|It's time for a change! The XII Legion readies to finish off the dupes of the false "emperor"|
Over the past couple of months I have been painting up some Raven Guard for further 30k mayhem on the table. It's not a very big force at this stage - about 40 figures, no vehicles or dreadnoughts. Not quite enough for a game of 30k under the current rules, but I was really keen to get them out on the table for an initial bloodletting. So we decided to play some old-school Rogue Trader instead! Dallas was kind enough to host the game two weeks ago, and set up a table for us.
|Sons of Horus heavy support squad - locked and loaded|
|XVI Legion moves into a blocking position|
The scenario was set on Istvaan V - home to the infamous "drop site massacre". So you already know up front how this was going to end for the Raven Guard...the scenario featured the small Raven Guard force - two 10-man tactical squads, a 5-man support squad with autocannons, and a Preator and some bodyguard and command figures. They realize they have been betrayed, and as their Legion brothers are massacred around them, this group looking to break out and escape into the hills. They were trapped by a mix of Sons of Horus and World Eaters. The Raven Guard would start in the middle of the 6' x 4' table, and their objective was to exit as many Marines as possible off of either short table edge, representing survivors who would head off into the hills and begin the guerrilla campaign against Horus.
|Raven Guard survivors gather around a crashed shuttle, and prepare to make a break for it|
|XII Legion tactical troops take up a blocking position|
|Some heavy support for the World Eaters|
|Raven Guard heavy support lines up on some targets|
Conscripts Dave and Dallas played the Raven Guard, while Indo and Mike F. took command of the enlightened followers of Horus. And as I said, we used the trusty old Rogue Trader game engine, but I did make a few adjustments - the toughness of the marines was increased to "4" from "3", and the basic save of Marine power armour was increased to "3+" from "4+". Basically, we were just reflecting the "current" stat values of the marines in the old game.
|Praetor prepares to confront XII Legion command|
|Covering fire! Autocannons try and buy time for the Raven Guard escape|
And so the "drop site massacre" was on! The Raven Guard opted to break en-mass towards the World Eaters, wary of the heavy bolter squad from the Sons of Horus (remember, in Rogue Trader, heavy bolters are "following fire"...). Dave and Dallas used their autocannons for covering fire. Dave's Raven Guard Praetor led his command group into a direct confrontation with Indo's World Eaters Centurion and a smash-down featuring duelling veterans, standard bearers and leaders ensued.
|A pitched battle, there is no mercy...|
|The Centurion for the World Eaters takes a lot of wounds, too many for the medic to do anything about...|
Indo's multi melta vapourized a number of Raven Guard troops, and the Sons of Horus (although pleased to let Angron's clowns bear the brunt of the fighting) picked off a number of the retreating Raven Guard. Mike F had a bit of a rough outing with the heavy bolters, so they were not as devastating as I expected them to be, but Dave and Dallas were also careful to avoid them to the extent they could...
|Dallas' tactical squads make a break for it, led by the Company Champion|
|The Sons of Horus mop up...ouch...|
The Raven Guard commander and his entire retinue fell heroically in combat, although not without killing nearly all of the World Eaters' command (the surviving standard bearer would be in for a promotion, assuming Angron wouldn't get mad at him for some random reason and kill him too). The Raven Guard heavy support troops also fell, although not before taking several traitors with them.
|The close assault between command groups grinds on...|
|With only one survivor when it's all over...|
Dallas lost one whole tactical squad in the fighting retreat - many to Sons of Horus bolters and heavy bolters. But his second squad managed to (mostly) skirt the ominous multi-meltas of the World Eaters and slammed into a World Eaters tactical squad blocking their escape. Over several turns of tough close fighting (remember, you could use your pistols in close combat with Rogue Trader), the Raven Guard punched their way through...by the time we called the game, eight Raven Guard (out of a starting force of 31) escaped. I assured Dallas this was a decent outcome, and his survivors now represented like 20% of the Legion's active combat strength...they would head for the hills, join their surviving Primarch, and wage a dark and difficult guerrilla war against their betrayers...
|Crash! Dallas' tactical troops look to break through...|
I just love Rogue Trader, warts and all, and it was a lot of fun. The guys approached with the proper spirit - particularly Dallas and Dave, looking to take as many traitors down as possible. While this game would have been a very, very small game by the current standards of the rules, in Rogue Trader this was actually a very, very big game, and we managed to get it done. Looking back, I should have increased the movement of all of the marines to 6" from 4" just to speed things up a bit. But overall, I loved it. I particularly like how the close combat is generally a grind, particularly between two evenly matched opponents. Even the more heroic figures - the Preator and the Centurion - didn't just automatically kill everything they touched. It was a great fight.
|The Raven Guard overwhelm Angron's troops to make their escape...or, some of them do, at any rate|
Thanks to the guys for playing - great for the Raven Guard to get their first game in! Big thanks to Dallas for hosting - and for putting the table and terrain together! I do really need to get some more vehicles painted, but one thing at a time...