Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!

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My blog is primarily my own personal fluff in the Warhammer 40,000 universe regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Imperial Guard...I mean, Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Defenders, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Adeptus Mechanicus priesthood, Cybernetica cohorts and Skitarii legions, and the Titan Legion, Legio Draconis, known as the Dark Dragons.

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Horus Heresy Janus Campaign

I had a great weekend at the Horus Heresy Weekender, which was organized by the Frozen North Horus Heresy group - thanks to all the organize...

Monday, November 30, 2015

House Yato and the Knightly Houses of Draconis III

This post is outdated, so I think it's better to head over to the Draconis Coalition and the History of Draconis III insead.

Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation - the legions of the Omnissiah march to war, backed by the firepower of the Imperial Knights of House Yato.

House Yato, as you can see above, has their Knights painted in black and gold, and their heraldry is a simple yellow smiley face...because you know, someone has to preserve the sense of humor in such a grimdark and bleak future of the 41st Millennium. No, seriously.

Anyway, let's get down to the history of Draconis III. Draconis III is a lush agri-world full of greenery, fertile plains, life-giving rivers, streams and oceans, and vibrant forests. The first colonizers immediately set up farming settlements and fishing villages across the four major continents that stretched across an otherwise ocean-populated world, but to protect them from the amphibious Leviathans that rear from the seas, and the monstrous behemoths that assault their relatively small villages, the human colonizers had to depend on the newly constructed Knight suits from the Standard Construct Templates that they had brought along. Along with the Knights we all know, there were also STCs for the colossal Warlord Titan, which was enough to incinerate the gargantuan monstrosities from the forests.

Yet, these colonizers, having hailed from the Asian continent of old Earth (now Terra), sought harmony with Nature. So unlike more extreme colonizers who valued technology and efficiency over coexistence, they did not exterminate life from Draconis III. Rather, they built their homes beside forests and oceans, and respected Nature as an admirable force of life. For Millennia, the colonies expanded, basing their trade largely on agriculture and fishing, and they became quite wealthy, able to set up small but bustling and packed metropolises on an Eastern chain along the biggest continent. Similar cities were also built on the other three continents, but they served to integrate Mankind with Nature rather than attempt to subjugate it.

This peace did not last long, as the great Age of Strife soon came upon them. Warp rifts tore open the fabric of reality, vomitting out daemonic hordes and destruction. Yet, as necessity Draconis III had already constructed countless Knight suits to combat immense goliaths from both sea and forests, the Draconian population was able to stem the horrific tide and repel them back to the foul dimension from which they emerged. In this way, Draconis III managed to survive the horrors of the Old Night and continue to prosper despite being isolated from the rest of humanity. Having practiced self-sustainance, and already alienated because of their attempts to coexist with Nature rather than subjugate it, Draconis III welcomed this change and continued to develop. However, much of their technology was reduced to ruins when their Artificial Intelligences rebelled, only to be ruthlessly put down by the Knights that patrolled the continents for any sign of Chaos. It was this that led to their technological regression and further deepened their faith in Nature rather than technology.

An imposing figure, the Knight Paladin of House Yato stands guard over Draconis III.
As the millennia passed, the Knights began to take command by virtue of their prestige and great martial power, and replaced the aristocrats as the new ruling class. Fights began to break out between these newly emerging powers and they splintered off into many different factions, each ruling over a domain of their own. Much like other Knight Worlds, they devolved into a feudal system, with vassals pledging loyalty to the Nobles in exchange for protection or chances for glory. Having already possessed one of the most number of Knights in the galaxy, Draconis III descended into bloody civil war as each of these Knight warlords sought to subjugate each other and reign supreme over the four continents. The greatest of these warlords were known as Daimyo, the Big Name. Being the greatest of powers, they fought, forged alliances, dabbled in politics such as engaging in political marriages to strenghten the ties of two houses, and traded. The darkest period of Draconis III, the Knights and millions of their vassals, who would later provide the foundation for a Planetary Defense Force and later an Imperial Guard Regiment, clashed and flooded Draconis III's fertile soul with blood and iron. Hundreds of Knights duelled each other in honorable battles, the few Warlord Titans, who would later form Legio Draconis under Collegia Titanica on the newly founded Forge World of Draconis IV, providing apocalyptic firepower that leveled mountains, razed cities to the ground and even tear open the stalwart defenses of the bustling metropolises.

The warriors did not care about coexisting with Nature in the way their preceding ruling class did. Focused solely on victory, they trampled upon the grassy plains of Draconis III in their hulking, adamantine armor, followed by columns of armored tanks. Thankfully, they did not have the technical expertise or vision to industrialize their world either, so the ecology of Draconis III remained largely untouched. The Rough Riders used to make up the majority of the soldiers, escorted by marching ashigaru, or foot soldiers, but their ineffectiveness against the colossal armor of Imperial Knights drove them to obsolescence, and the warlike leaders grudgingly acknowledged the futility of sending mere foot soldiers into combat with these giants. What few Standard Template Constructs and manufactorums left were used to construct armored tanks, which allowed even the common soldier to at least wound a towering Knight. A single tank might not be able to put a dent, but an entire squadron of tanks firing in concerted unison could put down a single Knight. This, of course, was limited to the relatively few tanks produced - numbering only in their thousands as opposed to the millions of marching foot soldiers, but it at least reduced the senseless loss of life. The particular military tradition was kept and later served as the foundation for the Planetary Defense Force, and subsequently the Draconian Armored Defense Force, which is almost entirely made out of tank and aerial companies. The few foot soldiers who stubbornly volunteetered to march into suicidal skirmishes were whittled down, and the survivors formed the core of an elite infantry force that will later be organized into Kamikaze troopers - the Draconian ADF's version of storm troopers. Dropping from obsolete hover crafts such as helicopters to execute impossible missions, they have now evolved into an airborne force that grav-chute out of Vendetta gunships to strike surgically at key installations or high-value targets. This has not changed and they carry out similar operations much like they did in the past when a small elite squad assassinated isolated Knights by themselves after steathily parachuting from their helicopters.

It is in this dark period when a shrewd tactician emerged. The Daimyo of House Yato, Yato Yasutaka, devised a strategy to begin uniting the divided Houses of Draconis III under one rule. Forging alliances with the powerful House Takeda and the indomitable House Uesugi, he slowly picked off one House after another, adding their domains and military might to that of his House and his allies. Manipulating politics so that the rulers of House Takeda and House Uesugi would remain loyal to him, either through family marriages or promises of glory, he was able to unite Draconis III under four decades of constant warfare. At long last, he had all the Knight Houses, including the great House Oda, the stubborn House Tokugawa, the resilient House Akita, all pledge loyalty to him as he took up rule as the High King. Dispersing his defeated foes into divided territories, he was able to build up and maintain his power base, ensuring the rule of his descendants. Under House Yato, Draconis III returned to propsering once more, the civilians able to experience peace and joy after millennia of bloody warfare. As centuries went past, House Yato and its allies, House Takeda and House Uesugi, began to subsume and integrate the other Houses into their own clans, and eventually there were only three Houses left, the others either now part of the three great Houses or destroyed.

This was not to last, however, as within another few millennia, the Imperium stumbled upon the isolated world. Already 5 millennia past its Great Crusade, the Imperium was still continuing their efforts to reclaim long-lost human colonies and return them to the fold of the Emperor. The naval armada, as well as a garrison of Imperial Guard troops descended onto the planet to negotiate with the powerful but aging Knights. Recognizing the immense firepower and undecipherable scale the Imperium presented, the current ruler, Yato Yoshinobu decided to minimize bloodshed and attempted to preserve his planet's autonomy through negotiations. He was intelligent enough to understand that the aging Knight suits of the three great Houses would not be able to stand up to the massive firepower the Imperium wielded, and that they would never survive a war of attrition against an Imperium that numbered thousands...no, millions of worlds. Even if they somehow fought off this incursion, they would have incurred unsustainable losses and suffered bloody damage. Not to mention, Yato was already aware of the orbital weapons, and having witnessed the devastation a single Warlord Titan could cause, he reasoned that the naval fleet above could actually destroy their world whenever they wanted.

Fortunately, Yato knew that there would also be benefits to returning to the Imperium, either through old Mythology about an Emperor descended from a sun goddess, or the ancient technology scattered about the planet but rendered out of use by the Age of Strife. Shrewd enough to find an opportunity to recognize this rule, he then made use of the deified Emperor (thanks to the Ecclesiarchy) to legtimize his rule further and named himself Shogun of Draconis III. As Shogun, he had received the right to rule from the Holy Father of Terra, the Emperor Himself, and will reign over this world on His behalf. Recognizing his authority, the Imperium did not aggressively press for more concessions, and after pledging his fealty to the Imperium and promising to send troops to pursue the now defunct Great Crusade or at least defend Mankind from encroaching Chaos and hostile Xenos, House Yato's dominance was all but assured. Yato also saw the need to modernize, realizing that his world's antiquated Knight suits and obsolete armored vehicles were no match for the vast armies the Imperium could bring to bear. Above all, he craved the military technology he was exposed to, such as those huge, orbital vessels, better optimized gunships such as the Vendetta, and the much more armored and powerful Leman Russ tanks that the Imperium had.

The more Imperial Knights, the merrier...right? Right?

The combined Knights of House Yato, House Uesugi and House Takeda number over hundreds, their massive roster only second to that of the great House Raven. Thanks to the Adeptus Mechanicus coming to claim Draconis IV as a Forge World, another cunning move by Yato Yoshinobu to secure allies and the prosperity of his House and allies, they continued to grow in strength, the Mechanicus providing new Knight suits and able to help maintain, repair and even upgrade the existing ones. This also saw Yato realize his dream of modernizing and his House...no, his world emerging as a pre-eminent power much like his ancestors were in the past, and achieving honor and glory that surpassed those of historical legends. With never-ending wars erupting across the Imperium, House Yato and their allies send their Knights across the galaxy to stem the horrific tides of merciless Xenos and corruptible Chaos, the presence of their black adamantium frames a welcome sight to the Imperium Guard and even the vaunted Space Marines. However, the Knightly Houses of Draconis III prefer to fight alongside their most trusted allies, such as the armored tanks of the Draconian Armored Defense Force, a newly formed Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum regiment from their world, and the hi-tech Skitarii Tech-Guard of the Adeptus Mechanicus, or more specifically their allied Forge World, Draconis IV. Marching alongside overwhelming firepower, they continue to wreck and destroy whatever enemies foolish to throw themselves in the path of the Emperor's quest of Enlightenment.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Imperial Knights Fluff

Imperial Knights. Our very own mini-Titans, and now available to field in 1,200-point games as a Battle-forged army! YAY! And if someone complains to you about using Super-heavies, grab the Wraithknight he's planning to field and smack his head with it.

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6th Ed Imperial Knight Codex cover..  An Imperial Knight from House Terryn looming over a bunch of puny Space Marines (Ultramarines? Doesn't look like them).
Imperial Knights come from Knight Worlds, and each suit of armor is piloted by a Noble. Knights are not mere war machines, but relics from a lost age of wonders, adamantium-armored giants from a forgotten era. Basically, you can't build these guys from scratch on any random Forge World. You need the STC from the Knight World for the template, or the Adeptus Mechanicus wouldn't be able to construct them like they do for House Raven or during the Great Crusade.

Knights are bonded to their Noble pilots through a rite known as the Ritual of Becoming, aptly name because the Noble "becomes" the Knight by fusing his mind with its machine spirit. Since the pilots are awesome Nobles with nerves of steel and sound mental fortitude, they don't go crazy, but just end up listening to the psychotic whispers of past pilots urging them to give in to the Dark Side...HERESY! BLAM! Ahem...give in to their bloodlust and rampage on the battlefield. This also allows the Noble to take control of the Knight inside the Throne Mechanicum, which is simply a fancy name for cockpit. C'mon, Games Workshop, even Gundam makers Bandai aren't so desperate to give their cockpits some sort of attempting-to-be-cool-but-failing name.

Knight Worlds were founded at the dawn of the Age of Technology, and right after that (some era of great expansion before the Imperium was founded). As such, these worlds are usually habitable planets that Mankind stumbled upon while searching for exploitable resources. They brought their technology with them to fight off the evil dangers inhabiting these planets, often in the form of monstrous predatory beasts or xenos races that resented the invasion, and used them to build giant robots! Using Standard Template Constructs, they were able to mass-produce a specific object flawlessly without the need for skilled engineers...so what did they build? Awesome giant robots! Huh, towering bipedal exo-suits sound cooler, and Knights sound cooler.

Anyway, these Knights are then piloted by a single pilot because he wants to monopolize such an awesome suit (and who could blame him?), and with their firepower, armor and shields, they were invincible in combat. They could combat colossal beasts and wipe out raiding armies, and thanks to their awesomeness, Mankind propsered in their attempts at interstellar colonization. Apparently, the machinery that bonded the Knight's pilot to his suit had mind-altering properties such as notions of honor and duty, nobility and fealty (which is actually not bad considering the alternatives...wouldn't want a psychotic nut to pilot that scary, amazing suit that's supposed to protect you, not destroy you) being ingrained in his psyche. This turned him into an amazing guy who ended up ruling because of pure epicness...so they actually started out as commoners and turned themselves into Nobles sworn to defend their home world. Cool.

Unfortunately, Mankind's darkest age arrived, the Age of Strife or the Long Night. Good thing the Knights were controlled by their pilots witout any sort of Artificial Inteilligence, or Humanity would have gone extinct. Thanks to that foresight, the AIs that "got smart" and swore allegiance to Skynet, uh, decided to rebel against humans didn't have these incredible machines on their side. I think we dodged a bullet...or at least a battle cannon round. Unfortuantely, the psykers went mad and inadvertently opened portals for daemons to jump in, and Warp storms joined the party to cut humanity off from each other. Damn. Across the galaxy, Mankind was assailed by unthinkable terrors from all sides.

Thankfully, the Knight worlds withstood the calamity, thanks to the awesome Knights offering unmatched protection. These guys continued to shore up their defenses and ruled over their world with an iron...or adamantium hand. A lot of these knightly houses were warrior aristocrats, and they ended up ruling over neo-feudal societies, and this continued for five thousand years. That's a pretty long time. Eventually, these Knight worlds were rediscovered by the Imperium when the Emperor launched their Great Crusade and found all of Mankind's lost colonies. The Imperium managed to assimilate the Knight worlds, eager to get their hands on a rich bounty of archeotech and unexploited resources, and the Mechanicum of Mars craved the STCs, so they desperately pursued alliances with them. This led to trade between Knight worlds and the Mechanicum, particularly because the former relied greatly on the latter to repair and maintain their Knights, as well as to build new ones. Tech-Priests and technicians seconded to Knight Houses are known as Sacristans, usually trained in Mars or some Forge World before returning to their Knight Houses, and thankfully they're more loyal to their Houses than they are to Mars. Yay. In any case, the Knight worlds and Forge worlds were entwined with each other in mutual support.

Knightly houses are actually self-contained organization, ruled by a single leader called the High King, or if closely aligned with the Adeptus Mechanicus, Princeps. They are also known as Ritter or Patriarch or even Shogun on different planets. The most powerful of the knightly houses are known as the Great Houses, which include House Cadmus, House Terryn, House Griffith and House Hawkshroud. They kind of forgot House Raven, and I'm going to introduce House Yato (and their allied House Uesugi and House Takeda) as another. Yay. The nobles who serve under these High Kings or Princeps (or Shogun) are known as Barons, but they also go by many other names, such as Caliphs, Kaisers and...yes, Daimyos! MY KNIGHT HOUSE IS CANON! Thank you, Games Workshop and Forge World! WOOHOO! They made my Japanese-inspired Knight House canon!


Anyway, Imperial Knights are devided into those Knightly houses loyal to the Imperium and those aligned with the Adeptus Mechanicus. The latter are often called upon to support Titan Legions, and escorted by Skitarii (wow, I actually have a fluffy army if that's the case). Anyway, the alignment with Mechanicus gives these Knight worlds benefits such as greater technological resources. On the other hand, an Imperial-aligned House would have more freedom and greater autonomy, and are not bound by ancient pacts with the sinister Tech-Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, who often conceal insidious motives. Go ask Baron Roland of House Cadmus if you don't believe me. He got so pissed off by an idiotic Tech-Priest, Adept Nemonix, that he took his entire Knight army off the planet of Vondrak and left them to the jaws of the Great Devourer when the dumb Adept tried to backstab and have him killed. Serves him right.



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7th Ed Imperial Knight codex cover. Featuring Baron Roland from House Cadmus, perhaps?
Anyway, House Cadmus is much more autonomous and free than when they were bound tightly to a pact with the now-destroyed Forge World of Gryphonne IV. They must be very grateful to Hive Fleet Leviathan indeed. But those bastards destroyed entire Imperial Guard regiments in the Shield of Baal, so I still hate those guys.

Anyway, here's a list of Knightly houses and their worlds.

House Taranis - Mars (Man, these dudes were awesome in the novel Mechanicum by Graham McNeill! If you haven't read that yet, I urge you to read it...NOW! Oh, and add Lightning Hall to that list! Don't ask me why Black Library spelled it as Lighting Hall, they screwed up the title in their website. They are also known as the Knight Patriarchs, they usually serve alongside one of the Triad Ferrum Morgulus - basically Legio Ignatum, the Fire Wasps, Legio Tempestus, the Storm Lords, and the traitor Legio Mortis, the Death's Heads, of Mars. Fought alongside Legio Tempestus against Legio Mortis on Mars shortly after the Death of Innocence)
House Zavoa - Mars (A retcon if I ever saw one, they are known as the Wayward Knights, usually fighting alongside the Triad Ferrum Morgulus like House Taranis, and the surviving Loyalists sought refuge in Ryza after most of them were wiped out or turned Traitor on Mars)
House Morbidia - Mars (Traitors who deserve to burn)
House Sidus - Ryza (has a lot of cool, exotic Mechanicum-exclusive Knight armors such as Knights Styrix, Knights Magaera and Knights Atrapos, known as the Scions of Ryza or The Shackled)
House Raven - Kolossi (they are supposed to be bonded to Legio Metallica, the Iron Skulls, of Metallica, but somehow they don't have their own rules in Adeptus Titanicus. Wait, what? You're kidding, right?)
House Terryn - Voltoris (They're tearing the upstart Tau Empire a new one! I want a novel on how the Imperial Knights kicked the Tau's asses on Voltoris! They are known as the Marshalls of Serenity and have some relationship with the forge world, Lucius, aand Voltoris is known as the "Tranquil World")
House Cadmus - Raisa
House Griffith - Dragon's End
House Hawkshroud - Krastellan (These are the guys you want on your side - once they owe you a debt, they'll always come running to you whenever you ask for help. YAY!)
House Mortan - Kimdaria
House Althalos - Kimdaria
House Thalmus - Kimdaria
House Vulker - Aurous IV
House Krast - Chrysis (Take the h away and you'll get Crysis, an awesome game by Crytek)
House Agaron - Silverdawn
House Aramos - Rapture
House Blackskull - Scuptium VII
House Borgius - Dutonis
House Navaros - Dutonis
House Brahmica - Alaric Prime (Go read Sanctus Reach: The Red Waaagh! It's an awesome campaign featuring the Cadian Imperial Guard and the Imperial Knights of Alaric Prime!)
House Calestros - Alaric Prime
House Coldshroud - Gryphonne Octad (known as the Gryphonne Sires, they are bonded to Legio Gryphonicus of the forge world, Gryphonne IV, the War Griffons)
House Col'Khak - Atar-Planitia (known as the Col'Khak Collective, bonded to Legio Atarus, the Firebrands, of forge world Atar-Median)
House Curtana - Karastus
House Degallio - Alaric Prime (Ouch, this poor House ended up being destroyed by the end of Sanctus Reach: The Red Waaagh! campaign...or at least in the Hour of the Wolf. Sigh)
House Helmast - Alaric Prime
House Hermetika - Kaldeia
House Illius - Vorinth
House Nero - Vorinth
House Kamata - Alaric Prime
House Kestren - Alaric Prime
House Khord - Avalane VI (Cerastus Knight-Lancers! WOO!)
House Orhlacc - Dark Haven (That sounds ominous, and it's their prime world) and Wychval (a secondary world, apparently) (known as the Knights of the Manticore, they are also nomadic, having to evacuate Dark Haven during the Horus Heresy and fight against the Warmaster. Apparently they returned to recolonize Dark Haven after the Heresy, where they continue to operate even today)
House Trainor - Mancora (why not just name them Trainer?)
House Vornherr - Luhnborg-IX (known as the Luhnborg Uhlanii or the Bloody Dukes, they became the Black Lancers after the betrayal at Calth, bonded to Legio Praesagius, the True Messengers, of forge world Gantz, and Legio Tempestus, the Storm Lords, of Mars and Orestes - the Loyalist Legio Tempestus, anyway, not the Traitors, and almost wiped out at Calth)
House Vyronii - Damaetus III/II (the awesome Knight house who fought against the Horus Heresy after being stabbed in the back by traitorous Mechanicum Adepts, known as the Wardens of Felweather, 'God-eaters' and allied to forge world Mezoa, they fought against the Mitu Conglomerate with help of the Dark Angels)
House Wentorth - Baroda
House Procon Vi - Procon VI (bonded vassal Knight House to Legio Solaria, or Imperial Hunters, of forge world Tigrus)
House Devine - Molech (bloody traitors who deserve their extinction)
House Kaska - Molech
House Kaushik - Molech
House Donar - Molech (one of the most epic Houses ever, made a last stand against the Death Guard)
House Mamaragon - Molech
House Indra - Molech
House Tazkhar - Molech
House Moritain - Ceamira (often helping out Legio Astraman, the Morning Stars, of forge world Graia, and notably artistic, scholarly and incredibly intelligent - basically the nerd Knights of Horus Heresy, and I bet they get along really well with the Thousand Sons)
House Malinax - Xana II (the archenemy of House Yato, the 2 Knight Houses clashing as early as the Razing of Prospero where House Yato fought on the side of the Thousand Sons. House Yato would continue to fight against forces of House Malinax throughout the Horus Heresy, particularly during the Battle of Beta-Garmon, the Crusade of Iron and the Siege of Terra)
House Yato - Draconis III
House Uesugi - Draconis III
House Takeda - Draconis III
House Akita - Draconis III
House Oda - Draconis III
House Tokugawa - Draconis III

The last six houses, in particular the three main houses, House Yato, House Uesugi and House Takeda, will be written in a separate article because they're my original creations and I would like to expand a bit more on their fluff and history. Yay.

And then there's the lovable Freeblades, such as Gerantius, the Forgotten Knight, and the Obsidian Knight! They are basically pilots who broke off from the Knight houses and become independent, fighting wherever they want and whenever they want. I kid you not. Well, it's usually because they have sworn revenge on a particular enemy and decides to hound them to death, chasing them to the ends of the galaxy to wreck bloody vengeance. And stuff. So yeah. Plus they are legendary characters who kill their enemies LIKE A BOSS! Just look at what Gerantius did to the Orks in Alaric Prime! And the Obsidian Knight...there's no killing him! I know he fell into a ravine in Kauyon, but I bet my entire Imperial Knight collection that he will be back in Mont'ka! Yeah! Well, turns out I was right. Not that it matters.

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Skitarii Fluff

The Skitarii Legions, also known as Tech Guard, are the military arm of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Adeptus Mechanicus is run by the Cult Mechanicus, who's basically the discipes of the Machine God...or rather, all your Tech-Priests, Adepts and Magos. These Tech-Priests, particularly the Magos, then command the forces of the Centurio Ordinatus, the Auxilia Myrmidon (why do we not have these guys in our Mechanicus codex?), the Legiones Skitarii, the Legio Cybernetica and the Ordo Reductor (again, why do we not have any of these guys in the codex?). The Collegia Titanica is part of the Mechanicus, but constitutes its own force.

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The Omnissiah has finally blessed us with our own codex!
The Centurio Ordinatus are the Engines of the Omnissiah...well, they're the massive artillery engines that can level cities with their apocalyptic weapons, basically. The super-cannons, if you will. They make the poor Basilisks of the Imperial Guard look like a joke, but are admittedly a lot more difficult to field and ferry around. The Collegia Titanica consist of the God-Machines of the Titan Legions, and while they are dependent and a part of the Mechanicus, they aren't exactly subservient to them. They have their own command structure, so they don't answer to those annoying Magi and Tech-Priests. The Auxilia Myrmidon are Savants of War, and you've seen them in Forge World's Mechanicum and how cool-looking they are. They graft weapons into their cybernetica limbs and go around fighting, which is cool. The Legiones Skitarii are the Warriors of the Machine God, and while they technically do have their own command structure, doctrines and traditions, they answer to the Tech-Priests and Magos of the Adeptus, being placed under their authority and command. Legio Cybernetica is The Host Robotic and full of giant, cool-looking robots (again, look at Forge World's beautiful Mechanicum army and marvel over how awesome they look). And the Ordo Reductor are Bringers of Blessed Ruin, masters of siege warfare who put the Iron Warriors to shame with their incredible tactics. They're so awesome they have their own subtype in Forge World's Mechanicum Taghmata army, just like the Legio Cybernetica.

Oddly enough, the Skitarii don't show up in Forge World's Mechanicum...but that's where 40K comes in. To bring you a modern codex for our beloved Skitarii! I first came across them in, believe it or not, Ciaphas Cain's novels, and that's where I fell in love with them what with their awesome tech, their hellguns (now radium carbines and galvanic rifles, it seems) and all sort of cool weaponry.

The Skitarii are cybernetic soldiers and the bionic heart of the Adeptus Mechanicus' legions, defending the Forge Worlds of the Imperium, annihilating the enemies of the Tech-Priests and fighting at the vanguard of the quest of knowledge (hence Skitarii Vanguard, get it?). Formerly humans, they have their limbs and the majority of their organs replaced by augmetic battleware, which is cool. So they're cyborgs. Yay. Unlike the Taghmata, the Tech-Priests overseers do not command the Skitarii on the front,. Rather, they cowardly hide above in a scryer-ship, recording and watching the data while giving commands through the noosphere. Hah!

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We look awesome while kicking ass!
The Skitarii also escort the vast goliaths of the Centurio Ordinatus and serve as meat-shields for the god-machines of the Titan Legions, which actually have their own Skitarii Legions who serve separately and answer only to the Titan Legions' Princeps rather than the Tech-priests of the Cult Mechanicus (though it seems that the Princeps are still subject to the authority of Mars, as seen in the novel, Wrath of Iron, where Magos Ys had the authority to execute Princeps Firax Lopi of Legio Astorum, but in other novels, such as Titandeath, the Princeps Senioris have more authority than the Tech-priests and Magi of the Cult Mechanicus). The Tech-Priests commanding the Legio Cybernetica are pretty cool as they do lead in the front, and their battle robots are bolstered by Skitarii. I wonder what cool new rules we'll get with the new 9th edition Adeptus Mechanicus codex. The Skitarii also play bodyguards and babysit Tech-Priests brave but reckless enough to take the field and it has to be said that I would rather follow these Tech-Priests who stick their necks...er...mechadendrites into danger than the pussy Magos sitting comfortably in a large ship floating high above in orbit.

Like the vast regiments of the Astra Militarum, they fire volleys of discplined fire and impeccable skill, and their combat prowess is second only to the revered Adeptus Astartes. Wielding advanced technology normally not available to the huge Imperial Guard regiments, and even the vaunted Space Marine Chapters (unless you're unlucky enough to be a Techmarine), these guys get all the cool toys and effective Imperative Doctrina that turn them into a fearsome force...if you know how to use them in a tabletop game (which I don't, sadly I keep losing because I shoot at the wrong targets...has to be said that I play Skitarii much more effectively than Cult Mechanicus so maybe I should just stick to that).

Skitarii soldiers are created either by vat-grown or cloning processes, or they are former humans (convicts or soldiers) mind-wiped and repurposed into cold, efficient killing machines. They receive augmetics, cool cybernetics grafted into their bodies, and their brains are kind of operated upon and turned into amazing hybrids of gray matter and twisting neurocircuitry. Accounts for their better Ballistic Skill and accuracy than normal Guardsmen, eh? Their bodies are more machine than flesh, and the most awesome ones get to be Skitarii Alphas, who are basically the Sergeants. And then you have the Alpha Primus/Marshal, who's basically the commanding officer of the Legion. Pretty cool. And the metal used for their robotic limbs is titanium! Wow!

The old lore claimed that Skitarii had no transports and they would march for months on their robotic limbs, which is...quite frankly, stupid as warp, and I'm glad they retconned that BS. Seriously, the Adeptus Mechanicus is all about efficiency, and who thought it was efficient to drop a bunch of Skitarii miles away and have them march to the objective on foot? By the time they reach there, the war would be over. Thankfully, they retconned that dumb piece of fluff and now Skitarii are transported into battles atop hovering Skorpius Duneriders or borne into the air inside Archaeopter Transvectors.

Thanks to their extensive modification, the Skitarii can excel in any environment, withstanding extreme doses of radiation, ignoring toxic air, trekking across marshy terrains, not needing to breathe in the cold void of space...the list goes on.

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Yeah, we have Warhound Titans (plural) behind us. What about it? THE FLESH IS WEAK!
The Skitarii Legion in a Forge World are divided into macroclades, before being divided into Skitarii War Cohorts, which are in turn comprised of Battle Maniples. So yeah, that's where you get all your cool Formations from. Yay! Each Maniple have their own Skitarii Vanguard, Skitarii Rangers, Sicarian Ruststalkers, Sicarian Infiltrators, Ptexarii Skystalkers, Ptexarii Sterylizors (who came up with that lame name?), Ironstrider Ballistarii, Syndonian Dragoons, Serberys Sulphurhounds, Serberys Raiders, Skorpius Duneriders, Onager Dunecrawlers, Skorpius Disintegrators, Archaeopter Transvector, Archaeopter Stratoraptor and Archaeopter Fusilave. Yeah, we had a ton of reinforcements in late 8th edition, thanks to Psychic Awakening: Engine War. These guys will march into war and obliterate everything in their path, all from a single order from a Tech-Priest, solely to further the Quest of Knowledge!

The Omnissiah Protects! Hmm...not quite. Knowledge is Power. Yeah, that's the one.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Battle Report 6

I managed to get a game with a friend yesterday, and after arranging to have a match we decicded to play Adeptus Mechanicus against Necrons. I originally wanted to try out Legio Cybernetica (or the Cohort Cybernetica Formation) against his Necrons, but he wanted to play against my Imperial Knight, so I decided to go with the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation instead. Just as well, I found out that I needed my Imperial Knight for a lot of stuff, except that I accidentally got him wrecked by a few of my stupid decisions.

Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation
We decided to play 1,850 points, so I took out a single Onager Dunecrawler from my usual list and downgraded my Knight Crusader into a Knight Warden. I need a lot more practice with this army as I got wrecked in this game. Oh well. Thankfully, my friend was good-natured and a good sport to offer advice and walk me through the rules of the game because this was only my 2nd Maelstrom game so far and I wasn't very familiar with it.

I should get the rulebook, but $120 at retail?! I don't know if I should just get it off Ebay but I'm kind of reluctant to pay over $20-$30 for shipping, which just brings it back up to a high price anyway. Oh well. And I really need to learn how to play this army. Granted, the Necrons' assault ability completely destroyed my dedicated assault units such as Ruststalkers, and my firepower was nullified by their high toughness, 3++ or 4++ invulnerable saves, and loads of Reanimation Protocols. And for some reason his Flayed Ones and Overlord had Feel No Pain in addition to Reanimation Protocols (or just his Overlord, I forgot).

Necrons!
Anyway, this is my friend's army. He has 3 Tomb Blades, 2 Warrior Squads, one of whom is inside a Ghost Ark, an Immortal squad of 7, his Necron Overlord as his Warlord, put inside a blob of Flayed Ones, a Monolith, a Destroyer Lord with a bunch of Lych Guards and a C'tan formation with two Crypteks. Ouch.

More Necrons!
He has a really cool C'tan that he made himself from scratch using a bunch of msaking tape and spare parts! He also built his Monolith with Lego, which makes it all the more cooler!

Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation
As for me, I brought Battle Maniple comprising of a squad of Skitarii Vanguard with 3 plasma calivers, 5 Skitarii Rangers with 2 arc rifles (Haywire!), 5 Sicarian Ruststalkers, 5 Sicarian Infilitrators with taser goads and flechette blasters, an Ironstrider Ballistarius (who was completely useless the entire game), and 2 Onager Dunecrawlers with the Icarus array (which was surprisingly effective) and Cognis Manipulator. The Alphas all had conversion fields for that 4++ save, which...didn't help much. Plus Pater Radium (which I completely forgot!!!!) for my Vanguard, Omniscient Mask for Ruststalkers and Phase Taser for my Infiltrators (which didn't help either against the Overlord...and pointless against W1 Immortals). Oh well. My Cult Mechanicus congregation has a Tech-Priest Dominus with the usual conversion field, Autocadeus of Arkhan Land for It Will Not Die attached to 3 Kataphron Destroyers with heavy-grav cannons (did absolutely nothing against the Destroyer Lord and his Lych Guards), another 3 Kataphron Destroyers with plasma culverins and my Kastelan Robot maniple. Rounding them out is my Knight Warden with a Stormspear rocket pod.

Ghost Ark and Tom Blades
So we played Maelstrom and ended up with Deadlock. No idea what that was, but thankfully my opponent was patient enough to explain to me every step and tell me what to do whenever I was unsure. Thank you very much! Even if I got crushed, it was a good learning process and I'm looking forward to playing more of games like this!

Destroyer Lord with Lych Guards, and a bunch of Warriors camping behind in that building.
We rolled off, I got first, yay. He failed to seize the Initiative, and failed to get Night Fighting. Yay.

Immortals on the backfield.
 My opponent deployed his dudes on Objective 3, and then Infiltrated his Flayed Ones and Overlord on Objective 1. His Ghost Ark was beside a ruin that his 3 Tomb Blades took cover in, probably because they are a formation.

Deploying the Adeptus Mechanicus forces
As I had Scout, I didn't bother with the Cover. Only my Imperial Knight was in cover, which was pointless as nobody bothered to shoot at him all game, and I placed him on Objective 4. My Kastelans were sitting on Objective 6, I believe, while my Skitarii Vanguard tried to Scout up to Objective 2 but failed. My Rangers went up to take cover in the huge ruins in the middle, as did nt Ruststalkers, close to Objective 5, but not quite there. My Infiltrators snagged Objective 2 with Infilitrate. We rolled Mysterious Objectives, and the Knight's objective turned out to be booby trapped. Wow. The S4 explosion did nothing to him, so he ignored it. The rest was grav generator, which gave +1 cover save, and Skyfire, which was useless because there were no flying units, and null on my opponent's side.

Captured objective!
My Tech-Priest Dominus and his Kataphron Destroyers were next to the Onager Dunecrawlers, and the plasma Destroyers were on the opposite side.

Ironstrider Ballistarius and Vanguard
Anyway, we then began. I drew 2 Objective 6 and 1 Objective 5, whcih were essentially free points for me. I also had Slay the Warlord, Guts and Glory, and I forgot the other. Oh well. Anyway, I moved my Vanguard up and into the ruins, moved my Rangers further up, as did my Ruststalkers, and my Tech-Priest Dominus with his Kataphron Destroyers. I then unleashed massive firepower on the Necrons. My heavy-grav cannons failed to do anything, thanks to the Destroyer Lord and Lych Guards' 3++ AND Reanimation Protocols, which sucked, and my Haywire shots merely bounced off the Ghost Ark to kill a single Tomb Blade. I then tried to whack him with my Avenger Gatling cannon's Rending shots, but failed to do anything, while his Overlord made his saves against my Stormspear rocket pod. On hindsight I should have fired and killed the Tomb Blades first, which I did with my Onager Dunecrawlers - the Ignores Cover Gatling rocket launcher is awesome! First Blood! But I had my shooting backward. Damn. My Ironstrider fired his lascannon, hit, but rolled a 1 to be unable to deal any damage to the Ghost Ark (I told you he's useless). My Vanguard Ran, as did my Ruststalkers to claim objectives, and the few wounds that my Infilitrators did to the Immortals, my opponent made all his armor saves or Reanimation Protocols. Damn. Kastelan Robots fired at the Warriors at the far end, but again, they saved every freaking thing. And I stupidly had my plasma Destroyers fire at the Flayed Ones and Overlord instead of the Immortals - a terrible mistake, as with his 3+ Reanimation Protocol (or Feel No Pain, I have no idea which one) in the first turn - thankfully, it gets worse with subsequent turns, 4+ on 2nd, 5+ on 3rd - he made all but one saves against 25 wounds. I should have obliterated the damn Immortals instead.

So I received 3 points for 2 Objective 6's and 1 Objective 5, scored First Blood, for 4 points.

My opponent's turn came and he basically wrecked me with his Destroyer Lord in assault. His shooting didn't do much damage as combined firepower from the Immortals' Tesla. And the Ghost Ark, which moved up to next to my Rangers, failed to trouble the campers with a 3+ cover save. They did take out two of my Destroyers, and leave the last one with 1 Wound. He failed morale and began rolling back like the pussy he was. Damn coward. My opponent also fired a Template on my Infilitrators, but funnily enough I made my invulnerable saves by scoring two 6s. Wow. Talk about being lucky. The Warriors didn't do anything to me, I think, being out of range from my Dunecrawlers, and his Destroyer Lord and Lych Guards wiped my Ruststalkers out in combat without taking even a single wound. Or did he take one wound? I can't remember. I don't think so, he probably made all his saves. He scored quite a few points this turn, earning 4 Objectives (I think?).

I drew Objective 1 and Objective 3, discarded Guts and Glory, which was a huge mistake. This time, my shooting was fairly successfully, my Rangers scoring 2 glancing hits on the Jinking Ghost Ark with their Haywire arc rifles (would have destroyed it if not for those nasty cover saves), and my Knight finished it off with his Rending Avenger cannon. I think the Immortals succeeded their cover saves against his Stormspear, though. Argh. Again, heavy grav cannons did nothing against the Destroyer Lord's unit, and whatever wounds he took, he used Resurrection Orb and re-rolled his failed Reanimation protocol. My Onager Dunecrawlers had moved up, probably to claim Objective 3, and despite only snap-shooting, my Benedict of Omniscience allowed them to re-roll misses, and they scored a lot of hits with their Ignores Cover Gatling rocket launcher, wiping out 7 or so Warriors. My Kastelan robots finished them off, killing the remaining 3 with their heavy phosphor blasters. My Infiltrators had moved up, but with bad move rolls and bad charge rolls, I failed to Charge the Immortals despite blasting them with flechette blasters and them making all their damned saves. Fortunately, my Vanguard had better luck, killing more than half of the Warriors that had poured out of the doomed Ghost Ark. I think I only had Monster/Vehicle Hunter and Objective 2 this turn.

My opponent Deep Striked his C'tan behind my Warlord, and did quite a few wounds on them leaving only one Destroyer left with my Dominus before the Destroyer Lord charged in. He issued a challenge, presumbaly to get Guts and Glory, and I accepted, and my Warlord took one wound while doing absolutely nothing. My Destroyer got wiped in combat by the Lych Guard. Ouch. The Overlord and his Flayed Ones Charged into my Infilitrators, issued a Challenge, and thankfully my Princeps made his invulnerable saves. Thank goodness for conversion field! He survived! I lost 3 of my Infiltrators to the Flayed Ones, only killing a couple of them, and they failed morale, broke and ran, only to consolidate later. My opponent scored the pscychological warfare objective. Sigh. The Immortals tried to shoot my Vanguard and took out 4, but they passed Morale. Phew! The surviving Warriors also shot at my Rangers, but they made all their cover saves. Yay.

The game was getting more disastrous for me. I used Machine Might to increase all my units' Strength by 3, but it was useless. I failed to wound the C'tan with any shooting from both my Imperial Knight and Kastelan robots, but I wiped out the Warriors with my Rangers, who took revenge for being fired upon last turn. My Infilitrators, only able to do snap shots, did not much damage to the Immortals, who merely laughed as they made their saves against the ineffective flechette blasters. They weren't laughing when my Vanguard opened fire and vaporized a few of them with my plasma calivers. HA HA HA! Combat wise, my Warlord survived and actually dealt a wound to the Destroyer Lord! Wow. My Onager Dunecrawlers charged in and killed a phew Lych Guard with their S10 AP2 Cognis Manipulators, but surprisingly S8 Hammer of Wrath did absolutely nothing. Both of them rolled ones. What the hell. My Kastelan robots stupidly charged into the C'Tan, who challenged my Cybernetica Datasmith. Being near useless in combat, he declined, and my Kastelan robots failed to do any damage even with S9 AP2 attacks, and instead took 4 wounds or so instead. Or maybe I did only 1 Wound, I can't remember. Anyway, they lost combat, failed morale and the C'Tan made a sweeping advance against the Kastelan robots' poor Leadership and wiped them out. OUCH. Big mistake there, I should NEVER charge my Kastelan robots at a C'Tan. Damn.

On the plus side my Warlord and Onager Dunecrawler regained health and a hull point with It Will Not Die. I guess I forgot that my Dunecrawler was wounded by a gauss rifle in the first turn. Hmm.

3rd turn, my opponent's Monolith still failed to come in, but he went and continued to destroy me in combat, his C'Tan charging right in and wrecking one of my Dunecrawlers. I think I only killed one Lych Guard in return. My Warlord lost combat by taking a wound while the other guy didn't, and he ran away. Didn't get killed by Sweeping Advance, though. Phew. Thanks to him being locked in combat with my surviving Dunecrawler. The Flayed Ones and Overlord broke into the ruins and wiped out my poor Vanguard in combat, right after the Immortals failed to kill any of them thanks to cover saves. Damn.

By the 4th turn, I know I was doomed. Deciding to go for broke, I moved my Knight Warden out and charged in. I failed to wound any Immortals, again, with the flechette blasters, but that didn't matter. I charged my Infilitrators right in, and they wrecked the Immortals in combat, I think taking about 1 wound each though. But they killed about 2 or 3 Immortals thanks to crazy Tesla rolls! Wow! My Knight wasn't so lucky, however, he got blown up thanks to the combined damage from the Destroyer Lord's Armorbane and the C'Tan's S10 attacks, and while his Apocalyptic explosion wiped out the remaining Lych Guards and I think Cryteks, the C'Tan had only 1 or 2 Wounds left while the Destroyer Lord had just 1. ARGH! So close to slaying the Warlord! My Onager Dunecrawler took no damage though, and my Warlord failed morale but only ran back 1". Damn roll of 11.

Nothing much to say, the game was as good as over. My opponent's Monolith came in automatically on turn 4 and proceeded to kill 3 Rangers with its particle whip. Ouch. The Overlord and Flayed Ones then wiped the remaining two out in combat. My Onager Dunecrawler also got wrecked this turn, but thankfully my Warlord was still alive and running away. As an added plus this turn, I killed one Immortal and the remaining 2 or so failed to wound my Infilitrators at all. Awesome. Never underestimate these guys.

The game ended, 13 points in favor to my opponent and 6 for me. Ouch. A crushing defeat. I made too many mistakes, such as not firing my Onager Dunecrawlers at the Tomb Blades first, trying to charge my Kastelan robots in combat, not firing on the Immortals and wasting my plasma culverins on the damned Overlord instead...I also should have just charged and killed the C'Tan with my Knight before he joined combat with the Destroyer Lord. That might have been better. Maybe. I don't know.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing against my friend again and learning more about Maelstrom. It seems more fun than Eternal War. I wonder how my new Imperial Guard army will fare. After getting Mont'ka, I'm planning on building a Tank Comapany The Emperor's Fist, and throw in a Company Command Squad as my command battlegroup just so I can get my Stormsword in. I could ditch the Stormsword for the Emperor's Spear Aerial Company with 2 Vendetta gunships and 1 Valkyrie assault carrier, carrying my Company Command Squad, and delivering 2 Militarum Tempestus squads into the battlefield via low-altitude drop. Yeah, you can take a Militarum Tempestus platoon as an auxillary for the Cadian (or Draconian) Battle Group. Awesome. Can't wait to see how I can play around with it, making use of the CCS's bonus to deliver 3 orders in 24" range. Hot-shot lasguns and Hot-shot volley guns with Ignores Cover? 7-9 Hot-shot lasguns with First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire? 2 Deep Striking meltaguns with Tank Hunter or Monster Hunter? And all these orders coming from 24" away? To add to that, I get to roll THREE D6 for leadership tests regarding Orders and discard the highest roll. Awesome! Maybe I don't need my Stormsword after all......or I can just Deep-Strike my guys all over the place instead!

We'll see. My friend is bringing a Chaos army next, and I need to purchase 3 more Tanks AND the Militarum Tempestus Scions box set before my new Imperial Guard army is complete. As you can see, I've adjusted the fluff accordingly.

FOR THE EMPEROR!

Draconis IV

This fluff is outdated. I think we should all switch to the new updated fluff of the Draconis Coalition instead.

Draconis IV is a relatively recently founded Forge World with quite a bit of history despite its youth. After the Knight World of Draconis III was founded early during the Great Crusade by Imperial forces, the Adeptus Mechanicus came to repair, maintain and upgrade the three great Houses' aging Knight suits, and found a neighboring empty world ripe for harvesting. While devoid of life, the world was close enough to its star to not be an ice-cold barren rock, and was just within throwing distance of the bustling and heavily populated agri-world of Draconis III. Once a Mechanicus Explorator fleet deemed the planet adequate for colonialization, the Tech-Priests began coming in flocks to terraform the deserted terrain and transform it into an efficient industrial world.

It became a hotbed for eccentric Tech-Priests, whose views were often considered borderline heretical by their compatriots. Pariahs, ostracized Tech-Priests, outcasts and even the frequently shunned Magi Dominus in charge of terrifying Legio Cybernetica cohorts sought refuge in this new Forge World, whose first settlers claimed authority and welcomed variety. The founder of Draconis IV as a Forge World was Archmagos Kent Rolov, who proposed innovation and creativity as the way forward for the Cult Mechanicus, emphasizing that change and progress is the way forward, and the only way to uphold the first credo Knowledge is Power. Arguing that knowledge can only be power if the Tech-Priests were willing to expand their knowledge through innovation and creativity, exploration and experiments, Rolov believed that both power and knowledge will stagnate if the Mechanicus refused to advance and attempt new things. Having witnessed firsthand the power the burgeoning Tau Empire wielded with their cutting edge technology (no, wait, what? That didn't happen because the T'au Empire only showed up much, much later), Rolov was concerned that the Imperium would fall behind. Branded a heretic for his beliefs, he escaped the Prefecture Magistarium and fled to found a new Forge World on Draconis IV while receiving protection from the Knight world of Draconis III, forging an alliance with the de facto ruler of House Yato.

Shogun Yato Yoshinobu was a shrewd politician and cunning warrior who recognized the need of the three Knight houses to rely on the Adeptus Mechanicus. Despite having hundreds of aging Knight suits, he realized that their eventual wear and tear had rendered them all but ineffective in combating Xenos and Traitors alike, particularly when he was treated to a display of power by the Imperial fleet who found them. As such, he was quick to forge an alliance with Archmagos Rolov, yet at the same time maintain the sovereignity of his House, as well as that of his allied Knight houses. House Yato, House Uesugi and House Takeda greatly depend on Draconis IV to construct, maintain and repair their Knights, the grateful Tech-Priests enthusiastically upgrading and repairing the aged suits both for their new allies' benefit, and also in order to receive protection from hostile agents under Martian authority.

Archmagos Rolov also expanded on his fledging Forge World's repertoire by trying to imitate the success of the revered Ryza. While Ryza was more forthcoming with the production of plasma guns, they held the plasma technology of their vaunted Leman Russ Executioner tanks close to their chest, and the Tech-Priests of Draconis IV had to attempt countless experiments before they finally replicated a design similar in power to that of Ryza's. However, far from being perfect as they lacked the technological expertise of Ryza, the Executioner plasma cannon they produced was far more volatile and therefore prone to blowing up when attempting to focus superheated plasma into an intense beam. To further compound the problem, the Tech-Priests of Draconis IV favored installing plasma cannon sponsons on their Leman Russ Executioners, increasing the chances of overheating. However, to the cold, calculating Tech-Priests, the lives of the human crew were of little import, so long as the tank deliver their devastating bombardment of plasma energies to the enemies of the Omnissiah. There was one slight consolation, though. The Leman Russ Executioner tanks were much cheaper to produce and therefore could be massed more easily with fewer resources, when compared to Ryza. This thus allowed Draconis IV to ship a larger volume of Leman Russ Executioner tanks to more systems. With Ryza currently under siege by two massive Ork Waaagh! invasions, the Imperium of Man has taken to relying on Draconis IV's efficient production of cheaper Leman Russ Executioner tanks, even if they are no longer as safe and stable as the Ryza-pattern Leman Russ Executioner tanks. So you can basically account for your cheaper Leman Russ Executioners with the Gets Hot! Special Rule in the latest Astra Militarum Codex and credit them to my dear Draconis IV. Yay.

Furthermore, the manufactoriums of Draconis IV have also taken to replicate the once-extinct Leman Russ Vanquisher tanks, the technology for its cannon considered lost by Mars when the Forge World of Tigrus was overrun by Orks many millennia ago. Following on the successes of Gryphonne IV and Stygies VIII, both of whom succeeded in producing their variants of Vanquisher cannons. Gryphonne IV came up with Vanquisher cannons that could generate much greater shell velocity, but they got nomphed by Tyranids, particularly the ravenous beasts of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Ouch. On the other hand, Stygies VIII is still alive, but their version of Vanquisher cannons use gun stabilizers and recoil dampeners to guarantee an accurate first shot, though subsequent shots suffer after that. Draconis IV's Vanquisher cannons do not suffer from that, but admittedly they do not have an accurate first shot. They resemble more of Tigrus's original Vanquisher cannon after reverse-engineering those cannons salvaged from the battlefield (they attempted the same with Ryza-pattern Leman Russ Executioner, which is the only reason why they even succeeded in producing a counterfeit version at all, but the Ryza tech was still too sophisticated for them). Glad to say they had more success in that area, at least. They are more stable and do not suffer from decreased accuracy in subsequent shots, and mostly their Leman Russ Vanquisher tanks are equipped with a lascannon for a dedicated tank-hunting role.

Draconis IV also manufactures another Leman Russ variant, the Leman Russ Punisher, as well as the staggering amount of ammunition needed to feed its voracious appetite. The vast numbers of Leman Russ tanks Draconis IV constructs allows the nearby Imperial Guard regiment on Draconis III, the Draconian Armored Defense Force, to be a fully mechanized tank regiment, fielding large columns of armored lumbering behemoths into the battlefield. In addition to the tank manufactoriums, which also construct super-heavy tanks - the most popular of which is the Stormsword for urban combat, its sheered ruggedness and overwhelming firepower (and also because they don't have the technology to build Shadowswords, so they swap the volcano cannon for a Stormsword siege cannon instead), Draconis IV also has manufactoriums devoted to producing gunships such as the Vendetta gunship and Valkyrie assault carrier. These naval assets are permanently seconded to the tank companies of the Draconian Armored Defense Force for aerial support, and often transport airborne troops to the battlefield, notably the Draconian Stormtroopers - one of the very few but also very elite infantry companies that Draconian Armor possess.

In addition to handheld plasma weapons, Draconis IV also supply heavy flamers and flamers, meltaguns, hellguns and volley hellguns. The last two, also known as hotshot lasguns and hotshot volley guns, are delivered in huge quantities to the Stormtrooper regiments in Draconian Armor - also known as Kamikaze Troopers, these fearless elite soldiers grav-chute down from Vendetta gunships, or for larger squads the Valkyrie assault carriers, with near-suicidal fervor to strike at key installations and high-value targets with surgical precision. The Draconian Armor benefit greatly from being in such close proximity to a Forge World, being the first to receive all these highly specialized weapons and vast numbers of tanks before the remainder is shipped of to other systems.

Another faction that benefits is the Knight houses on Draconis III, and as stated before, they have come to rely greatly on the technical expertise of the Adeptus Mechanicus, who devote extended periods to repairing, maintaining and upgrading the Knights' armor. Yet, despite this dependency, the Knights are not subordinates but allies with the Tech-Priests of Draconis IV, mutually cooperating with the Mechanicus while swearing allegiance to the Emperor, and by extension the Imperium, by providing staunch security from those who view the Priest hierarchy and doctrines of Draconis IV as heretical. With the Forge World providing an indispensable amount of plasma weapons, rare Leman Russ tanks, gunships and Stormswords as well as being the benefactor of one of the largest Knight houses (the combined forces of Houses Yato, Uesugi and Takeda, anyway) in the Imperium, even the High Lords of Terra could ill-afford to sanction and alienate Draconis IV without suffering a huge blow to the survival of Mankind.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Forge Worlds

FORGE WORLDS
The Forge Worlds are an empire within the Imperium itself. Theoretically, all Forge Worlds are subservient to the authority of Mars, the rulers of the Red Planet lording over vast network of industrial planets, ancient technology and arcane rituals. Of course, the out-lying Forge Worlds tend to be distanced from this steel grip of Martian rule and become more autonomous and independent, yet they must rely on each other for trade and protection in order to survive the dark days of the 41st Millennium. Forge Worlds are entire planets devoted to industry, manufacturing ships, weapons, ammunition and armor to the millions of armies that serve the Imperium, and thus are an indispensable to the Imperium's suvrival. For without their resources, even the vast, uncountable armies of the Imperium will be unable to fight against the endless dark tides of hostile Xenos and the despicable forces of Chaos.

Forge Worlds are also famous for being homes to Titan Legions, manufacturing the venerated god-machines, as well as supplying Knight Houses with armor and Sacristans, for without their expertise, the Knight suits will fall into disrepair and even the most powerful Knight Houses will decline. Same goes for the Titan Legions.

Image result for forge worlds
Sorry, but I don't understand the map. Leave it to the Tech-priests.
Mars
The holiest of Forge Worlds, and the Father of them all, Mars is the primary planet of the Mechanicus. The Red Planet is home to not just the Fabricator-General, who commands undisputed authority over all the Forge Worlds in the Imperium of Man, but also to a dazzling array of technology, huge repositories of technical knowledge, immense libraries and databanks. Efficient and functional, the Tech-Priests of Mars and their manufactorums lack ephermeral concepts such as aesthetics and morality. Mars used to be a jewel in the crown of Mankind's achievement, the pinnacle of technology as terraforming transformed it from a barren wasteland into a home for humans, but it has been since reduced into a smog-choked hellscape through millennia of incessant construction. Oh boy. Total Recall.

Notable forces include House Taranis, THE Premier Knight House - the first and foremost of all Knight Houses. Read Mechanicum and Lightning Hall by Graham McNeill for more details and House Taranis lore. Wherever you find a Martian expedition, you'll find a House Taranis Knight accompanying them. They were there along with Martian Skitarii when fighting on Ulanor against the Beast. Archmagos Belisarius Cawl has a whole lance of House Taranis Knights on his Ark Mechanicus. Nice. Oh, and Mars is also home to the Triad Ferrum Morgulus, the original three Titan Legions of the Collegia Titanica. They include the Loyalist Legio Ignatum (the Fire Wasps), the Traitor Legio Mortis (Death's Heads) and...the Loyalist (?) Legio Tempestus (the Storm Lords). Though, a good portion of Legio Tempestus turned Traitor, the remnants of the Loyalist Titans of the Storm Lords no longer reside in Mars, instead moving to Orestes in the Sabbat Worlds. Read Dan Abnett's Titanicus for more details regarding Legio Tempestus and their new homeworld of Orestes. In any event, the only original Titan Legion of the Triad Ferrum Morgulus left on Mars is Legio Ignatum.

Mars has never been invaded throughout their history, and aside from the Horus Heresy where Chaos settled and turned a full half of the Titan Legions against the Loyalists, there are no recorded conflicts on Mars that were not due to schisms and civil wars in their own ranks. In other words, Mars Attack! But they don't get attacked. Well, we'll ignore the three Necron vessels that somehow broke through our naval cordon and landed on the surface of Mars. We nuked them to oblivion, so they don't exist. Not anymore, anyway. Apparently they were trying to get to the Noctis Labyrinth where the Void Dragon slumbered, but ancient, obsolete Necrons are no match for the holy and arcane technologies of the Adeptus Mechanicus!

The Red Planet also has this pretty cool thing above the Martian equator, massive orbital constructions known as the Ring of Iron, which kind of makes sense given how Mars is red because of all that Iron (III) Oxide in its soil. They build spacecraft and ships for Battlefleet Solar, but I thought we had the shipyards of Saturn for that. Hmm...anyway, Deimos is gone because the Grey Knights confiscated it for their own nefarious...I mean holy ends, and Phobos has become a space station. You know, like when you fly toward it, you'll be like "that's no moon! It's a space station!" except that Phobos actually IS a moon. Oh well.

Lucius
The father of the infamous Draco Malfoy...no, he's the guy who created the Bat Mobile and other cool gadgets and vehicles for Bruce Wayne. It's no wonder they name the Forge World after him, he's such an awesome guy and incredible inventor (Morgan Freeman is also a great actor). The Forge World of Lucius is actually hollow, possessing an artificial sun in its core. It's essentially a titanic fusion reactor that powers the underground industrial cities. Thanks to this boundless power supply, they are the most innovative in terms of military technology with the best Ironstriders and Onager Dunecrawlers among all Skitarii, and even the Legio Astorum AKA Warp Runners benefit from this by having the only Titans that can teleport straight into battle! Where is your cheese now, huh?! Said Titans are known as the Warp Runners because they run through the warp when teleporting. They also emerged triumphant over Hive Fleet Leviathan, who ran out of biological matter to eat while the Mechanicus maniples recycled their metallic parts over and over again while hiding underground. Fortunately, the Tyranids weren't able to evolve tunneler breeds to dig underground to where the tech-priests, servitors and Skitarii were hidden, or Lucius would have been screwed. But let's just celebrate the rare moment when Hive Fleet Leviathan got their asses kicked! Perhaps the Mechanicus maniples and Skiarii of Lucius should go to Baal and help the Blood Angels and their successors clear out the Red Scar of Tyranid organisms now. Omnissiah knows they could certainly use the help.

Agripinaa
The Forge World on the threshold of the Eye of Terror, and thanks to our awesome Cadians, they stand strong against the evil forces of Chaos, driving back all those annoying Obliterator Cults, Daemon Engines and Traitor Titans! Stupid Warpsmiths of the Traitor Legions want their technological wonders, and keep attacking, only to keep failing just like Failbbadon...I mean Abbadon. Except that he finally succeeded in destroying Cadia, and all the memes of "Failbbadon" along with the poor planet. The planet broke before the Guard! Anyway, Agripinaa is not only protected by the Cadians, they also provide more than enough weapons and armor to equip the entire Cadian System, contributes one of the largest Skitarii Legions in the galaxy, and wipe out entire soul forges under the Dark Mechanicum with the righteous fury of the Adeptus Mechanicus's Skitarii Legions and Legio Cybernetica. Awesome. Even after the fall of Cadia, they continue to be the one lynchpin in the sector, driving back the forces of Chaos streaming from the Eye of Terror and serving as a stalwart bastion of hope and defiance against the Warmaster and his Black Legion hordes. Seriously, if you want to know how badass they (and their Cadian defenders) are, just look at this. In the aftermath of Cadia's destruction, a whole gang of Warpsmiths led hordes of daemon engines invaded the forge world, accompanied by Nurgle's concoctions of plagues. To make matters worse, the World Eaters Chaos Lord Kossolax led his World Eaters plus Night Lords, Black Legion, Thousand Sons and Death Guard Legions to invade poor Agripinaa. Unfortunately for them, not just the Skitarii and combat servitors of Agripinaa, but also the entire displaced Cadian diaspora stood strong and held a stalwart defense, driving the Legions of Chaos off the forge world and sending them fleeing back toward the Eye of Terror. Just Cadians and Agripinaa macroclades against five Heretic Astarte Legions. Can you believe that? Oh, okay...admittedly they had plenty of help, not least in the form of Blood Angels (wait, aren't they busily clearing the Baal system of Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan?), as well as Draconian regiments, Skitarii macroclades and Knights of House Yato (plus a bunch of other Knight Houses, Imperal Guard regiments and Adeptus Mechanicus macroclades besides, not to mention Space Marines), but still...that's just badass.
Oh, and if the Leman Russ Executioner tanks are the mainstay of Ryza and Draconis IV, then Agripinaa hass their Leman Russ Eradicator tanks, whose nova cannons are prized. Awesome.

Stygies VIII
The Tech-Priests who love forbidden xenos technology! Awesome! Just like the Tech-Priests of Draconis IV! I can see us getting along. Thankfully, they provide a great deal of war material to the surrounding systems, so the Imperium decides to close one eye to their transgressions and happily accept the bribes...uh...war supplies instead. This doesn't prevent conflicts between Deathwatch teams, unfortunately, but screw those Space Marines. They are known for their stealth, which is reflected in the crunch by -1 penalty to hit rolls if they are more than 12" (or was it 24"?) away. Because you need to be stealthy when collecting xeno-tech, or else. It is not known if they were one of the worlds in the Stygius Sector that fell to the Thousand Sons...but I guess Stygies is not in the Stygius Sector. Yeah, confusing, I know.

Graia
The planet in Relic's Space Marine game! You play as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines and save Graia from Orks and Chaos! Yay! As for the Forge World itself, the Skitarii fought against voracious Donorian predators on the surface in a war that all but destroyed the planet, so they actually rely on gigantic space stations floating above instead, a network of constructs and structures so huge they actually span half the globe! Even better, the Tech-Priests of Graia can transform this into a mobile battle station that can fly away and take orbit over any planet they want. Awesome! Wait...isn't this different from the game? Speaking of which, Captain Titus wasn't the Captain of Ultramarines 2nd Company in the non-game fluff either...
In any event, Graia is also the most prosperous forge world in the Belt of Iron and is home to the Titan Legion, Legio Astraman a.k.a. the Morning Stars. Oh, and their orbital forge networks can fly on their own, but they don't do that anymore because the last time they tried it, they got screwed over by a fleet of Necrons. Uh...what? Good thing they have Cybernetica Cohorts that wrecked the s out of those undead ancient xenos. Right now, they are currently embroiled in the Rust Fields War, trying to grab resources and minerals from asteroids...only to find them infested with Orks.

What can I say? Sigh.

Metalica
Full heavy metal! A Forge World form almost entirely of metal, even its surface is silver instead of rock. No biological life forms on Metalica (apart from the Adeptus Mechanicus, and it's debatable whether they count as life forms...well...they are cyborgs so they technically count as semi-biological beings at least) because the Tech-Priests declared Genocide/Exterminatus and had their Skitarii annihilate all life on the planet. Huh. Brutal. They provide weapons and armor to Armageddon, which is the home world of the legendary Commissar Yarrick and his Armageddon Steel Legion in case you didn't know, and have a Titan Legion called the Iron Skulls AKA Legio Metalica, whose Princeps Kurtiz Mannheim appeared in the novel Pyres of Armageddon (so did Yarrick and his Steel Legion). Metalica also has Imperial Knight allies from the nearby world of Kolossi, which is cool. That's House Raven, by the way, the largest Knight House with the most number if Imperial Knights, and also the only House in the Imperium to outnumber House Yato and its allies, House Uesugi and House Takeda. Speaking of which, they are currently under attack by the Death Guard in the whole Warzone Charadon debacle, the War of Rust and Slime or something. Damn. I hope they drive the Death Guard away, or the whole Charadon Sector is screwed. Well, according to 8th edition lore, they did succeed in defeating the Death Guard, but...you never know. Retcon is a thing, after all. After the events of Armageddon, the Iron Skulls barely have two-thirds of their Titan Legion restored, and the current Princeps Senioris is a cautious guy who doesn't dare risk his god-engines. And after losing so many Titans, who could blame him? I hope Legio Metalica regain their former glory soon.

Ryza
The Forge World of plasma! Whenever you hear about plasma, you think about this guy. They are the ones who came up with the Titan's plasma blastgun, the plasma blastgun on the Stormblade super-heavy tank, the Leman Russ Executioner tanks, everything! They are the Forge World that Draconis IV is striving to emulate, much like how our Draconian Imperial Guard regiments are Cadian wannabes. They have an order called the Omnissiah Igvita, or "Life-blood of the Omnissiah" that was founded on Ryza and dedicated itself to the study of plasma technology. The more radical tech-priests of the Omnissiah Igvita were exiled to Draconis IV, where they continued their borderline heretical research on plasma weaponry, which explains why Draconis IV ended up being known as the Second Ryza, but I digress. Ryza used to have this awesome orbital platform called Ryza Secundus, which got scuttled during the Horus Heresy when the Warmaster's forces invaded Ryza. Wait, apparently it's still there because the names of the 12 House Vonherr Knights who fought to the end to protect it are inscribed there, so yay. They are home to the Titan Legion, Legio Crucius or the Warmongers, who were crucial to the defense of the Imperium. They also have their own Knight House, House Sidus! Cool! Currently, they have fought off not one but two Ork Waaaghs!, Waaagh! Grax and Waaagh! Rarguts. Thanks to the Astra Militarum regiments stationed there to defeat the combined Ork Waaaghs!, they were able to secure the forge world from an invasion by Daemons. Phew.

Atar-Median
One of the forge worlds in the Belt of Iron and home to Legio Atarus a.k.a. the Firebrands. Got screwed over by the politics of Phaeton, so they ended up being eager to prove themselves and thus stood loyal to the Emperor during the Horus Heresy. Not to mention Legio Atarus wanted revenge after Horus Lupercal nuked a good portion of their Titans at Istvaan V.

Valia-Maximal
Traitor Forge World who pledged their support to the Warmaster. Home to Legio Laniaskra, the Impalers. These Titans fought against immense beasts that dwelled in the caustic seas of the Forge World.

Kalibrax
Traitor Forge World who is home to Legio Kalibrax or Legio Kulisaetai, the Gatekeepers, who were screwed over the moment Legio Mortis personnel infiltrated their ranks. They couldn't keep the gates safe, though, and ended up carrying out Scorched Earth tactics because...grimdark.

Arachnus
Loyalist forge world that is home to Legio Venator, the Iron Spiders. The Titans are used to combat gigantic spiders...ahem, arachnid megafauna that once dwelled on the forge world's surface, as well as raiders. Half of the Legion split off to form Legio Tritonis, the Dark Tide, who was a Blackshield Titan Legion, and got wiped out later.

Urdesh
You probably recognize this from the Gaunt's Ghosts series. The premier forge world in the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, often exchanging between Loyalist and Traitor Hands. Lord Militant Ibram Gaunt finally scored a famous victory here with his Tanith First and Only, sealing his position as Lord Executor and with the death of the Anarch, all but exterminated the Sons of Sek and struck a huge blow to the ambitions of Urlock Gaur and his Blood Pact. Not only is Urdesh famous for its legendary Urdeshi Storm Troops, apparently it used to be home to a Titan Legion called Legio Damicium, the Unbroken Lords. Unfortunately, Urdesh was unable to build its own Titans, so when the Traitors were destroyed, apparently they no longer have their own Titan Legion in the 41st Millennium. Which might be a good thing, considering the trouble the Sabbat Worlds Crusade had to face. Sigh. The Unbroken Lords ended up being broken by Legio Ignatum and other Loyalist Titans, and they no longer exist in the 41st Millennium. The fame of Urdesh now lies in their Urdeshi Storm Troops, which is cooler if you ask me.

Jerulas Station
Formerly known as Diroth, it didn't take long for the rebellious tech-priests to revolt against the Imperium and the Imperial army regiments and Legio Ignatum Titans stationed there, declaring for the Warmaster and launching forbidden technologies that...uh, ended up wiping themselves out. No, seriously. Nobody knew what happened to Jerulas Station. When they finally reached there, it was empty. Well, not exactly empty, because a bunch of presumably xenos ships (or maybe a fleet of Men of Iron) showed up and blasted the investigating fleet to atoms, leaving a third of them to flee with their tails between their legs. They decided to not visit Jerulas Station ever again, and presumably it's an empty planet devoid of all life. Probably left that way even 10,000 years later.

Arl'yeth
Loyalist forge world that was vital to the Belt of Iron because of precious ores found within it. Helped the Imperium out greatly during the Heresy. Should still be going strong in the 41st Millennium.

Konor
In the Realm of Ultramar, named after Roboute Guilliman's adopted father. One of the key worlds that build ships for Battlefleet Ultramar. The Knights of House Yato and Skitarii of Draconis IV took part in the defense of Konor during the Plague Wars against Mortarion's Death Guard and successfully repelled the Plague Host. Yes, I participated in the Konor Campaign with my Knights and Skitarii, and won a few crucial victories. Heh. Right now, it's ruled by Tetrarch Severus Agemman of the Ultramarines Legion, ahem, I mean Chapter.

Gantz
No, not the manga about a death game. It's the forge world that's home to Legio Praesagius, the True Messengers. Part of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar.

Anvari
Home forge world to Legio Oberon, the Death Bolts II. Also related to the Ultramarines.

Xana II
The traitor Forge World that is home to the nefarious House Malinax, the archenemy of House Yato. Apparently the Dark Mechanicum found a way to move it to the Eye of Terror, where they manufacture Daemon Engines for the forces of Chaos today. They are particularly famous for their Hell Blades and Hell Talons, infernal aircraft used by Chaos Space Marines. Also home world to Legio Vulturum, the Gore Crows, who often deploy alongside the Scions of House Malinax. Both powerful forces continue to operate out of the daemon Forge World and harass the Imperium even today. But the Knights of House Yato and Titans of Legio Draconis stand strong against them! I hope.

Draconis IV
Well, considering that this is an original Forge World created by yours truly, I think we deserve a page of our own, do we not? While I did a long write-up of the Draconis Coalition and the History of Draconis III, I also gave Draconis IV its own dedicated page. I will also do so for House Yato and the Draconian Defenders.