The ever dastardly Graham and I play many different games set in the world of Warhammer 40k, and for someone as tactically challenged as myself, simply keeping a tally of wins and losses holds little interest.
Instead, we combine the multitude of different games into a flowing narrative campaign. This stops things from getting stale and lets me concentrate on being creative, rather than cursing my ill luck and general lack of tactical nous.
A Brief History of Time
There was a time long ago, when space marines were space marines and demons were just a figment of the imagination, so don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Known as the Golden Age of the Imperium, it was a time when the mighty Emperor of mankind was less ‘throne-bound’, and got out and about the galaxy a little more, leading His demigod sons the Primarchs, in their quest of inter-galactic genocide.
However, it all started to come undone the day the Emperor realised that He had left the oven on, and had to rush back to Terra to attend to it, leaving His favourite son Horus in charge until He got back. Horus was brought low by an envenomed blade and started to hear voices from the Warp. The daemonic susurrations told him that the Emperor didn’t even posses an oven! And was actually going back home to the adoring fans, gaining all the glory while His sons did all the hard work.
Horus did what any right-minded son would in such a situation. He plunged the whole Imperium into civil war, sending it into a catastrophic downward spiral from which it would never truly recover.
In the wake of what become known a the Horus Heresy, the space marine legions were disbanded and sub-divided into smaller chapters, so that no-one would be able to wield such power ever again. One such space marine chapter was the Iron Eagles, formerly of the Ultramarines legion, which is the subject of our story.
Betrayal at Ardera IV
In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, mankind was still plagued by the myriad hostile aliens (no rest for the wicked and all that!) On the agri-world of Ardera IV, an Ork Waarghhh! was gaining impetus and simply had to be stopped before the green tide scoured the planet clean of all humankind.
Ardera IV was a planet within a sector of Imperial space simply chock full of agri-worlds, exporting a plethora of produce to feed the Imperium. Ardera’s main export being that of oils and chemicals derived from triffidicus plants. These six-foot tall carnivorous plants, were not only able to walk, but could fire a stinger out around seven to eight feet, allowing them to incapacitate their prey. On the plus side however, they contained an oil which could be refined to create many useful fuels and chemicals. It was said that a quarter of a billion lho sticks were lit every minute thanks to triffidican oil.
Triffidicus plants were by no means the only indigenous species upon Ardera IV which was inimicable to life. When man first set foot upon her, the planet was simply teeming with strangler-vines, exploding spore frogs, spine-shooting cacti and much more besides. After a century of cultivation however, the flora and fauna become manageable enough to sustain a colony of thousands of triffidicus ranches.
With the ork incursion, came much upheaval. Vast swathes of land fell into the greenskin hands which were left un-managed, allowing the triffidicus plants to break free from their ranches, to seek food (of which in the aftermath of the fighting, there was plenty to spare!) In their wake the death forests started to reclaim the planet. The orks had to be stopped and to this end a vast imperial crusade was sent to Ardera, including a battle group of the Iron Eagle space marines.
Framing the Conflict
I’ve laid out some battle dioramas on my BattleCry game board (complete with new frame to stop it moving around) This creates a pictorial story which will give you an idea of how we combine different games to forge a narrative and push the story along…
Aeronautica: A fierce air battle ensues across the skies of Ardera IV, as the Imperials struggle to gain air superiority over the Orks. Mighty Titans can be seen far below on the surface.
Epic: The defenders of hive Menddrica ready themselves to repel yet another ork attack.
The greenskins swarm toward the hive. Fortunately the Imperial defenders have ‘angels upon their shoulders‘. The Imperial navy’s persecution of the air war has been exemplary, allowing units to be spared to support the ground conflict.
‘Big guns never tire!’ Though they will be surely tested this day!
Both Gork and Mork are in attendance today (or at least there ork built proxies Boom Boom Mancini and O’wd Yella). Reaver titans of the legio Hydra Cordatiss square up against the xenos abominations.
Space Crusade: At the tactical level, the troops of the Imperial Guard strive to protect the hives all important anti-aircraft guns.
Behind the lines there seems to be treachery afoot. A cabal of space marines confer with the Ork warlord, as an emissary of the foul Word Bearers legion performs some arcane ‘mumbo jumbo’.
Lost Patrol: A reconnaissance platoon of the 7095th Devlan Mudders struggles through the death forests, somewhere deep behind enemy lines. They are urgent to get back to friendly lines with the critical intelligence that they have gained on the enemy.
The forest is full of hidden dangers! Will they get back to deliver their news of the Iron Eagles treachery?
So what in the name of Terra were the Iron Eagles doing conferring with the enemy?! Will the recon troops bring word of this treachery to the Imperial defenders? Only time will tell…