Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Martian Rebellions

Kicking off the 2nd era of the Secession we will have the Martian Rebellion.  For the first two weeks we will play smaller games so we can fit more games in to get used to 40k in general and 7th ed specifically.

Once the Emperor had chosen his Warmaster to lead the Legionnes Astartes the Emperor retreated to Terra to begin his Great Work.  None knew for sure what this Great Work was or what it entailed, it did little by little start stirring disquiet in the nascent Imperium.  On Mars the greatest of the Forgeworlds of the Mechanicum the Emperor cast aside his own and older sanctions on forbidden technologies.  Many in the Mechanicum leaped at the chance to study such ancient and forbidden secrets, to learn them, make them their own, to control them.  There were those Techpriests that believed that these secrets should remain forbidden, and they took it as their sacred duty to discover, protect and hide Forbidden technologies.

Before long minor skirmishes broke out in various Forges and between the slowly fracturing Mechanicum.  This caused a minor although noticable drop in the resupply of the Legions.  Before long most of the Legions had sent representatives to Mars to see what the reason for the delays was.  Soon all of Mars became embroiled in a raging battle for dominance.  A fight that quickly involved anyone on the red planet.  By the time Guilliman declared his Secession on Isstvan III Mars had become a swirling battleground in its own right.

*The Martian Rebellions will begin on Sunday 13th July and end on Sunday 20th July (inclusive).
*These rules are optional, you may play the normal Secession Betrayal Era rules if you prefer.
*Armies are capped at 750pts
*You must field: 1 HQ and 1 Troop
You may field an additional:  1 HQ, 2 Elites, 2 Fast Attack, 2 Troops, 1 Heavy Support
*You may take Allies, if you do you must take: 1 Troop
In addition you may field one of the following: 1 HQ, 1 Fast Attack, 1 Troop or 1 Heavy Support
*You may not take an Unbound detachment
*Units may not select dedicated transport options.
*No units may have a starting size greater than 15 models before joined by independent characters.
*Vehicles other than walkers may not be chosen unless their models are no more than 4" wide, long or deep (flyers may not be chosen at all).
*Monstrous creatures needing more than a 60mm round base may not be chosen.
*You may only have 1 unit with any of the following:
  2+Sv;  3+invul; 4+W.
*Your force must include either your chosen Legion or a Mechanicum detachment (Primary or Allied).
*This detachment uses the Ideal Mission Commander and Objective Secured command benefits

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Notable events of the Great Crusade (part 1)

For the first year of the campaign I made a series of events to cover some of the important milestones for the Legions in the canon.  The Great Crusade saw us fighting to see who had the honour of becoming Warmaster (won by Steelesamurai's Ultramarines), as such there was initially no Dark Imperium and the Emperor was the great and terrible being we all know and love.

 To keep things interesting the events that turned Legions to the chaos gods did not meant that they had to turn against the Emperor.  I did this because in the canon the Emperor does not seem to have really taken the threat of Chaos that seriously prior to the Heresy and no one noticed 4 Legions starting to fall to chaos.

The tl:dr at the end will give a quicker overview and say where the differences with the canon occur.  On to the events:

Shortly after the Aplha Legion was reunited with their Primarch the Alpha Legion were approached by a xenos council known only as the Cabal.  Nothing is known about what occurred in this meeting although rumours abound. This left the question in the air about where the Alpha Legion's loyalties may lie.  Ever a secretive and unorthodox Legion the Alpha Legion gave a full account of their activities over the course of the Remembrancer Project, information they had previously suppressed.  Their combat record suitably impressed the Emperor, who gave greater favour to the Alpha Legion.

The White Scars found themselves under a considerable amount of scrutiny, especially from the Raven Guard.  Whilst their actions were proving ever more brutal and erratic their effectiveness could not be denied, and they found themselves bordering on censure for their actions and being a favourite of the Emperor.

The Dark Angels and Salamanders fought alongside each other for a considerable length of time forming one of the tightest bonds of brotherhood between any two Legions.  The two Legions proving time and again they were both willing to give up everything for their brother Legion and the Imperium they fought for.  The Lion and the Drake became one of the most popular and best chronicled accounts of any of the Legions during the Great Crusade and gave the two Legions their nicknames of the Paladins of the Imperium.

The Thousand Sons have their methods and combat doctrine called into question, along with the continuous efforts of Magnus to lobby support from his brother Primarchs, sees the Legion fall from the Emperoro's favour and begins the process that will result in the Council of Nikaea.

In one of the most notable, bloody and brief campaigns in the Great Crusade referred to as the Scourge and the Wrack demonstrated what would occur when the Death Guard and Night Lords are capable of when working together.  The two Legions developed a sombre camaraderie that rivaled the Dark Angels and Salamanders.

The White Scars hear that their home world of Chogoris has thrown off the rule of the Imperium and betrayed its oaths to the Emperor and the White Scars Legion.  The Whites Scars take a considerable amount of time to react and it is later assumed that this is due to the actions of the Raven Guard.  Once the White Scars do react they show brutality and savagery beyond that of any other Legion.  In a week of untold carnage they reduced the population of Chogoris down to a mere 0.1% of its number the week before, tens of millions slaughtered.  Those that were "lucky" enough to escape the slaughter were reduced to breeding stock to provide the Legion with the recruits needed to continue.

(summary with some added details)
-The Alpha Legion follow the Emperor (instead of the Warmaster as in canon) after meeting the Cabal.
-The Alpha Legion's loyalty to the Imperium is called into question and they prove beyond any doubts that they are utterly loyal to the Emperor.  In the canon this event represented Horus assuming, wrongly, that the White Scars would join him.
-The White Scars loyalty to the Emperor is unshakeable.  There were several of these events that represented those Legions that were steadfast in their loyalty to the Emperor in the canon such as the Imperial Fists or Iron Hands.
-Vulkan and Lion el'Johnson become the ultimate brothers in arms each perfectly complimenting the other.  In the canon this represented the bond between the Emperor's Children and Iron Hands
- The Dark Angels prove their loyalty to the Imperium and its ideals are beyond question.  This is the equivalent of when the Iron Hands were tempted by the Emperor's Children to join Horus.
-The Thousand Sons fall out of imperial favour.  There are several events that represent certain Legions being the least popular or left with unsavoury missions in canon such as the Night Lords and Iron Warriors.
-Night Haunter and Mortarion become the greatest (and most terrible) of comrades in arms.
-The White Scars butcher the people of their homeworld after they rebel.  In canon this was the Iron Warriors attack on their homeworld of Olympia.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Path to Damnation

  Many were the voices that gave praise to the Emperor, that called him divine, godlike.  During the Reunification of Terra and further into the Great Crusade the Emperor denied such claims.  He would lead humanity from the superstitious darkness of Old Night into a new age of enlightenment, a golden age for humanity.  The Imperium of Mankind, an empire built on reason and securing and safe guarding humanities' place in a hostile galaxy.

  At some point the Emperor stopped denying claims of his divinity.  It is unclear why this is the case, perhaps the Emperor simply tired of it; perhaps he sought to embrace the Immaterium and the power he know that lurked there; perhaps he simply traded reason for madness we may never know.  What ever the cause the effects became clear.  The XVIIth, the Word Bearers, ever idolators, were the most vocal Legion claiming the Emperor's divinity.  Each world they brought into the fold of the new Imperium they would make sure was utterly loyal, utterly faithful to their God-Emperor.  Worship of the Emperor spread through the Legions, slowly at first but growing at an ever increasing pace.

  Not all the Legions developed the same levels of faith in the Emperor.  The XIIIth, the Ultramarines and XVth, the Thousand Sons under the reasoned gaze of their respective Primarchs clung to reason as more and more of their fellow Legions developed a greater degree of faith in the Emperor.  These Legions were by no means untouched by faith, especially when compared to their brother Legions.

  When the Emperor declared Guilliman as Warmaster he took the opportunity to begin his Great Work.  What this was is unknown, however it coincides with the reintroduction of the Word Bearers Old Gods amongst the Legions and the populations they conquered.  Rumours began that the Emperor's great work was to indeed attain Godhood.  The wisest amongst humanity began to worry what this might mean for the nascent Imperium, built as it was on the ideals for throwing off the shackles of superstition.

  A darkness was spreading through some of the Legions.  The White Scars became ever increasingly fulled by rage.  Giving up on their old hit and run style of warfare to simply plow into the enemy and inflict as much carnage as possible.  The Iron Hands who had always sought ancient and forbidden technologies and knowledge, began using and unleashing and unleashing to forbidden powers they had come in possession of.  The Night Lords ever the masters of moral destroying warfare, came into their own when the Emperor praised their efforts.  They began to bring greater woes upon their victims, destroying and corrupting food stores, wiping out more with plague and famine than with bolter shells.  Lastly the World Eaters who although consumed by rage found an almost endless pleasure in the mad butchery they unleashed.  They would continue battles well beyond their reasonable ends and hauled scores of prisoners off to their arenas so they could satiate their battle lust when there was no battle on offer.

(summary with some added details)
-The Emperor stops denying his godliness during the Great Crusade.
-The Word Bearers having never been rebuked for spreading the word of the Emperor sway many of the Legions into worshiping him as a God.  All worlds they conquer are set up as shrines to the Emperor.
-The Word Bearers reintroduce worship of the Old Gods, this also spreads through the Legions, if at a much slower pace.
-Rumours abound that the Emperor's Great Work is an attempt to become a God.  This worries several Primarchs, notably Guilliman and Magnus
-Unlike in the canon the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Death Guard and Thousand Sons never turn to Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle or Tzeentch respectively.
-The seeds are sown for the White Scars to follow Khorne; the World Eaters to follow Slaanesh; the Night Lords to follow Nurgle and the Iron Hands to follow Tzeentch.

Next time:
Notable events of the Great Crusade.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Great Crusade

The Emperor's Great Crusade launched to unite the scattered realms of mankind under one joint rule, that of the Imperium of Mankind. The Great Crusade would bring a thousand times a thousand worlds into the new Imperium. Most worlds willingly joined the newly forming empire. Many however resisted the attempt to be absorbed into this, the greatest of human empires. They were soon brought to heel for the good of all humanity. Willingly or forcibly humanity was being driven out of the superstitions of Old Night and into a new age of enlightenment and unity.
At the forefront of the Great Crusade were the Legiones Astartes. The Emperor's post human super soldiers. Who would over the course of the Great Crusade be reunited with, and then led by their lost Primarchs, warrior-leaders of God-like stature and ability. As great as the Primarchs and the Legiones Astartes were they were still prone to human failings.

The later years of the Great Crusade ground to a halt as less and less worlds fell into the hands of the Emperor's Legions. It is said that the Great Crusade had taken a quarter century longer to accomplish less than expected by tactical estimations. Many of the Primarchs and their Legions' had formed close bonds tying them closer together. The Salamanders and Dark Angels; Thousand Sons and Raven Guard; Death Guard and Night Lords are exemplars of the Legions drawing together and forming tight brotherhoods otherwise unrivaled amongst the Legions. Petty rivalries and outright hatred had also simmered amongst the Legions. Between the White Scars and Raven Guard; Thousand Sons and the Luna Wolves; between the World Eaters and the Salamanders and Dark Angels. Entire Expedition Fleets ground to a halt by a refusal of various Legions to work together or all independently trying to perform the same mission but without a single battle leader. In the worst situations various Legions took to warring each other. It was not uncommon for challenges or even small skirmishes to break out between the Legions, or their Primarchs, but when Legion made war on another Legion that was a serious matter.

The Secessionist Legions under the leadership of Warmaster Guilliman.

Image modified from Forge World.

Two of the best documented cases where the Legions seriously attacked each other during this time are refered to as the "Death of the Lion and Drake" and "The Raven's Judgement". The Death of the Lion and Drake recants the tail of how a sizable force of Dark Angels and Salamanders, which earned accolade after accolade for they were truly the Emperor's finest, came under a sudden and brutal attack at the hands of the Luna Wolves and World Eaters. The Dark Angels and Salamanders once they became aware of what had befallen their Legions retaliated in force until they believed their due in the blood of their enemies was paid. The Emperor publically shaming the World Eaters and Luna Wolves and lauding the Salamanders and Dark Angels simply added to the ill will between these Legions. The Raven's Judgement on the other hand follows the hubris of Corax and his Raven Guard. Simple animosity between the White Scars and Raven Guard led to frequent skirmishes. However the Raven guard undertook a secret war of censure upon the White Scars who they had deemed to be straying from the Emperor's grace into a path of mindless bloodshed and rage. The White Scars conquests had earned Jaghatai Khan great favour in the eyes of the Emperor. It was at this point, during the rising glory of the Vth Legion that disaster struck for the Raven Guard. The XIXth Legion's actions against the White Scars was discovered, and their chosen methods of war ever suspect, the Raven Guard were cast from the Emperor's Light and banished from the Imperium of Man. The Raven Guard were not the only Legion to lose their way. The IXth, Sanguinius' Blood Angels had developed a major flaw in their geneseed. They were quickly ordered to stop recruiting and hand themselves, Sanguinius included, over to the Emperor's genomancers to have their geneseed cleansed. Knowing that this would likely be a death knell for his Legion Sanguinius refused, and as a result he and the entirety of the IX Legion declared enemies of the Imperium.

During all this turmoil and unrest there was one Primarch who diligently followed the Emperor's vision. Who almost singularly amongst his brothers fought not with the others but turned back the tides of foul Xenos that beset the Imperium from all sides. Already the master of the Realm of Ultramar, Guilliman of the Ultramarines conquered world after world binging those that his Legion would protect and recruit from into the fold of Ultramar and the remainder to the fold of the Imperium. Although his accomplishments were initially overlooked in favour of the Khan, Magnus, Vulkan and El'Jonson; Guilliman's Realm of 5,000 worlds, Ultramar, and his endless accomplishments saw him elevated to the rank of Warmaster, first amongst the Primarchs. The Ultramarines were also renamed the Scions of Guilliman in his honour. It was tasked to Guilliman to rally his fellow Primarchs and continue the work of the Great Crusade whilst the emperor undertook his Great Work.

The Imperialist Legions followers God Emperor of the Dark Imperium.

Image Modified from Forge World.

For a time Guilliman managed to get the Great Crusade back on track.  It soon became apparent to the Warmaster that all was not well in the Imperium. A festering canker had taken hold at the heart of the Imperium. The Word Bearers began preaching the divinity of the Emperor. Despite Guilliman's scorn no censure came their way.  Guilliman came to view this as the beginning of the corruption the Imperium of Man.  More and more legions echoed the divinity of the Emperor, now openly hailed as the god Emperor. The spread was worse amongst the populace of the Imperium. Only on the worlds of Ultramar did reason hold out against faith. Few were the Legions that did not regard the Emperor as godlike, both amongst those in the Emperors favour and those who had fallen out of favour. It is said at this time Guilliman became disheartened, the Crusade had faltered once more. The chosen of the Emperor saw this as their time to take the title of Warmaster unjustly denied them. A mighty clash between the Warmaster's loyal Legions and the followers of the God-Emperor showed Guilliman what he must do. At the height of the clash he once more commanded the respect of his brothers ordering them to do their duty and give over their petty rivalries. Such spurring oration had rarely been borne witness to before. Ashamed of their actions the Legiones astartes once again resumed the Great Crusade. All the while no word was heard from the Emperor.

Guilliman now strengthened his Legion and Ultramar, now often referred to as the Imperium Secundus, which spanned over half of the Eastern Fringe uncontested. He gathered close his brothers that were spurned by the Emperor, and those already allied strongly with his Legion. He showed these Legions the canker at the heart of the Dark Imperium. How the Emperor had forsaken reason on what seemed a quest for Godhood. How more and more Legions slipped into baser forms of themselves. Upon the world of Isstvan III Guilliman gathered his most trusted allies.  On this isolated system 5 Legions assembled, The Scions of Guilliman; the Emperor's Children; the World Eaters; the Blood Angels and the Luna Wolves.  It would all begin in the Istvaan system, there they would cleanse the elements of their Legions whose loyalty lay with the Dark Imperium, and then Launch their secession from the Imperium of Man, to create the Empire of reason it was truely meant to be. The Imperium Secundus!

Largely unknown at this time the Emperor had released the Mechanicum form its pacts and sanctions on forbidden technologies. This caused growing dissent within the Martian Mechanicum, soon to spread through all the forge worlds. Two distinct factions formed within the Mechanicum. The Dark Mechanicum, favouring the use and exploitation of the previously forbidden technologies. The Sundered Mechanicum who held to the tenants that some technologies were by nature corrupt and twisted and as such should remain forbidden. These two halves of the Mechanicum would come to fight alongside the Dark imperium and the Empire of Ultramar respectively.

(summary with some added details)
-all the legions started infighting before the 'heresy'
-the great crusade took ~25 years longer than canon
-Guilliman is Warmaster, the Ultramarines are now the Scions of Guilliman
-Emperor retreats and starts his Great Work
-Blood Angels and Raven Guard declared enemies of the Imperium
-Word Bearers spread the word that the Emperor is a god and are never rebuked like in canon
-more of the Imperium worships the Emperor as a god, only Ultramar and a few other legion's don't follow suit.
-Word Bearers slowly reintroduce worship of their old gods alongside worship of the Emperor
-The Emperor removes the sanctions placed upon the Mechanicum allowing them to explore previously forbidden tech.
-The mechanicum slowly splits into two warring factions: the Dark Mechanicum loyal to the Emperor and the Sundered Mechanicum Loyal to Guilliman
-The Council of Nikaea bans the use of Psykers within the Imperium.
-a great battle between the nascent sides or the Seceession erupts only to be ended by the oratory of Guilliman
-Guilliman fortifies Ultramar into an autonomus Empire and gathers the Legions loyal to him at the Istvaan system to begin the first true steps of the Ultramar Secession!

The Blog begins!

Finally I have gotten around to putting up this Blog. 

The blog will follow the stories of a bunch of gamers playing primarily at the Tabletop Gamers Association (TGA) and Northern Gamers (NG) gaming clubs as we refight the events of the Horus Heresy.

We decided to scrap the canon and fight our way through the Great Crusade to determine a new Warmaster and along the way we developed a new storyline, based on the original, but changed to suit our story.

The blog will add fluff for our forces and the battles we have fought so far and as we fight them from July to October for the next few years.  I will cover what rules we'll be using for the campaign and hopefully plenty of battle reports, army pics and notes from the players as we go on!

I hope everyone reading this enjoys the ride as much as we do!

all Hail Warmaster Guilliman!
Image by Aerion-the-Faithful on Deviant art (check it out it is cool stuff, also he did all the primarchs)