Foul Deeds Will Rise: Battle #1 by Kenton Kilgore with fiction and commentary from Patrick Eibel
Mission: Feigned Retreat. Points per Player: 2000
Dr’zzllah entered the empty, ruined temple with a sense of anticipation. Her plans to overthrow her mad father/lover were nearly at fruition. In a pouch close at her bosom, she could feel the power of the mystical figurines that she had been desperately collecting for the last several years. Now, the time was right. Now she was ready.
She extracted a vial of blood – collected from her personal slaves – and began marking the ancient symbols on the stone floor. She place the small figurines at strategic points around the figure, marking the seven outer points of a star. Shedding her robe, her ebony skin shone in the dim moonlight. She lowered herself to the centers of the circle, crossed her legs, and began the summoning ritual.
Slowly, she became aware of the smell of ozone as she tore open a portal to the Warp. It was a smell she was all too familiar with, as her Kabal had often used the Warp to conduct raids. The ozone of the Warp was the source of her Kabal’s name, and the Warp the source of her Kabal’s mutations. It seemed appropriate then that she now called to the denizens of the Warp to aid her. Her people called them the Deathstalkers, those Dark Eldar that walked between worlds. Many feared these faceless ghouls, but she was unafraid.
"My father has underestimated me," she told them. "You will help me show him the error of his thinking."
Introduction by Kenton Kilgore
It’s been almost four years since I’ve played my Dark Eldar, the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions, and the reason was I was waiting for the new Death Twinkie codex. When I originally started playing this army, back in 2001, it was not beginner-friendly, but I eventually got a handle on it and scored some victories. However, the evolution of 40K from Third- to Fourth- to Fifth Editions, as well as the accompanying “codex creep” as new books were issued, made an already limited and difficult-to-play army even more so. I’m not a hyper-competitive player, but I also don’t enjoy being a punching bag, so I shelved the Scorps.
The new Codex: Dark Eldar is a vast improvement over the old book, and when Pat suggested that the current Jungle campaign feature the Callous Drowboys, well, I was on that like rice on white. I reconfigured my army and trotted out the following for the Scorpions’ return.
Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
set-up for the campaign dictated that I take Succubus Dr’zzllah and some of the
way-cool Mandrakes that he bought and painted for me. So be it!
The rest of the army is a proper mix of speed, shootiness, and
In their former life under the old codex, my Dark Eldar struggled against tanks, and I only anticipated this being more of a problem under the “Mech-is-King” mentality that permeates 5e 40K. Accordingly, I loaded up on haywire blasters and grenades, regular blasters, and dark lances. Like sharks, Death Twinkies die when they stop moving, so I brought plenty of Raider transports and beefed them up as best as possible to keep them around longer.
I was in no hurry to box with a Khornate army, so I brought the bare minimum of Mandrakes required by the campaign scenario and threw a good chunk of points into shooting. Realizing that it’s nigh-impossible to stave off the Khornies forever, I also brought some hard-hitting close-combat units.
My only real concern going into this fight was the number of Kill Points I was potentially offering up (17!), but that really couldn’t be helped with the number of transports and relatively small units my army contains. I figured that if I hit Pat’s dudes hard, I would do all right: “the best defense is a good offense,” and all that.
The Wolf Brothers by Patrick Eibel
The Wolf Brothers by Patrick Eibel
I reconfigured my Space Wolves as a Khorne-following Chaos army back in the days
before the new Space Wolf Codex was released.
Even thought the boys in blue-gray have a quite potent new codex, I like
the flexibility of being able to field them as bad guys. I view it as this army consists of some of the
embittered survivors of the ill-fated successor to the Space Wolves. They’ve sold themselves to Khorne and are
never going back. Fittingly, my army has
a lot of Assault-Phase punch.
The Wolf Brothers
Set-Up by Kenton Kilgore
We played at Pat’s house, on a 4' x 8' table that Pat had set up to match the narrative he’s woven through the campaign. At the center of the table were a “slab” and some columns to mark the ruins of a temple, where Dr’zzllah and the Mandrakes would start on the board.
Succubus Dr'zzllah summons the last of the Deathstalkers (Mandrakes by another name)
Because Pat had set up the table, I picked which long edge I wanted (in accordance with the Feigned Retreat parameters). I deployed first and plopped down all my guys, with Blue Scorpions Squad 0 atop a building, the Trueborn and Wyches aboard their Raiders, and the three Talos (Taloses? Talosi?) on a flank. When I had drawn up the army list, I had thought that Pat would bring some Havocs or a Predator (or two), so I had given my Haemonculus a webway portal to keep the Taloses inside for safety. Because he hadn’t, I didn’t see much point in keeping them off the board.
The rest of the Ozone Scorpions deploy
Pat put his Rhinos right in the middle, at the edge of his deployment zone, with his Bikes on his left flank, near his Defiler, and his Daemon Prince by the tanks. We rolled to see who would go first, and the Loyal Green Die ™ declared that it was Pat who would be so honored.
“Lover-liege, they are closing in,” Phaedra, loyal Hekatrix of her Handmaidens told her, through the tingling comm-rune etched behind Dr’zzllah’s left ear.
“Another moment,” the Succubus whispered, holding the glowing crystal figurine high overhead. Around her, swathes of thick, smothering darkness—like inky, tangible fog—swirled and gyred as the tear between the dimensions rippled and shuddered. Behind her, mute and unmoving, stood dozens of the Deathstalkers: pale, unearthly killers, long-exiled from this universe, who waited patiently as another of them—freed at last by Dr’zzllah’s technomancy—slipped through the tear.
A nearby explosion distracted Dr’zzllah for a moment; the tear fluttered, moaned like a dying animal, winked out. For half a heartbeat, the Succubus scowled, and then thought to herself, No matter. Plenty of them have answered the summons. More than enough for what I need them for.
“Beloved,” Phaedra called again.
“Yes, yes, I know,” Dr’zzllah replied. “I’m finished here. Come get me.”
“I live only to serve,” Phaedra’s voice told her.
“You three,” Dr’zzllah demanded, in the Old Speech, “stay with me.” The Deathstalkers she had indicated nodded silently. “The rest of you melt away to what Shadowlands you roam. Feed and grow strong, until I have need to call you to me. And when I do, you will answer right away. This I command,” she added, holding aloft the now darkened figurine. “This you will obey.”
The other Deathstalkers vanished as Dr’zzllah and her attendants moved towards a large gap in the wall of the ruined temple. Another explosion—closer now—lit up the night, the cracked stones beneath their feet quivering from its force. A few hours ago, this moon, the seventh of the gas giant Hrullax, had been a small but tranquil mon-keigh agriworld that had not known war for 15 centuries. Now it was rapidly becoming a cinder under the unrelenting onslaught of the brutish, psychopathic Wolf Brothers, butchers for Lord Khorne.
she stood was a focal point of the titanic energies that power the universes;
the ancient sRilaszish who had first claimed this moon had known of and tried
to use said energies. It had availed
them not against the humans and their Imperium, who had exterminated the aliens
and built their own, primitive temples over the focal point, instinctively
sensing the power of this place even if their comprehension of said power rose
no higher than witless superstition.
Why the mon-keigh had allowed this once-sacred edifice to crumble did not interest her. Dr’zzllah would have preferred that she and her forces had slipped silent and unseen to this place; unshackled the Deathstalkers and claim their unswerving loyalty; and ghosted away with none knowing of what had transpired. That was not to be.
By chance, the bestial Chaos Marines had struck hours ago as Dr’zzllah had begun her ceremony. As was typical of their kind, their target was random, their purpose simple: to kill and burn and destroy to give glory to their unholy god. However, there was a certain serendipity to the situation: Perhaps, Dr’zzllah told herself, an oppor—
Her thoughts were violently interrupted once again, this time by the whine of motorcycles, the chatter of boltgun fire, and the hiss of sizzling plasma. Wolf Brother Bikers—advance troops—had spotted her and her ghastly companions through the rubble of the temple and had opened fire. Without thinking, she tumbled, rolled, sheltered behind a huge chunk of fallen ceiling. She spared a glance and found that the three Deathstalkers had, apparently, not been so quick, their prone forms rapidly dissolving back to whatever Vacuum had spawned them.
The Wolf Brothers attack!
“Report,” Dr’zzllah snarled, and in an instant, a simultaneous mixture of voices and telepathic images from all her squad leaders told her everything she needed to know. The Wolf Brothers had located them sooner than expected for such dull-witted slaves of the Dark Powers. In addition to the kills they had just made against her Deathstalkers, the Chaos Marines’ Defiler, a foul fusion of the mechanical and the daemonic, had used its aptly-named Havoc launchers to take out two of her Kabalite Warriors providing covering fire from high atop a nearby tower.
“Shall we retire?” Phaedra asked.
“No,” Dr’zzllah smiled. “We’ve come a long way—let’s have a bit of sport.”
Laden with fighters, the Ozone Scorpions’ transports emerged from the cover where they had been lurking and moved forward, dark lances killing two Chaos Bikers. Unable to engage the enemy, the Wyches remained aboard their craft, as did the Trueborn, wary of charging Khornate Marines. At the other side of the battlefield, a Talos’ haywire blaster shook the passengers and crew of a Wolf Brother Rhino.
The Dark Eldar respond. The big blue scorpion in the foreground is my army's mascot, not an actual unit used in the game
roar went up from the Wolf Brothers as they surged towards their prey:
slaughtering farmers brought no honor, but proving themselves against the
cunning Dark Eldar—that was a challenge worthy of Khorne’s finest.
Bikers and Berzerkers challenge the Raider-mounted Ozone Scorpions
Closing with the Ozone Scorpions, the Wolf Brothers opened fire. Several shots went wild or were deflected by flickerfields on Raiders. Some struck home: the Talos “Guilty Pleasure” suffered a wound by fire from the Chaos Space Marines who had disembarked from their Rhino to engage it. The Defiler blasted the Ring of Honor’s Raider from the sky, killing three of the Wyches in the crash, but not Haemonculus Vulnayvya, who had also been aboard. The Chaos Bikers fired at Stinger Squad 1’s transport, killing three of them (and two nearby Berzerkers) in the explosion.
their engines, the Bikers dared the burning wreckage of the Sky Scorpion to
assault the three surviving Stingers.
One Biker impaled himself on a protruding vane, but the others got
through, hacking down the staggering Dark Eldar and claiming more blood and
Chaos Bikers overrun the remnants of Stinger Squad 1
Cackling madly, the Daemon Prince broke into a run, but it was not enough to reach any of the three Taloses that loomed over the nearby Wolf Brothers. They were sure to die, but it mattered not to Khorne.
Raiders swarmed over the Wolf Brothers, transports and passengers firing again and again. Dark lances riddled the Defiler, easily destroying it. Anti-infantry fire lashed the Berzerkers and the Bikers, whittling them down.
Vulnayvya, Hekatrix Eklavdrah, and the rest of the Ring of Honor were the first to reach Dr’zzllah. “My liege, you still live,” Eklavdrah noted.
“You hide your disappointment well,” Dr’zzllah smiled. Unsheathing her agonizer, she whirled and charged into the Bezerkers, the others following her. Blades slashing, they cut down the elite Khornate fighters as if they were children, losing none of their own. Nearby, Hekatrix Phaedra and the Handmaidens alighted from their Raider and overran the Bikers, efficiently eliminating them.
Wych squads (at left) dismount to exact cruel revenge on the Wolf Brothers
At the other end of the fracas, the three Taloses charged the Chaos Marines that had opened fire on the “Guilty Pleasure.” Claws snipping, the metal monsters killed six Wolf Brothers, the rest of them fleeing, a grave disrespect to their unholy lord.
The Taloses move in against the Chaos Space Marines
With a scream, the leader of the retreating Chaos Marines burst into unearthly flame, vanishing as a bat-like Greater Daemon appeared in his place. Not far away was the Daemon Prince, who was continuing to stamp towards the three waiting Taloses. The rest of Chaos Space Marines that the Taloses had driven back continued to do so, firing ineffectually as they went. The wolf-daemons that had appeared a few moments before moved towards the Ozone Scorpions, as did the rest of the Wolf Brothers.
Wolf-like Lesser Daemons and Rhino-mounted Chaos Space Marines continue the attack as Stinger Squad 1 awaits them
The second squad of Chaos Marines had dismounted from their Rhino and then fired on the nearby Handmaidens, killing eight of them. The wolflike Lesser Daemons assaulted Stinger Squad 0: in the melee, one Daemon was sent back to the Warp, but 5 of the 6 Stingers were killed. Amazingly, the survivor stayed in the fight.
Chaos Space Marines take aim at the Handmaidens, huddled in a crater
At the other end of the field, the Greater Daemon and the Daemon Prince charged two of the three Taloses, destroying the “Wicked Joy,” though the Greater Daemon was wounded by the mechanical terror’s tail sting.
Monster rally! The Greater Daemon and the Daemon Prince charge the three Taloses
Dr’zzllah and her minions drank deeply of the Chaos Marine souls they had recently liberated from their fleshy confines. She beckoned to the Wolf Brother forces as she led Vulnayvya and the Ring of Honor aboard their Raider. The pilot unfurled the aethersails, and the craft rocketed away. Glancing back, she saw that Phaedra and the other surviving Handmaiden had done the same.
“Surely we are not quitting the battle?” Eklavdrah demanded. “We have only just begun.”
“We are not, but what if we were?” Dr’zzllah replied. “Take care, darling, not to question my orders again. You are my father’s favorite, but he isn’t here now, is he?”
Silent Vulnayvya shook her head as she regarded her stinger pistol thoughtfully.
“I meant no disrespect, my liege,” Eklavdrah lied.
Elsewhere, a Raider fired its dark lance at a Wolf Brother transport, immobilizing it. Other dark lance bolts bounced off the Greater Daemon. The Lesser Daemons devoured the last member of Stinger Squad 0, as the Talos “Dirty Secret” charged the Daemon Prince. The Prince’s warp-enhanced hide was too strong for the Talos, who only managed to wound the Prince once despite scoring several hits. The Prince shrugged and tore apart the “Guilty Pleasure.”
The Chosen appeared on the battlefield, moving in behind Blue Scorpion Squad 0, who had been firing their dark lances from atop a nearby tower. The Chaos Marines that had taken out most of the Handmaidens got back into their transport, which immobilized itself on the rubble of the temple. The Lesser Daemons chased after the Raiders of Dr’zzllah and the Handmaidens.
The Chosen fired on the Blue Scorpions, wounding eight and killing seven of them, despite abundant cover. The Greater Daemon charged the “Dirty Secret,” missing badly with its attacks. The Talos suffered a blow from the Daemon Prince, but returned the favor two-fold, and the melee continued.
Blue Scorpions Squad 0 and the Wyches, led by Dr'zzllah, attack the Chosen
“Those idiots, there,” Dr’zzllah said to her pilot, pointing to the Chosen, far from any support that the other Wolf Brothers could provide them. The Raider screeched towards them, and the Succubus and her Wyches dismounted, blades drawn. Other Raiders angled to gain better shots at the rest of the Khornate Marines and their daemonic allies.
Raider-mounted Blue Scorpion Squad 1 fired on the Lesser Daemons, killing four. Blue Scorpion Squad 0 returned fire on the Chosen, saving one for their mistress. Dr’zzllah charged and disemboweled him, shuddering in ecstasy as she savored the essence of his soul.
Wounded mightily, the Daemon Prince’s blows went wild against the “Dirty Secret,” but the Talos fared no better. The Greater Daemon grabbed the squirming metal monstrosity and crushed it, then turned its baleful gaze to the Raiders nearby….
The Daemon Prince squares off against the "Dirty Secret"
The Lesser Daemons charged two nearby Raiders, to no avail. The Chaos Space Marines in the stricken Rhino got out and plodded through the temple, towards the Scorpions’ positions. Rhinos fired at Raiders, but nothing came of it, the shields of the Dark Eldar transports held.
Wolf-like Lesser Daemons charge the two closest Raiders, one of them bearing Blue Scorpions Squad 1
The Greater Daemon charged and smashed the Handmaidens’ Raider, exploding it. Phaedra and her companion rolled, surviving the blast—but now they had to face a monstrous terror from the Warp….
…Or perhaps not. Blue Scorpion Squad 0 moved to the edge of their building and opened fire with their splinter rifles. With a shriek, the Greater Daemon vanished back into the Immaterium. Raider-mounted Blue Scorpions 1 shot dead three more Lesser Daemons.
Before Hekatrix Phaedra can respond, the Greater Daemon is brought down by massed splinter rifle fire
A Wolf Brother Rhino fired on a passenger-less Raider, wrecking it, and the Lesser Daemons charged and immobilized the one carrying Blue Scorpion Squad 1. The Daemon Prince charged the last two Handmaidens, but before he could strike, Phaedra cut him down her agonizer and he fell, the ground shaking with the impact.
Remaining aboard their suddenly-stricken craft, the Blue Scorpions fired into the Lesser Daemons again, but though they wounded six, only one perished.
After easily dispatching the lone Chosen, Dr’zzllah and her myrmidons had reboarded their craft and zipped back towards the battle. Now they leapt out of their Raider, charging the last Chaos Marine Squad and hacking down six of them before the rest bolted. The Wyches would not be denied so easily, though: they caught them and sliced them down before they could go far.
Not far away, the Lesser Daemons swarmed over the stalled Raider, tearing at its fragile metal frame with teeth and claws, wrecking it and pinning the Blue Scorpions inside.
“I tire of this,” Dr’zzllah said. She felt bloated, as one would after consuming a heavy meal. Stroking the comm-rune behind her ear, she told Phaedra, “Sound the dismissal, and let us gather at the rendezvous point.”
“There is much killing yet to be done,” Eklavdrah reminded her, pointing to the wolf-daemons beginning to tear into the trapped Blue Scorpions. “The mon-keigh have done us several grievous hurts, and must be punished.”
“I care not,” Dr’zzllah said. “Any who are wounded are obviously fit only to feed the hell-beasts. Come, Eklavdrah. This I command. This you will obey.”
Eklavdrah knew better than to show an instant’s hesitation. Bowing, she replied, “I live only to serve...” your father, she added to herself, who will learn much from what I tell him has happened here.
Wolf Brothers: 10 Kill Points
Ozone Scorpions: 8 Kill Points
Winner: Wolf Brothers Chaos Space Marines
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
My strategy for this game was relatively simple - punch the Dark Eldar in the nose, hard and fast and hope that they would have difficulty recovering. It is no surprise then that the battle played out like a prize fight, with each side getting blows in. I made a huge blunder not infiltrating my Chosen at the beginning of the battle. In fact, the only reason I won was that my strategy was to bludgeon Kenton’s units and rack up kill points, and Kenton obliged me by having a kill point-rich list.
A closer look at Pat's way-cool Defiler conversion, which Jungle visitor Simon Rafe sent him
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
My original plan was to take out Pat’s transports and let his guys come at me piecemeal, so that I could wear them down by shooting and finish them off with close combat, but my inability to take out his Rhinos threw that strategy out the window. I made a mistake in not having my Trueborn squads dismount on the first turn to get in some firing. I should have brought more Mandrakes so they could survive Pat’s first Shooting Phase: three guys are easy to kill, and that just gave Pat easy points. At the end of the game, I underestimated the toughness of the Lesser Daemons, thinking that my Warriors could gun them down; instead, I should have had their Raider fly off with them, denying Pat some more easy points.
Ah, well. As far as I’m concerned, losing by two points to a good gamer, while I used an army I hadn’t played in years, is no shame. I had a great time, I’m happy I remembered all the funky DE rules (especially Power From Pain, which supercharged Dr’zzllah and crew), and I’m tremendously pleased with how the new codex corrects all the big flaws from the old version: Raiders aren’t as fragile, and splinter weapons don’t suck. It’s good to be a bad guy now, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the campaign.
Ozone Scorpions swarm towards the Wolf Brothers at the bottom of Turn 1
Posted October 2011