Narrative Night 01 – 26/08/2021

In the first of what I hope will become a regular thing, a group of players will take to the table to re-create a key moment in the Horus Heresy……

The Last Stand at Magma City

This mission represents the last battle of Legio Tempestus on Mars, in which its noble Titans faced a vastly superior besieging force from Legio Mortis. This action saw the end of the Loyalist Tempestus forces, but they fought to the last, and the Mortis force was almost wiped out in return.

The battle takes place following the Death of Innocence, in which Fabricator-General Kelbor Hal made clear his allegiance to Warmaster Horus in a preliminary attack on several fronts which caused untold destruction across the surface of Mars. With the Loyalist Tech-Priests of the Mechanicum still coming to terms with this dire revelation, the Fabricator-General set in motion plans to destabilise and discredit them, eventually provoking all-out civil war.

At the time of this battle, the forces of the Dark Mechanicum – including a sizeable contingent of Legio Mortis Titans led by the savage Princeps Camulos have for some time been assaulting the walls of the Magma City one of the few remaining Loyalist forges. A battlegroup from the Legio Tempestus, Ied by Princeps Seniores Indias Cavalerio, has answered the summons of the forge-city’s High Adept and now stands ready to defend against a significantly larger force. Their fate is all but sealed, but they go willingly, knowing that they have a chance to cripple Camulos’ forces. If they can deal Legio Mortis a serious blow before they are overwhelmed, the war may yet be won even if the battle is forfeit.

Loyalist Players

  • Tony
  • Adam
  • Russ

Traitor Players

  • Sean
  • Dave
  • Steven
  • Stu

Battlegroups

The game is played between two teams of 1 or more players each. 1 Player on each team is designated the Princeps Maxus for the duration of the game.

One team controls the forces of the Traitor forces (representing Legio Mortis). The other controls those of the Loyalist forces (representing Legio Tempestus). Each player selects a battlegroup as described on page 53. Each Traitor player’s force should have a Battle Rating of 1500-1750 points, whilst each Loyalist Player’s Battle Rating should be 1250-1500 points. Each force must consist of at least one maniple, plus any reinforcements. If a player has unused points after building their battlegroup, the remaining points may be allocated to another player on their team.

Stratagems

Each player may spend up to 3 Stratagem Points as part of their army selection. Any unused stratagem points are lost. In addition, each team will be allocated the following stratagems at the beginning of the game.

  • Loyalist Team
    • Thermal Mines x2 (Card is single use)
    • Macro Cannon Battery x2
  • Traitor Team
    • Artillery Bombardment x2 (Card is single use)
    • Break Through

Princeps Traits

In addition to the normally selected princeps traits, the Princeps Maxus on each team has the following additional ability

  • Loyalist
    • Indias Cavalerio – The Stormlord. Having narrowly survived death at the hands of Legio Mortis, Legio Master Indias Cavaleno now Leads the defence of the Magma City. A matchless veteran filled with the desire for revenge, his experience may be the one thing standing in his Titan Legio’s favour.
      The Loyalist team can re-roll any failed Command checks made when attempting to issue orders. In addition, the Princeps Maxus re-roll the location dice when making attacks with Lavalerros Titan.
  • Traitor
    • Camulos – The Savage. A giant of a man whose manner and bearing seem more appropriate for a tribal chieftain than a Titan Legio Prlnceps, Camulos commands his Titan through force of character, cowing it into submission and bending its machine spirit to his will.
      The Traitor Princeps Maxus can always choose to pass or fail the Command check to see if the machine spirit of Camulos’ Titan is awakened. If they choose to fail the check, they can pick a result from the Awakened Machine Spirit table rather than rolling (see page 44).

Orders Phase

The orders phase follows the standard sequence of events as described in the main rulebook, alternating between Loyalist and Traitor teams, selecting a titan or squadron to activate and place an order. If a player fails a command check, that player can place no more orders. Other players in the team may continue the phase until all titans have been activated (given the desired order, or left to their own volition), or every player has failed a command check .

The Battlefield

This battle is played on a large board. The battlefield is broadly divided into two halves: the Loyalist half represents the outskirts of the Magma City and as such should be made up of a fairly dense arrangement of intact buildings and ruins. Conversely, the Traitor half marks the start of the ash wastes surrounding the city, so should be mostly free of terrain, aside from the occasional rock formation, tangled wreckage or minor outpost.

Deployment

The Traitor team’s deployment zone extends 12″ on from their edge of the battlefield, while the Loyalist team’s deployment zone extends 18″ on from theirs. The Traitor team deploys their force first, setting up each unit so that it is fully within their deployment zone. The loyalist team then does the same.

Strike from Concealment

At the start of the battle, The Loyalist forces are dug in around the outskirts of the Magma City, most of their number hidden from view. In the first battle round, the Traitor players suffer an increased penalty to Hit rolls when targeting an obscured Loyalist unit. This is a -2 modifier for attacking a target that is at least 25% obscured and a -3 modifier for attacking a target that is at least 50% obscured.

The First Round

In the first round, the Loyalist Princeps Maxus chooses who will take the Opus Titanica and be the First Player.

Battle Length

The battle lasts for five rounds, after which the ground begins to shake violently as the Magma City enters its death throes. If all of the units controlled by either player are destroyed at any point before this, the battle ends immediately.

Victory

At the end of the battle, the Loyalist team scores Victory points equal to the Scale of each Traitor unit that has been destroyed and each Loyalist unit that is still on the battlefield. The Traitor team scores Victory points equal to the Scale of each Loyalist unit that has been destroyed, or which has not been destroyed but which is Structurally Compromised, or which, in the case of Household Support units, has lost at least half its models.

The team who scores the most Victory points claims victory.

Battlefield Special Rules

Unstable Geology – This is an optional rule that can be used to represent flows of magma breaking the surface in the first stages of the death of the Magma City. It could also be used in other missions if both players agree to do so.

Before deployment, the organiser sets up six markers, numbered from 1 to 6 on the battlefield to represent a fault line. No marker can be set up within 6″ of the edge of the battlefield or within 6″ of another marker.

In the End phase of the first round, roll a D6. The marker that has the matching number is the site of an eruption. Each model within D10″ of the marker suffers D6 Strength 8 hits to its legs, ignoring Shield saves. For the duration of the following round, everything within 6″ of the marker counts as Difficult terrain and Dangerous terrain.

Repeat this in subsequent rounds, but roll a number of D6 equal to the round number to see which fault lines erupt. For example, in turn three, roll 3D6. If a fault line erupts more than once in a round, models caught in the magma flow suffer an additional D6 strength 8 hits for each additional eruption.

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