So we’re starting a new Crusade at my local gaming store, Drawbridge Games, and this is the set-up and first game of my force. I’ll include both the arrival of my force in the campaign (as I started with a couple of Genestealer Cult games before deciding on Drukhari) and the first game with them. I’ll do another more general Crusade story post when we hit the first advancement on the map: it’s a Planetary Empires campaign using Crusade armies–all the narrative fun!
The Biophagus lay coughing on the ground, while the Clamavus stood frozen nearby, not moving lest the Haemonculus’ Needle Pistol fire and cut him down.
The Archon spoke:
“It was easy, you see. We’ve been wanting to hunt in the Scylla Quintus planetary cluster for some time. So much agony, so many foes all clashing. It called out to us through the webway. But it’s been a matter of where to start. Where to strike? Who to usurp first?”
“The Space Marines would be burdensome to tackle first, even more so the ones who work directly for their Corpse-God. The Tyranids are pointless to fight as their suffering isn’t even felt. The Tau, those dopey herbivores, are so stunningly un-imaginative except with technology, so their suffering is even less interesting than that of the human soldiers of the Corpse-God, who are already walking dead and given in to their run-down existence. And our Aeldari cousins, also fun to torment, are at very least our distant-if-absurdly-optimistic kin. They’ll be around in the future.”
The Biophagus stared up, his eyes bulging as poisoned blood seeped from out his ears. The Archon continued, whether or not the poor dying creature could hear.
“But you, Cult of the Twisted Helix. You made it so easy. Your practice of sharing blood, passing the same tinctures all around? Made it simple for my Haemonculus here to concoct a poison that would delay just enough before killing each and every one of you. My agents slipped it in to your equipment, and then you…” he pointed at the Clamavus “… you so obligingly sounded the call that all in the Cult should join in ritual sharing of the blood again. What sustained and strengthened you all, now kills you. Each one will become a husk, slight delays only by individual constitutions. But all will die. What a kind practice you’ve shared. My hope is that there are branches of your Cult elsewhere, so that all your bastardized combinations of two despicable races in this galaxy are so easily and politely dispatched.”
The Archon stalked away with the Haemonculus trailing him, leaving the Clamavus scratching at the site where he too so recently received the Biophagus’ transfusion. He nearly wished that the elves had killed him as he felt a creeping chill inside his spine. Instead he went to find others, to see if they were truly dying, and to call fervently to the Star Children to arrive… and avenge.
Having established a sally port webway entrance on the Scylla Prime, the Drukhari set their sights on nearby prey. While the Tau had their primary beachhead in the contested system on the ice moon of Glaucus, they were dispatching small expansion cadres all across the surface of the larger planet. Archon Vÿr was hankering for a daring challenge, as while his Haemonculus Oribraq’s plan for taking out the Genestealer Cult was entirely successful, it was also clear to the rest of the Raiding force that it was Oribraq’s doing. Vÿr had to make some deft strokes to make certain it was him who ruled, not his underling alchemist assistant.
Archon Vÿr dispatched Oribraq and his creations to cover a flank, while his Kabalites and the Wych cult forces in his employ tackled the main line of the Tau. Between a Raider full of Wyches and a Beastmaster with a new Clawed Fiend (some aquatic version of the monster that looked mostly like a giant crab), Vÿr was confident that the Tau would be swept away.
Unfortunately the Tau seem to have undergone some technical upgrades, in both the behavior of their drones and the quality of their battlesuits. And whatever new ammunition they were using in their tanks’ rail cannons proved to be especially devastating: the Night Shields of his Raider seemed to do nothing as the solid shot blew it apart on arrival. Even the new crab-like Clawed Fiend was ruthlessly gunned down by the foes before it could fight.
It was time to make a statement, a signature kill, to show everyone just who was in charge and how to stop the horrid bovine Tau in their tracks. Archon Vÿr strode straight forward into the face of the towering battlesuit that anchored the middle of the Tau line. He began darting about, landing blow after blow, only to realize that something had changed: the Tau must have reinforced the suit and made it more vehicle and less pilot. His poisons were doing nothing to the mighty creature. More depressingly its missiles and arm cannon eventually overwhelmed his Shadowfield. As he took a devastating kick from the thing, in melee no less, he was only saved by the arrival of Haemonculus Oribraq’s Talos which finished off the mighty battlesuit.
Meanwhile Oribraq and his Wracks were dominating their side of the field, including stopping the Tau Commander in their tracks after surviving their comet-like descent. With a number of Tau warriors chained up and headed for Oribraq’s lab, the tide finally began to swing for the Drukhari. Archon Vÿr’s Flayed Skull Ravager managed to finish off both of the Tau rail-bearing tanks with a final bit of help from the rampaging Talos. It was the only bright spot of his forces amidst a narrow victory. And he had to concede that without Haemonculus Oribraq’s contributions to the fight (both personal violence meted out and that of his hellish creations), what should have been a loss became a narrow victory for the Drukhari raiding party.
Archon Vÿr licked his wounds and watched for any potential upstarts and assassins rising against him thanks to the relative disgrace of his Kabal amidst the broader victory. He’d need to think more carefully about where to deploy Haemonculus Oribraq’s forces: both to batter the foe, and to ensure that they did not get too much glory.
As always, more painting updates for each game I play. Finished up a couple of things for this game, and I’m really close on a few others that I’ll hopefully have finished for the next.
Obviously this means more work toward my Aeldari 2022 goals, which is likely to continue given that I’ll be doing the Crusade and Planetary Empires campaign with them over the next few months. Fun times and good painting joy ahead.
Painting Challenge 2022 Progress
Warhammer 40k Aeldari 2022 Power Level Painted: 33/365
Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Total Power Level Painted: 64 / 365