Author Topic: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR  (Read 10163 times)


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on: October 29, 2019, 02:41:34 PM

“If there is only war, in our future, there will only be grim darkness,” she said. “Do you understand?”

“Of course. You mean that Chaos will win and dissolve all reality into a self-destructive mess. If there is only war,” I added.

And the eldar priestess echoed me in tandem as I spoke: “If there is only war.” Then she nodded and smiled, having removed her war mask to speak with me face to face. “I see you do understand.”

“War must stop, for Chaos to lose. I am only a man who studies,” I sighed. “But I know what justice should mean. Fair-togetherness among people.”

“So, you understand the fundamental problem with the Imperium. Therefore they will damn you.”

“Which is why I live out here, in a quiet corner, of a quiet world, instead of drawing attention to myself. They would call it heresy.”

“Which, in turn,” continued the Farseer, “is why we have come here, like wind in the night, to find you. And why we called you from your home, to come here, into a wilderness, where we may speak together, safely.

“I have seen what we who see far have greatly desired to look into, but could not see. Apparently we should not have seen it until now.” She pursed her lips in vexation, looking away and downward at what was beyond her.

“I understand that the truth is more important than my beliefs about what is true. So,” I told her and tried to be of some comfort, “do you.”

“Not all of us do. Not yet.” Her honor guard didn’t look like they understood that yet, for example. All they could see when they looked at me, I realized, was something like a living death. And yet, these ‘elves’ shared much of a similar biology with humans, although more naturally perfected. Maybe that added to their offense.

“What I don’t understand,” I continued, “is why you have called a no-one like myself. Do you understand why?”

“Our final war will soon begin. More of us shall die, than have in ages together. This tragedy shall have meaning, if there is hope for peace, and the undoing of our mistake, our old enemy.”

“I suppose I can agree with that, in principle,” I carefully answered, trying not to sound sarcastic, “but, again, why call to me? What can I, a human, do to help you?”

“You can, with our help, bring peace to two of our oldest enemies, older than even our mistake, older than the Eye of Terror.

“The enemy for which we ourselves were created, in the first of times; and the enemy created with us, which we brought with us, by accident, across the sleep of ages.”

“That’s sufficiently cryptic,” I allowed -- and allowed a little sarcasm now! “But I know, that here on this little-known world, I don’t know much.”

“Indeed.” And so she continued, with a little sarcasm of her own:

“We shall bring you to a crypt.”


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Reply #1 on: October 29, 2019, 02:41:53 PM
[2-player map, A Bridge Too Far, vanilla]

“Here on this world, beyond the edge of your Imperium, we shall start,” she said. The Farseer sighed within. “We shall start to die.

“I will be honest with you,” she continued, “because I want you to understand. Normally we would be willing to let a billion mon-keigh die, or even act so that a world of any number died, in order to spare ourselves from one more death. So, we would rather use the blood of someone else, in order to distract the inadvertent guardians of this place.”

“Which would be...?” I prompted, filing away her admission for future reference. From what I understood, she intended to sacrifice me as well.

“Orks.” She made the word a curse. “Our ancient mirror, in a way. But they shall not see our faces.”

Nor did they.

“I thought you said this world you brought us to, was beyond Imperial space? I can see ruins in the area. Such as this bridge for example. Which is clearly Imperial in design.”

“It wasn’t always beyond your Imperium. You advance; you retreat. It is the way of things. News of this withdrawal would not have even been spread; much less would it enter into your history.”

“And what of your strategy here?”

“We build a small base, aggravating the feral Orks nearby.


“They come, they die upon our defenses. Leaders arrive, provoked by us.

“They kill us.


“This feeds their wrath, and their arrogance.

“We kill them, and they ache for a good fight, coming to find it.

“We kill more and more of them, secure in our defenses now.

“And when we gather enough to raze their base, we advance with overwhelming force.”



“I understand; I would do the same,” I said.

“Then having removed the local tribe, we withdraw. Fifty souls lost among us, into the soulstones, out of the grip of She We Do Not Name who would torment our tender souls -- and who claims us. I will tell you more about that one, later, after we grieve for the loss...”

“And this,” I said, “creates a vacuum to draw the other feral tribes, to compete over the bridge area?”

“Indeed, you see clearly. They and their leaders will surge into this area. Weakening other areas.

“And so we shall advance.”

“...I do not wish to presume,” I told her, “but... are you wearing...?”

“We wear your colors. For we are all volunteers.

“And we expect you, soon, to be worthy of this honor.”


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Reply #2 on: October 29, 2019, 02:42:33 PM

[4-player map “The Skerries”, Eldar v Orks v Orks v Orks]

“From this flank around our target,” said the Farseer, “we have sent scouts to quietly remove key ork leaders, setting up evidence for all three tribes that each of the other two tribes is making a move onto their territory. As they are fighting each other, we shall bring soldiers into the area and build up a force to remove them, one by one.”

Farseer Eria herself, however, was gravely wounded in fighting against encroachment on our position; and multiple groups of Orks almost removed the Eldar base entirely -- working together by accident, in their own way.


Even so, they could not resist the temptation in killing each other. And so when the Eldar brought forward more force, then nothing remained to oppose them.

Having been healed and returned to the field, Eria led the final charges, with her Seer’s Council and a swarm of warpstone mechas.


“Only 53 lost this time. 53 lost... for only about 700 Orks,” she grievously sighed. “But they are out of the way.

“Now they will keep themselves busy. And we can begin...

“ delve.”


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Reply #3 on: October 29, 2019, 02:43:02 PM
[2-player fan-made map, Necrontyr Rising]


“What are these pyramids here?” I asked.


“This world is a tomb,” she answered, and her light shone more darkly. “The enemy of every life sleeps here. Normally, we would be striking to destroy them before they awaken.

“Now we intend to weaken them -- and then, to sacrifice you.”

“Why me?”

“I have foreseen that you can bring them peace. Somehow.”

“We’ll see, I guess. Why do they want to kill all life?”

“The jealousy of their gods, whom they entrapped -- and who entrapped them. Neither live anymore, so they war against all life.”

“Curious. In their own way, they oppose the dissolution of all by Chaos, don’t they?”

“However, their peace is the peace of the grave.”

“I see. They don’t care about fair-togetherness fulfilled among people. But that would also defeat the forces of Chaos.”

“Most of us don’t care about your ‘fair-togetherness’ either, to be honest,” she said.


“Although I think that you will work well with the Tau. If you survive.”

“I will try to give them good news. The Necrons, I mean.”

“They have long since ceased to be people. Long before they scoured all life from this galaxy, once ago.”

“Their souls will be somewhere else, then, by now.

“...but perhaps," I hoped, "they shall rise again, sent back by Justice Above!”


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Reply #4 on: October 29, 2019, 02:43:47 PM
[6-player, but only including 5, fan-made map “Jungle Assault Special Edition”]


“Though I fore-saw it... I still cannot believe it,” she spoke, almost without sound, without breath. “You took control of a Necropolis...”

“No, not at all. So don’t try to believe that!”

“...but they obey you...?”

“They are still spirits, and so the Father of Spirits raised them up, not me, awakening them. Not me. The Father is comforting their spirits, and gave me to them to be a leader and guide. That’s all, nothing more.”

“...then... I foresaw next that you...”

“Not me, I expect. Not really.” Before I could try to explain any further, a messenger scout arrived. Another group of Necrons were arising, on the march; part of the same Necropolis Tombworld, and trying to staunch what looked like some sort of virus or malfunction in their spiritual systems -- from their perspective.

But there was another problem: an orkan clan or tribe stood between us. Already very large, from the fighting instigated by the Eldar.

“I will direct the Arisen ones to rise in front of your warp-base,” I told the Farseer Eria. “We will take your casualties... but I have almost no idea how to lead them yet. All I can do, is ensure they do not attack you.”

“That will be enough. You will be our shield; and then, when we are ready, we will strike.”

{Gamenote: for this map, I took position 1 (as skirmish always requires, unfortunately), and played as the Eldar again, with the AI playing allied Necrons in front of us at position 2 -- any clumsiness from the AI being explained in the plot as noted!  :coolsmiley: Positions 3 and 4 were their own team of Orks, flanking the approach between us and the enemy Necrons at... I think it was position 6, not 5, but I'd have to go back and look: I would have wanted to give them some time to build up reasonably with two Orks cooperating in Team 2 between us.}

“It looks as though you shall see the Orks to our right,” I noticed.

“I can handle their small sorties. They will waste their resources crashing against our dealers of death for a while. Then, we will go forth, and remove them from the field.”


“The Arisen thought to do the same for the Orks to our left,” I reported. “But we were too clumsy. Their former brothers among the dead ones, did have the same idea.”


“Tsk, tsk tsk,” she chided me. “Your scarabs, they stand idly by and do nothing! Your base is a scattering mess as well!”

“They will only fight me if I try to control them,” I explained. “As well they should! But, they don’t think well for themselves, yet.”

“I will provide some protection for your high ground.”

“Good, my lady! -- and then I see the enemy Necron Lord will now be caught in your defensive web, unable to understand what he is doing! I think I can dispatch some basic Arisen warriors to help...”


“That will do. With him distracted, along with his minions, we can press on forward -- and also bring forth the Avatar of Khaine!”

{Gamenote: Unfortunately, basic Soulstorm simplified his arrival so that he is simply another troop to come out of the webway gate, rather than arising from a squad leader giving his life to be his vessel, which was much more epic! The UltApc mod will at least give him his own statue to spawn near... Also unfortunately, I never got a good clear shot of the Avatar doing anything awesome in an unobstructed way, so that's the last snapshot for this 'chapter'.  :buck2:}

“And so,” I sighed in relief, “your spearhead wipes clean the enemy trying to stop the Conversion.”

“We only lost 18 souls, against a major threat.” She also sighed: “Only 18... but even eighteen... the loss is only beginning I fear.”

“About 125 Arisen went on to their reward,” I reported. “But now we are able to bring the good news, to others entrapped by the evil they have entrapped. We will be much stronger soon!”

“And I,” she said, “will provide you a gift. To make you even stronger.”


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Reply #5 on: October 29, 2019, 02:44:16 PM
[ 4-player map “Apocalypse Later” ]

The Blessed Queen descended as light into the periphery of my attention and asked, “How are your children? Do they do well?”

“As you surmised, years ago,” I answered, “Eldar and Necron technology and wisdom together, dating from beyond the First Extinction, has come to understand your... alternative brethren.” I chose my words to nettle her slightly. She knew the truth but still had trouble accepting it.

“I do not want those creatures as my brethren. We share nothing in common. ....mostly,” she admitted. Grudgingly. She had called them my children, before; not ours.

“You share common designers, against the C’tan and their slaves who enslaved them. And, moreover, you share their loss of being too late to stop the First Extinction. Also, you shared your sleep in the warp between worlds together -- “

“Unwittingly,” she reminded me with some heat.

“As a mistake, of course, by your intentions. Still, their spores survived in stasis within a few of the creatures you managed to keep alive with you in your arks, until the un-dead flood had spent itself and so no longer felt any purpose, subsiding to sleep. Wishing to die but unable.”

“Also,” she archly added, “you can teach me someday to suck eggs!”

“My point is not to remind you of what you’re painfully aware. Only that, despite the enormous tragedies you unlocked, entirely by accident, awakening those survivors to walk again in the galaxy -- those tragedies might have meaning now! Providentially given, they can help to bring us peace!”

“Peace, from Orks,” she snorted, with delicate beauty.

“Not at first, I know. But now we can help their overbearing genetics, freeing them from some of the slavement of their natures. Now,” I said, “they can be truly reasoned with. Instead of being clumsily pushed around by mere reactions to their environment.”

“Reasonable Orks.” She managed not to snort again, but clearly wanted to.

“At least they will listen, now; and understand friendship, even with those not Orks. Such as yourselves.”

She bit her lips, carefully as she did all things. “Never will we be friends with Orks.”

“So you say,” I shrugged. “Did you know they see and relate to us, to you and to me, as Gork and Mork?” And I laughed at her scandalized shock.

“I will not bother asking,” she dryly recovered herself, “which of us is who. All I want to know is this: can you fight, or must we sacrifice our lives again?”

“...I think I can lead the Arisen,” I said. “And, although clumsy, I do have a batch of Volunteer Orks who can be trusted not to shoot us. As long as we wear their colors. I think. Why?”

“Chaos has come,” Eria declared, her musical throat sounding doom.


Now she had my full attention. “Why?!”

“Do they need a ‘why’?” she growled. “But as for how, my guess is that they have traitors in your Imperium, as always, who keep an eye and ear scanning out for any wayward signals suggesting a Tomb World awakens. The Necrons, before you led their Conversion, would have tried to make contact with other Necron enclaves, signaling for cooperation or for others to awaken and join their dark crusade.”

“Ah. And Chaos would naturally see them as even more of a threat, for if the Necrons extinguished all life once again, that would include all sentient life -- “

“ -- and then the leaders of Chaos would cease to exist. Except for whatever they kept for themselves in the warp, to feed on for a while, dissolving into a formless nothing of energy. At best, they would be trapped, unable to enter into the world.”

“And so the Eye of Chaos itself would close?” I asked in surprise.

“We opened it,” she said. “It fed on us at first, and then upon others, reaching out across this galaxy with tendrils in the warp. But yes, I think so.”

“Ah,” I realized once again. “It cannot organize itself, and so it takes its shapes from souls, who cannot keep themselves alive, drinking Chaos. And so, it would self-destruct, sooner rather than later.”

“Therefore they have come. I think. To fight their own ancient enemy. I hope.” And she closed her eyes to look across the weave of the warp. “I hope they have not foreseen, themselves...”

“I doubt they foresaw a group of Necrons helping Orks!” I chortled. “Or if they did, they sure didn’t prepare enough!”

“Do not take them lightly. These are the Death Guard -- one of their primary duties is to guard against the rising of the Necrons.”

“They may need more practice,” I suggested.


“They may learn from this experience.”

“Or,” I mused, “they may think they only saw an accidental convergence of the Necrons using nearby Orks to screen their own approach. Assuming the survivors sent back any information before they stopped surviving.”

“If so,” Eria cautioned, “they will see the ork tribe refusing to fight the undead destroyers of life. And find that ominous.”

“Or inexplicable, and so to be ignored. And even then, the natural -- and unnatural -- competition of Chaos within itself may lead them to try to deceive each other for their own benefit.”

“True,” she admitted. “Chaos Undivided is a faulty dream of theirs, for if undivided then Chaos would be ordered -- and cease to exist as Chaos.”

“Hm. You wouldn’t have Foreseen me somehow leading Chaos Marines, would you?” I teased.

“Ridiculous.” And she couldn’t keep from snorting again.

“Then,” I said, “they would be only Space Marines of a sort, I suppose...”

“They cannot be saved from themselves, nor from the captivity gripping them!”

“Not by me, I agree,” I said.

And smiled in hope for a day to come.


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Reply #6 on: October 29, 2019, 02:44:50 PM
[map: 8-player fan-made map “Monastery” (3 vs 4).]

“I thought you were joking!” Watching Eria be surprised never ceased to amuse me greatly.

“So you didn’t foresee me even trying?” I made adjustments in my flight controls, leaving the cradle where the Arisen and the D’oru’kan had been born. My Orks were sleeping peacefully; my former Necrons humming along coherently in fair-togetherness. Not of my doing, of course, but I was doing my best to lead them. “Good! -- then you haven’t foreseen me failing yet?”

Now she was gritting her teeth. “This is insane.”

“No, they are insane. This is reasonable. Reason, and love, are greater than insanity. Though not by any creature’s power.”

“They will not cooperate with you. And when you must kill them -- “

“-- as I fully expect -- “

“-- then their souls will only go back into Chaos, reclaimed, to be put to use again!”

“And do the Eldar know of no way at all, to prevent a person’s spirit from slipping into the grip of Chaos, even when Chaos has hold of it?”

“......I refuse.”

“You refuse that they should be saved.”

“I refuse to use our soulstones. They are for us, to keep us from being claimed by Slaanesh.” I noticed she somehow felt comfortable now, naming She Who Must Not Be Named. Or maybe that was a sign of her distress.

“Can you make them without connection to yourselves?”


“Can you make them in connection to me?”

“N.... .....”

“I am connected to ancient spiritual tech myself, including Eldari. And together your ancient spiritual technology from before the First Extinction, has helped to begin the recovery of the Orks.”

She swallowed. “...they...”

“The Orks aren’t chaotic? Or aren’t becoming less so?”

“...your filthy human traitors shall not touch the soul of one of the Eldar.”

“And I’m not asking for that. Am I?”

“If they touch your soul... I... we might lose you and I...”

“...will not have foreseen that?”

“Will be to blame.” That was an unexpected amount of sadness.

“I’m glad to hear you care so much about me now.”

“You are the hope I foresaw -- “

“Not really. But what you foresaw was that somehow I would lead into the undoing of the downward spiral, correct?”


“And has that somehow changed?”

“... ....... No.”

“I appreciate your confidence. I won’t say you should trust yourself, or me, or even what you see. And I know you can’t trust my trust, even after all these years.”

I sensed her shrugging. “I don’t see this succeeding; but I infer it failing. And I don’t see such a failure affecting the goal that I have seen.”

“Fair enough! So: will you work with me? Because,” I told her sincerely, “I don’t think I can do this without you. Or even try to try! -- not without you.”

“My people will absolutely not understand. Or accept. I cannot accept it myself. But I will try to provide what you ask.”

“Thank you. I have sent ahead a small Arisen fleet to a church...”

“A circle? What kind?”


“No, a lord’s place. A cross, not a circle. I found some references to it years ago, before you found me. It dates back thousands of years, many thousands, and was bombed by the nascent Imperium as a heresy -- for it denies the Emperor as the ultimate authority. The Emperor tried to crush out all the embers of this fire, while taking upon himself the symbols and... affectations, let us say. That was a grievous mistake; and so the forces of Chaos were able to strike at him, and at humanity, as a result.”

“Oh.” She looked over the information on the sacred place I was showing her. “That symbol. I have seen it -- in my Forseeings.”


“Does that help you feel any better about what I’m planning to try?”

“A little. I suppose.”

“I found some Death Guard transmissions in our records, from their invasion of our cradle. I have sent an invitation, of sorts, along their communication line. I expect them to send a sizeable force to strike us down, and maybe also to find what we are searching for.”

“And are you searching for something there?”

“Yes: the reconciliation of all things! -- whether things on the earth or things in the heavens!”

“....if you act as my shield, and the shield of my people... I will support you.”

“Thank you. So, let us see. It will be an experiment.”

“Working near Orks... it is an ill feeling.”

“You shouldn’t send your people out so far so quickly.”


“You should get your Warriors forward more quickly.”

“The Arisen are still Necrons: they don’t do anything quickly -- except melt away weak units.”

“So why didn’t you start forward with your Orks?”

“They like to rush and use a lot of troops, so I left them a little more room to pick up an extra resource mine.”

{Gamenote: The actual explanation is that any single-player skirmish must start in position #1, and I wanted to play the Necrons again for this mission since on a 3 v 4 fight I (rightly!) didn’t trust the allied AI to gear them up to survive as the shield wall properly!}

“So then, we shall scout,” she said. I very much disagreed with this idea, but... then she hissed. Backward.


“The enemy brought THEM! Our lost ones!”

“I know you must hate them being here; but it does make sense. The fallen marines have convinced the pirates to come and scout for them...”

“You cannot know the pain we feel, faced with their existence! -- their sin, our failure, dooming all the universe, all reality!!”

“They will not! And if we can bring down chaos in the galaxy, they will weaken and so repent. I hope.”

“They taunt us with our pain, with their pain...”

“That doesn’t mean you should all rush out and -- good grief.”

{Annoyed Gamenote:  ::) The AI gets a little better, once I shift over to the Armageddon module. I’m doing vanilla here so far.}

Their ferocious fighting, scouts and counter-scouts, did help bolster my scatterbrained orkan allies, until I could push forward warriors enough together to take over the line and, finishing the fight, move forward again and again.




Eventually, the Arisen scarabs built an assault base halfway to our enemy, from which we waited in defense, parrying enemy thrusts, as my allies wandered the map, taking down forward conquests from our foes.

As parties of elves and Orks trickled down the right side of the ancient abbey’s ground, toward the staging bases of the Death Guards and their lackeys, I pushed my squads of warriors, too, trying to at least protect my far-seeing tutor who, against her own expectations, tried to trust that something perhaps could be done for these men -- and for her twisted and miserable kin.



After the forward pyramid awakened and slowly followed afterward as a mobile artillery base, the end had come. We blasted their bases off the planet; I think the dark eldar actually took some chaos cultists captives as they fled!



But, more importantly...

“Was it worth it?” she snarled, hardly able to speak in her grief. “One hundred and ninety-nine souls -- gone! Stripped of their lives! We feel that more than a thousand times worse than humans could ever feel!”

I almost reminded her that I had warned them not to go forward to scout. Instead, I pointed to her equipment. “Are these them?”

“...” She managed to be civil. “They are... several hundred Death Guards.”

“And so,” I said, “we can keep them, and any others we slay, here in safe-keeping. Buried like valuable treasure, so to speak. Until we find a way to bring their bodies back again. Giving them an uncorrupted life. Or less so anyway.”

“...and this could be done for our people, too. Our lost ones.”

“Yes; I would suppose more easily, really!”

“ we might be able to bring them home.”

“Maybe. I hope so.”

She thought for a while. And for a while again, as we packed our people together into our ship and rose away -- the symbol of the abbey fading beneath us.

“For our people,” she said, “I think we can manage something.

“For your people, however...

“ will need geneseed.”


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Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 02:45:22 PM
{Gamenote: got a little more stitching done tonight, so moving on into the next part...!}


“I just don’t see how to do this,” I said, after some days had passed, deep in space, in the womb of the Craftworld being woven around us -- merging the knowledge preserved by Necrons and Eldar together.

Eria stared with ruthless, far-seeing eyes -- into mine. “I can see any number of ways.”

“I can’t out-blink you,” I stated, matter-of-factly, “and neither will I try.” So saying, I very intentionally blinked.

“Amusing. But you are avoiding the truth.”

“No, I am refusing to ambush any of the Astartes. That would be murder.”

“They will not give us their seed organs. And they are too well guarded, even outside their bodies. The only time their seeds are not particularly guarded, is after a battle which they have solidly lost. Do you intend to float around, hoping for them to lose a fight somewhere, and that you’ll be nearby when it does? If you arrange that convenience -- “

“That would be assassination. I might as well send the Orks or the Arisen to aggravate a fight. Still murder either way. The Astartes Legions are only trying to help, as far as they see it. I know, they can be horribly ruthless. Also some are evil, I’m sure, excusing their injustice by exploiting a situation requiring such ruthlessness. But we can’t know for sure which of them at any time is like that.”

“No. There is a way.” I raised my eyebrows at that. What did she mean...? “Good or evil, they will all alike come fight you. As much as you want. More than you want.

“If you reveal yourself.

“And if you make an announcement, as a new Emperor of Humanity.”

I started to tell her “no way” -- but she forestalled me. “I know that you don’t want to rule. Of course you don’t. You don’t even rule your Orks! But this is the way, if you want to be clean in your fight. You don’t even have to attack them. You can say, which is true, you only want to live in peace, and be left alone.”

“And then they will send a small force of Imperial Guard, simply to make an example of me. And I will have to kill them. When all they are doing, is trying to keep humanity safe from monstrous horrors. Which they will think I am.”

“Your Orks and former-Necron troops will no doubt sell that idea very well.”

“But I will have to kill them, in order to show that I mean business, and so that they will send a detachment of Space Marines next time -- trying to stop what they cannot help but see as a monster.”

Eria rubbed her chin, carefully up and down, looking away from me in thought. Her eyelids closed to help her see the weavings of possibility and paths.

We rested another few days like this, and then she told me one morning, after I awoke, “I can see how.

“Befriend the Tau.”

“I have been thinking of doing that soon,” I agreed, though cautiously. “They do appreciate cooperation for the common good. Perhaps they will even be able to see how far that principle goes: to the one and only ground of all reality!”

“Perhaps; that would be helpful. But I think that they will appreciate your gains, and what you are trying to do, in any case.”

“How would an alliance with the Tau be any use in solving my problem, though?”

“Their verification will signal your intentions as clearly as possible:  to help bring peace and freedom from chaos, having led some of mankind’s very worst threats to live in peace with each other, and with the Tau, and with... even with us, to some extent. With the Eldar.”

“...I see,” I said at last, after considering this. “On one hand this will be a major escalation of threat to the Empire, and on the other hand, such a miraculous deed, verified by others, will demonstrate good will. The Emperor couldn’t do this, or wouldn’t. Honestly, neither could I,” I tried to remind her.

“Beside the point,” she waved that reminder away with a flick of her hand. “They won’t understand the distinction yet. All they will see, is that you have done what ten thousand years of an Emperor’s reign could not, dared not even to try!

“You will be showing you do have a claim to be a better, and truer, Emperor of Humanity, of the whole galaxy, offering peace to anyone who will join you.”

“They won’t believe that.”

“Some may, some may not.”

“Not their military.”

“Also beside the point. Although, considering just how large humanity’s basic army is, you might discover some Guards who are willing to -- “

“Not the Space Marines.”

“No, of course not. They will choose to see this as a trick of Chaos. But,” she raised one finger, “that is the point. They will choose to see against an evident truth; they will choose to contradict what reason should be telling them.”

I thought of that a while. I still didn’t like it... but...

Eria tried again, after I had thought on her reasoning: “If they willfully disregard your clear intentions, for a lie, and attack you? -- then you will not be unjustly defending yourself. You won’t have tricked them,” she said. “...not like one of our people might,” she added, in some self-recrimination. “You will have shown them the truth, as far as you can, far enough.”

“Far enough for them to choose to condemn themselves, rather than accept the truth. I know, I see what you mean,” I had to acknowledge.

“This,” she said, “is the only way I can see.

“So: let us go make some new friends,” she said, trying to smile with kindness.

Not entirely succeeding. But trying.


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Reply #8 on: October 29, 2019, 02:45:46 PM

{Gamenote: 4-player fan-made map “White Silence}


We took our time, carefully, working through the diplomatic channels that the Eldar had already made with the Tau.

It took a few years, but we could be patient.

As she predicted, we didn’t need to fight at all -- much the reverse! The Tau were clearly impressed with what they found, what they saw, what we could do. Some of their mystics and I had many discussions.

Some of those mystics took the discussions to others within their people. So they would spread, I hoped. But already, cadres -- Tauean military groups -- had chosen to join our alliance together, as volunteer representatives.

What remained was to demonstrate the truth.

In the grim darkness of our galaxy, such an opportunity soon presented itself.

This planet, only an outpost moon, didn’t have many cities. The Astra Militarum, the Imperial Guards, had only assigned a nominal defense, being spread thin despite their numbers across the galaxy’s depths.

Then the carrion vultures of the warp had arrived, the Dark Eldar -- picking off the guard stations, one by one in quick successive multiple strikes.

The survivors of the guards now huddled in one of the fortified areas, unable to solidly protect the other cities, calling into the darkness between the stars for reinforcements for this unimportant outpost. Unable to hope for any quick salvation -- or at all.

Two Dark Eldar clans competed to see what they could find among the remnants; preventing many civilians who had elsewhere survived, from fleeing to relative safety in the shadow of a keep that could not hold them.

The people in one abandoned city soon saw the Tau create a landing base, upon a hill -- along with Orks!


They saw the Tau, along with Orks, giving their lives to fight against their tormentors.


They might have seen two foreign xenos, fighting against another set of nightmares.


But then they saw a difference: not only did the Orks not fight the Tau...

...but after they were done, the Orks stood guard as the Tau distributed food and medical help to human survivors of this city!

“We serve the cooperation,” said the Tau volunteers. “The cooperation of justice -- of fair-togetherness, fulfilled among all people.

“The greater good we serve is that which grounds the all of reality: fair-togetherness!”

“Eh, you skinny boyz, you fight real good together with us,” the warboss told them in thanks, and shook the hand of the Tau Commander. I was walking around in simple clothes, suggesting that the media should be recording this historical moment, and that everyone should remember, and tell their children and friends.

“Thank you, chief of war,” returned the Commander, Ka’los -- he understood the script, as did the warboss (with some coaching). “You have helped to protect the ones who cannot fight for themselves.”

“Who would fight tha weak!? Only a buncha gitz, wot need a good punchin ta learn what not! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!” the warboss roared, along with his mobs. “That ain’t us! We’za gonna go fight whatevah scares theze li’l folks! An we’ll show all th’ other orkz, just who th’ strongest one iz!”

“The fighting here is over now, so what will you do?” prompted Ka’los.

“eh... well, we’re like toothy trees, see. So we’ll just go ta sleep ovr’ here in th’ sun, and kinda keep watch out for trouble, yeah? ANYONE MAKIN’ TROUBLE, YOU WON’T BE SCARIN’ THESE LITTLE PEOPLE OV’R HERE NO MORE, Y’HEAR?!”

With one more roar of approval, the Orks trotted or waddled over to sleepily soak in the sun -- and started humming a song together, that they were teaching themselves.

“I’m not even kidding,” I told an onlooker nearby gaping at all of this, “when I say that even the Eldar would have trouble believing their eyes at this! So don’t feel too bad,” I chuckled. And handed them some food. “Is anyone hurt here?”

“...uh, no. I think over there, Marid and her children had some problems...”

“Thanks! Strength and honor and peace to you.”

But as I strode off he asked, “Wait, who are you? Are you with them?”

I didn’t really want to answer that. But I knew I had to.

“Don’t worry,” I called back over my shoulder... and then lit the fuse for Armageddon.

“They’re with me!”

...Marid and her children asked me why I was crying, after I found them.


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Reply #9 on: October 29, 2019, 02:46:13 PM


The mayor of this poor city had long since died, as well as most authority figures. This was a priest of the Emperor, speaking for the citizens clustered behind him in a show of solidarity. They didn’t look happy with his proclamation; or, generally, happy at all. They looked scared.

“You have every right to be afraid,” I answered, partially ignoring the man. “The Tau are mostly friendly; but Orks, until now, have never been. And you’ve been through a horrifying week, and can’t be sure if even now the evil fey won’t -- “


“We will of course be leaving, very soon. Anyone willing to come with us, is welcome, but -- “


That, although the proper thing to say, didn’t sit well with the townsfolk. Now they were glaring at the Emperor’s clerical representative.

“I do not blame the Emperor, even a little, for being unable to protect you.” The priest wasn’t expecting that, and couldn’t provide a rebuttal yet. “I’m sure he, and his servants, wanted to send out help as soon as he could, and that they are on the way, even now. And I’m sure the local guards were sorry, at least some of them, that they had to turn away people from coming into the final town that they held. I understand, there would have been too many people for the resources, and they had been given their orders to save as many as they could instead of losing everyone. I’m glad we were near and could offer some help, but I can’t be everywhere either -- “


“Orks who didn’t hurt you, and who know they never should. And no, I didn’t send the -- “

“LIES, ALL HE SPEAKS ARE LIES, OBVIOUS LIES! BEGONE BEGONE BEGONE, NOW JOIN ME, BEGONE BEGONE,” he chanted. A desultory agreement followed behind him, each one looking warily at his neighbor. There would be repercussions if anyone disagreed.

I activated some speakers of elven design, secretly set around the area, and quietly stated above the denunciations: “I will be watching for a while, until I know you’ve been protected by the Emperor’s forces. Anyone trying to hurt you until then, will be destroyed by death!” So saying I turned and walked away, leaving no Tau or Orks behind, as I entered a personal flyer and so withdrew above.

I left behind no Eldar either, just to be safe. I did leave Eldar scouting tech behind, just to be safe. They couldn’t be detected by the Guardsmen psyker, sent into the fort-town by the garrison who returned -- he might have missed an elven scout or two as well, but better to be safe.

Consequently, I knew at once when the sergeant of the returning garrison, upon his hearing report from the priest and some other more trembling citizens, chose to start lining up people who had accepted health and food from us.

“Let this execution be a reminder,” he stated with some amplification above the wails and muffled cries of grief. “Accept no help, but from a sanctioned servant of the Emperor! Better to die in his glory than to betray him by surviving! Ready, men.” They made themselves ready.

That was enough of this.

“AS I TOLD YOU,” I declared, more loudly through the speakers I had left behind, hidden. “THOSE WHO TRY TO HARM THESE PEOPLE SHALL BE DESTROYED BY DEATH ARISEN!”

“Sergeant, I beg to report, at once!” a corporal interjected, having run over to the local unit commander in the area. “Something has arisen on the hill in the middle of town! It spat out a bug, a mechanical bug, and -- your orders, sergeant-major?”

“Hold fire,” he said. “We may yet need the energy first to deal with whatever those are. We can always shoot these traitors later, who dared to survive without us.”

No. They couldn’t.

They did try bravely.




“You did try bravely,” I commended the survivors afterward. “To slay the people you couldn’t save. I don’t commend you for that. Just in case you were wondering.

“Any of your people who wish to depart with me, to somewhere Orks and even Necrons don’t want to hurt you, you may come.

“Any of you surviving Guards who wish to train our fellow humans to guard one another, and so to show those Necrons how it’s done?” I chuckled grimly. “You may come.

“But be aware. The Empire now will be at war with me, and those with me. I’m sorry it has to be that way, but very many people will die. So many,” I sighed, covering my eyes with both my hands and breathing for a moment. “So many.

“But I will welcome whoever wishes to bring real peace to a galaxy at war. So many people are dying already, and not only humans either, like ourselves. In the grim darkness of our galaxy, there is only war.

“But we will war in favor of peace for all, to end all war, so far as we can!

“Or, you can stay here, and wait for more of the Emperor’s forces. I won’t be coming back, so if you think that they will be merciful to you, of course you should stay with your homes. I’ll understand.”

They all came with us. Even from the other few townships. Not all the Guardsmen did, but almost all of them, too.

When the Emperor’s finest arrived, they virus bombed the planet from orbit.

It was the only way to be sure.


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Reply #10 on: October 29, 2019, 09:20:03 PM

“I hate this.”

“I know,” she said. “But it has to be done.”

“At least there won’t be others in the crossfire. That’s something. It isn’t nothing,” I tried to remind myself. We had chosen an uninhabited planet, for the Astartes to ‘find’ us, carefully letting transmissions slip, pretending we were searching for something secretly, so that they would send a force strong enough to decapitate or capture our leaders -- but not primarily expecting a trap.



They always expected a trap, not being fools. But, some former Imperial Guards among us knew some leaders by reputation -- not directly, which would seem like more of a trap, of course! -- leaders with a reputation of thinking themselves rather clever and cautious.

“The Night Raven force has arrived. ...will you need us to fight?” the Farseer asked.

“No. We should do fine: our new Volunteer Guardsmen still need some seasoning,” even after a year or two of reorganizing, refitting, and training together, “but the Arisen and the D’oru’kan and the Tau Vol’u should keep them busy,” I judged. “Even if I can’t watch and lead all of our forces at once.

“Once we deploy three platoons of Guards, and give them some plasma, we’ll be hard to stop.” My estimate here turned out to be correct, unsurprisingly!

“And once we add another three squads, and even more plasma to all the groups, along with some leaders encouraging our troops by praising those who have fallen in battle... well,” I smiled and shook my head, “throw enough plasma at a problem, and the problem goes away.”


“Watching the confusion of the enemy always amuses me,” Eria chortled, a musical purr -- hard insectile, softly feline, alien yet not. “They haven’t a clue what to do, with Tau and Ork and Necron units all wandering the battlefield supporting one another -- and our Guards!”



I barely kept up with the Tau, but they were responsible for mulching two Space Marine bases alone! This battle photo made rounds for inspiring the troops thereafter...

{Gamenote: in reality, while I barely saw them the whole game, they set up early harassment on two whole bases which kept those SM forces locked down until the Orks arrived to push in for the finish. This was a promotional splash screen snapshot from the game developers, added during the load screen for this mission semi-randomly -- but it seemed apt!}

“We’ll lose some gene seed to the Kroot I suppose; the Tau haven’t ably trained them to distinguish the proper organs yet.” I grimaced at what we were doing. Despite their cruelty, these were humanity’s finest defenders!

Or had been. Once.


But still, their contributions to keeping humanity alive, and to keeping Chaos from causing more trouble than they had, and even in fighting the Necrons off... all that, and more, should always be remembered in their favor.

We couldn’t ever expect them to join us. Nor the Sisters of Battle.

But now the lines of battle had been drawn.


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Reply #11 on: October 29, 2019, 10:31:58 PM
Good stuff  :bigthumb:

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


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Reply #12 on: October 30, 2019, 10:52:14 AM
Thanks! -- plenty more on the way!

The next 'chapter' will finish off the opening set-up, before the main plot starts (along with the switch to the UltApoc mod).


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Reply #13 on: October 30, 2019, 02:41:31 PM
Good stuff  :bigthumb:

yeah - keep it coming, Jason  :bigthumb:

“O Lord God, let me not be disgraced in my old days.”

'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'


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Reply #14 on: October 30, 2019, 07:18:56 PM
{Gamenote: 8-player official map “Lost Hope”, standard AI}

Being small as a group, and only needing a Craftworld to live and travel in -- itself also small but growing ever larger -- we could avoid any trouble and pick our battles, while we waited and developed. Weaving a legend among the stars.

“Soon,” I supposed, “we shall need two such moons to live in!”

“And to work from,” she agreed. “Each of them should have a similar mix of forces, yes?”

“In order to encourage cooperation. Maximizing our flexible strengths to deal with any foes. The Tau will surely agree, even if they find our organization a little lacking in rigidity.”

Seventy years had passed, since Eria found and called me. Generations of humans had been born now, under our care. Necron tombworlds reclaimed. Ork spores grown. We didn’t lack for Tau recruits, though all their people still hadn’t joined. The far more sceptical Eldar stayed away, mostly, though also some had joined us.

“So,” I asked, “have you seen an opportunity to reveal our latest advancement?”

“Sisters of Battle will soon be besieged by a strong force of Chaos Space Marines, using a scouting wave of fallen... fey.” She couldn’t bring herself to call them Eldar, and I didn’t blame her; my appropriation of an ancient Terran legend served her purposes. “I will not report what atrocities they have in mind for any conquered sisters.”

“Let’s not let it come to that.”

“The Sisters will surely not join us!”

“Unlikely, true. Still, we should try to help. We’ll arrive to flank their foes: a standard codex move. Two regiments of Guardsmen shall screen our deployment, and then we’ll take the fight to the enemy.”


“We will be prepared to harvest souls from among the corrupted fallen. Who would have thought,” Eria grimaced, “that we would ever come to appreciate a proper application of that foul and blasphemous tactic of our kin?” The Dark Eldar also harvested soul energy -- in a way. A much worse way.

“Everyone contributes, even them, I suppose.”

“They have been harder to clean, clinging to their sins. But that is to be expected, I suppose. After all...” she didn’t like acknowledging this: “we were the ones who, in our insistent lusts, opened the Eye of Terror, dooming us all...”

“But not anymore. We hope.”

“We hope,” she said more strongly.

Deployment arrangements were made. We didn’t expect defeat; but our success would be solely measured by whether we saved the Soroitas of the Fervent Heart.

Therefore I chose to rush ahead a pair of scouting squads, pausing only to capture three of the nearest resource points.



{Gamenote: I don’t know what 3rd point I was talking about in that snapshot caption, but I later confirmed on the replay that a third resource point doesn’t exist nearby, so the choice to push down and pick up a 3rd one on the way to helping the Sisters was correct.}

By the time the first two squads arrived across the angle of battle to reinforce the angelic sisters, they had been sent down plasma weapons. Soon, they would also be invisible.


Not a moment too soon. The Dark Eldar had been horribly harassing the sisters. A third scouting group arrived, and together they held the line and even advanced with the Fervent Hearts.


Back at our deployment bases, the first Guards Regiment had been suffering assaults from Chaos, as expected.

Now I sent a second platoon of plasma-armed invisible scouts to help.

Enough plasma, as I already knew from commanding the Guards, can make anything go away, eventually.

{Gamenote: ironically, this worked so well I never got good snapshots of it working so well!}

Two servitors braved the depths of the ruined city to reach the Sisters, and started helping them finish some work; but more importantly, they put down a chapel so that my current Force Commander and one squad of Volunteer Space Marines could arrive. The Sisters gratefully accepted the obvious help from trained Astartes!

Again not a moment too soon! -- the original scouting squad had helped to put away the evil fey, but faced with a chaos assault mech, even the Force Commander and his tactical squad continued with problems.



We did lose a squad of scouts, and the marines needed many replacements; but sisters finished sweeping chaos out of the city and then arrived to turn the tide!

My second wave of plasma scouts definitely saved the forward Guardsman post, and then moved on to threaten the nearest Chaos camp. They couldn’t quite do it by themselves (or even leading ahead of a Guards platoon) and needed withdrawing for a while...


...but soon returned with a full company plus Guardsmen and ended this encroachment.


All together, humanity’s best combined their strengths to wipe the stain of Chaos off the land, once and for all!


In more ways than the Sisters were expecting...

“All praise to the Emperor, and thanks to you our brothers, for the assist!” cried a Sister commander.

“Indeed,” our Force Commander nodded. “We are glad to have arrived in time to help!”

The Canoness squinted in cautious curiosity. “I mean no disrespect, but are you from one of the newer Astartes Legions we have heard are being formed? Your colors are unfamiliar.”

“We are, and you have possibly heard of us already.”

“Oh?” Her eyebrows rose in surprise.

“I must fairly warn you,” and the Commander raised his hand, “you will probably not accept us when you hear who we are; and I will not blame you.”

“Why not?” Back to even more suspicion.

“We have been reclaimed from a Legion loyal to Chaos. Or many of us have, some of us are newly raised, but I myself --“

The Canoness was so surprised she almost couldn’t form words past her gasping hiss. Or vice versa! But she managed to interrupt: “WHAT FOUL HERESY IS THIS?!”

“Salvation,” he simply answered. “I myself, in the past, entrapped in my sins, slew more than one of your sisters. But now,” he hopefully added, “I only wish to help you instead if I --“

“QUIET! -- what... what you’ve said, it cannot be!”

“And are you so sure that the Emperor would never be able to lead a lost man back to sanity and justice?”

That set her back even farther. “He... the Emperor... I...”

“Even now, with help from those he has gathered across the galaxy, we are collecting the souls of those we slew enmeshed in Chaos. We will need time, yet we can help them be free. But, as I said,” he sadly continued, “I see you will not accept this. So I will go.”


“I will leave, and you can make your report. Unless you intend to shoot me in the back. Like a coward.”

“MY COURAGE CANNOT BE QUESTIONED!” Now she was following him.

“Nor do I. Your actions shall show your heart.”


“I serve,” he answered, looking upward, “only Justice Above!” And so he shone in the light he received. “But if you insist on stopping us from keeping these poor souls from returning to Chaos once again, then we will leave, and they will go, and so they shall have to be rescued later than sooner. I will not fight you, however.”


“I am Force Commander Pauel, now of the Volunteer Legion. I will not fight you, but if you insist on following me, you will be offended by my Eldar allies, and --“


“--and they will not allow you to shoot them.”


“I would rather you lived to fight against all Chaos -- and against all injustice! But as you decide: is it more important for you to die now, or to bring back news to your Emperor?”

She stopped, seriously pondering.

Eventually he vanished, walking away.

...and so the long fuse at last

reached its detonation...