The Saint

I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.

Saint Sabbat. I can’t seem to find the name of the artist, but official GW art and hence copyright to them.

The obvious place to start is with the only Living Saint that actually has rules – Saint Celestine. I figure Sabbat should have the same statline as Celestine, with the exception of her movement, because while the Beati is undoubtedly awesome, the God Emperor declined to give her wings.

(It would have been highly thematic to give her 9 Wounds, but that’s just short of a Chimera APC, which seems a bit over the top)

MWSBSSTWALdSv
6″2+2+336692+

With stats sorted out the next step is wargear. Celestine wields the Ardent Blade – the handy-dandy, flame-throwing, power sword from hell, man! While very cool, this is a one of a kind weapon, and there is sadly a complete dearth of accounts of Saint Sabbat incinerating people with a sword thrust. So I decided to give her a knockoff Ardent Blade clone without the ranged attack.

Now a Saint cannot live by swords alone, so what else could Sabbat wield? Her description in Sabbat Martyr notes that her left hand is adorned with a gilded glove with eagle claws. This could simply be some Saintly bling, but I decided to do something with it. I have declared that the Eagle’s Talon gives anyone the Saint whacks with it a nice debuff, making it easier for everyone else to get stuck in.

Finally, what’s a Saint without ranged firepower? In Anarch she’s seen to be carrying a fancy golden autopistol, so let’s throw one of those in as an alternative for the Eagle’s Talon.

WEAPONRANGETYPESAPD
Power SwordMeleeMelee+4-32
Eagle’s TalonMeleeMelee+1-2*
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol12″Pistol 2301

Now we get to the fun bit, special rules!

I’m thinking that as Saint Celestine is a Saint for the Adepta Sororitas, Saint Sabbat should be a Saint for the Astra Militarum. So we’ll start by giving her the ability to inspire/boss around nearby infantry with Voice of Command. We’ll then nick Aura of Discipline from the great Commissar Yarrick, although we’ll call it Aura of Inspiration instead.

Checking back in with Celestine we’ll borrow The Armour of Saint Katherine, file off the serial numbers and call it Aquilan Aura, to represent that cool, glowing green eagle thing that shows up whenever Sabbat gets pissed off (see pic above).

Celestine also has that nice Shield of Faith ability. The 6+ Invulnerability Save is a bit much, but slapping down enemy Psykers is totally in character, so we’ll chop the save off it and call it No Miracles, Only Men (you know, since that’s a direct quote).

Finally we need something unique, an ability that only Saint Sabbat has access to. I can think of nothing better than giving her an Honour Guard. At the start of the battle a player fielding Saint Sabbat can designate a friendly unit with the INFANTRY and ASTRA MILITARUM keywords. As long as Saint Sabbat remains on the field that unit has +1 Toughness.

With that sorted the only thing left to do is set keywords and costs. Saint Sabbat’s Faction Keywords are IMPERIUM, ASTRA MILITARUM and <REGIMENT>, and her general Keywords are CHARACTER, INFANTRY, OFFICER and SAINT SABBAT. Her POWER level is 8 and points cost 150 – both estimates based on Saint Celestine

So, there we go. Completely untested and probably overpowered, but what the hey!

Saint Sabbat 40k Rules

With apologies to Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan…

On dense and rich worlds near the galaxy’s core,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Dwelt short, bearded bikers forever at war,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

And though all these bikers were terribly small,
A tyranid hive fleet devoured them all,
So if you want some Squats, then you’ll get bugger all,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The tale of the Bloodtide is one you should know,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The brave Battle Sisters held out ‘gainst the foe,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The Grey Knights raced up as fast as they could run,
But they wanted some blood, so they slaughtered the nuns,
And Khorne thought the whole thing was terribly fun,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The Ultramarines you could never besiege,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Their brave Chapter Master’s your spiritual liege,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

He’s Marneus Calgar, and he’ll never rest,
Of all Chapter Masters he’s clearly the best,
But why does the dude have a dinosaur desk?
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Horrible Warhammer 40k Memes

Sometimes I just can’t help myself…

That's a Paddlin'
Oh, you better believe that’s a Paddlin’!

 

It's GellAr - With an 'A' you idiots!
It’s GellAr – With an ‘A’ you idiots!

 

Warmaster Horace
Warmaster Horace

 

The Primarch Leman Ross
The Primarch Leman Ross (Thanks to Ryan for inspiration)

 

Changuinius
Changuinius

 

Joeytai Khan
Joeytai Khan

Cartographic Armageddon

Guess what? I’m back on that 40k Mapping thing again!

Behold Armageddon, one of the most fought over planets in the Imperium, with a Chaos invasion led by a Daemon Primarch, two Ork invasions led by Margaret Thatcher and the current general insanity caused by GW’s decision to move the plot forward under its belt.

Armageddon tired of GW's Cartographic Ignorance
Armageddon tired of GW’s Cartographic Failures…

It’s a pretty nice map, however ever since its publication everyone at GW has completely forgotten how to read it.

Look at those lines. That’s right, the curved ones. They indicate that we’re not looking at a flat map, we’re looking at some kind of globular projection. Furthermore notice that the lines are slanted – that means that we’re not looking at the map from a  cardinal direction (north, south, east or west), but at an angle. And hey! Look in the upper right hand corner! One of the lines is marked as the equator! This tells us that north is to the upper left!

NORTH IS THAT WAY!!!
NORTH IS THAT WAY!!!

Unfortunately this is something that has escaped the notice of GW’s writers and artists who have consistently read it as a flattened, north oriented map, even publishing redraws of it with an upwards pointing compass rose slapped on top – most notably in the recent reprint of Gavin Thorpe’s Annihilation Squad (a damn good read actually, despite the compass directions being all screwy BECAUSE NO ONE AT GW CAN READ A GODDAMN MAP!).

Perhaps the silliest aspect of this are the planet’s famous equatorial jungles. If we look at the map above we can see that this name makes sense – they sit right across the planet’s equator. If we go by the later maps however they’re just randomly plonked running north to south, giving one the impression that whatever Ordo Cartographica scribe first charted the planet was hitting the amasec really hard.

So, what to do about this all this malarkey (apart from making a ranting blog post that no one else will ever care about)? Why, redraft the map of course!

Now, this is a bit easier said than done. The globular projection adds all kinds of distortions and while I am sure there is software out there that can correct them in the twinkling of a nurgling’s eye I don’t have access to them. So I decided to go old school and resort to paper and pencil.

Step one was to make the map grid a bit denser. I did this by tracing the existing grid in Inkscape and then running additional lines between each of them, splitting each of the existing map squares into four. Step two was to grab a piece of graph paper and sketch in the details of each square…

armageddon_map_corrected
So there we have it! That’s what a flattened out, north oriented Armageddon map really looks like! Armageddon Primus is actually north of Armageddon Secundus and the entire continent is stumpier than the angled view suggests

So, I now expect GW to start using this corrected version immediately! ;D

EDIT: Yes, it is rather strange that the continent to the west (the Dead Lands) is completely frozen over while the central continent (at the same latitudes) isn’t. There’s a clue to this in that the eastern continent (the Fire Wastes) appear to be barren desert. This would suggest that Armageddon has a pretty severe axial tilt combined with some rather weird orbital characteristics – which given its ancient history (no spoilers, but go read The Beast Arises…) is actually rather plausible.

On Cnossath and its Knights

Name Cnossath Prime
Segmentum Segmentum Tempestus
Sector Chiros Sector
Subsector Skereig Subsector
System Cnossath System
Population 430,000,000
Cnossath

The Knight World of Cnossath Prime (or simply ‘Cnossath’) was discovered and settled by humanity at some point prior to M23. A temperate world with three major continents and several island chains it hosts three (originally four) Knight Houses that owe fealty to the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World of Volund Two-Seven.

Crest of House Cashel
Crest of House Cashel

Traditions preserved on Cnossath maintain that the planet was settled by four separate colony ships, each claiming an area of the world to the exclusion of the others (the ancient technology at the heart of the three remaining House Strongholds would appear to bear this legend out). Each Colony developed into a nation state ruled by Knights – House Cashel on the western continent, House Ventris on the north of the eastern continent, House Mabb on the eastern continent’s southern peninsula and House Krater on the central islands. The frigid northern continent was claimed by House Ventris but unoccupied (apart from mining colonies) due to adverse environmental conditions.

A peculiarity of the Houses of Cnossath, traceable as far back as the planet’s histories reach, is that the Thrones Mechanicum of their Knight Suits lack the indoctrination protocols found on almost every other Knight World. It is unclear if this anomaly is by design or simply the result of some ancient accident, but it allows a far greater degree of individuality to the planet’s Knight pilots. It has also led to a bloody history of conflict and warfare between – and occasionally even within – the Houses.

Volund Two-Seven Maker's Plate
Volund Two-Seven Maker’s Plate

Cnossath first came to the attention of outsiders in M27 during the Age of Strife. An Adeptus Mechanicus colonisation fleet – dispatched during a lull in the galactic warp storms – settled the world of Volund Two-Seven on the far side of what would – millennia later – be absorbed into the Imperium as the Skereig Subsector. Explorators from Volund soon discovered Cnossath and the Knight Houses that ruled it. The Houses swore allegiance to Volund in return for the knowledge to repair and maintain their Knight Suits, however they retained much more autonomy than is standard in such relationships. An ancient legend claims the Houses traded “a treasure of great price” for this autonomy, a story that has been linked to both Volund Two-Seven’s mastery of unusually strong crystalline alloys and to the unusual nature of Cnossath’s Thrones.

It was the freedom allowed by the Thrones – and the lack of Adeptus Mechanicus control over the houses – that led to the greatest crisis in Cnossath’s history. In 218.M37 during one of the planet’s regular Knight Wars, the Stronghold of House Mabb and its surrounding hive city were destroyed by a titanic plasma breach triggered by a combined bombardment from forces of Houses Cashel and Ventris. The scale of this disaster – and the damage inflicted upon the survivors and their holdings – led to the three remaining Houses negotiating a set of laws governing their interactions and to standardise resolution of disputes – a document they named the Mabb Concordat.

The Concordat replaced warfare with ritual combat between champions and established a system of standard penalties for breaches of honour both between and within Houses. Designed from the outset to be flexible and to expand when necessary, the Concordat ended millennia of conflict, and under its rule both the Houses and common folk of Cnossath prospered.

It is therefore a great irony that while the Knights of Cnossath are free of the burden of conditioning by their Thrones, the ever expanding rules of the Mabb Concordat have created a society every bit as restrictive as on any other Knight World. Over two thirds of all calendar days require the nobles of the Houses to perform certain rituals or abstain from specific behaviours. The wearing (or non wearing) of specific clothing is common, as are restrictions on what foods may be eaten and at what times. Nobles of different ranks may be prohibited from communicating, or may only communicate in strange and roundabout fashions. Certain texts may have to be read out by specific Nobles, many of which are in archaic dialects extinct for centuries. The onerous nature of these requirements are believed to account for the comparatively high numbers of Freeblade Knights hailing from Cnossath.

Also contributing to the number of Cnossath Freeblades is the tradition of the Geas Penitens. A Knight that seriously violates the Concordat may find themselves penalised with the application of a penitent quest. They are ceremonially banished from their House, and assigned a task or series of tasks that must be completed before they may be re-accepted. These tasks usually take the Knight off-world and may take decades to complete. Many Knights so banished never complete their Geas and take up the mantle of a Freeblade rather than try to recover their lost honour.

Rarer than the Geas Penitens is the Geas Portorium. If a high noble of a House finds themselves in significant debt to an individual or organisation they may pay off that debt by assigning a subordinate Knight or Knights to their command. Such deals are a common way of dealing with disputes both within and between Houses, but a Geas Portorium refers specifically to Knights assigned outside of the Houses, and usually off-world. To be assigned to a Geas Portorium is viewed as a great honour, as no House would be so ignoble as to attempt to pay off a debt with anyone but their best.

A Knight undertaking a Geas Penitens defaces the crest on their tilting plate with a diagonal black stripe and repaints their Knight Suit to obscure all house colours and personal heraldry. A Knight assigned to a Geas Portorium maintains their House and personal heraldry, but repaints their Suit to match that of the individual or body they are assigned to.

‘Haven a Good Time

I have been a bit busy of late.

My good friend Fabian has started up a Gloomhaven campaign in which I’m currently playing the Tinkerer. Naturally as a devoted Thrilling Intent fan I had no choice but to name him ‘Kier Fiore’ and have had barrels of fun restyling his actions into Kiresque things such as hurling around icy cold cans of Keer Energy Drink and explosive hairbrushes. I’ve also managed to get everyone around the table referring to his “harmless contraption” as “Mecha Kier” – there is little in life more enjoyable than having a bunch of people who have never watched a single episode of TI routinely saying stuff like “Can you summon Mecha Kier?”

(Of course I’m totally tipping my hand here, but if they don’t like it I’ll just launch an explosive pseudopony at them.)

We’re playing every second weekend which I’m finding a bit grueling at times, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

I’ve also been dipping my toe into the world of electronic music. Not actually making any of course, just ruining that already made by other, far more talented people. Scandroid to be specific.

A while back Klayton released a synthwave cover of the Michael Jackson classic Thriller which you can enjoy here…

Much like being turned into a whale by a wizard, this is awesome. But to my mind it could be even more awesome with one slight tweak. I mean, what could be better than Klayton plus MJ? What about Klayton plus MJ plus Vincent Price!

So, I got to work and with a few hours of messing around with audio editors that I barely understand I came up with this…


There you go! How’s that then?

The other inane thing I’ve done lately is spend many hours slogging through Google Image result pages to come up with a rather stupid thing inspired by this rather stupid thing that turned up on Reddit…

Simpsons Space Marine Legions

While that’s undoubtedly clever I though it a tad unambitious, so threw this thing together…

Simpsons 40k

Behold its majesty!

If you’re into Warhammer 40k its merits should be obvious. Otherwise please let me reassure you that it’s full of all kinds of clever puns and references that would have you rolling on the floor chortling with tears rolling down your cheeks if you only knew!

So yes, that’s your lot for the week (and if we’re honest probably the month…)

Meanwhile on Necromunda

Ah Necromunda! Hive world of hive worlds! Star of the Araneus Continuity! The planet so trashed that they’re refining the waste left over from the last time they refined the waste just to keep things going! How we love thee!

What the hell am I on about you ask? Predictably it’s Warhammer 40,000 again and in particular the relaunch of Games Workshop’s skirmish combat game Necromunda, set in the collapsing, polluted, gang-ridden underbelly of the planet’s largest hive city.

“But” you say “Necromunda was relaunched months ago! Why are you only babbling about it now?”. Good question. Well, maybe not such a good question because the Wyrmlog has been in a state of deep torpor for months. But still, what is my point? Have I bought the game and am engaged in an engrossing campaign with my friends?

Ha! Of course not! Do I look like I’ve sold a kidney?

(Really? Wow, I should probably eat some vegetables or something hey?)

Anyway, no I have not bought a copy because I plan on eating for the next few months. I have however been keeping an eye on the whole thing because I am a nerd and that’s what nerds do.

And in keeping an eye on the whole thing I stumbled across a series of photographs taken at the Horus Heresy/Necromunda Weekender event GW threw a month or so back. Among them was this…

Necromunda Map
Image Source – https://recalcitrantdaze.blogspot.com.au/

…which really got my sci-fi-nerd and map-nerd juices really running. A map of the entire planet!!!

Except… It’s really not…

As a piece of art it’s undoubtedly great. As a map it fails badly.

It’s clearly mimicking the look of an antique Nicolosi Globular projection map…

MAWO-62++World+Map+1670++Antique+Framed+Maps

…but the artist seems to have not understood how a globular projection works and just drawn the details as if it’s some kind of rectangular projection with bits chopped off to fit in the frame. This is particularly noticeable in that the east and west edges of the map don’t match up – water bodies just vanish off one side and don’t show up on the other! HERESY! CARTOGRAPHIC HERESY!

Faced with this insult to generations of map makers I had no choice. I had to redraw the entire thing properly.

I started by assuming that the original map is a equirectangular projection – not unreasonable I think given that that’s how most people think maps work. I expanded it on both sides to make room for a strip of land linking the east and west edges, and added space to the top and bottom to account for the poles. I then filled these spaces in with plausible detail (ie: made a bunch of stuff up).

With that completed I ran the result through NASA’s G.Projector tool to render it into a proper global projection. A bit of cleanup and labeling later, I ended up with this. Behold its Majesty!

f2

The Worldsump Ocean may be much larger than I show it and I had to squint to try and read some of the labels in the southwest section of the original, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

The lesson to be drawn from all this? Never underestimate the lengths an Aspie will go to to correct problems in properties they care about! ;D

Audio Ghosts

I’ve spent a fair bit of time this weekend figuring out how to properly edit audio with Audacity. Which means the first episode of my and Rebecca’s podcast should be out soon!

(What is the correct grammar for collective personal ownership? Rebecca and my’s? Rebecca’s and mine? My education is failing me!)

In the meantime here’s a new shot of one of my other projects, building Lego minifigures of characters from Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts novels. This group shot contains the first glimpse of two new minifigs – Inquisitor Golesh Constantine Pheppos Heldane (who also appears in the Eisenhorn novels) and Lady Ulrike Serepa fon Eyl from Blood Pact. Heldane is one of the oldest minifigs in the project, but I’ve never been 100% happy with him. Lady Eyl is the newest, and isn’t 100% done yet. But I decided to have them join the party anyway.

Gaunt's Ghosts
Click for Bigness

That’s all I got to say for now!

Shopping

You know those dreams where there’s a really awesome shop, and then you wake up and forget the dream, but halfway through the day you remember the really awesome shop and for a moment you think it’s real and then you remember it was just a dream and there’s no really awesome shop?

I hate those dreams.

But I tell ya, if Games Workshop branches were as amazing as I dream they are, there’d be a lot less whinging in the tabletop community.

(I dream about Games Workshop. It’s hard to put into words just how sad that is).

Round the Cape to the Far Antipodes

I took delivery today of some Lego I’ve ordered to put together a model of Inquisitor Golesh Constantine Pheppos Heldane to go with my other Gaunt’s Ghosts minifigs. Nothing unusual about this you might think, except that I placed the order back on May 19th.

Now, I can accept that prior to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, 113 days might be an acceptable delivery time between the UK and Perth, but I really would have thought that the Royal Mail would have moved on from clipper ships by now. Or perhaps the Ordo Chronos of the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition got wind of my plans, disapproved, and caused the parcel to get lost in the Warp? The Lego seems normal with no obvious signs of chaotic taint, but one can never really tell, so I won’t let the resulting model get too far away from Saint Sabbat, just in case.

In any case, Firestar Toys can be absolved of any blame as they clearly did post the parcel a few days after my order. Whatever problems occurred did so after my order left their remit, so I will happily continue to recommend them to all aspiring minifig builders.

Keep your eyes peeled for Inquisitor Heldane!