Thursday, February 27, 2014

You(erl) Make The Call - Rogue Trader Battle Report

Orks defend their captured Imperial astropathic tower

On February 20th we resumed our casual 40k Rogue Trader campaign set during the Ork invasion of Rynn's World, a plot derived from the original "Warhammer 40,000 - Rogue Trader" rule book. We kicked this off back in the spring of 2012, at the time of the 25th Anniversary of Warhammer 40k.  To recap...

  • Pedro Cantor and the Crimson Fist survivors barely escape the "Battle at the Farm".
  • Cantor and his Marines try to break through the Ork lines around New Rynn City ; he barely staggers through into the Imperial lines, a moral victory for the Orks.
  • Cantor rests up in the medical bays, and is pleased to find a number of additional survivors from the Chapter are present in the New Rynn City garrison, together with Imperial Army and militia units.
  • While Cantor is getting his various super-organs treated in hospital, the Orks make a major push against the lines - the Imperials hold them off.

The next chapter in the story would involve a call for help.  The New Rynn City garrison is strong enough to hold the defences, but not strong enough to push the Orks off of Rynn's world. The planetary governor's astropath, Yerl, is located among the survivors, found healing in the medical bays along with Cantor. To make a astropathic distress call, he needs to get back to his designated astropath facility - which happens to be behind the Ork lines. 

Dallas' boyz await the Marine attack
The Imperial garrison sallies forth - the objective is to get Yerl into the tower, get the message out, and get back to friendly lines.  The longer he stays in the tower, the stronger the message will be and the more likelier it will be received by the right Imperial government people elsewhere in the sector.  But Yerl is a VIP - the 40k equivalent of an intergalactic iPhone5S - you need that dude to survive. The Imperials would enter from a short table edge. They had ten turns to get the job done, and get him back off the table.

Love these old RT-era Orks!

The Imperial force was substantial - two squads of Marines, a Predator and a dreadnought.  The Marines were accompanied by a Medic (mostly to protect Yerl) and a Librarian, and led by a kick-ass officer represented on the table by the RT anniversary figure.  Indo and Byron took the Imperial side.

The guys listen to me blab on about the rules - they are thankfully very patient fellows

For their part, the Orks were not sure what the Imperials were up to, but figured it was not good.  They noted the breakout towards the building behind their lines, the building with weird psyker vibes.  A small garrison of two squads of boyz and a Killa Kan was in place to try and hold the Imperials back.  A Wartrack, more boyz squads, and a squad of armoured boyz and a looted Rhino would be the reserve force. The Orks also had a weird boy. Jim and Dallas took command of the Orks.

Marine column approaches

We played pretty close the main Rogue Trader rules for this game - including the Compendium-era vehicle rules (although we ignored the "TRR" - the turning radius - to this day I don't understand how that one actually works).  With these older rules, the Rhinos were tough - like, really, really, really tough. And also very fast. So the Marines rolled up and got down to work.

Dallas' Killa Kan sets off to deal with Indo's Marine squad
Indo was set up to overwhelm an Ork squad with close shooting, but the dice were not with him.  Dallas sent the Killa Kan into them, and it went very, very bad for the Marines, with a number of Crimson Fists ending up as food for the "power klawz" on the Kan.  Ouch! Combined fire from the Predator and the Marine dreadnought eventually hit the Kan critically.  Remember the old critical damage tables? They could be quite funny (at least, when it's not your vehicle involved).  Dallas had seen off Indo's squad, but the damaged Kan turned around an ran wild, opening fire on its own boyz.  Dallas' foot sloggers got BBQ'd by their own Kan!

Byron's Marines deploy from their impervious Rhino

Byron formed his squad with black-powder-era precision out of his Rhino and began a steady march to the "facility".  They took quite a lot of fire as Jim's defenders and Ork reinforcements tried to engage them, and many Marines fell, but at this point my "scenario design", such as it was, hit a pretty big pothole.

Predator and Dreadnought covering the Marine action
The Marine Commander was a serious bad-ass - a minor hero, meant to represent the commander of one of the Companies, sent by Cantor to lead a detachment to bolster New Rynn City, before the Ork attack hit the planet.  Given the catastrophe at the Crimson Fist monastery, he would be one of the only senior officers left in the Chapter. This guy had a BS of '6', so he almost never missed (especially with Byron rolling).  Here is the catch - he had a plasma gun, and a plasma gun is rated "following fire" - remember that rule?

Indo's squad is noticeably smaller after the visit from the Killa Kan

The Marine Commander was a killing machine!  Following fire weapons allowed you to keep shooting as long as you hit and caused a wound, and there were other targets within 4" of the original one. Well, with a BS of '6', this guy almost never missed, and the plasma gun is killer, so it almost always caused a wound.  This guy was scything down whole Ork squads.  Thematically, this matches well with the fluff (especially as the model in question was inspired by the Crimson Fist commander on the cover of the original rule book!).  But it was not fun for the Ork players (although the Marine players found it fantastic, of course).

Byron's Marines unleash the flamer on Jim's Ork boyz
Even with Commander Killing Machine mowing down every Ork he could see, the aliens put up a very, very stubborn resistance.  Jim's boyz extracted a heavy toll, despite being on the receiving end of flamer shots and bolter fire.  As the Space Marine numbers dwindled we discovered another fun and long lost part of the RT vehicle rules - collisions!  In RT, you can speed up or slow down only a certain amount, so if you are going too fast, you will hit stuff - buildings, dreadnoughts, infantry...

Burn baby burn! The Rhino is poised to run down any survivors...
The Marine Rhinos began to run into all sorts of stuff, I would about 30% on purpose and the rest just by accident. The Ork psyker was squished against the building. Ork infantry were run over. The second Ork Kan was rammed. The Rhinos were damaged bit by bit, but the original Rhinos were super-tough APCs, and it showed in the game.

Ork squad cut to ribbons by the Marine Commander and his following-fire Plasma Gun - ouch
The Ork players returned the favour, running over some Marines with their looted Rhino, and ramming the Marine dreadnought into out-of-control movement (again, hilarious unless it is your dreadnought). In the midst of this chaotic battle, Yerl managed to enter the building and spend two turns calling for help.  But he was not able to escape the table before the game ended!

A second Killa Kan tries to hurry into the action
So the game was a draw!  The Imperials side got a distress call sent, but the fate of their Astropath is unknown.  And the Marines got a bloody nose (they were T '3' - a rude shock for Byron and Indo!), not that "Commander Plasma Gun" would have noticed as he waged a lone war against the Orks.

Dallas' damaged Kan is going bonkers, firing the flamer on the nearest target - his own boyz!
Rogue Trader is so much fun, and it was great to play again.  But the game was also a good dose of reality on some aspects of the rules, particularly the old vehicle rules.  We have previously played Rogue Trader in a hybrid fashion, incorporating 5th edition vehicle rules, and that is something we will go back to.  The original vehicle rules, with their great detail, can be a lot of fun for very small games, but are a bit too wacky to have more than one vehicle on the table. Same goes for the dreadnoughts.  The psykers were also kind of useless, so I'll need to do some better planning there to set it up so there is a reason to use them. 

Finally the Marine Commander was out of control...need to be more careful with his weapons next time, or perhaps have some sort of cap on "following fire" - he was a one-man army!

Collisions galore! One Rhino hits the Ork Kan, the other collides with the fence.
Will Yerl's call for help make it through? Will the Imperial Administration receive the call, and send a relief force? Would nearby patrolling elements of another Space Marine chapter perhaps pick up the distress signal and investigate? Or did the message end up getting filed under "low priority random transmissions" at the desk of some colon servitor at the sector capital? Stay tuned for the continuing campaign in the Battle for Rynn's World!

A big thank you to Dallas for hosting, and to Dallas, Jim, Indo and Byron for their patience and light-hearted spirit with all the Rogue Trader craziness.  It was a fun game, I'm looking forward to the next chapter!


Simon Quinton said...

Lol was there lots of Vrum Vrum noises going on?

Great game report and the table and miniatures all look brilliant!

Greg B said...

Thanks Simon - yes, the lads were pretty keen on the collisions once it became clear just how tough the Rhinos were.

You get used to thinking of them as a slightly disposable in the current version of the 40k game, but in Rogue Trader they were rock-hard. Especially with the power field!

Wes said...

The RT rule were fun, the game was fun, this report was fun to read.
Thanks for keeping RT alive, and sharing it.

Curt said...

Hilarious! Your new Marines look fabulous. I love the part: was not fun for the Ork players (although the Marine players found it fantastic, of course).

So true, so true...