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.

Featured Post

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...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

War Returns to Armageddon

Warhammer Community has posted this on their website: War Returns to Armageddon!

Apparently it's a self-contained game in the spirit of the old Necromunda where Space Marines - specifically the Blood Angels - square off against Orks in the hive cities of Armageddon.

While the default kill teams for the set are Orks and Blood Angels, apparently you can use different races for the two squads, which include but are not limited to:

Skitarii Rangers
Chaos Space Marines
Dark Eldar Wyches
Dire Avengers
Eldar Guardians
Harlequin Troupe
Grey Knights Strike Squad
Necron Immortals
Necron Warriors
Tau Empire Pathfinder Team
Tyranid Warrior Brood
Neophyte Hybrids
Scouts with sniper rifles
Cadian Infantry Squad
Ork Boyz

Yeah...wait, what? CADIAN Infantry Squad? As much as I love Cadians, and I have 2 Veteran squads (well, they're Draconians, not Cadians), why would Cadians be on Armageddon? Where is the Armageddon Steel Legion? Are we supposed to pretend that the Cadians are Armageddon Steel Legion troopers or substitute them as such because the latter doesn't have models? What about Yarrick? This is Armageddon, right? It ain't Armageddon without Yarrick.

For those of you who are wondering why I haven't mentioned Shadow War: Armageddon until now, it's because when I saw Blood Angels vs Orks instead of Armageddon Steel Legion troopers, I kind of lost interest. I told you, I'm an Imperial Guard player, not a Space Marines one. I only picked up this post when I ssaw you can substitute Blood Angels with Cadian infantry, and even then I'm wondering how the damned fluff works out when you still can't use Armageddon Steel Legion troopers instead of Cadians or Space Marines. As I said, it ain't Armageddon without Armageddon Steel Legion, and I'm annoyed that the Imperial Guard regiments of their homeworlds are often left out in favor of the more recognizable Space Marines. Just look at the poor Prosperine Spireguard. If I want to play Blood Angels, I'll have them in the hive cities of Baal or something, not in Armageddon. Armageddon is Armageddon Steel Legion. No compromise, no surrender. For Lord Commissar Yarrick!

Speaking of which, for those of you who are interested in the stories of the Armageddon Steel Legion and Commissar Yarrick fighting against Orks, I've written a couple of book reviews on the Astra Militarum anthology as well as Yarrick: Pyres of Armageddon. Those tell the stories of Armageddon a lot better than the Space Marine ones.

Of Gods and Men

Of Gods and Men

Of Gods and Men by Andy Smillie is a nice short story about a dying princeps. Niall Cathalan, who commands the Imperator Titan Validus, lies dying within its cockpit after the mighty god-machine is brought down by two giant Ork super-heavies. I bet they're Gargants, they're the only ones able to take down an Imperator Titan. Anyway, I like the opening. It starts off with gods and then men, and how Cathalan feels so helpless, so human when disconnected from the Validus. He senses the Orks coming, coming to dismantle the Titan to desecrate it and use it for their Gargants, so he is determined to blow up the Validus before they succeed, and kill a lot of Orks in the process. He succeeds, but when the tech priest adepts of Mars receive the signal that the Validus is doomed, and Cathalan's nice little message about how princeps should not believe in the infallibility of their titans and god-machines, they dismiss it as human error, as weakness of the flesh, and maintain the misplaced arrogance that their god-machines cannot die, cannot fall and are infallible.

It's a nice touch, and a short, entertaining yet insightful addition to the stories of Titans. It takes place in Armageddon, by the way. No Yarrick, no Armageddon Steel Legion, so that sucks, but Titans are always welcome. For the Emperor! It's a very cheap short story, so I think it's worth buying and reading. It doesn't take too long to read, and it's a very touching read that makes you think about gods - and by that I'm referring to god-machines, the Titans - and just how vulnerable they are despite their raw, apocalyptic power. Come on, it's just US$1.99. It's worth it. In my opinion, anyway.

The Razing of Prospero book review

The Razing of Prospero

The Razing of Prospero basically collects the 2 Horus Heresy novels, A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns along with 4 short stories, Howl of the Hearthworld, Rebirth, Hunter's Moon and Thief of Revelations.

In case you don't know what's the story about, A Thousand Sons tells the tragic fall of Magnus the Red, the most powerful psyker in the Imperium of Man, the Primarch who is gifted with psychic powers. The first novel follows his legion, The Thousand Sons, and revolves around the adventures of Ahzek Ahriman, one of the coolest and most awesome Space Marines ever. In pre-Heresy at least. It opens up with the Thousand Sons exploring the world of Aghoru because of some ancient pyramid, that turns out to be tainted by Chaos. After clearing the world of Chaos, the Thousand Sons leave to aid the Space Wolves and the Word Bearers in the conquest of Shrike to bring it into the Imperium's fold. There, Magnus and Leman Russ, the primarch of the Space Wolves, nearly come to blows when the latter leads his forces to raze the libraries of Shrike, only for the Thousand Sons to stand in their way. This eventually leads to the Edict of Nikaea, where the Emperor decrees that all Legions dissolve their Librarius conclaves and never use psychic powers again.

Obviously Magnus doesn't listen, and when he learns of Horus's treachery, he performs a huge ritual to send his aether form to Terra where he shorts out the Golden Throne, kills lots of people and allows the daemons to invade the palace (read Master of Mankind for more details, I think). The Emperor obviously flips out, and Magnus flees back to Prospero weeping, and sulks like a spoilt child, throwing a tantrum in his room. He knows Russ and his Wolves are coming, but being the loyal Primarch that he is, he allows the Space Wolves to descend and raze Prospero.

So Prospero burns. The Thousand Sons don't share their father's decision to lie down and let the Wolves butcher them, so they fight back alongside the Prosperine Spireguard, who bravely held the line against the ruthless and merciless Space Wolves, the engimatic and anti-psyker Sisters of Silence, and the golden, legendary Adeptus Custodes. They win, thanks to their psychic powers, and kills lots of Space Wolves and Custodes, none who stood a chance against the might of the Thousand Sons' sorcery. Unfortunately the Sisters of Silence join the battle and nullify the Thousand Sons' powers, and thanks to the overwhelming numbers, the Space Wolves, Custodes and Sisters push the Thousand Sons all the way back to the last Pyramid of Photep. Finally Magnus changes his mind and takes to the field, challenging Russ. While he slays the Wolves, Russ breaks his back and defeats him. But at the moment of near-death, Magnus and the Pyramid of Photep, as well as a large swathe of Tizca into the Planet of Sorcerers, thus saving his legion from extermination but damning them to Chaos...for good.

A Thousand Sons is one of my favorite Horus Heresy books, right up there with Mechanicum. I like Mechanicum better, but probably because of the Knights, Titans and Mechanicum, but A Thousand Sons is a close second. Very close second. First, it's because the Thousand Sons is my favorite Space Marine legion. Especially in pre-Heresy or 30K. There is no other Space Marine Legion or Chapter I'll rather play with or read about. Grey Knights might be cool, but I guess they are the successor to the Thousand Sons after a fashion, but they lack the cults and variety of psychic powers, being Santic and Daemonhunters. Oh well. But there's something about psychic Marines that appeal to me.

Graham McNeill does their story justice. Magnus is portrayed as a sympathetic character, and you can really identify and feel for the guy. He might be powerful and highly intelligent, but even as a Primarch you can tell that he's far from perfect or far from being a Mary Sue like the usual stereotypes about Primarchs are. Right off the bat, you can see an arrogance in Magnus, especially when he grapples with the snake Daemon in Aghoru. You can see his overconfidence, - the fact that his hubris is what leads to his downfall is clear right from the start. Yet McNeill develops his character so well that you can't help but root for the guy. You can sense his loyalty, his passion for learning, his thirst for knowledge. You can see his strength and power. If only...if only his hubris didn't lead him to Tzeentch. Ugh. And he did what had to be done to save the Thousand Sons from the flesh change. It sucked, but it had to be done. I feel really sad. McNeill has done a good job in making this a tragedy because it is a tragedy. Magnus falls hard even though you don't want him to. You can relate to the guy.

McNeill also does a very good job of fleshing out Ahriman. Ahzek Ahriman is not the two-dimensional two-bit villain that he is often portrayed in campaigns (bloody hell, who the hell scripted his character in Wrath of Magnus?!). Here, he is even more human than Magnus - he, like his brothers, has access to the dangerous but powerful psychic powers of the warp, but you can see his unsurety, his lack of confidence, and the very same fears that plague us mortals. If McNeill hasn't established him as an Astartes from the XV Legion, you'll never know that he's superhuman. Well, aside from the fact that he can harness the aether and cast sorcery, of course. He makes an excellent protagonist who sometimes questions his father and has doubts about the future of his Legion. It makes his fall into the Exiled One all the more tragic - right off the bat you can see what horrors the future lies for him, and the ending - wow. I call this the "Rubric" - and any Thousand Sons fan will know what's coming.

I also like the way Graham McNeill sets the Thousand Sons up against the rest of the Imperium. They are feared as warlocks, sorcerers, misfits who dabble in the occult, yet the hypocrisy of their detractors are clear to see. Montarion with his Death Guard dabbling in the arts of Nurgle. The Space Wolves, the main antagonists, particularly when Leman Russ demands for Magnus's censure, are clearly hypocrites, with Ohthere Wyrdmake being a two-faced, backstabbing, lying, betraying bastard and their use of Rune Priests (oh, they are Rune Priests, not Librarians, and they don't harness the powers of the Warp but some mumbo jumbo that is not corrupt because we say so!). The antagonism brings out the human aspect of the Thousand Sons more, as well as the human side of the Space Marines and the Imperium. These aren't just superhuman soldiers. These are also petty mortals with their politicking and squabbling as they jostle for influence and power.

All in all, I really like how Graham McNeill depicts the Thousand Sons in this novel, making them so human, relatable and delivering an epic tragedy that has you so invested in the characters that you can't help lament their deaths. This is one of the best Horus Heresy novels ever, along with Mechanicum, and I recommend that you read them.

Prospero Burns, on the other hand, is written in a very different style. Dan Abnett has a very distinct writing style from Graham McNeill, and if you're especially reading Prospero Burns immediately after A Thousand Sons, you'll find the sudden change in style jarring. Dan Abnett is a lot more descriptive, and shall I say...a bit slow to get into the meat of the story. Graham McNeill jumps right into the main plot, into the action and stuff, but Dan Abnett is the type to weave more fragmentary narratives that kind of weave around each other until you suddenly find the whole picture falling in place for you in the end. I mean, I love Graham McNeill's selection of Ahzek Ahriman as the protagonist and narrator of A Thousand Sons because he lent the Thousand Sons a very human perspective. There was Lemuel Gaumon to provide the human perspective, but quite frankly he and his friends weren't needed. They ended up fleeing Prospero in the end anyway, so...I gather the only point of their existence in the story was to play the human element and to show what outsiders think of the Thousand Sons. That aspect wasn't exactly developed to its full potential - Lemuel turned out to have psychic potential which Ahriman slowly trains and develops, but he never turns into a full-fledged psyker. Rather, they're there to reflect the changes in the Thousand Sons from benefactors to scary stangers who don't care about the lives of mortals. But even with the death of Kallista, I just don't really feel it, you know? After being absorbed in the perspective of Ahriman and the Thousand Sons, I sympathize with them a lot more than I do with Kallista or Lemuel, who are basically freeloading off the Thousand Sons and doing nothing in Ticza but training or meeting at cafes. Ugh. On the other hand, Prospero Burns excels in the human perspective because we're put into the shoes of Kasper Hawser also known as Ahmad Ibn Rustah. In contrast to McNeill's A Thousand Sons, Abnett's Prospero Burns tells the story entirely from Kasper's perspective. We don't get a glimpse into the minds of the Space Wolves - and to be honest, I'm actually glad for that - but instead we get a coming of age tale of Kasper, who ironically starts off as an eighty-year-old only to be rebuilt into a younger body after a period of eighteen years.

If you ask me to compare, I can't really say Prospero Burns is as good as A Thousand Sons. No, Abnett is definitely a good author, and Prospero Burns is certainly a good read. But do I like it as much as A Thousand Sons? Not really. It kind of meanders and turns. I think the whole point of Prospero Burns was to show what the Imperium thinks of the Space Wolves - as ruthless, merciless, scary, brutal, monstrous, and then to kind of counter that judgement through Kasper's point of view. Now I like Kasper's character. I like him a lot as a protagonist. Abnett definitely develops him very well as a protagonist, allowing room for growth not just in the physical sense but also in terms of maturity. There are a few nice twists here and there that help tie what seems like a meandering, fragmentary narrative together into a single cohesive whole, but when all is said and done, they do seem a bit unnecessary. I mean, Kasper being saved by Fith was awesome. Don't get me wrong. I like that scene, and Fith as a normal man fighting against all odds, and eventually becoming a Space Wolf was a touch I really like. But the story should be titled Kasper Hawser or The Tale of Kasper Hawser because quite frankly, it really doesn't get much into the burning of Prospero until the very end. Instead we get all these hints at subterfuge, at how Kasper had been unknowingly used by the Great Enemy to become a double agent or unwilling operative all this time, and how the Wolves are ruthless when they're not. We do get some sympathy for the Wolves, but the only characters you feel for are Kasper and Fith. The other Wolves just come and go. It's kind of different from A Thousand Sons where every Captain of the Fellowships and different cults feel distinctive, have their own colorful personalities which are further enhanced by their separate powers. You can't help but grin at Khalophis's fiery agressiveness. You cheer for Phosis T'kar's reckless charge with his telekinetic powers only to mourn his tragic death at the hands of the Custodes and Space Wolves. You can't help but be moved by the tragedy of young but wise Baleq Uthizzar. You share the fears and cocky confidence of Hathor Maat. You appreciate the wisdom of Ahzek Ahriman and partake in his worries about his legion. You even feel sorry for Magnus when he commits that massive error of breaking into the Golden Throne, only to realize that his hubris has ruined everything.

You don't feel any of that for the Space Wolves. Other than Fith, who you cheer for as he saves Kasper as a mere man in the beginning, and the engimatic Bear whose name Kasper didn't correctly capture, and the couple of Rune Priests (the kindly Longfang, Ulvurul Heoroth and Aun Helwinter, but the latter is pretty much forgettable other than your usual, typical cliched wise priest), the rest of the Space Wolves are pretty much forgettable. They just blend in together and you can in fact pass them off for each other without realizing the difference. Sure this guy died...but so did the other guy. They both died glorious deaths. Yay. Let's talk about them as a Skajd. Uh...what were their names again? Doesn't matter because there really isn't anything distinctive about them as Space Wolves. They truly are wolves, you know? You can't tell them apart from the other, except for Fith.

Even Leman Russ is this godlike figure who...well, you just don't feel for him. I guess you're supposed to be annoyed at his arrogance, especially when you see how eager he is to smash Magnus, but truthfully, the guy is...well, he's just not as well done, fully fleshed out or developed as Magnus. And it's funny because it's Magnus who falls while Russ remains loyal. But you don't get the same sense of tragedy here, you don't lament Russ's anger because...he's quite frankly a very one-dimensional character as the Wolf King, you just don't connect or feel for Russ. He's a godlike Primarch and that's all Kasper needs to know. Sure, there's the part in the end where Russ talks to him to honor his contributions to the Rout, but all in all you just don't get the saem sense of attachment to Russ as you do for Magnus and his tragic fall.

In that sense, A Thousand Sons is the superior novel. That's not taking anything away from Prospero Burns, however. It is still a good book. Abnett is a master of weaving many fragmentary narratives together into a single coherent whole and dropping a number of good twists to leave you in suspense. And truthfully, it's not so much the story of the Space Wolves razing Prospero as it is the role of Kasper Hawser in playing a major part in the burning of Prospero. As I said, the novel can be named The Tale of Kasper Hawser and it would have been fine as it is. It has a lot more to do with the machinations that led Kasper to the events of the razing of Prospero rather than the burning of Prospero itself. That's the strength, however. By personalizing such a major event through the eyes of a single human character because such a huge scope can't be captured by multiple characaters (funnily A Thousand Sons does succeed there, but never mind), we get a very personal tale. Actually, I don't even know what I'm talking about here, I guess I'm trying to say that Prospero Burns's strength lies in the personalization of the huge narrative through a single character in contrast to A Thousand Sons's wider scope.

The short stories on the other hand...though written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Chris Wraight, Guy Haley and Graham McNeill..most of them are quite frankly, forgettable. You can get by without reading them, but I guess that's the point of short stories. The only short story worth reading, in my opinion, is Thief of Revelations guess it, Graham McNeill. Chris Wraight's Rebirth is actually not bad, to be honest, but the other two, Howl of the Hearthworld and Hunter's Moon are not exactly very interesting. I'm not saying this because they're told from the perspective of the Space Wolves. I mean, I don't mind reading Space Wolves stories such as Battle of the Fang, which I have yet to read, but the problem is that neither of them is related to the razing of Prospero.

Howl of the Hearthworld is...boring. Nothing happens. It's about ten pages long, and just talks about how Space Wolves work. Basically, a bunch of Space Wolves are sent to Terra to guard Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists as a watchpack or something, and they're not happy about it because they want to take part in the war. At that time they didn't think Terra will ever fall to war. Anyway, they argue with Russ, Russ says "frak you, just obey me." They obey, get on a ship, talk to this scribe - who ironically is the most interesting character in the short story, who tries to get their names. Then you get these pointless accounts of how each Space Wolf got their names, and how they're amused when the scribe records their "fake" names without realizing it. I don't get the joke, and I relate to the scribe, Prelate Quilym Yei, more than the Space Wolves. A very pointless account, and you're not missing anything if you don't read it. Seriously nothing of note happens.

On the other hand, Rebirth by Chris Wraight is an intriguing account that tells of the Fourth Fellowship of the Thousand Sons returning to Prospero after it was razed. They descend to the devastated surface in an attempt to find clues as to what transpired here, only to be attacked by the World Eaters. The who squad is wiped out, with only Revuel Arvida surviving. There's a few nice twists here and there with Brother-Captain Menes Kalliston beginning the narration in first person and a few switches here and there in the forms of flashback, and the sudden revelation that Kalliston's captor is a World Eater and not the Space Wolf he thought he was. This one is worth a read, so if you want to find out what happens to Prospero afterward, or if there are any survivors of the Thousand Sons (I mean loyalists), particularly the ones who weree away when the Space Wolves attacked, then yeah, read this. Apparently there's a link to the Blood Ravens in the Dawn of War series here, but I don't know. Other than Arvida's "knowledge is power" and his raven mark, I don't know where to make the connection, but it would be interesting if there was one. Additionally, there's some story where Revuel Arvida was fused with a shard of Magnus and becomes Janus, the first grand master of the Grey Knights, but I haven't read that story firsthand so I don't know about it.

Hunter's Moon is interesting, but ultimately it doesn't tie into the Razing of Prospero because it's just a Space Wolf crashing into the sea, saved by three humans, only to end up getting killed. Okay, it's a funny story, and a lot more interesting than Howl of the Hearthwood because something actually happens and the end put a smile on my face. Basically, Torbjorn and his pack of brothers discovered that the Alpha Legion had turned to Chaos, and attacked them. Most of them ended up killed by the Alpha Legion, but Torbjorn managed to kill Alpharius...or so he thinks. When I read how he was telling the three humans how he slew Alpharius, I burst out laughing. I admit, I actually laughed at that. The first thought that came to my mind was, "you thought you slew Alpharius, but it was I, his double!" (sorry, Jojo reference) And then when the Alpha Legion arrived in the end, and Alpharius walked out, very much alive, I grinned at Torbjorn's shock and his demise. Man, that was hilarious as hell. Hey, this is Alpharius we're talking about here. You think you killed him? Don't delude yourself.

But...while a fun and entertaining read (well, in the end, anyway, the beginning was boring as hell, and seriously there was no need to narrate how the mortals saved Torbjorn from the downed Thunderhawk or the whole pretentious sailor seafaring narration), it has nothing to do with The Razing of Prospero. Prospero is not mentioned here, neither is the Thousand Sons. It's the Alpha Legion instead, but...yeah. You can skip it if you want, or read it on its own. Actually, you should read it as an Alpha Legion short story, not a Space Wolf short story and certainly not a Prospero one.

The last one, Thief of Revelations, certainly lacks the action, twists and fun of Rebirth and Hunter's Moon, but it actually is the most relevant story to The Razing of Prospero. It tells the tale of Ahriman and friends during their time in the Planet of Sorcerers. More of their brethren have fallen to the flesh change, but their Primarch, Magnus, does nothing. However, Magnus has a reason - he knows that trying to look for a solution would be temporary, just as when he bargained with Chaos to save them, it was but a temporary measure. Therefore he looked for other stuff, more profound stuff to think about. This therefore ties in nicely with Ahriman's path to exile as he proceeds toward the plan of the Rubric without the supervision of his uncaring father. It is, as I said, the most relevant short story to the Razing of Prospero, and worth the read. Especially if you want to know the fate of the Thousand Sons shortly after Prospero's fall, and before they turned into Rubric Marines. It gives deeper insight into Ahriman's motivations and decisions, and why he walked upon the path of no return and eventually exile. How he turned from the favorite son into the exiled one.

So yeah, I would definitely recommend you get The Razing of Prospero package, which nicely wraps up these stories into a single awesome package. If you've already gotten A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns, there is no need to get this. The short stories are not worth it...if you really want, just get Thief of Revelations or maybe Rebirth as well. Hunter's Moon you should get if you're into Alpha Legion short stories, but Howl of the Heathworld, I'm sorry to say, is a waste of time and space.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

To honor the Prosperine Spireguard

To honor the Prosperine Spireguard, so that the brave soldiers of Prospero will never be forgotten.

Here we have an account of Kasper Hawser, also known as Ahmad Ibn Rustah, skjald of Tra, the Third Great Company of the Rout - that's Space Wolves, the 6th Legion, for those of you who speak low Gothic.

And his account shall serve as a testament to the courageous men of the Prosperine Spireguard who valiantly fought against the invading Space Wolves when the Sixth Legion descended upon Propsero to raze it under the misguidance of the Traitor, Horus Lupercal.

...the Prosperine Spireguard. Their noble and well-appointed regiments were the domestic defence forces. They were as finely drilled and effective as any elite division of the Imperial Army.

They looked too civilized and decorative to bear the brunt of the Wolves' assault...

They did not run away. Let us agree on their courage and make it part of this acccount. They met the Sixth Astartes, the most efficient and ruthless killing machine in the entire arsenal of the Imperium, and did not give ground. They faced demented, barbarian giants that looked like feral caricatures of Astartes, and did not break. They had been ordered to defend Tizca, and they did not falter from that order.

Let us not forget the brave men who fought for Prospero - mortals, mere mortals who are often overlooked in the big picture where people focus on the more revered Astartes - the battles between the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves. These mere mortals stood against the Space Wolves and held the line, even for a few moments. They are the pride of any Imperial Army.

Even if they have been replaced by Tzaangors, I will leave this account here to make sure they are never forgotten. It matters not that most of the Prospero Spireguard have been wiped out during the Battle of the Fang when they were sent en masse to assault the Space Wolves' homeworld of Fenris, abandoned by their Thousand Sons masters and eradicated by the Imperium's executioners. I am sure they remained, they survived and they retrained new elements of Prosperine Spireguard back in the Planet of Sorcerers. Or so I hope.

Perhaps one day the Adeptus Mechanicus will recover Standard Template Constructs of terraforming technology and restore Prospero to the height of prosperity. Magnus will see the light once more and turn from Chaos, swearing loyalty to his father again. His Thousand Sons shall follow, and join the ranks of the loyalists.

...okay...scratch that. That's way too absurd. Anyway, Prospero stands!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Prospero Spireguard

I'm slowly reading The Razing of Prospero and I hope to get a book review out for you guys soon. But damn, it's long. I've finished A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill and am right now reading Prospero Burns. Dan Abnett's writing style is so different from Graham McNeill that it felt jarring to read his account right after I finished the other.

Once I finish the entire book, I'll write a book review, and include the short stories as well.

In other news, I've gotten Kingsblade and The Omnissiah's Chosen, which is a series of short stories about the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Skitarii, so I'll get to them as soon as possible, but for the foreseeable future, I'll be reading the Ahriman trilogy once I finish The Razing of Prospero for the whole Thousand Sons thematic reference. That will be cool.

Speaking of which, I just realized that there's one thing I forgot. The Prospero Spireguard. I notice that these normal men and women, fighting alongside the superhuman Astartes of the Thousand Sons, often get forgotten, their contributions thrown aside in favor of their more recognized counterparts. I mean, I like Captain Sokhem Vithara of the 15th Prosperine Asssault Infantry, and in a book filled with awesome Thousand Son characters like Ahzek Ahriman, Hathor Maat, Phosis T'kar, Baleq Uthizzar and even Kalophis, that's saying something. Hell, Magnus is so awesome in this book, despite his hubris, you can't help but root for the guy. Graham McNeill did an awesome job of potrtaying the Thousand Sons. Yet among them he added very human characters that do not get overhsadowed by them, like Vithara. I'm feeling pretty sad for the Propsero Spireguard. They were featured prominently here, used in the attack of Fenris during Battle of the Fang, but now they're completely forgotten when Wrath of Magnus rolled out, replaced by the Tzangors or whatever.

I want rules for the Prospero Spireguard! I want psychic Imperial Guard! Can't we have that?!

Speaking of which, Horus Heresy volume 7: Inferno is released, and while we get Rites of War for the Thousand Sons and Space Wolves (apparently known as the Rout among themselves), plus Custodes and Sisters of Silent, we don't get anything for the Prospero Spireguard. Come on Forgeworld. Don't forget the little guys. The Prospero Spireguard deserve more credit than that. They were the first to respond and fight Leman Russ and his Space Wolves. They fought before the Thousand Sons did. Credit due to them, they held their line against the revered Astartes and refused to flee. They, normal men and women, mere mortals, stood against the ferocious ranks of Adeptus Astartes and fought the Space Wolves without faltering.

They deserve some recognition. Right? RIGHT?!

Give rules for the Prospero Spireguard as well! Are they part of the Imperial Miltia? Do they use Solar Auxillia rules? Yeah, I know they're a branch of the Imperial Army, so does that put them under Imperial Miltia and Cults? Ugh...anyway, the Prospero Spireguard is as awesome as every other Imperial Guard regiment!

FOR PROSPERO! The Wolves shall burn! Wait, they already did, I guess. Magnus had his revenge last year. Too bad he kind of flunked out against Roboute Guilliman. Um, I don't have the Rise of the Primarch, but do you guys want me to go around collecting spoilers and writing a brief summary about it anyway?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Vortigan's progress

Image may contain: night

How is everyone doing? I just thought I'll give an update on my progress in Freeblade.

As you can see, I've unlocked quite a few stuff for Vortigan. I've painted him in the same colors as my tabletop Imperial Knights (if you remember my House Yato from Draonis III). Like my tabletop Imperial Knights and fluff, Vortigan's primary color is Abaddon Black with Balthasar Gold trim and his secondary paint is Mechanicus Standard Gray (yay! All hail Adeptus Mechanicus!). I've given him an Adeptus Mechanicus like pattern (gears) and an emblem that helps him salvage 5.0 additional ore. His layout is IV because...well, 4 is my favorite number.

I've reached level 33 for now, and his wargear rating is 1,696, as you can see. Quite a feat, considering I've barely played Freeblade for a little over a week.

His mounted weapon is the Autocannon of Annihilation Epic, rating 180, and he's equipped with Ion Shield of the Merciless Rare. His heavy weapon here is the Battle Cannon of the Merciless Epic, though I mostly switch to Judgement's Gaze Legendary because it's a Lightning Cannon that arcs from one enemy to the next and makes killing infantry much easier. His helm is the Terran-pattern Headguard of Slaughter Epic, his chestplate is Master's Armor of Slaughter Epic, his carapace is Thorian Frame of Fortitude Rare, his pauldrons are Deus Mechanicus Spaulders of the Imperium Epic, and his legplates are Vanguard Leg Guards of the Ironclad Epic. I've given him a meltagun, the Melta Gun of Annihilation Epic, for his light weapon, and Chainsword of the Merciless Rare for his melee weapon.

If that flew over your head, then you're not alone. Honestly, it's not worth remembering all these weird names and they repeat themselves anyway.

His total strength value is 133 and his toughness is 163. Apparently I focused more on toughness to keep my Imperial Knight alive. Yay. As expected of the heavy armor Imperial Knight and Imperial Guard player, I go for survivability! His Critical Strike Chance is a mere 25%, but at least his Critical Strike Damage has been buffed to +95.8%. So that's why I end up killing my enemies in one hit every time I earn a critical strike. Huh. Yay.

Well, I'll keep patrolling Tarnis and defending it, and if anything interesting happens I'll update you guys. I've completed 6 chapters so far and am about to embark on chapter 7. I've also completed all the bonus objectives for all 6 chapters, so I have 9/9 medals for the first 3 chapters and 12/12 medals for the next 3. YAY! I hope to complete the story soon!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

White Dwarf the Saga of Guilliman

Okay, I'll probably admit that I will not be getting The Gathering Storm: Rise of the Primarch because I'm not a Space Marine fan and stuff...but since I am a loyal citizen of the Imperium I will probably keep up to date on what's going on in the Imperium. For those of you who don't know, the new triumvirate of the Imperium will include Roboute Guilliman, Cypher and some Grey Knight dude that is supposedly the most powerful psyker in the Imperium but we've never heard of before (and most likely created only for this saga).

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As the White Dwarf Facebook page has so kindly put this up for us, I'll write down whatever the thing says so that you guys don't have to squint and make out the tiny words. I'm sacrificing my eyes so that you guys (those without a copy of the White Dwarf anyway) will have an easy time reading. Okay, that was a bad joke. Anyway, let's begin.

Deep within the Fortress of Hera, a team of skilled artians have toiled for many hours to bring Roboute Guilliman back to life. Dan travels to Ultramar to talk to the writers, miniatures designers, painters and illustrators behind Rise of the Primarch.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark is the man behind the story in Rise of the Primarch. A loyalist (and part-time Ork) at heart, he was delighted and terrified in equal measure when he was given the opportunity to resurrect Guilliman.

For 10,000 years the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Terra, his withered body little more than a husk of the great man he once was. His grand vision, the Imperium of Man, endures - yet it does not prosper, for it lingers under a pall of misery and persecution, suspicion and mistrust. It is assailed on all sides by and from within by heretics, witches and aliens, and only by the continual sacrifices of countless citizens does the Imperium continue to exist.

Yet now, at the close of the 41st Millennium, the people of the Imperium face their greatest trial. Orks wreak havoc across the galaxy, the Tau Empire expands in the east, the Tyranids send vast alien swarms from beyond the stars to consume all in their path, and the Necrons awaken to reclaim what was once theirs. And above all, more deadly than any other foe, the forces of Chaos choose this moment to begin their most concerted invasion of the Imperium. Under the eye of Abaddon the Despoiler, countless worlds have already fallen. Madness and heresy are rife and violent Warp storms tear great rents in the galaxy. Blind in their ignorance, the High Lords of Terra send billions to their deaths in a bid to save the Imperium. Yet it takes the Eldar, a more far-sighted race, to realize what the Imperium needs now is a hero, a symbol of the Emperor's will made manifest. The Imperium needs a Primarch...

"Deciding which Primarch would return was an interesting discussion," says Andy Clarke (why is there a freaking typo here? There's no e in Clark in the other parts of the article?!), who wrote the story in Gathering Storm: Rise of the Primarch. "Only a few of the loyalist Primarchs are confirmed dead - alas poor Ferrus - but most of them are simply unaccounted for. Roboute Guilliman was always a primary contender because of who he is - he's the statesman of the Primarchs, the creator, the empire-builder and, following his father's downfall at the hands of Horus, he helped lay the foundations of the modern Imperium. It seems only right that he, of all the brothers, was the one to come back and save it. Great as it might seem to have a Primarch like Leman Russ return, I can imagine his reaction to the state of the Imperium would be nothing short of apocalyptic. His rage would be monstrous and he'd no doubt go rushing off to fight anything and everything he could find until, eventually, something killed him. We needed a more level-headed Primarch to save the Imperium and, when it came down to it, Guilliman was really the only contender."

It is perhaps no coincidence that Roboute Guilliman is the Primarch to follow in his Emperor's hallowed footsteps, as his fate closely mirrors that of his father's. The Emperor was mortally wounded by his son Horus during the Siege of the Emperor's Palace and interred in the Golden Throne. Close to 1,000 years later, Guilliman was wounded unto death by his brother Fulgrim and interred in a stasis field on Macragge, where he has remained for close to 9,000 years, the poisoned blood still glistening at his throat. So how exactly does Guilliman return to active service? "Rise of the Primarch brings together all the story arcs and the characters from the preceding Gathering Storm books and knits them together," explains Andy. "You've got an ancient Tech-Priest who must get to Macragge to talk with the Lord of Ultramar, a living saint on a holy quest and a pair of mysterious Eldar characters, one of which has the power to resurrect the dead. You can probably see where this is going!"

Emissary of Death
Throughout the Gathering Storm story, Yvraine, Emissary of Ynnead, has killed quite a few people, harvesting their released spirit energy to make herself more powerful. She believes that only through death can rebirth occur. What, then, is her agenda on Macragge? Surely there's no one there that's near to death...

Below: Guillman marches against the enemies of mankind flanked by Grand Master Vodius of the Grey Knights to the right and Cypher, the mysterious former Dark Angel, to the left.

It's not all as simple as Andy makes out, though. Abaddon has got wind of the plan to resurrect Guilliman and sends whatever forces he can spare to lay siege to Macragge. All it would take is one bullet in the right place - namely Yvraine's head or Belisarius Cawl's reliquary - and the quest would be over. "They have to run quite a gauntlet to get to Macragge," says Andy. "That was one of my..."

For the rest of the article, please purchase White Dwarf March issue and read it! For the Emperor!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Gates of the Devourer

Gates of the Devourer

Gates of the Devourer is an Adeptus Titanicus short story by David Annandale, who you probably know by now from my other book reviews. He wrote the Commissar Yarrick story, Pyres of Armageddon, if I recall correctly and other stuff.

Anyway, how does Gates of the Devourer fare? It's a good story, and considering that it's meant to be a short story, don't go into it expecting an epic tale in the mold of Titanicus by Dan Abnett. It's not meant to be one. Rather, Gates of the Devourer tells the tale of Princeps Captain Ferantha Krezoc of the Legio Pallidus Mor, piloting her Warlord Tian Gloria Vastator, leading the defense of of Hive Gelon on the planet Khania against the Tyranids. Apparently two Tyranid bioships have descended on Khania and are now attacking Hive Gelon. As Hive Gelon is a vital forge world that produced Taurox and artillery for the subsector's military campaigns, the Imperium couldn't let it fall to the Tyranids. So they mobilized the entire 66th Kataran Spears Astra Militarum regiment and two Titan legions to save the planet. We have a Captain Harth Deyers representing the very human element of the defense forces here, and credit to the 66th Kataran Spears, they held out a lot longer than the Planetary Defense Force of Khania and the militia of Hive Gelon.

Speaking of which, Katara is the sole inhabited world in the neighboring system, and they know if Khania falls, Katara will be next. Hence it was important for the Kataran Spears to defend the forge world.

Anyway, the story opens up nicely and very poetically with dreams. I like how it opens up with Krezoc's dreams as it relays her link to the Warlord titan, and how she and Gloria Vastator are intertwined with each other in spirit as much as mind. It also showed us the dreams of the lord governor of Hive Gelon, a certain Albrecht Feisler. It already sets the stage for a promising story.

As the Tyranids descend upon Khania, two Legios of the Adeptus Titanicus are dispatched to save the world. One is Legio Pallidus Mor, headed by Marshal Eras Balzhan, and as we know is the legio of our protagonist Krezoc. The other is the Imperial Hunters, led by an arrogant Marshal Sygarius. The Imperial Hunters are portrayed as arrogant and condescending, looking down on the more practical and serious Pallidus Mor. While Pallidus Mor is supposedly reputed to be emotionless and cold, they are more practical than inhuman, understanding the horrors of war and what it takes to fight them.

The two Legios arrive only to find that while the Imperial Navy had destroyed one bioship, the other survived and continued to pump down Tyranid reinforcements. Sygarius arrogantly seizes control of the operation, taking command, and has both Legios land far away from the bioship. He then recklessly leads a march across the wasteland and desert of Khania toward Hive Gelon, almost putting both Legios at risk. He lost quite a lot of Warhounds and a few Titans, which earned the ire of Krezoc. Already the campaign doesn't start off well, with both Legios almost at odds with each other. Fortunately, thanks to the calm and practical Balzhan, Pallidus Mor avoids conflict with the Imperial Hunters and "do what we can", in other words they follow the Imperial Hunters and try to save their sorry titanic asses.

At the cost of several Tiitans, as I mentioned earlier, Sygarius takes advantage of an opening to charge straight toward Hive Gelon, which Deyers and his Leman Russ tank squadrons are desperately protecting. The Kataran Spears have done very well in the absence of Titan support, their tanks obliterating the Tyranids, but the tide is turned against them when a Hierophant arrives. Credit to Feisler, the lord governor stays until the very end, refusing to leave his hive city, and supporting the Imperial Guard to the very end. Unfortunately that almost proved foolish when the Hierophant wrecks stuff. Sygarius arrives in the nick of time to distract the Hierophant from annihilating the Imperial Guard, but gets his ass kicked until Krezoc, the only titan who could follow, arrived and blasts the Hierophant. The Gargantuan Creature is hard to kill, and she is forced to lure it into a trap before mortally wounding it. However, the Hieriphant is super-resilient and tries to take the Gloria Vastator with it, only for Sygarius to deal the finishing blow and kill it. Of course, the arrogant marshal claims the kill, but Krezoc is like whatever. While the Imperial Navy arrives to destroy the remaining bioship, and the Titan support cleans up the remaining Tyranids on the surface, Sygarius celebrates the triumph. However, Krezoc delivers a cryptic warning, saying that it's weird that the Tyranids only sent two bioships. The story ends with the Tyranids arriving from the Warp again. But we can safely assume that the defenders are in much better position to protect Khania and blast the damned giant bugs to oblivion.

The story is good, Annandale has a good writing style. As I said, I like how the story opens up almost poetically with dreams. Sending two Legios of the Adeptus Titanicus also helped show the different philosophies between the various legios, and I thought that was a nice touch. As always, thanks to the countless worlds and billions of people in the Imperium, the imperial forces are not monolithic, and there will always be conflict. I was glad it didn't turn into a whole "us versus them" scenario like in many Imperial Guard stories where one regiment betrays another. The whole betrayal thing wouldn't have worked in a short story, and Annandale probably recognized that. Plus it's so cliched, so I'm glad he didn't resort to it. The battle is long, taking up a good length of the short story, and intense. We get the typical apocalyptic power of the Titans, reducing swarms of Tyranids to ashes, and the Secutorii serving as the augmented infantry that accompany the Titans. I wish to read more about the combat between the Secutorii and 'Gaunts, and even the Kataran Spears' valiant efforts against the Tyranids, but understandably since this is an Adeptus Titanicus story, much of the attention and focus have been placed on the Titans, not the other characters. To that effect, the story does its job and is pretty good.

I would recommend this book, if you've a kindle or something that can read mob files. Have fun reading it! It's a huge change from reading the usual Space Marine and even Imperial Guard books, especially since it places the reader from the perspective of a Titans princeps. The raw power, the firepower to destroy worlds, all at her felt so good reading that. The battle between the Titans and the Hierophant was also a nice touch, and I guess you do need a titanic enemy for a protagonist piloting a walker of that size after all.

For the Emperor!