The Herkimer Pattern Chimera

And while I’m posting homebrew Warhammer 40,000 content, there’s this…

The Herkimer Pattern Chimera was created in M41.338 on the order of Lord General Casanova Herkimer who desired a suitably martial – yet comfortable – personal transport to be used for post-battlefield assessment and ceremonial occasions. In the centuries since it has become a favourite vehicle for high ranking Astra Militarum officers, Ecclesiarchy officials and the occasional Inquisitor who value its enhanced sensor suite, extra armour and luxurious interior.

The Herkimer lacks the multi-laser turret and lasgun arrays of the standard Chimera, retaining only a hull mounted heavy bolter for defensive purposes*. The passenger compartment lacks a rear ramp or top hatch, with entry and egress only via a reinforced rear door – it does however feature heavily armoured windows and an optical periscope for comfortable surveying of the battlefield. The vehicle’s extra armour is compensated for with a souped-up engine, and the enhanced communication and sensor suite allow the occupants to keep in touch with their base, or easily issue orders to their underlings.

Herkimers are most usually seen in parades or during the mop-up after combat, however some desperate commanders have been known to throw them into battle, where they can act as surprisingly effective makeshift command vehicles. A few more eccentric Astra Militarum commanders actually prefer to control their troops from a Herkimer, although they will typically receive (carefully muted) ridicule from the common troopers for riding around in a “General Jitney” or “Chicken Chariot”.

* The Heavy Bolter may be swapped out for a heavy flamer, however this modification is unpopular as it requires the drinks cabinet to be removed to make room for promethium tanks.

Servo Skulls for a Crown Additional

I’ve formatted up my 40k rules for Saint Sabbat, and included an option to give her a retinue of Servo Skulls, as she had on Herodor. All still completely untested and probably badly overpowered. Enjoy!

The Great Necromunda Train Robbery

A few months back the great Duncan released the following video on how to build a brilliant techno-gothic locomotive out of Warhammer 40k scenery sprues…

There are a few bits I’d do differently if I was building one myself – a taller smokestack, sealing the rear of the engine assembly and moving the whole thing forwards a bit on the carriage – but overall, awesome!

Now, it’s intended as a terrain piece, but it got me thinking – why couldn’t you have some kind of battle actually on a moving train? The idea makes no sense for standard 40k, but for a skirmish game like Necromunda…

So naturally my brain immediately started throwing ideas around. A copy of the Necromunda rules and a whole lot of thinking later I’ve come up with a scenario I’m calling “The Great Necromunda Train Robbery”!

(It should be noted that I have never played a game of Necromunda in my life and have only skimmed the rules, so there are undoubtedly things I’ve got horribly wrong. Those that actually know what they’re doing with the game will need to bash my ideas into shape, and I’m more than happy to receive feedback on exactly what kind of bashing they’ve seen fit to employ.)

(Also you could probably adapt these rules to Kill Team, which I know even less about that Necromunda.)


THE PLOT

Automated trains run through and between the hives of Necromunda, carrying goods and supplies between mines, manufactoria and marketplaces. Your gang has decided to raid one of these trains, jumping on board at a slow turn then throwing off as much cargo as possible for later retrieval as it hurtles along its tracks. Unfortunately it seems a rival gang has had exactly the same idea for exactly the same train and a high speed confrontation is inevitable…

BATTLEFIELD

The battlefield is set up as a line of carriages, each of equal size. The carriage at the front of the train is the Engine. The carriage at the end of the train is the Caboose. There is no limit to the number of carriages but the minimum number should be five.

Each Carriage is categorised as a High Carriage or a Low Carriage. A High carriage is a tanker or bulk carrier. It can only be traversed by going over the top or climbing along the sides. A Low Carriage is a flatbed – there may or may not be cargo on it, but it can easily be climbed over or moved around.

The Caboose is a Low Carriage with a Control Console at the rear end (see below). The Engine is a High Carriage, with a Cabin at the rear end which contains a Control Console.

At least one Carriage must be equipped with a Defence Cannon at the front or rear end.

Two carriages (which cannot be the Engine or Caboose) are designated as Deployment Carriages. They must be separated by at least one other carriage and are where fighters will begin the game.

Each carriage (except for the Engine and Deployment Carriages) has a centrally placed Loot Casket.

CREW SELECTION

This scenario uses the standard rules for choosing a crew. Both players use the Custom Selection (X) method, however the number of fighters available is equal to the number of carriages +2.

TACTICS CARDS

Each player may select three Gang Tactics cards. If during the pre-battle sequence the total Credits value of fighters in one player’s starting crew is less than their opponent’s then they may randomly draw an additional Tactics card for each full 100 credits of difference.

DEPLOYMENT

The winner of a roll-off selects one of the Deployment Carriages and sets up their entire Crew on that Carriage. The other player then sets up their entire Crew on the other Deployment Carriage.

OBJECTIVES

Both gangs are attempting to throw as much cargo off the train as possible while preventing their enemies from doing the same. Each gang scores 1 point for each item of cargo thrown from the train and 1 point for each enemy fighter that goes Out of Action.

ENDING THE BATTLE

If one gang has no fighters left on the board at the end of any round, the battle ends immediately and the other gang scores D3 bonus points.

FLEEING THE BATTLEFIELD

If one gang voluntarily bottles out and flees the battlefield, their opponent automatically wins the scenario.

VICTORY

The gang with the most number of points at the end of the battle wins the scenario.

REWARDS (CAMPAIGNS ONLY)

CREDITS

Each unit of cargo a fighter throws from the train earns their gang 4 credits. The winning gang receives a bonus 1D6x4 credits. In the case of a draw, neither gang receive bonus credits.

EXPERIENCE

Each fighter that took part in the battle earns 1 XP.

The Leader of the gang that scored the most points gains an additional 1 XP (regardless of whether they took part in the battle or not). In the case of a draw, neither Leader gains this bonus.

REPUTATION

The victorious gang gains 2 Reputation. If either gang bottled out, they lose 1 Reputation.

SPECIAL RULES

SPEED

The Speed of the train is represented by a number from 1 (very slow) to 6 (very fast). At the start of the first Priority Phase roll 1d6 to determine the starting speed.

HAZARDS

Running around on a speeding train is dangerous. At the start of each Priority Phase roll 2D6 to see what Hazard occurs.

2D6 Effect
2 Engine Vents Steam
All fighters on the Engine (with the exception of fighters within the Cabin) must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at 1d6 Strength
3 Rough Points
All fighters must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at strength Speed. Additionally if they roll a 1 they are Thrown Off
4 Defence Protocols Triggered
All Defence Cannons fire at the nearest two eligible fighters at BS 4+.
5-6 Decrease Speed
Speed decreases by 1. If already at 1, no effect
7-8 Increase Speed
Speed increases by 1. If already at 6, no effect
9 Low Beam
All fighters on top of a High carriage must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at strength Speed x 2. Additionally if they roll a 1 they are Thrown Off
10 Burnt Out Lumens
Pitch Black rules apply until the end of this round
11 Narrow Passage
All fighters on the side of a High carriage must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at strength Speed x 2. Additionally if they roll a 1 they are Thrown Off
12 Gas Pocket
All fighters suffer a Choke Gas attack.

DEFENCE CANNON

The train is equipped with at least one Defence Cannon. This can only be operated from one of the Control Consoles. Defence Cannons cannot run out of ammo and never need to be reloaded, they can however jam.

S
Rng
L
Rng
S
Acc
L
Acc
Str AP D Ammo Traits
12″ 24″ +1 4 -1 1 4+ Rapid Fire 2

ENGINE CABIN

A space at the rear of the the Engine is the Cabin. It has room for two fighters and provides Partial Cover. A fighter in the Cabin has access to the front Control Console.

CONTROL CONSOLES

There are two Control Consoles on the train, one in the Engine Cabin and the other at the rear of the Caboose. A standing fighter in the Engine Cabin or within 1″ of the Caboose Console may make a Basic Action to activate it and invoke an Effect. Each effect requires an Intelligence check with the modifier indicated. Both Consoles start the game Unlocked, but may be Locked with the appropriate Effect. The only Effect that may be attempted from a Locked Console is to Unlock it.

Console Effect Int
Modifier
Lock either console -3
Unlock this console -4
Speed train up by 1 (to a maximum of 6) 0
Slow train down by 1 (to a minimum of 1) 0
Vent Steam from Engine (as per Hazard Table) -1
Make one attack with a Defence Cannon (treated as if the fighter is at the Cannon’s location) -2
Throw three units of Cargo from the train -1

CARGO

A standing fighter within 1″ of a Loot Crate may make a basic action to throw a piece of cargo off the train. This scores 1 point.

MOVING BETWEEN AND AROUND CARRIAGES

A moving fighter may attempt to leap from one Carriage to another, provided that they have enough Movement to do so. The fighter stops at the end of the Carriage and makes an Initiative check. If they pass, they leap the gap and may continue moving. If they fail, their movement ends. If they roll a one they suffer a strength Speed hit.

Low Carriages have one level. High Carriages have two. A fighter may climb between levels of a High Carriage or jump down from the top level to the bottom level. A fighter may move along the side of a High Carriage, however this counts as Difficult Terrain.

THROWN OFF

If a Fighter is Thrown Off the train, they are placed next to the carriage they fell from, suffer a hit at strength Speed+2 and are Prone and Pinned.

GETTING BACK ON

A fighter beside the train may make an Initiative check with a negative Speed modifier to clamber back onto an adjacent carriage. If successful they are placed back on the top of a Low Carriage, or the side of a High Carriage.

ADVANCING THE TRAIN

At the end of the End Phase, after any Rally tests, move any fighters that are off the train back a number of carriages equal to the train’s Speed. Any fighter that goes past the Caboose is removed from the game and counts as Out of Action when making Bottle Tests and scoring points at the end of the game.


So, that’s it! Hope it works, and any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

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

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.

Lesser Known War Machines of the Astra Militarum

The Leman Russ Expectorator
A rare model of Leman Russ battle tank, the Expectorater replaces its main armament with an Expectorator Cannon, which fires congealed globules of Space Marine phlegm at the enemy.

The limited supplies of Astartes saliva (which is collected by specialised Chapter Spitoon Servitors post-combat) restrict the use of the Expectorator to actions where it it expected to prove particularly effective, such as against Emperor’s Children Chaos Marines who have shown themselves to be horrified at the idea of being covered in rancid spit.

The Leman Russ Exasperator
The Exasperator Battle Tank swaps its main weapon with a bank of servitor powered mega-vuvuzelas. The indescribable cacophony produced has proven able to drive even Slaaneshi noise marines off the field, hands clamped firmly over their ears.

The Leman Russ Exnihilator
All attempts to create a hybrid of the Executioner and Annihilator Battle Tanks have so far met with failure, with many Astra Militarum Commanders firmly of the opinion that the Tech Adepts responsible only maintain the effort due to an unhealthy fascination with puns.

On the Death of Slaydo

Thinking about things way too much

I’ve been wondering for a while about the conflicting accounts of the death of Warmaster Slaydo in Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts series...

First and Only states that Slaydo announced Maccaroth as his successor and promoted Gaunt to Colonel Commissar on his deathbed. The Sabbat Worlds Crusade features a painting of “The Death of Slaydo”, showing the Warmaster passing away surrounded by a bunch of concerned Generals and other officers. But Gaunt, in Blood Pact, states that Slaydo was struck down on the battlefield, and his body dragged away and mutilated by the enemy. So, what gives?

To solve this mystery, remember rule number one – the Imperium lies.

Gaunt’s recollections of Slaydo’s end are entirely accurate. But the Imperium would never admit to cocking up so badly as to let the body of the Warmaster fall into enemy hands. So, they concocted the story of his being rescued and having the time to issue a bunch of orders before peacefully slipping away surrounded by his loyal staff. They even commissioned an artist to depict the scene, and had Tactician Biota recount it in his his historical account of the Crusade. His “deathbed” orders were prepared by him prior to the battle in case of his death, and carried out by his subordinates.

(There is still the problem of tourists being shown Slaydo’s “Death Venue” on the battlefield on Balhaut, but the Balhaut tour guides are shown to be horribly inaccurate anyway. Anyone familiar with the deathbed account who visits Balhaut would probably assume that the marker shows where Slaydo was mortally wounded rather than actually killed, and that their guide doesn’t know what they’re talking about.)

So, there we have it. Problem solved! You can send me my cheque now Mr Abnett 😉

Warblings of a Diseased Brain

Last week I was sitting at the Morley bus station (as you do), and – not having anything to read while waiting for my bus – my brain was wandering (as it does) down highways and byways of the strange, mysterious and downright stupid.

By far the most stupid of these trackways was speculation on what would happen if Games Workshop signed a promotional deal with A Large, Unnamed Fast Food Company™  (ALUFFC™ for short) and started handing out snap together Space Marine models along with burgers.

Think about the possibilities! All the overweight nerd children who could be lured into the hobby by a single model with some cheap chapter stickers and a collectable Primarch information card! All the burgers that would be bought by fanatical GW fans desperate to get their hands on the exclusive burger-deal-only Space Marine model! The money would just roll in on both sides!

But best of all, ALUFFC™ could launch up to 21 new meal deals based on the Emperor and his Primarchs! For instance…

The Emperor: An oversized burger with the lot – guaranteed to keep you immobile on the “Golden Throne” for what seems like millenia.
The Guilliman: ‘Blue’ beef with extra cheese.
The Fulgrim: Wagyu beef, Italian lettuce, brie and artisanal hand cut fries.
The Angron: Three beef patties, spicy pickles and ‘extreme’ chilli sauce.
The Sanguinius: Rare beef with a side of wings.
The Perturabo: A pretty standard burger, but you have to eat your way through a massive breastwork of fries to get to it.
The Mortarion: Extra onions, limberger cheese, garlic sauce and underdone meat (for the thrillseeker not afraid of intestinal parasites).
The Horus: Flame grilled beef on a wholemeal bun with spicy ‘heresy’ sauce.
The Alpharius: You never know what they’ll serve you, but there’s two of it.

The possibilities are endless!

(I’ll shut up now ;))

Ursarkar E. Creed’s Favourite Song

Kell on the other hand can’t stand it…

(With profound apologies to Pig with the Face of a Boy)

I had a little stormbolter,
He was my only friend,
I took him to the holoshow,
And loved him ’till the end,

I had a little barking toad,
On my windowsill,
And he ate all the flies,
That came in my room,

Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
He’s my only friend in the whole wide world,
Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
Or I’ll have to cut your head off, with a blunt chainsword,

I had a little plasma gun, I shot it at a Tau,
I fired off six shots and I burnt my hand on the grip,
I stole a Sister’s laud-hailer and used it to do this,
CREEEEEEED!!!
But then a Necron broke it so I damaged all his face,

Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
He’s my only friend in the whole wide world,
Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
Or I’ll have to wipe the remnants of your insides off my face,

Please don’t tread on my little barking toad,
He’s my only, only friend in the whole wide world,
He was little, and green, and he kept me free from flies,
Until someone trod on him, and he exploded, destroying everything for a radius of approximately one kilometre,
And it was very, very sad,

Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
He’s my only friend in the whole wide world,
How would you like it if I stole your cogigtator?
And I gave it to an Eldar in exchange for spirit stones?

Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
He’s my only friend in the whole wide world,
Please don’t tread on my stormbolter,
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,
Ha! ha! ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,
Ha! ha! ha ha ha!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA,
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh,

Good!