Month: May 2023

Return to Scylla Quintus: Gallowdark Conflicts

Return to Scylla Quintus: Gallowdark Conflicts

My three whole readers of this blog (thanks gang!) may have noted that in 2022 we ran a bunch of games linked to a Campaign Map, the Scylla Quintus campaign, at our local gaming store Drawbridge Games. With the release of the boarding actions rules and the forthcoming 10th edition of Warhammer 40k, Justin and Sean (our great Crusade organizers) decided to sort of re-start things again. First with forces trying to vie for control of a Space Hulk, followed by (I think) using that as a launching point for a re-invasion of the Scylla Quintus cluster. A brand new map campaign ahead!

Below is a map of the initial displacement of forces seeking control of the hulk. Kudos to Sean for the design and updating of it! There are also other players who are joining in the campaign who will be adding into it as we roll forward (and at least one change in force already… tho I promise it’s not me!).

My mixed Aeldari force (will be Ynnari, but I had to start Drukhari just because that’s what I had more painted) took over one of the generator clusters initially, and I hope to expand out into those power sections by launching raids via the exterior of the hulk.

The first two games I played are detailed below. Both were wins with pretty solid control of the objectives. The first I suffered a lot more casualties than the second, but both were great fun versus good opponents with some beautifully painted models on really neat-looking terrain. Makes me pretty pleased.

Game One: Expendables

Altaya the Huntmistress heard the “hiss” as the laser cutting charges fired and opened access into the Space Hulk. Her honed gladiatrix’s senses immediately took stock of the sounds coming from the corridors ahead, as well as the peculiar scent. Something… fungal… was in the stale air. Appropriate enough, as fungi deal with dead matter.

It was a curious thing, joining with the followers of Yvraine, Prophetess of Ynnead. Altaya had even fought at Yvraine’s side a few times in the fighting pits of Commorragh–of course before her rebirth. Altaya had watched quietly as Yvraine’s influence spread amongst her people, and in a moment of sudden clarity (in an arena battle versus a hulking Cthellean Cudbear pumped full of Paingbringer drugs) recognized that she herself already walked the path of Ynnead. Altaya killed and killed, so that the power of Ynnead could grow to eventually free her people from the grip of She Who Thirsts. This was the purpose. This was her role.

Amidst the flotilla of ships conveying Yvraine when Altaya joined her, she was tasked with a particularly gruesome first task. One of the Drukhari crafts had a sizeable retinue from a Haemonculus coterie. And their fleshcraft was anathema to the path of Ynnead. So they had to go. But a tool is a tool, so after she slew their Haemonculi masters, Alaya was tasked with using the remaining Wracks to assault their way onto a Space Hulk where there was rumored information that might lead to a lost Crone World. She was given the task with the understanding that the Wracks were “expendable”. That she ought return without them, so the other Aeldari forces could then make their way into the Space Hulk.

The fungal scent became quickly clear when Altaya noted a tiny green humanoid scampering along a gantry. Orks. At least that meant it should be a quick affair. She advanced with her retinue of Wyches along one corridor, while tasking the Wracks to move down the opposite corridor where the sounds of Orks were loudest.

Quickly the battle was met for the Wracks, as they piled into a room with Ork Boyz, Meganobz, and a frightening Warboss with a massive chain axe. The cruel acids from their liquifier guns melted the initial waves of Orks, but the Mega Armored Nobz and Warboss managed to crash into their lines. For her part, Altaya and her Wyches were carving their way through lighter resistance of Boyz and Gretchin, securing key access points along the way.

The Wracks were no match for the sheer fury of the Nobz and Warboss. Despite their modified and muscled frames, they were not-so-smoothly cut down. The last of the Wracks died being sawed in half by the Warboss. The ping went off on Altaya’s bio-tracker… the last of their heartbeats had ceased. The Wracks were gone, their force used but now disposed of. Make way for the more dignified devotees of death.

As she turned to go back to the entry point she heard a dreadful metal crunch, and turned and saw the Warboss had torn a bulkhead door clean off. Despite her reflexes, the sheer surprise of the Warboss’ arrival caught her off guard. And it gave him just a moment to slash out with his axe and sever her right arm. Altaya tumbled away swiftly, stowing her glaive and putting pressure on the stump that remained. The beast of an Ork struggled to fit through the bulkhead, and that gave her time to sprint away and back to her point of entry.

She’d accomplished her mission, and secured an entry site. But at the cost of her arm. Good thing that she hadn’t… fully… eliminated all of the Haemonculi. One, a vile creature named Oribraq, had bargained with her after she eliminated the others. He worked for Archon Yraleath the Calcimineer, a rising Archon of the Commorragh who was lending troops to Yvraine’s cause (whether he was a true believer or just garnering favor was unclear). And Oribraq indicated she should she need it, Altaya would be free to use his services should anything happen to her. A whole coven of Haemonculi would be an affront to Yvraine surely, but a single one? Willing to use fleshcraft to support her lieutenants? Well, that’s another matter. She cauterized the wound with the glowing edge of her electrified blade, and made her way through the corridors to the newly-hidden workshop where Oribraq had best prove his worth as a fleshcrafter and restore her arm like new.

Game Two: A Crisis of Leadership

“Something is off,” thought Elramyn, as her team of Corsairs rushed down the hallway of the Space Hulk. Their ship had been moored mysteriously outside of Craftworld Fenn’Dara for two days before making the webway route to join the larger Aeldari flotilla assaulting the Space Hulk. The Craftworlders had been led into a private chamber by the Bosun and they had remained locked in there the entire flight. Elramyn caught word from the galley mate that brought them food that they were Banshees, as he saw their masks when he dropped off their food. “Why all the secrecy?” she had wondered then. At least that was clearer now. Elramyn’s raiding team was being led by Jain Zar herself. The legendary Banshee Phoenix Lord. “Supposedly”.

There were subtle signs that puzzled Elramyn. “Was it just a fancy suit of Exarch armor? Why would she go with such a small contingent into the unstable space of a disintegrating hulk? Why was she missing the soft chalk marks on the wall left undoubtedly by Aeldari Rangers that this section had already been cleared?” But could she question the Phoenix Lord herself? And not be just cut down by screaming Banshees?

They had definitely moved into a space where another Aeldari boarding party was located, and Elramyn could make out the distinctive camoweave cloaks of Rangers ahead. They didn’t look good in the ship settings, and the Rangers’ obvious discomfort made it more abrupt. Clearing a ship was not their usual task. Where were their other forces?

With a sudden howl, Jain Zar dashed down the access corridor, launching her spinning triskele into the Rangers, felling one of them. An odd voice sounded over their helmet communicators: “Follow and strike, for she is aberration!” She raced ahead into the access corridor, and Elramyn watched as the graceful paragon of war blithely blundered into a wireweave net that the Rangers had no doubt left supporting their position. The binding fibers tore into the Aeldari warrior’s leg armor, slicing the muscles and leaving her hobbling. Elramyn was in utter shock.

The shock turned to awe at what happened next. Striding from behind the barricades came a regal figure: Yvraine, the Prophetess of Ynnead. Forces of Asuryani and even some Drukhari swarmed at her side. The banshees that had accompanied Jain Zar and some of Elramyn’s compatriot Corsairs rushed into Yvraine’s forces with equal abandon, to sadly equal results–lithe Incubi sliced with huge blades, while Dire Avengers shredded with shuriken fire.

Amidst it all, the stalled Jain Zar hissed and cursed as Yvraine approached. A momentary tilt of her head was all it took, and a sudden burst of necrotic psychic energy shot from her eyes and detonated about an inch behind Jain Zar’s mask. The lifeless, headless body fell in a crumple on the ground.

Elramyn couldn’t help but blurt out: “You killed a Phoenix Lord!”

Yvraine turned and looked at her, and responded with a serene voice.

“Did I, child? Look closely at what you know. Is this the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar, the greatest of all Banshees, first of the Exarchs, student of Asurmen? Would such a warrior be felled so easily?”

Elramyn blanched as Yvraine continued.

“I pose to you, that query does not even truly matter. Because she fell in this manner, she was not Jain Zar. Maybe she believed she was and acted on some misguided concern of rejecting my endeavors in the name of Ynnead. Maybe she was an agent put up to the task by some meddling Archon of Commorragh–or a quite-the-same meddling Farseer in a Craftworld. Regardless. She has perished so simply, she must never have been Jain Zar in the first place.”

Elramyn puzzled for a stretch of seconds in silence.

“Return to your ship, Corsairs, lest I hold you accountable beyond the actions of this charlatan leader,” Yvraine continued after the pause. “There are so many others on this Hulk that we could be fighting. Why give in to base plots and schemes, when you could either be free plying the stars or taking up arms and fighting alongside me. She made the choice to betray Ynnead, and got Ynnead’s embrace instead. Tarry not long in making your decisions.”

And with that, Yvraine turned and led her forces away thru the decking and bulkheads. Elramyn looked at the few remaining Corsairs, who looked back to her for guidance. She was at a complete loss for words at first, then finally spoke.

“Something was off,” she said to them. “I noted it too. Glad we’re through that. Let’s go back to the ship.”

Painting Progress

I started by doing up two new leader options for my Boarding parties, Yvraine leading a force of Ynnari devotees herself and a Succubus conversion in case I feel like going all Drukhari on occasion (as I did with my first campaign game).

This was a super-fun model to work on, tho I definitely converted her headdress down and made it so her hair braced on her arm. Because this kit is a heart-breaker if you don’t do that, hah. The slightest bump or drop and it all would break.

I was kinda really pleased with how Yvraine’s sword turned out. I saw a tutorial for a prismatic blade, and I followed that best I could. I think it’s pretty neat.

The other leader I did up was a Succubus, as I wanted a model that was armed with a different weapon set than the Razorflails (which is how I did up my first Succubus). I converted over an Age of Sigmar model that had a great coiled whip, using the normal glaive of a Succubus and some Wyches parts.

I got a few more Drukhari Kabalite Warriors completed, as I want to keep rolling with small squads of them (to do a massed Venom mobile hunting cadre at some point). One of these was an old classic metal model, the crouching one with the Shredder.

I also completed a unit of Dire Avengers too, as doing Ynnari means painting up a new Asuryani unit for every Drukhari unit I wish to field. I definitely need to get rolling on the Craftworlds side of things!

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out, and I also am really happy with how the Saim Hann color scheme could be layered with their aspect colors. The back banner on the Exarch particularly was a spot to do it, and I also like how the decal transfers worked for it. Huzzah for Micro Set and Micro Sol as the adhesives to make decal transfers perfect.

And I also added an Aledari Warlock just because I was on a roll with painting Aeldari forces! I might be more proud of him than any of the other models in this set, hah.

And finally a non-boarding actions model, just because I wanted to finish it up. An Aeldari War Walker with Bright Lance and Eldar Missile Launcher.

And if all that painting was not enough, I even squeaked in two more Battletech Mechs: first an Adder, a little quick one.

And then a Dire Wolf. Both for my Clan Jade Falcon, which I’m really digging the look for.

Phew!!! All told a really monumental couple of weeks of painting new models this time. Huge progress, and deciding to go with Ynnari for the campaign really helped me put wind into what I was painting.

Finally, there’s a new edition of Warhammer 40k coming out relatively soon–so while I’m doing PL currently for my totals, there will be a brand new points system at some moment that is rapidly nearing. When it happens I’ll convert over accordingly. For now I figured I’d list both the PL and the current points in the edition as they stand.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 167 PL / 3,315 points

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 373 points

Battletech Clan Jade Falcon: Timber Wolf, Mongrel, Adder, Dire Wolf, Elementals (x1)

Neo-Normandy Commando Raid 1: Capture the Town

Neo-Normandy Commando Raid 1: Capture the Town

This is the third game of our “Invasion of Planet No’ohrm Ha’an D” series of battles, the first of the commando raids to simulate drop troops of the Aeldari striking Tau emplacements on the eve before the battle. The prior fluff is here: and my site has recaps of the prior air missions. The rules for the Commando Raids can be found here: Enjoy.

Warlock Baranyl stood on the deck of the Saim Hann command ship, watching the monitors scroll with image captures. Coordinating an attack across two different Craftworlds was a lot of work, and adding in the unpredictable and highly irregular forces of some Drukhari brethren was all the more of a nightmare. Her role was to speak to the ship’s spirit stones that processed battle information and enhanced command-and-control. And the “wraiths” were… unruly… given the strange bedfellows.

The morning would see the ground assault committed in full, landing on a beachside city to extract the Aeldari artifacts that brought the combined assault to this planet in the first place. Tonight was a series of coordinated commando raids to capture some of the nearby villages and destroy some of the heaviest of mech-suits in their motor pools so that forces the next day were divided in response, allowing the assault to slip in and disgorge the troops needed at the site of the main battle.

The Tau ground forces had posted picket lines of sentries around their facilities, and while their heavier units were at the ready there was still some element of surprise. The Tau scouts, so graceless and clunky in their shod footsteps, were all keyed into displays on the system as they patrolled the grounds. Even the stealthiest amongst this young race were like lowing bovine on the plains with the noise they made compared to the silently approaching Aeldari. A number of sentries were eliminated by the fast-moving Drukhari on their skyboards, which opened the window to then bring the drop forces screaming down via Wave Serpents and Venoms alike.

The Craftworld forces were tasked with capturing a hamlet where a number of the larger battlesuits were waiting in reserve. Meanwhile the Drukhari dove into the main Tau infantry and smaller battlesuit forces with abandon. Baranyl watched the feeds and saw the moments where Drukhari were taking pleasure in the torment they inflicted upon the Tau soldiers. A sudden flash, deep within her, rose for but a brief moment. Like a whisper from She Who Thirsts, a memory of what her people had locked away and retreated from all those ages ago. Baranyl shook her head in disgust. The sooner these forces were split the better.

As the Aeldari forces started to reach their target markers Baranyl was pulled out of those dark thoughts. She could feel the various threads of motion all captured in the spirit matrix of her ship, feeding back all the impressions across the battlefield. Her concern focused on the heavier battlesuits, as those would be the ones most jeopardizing their forces in the morning. A contingent of Wraithguard with Wraithcannon unloaded on one of the larger suits, and while a pure hurricane of missile shots and large laser blasts were returned, the Tau suit caught the worst of the exchange as chunks of its superstructure were displaced with the blasts.

Chancing a look back toward the feeds from the Drukhari command net, Baranyl observed that they had deployed numerous winged jump troops they referred to as “Scourges”. At first glance they seemed like the noble Swooping Hawks aspect warriors with their wings, but she quickly realized that those were grafted, living tissue wings. Whether birds or bats, the warriors had mutilated their own bodies to provide them with that mobility on the battlefield. She shuddered in renewed disgust.

The battle was close amidst the barracks sector, where the Drukhari and Tau were near-even in exchanging destruction with each others’ forces. The Drukhari way of war was elegant but cruel, and they chanced far too much at seeing the destruction in the eyes of their prey up close. On her Craftworld monitors she saw much more orderly advance: Falcon grav tanks landing aspect warriors into cover to slowly make their way forward with suppressing fire. She honed in on a bright spot: a unit of Fire Dragons had downed one of the big suits, but was pinned down into cover and losing members from the ranged fire response of the enemies.

A screen started flashing as another Tau priority target was engaged. Baranyl flashed to that screen in time to see another monstrosity–some twisted Drukhari construct–tear into the Tau battlesuit from behind. She could see the flesh of the thing’s neck and arms, but otherwise it was mechanical. It floated on a repulsor motor like a distended marsh suckerfly, full up on blood from some woeful host. Finally it tore free the reactor from the back of the suit, and with a “whoomp” the Tau weapon of war imploded. Chunks hung limply from the Drukhari creature itself, critically damaged in the explosion. Baranyl wished its demise, unsure if because of revulsion or pity for whatever vestige of life remained inside the cruelly-fashioned thing.

Alerts started to sound, as in both drop sites the Tau commanders were taking a toll on Aeldari forces. Some of the most capable warriors on the Tau side were engaging with precision and destructive armaments, landing devastating damage onto the Aeldari forces. One feed caught a Tau commander surging forward on jet propulsion, his missile pods blasting into the terrain where the remaining Fire Dragons were hunkered. While the commander inflicted damage, the loss of all of the larger suits started to be felt and Baranyl responded to the tactical command from the fleet “target complete: withdraw to safe engagement range” by passing it through the varied units via the matrices.

The Drukhari drop site was an utter mess, with both sides in near ruin. The Drukhari commander himself, Archon Yraleath, had insisted on being part of this raid–even tho he was also planning on joining the central invasion in the morning. Despite all the losses around him, he launched into battle with one of the Tau Commanders. From Baranyl’s vantage point it was almost like he was toying with the commander: his blade struck key points numerous times but was always turned in a way to not pierce the armor. What is he up to? she wondered. Why are his strikes so cautious and hesitant? Why is he not slicing them down? She made a note to raise this to her own commander. As the Tau suit blazed away with its firepower despite the close proximity, the Archon was a bit slow and caught a plasma blast that seared away a section of armor on his chest. He immediately sprang backward in a rush, darting back between the obstructions of the battlefield to safety. He’s hearty and capable even injured, so why the hesitance in the fight?

The Aeldari drop site had been thoroughly scoured of heavy troops, and captured by their forces. The Drukhari site much more closely fought–one town building barely controlled by a few straggling troops while the Tau Commander sheltered in the structure that dominated the other side of town. As close to a draw as possible. It was clear the Drukhari needed the Aeldari to pull of this raid in every way, and that applied even to the ground-level combat it seemed. So why did Archon Yraleath hold back so in his assault? What was his game?

Baranyl filed those thoughts to mention to her commander soon, and turned her attention to the other set of commando missions about to unfurl: strikes on the very heaviest Tau weapons of war. She hoped all this was worth the destruction, that the artifacts recovered would lead toward the path of wholeness and peace. Not in the moment surely, but in generations. She could hope.

Painting Progress

I’ve been toying with some Ynnari plans for my Aeldari forces lately, so finished up a group of Aeldari Rangers with Saim Hann colors (that of course match my Drukhari color scheme).

I’ve also been working on some Battletech miniatures recently, as the new models coming out for that game are finally not hideous enough that I’m willing to give it a go with my friends. I always enjoyed the crunchy style games with the hit locations, so I’m kind of keen to get into it more. I decided on Clan Jade Falcon mostly because of the cartoon show from back in the day, hah. The colors are a bit John Deere, but I dig them. I started with a base of Elementals, a Mongrel, and the iconic Clans Timber Wolf.

So yeah, a fair amount of painting progress completed. More fun ahead as well!

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 143 PL

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 373 points

Battletech Clan Jade Falcon: Timber Wolf, Mongrel, Elementals (x1)