, Xarian appeased the weapon by stabbing it through his own stomach. Amused by this attempt at sacrifice, the sword appeared to capitulate. It soon became apparent that the sword still had not deemed Xarian worthy. Even though its power had been unlocked, it still rebelled at some of the worst moments possible, often leading to Xarian's defeat. Out of frustration, several conspirators - including Kratus and his Terminators - turned on the champion, dismembering his body and burying the Daemon sword deep within the Eternal Warrior. Xarian was kept alive as an amusement, more than anything, and was interred within a dreadnought sarcophagus. Xarian is a Helbrute, armed with a plasma cannon and hammer. Rank: Battle-hardened Battle Honours: Hate-fuelled Butcher - +1 to WS Despoiler Without Mercy - +1 to BS Chaos Rhino Motorpool CHAOS RHINOS, 4PL x2 Ranks: Rhino I - Battle-ready Rhino II - Battle-ready Rhino III - deleted Bardûl the Wretched Fool CHAOS SPAWN, 1PL A horrid, mutated mess of flesh, Bardûl is kept by the Cruentes as a "living" cautionary tale for those who would squander the gifts of the gods. Bardûl was once a mighty Champion of Khorne, blessed by the Blood God's favour and a promising locus around which the shattered remnants of the World Eaters Legion could gather. However, Bardûl was tempted with more power than he could bear. One of his Daemonic patrons offered him a tiny sliver of immortality, but the Chaos Lord demanded more. In a painful twist of hubris, the mighty Hand of Khorne was wracked with torment as his wrathful masters poured ever more mutating power of Chaos into the champion, until he was no longer recognisable. Rank: Battle-hardened Battle Honours: Fleet of Foot - +1Mv, +1 Advance and Charge rolls Grizzled - 6+ FNP THE PACT CRUENTES - DAEMONIC ALLIES Gorethane RENDMASTER, 7PL Equally at home hewing through ranks of foes from atop its warped chariot as it is duelling with enemy champions, the Gorethane is a dark master of battle. It can be seen directing its Bloodletter hordes from the front, always eager to slay. Warlord Trait: Glory of Battle Rank: Battle-ready Bloodseeker SKULLMASTER, 7PL The Bloodseeker is a swift butcher, and one of the first Neverborn to swear allegiance to Arkrath during his penance. Wielding the accursed axe Bloodbane and thundering into battle atop a loping Juggernaut, the Bloodseeker is a terrifying foe in battle. Relic: A'rgath, King of Blades Rank: Battle-ready Bloodletter Packs 6PL Rank: Battle-ready Bloodcrushers 6PL Rank: Battle-ready Flesh Hounds 5PL Rank: Battle-ready
  2. With Codex: World Eaters just around the corner, I thought it was time to bring up the topic of how to approach a new codex release with an existing Crusade. The natural reaction to any new Codex might be to simply start again, but I find that solution extremely unsatisfying. Being a narrative format, it would be disappointing to simply throw out all the narrative development I've put into this force so far. On the other hand, the Chaos Warband rules for CSM are pretty powerful, as far as benefits go. I have lost most of my battles, but all three Glory trackers are at Favoured status thanks to a judicious use of Agendas. And when a Chaos Warband is Favoured in a category, they get some significant discounts on important Requisitions - especially increasing supplies and adding WLTs and Relics. Importantly, there's no requirement to use those free Requisitions on CSM units, so you can add free WLTs and Relics to allied units as well... There is one big disadvantage to this, however: if you have started a Chaos Warband, your trackers always go down in every battle, regardless of whether you even use CSM units or not. But to increase your Glory trackers, you must use your Warband Champion in battle. This means your Champion is always exposed to battle scars, and our campaign house rules state that scars can only be removed if a unit skips a battle. This is why Kratus, prior to his ascension, was being used in every battle (even when not the best choice) and had accumulated two very detrimental battle scars. For several battles, Kratus had been unable to perform Heroic Intervention, for example. Ultimately, my concern is that I have benefited heavily from using the Chaos Warband rules, and those benefits might not be replicable with Codex: World Eaters, so they might feel undeserved. But then I did the Agendas and I suffered the battle scars on my Champion, to my detriment in many battles. So, I have a solution: All CSM-specific battle traits and Crusade relics will be exchanged for the nearest World Eater equivalents. Arkrath benefits from keeping all his pre-ascension Chaos Boons. This is something currently unique to CSM, since both Death Guard and Thousand Sons Daemon Princes lose their boons upon ascension. I don't know which way World Eaters will go, but if WE Daemon Princes lose their boons on ascension, then I will need to drop those as well. Similarly to (2), any benefits gained through the Chaos Warband that can't be done using the World Eaters' rules will be reversed. For example, Dreior's Berzerker squad gained a battle trait because I had a Favoured Warfleet - if World Eaters don't have some equivalent mechanic then I'll simply remove the trait. If Berzerker PL changes to account for the new Berzerker Eviscerator, I may need to change unit sizes or I'll be at a significant disadvantage. The main reason they're at 8-man squads now (other than Khorne's number) is to match the 1:20 PL/points ratio. Units that I've lost access to will need to be replaced with their nearest equivalents. The last one will be easy enough for most things: Thrax the Exalted Champion will become a Master of Executions and the Cultists will become Jakhals. But the Dark Apostle, Baruda, will be a bit trickier. I may have to consider giving him a new weapon so he can conceivably use the rules for an MoE as well, but it feels boring to have two virtually identical characters. I'll have to think on that one. Of course, all of this is assuming that World Eaters even get Crusade rules. There's no reason to believe we won't, but this Codex is looking like enough of a departure from existing 9th edition Codexes that there's a small part of me that wonders if maybe we won't. But hey, if that happens then I'll just continue using the CSM Crusade rules!
  3. Terminators have to be some of my favourite models in the game. Personal tank armour? Hell yeah! I've been sitting on a couple of boxes of the newer Chaos Terminators for some time, but have been hesitant to build them with Codex: World Eaters around the corner, especially since some earlier rumours suggested that there wouldn't be any Terminators at all. Now that we've seen all the releases and have multiple leaks indicating that Terminators are still in, I feel a lot more comfortable working on some replacements for Murdax's Butchers. Here are the first five members of the new Butchers: The heads and crests are 3D printed to resemble the old Forgeworld upgrade kit. The heads are a simple STL file, but the crests came from a Berzerker head kit that I modified to fit the Terminator armour body. I also added some weapons and bits from the new AoS Chaos Chosen kit for a little variety, and added some chains to the weapons to resemble the upcoming Berzerker kit. Murdax himself is already made from the new Terminator kit, so once these guys are done it'll just be a matter of making four more Terminators to round out the squad.
  4. Took a month, but Arkrath is finally done! Painting red Daemonic flesh when the model is also wearing red armour is always tricky, so I went with the option of painting the flesh like a redder version of his moral skin tone. Of course, had to slather on the blood for the oversized chainfist! I expanded on the rock that the Daemon Prince model comes with, making it feel more like the type of rocks the rest of the army uses. I also added some more similar rocks made it feel less like a random "hero rock". I'm also particularly pleased with how the bionic leg turned out - I've been wanting to do a biomechanical Daemon for years! That Venomcrawler leg just happened to be the perfect bit and I couldn't be happier. Overall, I'm very happy with how it turned out. The Daemon Prince model is such a great kit, I honestly can't get over just how neatly everything fits together and how many options it has. It did take a long time to paint, though - there are just so many details. I noticed several details that I missed just while taking these photos, but honestly, it gets to a point where you have to call good enough "done". Enjoy!
  5. I didn't get to play a game last week, so instead I got some more hobby done! I hesitate to call it progress, since it's really just a distraction from getting stuff done that's been sitting in the Pile of Opportunity for too long, but hey, it was fun. Not content to just say "Kratus has bionics under his armour now", I went online and found a cheap ($1) bionic leg STL, fired up the old Photon Mono and made Kratus a new leg to represent his recent battle scar. I took the opportunity to fix a few things about the model I didn't like: his old pose made him look like he was leaning a bit, I moved the right shoulder pad up a touch to emulate the newer Terminator design, and I touched up his eyes a tad. It turns out it's very hard to paint eyes when the lower half of a model's face is blocked. Combined with his rather fetching tail, I think this Chaos Lord has quite a bit of character now! Now all he needs is something to represent his Serpentine Fangs (+1 to wound when charging) - any ideas?
  6. No battles this week, but lots of hobby progress! I've mentioned before that some of the models in this force are very, very old. Remaking these classic models has been on my To Do list for a long time, and the release of the Chaos Space Marine Chosen box as a standalone kit gave me the impetus to finally dive into it. Validon Validon's original model was based on the metal Khârn the Betrayer - I had received multiples of the model in a trade about 16+ years ago, so just had to convert one into a unit champion (of course). As the years went on, he received numerous additions and updates, including numerous coats of paint to "fix" his old paintjob, and a chainsword in 8th edition when dual-wielding became a thing. Last year, I received another plastic Khârn in a trade. I already had a plastic Khârn painted, so I immediately knew how I wanted to use the second one: as an update to Validon's classic model. One of my goals with these model updates was to make sure I retained enough details to keep the individual recognisable, as if the updated model was a plausible evolution of the character itself. For Validon, other than retaining Khârn's basic design features, I added a three-pronged spike from the Chosen box (with pennants rotated around to match his movement) to his backpack and a head from one of the AoS Slaughterpriest models to approximate his old helmet's design. Dreior Dreior's original model was an attempt by my to make a "modern" Chaos Marine out of spare parts before the updated CSM kit was released, using an AoS Blood Warrior head, Raptor power fist and DV Chosen backpack. Honestly, the less said about the old model, the better! For his new incarnation, I wanted to retain that right-handed power fist - which, unfortunately, is a bit of a rare configuration. Thankfully, the new Chaos Terminator kit has a right-handed power fist, and (with a suitable arm) it's pretty perfectly scaled to put on a power-armoured body. I decided to give him a plasma pistol instead of his old FW combi-plasma, though I ran into a similar problem: not very many left-handed pistols in the Chaos range. Thankfully, I had a (rather beaten up) Kranon the Relentless model kicking about that was perfect. I also decided against giving him a bare head (which was the original plan) and gave him a 3D printed helmet instead. Gorm Another ancient model from early on in my collection, maybe even one of my first conversions. Gorm was originally built from a Berzerker with a CSM power fist (with the pointing finger repositioned) and a chainglaive built with an old Chaos Marauder arm and Berzerker chainsword. I knew the new model needed to have a similar running pose, and a power fist loosely gripping a chainglaive. This was accomplished using the new two-handed chainaxe arms from the CSM Legionary kit, with the chainaxe head replaced with a chainsword, and a power fist from the Chosen kit. The power fist was very tricky to do: I had to remove the daemonic face from its palm, just the power fist from the elbow, and even repositioned the thumb, before sticking it onto a different arm. The only thing I'm a little annoyed about was that I didn't pay attention to Gorm's original skin tone, but let's just chalk that up him running out of tanning lotion since the Heresy. Overall, I'm extremely pleased with how these three guys turned out. The old models were bothering me but the characters had quite a lot of history in my lore, so when I saw the Chosen kit I knew I had an opportunity to give them the update they deserved. That kit is an absolute goldmine of some extremely cool bits (as well as some...rather derpy bits), and I thoroughly recommend it for conversion fodder!
  7. 27 August, 2022 With the Cruentes' supply lines well and truly solidified (Warfleet Glory has been at 7 for several games now), Kratus has set about raising as many edifices to the glory of the Bloodfather as possible. However, in this small satellite city of Hive Secundus, a cultist coven has alerted the Cruentes of a hidden cache of Mechanicus artefacts. Eager to add these to his arsenal, Kratus leads a force to recover them - and pile some skulls in the process. Fortunately for his warriors' Butcher's Nails, a worthy foe looms on the horizon as four Imperial Knights close in on the same target. Kratus leads Baruda the Dark Apostle, Murdax and his 9 Red Butchers, Validon and his 7 Berzerkers, Gorm and his 4 Berzerkers, Bardûl the Spawn, and a small mob of Cultists. The Cruentes' Agenda is to perform a Blasphemous Ritual (perform an Action in the centre of the table for XP and Dark God Glory points) and to destroy some Priority Targets (kill vehicles). The Cruentes push forward as the Attackers in this scenario (personal rule - if I win the roll-off, I always choose Attacker) and manage to get first turn. The mission is Tech Hunt from the Plague Purge mission book, where there are four objective markers near the centre line of the board with a number hidden underneath them (the players know what two of the numbers are, but are not allowed to check after they're placed). Players must perform an Action to uncover an objective's number. The player performing the Action gets 10VPs, but if it's an odd number, the objective is removed from the table. The two remaining objectives, if uncovered, are worth 10-15VPs per turn. With the enemy in their sights, the Berzerkers of the Cruentes surge forward in Apoplectic Frenzy. I forgot to take photos after my first movement phase, so just imagine everything another 5-6" further forward. Turns out that Apoplectic Frenzy is a very useful tool for reaching objectives early to perform Actions, as I uncover two of the objectives in my first turn - one on the right flank (behind that rocky outcrop) and one on my left flenk (behind that big building). The Red Butchers also begin their Blasphemous Ritual action in the centre of the table. My opponent's first turn opens up to him killing my small Berzerker squad on my right flank through shooting and assault. Elsewhere, combined shooting kills a two Berzerkers and a Terminator. The Big Knight turns the Cultists into red slurry. Finishing their Action in the centre and gaining some XP and a Dark God Glory point, the Red Butchers and Kratus surge forward once more to take on the enemy warlord. Baruda, the Dark Apostle, steps up to begin the next Blasphemous Ritual. On the left, Validon's Berzerkers have a choice between charging a shooty or choppy Armiger. I don't particularly want to have my opponent interrupt combat, so I decide to charge the shooty Armiger. The Berzerkers swarm it and, later in the Fight phase, rip it to shreds. The Red Butchers start chewing up armour plates and hydraulics with their chainfists and power fists, knocking out most of the Knight's wounds. In hindsight, I definitely should've used the stratagem that gives Terminators +1 to hit! My opponent declines to interrupt combat, since he only has two CPs left. Kratus then steps up with his chainfist, mag-locked boots giving him access to the knight's carapace and carving off the last of the Knight's wounds. The enemy machine had some relic that caused Mortal Wounds on saves of 6+, so both the Terminators and Kratus take a couple of wounds. As Kratus breaches the machine's cockpit, however, his triumphal roar is interrupted by a deafening explosion. My opponent spends his last CPs to force the Knight to explode, killing a couple more Terminators, knocking some wounds off the nearby Armiger, and pinning Kratus under the bulk of its collapsed machinery. The Knights have lost around two thirds of their force in one turn, so things are getting dire. In desperation, one of the Armigers charges Baruda in the centre while he was still building his pile o' skulls, as the other Armiger loops around my rear to attack Bardûl, who was being held back in case of emergency. To the surprise of no one, the Spawn is instantly gutted by the small Knight's chainblade. In the centre, I opt to interrupt combat and use two additional strats: Fury of Khorne to cause auto-wounds on 6s to hit, and Stoke the Nails for the added Strength and exploding 6s. It's a long shot, but I still hope for the best. Unfortunately for Baruda, however, he fails to land any damage on the Armiger - that's 4CPs well spent... In return, the Armiger cuts apart Baruda's last Disciple (the other was killed by the big Knight's explosion) and lands a hit on the Apostle himself, opening a huge gash in his amour but he is still left standing. Those Disciples also having a 4+ invulnerable save is extremely useful here! Unfortunately, the distraction (and Baruda's poor showing) means that Khorne isn't interested in his offering, and his Action fails - I need to roll a 7+ on 2D6, but only get a 5. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the final turns. Validon's Berzerkers and the Terminators all charge the Armiger harassing the Blood Priest, easily cutting it to pieces. In return, the last Armiger in my back lines sweeps around the big ruin to attack Validon's squad in the rear, leaving only a couple of Berzerkers alive. It is the final gambit by my opponent, but the result was never really in doubt with seven Red Butchers still on the field. As the Armiger is dismantled by the frenzied Terminators, Baruda attempts another Blasphemous Ritual, but is again shunned by the Bloodfather. Result: 70-0 Win Unlocking the archeotech vaults, Baruda has discovered an ancient and potent warp-fuelled power source for his Crozius (improves AP by 1). Only the Cultists suffer a Battle Scar, becoming Battle-weary (no actions, 1XP cap per battle), everyone else recovers without problems. The Cruentes gain 4 Chaos Points for winning the game, and one bonus Dark God Glory for a successful Blasphemous Ritual on turn 1. I use these to keep the Personal and Warfleet glory the same, while bumping up the Dark God Gory to a Favoured level. Kratus's Personal Glory: 4 -> 4Khorne's Dark God Glory: 5 -> 7Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 7 -> 7 I use the Warfleet Favour to up my Supply Limit again, but can't do anything with the Dark God Favour just yet.
  8. This is something I've been wanting to do since the start of the year: the Aksha'i Cruentes are embarking on the Path of the Righteous. Now that I'm comfortable with the Crusade rules in the CSM codex, I feel like this is a logical and characterful step for the Cruentes. They've always been a zealous bunch, and now with the death of Bardûl and the rising star of Kratus, I think it's a good time to start folding these rules into my army. Baruda is clearly pushing more of his influence on the new Hand of Khorne! For those who don't know, the Path of the Righteous is a series of articles from Flashpoint: Nachmund in White Dwarf, spanning issues 472-476. If you are a Warhammer+ subscriber, you can get all of those articles right now in the Warhammer Vault. This series covers a force's ascent to absolute belief in their cause as righteous zealots, with a neat little twist at the end: My plan is to start with just WD472, and then each month simply add the rules from the next issue until the Path is complete. In the first phase of the Path of the Righteous, I start keeping a Righteous Inspiration tally for each unit in my force. I gain access to a few new Battle Honours and Agendas, and engaging with these will increase a unit's Inspiration tally. The tally doesn't actually do anything (yet), but it's a handy guide to see just how zealous my force is getting. To begin with, even though all units in my force will be on the Path, not everyone will be enthused by it. My vehicle drivers, for example, don't really care; Xarian and Bardûl, likewise, are too far gone to pay attention to it. In game, this means that those units won't actively try to achieve Righteous Agendas or use Righteous Battle Honours (or, later, use Righteous Stratagems). Later on the Path, this will prove to be problematic, but that will be half the fun!
  9. In another stunning example of hobby butterflyism, I've decided to work on something completely different to what's already on my desk. But this was just a quick update of a model I have been meaning to fix. I haven't been happy with the composition of Baruda's model for some time. The original intention was that the huge icon would represent the Banner of Rage relic, but it just really felt like it unbalanced the model - and this was exacerbated by his slightly side-heavy pose (and not helped by the Banner being an absolutely rubbish relic). The rest of his model I'm reasonably happy with - the head is from the Corpse Grinder gang from Necromunda, the Accursed Crozius was an icon found on the basing materials in the Bloodthirster kit, and the arm was simply from the Chosen box. Not being one to shy away from ripping apart models I have already painted, I popped his arm off (thank you, Past Cheex, for not pinning it!), cleaned up the join, and painted a simple bolt pistol arm to replace it: Following the destruction of the World Eaters as a Legion at Skalathrax, Baruda left Dreagher's command and struck out on his own, blackening his armour as a symbol of the ashes that the Legion had needed to become; he believed the World Eaters needed to die for it to be reborn as a new Legion under the Blood God, and when he eventually rejoined another warband of former World Eaters, he shared this philosophy with them. That warband seized this new idea with enthusiasm, later becoming known as the Cruentes. Baruda continues to serve the Cruentes as its spiritual guide, regularly communing with Daemons and offering many sacrifices to attain their favour, which he utilises frequently in battle. Baruda knows the Illusory Supplication prayer, in addition to his default Dark Zealotry and Wrathful Entreaty prayers. At time of writing, he does not have any Warlord Trait or Relic. And, just because I love Chaos Weirdos in all their forms, here are some closer looks at his buddies Voxface and Incensior: Voxface's original podium backpack wasn't really doing it for me - I don't really see World Eaters as being big into reading - so I swapped it out for this gigantic Khorne icon from AoS. Incensior, on the other hand, has to be one of the few models in my force that isn't converted in some way: Enjoy!
  10. While putting together some new Berzerker Champions, I found myself needing to reposition some power fists. I could've easily just used some guitar wire, but I wanted it to look more like the damaged cabling you often see on newer Chaos models. After thinking on it for a bit, I had an epiphany: heat shrink. Heat shrink is used in electronics to repair damaged wire insulation or to bundle multiple insulated wires together (amongst other uses). When it reaches a certain temperature, the material shrinks, usually by a factor of around 2:1 or so, so you would normally pick a diameter that is slightly larger than the wire you're insulating, slip it over the section you need it, and then apply heat. I happened to have some in a drawer from an old job, but you can get some fairly cheaply from a hardware store or Amazon. It starts with a Green Stuff tentacle, though you can always use guitar wire, and a length of heat shrink that's just a touch wider than the tentacle. Make sure the GS is fully cured. I cut out some holes and roughed up the ends of the heat shrink with some clippers and a hobby knife. I then slipped the heat shrink over the GS tentacle and applied some heat: in my case, I simply used a lighter, and held the material a few centimetres above the flame using a pair of tweezers. Not close enough to burn the material or cause the tweezers to get too hot, but enough to make the material shrink. Obviously, you will need to exercise suitable caution with this step! Being Green Stuff and soft plastic, it is still malleable enough that it can be carefully twisted and pushed into place. If you live in a cold climate, I suggest keeping a cup of hot water nearby, so you can submerge the cable into it every now and then to keep it malleable enough. Enjoy!
  11. I've been playing this army for quite a long time. Almost as long as the soon-to-be obsolete plastic Berzerker kit, in fact; I think it came out about a year before I picked up my first Chaos Battleforce box back in the day. Over the years, I have collected entirely too many Berzerkers made from that old kit. At last count, there were something like 80-odd painted Berzerkers, and about as many unpainted. Unfortunately, that kit is now getting a little long in the tooth (so to speak), and as my force evolves to include newer kits, they start to look more and more out of place. In this Crusade army, the only unit left that is composed of Oldzerkers is Gorm's Hunters: Gorm himself was kitbashed probably 15 or more years ago, featuring parts from the Berzerker box, 3rd edition-era CSM, Chaos Marauders, and a WE symbol that I had sculpted and inexplicably duplicated on both the power fist and pauldron (I think I had just discovered push-molding). Having already built and painted Newzerkers for Validon's and Dreior's squads, I knew it was past time to do the same for Gorm - and this week I finally worked up the motivation to finish them off: Of course, working on this project (not to mention all the other Berzerkers in this force!) really highlighted just how out of place their Champions were. I mean, Gorm's base is a good 2-3mm thicker than those of his squad, and that barely keeps him a similar height! So, I've also started working on some new iterations of the three Berzerker Champions in this force (so far...). For comparison, here are the old iterations of Validon, Dreior and Gorm: And here are their WIP new versions: In keeping with Validon's old model being based off a metal Khârn, the new one is based off a plastic one that I had rattling around in my bits box, with a head from an AoS Slaugherpriest, power fist and pistol from CSM, backpack from old CSM, and icon spikes from the new Chosen kit. I did have to modify the spikes slightly to swing the little pennants in the opposite direction, though. Separating Khârn's head from his body was tricky, since so much of it was incoporated into the torso. In the end, I had to carve away much of the cabling on the torso, as well as the vent on the front. I replaced the latter with a speaker from an Imperial Guard vox, and covered up the missing cables with some Chaos Star bits from the Chaos Knight kit. Dreior was by far the Champion with the least character in his model, which is partly what inspired his backstory as a literal clone. His new model has a little more going for him, with a body and head from the Chosen kit (though I added some Butcher's Nails with green stuff - not that you can see them in the photo), a power fist from the Chaos Terminator kit (which, by the way, is perfectly scaled for power armour now) and a plasma pistol from the old Kranon the Relentless. And finally, old mate Gorm was made from a Chosen body, head and power fist, Legionary chainaxe arm (and haft), and a chainsword that I think was from the Raptor kit. I think this model was the best homage to his old iteration, with that heavily modified power fist loosely gripping his custom chainglaive. Now that is a face only Khorne could love. I wanted to lean into his backstory of cannibalism, so just had to go with one of the heads from the Chosen kit, and I think it captures his derangement (and degeneration) well. That's all for now! All comments and criticism are welcome.
  12. Lord Kratus, the Hand of Khorne Once the Champion of Bardül's Terminator bodyguard, Kratus clawed his way to fill the power vaccuum left by his master's Spawndom. As the former Hand of Khorne's body was being torn asunder, Kratus tore Bardül's chainfist - a symbol of his self-proclaimed title - from his warplate. Easily besting other challengers for the title, Kratus assumed his position as the leader of the Aksha'i Cruentes, and now intends to reunite the many Cruentes warbands scattered through the galaxy. Kratus is haunted by an unsual affliction: he can often see another warrior, wearing the colours of the old War Hounds Legion. This warrior has never revealed his name, nor has he ever removed his helmet, and speaks with a voice that Kratus does not recognise. When the warrior speaks directly to Kratus, no one else reacts; in battle, the warrior often warns Kratus of danger, or points out a flaw in an enemy's movements. Curiously, however, the warrior occasionally speaks to others in Kratus's presence, and when he does so his words are met with an air of respect, but at all other times he appears to not be noticed by anyone else. After I finished painting him, he also gained two Chaos Boons: Serpentine Fangs (+1 to wound when charging or performing a Heroic Intervention) and Scorpion Tail (+1A). I couldn't resist adding a scorpion tail, and am saying that his lightning claw has gained a vampiric quality that leeches an enemy's resilience when he latches on. Kratus has the Hatred Eternal Warlord Trait (reroll hits, +1A and +1S on the charge or when performing a Heroic Intervention). Murdax's Butchers With Kratus now leading the warband, one of his former Terminator companions, Murdax, has bested the rest to become the new Champion. Gathering more warriors to his command, Murdax himself has grown significantly in power and influence. Murdax leads 9 Red Butcher Terminators, armed with various weapons. Murdax himself is armed with a combi-melta and chainfist, and has the Ambition's Edge Battle Trait (+1A, +1W and +1Ld for the unit Champion). Over the past two battles, I have used two free Requisitions from having a Favoured Warfleet to improve the Butchers: one to adjust the unit's wargear (and give Murdax his new weapons, rather than a pair of Accursed weapons) and one to bump the unit up to 10 (before they level up again and are unable to take the Fresh Recruits Requisition). Blood Priest Baruda Unsatisfied with the Soultearer Portent prayer, I have spent 1RP on the Commune with the Dark Gods Requisition to replace it with Illusory Supplication. I know it's a bit of a meta choice, but I would like to win some battles every now and then! Sidenote: yes, Baruda is named after the priest from Khârn: Eater of Worlds. Is it the same individual? Who knows! Future Plans As I get more and more used to the B&C's Blog functionality, I plan to create a "living" blog post that lists all units in my Order of Battle. I also would like to start using the Blog Categories feature to start cataloguing the modelling and painting side of the hobby, so there should be plenty more coming. I have some new models in the pipeline to replace some older models, so stay tuned!
  13. For weeks, Kratus's physical form had been in flux. His movement was not a fluid motion, as if viewed through a pict feed at a low framerate. In the blink of an eye, Kratus would appear in a totally different position; blink again, and he might appear to have never moved, as if he were totally disconnected from reality. Kratus has offered many a worthy skull to the Blood God's throne, felling skilled warriors and titanic Knights alike. It was the foul xenoform known as the Salt Wyrm that evaded his wrath: blows that would have landed perfectly, with a ferocity that would tear apart a battle tank, were evaded at the last moment by the Genestealer Patriarch. Bleeding from a dozen wounds and on the verge of a brain haemorrhage from the xenos's cowardly psychic attack, Kratus's blurred form emitted wisps of pure darkness, like smoke made of the stuff of black holes. In a swirl of swallowed light, he vanished. Minutes turned to hours as the Cruentes' menials pulled injured warriors from the battlefield and the xeno-mutants burrowed back into their lairs, with no sign of the Chaos Lord. Challenges rang out amongst champions of the Cruentes, and blood was spilled in a race for the warband to find a new leader before it tore itself apart. It was at the apex of this bloodshed, when it looked like the Cruentes were about to splinter, that a font of blood erupted and coagulated into a dozen or more forms. Most were roughly human-shaped, and several were atop black and brass steeds. One, however, was larger than the rest, its ancient Terminator plate twisted to match its stature. 'Kratus is dead,' it said. 'Long live Arkrath, the Hand of Khorne.'
  14. Aside from the obvious change in leadership, there have been some updates since the last battle. In our campaign, for the first two weeks we had a special rule in place: This was essentially a 2-for-the-price-of-1 deal on increasing supplies after fighting a Combat Patrol game. I found that in previous Crusades, our group would just play 50PL/1000pt games but not bother spending resources to expand their supplies, to the point where Crusade became almost synonymous with small games, so this rule was to counteract that. So, having fought two Combat Patrol battles, I had an extra 20PL of Supplies to play with. On top of that, I also reached the maximum level of Warfleet Glory, so opted to use the same Requisition one more time. I now have a total of 75PL worth of supplies to play with. Starting this week, we'll be escalating our games to 50PL. With that in mind, we now have a few new additions to the Aksha'i Cruentes. Blood Priest Baruda, Dark Apostle An early convert to the Cult of the Blood God, Baruda was instrumental in the formation of the Cruentes. He wears the charcoal black armour of Loyalist chaplains in dark mockery of his misguided counterparts. Baruda is an extremely - and some might say excessively - zealous individual, to the point that those around him view him with slight unease. However, there is no denying that his entreaties to the Dark Powers are an effective tool. He has the Dark Zealotry, Wrathful Entreaty and Soultearer Portent prayers (I wanted to avoid the meta choices!). As yet, he does not have any Relics or Warlord Traits. Thrax Gorechosen, Exalted Champion Thrax is a wandering traveller, claiming to be an original member of the War Hounds Legion and claiming to be the bearer of the coveted relic, Gorefather. Regardless of the truth to his words, the Berzerkers who follow Thrax into battle are invariably inspired to great deeds of bloodshed as Thrax himself frequently seeks out the strongest enemies he can find. Thrax is armed with the Gorefather relic and has the Flames of Spite Warlord Trait. A New Leader Arises Following the damnation of their former warlord, a brief conflict arose amongst the various champions of the Cruentes. Ultimately, such questions of leadership are always answered by personal strength in the fighting pits. Emerging victorious was Kratus, former bodyguard of Bardûl. Owing to his new position, a new model is in order. Here's a little sneak peek of his new look: Don't worry, once he's on a raised base, he'll be a touch talled than his old model! Other Updates Old mate Xarian the Helbrute has become a Hate-fuelled Butcher, improving his Weapon Skill by 1. A Cultist Mob has been added. Two Rhinos have been added. (One was actually already in the list, but I never mentioned it.)
  15. 22 July, 2022 While hunting for new prey, the Cruentes discovered a cache of useful technology they could secure for bartering with the Dark Mechanicum. As they were securing the site, a Necron force led by Illuminor Szeras attacked their position. Bardûl personally led this force, and was once more accompanied by Dreior and Gorm's two small Berzerker squads, as well as Xarian the Helbrute. The mission forced me to split my army in two parts, and forced me to deploy my whole army first, but gave me two objectives to defend. For my Agenda, I took the one that would give me Warfleet Glory, which gave me three extra objectives to grab and bring back to my deployment zone. On my left, Xarian achieved nothing: he downed three Warriors, one of which promptly stood up, and the other two got back up over the game. In return, Xarian was one-shotted by a lucky blast from Szeras: Bardûl and a squad of Berzerkers, meanwhile, made short work of a unit of Praetorians on my right: However, this left the Berzerkers in my centre open to attack from Skorpekh Destroyers...who, in turn, were counterattacked by the Berzerkers on my right: These Berzerkers then proceeded to claim one of my Agenda objectives and return it to my deployment zone. While this was happening, Bardûl started his action on one of my Agenda objectives, but was rudely interrupted by Szeras. Szeras bounded around the outside of this storage tank, catching the veteran warrior by surprise and carving deep into his armour. In return, Bardûl severed a leg of his opponent before gripping Szeras's mechanical neck with his chainfist. Szeras fought back, once more puncturing Bardûl's plate but not quite laying him low. Refusing to release his grip, Bardûl ripped his enemy's head clean from its shoulders. Armour broken and bleeding from several wounds, Bardûl faced down the Necron Warriors, who could not seem to hit his flesh with their Gauss rifles. In desperation, they charged the Chaos Lord, but just could not penetrate his defences. In return, Bardûl slew a total of five Warriors before the rest fell back. Result: 55-5 victory for Khorne! With the Necrons retreating, the Cruentes discovered what the xenos were after: under the battlefield was a vault of abhuman genetic experiments, which must've been of interest to the inquisitive Szeras. While the genetic material itself was useless to the World Eaters, the equipment within the vault was invaluable, and Bardûl dispatched it to the Eternal Warrior. Bardûl's Personal Glory: 4 -> 3 Khorne's Dark God Glory: 5 -> 4 Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 4 -> 8 But now comes the real fun part. After this battle, Bardûl levelled up; in addition, the mission Victor Bonus allowed me to grant one unit a Battle Honour. Did I decide to throw in my lot with the Chaos Gods and make a grab for immortality with two Chaos Boons? You bet your heretical rear I did! It went a little like this: The first roll was a 12 for +1 Wound, which was very suitable given that he refused to die in both of the games so far. Perfect! Then the second roll...also a 12. Bardûl, in his arrogance, believed he was entitled to a greater reward than what was given to him and drank too greedily from the cup of immortality. Time for me to start making a new Chaos Lord...
  16. 15 July, 2022 The first battle the Cruentes took part in for this Crusade was 25PL against a mate's Death Guard. This was his first 40k game, so we kept the mission to a simple one from Beyond the Veil. I chose the Agenda that would get me Dark God Glory points for performing an action at the centre of the board. The story behind this mission is that our forces are jointly invading an Imperial world that has until recently been isolated by Warp storms. As Imperial reinforcements arrive in-system, the World Eaters give in to their bloodlust and start hunting their allies in the heart of an occupied Hive city. Bardûl led this battle, accompanied by the two small squads of Berzerkers, led by Dreior and Gorm, and Xarian the Helbrute. Opposing them was a Daemon Prince, two small squads of Plague Marines, and a small blob of Poxwalkers. Being an introductory game, I didn't take any photos and tried to let my opponent have a few hero moments to keep it fun. In the end, I accidentally wiped him anyway, however he won the game on points. Bardûl and Xarian the Helbrute were the only models left on the table; Bardûl had killed the Daemon Prince and several Poxwalkers, while Xarian demolished everything else in melee. Despite losing the battle, I still gained 3 Chaos Points to put towards my various trackers, plus one Dark God Glory point for achieving the Agenda once. Both Bardûl and Xarian gained 5XP, so were close to levelling up already. Bardûl's Personal Glory: 4 -> 4 Khorne's Dark God Glory: 4 -> 5 Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 4 -> 4
  17. Bardûl, the Hand of Khorne Formerly a member of the World Eaters' elite Terminator squads, Bardûl rose to prominence when the former master of the Cruentes, Achaeus, descended irrevocably into madness. Leading his most trusted Terminators against the blood-maddened tyrant, Bardûl attacked Achaeus on his command deck. Despite grievous injuries, Bardûl pushed past his adversary's defences and rammed his chainfist into the Astartes's innards. He was not automatically granted leadership of the Cruentes, however. Seven more challengers claimed the position, and Bardûl dispatched every one of them even in his battle-weary state. He earned the right to command the Cruentes. Claiming his title as the Hand of Khorne, Bardûl claimed to be the mortal who would wield the Blood God's armies as a weapon, to spread bloodshed and violence across the galaxy. In battle, Bardûl is indomitable in his heavy Terminator plate, and actively seeks out the most powerful of the enemy champions to slay them himself. He has the Disciple of Khorne Warlord Trait, but currently has no Relics. Kratus, Terminator Champion Amongst Bardûl's most veteran warriors, Kratus leads his master's elite bodyguard. Kratus and his squad were dispatched to assist another Cruentes warband, led by Xarian Doomgore, where they quickly earned a reputation for brutality and bloody efficiency. When Xarian proved to be an inept commander and warrior, Kratus and his Terminators deposed the failing champion. Since re-integrating with Bardûl's warband, several of Kratus's warriors have been dispatched on missions - ostensibly to track down other Cruentes warbands, though in reality Bardûl is aware that the Terminators together pose a threat to his leadership. Kratus and his four Terminators have the Red Butchers stratagem applied to them, via the Specialist Reinforcements requisition. Validon, Berzerker Champion Validon is one of Bardûl's longest-serving Berzerker Champions, and has been instrumental to the cohesion of the Cruentes as a fighting force. He instituted a gradual change to the Eternal Warrior's fighting pits: instead of individual combat, the pits would focus more on squad-based combat. Through repeated training in this manner over hundreds of years, the instinct to fight in a squad of brothers became so ingrained that even in the deepest frenzy, Berzerkers would know to fight together. Validon leads nine Berzerkers, collectively known as the Bloodthunderers. Dreior, Berzerker Champion A newer member of the Cruentes, Dreior is a vat-grown gift from Fabius Bile's gene clinics. Implanted with false memories, he believes himself to be a veteran of the Long War, and despite his relative youth, he is a consummate fighter. He and his squad are often seen breaking through enemy lines and hunting down specific targets. Dreior leads four Berzerkers known as the Hunters. Gorm, Berzerker Champion Another long-serving member of the Cruentes, Gorm leads the newest inductees into battle. His strict command gives these initiates their first taste at combat, and puts them on the path to becoming fully-fledged Berzerkers of the Cruentes. Gorm's habit of consuming the flesh of the dead, however, often permeates through the ranks of those under his command. As a result, a significant number of Cruentes share his cannibalistic tendencies. Xarian the Bloody Idiot Once the champion of a whole Cruentes warband, Xarian - formerly known also as Doomgore - was deposed of his position after it was apparent that he did not deserve to lead. Originally, he was the lieutenant of a rival World Eaters warband, the control over which he seized through betrayal, before he pledged them to Bardûl. As a reward for bolstering the ranks of the Cruentes, Xarian was gifted with command of his own warband and a rebellious Daemon sword. The sword resisted Xarian's ownership at first, having not been seized through combat. However, after several battles, Xarian appeased the weapon by stabbing it through his own stomach. Amused by this attempt at sacrifice, the sword appeared to capitulate. It soon became apparent that the sword still had not deemed Xarian worthy. Even though its power had been unlocked, it still rebelled at some of the worst moments possible, often leading to Xarian's defeat. Out of frustration, several conspirators - including Kratus and his Terminators - turned on the champion, dismembering his body and burying the Daemon sword deep within the Eternal Warrior. Xarian was kept alive as an amusement, more than anything, and was interred within a dreadnought sarcophagus. Xarian is a Helbrute, armed with a plasma cannon and hammer.
  18. Or: I really need to make a proper urban-themed board for this narrative campaign that is set in a bloody city... 18 November, 2022 The sharp claws hunting us from the shadows have all but confirmed it: an ancient relic is buried under the surface of Hive Secundus, one that is of particular significance to the World Eaters. Rumour and hearsay had led them to this place, and it is time to claim the prize. The final preparations must be made to bombard this city and reach the relic within. Now, Genestealer Cultists have been found swarming the city, and we suspect that the foul xenos may have worked out how to use the fell technology within. Kratus, his flickering form uncertain in the material universe, leads Baruda, Murdax's Red Butchers, Validon's and Gorm's Berzerker squads, Xarian the Bloody Idiot and Vervek the Condemned in their Dreadnought chassis, and a mob of Cultists. The mission objective is essentially kill points (score VPs equal to the PL value of enemy units destroyed). The defender gets Light Cover while they're in their deployment zone, unless the attacker can turn off the objectives, which also earns the attacker VPs. Ever keen to show his worthiness to the Blood God, I have chosen Eye of the Gods (kill characters, vehicles or monsters for XP and Personal Glory) and Reaper (unit that kills the most gets XP) as my main Agenda picks. For my third, I figure that Deploy Vox Relays would be a good narrative choice for the story. I deploy aggressively, as normal with the Terminators and Cultists. I lose the first turn, but decide to rush both units up the board anyway with Apoplectic Frenzy to hopefully keep my opponent on the back foot. I figure the Atalan Jackals (gods, that name is going to be confusing in a few months...) will spring forward and try to threaten my Helbrutes, so I get the Cultists to help screen the machines against the dirt bikers' damnable bombs. Terminators plod up the field, knowing full well that they won't be protected by Illusory Supplication just yet. It's just GSC, how much firepower could they have? I keep Gorm's Berzerkers in Strategic Reserve, in the hope that they can nab an objective late in the game. In my opponent's first turn, the Goliath truck rumbles forward on my left flank. As expected, the bikers zip forward, past the suspiciously xenoform ruin in the centre, to harrass my Cultists. A Goliath Rockgrinder and a couple of light Ridgerunners wheel around to get some shots off at the Terminators. A not insignificant amount of shooting later, and four Red Butchers are taken out of action, their riddled bodies barely held together by their ancient armour. On the left, a wall of fire from the cultists (soon to be Jakhals?) inflicts a minor burn on the Jackals. The bikes charge, killing a few cultists, who in turn knock two bikers out of their saddles while the other speeds away. In my turn, the cultists advance to turn off the objective on the left. Weirdly, this is not an Action, so can be done after advancing - fine by me! Unfortunately, I forgot that they can't score VPs in the first round, but at least they'll be a distraction. In the middle/right, I send the Terminators out to secure the middle objective, and the Rhino to threaten the right objective. The Terminators also deploy a vox beacon for one of my Agendas. The Helbrutes ponder up and inflict a few wounds on each of the Goliaths. The Genestealers' second turn sees some Purestrains leap out of cover to maul the hapless cultists, turning the objective back on in the process. While the Rockgrinder hops on the objective on the right. Despite the Illusory Supplication from Baruda, the Terminators lose three models (note to self: trans-hit doesn't help much against BS4 enemies...), the Rhino suffers significant damage, and the Kellermorph pick off both of Baruda's little buddies and wound the priest himself. Oof. The cultists prove about as resilient as one can expect, and swiftly become a xenos meal. Frustratingly, the Genestealers burrow underground and head into Strategic Reserves. I always forget about that Stratagem... Meanwhile, the Rockgrinder ploughs into the Rhino, destroying it. Four (!!!) Berzerkers apparently tried, in vain, to stop the machine using nothing but their own bodies. It did not work, and half the squad disappears in a blisteringly bad roll. Things are not looking good, but I know I can still get this if I can disable some objectives and kill a bit more. On the left, Xarian the Helbrute atomises a good portion of the Goliath truck, destroying it. I didn't get good photos of this, but the Terminators likewise melt the Rockgrinder on the right, which turns out was rigged with explosives, killing a Berzerker and wounding everything else around it. Turns out that having 90% of your shooting be short-ranged against such a Stratagem is not wise! In my opponent's turn three, the trap is sprung and his Genestealers and the Muscle Beach make themselves known. Some sneaky buggers are also set up to cordon off the table edges against my own reserves. Back in the centre, the Aberrants and Purestrains clobber and scrabble into the remnants of my force. Unfortunately, one of Kratus's battle scars prevents him from performing a Heroic Intervention, so it's pretty much just down to the Terminators and Baruda. In a show of favour from the Bloodfather, Baruda is barely left standing, though the Genestealers' quick reflexes prevent his return swings from landing. The Red Butchers were not so lucky, and the Aberrants demolish the veteran warriors, though Murdax brings a couple of them down with him. My third turn is one of desperation. Kratus flickers into combat with the Purestrains, supported by Xarian, while the remaining Berzerkers from Validon's squad and Vervek launch themselves at the Aberrants. Meanwhile, my reserves move on from my own table edge, utilising an often-forgotten rule to be able to set up close to the enemy by keeping one model within 1" of my own table edge. Sadly, the charges in the middle weren't as successful as I had hoped. Vervek's power scourge was not the best weapon against 3W Aberrants, and the Berzerkers didn't quite finish them off, while the Purestrains proved to be too quick for even Astartes physiology. They finished off Baruda with numerous, viscious slashes. The lone Aberrant did end up fleeing, however unfortunately it wasn't due to my attacks, so I couldn't get XP for it. At least I could get VPs, though! At least Gorm's Berzerkers on the left were a little more successful, wiping out the Purestrains trying to hunt them down. Unfortunately, despite thinning my opponent's force somewhat, he still has tricks up his sleeve. The Patriarch, which we've learned calls itself the Salt Wyrm (though I still prefer "Big Daddy") blitzes through the ruins to stalk Kratus in an eerily familiar showdown. Meanwhile, shooting from the Ridgerunners knock out the last of Validon's Berzerkers, and the Hybrids that had been guarding the board edge throw themselves at Vervek, cutting at hydraulics and power cables, disabling the dreadnought. I try a couple of tricks: first, negating the damage from one of Big Daddy the Salt Wyrm's attacks using the Divine Shield stratagem from the Righteous Path rules. The blood shield succeeds in protecting him from the Patriarch's attacks...but I hadn't factored in the final genestealer. Kratus's blurred form, one second standing and fighting was on the ground bleeding in less than the blink of an eye. Fine, we'll play it that way! I use the last of my CPs on He Is Risen!, also from the Righteous Path rules. For a second, Kratus's body blinks out of existence... ...Only for him to reappear, a blood-curdling warcry on his lips. Kratus lays into both xenos, finally slaying the last of the Purebloods, but the legendary dexterity of the Big Salt Daddy Wyrm saves him from harm. Luckily, Kratus's terminator armour keeps him alive with only one wound remaining. GSC turn four, he still has some substantial shooting left, and Gorm's squad takes heavy casualties, In the middle, the Patriarch's witch powers prove too much, even for the divinely-inspired Kratus. Invading the heretic's mind with dark tendrils of energy, Kratus - standing in a pool of his own blood oozing from many wounds - begins bleeding from his eyes and other cranial orifices. He drops to his knees, but before the Patriarch can take his head, reality shudders around the Chaos Lord, and he disappears again in a wisp of warp smoke. With that, there's not much else that the World Eaters can do, and the Genestealers succeed in defending their territory from the Heretic Astartes once again. I do, however, manage to scrounge two Chaos Points to help keep some of my trackers at reasonable levels. Result: 53-65 Loss Kratus's Personal Glory: 7 -> 7Khorne's Dark God Glory: 6 -> 7Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 7 -> 6 After the battle, however, Kratus doesn't reappear. At least, not immediately...
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