Monday, August 31, 2020
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The Battle off Xoxigar Prime
I've been running a Wrath & Glory game for the last few months on Saturday evenings for friends now living across Canada (and more recently the U.S. too!). The campaign is taking place in the same setting I've been using for a number of my narrative 40K games; The Xoxigar System. They are Inquisition Acolytes working for an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor who sent them there after an Adeptus Arbites contact had sent a message suggesting he'd stumbled onto some evidence of potential HERESY!
They've been mostly working on Xoxigar Tertium, but last week they decided to head to Xoxigar Prime to follow up on yet another lead in what it turning out to be a bewildering web of deceit and corruption! They actually tried to do this incognito, booking passage under false identities on a bulk hauler. Part way there, however, they were informed that the CSDFC (Combined System Defence Fleet Command) had ordered the ship to turn back and return to Xoxigar Tertium. Certain that this was a sign that something was up, they playing the Inquisitorial Trump Card and did some questioning and discovered hostile ships had dropped out of the Warp and were headed to Xoxigar Prime. Even MORE certain that this was all part of the plot, they countermanded the CSDFC order and continued on their merry way.
Originally it was thought they would get there well in advance of the intruders, but after a day or so, the Auspex reports from the CSDFC were suggesting otherwise...
I've had a copy of the Battlefleet Gothic rules for... oh... a decade or more and always wanted to try them out... and I figured NOW was the time!
Of course, as the game is played online, this presented some challenges.
It probably would have been smarter to just play it out on Roll20 or some other online virtual tabletop with it all laid out with counters and on a black or starry background... But I'm never one to tale the smarter/easier path when miniatures could be involved!?
Part way through the journey the transport they were on was joined by a small escort vessel - the Sword of Damocles. A small squadron of three other escorts were en route to meet them; The Thone's Revenge, the Carbine of the Catechism, and the Light of the Emperor - bold names for small escort vessels (destroyers and frigates)!
Arrayed against this small force was a Chaos Cruiser - The Discordant - and three escort raiders; the Decadent, the Dissident, and the Despondent - the Dentite Squadron! (Little "in-joke" involved there - early in the campaign, Christian's character Basileus got a complication on a roll to determine the purpose of a machine. The machine was a medical scanner that the baddies were using to scan locales passing by for some sort of medical information - but Basileus mistook it for a Dental Scanner and has since been certain that the conspiracy is a plot to ruin the dental health of the citizens of the system and possibly the imperium - he has dubbed this cult "The Dentites"... so when I told them that the squadron that had arrived was called The Dentites he shouted "I KNEW IT!")
Teh Transport and the Sword of Damocles approach Xoxigar Prime.
The Dentite Squadron pealed off from the Cruiser and angled to meet the approaching Imperial Navy squadron. Volleys of weapon battery and lance fire were exchanged, torpedoes launched.
Ground-based fighter and bomber squadrons from Xoxigar Prime were launched and went after the Squadron of Escorts as we figured they would have little chance of doing much damage to the Cruiser (we later discovered I'd misread how bombers worked and realized they really COULD do some serious damage to cruisers!)
Fighter squadrons, launched from the Discordant, engage the Imperial fighters in a desperate dogfight in space! One squadron of bombers slipped through, though. All of the others were destroyed or returned to their respective bases for repair, refueling or rearming.
The transport and it's escort get closer.
The first ship casualty - the Throne's Revenge - was taken out of action by torpedoes from one of the Despondent.
the remaining members of the Imperial Navy squadron have their revenge - lance batteries from the Carbine of the Catechism sliced the Despondent in two while the weapons batteries of the Light of Terra pound into the wreckage from the other side.
The bomber squadron from Xoxigar Prime catches up with The Dissident and delivers a crippling blow!
More fighters and bombers launched from Xoxigar Prime. This time they are going after the cruiser!
The Transport and the Sword of Damocles making their approach to enter orbit around Xoxigar Prime.
The Discordant failed to launch its fighters to counter the Imperial ones launched from Xoxigar Prime, but they made some lucky shots with their point-defence turrets and took out the bombers!
The Transport made it into orbit around Xoxigar Prime and the Sword of Damocles continued around the planet to take a few pot-shots at the cruiser. After unloading one volley and realizing there was NOTHING they could do on their own that would have any hope of even lightly damaging the cruiser, they turned adn ran!
The battle between the escorts continues out in space. The Carbine of the Catechism and the Light of Terra try to turn and chase down The Decadent.
But the Decadent caught the Light of Terra in its sights and launched a spread of torpedoes which destroyed the Light of Terra!
The Carbine of the Catechism crossed the rear of the Decadent and shredded it with fire from it's lance batteries.
The Sword of Damocles heads for deep space to rendezvous with the Carbine of the Catechism - and escape the wrath of the Chaos cruiser.
The Discordant also dropped into orbit around Xoxigar Prime opposite the transport (the look closer here because the transport just finished its move in orbit - the cruiser, on its turn, would move around to the other side before the shooting phase).
The player's characters boarded a small Arvis Lighter and made planetfall. Thankfully, due to a number of command failures aboard the Discordant, the chaos cruiser did NOT launch any more fighters - which would have spelled the doom of the characters in their light, unarmoured, unarmed transport to the surface. I guess the crew on the Discordant were busy doing... whatever it is that worshipers of Slaanesh do...?
The Transport then blasted out of orbit and made a run for it! The Sword of Damocles and the Carbine of the Catechism, after checking for survivors among the wreckage of their sister ships, caught up with the transport to escort it back to Xoxigar Tertium.
The Chaos Cruiser did not blast the Knights compound from orbit, they simply launched a few dropships and then left orbit - to see what they might find among the wreckage of their own escorts.
As the Characters approached their destination, they started to wonder if they'd fallen out of the fire pan and into the fire. They'd survived the space battle - only to discover a ground battle taking place where they were hoping to land! Contact was eventually made with ground forces and a platoon of Valhallans stationed on the planet cleared and secured a landing zone for them. Teh Valhallans were VERY disappointed to discover that the ship that contacted them was NOT a drop ship full of reinforcements!
And that's where we left it off!
As I said... it probably would have worked out better doing this on Roll20 - as I'm not sure how well the players were able to SEE much of the action. Ah, well...
I do like Battlefleet Gothic. I'd love to play it some more - wether using it to play out future space engagements in the campaign or other battles in the Xoxigar system - but I could probably do with a few more IMPERIAL ships! And I won't be picking them up any time soon...
Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:
Might be a week before I post anything else as we are ramping up the work in the basement - as I type this Amanda is giving me the stink-eye for not being down there right now working on it - plumbing and heating guys are showing up a week from tomorrow, she keeps reminding me!