Thursday, 30 December 2010

Note on the missions

You will have noticed by now that missions 1 and 2 both include both Blood Angels and Space Wolves. These missions are incredibly fun to play three player (one stealer player and two marine players.) The rules for doing so follow.

- You share command points and must agree between you how many each of you gets each turn. If either sergeant dies, control of command points will fall to the player with a living sergeant. If both die, you go back to having to fight it out over who has control.
- Both players move their marines inside the same phase. The time limit remains the same and when that time is up, play turns over to the Genestealer player.

That pretty much covers it.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Ark of Dust Background - Part 2

Sergeant Catania took stock. The breakthrough had not gone well and they were so deep in to the hulk that comms had gone dead. It had been an hour since they split off from Lupus and his wolves. An hour since that sprint through those terrible corridors, heaving with those clawed monsters. An hour since he watched Tristan and Novara get torn apart, his own storm bolter jammed. An hour since panic filled his heart as three of them bound towards him and the thought of the shame of his failure in death made him collapse before them, his sword falling from his fingers.

"And they shall know no fear."

His rescue came in the form of a grey armoured fiend. Brother Jagg had blown them apart with his own storm bolter and ordered the Blood Angel to pick up his sword and get to his feet before his brothers saw him. Jagg had become isolated from the other Wolves and, upon hearing the intense firefight, had hurried to lend his assistance. Catania felt shame again now. He had besmirched the honour of his chapter in front of one of the other brotherhoods.

Siracusa and Avellino had rounded the corner shortly after that, having dispatched the last of their pursuers. An hour since he had held that failure in his breast and still it stung. It was just the three of them now. Siracusa had fallen as a clawed hand had plunged through a vent in to his helmet, making pulp of his head. Jagg had loosed off six shots in to the shaft and they had moved on. They had a mission to complete and their was no time to waste with such trivial things as goodbye.

They had been planting explosives in key areas of this part of the hulk. With only three rooms to go, things had been suspiciously silent. As they clomped down the passage to the final section, they heard the Genestealers keening screeches ahead of them. There was no turning back. "Death or glory", thought Catania "and maybe some redemption too."

The Ark of Dust - Mission II - Surgical Destruction

Mission II - Surgical Destruction

Deployment and Forces
Space Marines:
The Space Marine player has one squad consisting of three terminators. One Blood Angel sergeant armed with a power sword and storm bolter, one Blood Angel armed with a storm bolter and power fist and one Space Wolf armed with a storm bolter and power fist. The Space Marine player deploys on the squad on the starting squares shown on the map.
The Genestealer player begins the mission with two blips, and receives two reinforcement blips per turn. Blips may enter play at any entry area.

Special Rules
Beta Strain Genestealers: This mission marks the first time the Space Marine forces on board the Ark of Dust encounter one of the evolved Genestealer strains. Beta Strain Genestealers have a thicker carapace than the normal "Alpha" Strain Genestealers. As such, even under sustained fire, a Beta Strain Genestealer can only ever be killed by shooting on a roll of a 6. Close combat is unaffected. The Genestealer player has 4 of these special Genestealers to use in the game that can be placed like normal Genestealers whenever a blip is revealed.
Bombs: In order to achieve their mission goals, the Space Marines must place and arm bombs in the rooms marked A, B and C. In order to place and arm a bomb, a Space Marine must be standing in the room and expend a full four action and/or command points.
Demoralised: The Blood Angels Sergeant in this mission is having one tough day. This coupled with having a Space Wolf in his severely reduced squad means he is not at his commanding best. As such, he loses his ability to redraw his command point counter.

Space Marines:
In order to win the mission, the Space Marine player must place bombs in all 3 rooms and have at least one marine leave the board via the marked exit point. If all 3 bombs are placed and armed but no Marines escape the board, the mission can be considered a draw.
The Genestealer player garners an outright win if he can kill all three Space Marines before they have placed and armed all three bombs. If the Genestealer player can prevent the Marine player from getting a Marine off the board after he has armed all three bombs, he may still attain a drawn result.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Ark of Dust

In the year 609.M41, a small Imperial flotilla that had dropped out of the warp near to the world of Valhalla stumbled across a vast space hulk drifting dangerously close to a populous agri-world. Among the flotilla were two Space Wolves strike cruisers carrying upwards of 150 of the chapters finest, en route to Valhalla itself to link up with a gathering crusade force. Upon discovering the hulk, Wolf Lord Gulo ordered a small contingent of the Wolves under his command to board the vessel and investigate what, if any, threat resided on board the hulk. The marines initially met little resistance but within 15 minutes of boarding, they were swiftly and suddenly assaulted by a large number of genestealers and massacred to a man.

Gulo realised that this was no straightforward boarding action and was pondering whether destroying the hulk was an option. However, upon assessing the data returned to him by the boarding party before their unceremonious massacre, two things became clear. First, the size of the hulk meant that destroying the hulk with cyclonic torpedoes or even a continuous barrage of firepower would only split the hulk in to several large chunks, which, if caught in the planets gravity, would be drawn towards the planet and cause catastrophic levels of destruction which the population would surely not survive. Secondly, one section of the hulk seemed to be a large Space Wolves vessel. Gulo's curiousity was piqued. Leaving the majority of his force under the command of his Rune Priest, he sent them onwards to Valhalla, keeping only his Terminator armoured contingent and sending out a request to nearby Baal for assistance.

Lexicanum Calistarius answered the call at Commander Dante's request. His experience on board the Sin of Damnation only a few years previously made him the perfect man for the job. Unfortunately, that mission had had a profound effect on the librarian and he still smarted at the loss of so many brave marines. The memories of Lorenzo and his squads sacrifices to get the librarian to safety and ensure the success of the mission had not faded. He arrived with 40 terminators at his beck and call and immediately met with Gulo to decide on a course of action.

The plan was simple in theory. The hulk had two weak points which, if sufficiently damaged from within would split the hulk in to 3 pieces. The other two chunks (the largest of which seemed from the scans to be the most heavily populated) would be small enough to be towed out of the system and destroyed. The third chunk could then be explored by the Space Wolves to see if anything of worth to their chapter could be salvaged. This would then also be towed and destroyed.

All in all,  55 terminator armoured veterans of the two chapters were present, and they would be sent in to secure a forward base from which the force could operate. At this point two small teams would be sent deep in to the hulk to plant the explosives while their battle brothers would follow in their footsteps to secure their escape route. These teams were to be lead by Blood Angels Sergeant Catania, a man with over 500 years experience under his belt, and Space Wolves Sergeant Lupus, a legend in his own right.

The boarding action went off without a hitch and the terminators encountered little to no opposition. A beachhead was established and the two squads set off together on their mission...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Space Hulk!

If you've found me, you'll have seen my first mission post. You probably haven't played it yet. Give it a shot, but I warn you, it is not for the weak willed.

This is by design. I, personally, find 9 of the 12 missions in the 3rd edition far too easy as the marine player. You stand there, you kill stuff, you move. I've decided to write a campaign that will redress this balance. The missions are much harder as the marine player and present new tactical challenges for the 'stealers in terms of how you manipulate the environment. Missions 1 through 3 have been heavily playtested and are all do-able.

What's coming up? Rules for different Genestealer strains, character profiles, rules for Wolf Lords, a couple more missions and ideas for toughening up the missions in the mission book from the box. Comment and tell me what you think of the mission I've posted and look for an update in a couple of weeks.

The Ark of Dust - Mission 1 - Breakthrough

Mission I – Breakthrough

Deployment and Forces
Space Marines:
The space marine player has two squads, One Space Wolf squad and one Blood angels squad. The Space Wolf squad consists of a sergeant armed with a Power Axe and Storm Shield, a marine with an Assault Cannon, two armed with Storm Bolters and Power Fists and one armed with a Chainfist and Storm Bolter. The Blood Angels squad consists of a sergeant armed with a Power Sword and Storm Bolter, a marine armed with a Storm Bolter, Power Fist and Cyclone Missile Launcher (loaded with Web Missiles), 2 armed with Storm Bolters and Power Fists and one armed with a Storm Bolter and Chain Fist.
The Genestealer player begins the mission with four blips and receives two reinforcement blips per turn. Blips may enter play at any entry area.

Special Rules
All doors in this area of the hulk are prone to malfunction. Upon attempting to open any door, either player must roll a D6. On a 4+ the door will open as normal. On a roll of 3 or less, the door jams and must be destroyed in order for the player to continue. The marine player may do this in the normal manner while a genestealer player must expend one action point to destroy a door once it has malfunctioned.

Space Marines:
The Space Marine player wins by getting 3 or more terminators off the board via EACH exit point, for a total of 6 Space Marines. It is not necessary for the Marines to be from the same squad. The Space Marine may achieve a drawn result by only getting 3 marines off the board via one exit point.
The Genestealer player wins if the marine player cannot achieve his objective, either through killing eight marines or it becoming impossible for the marine player to get three marines off via one exit point.

Unique Weaponry
Power Axe
Like the power sword, the power axe is a rare and extremely effective weapon awarded to Space Marines that have proven themselves in battle. When fighting in a close assault to his front, a Space Marine armed with a power axe always wins drawn combats.
Cyclone Missile Launcher (loaded with web missiles)
The cyclone missile launcher is a devastating, shoulder mounted missile launcher not suited to combat in the dense and unstable environs of the inside of a Space Hulk, where the highly explosive ammunition may cause explosive decompression. However, when loaded with web missiles, it becomes a highly effective defensive weapon, used to block off corridors and prevent the enemy from advancing. The cyclone missile launcher may be fired twice in a game, blocking off any tile space within line of sight and twelve squares of the user for the remainder of the game.This weapon costs two AP to fire and cannot be fired as part of a combined action.