Tag: Tau

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

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (1) – Strategic Air War

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (1) – Strategic Air War

As I indicated in my prior post, a few of us at my LGS (the outstanding Drawbridge Games, in Pittsburgh, PA, USA) are doing a Warhammer 40k re-fight of the Normandy invasion in WWII as a series of linked campaign games. The story set-up for the entire invasion can be found in this post: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/02/the-invasion-of-planet-noohrm-haan-d/ We’re doing the missions as Tau as defenders, with Aeldari (both Drukhari and Asuyani) as attackers. I’ll have a blog post about how each of the battles fares as we play them, but I also wanted to set up the parameters of the various games that we’re playing so that if others were inclined to do their own Normandy-themed campaign they could. There are four phases of the campaign, which include multiple games within each phase. The four phases are: the Strategic Air War, the Airborne Landings, the D-Day Coastal Landings, and the Consolidated Invasion. We’ll be using a modified version of the Planet Strike rules from Games Workshop to guide these, where we’ll fight every battle but they result in consequences for further battles down the line, from rules modifications, bonus units, or just different missions based on results. Huge kudos to my friend Ryan for putting together the core of these rules for the set of games and having the idea for it in the first place.

Phase One: Strategic Air War

This phase of the invasion involves the dogfight squadron battles to establish air supremacy, followed by an attempt by the attackers to strategically bomb the supply lines of the defenders in the lead-up to the invasion. We’ll play this out with two sequential games of Aeronautica Imperialis.

Game One: Air Supremacy

The attackers are seeking to gain air superiority by tackling the defender air assets directly. This game played as a standard Aeronautica Imperials dogfight with two equal sides. Points for enemy flyers eliminated are used to calculate margin of victory.

For our game, we’re having a whopping 500 points vs 500 points (or more!) battle, with the mighty Tau Tiger Sharks and Barracudas being struck by swarming Aeldari Nightwing Fighters and Phoenix Bombers. We use the optional damage rules, as tailspins, smoking hits, and on-board fires make for a much more amusing game overall.

For outcomes, a victory by the defenders slows the ability of the attackers to completely own the skies on landing day. However, they still have the strategic advantage at this point of the war in the air, so there’s no bonus conferred for a defender win. If the attackers win, however, the leave the skies of the shores undefended while the defenders’ air force withdraws to protect more inland targets. That awards the attackers the following ability for the D-Day Coastal Landing missions in Phase Three.

Tactical Bombing Run: Once per game in the D-Day Coastal Landings battles, the attackers can call in air support to soften up a visible-by-air hard target and/or defensive position of the defenders. During their Command Phase of any term, the attackers can nominate a single enemy unit or fortification, and roll a d6. On the score of a 3 or better, the bomb hits on-target. They get a +1 to the roll if the target is a Titanic Vehicle (in this game, that’s the KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Suit or the KV128 Stormsurge), and a +2 to the roll if the target is a Fortification. If they target an infantry unit, then instead there is a -2 to the roll. On a successful 3+ hit, the target takes 2d3 mortal wounds. On the result of a modified 6, all units within 3″ of the target take 1d3 mortal wounds. If the target is a fortification, on a hit the fortification takes 2d6 mortal wounds rather than 2d3, and units inside take 1d3 mortal wounds. This also can explode on a modified roll of 6 as above (as ammo stockpiles or critical machinery detonate).

Game Two: Strategic Bombing

The attackers are preparing for the coming invasion by bombing roads, bridges, railways, and landing pads to deny options from the defender in preparation for the looming coastal assault. This game is played as a modified Aeronautica Imperialis bombing mission, where the defender has three bomb-able ground targets that can yield points to the attacking forces. Each has 5 structure points, and yields 5 victory points for each structure destroyed plus a bonus 5 if destroyed completely. Two of the targets have defenses that can return fire as normal until destroyed.

Again, we’re hoping to have 500+ points of planes per side in our fighting of the battle, which makes for a pretty epic air combat, and again use the optional damage rules as well for the game.

For outcomes, again the defenders are trying to just hold on and keep their defenses intact. A win for them ensures that their reserve forces and materiel are un-interrupted. However, a win for the attackers in this mission will disrupt the reserves of the defenders. They gain the following bonus during the D-Day Coastal Landings phase of the battle:

Delayed Reserves: The Defender in this scenario suffers a -1 to all reserve rolls using the Planetstrike Mission Rules reserve charts.

Once the Strategic Air War phase of the invasion finishes these two missions, it moves on to the second phase: Airborne Landings (which will be the next rules post on this site).

Painting Update

Air Force and Airborne units both are things I’ve added to my painted pile. I had four Aeronautica Aeldari planes done, so I added two Phoenix Bombers and a Nightwing to increase the force (and I have more to finish).

And while it’s looking a bit ahead, I also finished up a unit of Scourges to help flesh out the Airborne troops of my force for that phase of the invasion. I’m super-pleased with the Hawk Wing paint scheme on these, which matches the first unit of Scourges that I painted up with Haywire Blasters.

All-in-all a good amount of painting progress to get ready for the Assault on Neo-Normandy invasion missions that we have ahead these next few months.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 113 PL total, 5 PL in 2023

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 198 points, 86 points in 2023

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.

Drawbridge Gulf Expansion (2)

Drawbridge Gulf Expansion (2)

So I’ve provided my update about Night Lords and about Necrons, now time for the update about my other army I’ve been fiddling with: The Tau Empire. Amidst the different plans of Covid-time (which included a whole lot of army swapping and a healthy dose of retail therapy that added to the pile of grey plastic shame), one of the aims that surfaced was doing some Tau in conjunction with other players in my area (check it out here: https://circleofinclemency.com/2021/01/19/drawbridge-gulf-expansion-1/). Some progress was made, though all three of us drifted to different projects as well (Ryan to Sisters of Battle and Colton to Custodes).

But I definitely don’t want to let the Tau flame die as I go forward, honestly feeling like they are sitting well as a balance to my Night Lords Circle of Inclemency force. Might have to plot out a Circle of Inclemency backstory amidst the Tau as well!

So I’ve gotten back to painting them, which included rebasing the entire force to my preferred lava bases. I think I’m more inclined toward Necrons at the moment, but still made some progress so wanted to update. I added a bunch more Stealth to my force, as they paint up so quickly. All told I did up 12 additional Stealth Suits, two Ghostkeels (with their drones), and two sets of two Gun Drones.

First set, front were already painted added the back three (all in stealth tech camo–which is why it was easy to add them!)
Again, the back row three were added.
Drones! Drones! Drones!
I didn’t get a static shot of my Ghostkeels and the other unit of 6 stealth, but had this one from the game. You can see the first Ghostkeel I had painted in the foreground (on the building). The one with the Cyclic Ion Raker is amidst the group of models toward the back left of the picture, and the other with a Fusion Demolisher (complete with “experimental upgrade” modeling) is below the building (you can just see it’s base and a stealth drone). The six all-stealth-field stealth team are also back behind the foreground on the left.
AX3 Razorshark Strike Fighter – Added to the Tau pile of completed models just to get it done.

Played a fun game (see above) against Chaos Knights, managed to squeak out the win after much destruction on both sides. And then got in a game against Custodes with my Tau that I just lost. As usual, Tau are fun but their lack of melee just really holds them back. Only one phase of the game just isn’t ideal. Also took them for a spin with the new Kill Team rules, also against Custodes. There too, the lack of any melee presence just left me going “ehhhh”.

Miniature Painting Goals 2021 – Totals so Far

40k Power Points Painted 278/365

Marvel Crisis Protocol Miniatures Painted 10/12

Necrons, Nurgle, MCP, and Tau 2021

So I have been definitely slacking on my posting to this site, but at least 2021 has been a turn-around in my painting and hobby progress. As things moved toward vaccine and gaming in person, I’ve found a huge drive to get things painted and going for hobby connections again. To keep things simple and short, I’ve swerved away from some of the Tau I was working on at the start of the year, and I’ve been building Necrons (while still keeping my larger Chaos forces of Death Guard and Nurgle+Khorne deamons in view). We’ve started the Beyond the Veil crusade at my local gaming store Drawbridge Games, which has been a great motivator for painting. I’ve already gone beyond 50 Power Level in what I have painted for the army, and have more in my to-do pile waiting.

This post will recap all the painting progress so far in 2021, and get things back on track for more regular updates.

I’m going to just write out the big list of what I’ve done thus far, and I’ll include some photos of what I’ve done (as much as I can find).

Tau: Broadside with Missiles (5), Five Firewarriors (2), Five Pathfinders (3), Cadre Fireblade (3)

Necrons: Royal Warden (4), Canoptek Reanimator (6), Canoptek Reanimator (6), C’tan Deceiver (18), 6 Scarab Swarms (4), Triarch Stalker with Heat Ray (7), Triarch Stalker with Twin Gauss (7), Overlord (6), 10 Warriors (6), 10 Immortals with Tesla (8), and 10 Flayed Ones (6)

Marvel Crisis Protocol: Green Goblin, Toad, Black Dwarf

Tau Broadside
Alternate Female Tau Cadre Fireblade
Necron Force: Initial Awakening
Necron Overlord
Alternative C’tan Deceiver (Hastur from Cthulhu Death May Die)
Necron Immortals
Necron Flayed Ones
Marvel Crisis Protocol Toad
Marvel Crisis Protocol Black Dwarf
Marvel Crisis Protocol Green Goblin

So what is happening with my hobby aims going forward? After that huge dump of pictures (hah)? Well I’m still hoping to hit 365 points of painted Warhammer 40k models. Trying to be okay with mixing progress toward two different armies (Chaos and Necrons) rather than just painting the one to exclusion of all others. I’m also definitely going to build a board that I can use for both Marvel Crisis Protocol and for Necromunda (exploring a mix of the latter using some Cthulhu Death May Die and DUST 47 models)–a Morlock Sewer Tunnels build. And the over-arching goal is to do a really huge Invasion of Terra event at Drawbridge in the early Fall (I’ll likely be one of the Chaos warlords for that endeavor). While I’ve got a lot of work lined up for the summer with new roles, I’m also really going to take time to put hobby progress in. So stay tuned for more tailored updates–hoping to get back to telling the tales of my battles, particularly the Necrons and Chaos Crusades I mess with. Tau might be more on the back-burner, but I’ll certainly hang on to them. Well, likely will hang on to them. Maybe. It wouldn’t be me if an army was in danger of being sold off hah.

These guys are not gone by a long shot with the presence of Necrons and Tau… Just biding their time.

Miniature Painting Goals 2021 – Totals so Far

40k Power Points Painted 91/365

Marvel Crisis Protocol Models Painted 3/12

Drawbridge Gulf Expansion (1)

Drawbridge Gulf Expansion (1)

It’s 2021, and the pandemic continues having an effect on painting motivation. I (along with my friends Colton and Ryan) am trying a new mode of getting hobby progress going. We’re all working on our own Tau forces, with the idea of a larger Tau vs. something narrative game when we can start gaming in person again this year. Thus: the Drawbridge Gulf Expansion. I hope others enjoy joining us on our painting and hobby journey!

++++++++++Incoming Data Network Connection++++++++++++

Greetings T’au settlers and their Gue’vesa assistants, as well as the native Gue’la, Tarellians, and Laer Refugees of the Drawbridge Gulf cluster of planets. Although the region of space that the trio of planets you share is relatively distant from other celestial bodies, know that you all are within the comforting embrace of the Greater Good. We’ve already connected with some of you, and know that others will soon learn of what our Empire brings in good fortune and prosperity.

It has come to the attention of our Water Caste that the Drawbridge Gulf is likely to be a site of conflict, as a number of species have taken an interest in the particular advantages of your important location. As such, the two Cadres that have been dispatched to the planet Trzy are to be supplemented. For your convenience, pictoral records of the cadre assets that already exist planetside is provided below. These assets are there to protect you, and assist in defending against those that would remove you from the protection of the Greater Good.

In addition, further reinforcements to those Cadres, as well as a third Cadre, are already on their way to the Planet Trzy, as well as her sister planets in the cluster: the massive Planet Jeden, the fractured remains of Planet Dra, and the further orbiting Planetoid Cztery. As these supporting Cadre elements are updated–they are currently being mustered and their wargear is in production–we will indicate their arrival.

Cadre Or’es Kau’ui forms the central response team in the Drawbridge gulf, and as such their present strong numbers will be bolstered in ways that can no doubt bring more joy and plenty to you, the varied races inhabiting the Drawbridge Gulf.

This new Cadre, still classified, is a highly experimental heavy-response Cadre. Know that every missile they bear is primed to strike only those who would delay or circumvent the Greater Good that you–as residents of these planets–now are party to.

Further Cadre operations will be revealed forward, but have no doubt that these Tau assets are here for you. Those of you on the Planet Trzy can approach the local Gue’vesa recruitment offices to learn more about the opportunities offered. And those of you receiving this message who have not yet been connected to us, know that you are welcome too. Soon enough our Manta dropships will be reaching your planets as well, and automated flyer distribution drones will distribute more of the good news of the Tau empire.

++++++++++End Data Network Connection++++++++++++

Painting and Painting

Painting and Painting

So much over the past couple of months in terms of painting, I wanted to give just the dump update of that. While some of it was for my Chaos forces, a lot was new Tau models to bring into my force (and finishing up two older ones that needed the finishing touches to be complete). Plus I also managed a Marvel Crisis Protocol character in September! Huzzah.

I’m still hoping to make my painting threat for the year: 366 points of 40k painted, and 25 Marvel Crisis Protocol figures. Will be a busy end of the year, but I’m hopeful. Looks like in-person gaming might finally be coming back too, which with safety precaution I’m optimistic about. And will certainly drive the painting progress.

Tau Additions

A whole lot of stuff to add in. While I finished up some characters, I’m most pleased with my Stealth Teams and Ghostkeel and their cloaking technology. It’s fun to paint them as if they’re using it, and phasing thru it in fun ways. I’ve got another two Ghostkeels and at least one more set of Stealth Suits ahead of me too.

Side view really shows the cloaking technology best on the Ghostkeel.

Front View is much more bland, as it should be technically. “Nothing to see here”. Hah.

A similar look for my Stealth Suits, and added a pair of Shield Drones to them. I’ll want to beef up these squads as I go forward, but good to have the leader of each of them with the Markerlight already ready.

Here’s a close-up of one of the Stealth Suits. It’s definitely fun to figure out where to put the cloaking technology line, and the blue looks really good I think.

Also added a Commander in XV85 armor (had been in progress for a long time, finally got finished up).

And Shas’o R’alai as well. Had him for even longer, just needing to finish some highlights to make him really work.

Finally added some Smart Missile Turrets so that my Fire Warriors could choose more hidden spots and still have something to add to fights.

I am definitely going to change up my drones, likely give them bases that look like others (so I can magnetize them). But this was a really big start to getting a much more sizable Tau force added to what I had already completed. See here for more Tau goodness: https://chalkboardwar.com/2020/09/09/a-return-is-greater-good/

Chaos Forces

My combined Nurgle and Khorne Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor has been posted here already in my fluff for that combined crusade. But he also should be counted toward my painting progress so here he is again.

Also finished up a Chaos Knight Tyrant. This model was a ton of fun to paint, and I really enjoyed working on it. Was quite pleased with how it came together. Will be a while before I field it no doubt, but still good to get done.

Marvel Crisis Protocol

Black Widow in an alternate color scheme of my own devising. I don’t plan on using her in the game, so she was an odd stumbling block for completion. Been sitting on my paint table since literally February. Glad she’s done. On to the Green Goblin!

2020 Painting Challenge Progress

168/366 Warhammer 40k Power Points Painted

15/25 Marvel Crisis Protocol Models Painted

A Return is (Greater) Good

A Return is (Greater) Good

So while I’m totally prepping a 40k combined Death Guard and Chaos Daemons force for Crusades, I also had a flash of wanting to play a slightly different army for a Crusade as well now that 9th edition is starting. And thus, thought it was time to return to my Tau.

I at least have some painted models to show off at the start for once–such as these two civilians (a doctor and a dock worker) that I painted up for story mission involvement. There was the real chance I’d lose the army amid the turbulence of the three years (they even were up for consignment at my local gaming store for a while), but like the patient hunting tactic of kauyon, the Tau have been waiting for their return even when away.

I’ll start with the force I built for Shadow War Armageddon, which was 3 years ago now when I did them. Just a team of Tau Pathfinders:

They have mohawks clearly because we were wishing for Necromunda at the time, saying Shadow War Armageddon felt similar. Hence the decision to do a squad with that motif.

The larger force they were added to is below, just a simple starter patrol that I had developed for some narrative games of 40k with my buddy Rico:

I still really am pleased with how smooth this look is. And I took notes on the paints I used then so I am back to replicating it today and looks the exact same.

These forces were featured in three of my favorite games of 40k I’ve ever played:

First Spark: https://chalkboardwar.com/2016/05/23/40k-first-spark/

Entrances: https://chalkboardwar.com/2016/06/01/40k-entrances/

Protest: https://chalkboardwar.com/2016/06/21/40k-protest/

And dunno, something just feels good about returning to them. I’ve added a couple more pieces to this army which I’ll share in their own post (retouching and painting a few that were in half progress to being added to this set). And picked up some more, so I can run both the Chaos and the Tau Crusades to my interest.

Shadow War: Armageddon

Shadow War: Armageddon

I’m a rather infrequent Warhammer 40k player, but I have a Tau army that I’ve been monkeying with painting amidst all the Warmachine/Hordes and Bolt Action in my painting queue. With the release of the new Necromunda rules, I mean Shadow War: Armageddon rules, I wanted to get a team finished up and ready for some games.

Given that this rule set really is just a return to Necromunda, I wanted to give my Tau the right feel for wars in the Hive stacks. Thus, I had to ensure that they had the proper mohawks to fit in with the local gangs.

3 Tau Pathfinders Shadow War Armageddon Mohawks Kill Team Necromunda Eschers Goliaths

I figured that the Water Caste must have studied up on Hive Gang operations before committing the team, and recognized that many Hive Gangs in Necromunda (their study site) used raised tufts of hair down the centers of their heads to identify themselves. Given that the Tau would certainly want to be culturally respectful, they had to don such garb themselves. 

4 Tau Pathfinders Full Kill Team Shadow War Armageddon

 

Here’s the full force for the game. It’s the Pathfinders with mohawks, plus the Recon Drone, a Juvie Tau armed with only a combat knife (my Tau dock worker), and the Tau local operations translator human that I’ve used before. 

40K: Protest

40K: Protest

Part three of a continuing project log of my 40k Tau army and their efforts to retain control of the United Systems of Atreidia, against the gradual uprising posed by my buddy Enrico’s Terran, Chaos, and Genestealer Cult forces. Check out part one and part two if you’re inclined. 

The Story So Far:

To say that the rhetoric among the citizens of Atreidia was getting violent would be an understatement. Groups of Terran citizens took to the streets to protest Tau occupation, Tau taxation, and Tau development policies. Again, the segments of the city that were in process of being rebuilt after a massive acid typhoon were where the sentiment was strongest, as off-world xenos laborers were being shipped in to take many construction jobs. The Tau tried to explain that the Vespid workers they were employing could better handle the conditions of acid residue labor, but it fell on deaf ears. One popular voice demanded that the Vespid pay for their work privilege, and pay for a full protective shieldwall on that side of town themselves.

Tau Chaos Khorne Daemonkin Cover Photo March

That sparked a march in the sector, which drew a variety of people interested in the proceedings. While some were the most virulent of anti-Tau proponents, many others were simply lured in by economic crisis or the sheer charisma of the organizers.

1 Counter Protest Tau

Trouble began when an off-duty Tau Fire Caste Warrior showed up at the protest. Unarmored and unarmed, he nonetheless began yelling back at the crowd and preventing their marching. The situation turned ugly quick, with cries about freedom of speech clashing with his own shouts about how good the Terrans have things under Tau guidance and they should all just go home. It was then that someone in the crowd threw a rock, striking the arguing Tau in the head and knocking him out cold.

2 Tau Suppression Fire

Tau military units had been monitoring the protest, suspecting that additional infiltrators from the desert group that was organizing resistance were among them. When a Tau was injured by the crowd, the forces responded with an attempt to disperse the masses. Their DS8 Tactical Support Turrets had been loaded with gas shells, which would launch a ultimately harmless but quite unpleasant plant pollen into the crowds. The stinging itch was calculated to disperse the protesters without causing undue harm. And thus, they fired on the crowd.

3 The Daemon Emerges

It was the organized munitions launching into the group that finally turned outrage into pure hatred. The entire crowd surged with a wave of anger. It was the moment that the demagogue amid the crowd was waiting for. He and his followers were in tune with that anger, and savored the crackling energy it released into the air. The ritual sigils from ancient Terran myth that they had smeared on themselves using the blood of desert bovines began to hum with power. In seconds, they were reborn. The demagogue’s robes tore free, and strange brass armor began to grow from his skin. Around him, the faithful were sprouting all manner of change–their muscles enlarging with madness and strange growths protruding from their bodies. They had become possessed by the spirits of pure anger.

4 Summoning Reinforcements

With horrifying confidence, the new form of the demagogue waved an arcane pattern in the air, and two pools of energy formed on the city streets. Striding from one nearby were a cadre of strange, armed and armored figured, their armor colored blood red. The far one shimmered and beings exited as well, but the distance of their arrival and strange, cloven-footed forms had trouble being recorded on Tau viewscreens.

5 The Civilians Scatter

With screams of panic, the protesters abandoned their signs and fled for their lives. Judging the new arrivals to be a threat, simply because of their mad dash at the Tau lines, the Tau security forces opened fire. The fleeing protesters were struck by errant bullets from the Tau, but those protesters that neared any of the new arrivals’ positions met and equally grisly fate as they lashed out indiscriminately at all life near them.

6 Brave Resistance

The Tau used what redeploying methods they could to buy more time against the onslaught–the Breacher team that took cover in their Devilfish emerged again to deliver a close proximity burst at the armored foes. Yet their numbers were small, and the Devilfish and Piranha that were helping patrol the sector didn’t carry the kind of ordinance needed to repel such desperate foes.

7 Strange Alien Allies

The distant creatures that had arrived finally made it to the Tau lines, and the Ethereal Commander Lisbet W’ren looked on at the strange alien race that seemed to be working with these Terrans. They had cruel hooves for feet, strange elongated heads, red blistered skin, and carried wicked blackish swords. Ethereal Commander Lisbet had never seen such creatures, despite contributing to over thirteen colonization missions personally. Their deadly strikes made short work of the nearby drones.

8 Tau Ethereal Versus Khorne Herald

Pressed between the jaws of two forces, Commander Lisbet tried a desperate gamble. She rushed forward to try and stop the threat of the warped demagogue with her own honor blade. While she managed to fend him off for a bit, his deadly strength proved too much for her under-armored form. She fled on foot, with small drops of blue blood littering the path she took as she ran. She glanced back, seeing that every one of her Fire Warriors had fallen in brave service–only the crews of the vehicles had survived besides herself.

9 Khorne Daemonkin Herald of Khorne Olim Yia Maw of Rage

As the Tau fled, the demagogue climbed up a structure. The portable microphone and amplifier he had been using when in the crowd was now strangely fused to his new body. He lifted the skull-shaped microphone to his mouth, and his shout reverberated around the entire sector. “I am Olim Yia, prophet of what is to come. Join us Terrans. Resist the Tau and embrace what is fundamental to your nature, what ancient power runs in your blood. Embrace your true Terran feelings of hatred and anger. The Tau do not understand them with their alien fishbrains. It’s what sets us apart, and through our natures we can become strong. Join me, join us, join the great spirit of Khorne that lurks in every Terran’s soul. You can feel him there, calling you even now. Give in, and we can ‘Make Atreidia Great Again!'”

Thus was born the first of the revealed prophets, Olim Yia, the Maw of Rage.

Tau Project Log

Tau Full Force June 2016

Like I mentioned last time, my goal was to at least have a force org chart filled. So a Breacher Squad, an Ethereal, a Piranha, and two DS8 turrets were what I focused on to get there. A very small force (around 450 points) but still enough for a regular game.

Tau Ethereal Wargame Exclusive Alternate Sculpt Widow of Vengeance

The Tau Ethereal I added is a resin model from Wargame Exclusive, a company from the Ukraine (at least that’s where it was shipped from) that does creative sculpts of various models in the 40k universe that don’t have models created by GW (such as Tau models with some persona and character to them, including female Tau). I really liked a number of their models, and while some are a little cheesecake, I figured that the diversity in the model would look really nice amidst the army–and I think it came together nicely.

Tau Piranha with Fusion Blaster

Finally, I’m really proud of the look of the Tau Piranha that I finished up, so I couldn’t resist a close up (there wasn’t one in the “footage”, as it mostly swooped around and missed its shots).

For the battle itself, we used a limited number of turns plus HQ kill as the deciding factor. In addition, we built up rules for the fleeing members of the demonstration group: missed ranged hits by Tau would potentially kill them, while missed melee strikes from Khorne models may kill them. Whichever side killed the most civilians would get the worse of things in the “press”–and sadly the Tau missed more shots and thus contributed to more injured or dead overall.