Tag: Aeldari Eldar

Death in the Darkness

Death in the Darkness

Campaign boarding actions continue, these two weeks versus Enrico, Dave, and Michael. My Ynnari force expanded from last week, grabbing more of the Generator Cluster on the space hulk. The race is on to grab the last portions before it crashes into the planet and spills out into a broader territories game (we think that’s the plan of the amazing Justin and Sean who are running the show).

Also a note: normally Walkers are not allowed in Boarding Actions, but our campaign rules included them to allow people who wanted the icon boarding action Dreadnaught crashing through bulkheads to be able to run them. My first of these three games (my one loss so far in the campaign) I decided to field a Wraithlord just to see. And I saw that while it was funny, I vastly preferred more troops for objective-seeking.

Anyhow, without further ado the write-ups of my latest games. Huge thanks to my opponents Enrico, Dave, and Michael (in order) as each of these were super-enjoyable challenges.

Game Three: Cramped Spaces

“Cut. Maim. Tear.” Aleksandr whispered to himself over and over as his heavy greaves thudded across the decking making the distinct “clunk” of the auto-maglocks at work. “Maim. Tear. Cut.” His helmet’s auto-senses included the dim outlines of enemy targets at the far end of long access halls. The optic tech was old and battered, but it worked enough to identify shapes. Something in Aleksandr’s mind thought “space elves”, but he only continued muttering… “Tear. Maim. Cut.”

Two groups of his brethren World Eaters, along with Chaos Spawn, were cutting their way through the bulkheads in two parallel paths. A group of lithe elves attempted to hold a door shut to delay them, only to have it torn off its hinges by a squad sergeant’s empty, blood-stained hands. Even though the elves’ rapid strikes managed to fell the first warrior through the door, the raw force of the following marines dismembered them. Little room to dodge in such close confines, which left the elves at a disadvantage.

“Cut. Maim. Tear.” Aleksandr uttered again. He and his squad raced forward along the junction lines, heedless of a few bolts of fire that streaked from the darkness ahead. Suddenly, the opening at the far end of an access junction was filled by an enormous form. The elves had brought some manner of dreadnaught of their own onto the ship. It was stooped over and moved slowly, but the two massive laser cannons it wielded began sending crackling beams of illuminating energy at his squad, cooking two members of the other squad into nothing more than ashes. “Maim! Tear! Cut!” he roared, and thumbed the control for his chainaxe as he rushed forward. For all the menace of the crackling power fists of the elf dreadnaught, in that constrained space it never got a chance to swing them. Aleksandr’s axe tore open slice after slice of whatever material it was made of, which along with the blows of his mates dispatched it in short order. Panting with the exertion, he gasped “Tear… Maim… Cut…”

One of the elf witches appeared from a corridor, surrounded by shrouded elves with long laser rifles. Aleksandr could tell it was a witch from the sudden crackle feeling of psychic energy, which enraged him further. “Cut! Maim! Tear!” he bellowed. His onrushing squad would be at the witch in moments, and it must have started the abomination because the witch drew an enormous burst of power and directed it into his squad. Two of Aleksandr’s mates stumbled and fell, their vital signs on his display dropping to flatline. “Maim! Tear! Cut!” he shrieked. But the power the witch discharged was evidently rushed or too much for its own resilience, because with an echoing wet “bampf” the vile creature’s head exploded from its own energy. The explosion was so powerful that the eyes burst out of four of the five shrouded warriors right behind him, their light forms crumpling down onto each other. Even the remaining one’s mono-molecular tripwire couldn’t save him from Aleksandr’s charge and swinging chainaxe. With a single swipe and a gravely shout of “Tear! Cut! Maim!” the last of the elves were dead. This section of the ship was cleared.

Aleksandr toggled his sensor suite to a wider sweep. There had to be more enemies around. “Cut. Tear. Maim.” echoed in his vox as he stalked deeper into the halls of the hulk.

Game Four: Elf in the Machine

Landsyrr followed his Klaivex through the hallways, keen to the sound of grating machinery coming from all sides. The Space Hulk was simply deafening to his ears, but then much of the the sounds of his life in the past three hundred years had been the silence of the Shrine of the Coiled Blade. While some Incubi shrines were rife with competition, with thronging supplicants, or with the screams of sacrifice, theirs had been one of martial training in near silence–only the occasional bargaining with an Archon to use their services saw words echoing the halls. At least until the Visarch–servant of Yvraine–took over, and devoted the shrine to the cause of the Ynnari.

Since then, Landsyrr and the others in his shrine had followed Yvraine, including this newest endeavor to extract some sort of gain from scourging foes from the decks of this massive Space Hulk. Landsyrr was impressed by her. Such a mystery. So many things at once. Both a herald of death incarnate, striking down foes with her mind or her rainbow-hued power blade. And yet she had that side of the Asuryani kin with odd tenderness at moments, something that was somehow alien to Landsyrr. He saw her once bend down over a fallen Wych gladiatrix who had foolheartedly tried to hold a bulkhead door shut from a raging Space Marine, and issue the softest of kisses on the fallen warrior’s forehead before gently closing her eyes. Landsyrr wondered yet again why he was following this woman in this mad attempt to save their race.

Perhaps it was the chance to strike down so many foes. Their current engagement was against a group of Necrons–such ancient foes. The Space Hulk carried some sort of prize worth fighting for, as all sorts of races found themselves vying for control of the damnable things. Landsyrr’s squad sighted a strange floating Necron surrounded by their strange scarab servitors and charged into their midst. The Necron seemed to be some manner of scientist, as it cocked its head to examine them as a phase shift field went off, protecting him from the first of their strikes.

With a sound like metal scraping across the deck, the thing spoke. “You are in error, no? Records show your heraldry–sub-category reference: “shrine”–to be incongruous to that of the others with you. Yes?” Even as their slicing blades cut through the remaining scarabs and severed the thing’s limbs, it seemed more invested in asking its question than defending itself. After a couple more blows, the light from the Necron’s single cyclopean eye grew suddenly dull.

Landsyrr watched as Yvraine stalked the deck of the ship past their unit. Her blade nearly sang with the speed of cuts it made through the foes. At one point she deftly sliced the hinges on a portal, and the cut down each of the Necron warrior caste enemies that had been waiting behind it.

Yet in his mind, Landsyrr kept again and again turning the phrase that the monocular Necron leader had uttered. These Ynnari, the bulk of them Craftworlders… the Incubi, the Wyches, and the other denizens of the Commorragh were not so much like them. This alien machine could see the categorical difference. Why could Landsyrr and the other Incubi not see that. What was it about Yvraine that made her different? Made her the bridge? Was it simply Vect’s endorsement?

Regardless, there were more machines to dispatch. So dispatch they did.

Game Five: Hero in the Hallways

Narunn the Lucky, Einhyr Champion, had the knack for salvage. The Space Hulk “Dolorous Tidings” was his target, and as his team breached into the hallways Narunn could literally smell the promise of materials to be extracted and absconded-with amidst the various forces vying for control of the massive conglomeration of ships. After moving through a few decks, his vox buzzed from his team member carrying the auspex scanner. “Closest sentient macrofauna are on this deck, moving toward us… by their weapons and uniform energy frequencies they are.. elves.” Naurnn could hear the audible spit noise the operator made after muttering that final word.

While Narunn ordered close drill and careful advances, the elves came pouring out of the dimly lit hallways and right into the midst of his Hearthguard forces. While their armor turned aside much of the elves’ precision shooting and vicious melee attacks, slowly casualties started to accumulate. Strange acrobatic elf warriors with whirling blades danced along their lines, while a wave of blue-armored warriors poured shuriken fire into the midst of them. Each time the warriors were eventually repulsed, but eventually only a single Hearthguard remained in the “Aurachs” squad that was sweeping the far side of the ruins, and only Narunn remained on the near side.

Striding forth from amidst the multitudes of elven warriors came a clear leader–a woman in what elves must count as fancy clothing, bearing a sword that shimmered with the colors of the rainbow. She started with a psychic assault which felt like voices shouting at top volume in his head. Lightning-fast she darted forward and followed the disorienting psychic manifestation with a flurry of rainbow slices. While one scored a hit slicing his leg, Narunn’s armor power field repelled the remainder. The elf-queen seemed taken aback for a moment, having thought her blade would surely fell him. “We’re made of stronger stuff than that, elf harlot” thought Narunn as he swung his powered hammer forward. It connected with her midsection, sending her sprawling. She barely survived it, but it was clear that something broke inside her as she began coughing up blood. She shouted something in her foul tongue–which was echoed by a hiss from her strange cat-like companion–and then retreated into the darkness. “Lick your wounds or succumb to them in the dark” Narunn cursed as she left.

Narunn rampaged forward into the elf forces, who were left reeling with the complete and sudden dispatching of their leader–apparently she was revered amongst her people. Finishing off one squad of elf warriors with his hammer, and ending the stragglers of another with his pistol, Narunn found a central maintenance hatch. His own scanner did a quick translation of the runes–and he knew that good salvage was simply a deck down. He keyed in the location on his transponder to summon labor robots for the extraction to his own ship. The elves were swarming everywhere on this deck, clearly controlling the space. But he had bought enough time to grab some goods and escape. Sad to lose warriors, doubly-so to flower-pickin’ elves. But at least he could eke out some salvage.

The elves mounted one last attack on his position, led by yet another psychic threat–a conclave of their seers. Their blades and psychic assault was just not enough to stop him, and he struck them down as easily as he did their leader. It seemed their more numerous remaining warriors were fine simply controlling the entire deck beyond his locale, giving Narunn a wide berth.

After a tense 35 minutes expecting further attacks–and some holes cut in an exterior bulkhead–Narunn was finally back on his own ship, reviewing what he had acquired in the costly raid. Three large matching crates of goods. Opening them he found deeply disappointing contents. A shipment of uniform patches and fancy berets for some long-lost human guardsman regiment. “Damnation” he swore. He made a mental note to himself, a grudge of sorts. If the rainbow-sword elf-queen survived, and he meet her or her red-uniformed elf ilk again, he would spare nothing to repay this slight in full to her ten-fold.

Painting Progress

Lots of painting, not in terms of models but certainly in surface area! I finished a Wraithlord which I was quite proud of.

Which led me to break out and finish up a Wraithknight as well–the largest of the plastic kits for the Aledari. I’m really pleased with the pilot screen and the gem on it.

More painting to go, as we next land on the planet in the campaign (as lots of people are playing so spaces on the crashing hulk were captured fast–a great problem to have!).

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 198 PL / 3,935 points

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 373 points

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

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: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/02/the-invasion-of-planet-noohrm-haan-d/ and my site has recaps of the prior air missions. The rules for the Commando Raids can be found here: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/02/13/assault-on-neo-normandy-missions-2-commando-raids/. 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)

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (2) – Commando Raids

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (2) – Commando Raids

The air war is done, and now it’s on to the Commando Raids in our continued set of linked games at our local LGS, Drawbridge Games in Pittsburgh, PA. As before (https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/11/assault-neo-normandy-missions-1-strategic-air-war/), I wanted to provide the rules for what we’re doing in the missions in advance of our actual games. The Command Raids will be two missions, representing airborne forces dropping to capture a key location and to sabotage a gun emplacement. They’re meant to represent the Saint-Mère Eglise and Pegasus Bridge drops during the Normandy invasion in World War II–just with Warhammer 40k factions continuing their battles (Aeldari as the Allies, T’au Empire as the Axis).

Commando Raids and Sentries Rules

These sentries rules were directly adapted from the battlefield rules released along Moon Base Klaisus set for Warhammer 40k 8th edition (https://www.games-workshop.com/resources/PDF/Downloads/40K_Moon_Base_Klaisus_CB.pdf)

For a mission with Sentries, the Defender includes an additional unit beyond the PL of the game they’re playing. This unit should normally have the Troops Battlefield Role, contain up to 10 models, and have a Power Rating of 10 or less. In this scenario, note that the options can include Fast Attack—Drones or Pathfinders are valid choices for sentries as well as Fire Warriors, Breachers, or Kroot when T’au are the defenders.

The “Sentry turns” exist prior to the start of the game, where the Attacker’s Units are moving (and potentially shooting or charging) and the Defender’s sentries are on patrol and moving around the board. The Defender’s other forces are “encamped” and do not move until the alarm is sounded.

Each Sentry model moves and acts as a separate, individual unit throughout the battle. At the start of each of the Defender’s Movement phases, both players roll a dice for each Sentry model, in an order chosen by the Defender. The player who rolled the highest can move the model the distance indicated on their dice in any direction (a Sentry cannot Advance as part of this move). If the rolls are tied, the Sentry does not move.

At the start of the game, all is quiet and the alarm has yet to be sounded, but it is raised if any of the following occur:

  • A model from the Attacker’s army fires a non-silenced ranged weapon. Silenced ranged weapons are weapons that can ignore the “Look Out Sir” rule (e.g. Sniper Rifles). If the Attacker’s army fires any silenced ranged weapons, the alarm is raised if they hit but fail to kill their target with that shooting attack (as the target certainly feels the shots!)—and if targeting units with multiple models, the alarm is raised if any of the models in the targeted unit survive.
  • A model from the Attacking player’s army attacks a Sentry or a non-Sentry unit in the Fight phase but fails to kill them (in the latter case, the entire non-Sentry unit would need to be killed in the single fight phase). Note that the Defender’s models cannot fire Overwatch during the “Sentry Turns” phase of the game.
  • A model from the Attacking player’s army is spotted by a Sentry. An enemy unit is spotted if it is within a certain range of any Sentry at the end of any Movement phase (whether or not that unit is visible to the Sentry). The spotting range depends upon the Power Level of the Attacker’s unit, as detailed below:
Power Level*Spotted Within
5 or less3”
20 or more12”
*Note that vehicles and anything deemed “loud” (e.g. all Ork units that aren’t Kommandos or Gretchin) double their PL for purposes of this chart.

When the alarm is sounded, the Sentry Turns end and the game begins with turn one. If the alarm is raised during the Attacker’s turn, their turn ends after the action that raised the alarm has been completed. It is now the Defender’s turn one. If the alarm is raised during the Defender’s turn, then the Attacker and Defender roll off, the higher roll being the first turn of the regular game. In either case, the Sentries are now under full control of the Defender. The sentries must move in the movement phase toward regaining coherency, and when they’re in coherency those elements “form up” and remain a unit for the rest of the game. They otherwise act independently (shooting and charging) until they “form up” in a movement phase or other movement on the board. The Defender’s units that were “encamped” now are fully active and participate normally.

Mission One: Capture the Town

The Attackers are conducting a night raid to capture a critically-placed town. Their goal is to disrupt the enemy reserves and keep them from massing at the nearby beaches the following morning where the full invasion will be taking place.

The Defender’s deployment zone should include two notable buildings that form the center of the “town”. These serve as the objectives of the battle. Sentries can be placed anywhere within 18” of the Defender’s board edge, and need not be in the deployment zone (can be closer to the board edges). The Defender deploys their army and sentries entirely before the Attacker deploys. See the deployment zone chart below for the layout for the mission.

At the end of the game (5 normal turns), the Attacker wins if they hold more buildings than the Defender—holding both buildings or holding one while the Defender does not hold the other. If both hold one building, it’s a tie. Any other result is a win for the Defender. “Holding” a building requires that a unit be inside the building’s board footprint, and that no enemy unit be inside that footprint.

Mission Two: Spike the Big Guns

The Attackers are conducting a night raid to disable one of the massive artillery weapons of the Defenders—in this case a titanic battlesuit waiting in a drydock staging area. The goal is to destroy the towering battlesuit so the Defenders cannot use its long-ranged capabilities to bombard their landing forces the following morning of the full invasion.

The Defender’s deployment zone has a single additional model added to the game—a Lord of War Battlesuit such as a Ta’unar or Stormsurge (if adapting to other forces use something similar), which counts as the “Big Gun” objective and should be in the center of the battlefield. Sentries are maintaining a close perimeter to the Big Gun, so they must deploy within 3” of the Defender’s deployment zone. The Defender deploys their army and sentries entirely before the Attacker deploys. See the deployment zone chart below for the layout of the mission.

The Big Gun model is inactive for the battle, and the Defender’s forces should not include an equivalent or larger model. This model is not “active” in the battle, and a piece of terrain should be set up next to it to represent the suit being still connected to staging rigging. The staging rigging means the suit cannot be disabled at range (fueled defensive shielding or otherwise encased safely). Instead, the Attackers must destroy it with the demo charges that they have brought for the purpose. A Ta’unar Big Gun has 30 wounds, while a Stormsurge Big Gun has 22 wounds. Attacking infantry units can begin an action in their shooting phase instead of shooting (unless they have a special rule to shoot and do actions) as long as they did not advance that turn and are in base-contact with the Big Gun to “Plant Explosives”. The action concludes at the end of their turn as long as they do not Charge in the charge phase or are not engaged in the Fight phase. At that point, count the number of infantry models that conducted the Plant Explosives action and record it. Defender’s infantry models on their turn have an action as well, called “Clear Explosives”. Their action has the same restrictions as “Plant Explosives”. Again, at the end of their turn count the number of models who completed the action. At the start of each Attacker’s Command Phases (and once more at the very end of the game) the Attacker rolls a number of d6’s equal to the count of Attacking models who successfully completed the Plant Explosives action, counting all dice of 3+. The Defender rolls a number of d6’s equal to the count of Defenders who successfully completed the Clear Explosives Action, counting all dice of 5+. Subtract the Defender’s successes from the Attacker’s successes, and then apply the remaining number of Attacker successes as wounds to the Big Gun. The mission ends after 5 turns. If the Big Gun is destroyed at or before that timing, the Attacker wins. Any other result is a Defender victory.

Campaign Outcomes

Capture the Town: This affects the response time for the Defenders’ reinforcements. If the Attackers win, then any Defender reinforcements suffer penalty on their reserve rolls for the invasion missions (cumulative with the penalty for the Strategic Bombing mission from the Aeronautica game if that was an Attacker win).  

Spike the Big Guns: This affects the quality of the barrage against the Attackers’ large landing ships, leading to slower deployment of the flotilla of landing craft. If the Defenders win this mission, then the Deployment zone for the Attackers on sea landing missions is only 12” rather than 18”.

Painting Progress

More progress on the Drukhari, this time finishing up five Incubi. I’ve been needing to get squads of these together for my force, as they’re quite effective in the game. I’d been fiddling with the paint scheme, but finally found what I wanted. I think they turned out quite well. Setting them amidst the rest of the force makes them certainly stand out, but they still keep the same core colors (just in a different pattern), so I think they click nicely.

I also added yet another unit of five Wracks to my force. That makes a total of 25 Wracks–two squads of ten and one of five, which should make for a really good foundation of warriors for my force.

Next up I’m adding a whole set of models to my Wych Cult for the Commando Drop Missions, so stay tuned for those. I’m also painting up a set of ship-board battle terrain that I’ll leave at my local gaming store (it’s the basic set from GW for Into the Darkness kill team boarding actions, with a bit of an Orky mod to it). I’ve also got a plot for an Aeldari Outcasts/Corsairs/Exodite ship and/or base that is in my long-term plans for my own gaming table which I’ll do up at some point.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 129 PL

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 373 points

Air Caste in Retreat

Air Caste in Retreat

This is the first game of our “Invasion of Planet No’ohrm Ha’an D” series of battles. The prior fluff is here: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/02/the-invasion-of-planet-noohrm-haan-d/ and the rules for the mission are here: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/11/assault-neo-normandy-missions-1-strategic-air-war/. Next game will be a second Aeronautica Imperialis mission–a bombing run against strategic infrastructure.

Kor’Vre Vior’la Ires had been the Navigator and Weapons Operator on his Tiger Shark AX-1-0 for three years. Seconded by the Air Caste to the No’ohrm Ha’an system for system defense, Ires’ combat wing had been stationed on the fourth planet in the system for quite some time. The system itself had strategic expansion import, and there were a few times that the wing had been deployed in full combat status. Most recently an Ork Rok fortress drifted into the system outskirts, and disgorged that race’s motley forces across the sixth and seventh planets of the system. Ires’ plane had downed three Ork Stompas as they raged across the chemical fields of one of the planets, saving countless T’au lives from their cruel guns. With his pilot Kor’El Diaron dodging the thicket of flak fire they monstrosities kicked out, Ires could focus on using the paired railguns of their plane to demolish the Orks’ heaviest of equipment.

The fourth planet was a good spot for a base, as the planet was itself a delightfully relaxing place. Covered in natural vegetation and the ivory and limestone constructions of some past civilization made it smooth for them to all settle down and into the pace of life there. Even amidst military drill, the atmosphere of calm and comfort filled the planet. Apparently the only predator species on the planet were occasional feral gyrinxes, which made the basic animal life of the place calm. Ires was watching a few birds alight on a tree outside the ivory structure where he had made his home outside the barracks, when the peace was shattered. The warning sirens went off–shrill in the warm air. “Scramble” Ires recognized immediately, and without even grabbing his personal pack he dashed fast as he could across the smooth courtyards and garden terraces to reach the airfield the Earth Caste had carved from the greenery.

As Ires settled into his navigator’s seat in the plane, he was already asking Diaron what she knew of the threat.

“Came out of nowhere. A fleet of Aeldari ships sporting all sorts of make and marking apparently. More than just pirates and raiders tho. This is an invasion force.”

Ires’ computer was spitting out threats, both in the space above the planet and the atmosphere of the planet itself. Seems like the fourth planet was the focus–the board was lit up with enemy fighter craft streaking in formation across the skies. They seemed to be targeting the two main air bases, and already the pair of Gal’leath class Battleships from the Merchant Fleet in high orbit were broadcasting distress calls. Had the capital weapons of the Aeldari stricken their main system ships? How did the Water Caste not warn them of potential attack?

Diaron guided their Tiger Shark into formation with the swarming Barracudas and other Tiger Sharks. If the capital ships were crippled, it was a good thing that they had taken the time to build terrestrial bases for some of the air forces perhaps. Maybe the Water Caste were more prepared than they expected.

Drone-captured video feeds of the enemy attack wing registered on their instruments. “At least three different color schemes amongst the Aeldari planes,” he said to Diaron over the comms. “Three Craftworlds?”

“Perhaps,” she replied. “Or perhaps just raiders? Though this is a big force for raiders.”

Ires had never faced Aeldari in actual combat before, only in computer-run simulations. He was prepared for them to have both perfect formations and then break into individual… flourishes… of pursuit when the battle enemy was reached. He was not ready for how flawless their ability to fly really was in person. Even the computer simulations could not capture the daring-ness of their maneuvers, so perfectly executed. Diaron could fly circles around Ork and Imperial fighters, even in their large Tiger Shark bomber. But she might as well be flying a bulk air tractor compared to the Aeldari’s grace and precision.

At least they had firepower volume, Ires thought. The railguns were actually not so effective against the swarming lighter craft, but Ires’ smaller armaments and turrets started to take their toll in sheer mass of fire. The Aeldari were perfection, but delicate perfection. It was all about closing fields of movement. Ires watched a foe plane snake through six columns of fire from four different T’au vessels. Even the slightest gap in fire would be used by the Aeldari to escape. Ires programmed the targeting solutions to closer bursts–waves of fire that hopefully formed a wall. The few Aeldari planes that had been dropped took only a couple of hits to down at most.

Ires managed to down a Phoenix class bomber (according to the ident computer, that was the designation), and proudly broadcast the basis of his firing solutions to the wing’s gunners at large. However, in that moment he noted just how many planes had been lost. The Aeldari first strike had eliminated too many ships, taking out as many of the Barracuda fighters as they could manage first–then turning on the slower Tiger Sharks. Diaron had already gotten the call, and was snaking their way out of the conflict space. They and a sole Barracuda managed to get free and shake pursuit. While the Aeldari had taken losses, it wasn’t as dramatic as what the T’au wing had suffered.

Diaron guided the Tiger Shark up out of the atmosphere, and toward the fifth and sixth planets in system–engaging the gravitic drive to make further distance from the spot of conflict at rapid pace. There were ample ground assets on the fourth planet, and the dense hedgerows of the the green countryside would make for slow going for a conventional invasion force. The T’au might have time to regroup, and with time could surely outnumber the Aeldari. The question was whether the remnants of their fighter wing, the other fighter wing, and the remaining space fleet could protect the skies or not. In the short term, the Aeldari would have the advantage. The air war had begun to be theirs, and if they would start with strategic air attacks or a full-on assault, only time would tell. Ires found himself thinking about his pack, back on the ancient terrace where he had been bunking. Was the design Aeldari? Or some other lost race? Either way, he had lost friends and his dwellings, at least for the moment with the latter. He began writing up a more nuanced firing solution to share with the wing’s Kor’O when they could reach contact. The Aeldari would go no further if he could prevent it.

Painting Progress

I painted up yet more Aeronautica Imperialis planes for this game. Two more Phoenix bombers joined the ranks, both with Starcannons to serve as close firing attack craft.

For longer range, I built and painted a delightful Forgeworld model: the Vampire Hunter. It’s a great looking plane, and I love the look of it (please Forgeworld… re-release this one in 40k scale for us). It’s rules in the game are underwhelming. Sort of a long-range heavy damage plane. Not awful, but my Phoenixes and Nightwings did way more work during the battle than the Vampire.

Finally, I’ve also been working on my 40k Drukhari forces. Added another 5 Wracks to my completed pile, which was fun. I’ve got more of these on the docket as well, as I want to flesh out some big squads of bodies for the invasion scenarios. Needs to be those masses of soldiers unloading off of Raiders onto the beach to assault the T’au lines. And Wracks will be part of that.

All told a lot of painting done! Yet more to go. Much more.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 116 PL

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 295 points

The Invasion of Planet No’ohrm-Ha’an D

The Invasion of Planet No’ohrm-Ha’an D

FYI. This is the draft version of the fluff background for a set of games that I’ll be playing with some friends, pitting Tau vs Aeldari in a linked campaign that does a 40k version of the Invasion of Normandy from World War II. Changes will be made as the narrative solidifies.

“Ah, good kin. So glad you could join me. Your seer-sight did steer you right, I assure you.”

The Warlock exchanged a bemused glance with her Autarch at the words uttered by their host. To call them “kin” was near-insult, and the Warlock’s visions were clouded with all manner of warning signs. Even finding this eddy of the Webway with their own small craft, and docking with this entirely suspect Voidship left them near-convinced this was a bad plan from the start. This was a Drukhari ship, and their host an Archon named Yraleath.

“I assure you… relax” Archon Yraleath continued, attuned to their discomfort. “As you well know, this is about mutual gain for your Craftworld and my Kabal both. Our ancestors draw from the same source, and that bloodline shares roots long hidden, but now found.”

Yraleath swept his hand to a large drawing easel that floated just above the deck on a grav-suspensor platform, which contained an elaborate set of sketches. Unfurled star charts and a few open tomes were also on the easel. Flecks of paint and ink, and worryingly perhaps other substances given some of the jars that littered what seemed to be the Archon’s study, were everywhere. But the core of the sketch was clear: an elaborate tree housing a gem, beside what were clearly hand-inked battle plans.

“The Peridot of Isamena,” Yraleath said, his hand gingerly patting the canvas painting. That name provoked another glance between the two Craftworld visitors, this time more of surprise. “Ah, yes. You recall Isamena’s name at but a mention. She who wove the stones and the earth, one of the engineers who helped grow your very Craftworld.” The Autarch gave a clear nod of confirmation, and the Archon continued. “Isamena was not only a traveler on your home amidst the stars. Her lover, a Corsair named Ynakara, may be less known to you. Ynakara walked many paths, including the streets of Commorragh. And their children walked with Ynakara, and their descendants number many amidst our Kabal. One of your great architects and engineers, but also our greatest of grand-mothers. After a fashion.”

“When she grew weary after so many years, Isamena left your Craftworld, as you well know. What I have discovered is that Ynakara helped her find a place to settle. And there she worked on growing her most wondrous and massive creation… beyond your lovely Craftworld, of course.” There was only the slightest hint of jeer in the phrase, and both Warlock and Autarch let it wash away. “The Peridot of Isamena, a gem gradually woven up from the earth amidst the cluster of a Juniper tree in the direct center of her garden, a garden woven to cover an entire planet. All those natural lines, all that energy, all converging in a single point. A most auspicious rock.”

“Thru much research and investigatory… hmm… raids, I’ll say, I’ve located the planet where our shared ancestor made her retreat. And as far as I can tell, the world-garden is still very much intact. Her touch is everywhere, in every tree and stone. With all energy centered in the Peridot. And all the more surprising, it yet stands despite the current… occupants.” Yraleath pointed toward the star charts. “What is the phrase that pertinacious Farseer of Ulthwé uses for them? Striplings? Those young striplings of space, the T’au, are the ones who hold the planet now. At least they are not the barbarian Mon-keigh of Terra, who would tear it all down in an instant if they knew one of ours had a hand in it. But the T’au have a muse of beauty at times, so I do believe they would preserve another species’ garden for its own sake. At least not unduly plow her woven creations into the soil out of xenophobic spite.”

“There are reasons you would seek Isamena’s creation, and reasons my Kabal would be interested in mounting a raid there as well,” he continued. At this the Warlock knew there was more unsaid in the Archon’s offer, but chose not to push on it. However, she did resolve to report the suspicion back to the Seer Council upon return. “It will take more than a usual sort of raid, of course, as the stripling T’au have quite a force on this world. The nearest Webway access leaves a system to traverse. The T’au refer to the system as No’ohrm-Ha’an, and the fourth planet, designation “D”, is the one where Isamena’s lost garden lies. We’ll need to arrive in force in the system, and mount a full invasion to root the… bovine in battlesuits… out of the city where our prize lies. That will take your armory of ships and the fabled Wraith Host of your halls. I need your military might for a proper invasion of the beach-side coast if we’re going to be free of the T’au. You need my forces, our speed, and my most brilliant battle plans to make it all a success, not to mention my help in finding the center of the garden when we get there.” Yet another glance was exchanged between the Warlock and Autarch at the strange self-serving confidence of their strange host.

Yraleath rolled up the canvas pages and drawn diagrams and carefully tied them with a length of reddish twine of some sort. He handed them to the Autarch. The Warlock took a look closer, and saw that the twine was likely a length of dried and cured intestines, and knowing the Drukhari, it would be those of a sentient creature surely. She would have to inform her Prince of that fact, but perhaps at a moment when he did not bear it in his hands in front of their host. As surely the reaction would be one of disgust, and care to avoid seeming even slightly rude was needed here.

“Think it over, my kin.” The last words of Yraleath echoed in their minds they exited his study and started to walk the halls of his vessel back to their own craft.

“This would cost so many lives,” the Autarch muttered. “The operation he sketched looked immense at first glance–a full air war, multiple insertions of raiding elements by drop craft the night before, then a mechanized shock assault across water onto a fortified beachhead. Those T’au may be a young race, but their guns are formidable.” Their Craftworld had encountered the T’au on occasion, and even their temporary emplacements and air defenses loomed as deadly both their minds.

“You’ll bring this to the Seer Council,” he continued. “Look to the skeins of fate, as you do. If this is true–and I don’t trust our ‘kin’ entirely on that even–but if true, we must act on it. I can awaken the Wraiths and stoke the forges of Vaul. We can bring such destruction to the skies and shores of the T’au that they will be forced to leave the planet, to withdraw back to their other holdings. At least long enough for us to transplant what we can of the garden of Isamena back to a spot where we can tend it. And see if her soul resides in the Peridot, as having her wisdom and guidance once again would be of great help in these troubled times.”

The Warlock sighed as she took her seat when finally back in their own craft. Isamena had chosen to retreat from the Craftworld when she grew weary. Now they were on the precipice of bringing not only fire and death to the planet of her refuge, but perhaps to bring her dormant spirit into service once more. That alone gave her pause. But to leave such wonders in the hands of the T’au Empire, to not have them within the halls of the Craftworld, that too must be considered. The Warlock mused to herself whether the seer-sight would “steer them right” indeed. No’ohrm-Ha’an D? A vision of darkness and haze over beaches littered with Aeldari bodies crowded her sight as their ship took off and slipped back into the cold stark void of space.

Crusade: Deity of Death

Crusade: Deity of Death

Planetary Empires campaign continues to churn, and I slide to a more flexible raiding party role for a while to reset my force to explore some Ynnari lists that get me blending Drukhari and Asuryani forces (and maybe a few Harlequins at some point too).


The prophet had come, had walked the halls of the Craftworld and the alleys of Commorragh. More than a few had followed her, seeking guidance and insight or perhaps more insidious things. Followers of Archon Yraleath the Calcimineer noted that he had sent some envoys to make contact with those of the Saim Hann Craftworld, where their Kabal had some ties through varied exodites, corsairs, and more. There was a rumor that a Spiritseer was in contact with him, some long-lost ally who had spent time amidst high Commorragh themselves. The call of the prophet, the sounding of a potential for so much death, had motivated the sights of Kabal and Craftworld together on the planetary cluster Scylla Quintus.

The forces gathered in the Webway, united by the prospect of war against the varied assembled forces, war in the name of the goddess of death. Drukhari Kabalites stood in long ranks, eyeing their long-lost relatives amdist the Rangers and Guardians who stood in the Asuryani force. Yraleath stood speaking to the Seer, their conversation low. Sharp eyes noted a curved Hekatarii blade slung at the Seer’s waist. Had they spent time in the fighting pits, or a gift from some Drukhari consort? The opaque blue glow of their Seer’s mask gave no hints on the wearer’s demeanor, and their body language was deferential to that of Yraleath. At their feet glowed a single rune carved in the strange earth of the unstable realm. As they spoke, it seemed to glow, until lighting on fire.

Yraleath then spoke to the assembled forces. “It’s time for us to depart, to join our forces in attacking those of this system. The sheer scale of death and destruction these planets have seen have merely set the stage for death yet to come. Whether you believe the prophet’s words, or are here simply to chase some excess and violence to shave off another day of chase from She Who Thirsts, we go forth for war united. Fight in your bands, but know we fight together. It’s a particular delight seeing you brethren commit to war. A very particular delight seeing you needing… nay, wanting… to see your shots flense the foe, your blades draw blood. You grew up on the Craftworld, but inside is something older.”

The Spiritseer then spoke, their voice low but commanding as it modulated through the mask’s speaker. “We may work at similar aims, but we are different. Do not forget that.” The Archon bowed with an absurd deference, as if accepting the comment but also making light of it. The Seer continued, undeterred. “Our actions in these battles walk the line of death, bringing forth Ynnead as we are promised. The very spirits buried in our stones and our wraithbone cry out for death–the death we are about to mete out. Let us sally forth and destroy all we face. In the name of Ynnead and of the Prophet herself!”

Game One: Demons and Dust

The initial strike of the combined force of Ynnari devotees brought them to the outskirts of an industrial segment of a small town, once occupied by the mon-keigh. There was death here, and soon enough it revealed just what sort. The very walking dead–spirits of dust in armor–had convinced some cults amongst the mon-keigh to rise up and start unspeakable rituals to spread their predations.

The mechanized portions of the Aeldari force dispensed with the cultists on the left flank, whilst on the right a group of arena-trained wyches dove into the masses of warriors to tear them apart. The sheer bloodshed was unimaginable, as the wyches had to fight desperately given the tight quarters atop a small industrial platform.

In the distance, the rituals of the dust-suited warriors culminated, and daemons of a sort leached their way into realspace. The lines of Kabalite warriors barely got to fire before the malign sorceries of the assembled foes tore into them. Heads exploded and bodies fell rigid with destroyed minds in the mental onslaughts.

While the masses fell, the damage to the armored dust-warriors carried the day. Too many suits perished, and their leader fled on their strange disk-like conveyance–followed by their warriors teleporting to some distant fighting ship. The core of the Ynnari held long enough to secure the battlefield, and turn the carnage and interrupted rituals into work for the goddess of death.

Game Two: Breeding Nests

Pouring over careful scan data, Archon Yraleath found a likely spot to strike. The Seer may be a true believer, but Yralreath was more cagey. Finding a way to use violence and war to duck the predations of She Who Thirsts had been what he had done for generations. He painted pictures of the battlefields, triptychs of life becoming death, and it had held her at bay thus far. Tho each time, a bit less, he knew. That’s why the words of the prophet were at least worth listening to now. And if he could turn that Seer and their forces into a tool for his own machinations in the Commorragh, then all the better.

But that meant playing the Seer’s game, and interpreting the strange visions. After their prior battle, the Seer had spoken of the various ways the goddess of death was denied–the armored warriors of the mon-keigh with their dust bodies being only one such method. His scans turned up another: multiple tendrils of a cosmos-spanning hive fleet had reached Scylla Quintus, and the way that the fleet destroyed everything but turned it into more Tyranid… life… was perverse enough an affront to him. Their sheer lack of artistry, of freedom, of creativity in destruction? That was worth ending–and Yralreath pitched that much to the Seer.

Agreeing to strike at the hive fleet, the forces set upon a spot where an initial tendril bombardment had seeded the very ground with the invasive organisms that called to and guided their forces. The Ynnari forces were tasked with finding the various nests where they were buried and eliminating them, so that the spread of the Tyranid vanguard organisms would be blunted. Of course, some of the beasts were already on the ground near these, defending them while the rest of the fleet drew closer. Fierce Tyranid Warriors were cut down in droves by the Wyches, but they seemed almost limitless in response–and killed many of the area-trained themselves.

The Spiritseer’s Guardians rode with them in a Wave Serpent, and rushed toward the mental commanders of the Tyranid force. A pod of Zoathropes nearly destroyed the crew of the Wave Serpent with their mental onslaught. The pilot hung on long enough to deliver them, and the Spiritseer put an ancient curse of Doom upon them, which enabled shuriken to tear through their armored forms with precision.

The forces of the Archon and the Seer were able to unearth and destroy all four of the buried nascent vanguard organism nests–fusion blasts and grenades destroying each of them. The worse of the Tyranid forces were held at bay, in no small part thanks to the sacrifices of both Drukhari and Asuryani transport craft crew. One daring Raider interposed itself of the hordes of smaller beasts and the birthing creature that carried them, only to be shattered by their small claws and finally shot thru by the spines launched by the mother-creature. As the Ynnari forces withdrew in victory, they knew that deaths of some of their number were the price to pay for the goddess of death to tighten her grip on the system, and the eventual rise of Ynnead herself.

Painting Progress

Plenty of painting these past two weeks. First, I finally managed to put the highlights on my second Ravager, this one equipped with Dark Lances. As I’m playing Ynnari right now, I’ll have to paint up a Heavy Support choice for the Asuryani to be able to field this one. But glad it got it done, as it adds more heavy firepower to my forces.

Very first of my Asuryani forces that I finished up was a Wave Serpent. I’ve got a pretty mechanized infantry approach to Drukhari, so to balance that I’ll need a whole lot of Wave Serpents too (tho I may swap back on occasion to a pure Drukhari list just to make progress on many Venoms). Pretty pleased both with how it turned out, and with how it matches my Drukhari forces well. These two armies are going to really click together.

Finally, I needed to complete the Spiritseer leader of the Asuryani side of the force. I did them up with a weapon swap to be holding a Hekatarii blade, to make them fit just a bit closer to my Drukhari forces. I will likely do up a Farseer too soon, but I had this model and they seemed good to try out the various colors (hard to do the arms/glove with the armor highlights, but do a different set of lowlights for the robes still in the same base color. I think it turned out okay tho.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with the painting progress so far, and if I’m going to hit 365 or more Power Level painted this year it’s time to focus in (as we’re nearing the end of April already). So I think it’ll be Aeldari that become the year’s focus–especially because when I set them on the table they look so slick and unified (even between Asuryani and Drukhari).

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted Total: 115/365

Aeldari Apocalypse

Aeldari Apocalypse

As I mentioned in my prior post, I’m aiming at painting up 365 points of Aeldari for 40k as my 2022 year goal. Which is a pretty ambitious undertaking. I’m doing so because I want to build a Ynnari but mostly Drukhari force for Apocalypse-sized games. I wanted to visualize what I have and want to paint next, sort of a virtual measure of progress toward goals of a pretty big and impressive force. So I did up the following graphic:

I like this because it’s actually a pretty good look at what I’d want the full force to look like eventually. It doesn’t include what I’ve already painted (which is a lot: 47 PL / 980 pts. already finished and magnetized). As I paint going forward, I’ll color in the models I’ve completed. I meant to do this with a T’au project that sort of flubbed as it started early in Covid, but I like the idea and wanted to give it a go.

Mustering a big force like this for me means a few large centerpiece models, plus that whole host of ground troops to be arrayed at their feet. That’s why my next project is a very un-exciting big blob of Kabalite Warriors. Need to have that “look” to the battles of the 41st Millennium: the swathes of infantry being blown up on the landscape where Titans stride.