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.
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!
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.)
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The gang with the most number of points at the end of the battle wins the scenario.
REWARDS (CAMPAIGNS ONLY)
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.
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.
The victorious gang gains 2 Reputation. If either gang bottled out, they lose 1 Reputation.
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.
Running around on a speeding train is dangerous. At the start of each Priority Phase roll 2D6 to see what Hazard occurs.
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
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
Defence Protocols Triggered All Defence Cannons fire at the nearest two eligible fighters at BS 4+.
Decrease Speed Speed decreases by 1. If already at 1, no effect
Increase Speed Speed increases by 1. If already at 6, no effect
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
Burnt Out Lumens Pitch Black rules apply until the end of this round
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
Gas Pocket All fighters suffer a Choke Gas attack.
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.
Rapid Fire 2
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.
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.
Lock either console
Unlock this console
Speed train up by 1 (to a maximum of 6)
Slow train down by 1 (to a minimum of 1)
Vent Steam from Engine (as per Hazard Table)
Make one attack with a Defence Cannon (treated as if the fighter is at the Cannon’s location)
Throw three units of Cargo from the train
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.
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.
I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.
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)
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.
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol
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!
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
While that’s undoubtedly clever I though it a tad unambitious, so threw this thing together…
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…)
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…
…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…
…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!
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