Pandora’s Boxes (Part 2): battle report

Supreme Greenskin Warboss Glarsnot Bloodcurdle looked first at the distant ruins of Neujoysi, and then at his own West End Boyz. If the Pandora and its valuable cargo lay within the shattered city, time would be of the essence. Already he had reports from his spies that Chaos troops had landed to the north, and were advancing towards the wreckage of the Imperial transport.

The Orkish plan was simple. The Stormboyz would deploy to the west, and try to capture a weapons crate that had landed on the upper levels of a refinery complex. They would be supported by a Deffkopta (looking suspiciously like a Wyvern kitted with Rokkits.) The grots would advance through the ruins of an old church, where a second crate was located. Both groups would then shift back to hold one of the larger pieces of wreckage from the Pandora. To the east, a large mob of Shoota Boyz would advance into the ruins to find the third weapons crate—hopefully something that would further augment their already formidable firepower. Two Trukks—the first containing Ard Boys, the second containing Glarsnot Bloodcurdle himself with a few MegaNobz—would deploy towards the center, ready to attack targets of opportunity, seize objectives, or reinforce as need be. Finally, Boss Snikrot would take a small band of Kommandos together with Wazdakka Gutsmek behind enemy lines to wreck what havoc they could. (Map below: The opposing plans, Kommandos not shown. Yellow stars depict wreckage, squares depict crates.)

The Chaos forces seemed to be focused on the center of the battlefield, where two large pieces of wreckage had fallen in an open square. A Land Raider (containing Khârn the Betrayer himself) and two Rhinos (each containing a  formidable squad of Plague Marines) stood ready to advance, backed up by a huge Demon Prince. To the west, a large squad of Khorne Bezerkers stood ready to sweep forward on foot. Finally, a single Obliterator stood ready to Deep Strike wherever needed most. (Picture below: The start of battle)

Turn 1

Waved on by their Nob, the Stormboyz rokkited onwards towards their primary objective: an ancient refinery complex, and the top-secret weapons crate precariously perched on its upper levels. Alas, one unfortunately Greenskin managed to set alight the pouch of slugga ammo he had clipped to his belt, and detonated mid-flight. Such is the life (and death) of a Stormboy.

The Grots ran forward towards the ruins of the church, making high-pitched squeaky noises in excitement. Glarsnot Bloodcurdle had told them that they were going on a treasure hunt, and there would be prizes and cakes and special mushrooms for the winners! Yippee! Hooray! Needless to say, the Ork Warboss hadn’t mentioned the large, murderous squad of psychopathic Khorne Bezerkers that would be their competition for this particular event…

As the Grots ran forward, they were passed by a Trukk-load of Ard Boyz travelling flat-out before screeching to a halt beside the ruined factory. Elsewhere a squeal of tires could be heard as the second Trukk sped forward, urged on by Da Boss himself. Shoota Boyz clambered into nearby ruins, approaching one of the crates. One found himself spying a Chaos Rhino through a gap between two buildings, and let loose with a Rokkit. It hit, destroying the vehicle. (Picture below: The Shoota Boyz advance.)

The Plague Marines inside the Rhino clambered out, and ran towards some nearby ruins. In doing so they captured their first weapons crate, which contained a supply of advanced weapons sights.The second Rhino and the Land Raider held their position, with the  latter firing upon the Trukk full of MegaNobz and immobilizing it. The Bezerkers began to smash their way into the ruined factory. (Picture below: The Plague Marines move forward.)

Suddenly, a massive Chaos Demon Prince strode confidently into the central square of the devastated city. In a thunderous voice that reverberated with the very defiled essence of fundamental evil, it called out a battle challenge to the approaching Orks. As these comprised a series of off-colour “Yo Mama” jokes, they didn’t make a lot of sense: Orks, after all, sprout from fungal spores. Nevertheless, the insult was clear enough. However, with a Land Raider, a Rhino, and two squads of Plague Marines now positioned around the edges of the square, would any Ork be foolish enough to take the bait and advance upon the Demon into the potentially murderous crossfire?

Turn 2

Orks being Orks, the answer was of course “Yes!” The Trukk boys sped forward in their ramshackle vehicle into the very center of the square and then disembarked, waving their Choppaz at the massive Demon that stood before them.

“Yo mama so ugly she looks like she fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down!” came the deeply twisted taunt as the Demon Prince sneered at the Orks now standing before him. “Yo mama is so ugly that not even Eldar smile back! Muahahahaha!”

So engrossed was the Demon Prince with his taunting that he failed to notice that the Shoota Boyz had found a crate full of special high power ammunition, and were loading it into their weapons. Suddenly there was a thunderous cacophony as a dozen or more of them unloaded their weapons at the Demon, wounding him twice. The Ard Boyz stepped forward to finish the job. While a few were killed by the Demon, the Ard Boyz Nob soon cut him down to size with a blow from his Powerklaw and a final barbed taunt of his own:

“Yo Spore is so stoopid dat it  sprouts on da south side of da Squiggy swamp!”

While Orks are indeed formidable in battle, there is an obvious reason why so few of them make it in stand-up comedy. Then again, there are few creatures brave enough to trade “Yo Spore” jokes with a Greenskin. (Picture below: Last moments of the Demon Prince.)

While this was going on, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle and the MegaNobz clambered out of their immobile truck and fired upon the nearest group of Plague Marines with their combiweapons. Despite no fewer than 14 Burna hits, only one of the Marines went down. To rectify this, the Warboss and the Nobz then charged them, removing their armoured heads from their bloated pestilent armoured bodies. This proved much more effective at overcoming the “Feel No Pain” effect, and the entire squad was wiped out without loss. The Meganobz took the now-abandoned top-secret weapons crate for themselves.

Elsewhere the StormBoyz secured a crate at the refinery, which was revealed to contain a supply of medipacks. The Grots moved into the ruined church and uncovered a crate full of stimdrugs. This seemed a particularly excellent prize in Glarsnot’s treasure hunt, and they ran back towards their own baseline with an extra spring in their little grotty steps. The Deffkopta covered their retreat with Rokkit fire at the Bezerkers, but missed.

Finally, there was a rustling of bushes—indeed, some bushes moving altogether—as Boss Snikrot led his group of Kommandos onto the battlefield in the Chaos rear. Among them was Wazdakka Gutsmek, who fired upon the remaining Rhino and immobilized it.

The loss of the Demon Prince was a blow to the forces of Chaos, but not an insuperable one. At least the Ard Boyz were now isolated and vulnerable in the center of the square. The Land Raider opened fire on their Trukk—which, in a bizarre manifestation of what could only be described as divine intervention by Mork (or possibly Gork), careened off into the factory ruins and exploded in the middle of the Khorne Bezerkers, killing one.

Khârn muttered under his breath, clambered out of the Land Raider in frustration, and charged the Ard Boyz himself. The surviving squad of Plague Marines did the same. Revenge was at hand.

It would seem, however, that the Plague Marines were suffering not from one of those “plagues of super-human resilience” for which they are famed, but rather more of the common-cold variety of plague where you feel all weak, sniffly, and under the weather. They didn’t manage to kill a single Ork. Khârn was rather more successful, downing two with his legendary chainaxe Gorechild—but such were his anger issues by this point that he also managed to drop a Chaos Space Marine too. The Ard Boyz fought back hard against the Marines, while Khârn himself was killed by a blow from the Nob’s formidable Powerklaw. (Picture below: Ard Boyz 1, Betrayer 0, Plague Marines under the weather.)

While the sight of the Betrayer himself laid low by an Ork might have demoralized lesser corrupted foes, the Khorne Bezerkers were still dedicated to spilling blood for the Blood God. They ignored the weapons crate in the ruined factory and instead ran towards the Grots, hoping to slaughter them (and seize their crate) before the Stormboyz could intervene. The Obliterator deep-struck between the two Orkish units in an attempt to provide fire support, and shortly thereafter gunned down the Deffkopta.

Turn 3

As the Ard Boyz continued their struggle against the Plague Marines, additional Greenskins joined the fray: Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, his attack squig Kuddles, four Meganobz, and Wazdakka Gutsmek. The outcome of the uneven contest was never in doubt, as the remaining Marines were wiped out. Flush with success—they had after all now seen off a Demon Prince, Kârn, and the Plague Marines—the two remaining members of the Ard Boyz consolidated into the very path of the empty Land Raider. Snikrot and the Kommandos attacked the immobilized Rhino, but despite more than thirty hits did little more than stun it.

The Stormboyz charged the Obliterator, which was obliterated. The Grots continued to run away from the Bezerkers with their box of drugs, although the latter seemed to be gaining on them rapidly. (Picture above: Grots retreat as homicidal maniacs advance.) The Shoota Boyz retrieved a weapons crate from near the bridge, which turned out to be more advanced weapons sights. The result was to make perhaps the shootiest Greenskin unit in the history of dakka: 55 shots a turn, rerolling both misses and wounds as need be.

Although things were going badly for the forces of Chaos, they still didn’t despair. Instead, the Land Raider shot down both surviving members of the Ard Boyz mob, while the Khorne Bezerkers ran and almost reached the Grots.

Turn 4

Wazdakka Gutsmek turboboosted his bike and sped towards the Land Raider, opening fire on the behemouth with his Dakkacannon. While landing a few hits, however, he failed to penetrate its thick armour.

As for the Grots, it was clear that they were running out of room to flee, with the axe-wielding maniacs of Khorne rapidly closing in on them. What happened next is, of course, the stuff of squeaky green legend. They—yes, the Grots—charged.

Subsequent historians would expend considerable debate over the melee that followed. In his book Fear and Loathing in Niujoysi, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Gretchin would attribute the Grot assault to valor, confusion, foolhardiness, and excessive consumption of captured stimdrugs. Chaos officials, of course, deny that the charge ever took place,  and routinely torture whomever might question their particular account of events. More than a few Orks have been heard to mutter that much of the real fighting was done by the Stormboyz.

Nonetheless, the Grots charged the Khorne Bezerkers, and at the end of the fray there were a few dead Grots—and only one remaining Chaos Space Marine. He would soon go down under a pile of enthusiastic little green bodies piling on. (Picture below: Grots do happy-dance on Bezerker corpse.)

This was too much for the crew of the Land Raider. It was one thing to see a Demon Prince chopped up—after all, even a Demon can have a bad day. True, Kârn the Betrayer had been defeated by the Ard Boyz, but that had been a glorious fight (and none of them really liked Kârn, who had an annoying habit of axing his own side when lost in his murderous bloodlust). But a full squad of Bezerkers defeated by Grots (and, OK, the Stormboyz too)? Who was going to explain that to the Blood God? They drove off the battlefield in disgust. (Picture below: Land Raider prepares to leave as Orks swarm over the battlefield.)

The wreck of the Pandora and its valuable cargo of top-secret weapons was left in the hands of the victorious Glarsnot Bloodcurdle and Da West End Boyz.

Pandora’s Boxes (Part 1)

From the outside, the Imperial transport vessel Pandora looked like any other frieghter. True, its engines and communications arrays seemed rather more advanced than those of most cargo ships, but this would only likely be noticed by those who cared to look. A closer examination might reveal unusual hatches that hinted at possible hidden weapons ports. A scanning would reveal only that the Pandora was largely unscannable—a product of the goatronium alloy shielding built into its hull.

The Pandora, however, was not subject to the normal inspections. It carried no freight manifests. Although it docked at a dozen Imperial worlds, it left no records of its visits with the local authorities. Its crew were never seen in the usual dingy bars of the spacefarers’ quarters. None wore uniforms, but all had crewcuts and carried Imperial-issue sidearms.

The Pandora was, you see, a “black ship” of the Imperial Science Division. It carried the scientists, supplies, and inventions of that secretive organization between its far-flung laboratories and research outposts.

One day, however, something went wrong. Some say that the source of the problem was an unexpected solar flare that distorted the warp and disrupted Pandora’s extensive electronics. Others suggest a computer virus introduced into its systems by the covert forces of Chaos. Still others say that the Pandora was simply unlucky, encountering a heavily-armed Ork raider in an area of the Goatronium Expansions where no Orks ought to be.

Be that as it may, it is known that the Pandora crashed on the derelict planet Neujoysi with the loss of all crew. Less than a day later, two rival forces—one Chaos, one Greenskin—arrived to scavenge the wreckage for valuable military secrets. Although neither knew exactly what the wreckage contained, both knew that it might reveal weapons powerful enough to tip the very military balance.

Scenario Special Rules

1,500 points, Orks vs CSM, largely urban terrain.

The four major pieces of Pandora wreckage each counts as a regular objective. In addition, a six weapons crates will be randomly strewn around the battlefield. These also each count as an objective. Unlike a normal objectives, however, the crates can also be moved and opened.

Infantry (including jump infantry) may take control of a crate simply by moving into contact with it, at which point it can move as the unit moves. Vehicles (as well bikes, jetbikes, skimmers, walkers) may take control of a crate by spending an entire turn in contact without doing anything else as the crew dismount and stows the crate.

If a unit with a crate is destroyed, the crate remains in place—unless carried by a exploding vehicle, in which case the crate is destroyed.

In a unit chooses to open a crate in its possession, roll a D6:

  1. Crate  is boobytrapped, and treated as exploding vehicle. Remove from play (no longer counts as an objective).
  2. Crate contains new advanced weapons sights. Unit holding the crate rerolls all misses.
  3. Crate contains special high power ammunition. Reroll wounds.
  4. Crate contains sophisticated medipacks. Unit gains Feel No Pain
  5. Crate contains powerful stimdrugs intended to increase endurance and speed. Unit gains Fleet.
  6. Crate contains every possible kind of grenade (defensive, assault, and melta bombs).

Red Orktober

It’s a busy time of year, and Glarsnot Bloodcurdle and Da West End Boyz haven’t had much time to stomp anyone lately. However, the grots and meks have been slowly working away at the Red Orktober Traktor Faktory, for World Waaagh II’s impending Battle of Orkingrad:

It still needs doors, basing, some industrial-looking pipes and wires and things, interior details, and more barricaded windows… but it’s all taking shape slowly.