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Other Gaming => AARs => Topic started by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:41:34 PM

Title: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:41:34 PM
PROLOGUE: UNDERSTANDING
----------------------------------

“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.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:41:53 PM
CHAPTER ONE -- A BRIDGE TOO FAR
-----------------------------------------
[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.”

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9105/r9hwRD.jpg)

“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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/1914/aHttmk.jpg)

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

“They kill us.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5803/FfGdtn.jpg)

“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.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/1423/ZGWCHQ.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3337/vABCXU.jpg)

“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.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:42:33 PM
CHAPTER TWO -- FLANKING
-----------------------

[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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/34/M5D2v5.jpg)

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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7416/QLFLRa.jpg)

“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...

“...to delve.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:43:02 PM
CHAPTER THREE -- THE DELVING
----------------------------
[2-player fan-made map, Necrontyr Rising]

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3844/anEoyw.jpg)


“What are these pyramids here?” I asked.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7325/cdJXfL.jpg)

“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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7133/iC1RX7.jpg)

“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!”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:43:47 PM
CHAPTER FOUR -- A SHIELD FOR HER SPEAR
--------------------------------------
[6-player, but only including 5, fan-made map “Jungle Assault Special Edition”]

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/991/MGWA9B.jpg)

“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.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/2285/PpUDNB.jpg)

“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.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7526/GjqtIZ.jpg)

“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...”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3586/716vWA.jpg)

“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.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:44:16 PM
CHAPTER FIVE -- ANCIENT ENEMIES
-------------------------------
[ 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.

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5074/q9mZ4Q.jpg)

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!”


(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7836/m1Qpp5.jpg)

“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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/3153/Tao8xw.jpg)

“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.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:44:50 PM
CHAPTER SIX -- WHETHER IN THE HEAVENS
-------------------------------------
[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?”

“No!”

“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?”

“...yes.”

“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?”


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2663/gBoOUr.jpg)

“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.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3950/ChH5cN.jpg)

“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.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/3831/FhpsNj.jpg)

“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.

“What?!”

“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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1659/Rv05pM.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2011/1W1f6Q.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/3564/q6tHa1.jpg)


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.
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/5998/ieL4l4.jpg)


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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/8784/3DefnI.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/9549/ZqF806.jpg)


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!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9/XyIBOu.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/4806/Ya2dZc.jpg)

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?”

“... .....no.” 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!”

“...you... 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...

“...you will need geneseed.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:45:22 PM
{Gamenote: got a little more stitching done tonight, so moving on into the next part...!}

INTERLUDE ONE -- MAKING FRIENDS
-------------------------------

“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.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:45:46 PM
CHAPTER SEVEN -- DEMONSTRATION
-----------------------------

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

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1484/qGiNor.jpg)

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!

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/473/oFciB9.jpg)

They saw the Tau, along with Orks, giving their lives to fight against their tormentors.
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2790/dsJxNP.jpg)
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5365/x0k9WA.jpg)



They might have seen two foreign xenos, fighting against another set of nightmares.
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2303/kqq63x.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8153/AVkGv9.jpg)


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.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 02:46:13 PM
CHAPTER EIGHT -- DEPARTED
--------------------------

“BEGONE FROM US FOUL CREATURE! WE CAST YOU OUT AND REJECT YOU!”

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 -- “

“I SAID GET OUT, UNDER THE EMPEROR’S CURSE!”

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

“NO ONE TAKE A STEP! HE IS TRYING TO SEDUCE YOU AWAY FROM THE EMPEROR, WHO SHALL PROTECT YOU!”

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 -- “

“HE ADMITS IT!” interrupted the cleric. “HE WAS NEARBY, WAITING FOR HIS CHANCE TO TRICK YOU INTO TRUSTING HIM! HE PROBABLY SENT THOSE THINGS TO MAKE THIS IMPRESSION ON YOU! HE CONSORTS WITH ORKS, MAY THE TRUTH OF THE EMPEROR’S LIGHT RAIN DOWN UPON HIM!

“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!”

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7431/ZFjoz4.jpg)

“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?”
 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9233/BRnuZW.jpg)


“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.


(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6405/OTCman.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/9651/CFrPmf.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/4778/P6Cu4o.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5126/H3S2yS.jpg)

“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.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2019, 09:20:03 PM
CHAPTER NINE -- LINES OF BATTLE
----------------------------

“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.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6158/BPbr7J.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7664/UPwdyK.jpg)

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.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/2789/AYPjzc.jpg)

“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!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6383/7u9Pg9.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/9596/wy4aCG.jpg)

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...
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2738/jQOZvG.jpg)

{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.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8528/CmpJZd.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: mirth on October 29, 2019, 10:31:58 PM
Good stuff  :bigthumb:
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt 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).
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: bob48 on October 30, 2019, 02:41:31 PM
Good stuff  :bigthumb:

yeah - keep it coming, Jason  :bigthumb:
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 30, 2019, 07:18:56 PM
CHAPTER TEN -- HUMANITY’S FINEST
--------------------------------
{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.”

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/5251/mKow3Z.jpg)

“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.

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/4132/VEKK7x.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5853/bHSBVk.jpg)

{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.

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/71/ZrCyKy.jpg)

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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9258/XgxIsR.jpg)


Back at our deployment bases, the first Guards Regiment had been suffering assaults from Chaos, as expected.
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3824/db0Rw4.jpg)



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.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/2451/WBq09i.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/2998/Hc9jdG.jpg)

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...

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8017/tDcDVU.jpg)

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

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/8389/g5BX2P.jpg)

All together, humanity’s best combined their strengths to wipe the stain of Chaos off the land, once and for all!
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2383/OYWkI8.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1075/9PhGK9.jpg)


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.”

“STOP! YOU WILL STAND AND ANSWER MY ACCUSATIONS!”

“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.”

“WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO... to...” she faltered for a moment, “TO COLLECT YOUR ALLIES TOGETHER, SPAWN OF CHAOS!”

“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.”

“NAME YOURSELF, LIAR!”

“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 --“

“XENO LOVING SCUM!”

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

“THEN I SHALL DIE A GLORIOUS DEATH FOR THE EMPEROR!”

“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...
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 30, 2019, 07:19:27 PM
****** Author's Fake Asked Questions :D ******


SO, FARSEER IS BEST WAIFU?!  ^-^

...what!? No, good grief. That wouldn't make a lick of sense in the setting. Though it does make some sense as a rumor, under the circumstances, and I'll be indirectly addressing it several chapters from now. (Though no plans to address the rumor directly until Season Two perhaps. Thus my choice to start the FAQ with this silly question for both practicality and amusement.  ::) )


IS THIS THE END OF SEASON ONE?

No, this is just the end of the setup for the main plot.


HALFWAY THROUGH SEASON ONE'S CHAPTERS?

Pretty close, but not by wordcount. I'm a tick under 19% there.


GOOD LORD, WE SHOULDN'T HAVE ASKED...!  :hide:

Well, you know, me being me.  >:D

Some of the chapters will be pure narrative (especially the interludes), others more tactically or narratively focused. There's a mix. As you might expect, due to the increase in chapter length I may not post a new one every day, depending on circumstances. But as previously noted, it's written and 'filmed'. I just need to find sample snapshots, and stitch them in.


DAWN OF APOCALYPSE NOW?!

Yep, going forward -- although I'll switch back to vanilla a little at first until I work out an accidental problem. I'll explain that later in a {gamenote}.


OMG IT'LL BE NICE TO FINALLY SEE WHAT THE HELL THE BATTLES ARE EVEN DOING FROM A DISTANCE!

I realized later I could have been playing vanilla with the camera zoom mod activated, but yes the constricted focus made for some difficulty in getting snapshots.

Then again, being so zoomed in does have the advantage of being able to see the models a lot better; and doesn't chug the processor as much. So, pros and cons. UltApoc still allows me to zoom in very far, but for gameplay purposes that isn't as useful. The snapshotting challenges remain, unfortunately, at any zoom, just differently.  :buck2:


WILL YOU BE GETTING BACK TO SNEAKING IN CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY (SAID NO ONE EVER)?!

Sure!  8)


WILL YOUR ORIGINAL DON'T STEAL GARY STU CHARACTER EVER STOP BEING SO MUCH OF A SELF-INSERT WISH FULFILLMENT FANTASY?!

No? Yes and no. He's definitely a Gary Stu (or Marty Stu) in practically every regard, but he isn't an original character. He's a fictional character built by other people from a historical character, sort of. And then I turned him into a non-distaff Mary Sue.  :crazy2: I'll be revealing what's up with him before the end of Season One.


WELL, PFFT, OBVIOUSLY HE'S --

No, he isn't Aslan.  ::)


....WELL, OKAY, OBVIOUSLY HE'S THAT GUY FROM YOUR FANTASY NOVELS (WHO APPARENTLY ALSO ISN'T ASLAN), AH-HAAAAAAH!

Also no. Though their behavior does have some similarities and not by accident.


FINE, WHATEVER, SINCE YOU'RE PLAYING DAWN OF WAR, WILL YOU BE REFERENCING ITS OVERARCHING STORYLINE IN ANY WAY?

Two characters will be ported over as guest stars in Season One! ...sort of. One directly, the other indirectly.


WILL YOU BE MARY SUE-ING YOUR WAY INTO SOME CANONICAL 40K STORY ALSO, ASIDE FROM WHETHER GAMES WORKSHOP CONSIDERS THE DOW GAMES CANONICAL NOW AND/OR TO WHAT EXTENT?!

Yes.  :D

With some alterations.


OKAY I'M RUNNING OUT OF FAKE QUESTIONS TO ASK MYSELF EVEN FOR HUMOR'S SAKE, AND ALSO I'M FIGHTING OFF A HEADCOLD, SO CEASE THE VOICES IN MY HEAD ALREADY!

Oh, do you hear the voices, too?  :wow: :hide:

Season One kicks into full gear next.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 30, 2019, 07:35:02 PM
INTERLUDE TWO -- DETONATION
---------------------------

“As I foresaw, some of your years ago: the end of the age approaches!”

Eria stood before a mixed congregation of high ranking commanders, deep in the core of our Craftworld. Arisen were absent, as were Orks, but they did not interact well in larger society. I would pass along information and any recommendations back and forth with spirits from the Arisen, and together with Eria I would later talk with the D’oru’kan leaders more simply.

“Against us, and fighting among themselves, we may consider the following groups:

“First, and worst, Chaos strives to be undivided. Very soon they shall launch a combined assault on the Cadian gate, which I foresee they shall win, to my sorrow. So doing they shall create, in effect, a smaller Eye of Terror, and so actual armies of Chaos demons will start erupting into our reality, even without former Astartes traitors to enable them.

“More or less allied with them, under a stronger impellment from Slaanesh, our fallen brothers and sisters, popularly known as the evil fey,” she still refused to call them ‘Dark Eldar’, “shall strengthen their depredations.

“These together, I must emphasize, threaten all the universe with dissolution! -- not our galaxy only!

“Second, standing against them, more or less united, we find the forces of the Emperor of Humanity. Regardless!” she forestalled some dispute from our human commanders. “Whatever our criticisms, he has earned that proper descriptive title!”

“I may be your Emperor, in a way,” I added, “but not of humanity. They will see me as a false Emperor, and so, being in competition, will fight against us when they find us.”

“Aside from the Legionary Chapters, and from the uncountable Astra Militarum, we can expect no help from the Sisters of Battle, and only flame if we dare approach. In case any wonder,” Eria sighed, “this is why we will not be able to spare the Gate of Cadia from falling to Chaos. I have scried and searched until my spiritual eyes have bled! But it is no use, there is no option for us to follow. If we tried to help, we would only make things worse. Fewer of our theoretical allies would survive, and our task would be more difficult, not even counting the increase in tragedies to follow from having fewer Imperial defenders remaining to fight against the Chaos eruption.

“As it stands, the new increase in Chaos will surely inspire the Empire to create whole armies of Daemonhunters. This will be helpful, but not to us,” she wryly observed. “No,” she then corrected herself, “I must not fall into their error. They will be helpful, and so to us as well. Directly or indirectly, we all are trying to gain the same peace.”

“Excuse me, lady, for saying so,” a Force Commander interjected, “but they wish to be free of Chaos. Not to be at peace. I know from long experience... very long experience...” he grimaced, to grim chuckles around him, “they want only war; except without the chaos formed from war. Their peace would only be the grave of everyone but themselves. And then they would strike at each other, knowing and caring only for war.”

“I do not believe they all want that,” I said. “But I do think their Emperor does, and of course your own experience cannot be denied,” I bowed.

“The peace that is only of the grave,” Eria continued, “the most ancient enemy, aside from Chaos in its way: the Necrons. They are arising, and we are too small to stop them all, although we hope to gather them all together eventually under the colors of the Arisen. Until then, they will fight directly and indirectly against the invasion of Chaos, but also against all life in seeking to do that.

“The Orks would have long ago over-run this galaxy, had they not been fighting against each other, keeping each other down. Aside from our reclaimed D’oru’kan, they are certainly agents of Chaos, although they chaotically fight against other such agents, as against themselves. I expect that they shall grow stronger with the rising of more Chaos.

“And then, from the side of all this: the galaxy eaters have recently arrived! The Tyranid swarms have crossed the void and are filtering into our galaxy. In their own way,” she mused, “they are our antithesis: they oppose chaos by collecting all into a togetherness, a cooperation, corrupted though it is. They do not fight one another, and their invasion will last for eons! -- as we would need to eradicate them from other whole galaxies elsewhere in the universe, which they have already gathered under their shadow! Unless we conceive of some way to keep them out of our galaxy, there can be no victory over them even by Eldari lifetimes. Victory we shall find,” she clarified, “but the struggle goes beyond what even I can see.

“Still, while they generate an increase in Chaos at the bleeding edges of their advance, so to speak, their infection doesn’t actually result in ever-growing Chaos. Their problem is that their togetherness isn’t fairly joined among persons -- as your leader would put it. But they do eliminate a spiritual competition; by eliminating the persons as far as they can, while making use of persons, even strongly spiritual ones, in their vanguard: late-generation Genestealers.

“Aside from Chaos, these are the ultimate enemy. We shall try to manipulate un-Arisen Necrons into fighting them as much as possible, since they are effectively diametric foes.

“Meanwhile, we can expect at least partial support, and not likely any warring opposition, from the various Tau and Eldar groups: those who have not joined us yet, do not see us as a threat to themselves. Nor are we!

“Twelve basic groups, then,” she concluded. “From which we ourselves have been drawn by the Justice which keeps us all in existence. I will leave philosophical disputes and debates about details on that, to sages among us,” she wryly smiled.

“Therefore! -- how shall we begin, what humans call Armageddon?”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 30, 2019, 09:26:10 PM
CHAPTER ELEVEN -- UNVEILING
---------------------------
{Gamenote: 6-player fan-made map “Ghost City II”, originally created for the Firestorm Over Kronus mod (which UltApoc largely incorporates, I think.) Played on Easy, which is “Standard” for UltApoc -- “Standard” being “Hard”! I tried many, many times to beat this setup on “Standard” and gave it up eventually.)}

“What a disaster,” I murmured in pity and horror, as Eria and I looked over the ruins of the Cadian system.

“Not quite a second Eye of Chaos yet. But opening. An artificial eye, so to speak.” The Farseer was scanning the system trying to find the most efficient way through the future to a desired result.

“We should now be able to strike at the enemy’s fringes,” I noted, “without the Imperium complaining lethally back in our direction. We can render aid, set Chaos back, and reveal ourselves to the people as an alternative hope. A better hope -- we hope!”

“How you humans thought creating a massive warp gate this near to the Eye of Terror was a good thing...” Eria muttered.

“I’m sure the thinking was that they could quickly reinforce the sector against incursions from the Eye.”

“Now we must shut the Gate -- poke out the new and growing Eye, before it fully opens and focuses its stare.”

“Into growing more such eyes across the face of the galaxy,” I agreed. “Stereotypical of Chaos! Well, we mustn’t fall into the trap of trying to compete with others in shutting the Gate. If the Imperium has a good idea...”

“I do,” she said, quietly. “But I don’t like it.”

After she explained her plan, all I could do was nod. It sounded horrific to me, too. But probable.

“If we need to get their attention first, let’s start where we can save some populations from slavery raids,” I suggested. “Kasr Sonnen hasn’t fallen yet, and Kasr Holn is standing strong for now; but the Empire has been forced away from Kasr Partox. I don’t blame them: they had to consolidate defenses with relatively limited resources, until reinforcements can be gathered.

“But now we can help the people left behind!”

Eria agreed, and Foresaw a new raid fomenting in one of the ruined cities of the Fortress World. We could land forward bases in time, in a portion already rendered devoid of people, and so fight our way to the convocation to stop it, distracting them from the flank of their intentions into turning our direction instead.

To this ghost city I chose to dispatch the Volunteer Legion; the Vol’u Tau; and between them a group of Arisen.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/2810/fOvY7m.jpg)

I would oversee the Tau this time. They had surprisingly brittle morale, and not many ways to inspire themselves, so against concentrated Chaos forces they suffered disproportionately. But we needed to reveal to everyone involved that we were bringing combined and cooperative forces to fight the infection. At least I had convinced this new Tau branch force to accept and innovate the use of non-mobile turrets!

{Gamenote: canonically the Tau don’t build turrets or walls, preferring aggressive skill. I tried playing this setup without Tau turrets and realized the Tau were dumb canonically. {wry g}}

The key to my plan would be to invest heavily in the Tau’s Kroot allies instead of in Tau warriors themselves. I usually preferred to swarm with Stealthsuits early after some upgrades, on my general theory that throwing a lot of cheap plasma at a problem makes it go away very cost-effectively! -- and the Stealthsuits start invisible without extra cost. Also, the Tau had recently developed some upgraded Stealthsuits which could be brought out fairly early, and the Tau Commander could be upgraded to being a shielded stealthsuit himself (with stealth detection, otherwise absent).

The drawback to this method, is that Kroot morale is no inherently better than any other Tau, and against an enemy that likes to get in your face and eat morale, they’re just as brittle as any other Tau. Moreover, when the Kroot take losses I only need to logistically assign more Kroot; but when the Tau (including the Stealthsuits) take losses I have to pay for teching up the replacements with shields and plasma, too.

The Kroot have just as brittle morale, but take fewer losses before running for safety, and their losses cost fewer resources to recover.

{Gamenote: I was testing a global sub-modifier for this setup, where any ‘broken’ squad on any team immediately retreats to the nearest captured point.}

Still, we’d start this operation with a couple of Stealthsuits already on the ground near the first base, along with a builder. So, for my meticulous plan...!

Step 1: rush the first stealth units and builder halfway to the enemy, but short of the soon-contested relic point, and let them start capping resource gathering points. Go ahead and reinforce the builder, but not the suits (saving those resources and energy for buffing up faster elsewhere.) The two stealth units each take a resource point with orders to go get and guard the nearby critical point when they’re done.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3939/SFljEP.jpg)

{Gamenote: you can see on the minimap how relatively far forward we pushed with initial resource capture troops. Also, this chapter will be a lot more ‘tactical’ than some others, largely because I posted it some months ago as a tease for working on this project: I didn’t want to spoil the ‘narrative’ parts of the story yet.}

Step 2: immediately bring out a second builder and a third stealth squad. Reinforce the second builder (to save time building faster) but not the stealth suit as before. The second builder starts working on three plasma generators for early energy income; the third scout will zig-zag capture all other resource points up to the forward limit and then join the stealth group to discourage opportunity attempts against the critical point: we might need that point later for construction of larger units!

Step 3: as the first scouts finish their pair of resource captures, their nearby Earth Caste builder (team 9 in my nomenclature) caps the points and between them builds a Kroot Shaping Center. Using this method, all Listening Posts (capping the resource gathering pits) can be upgraded immediately, or almost immediately, to fortified positions.
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/4657/mZJ5CK.jpg)

{Gamenote: if you look very carefully, and/or click the snapshot to zoom in, you can see the forward team starting to build the Shaping Center far in the distance. This particular map is nice for having almost no “fog” to obscure depth of view; a real problem on some other maps when playing UltApoc!}


Step 4: in our backfield, the 0-team builders cap the nearest point, possibly the second nearest as well depending on timing, and then once the Shaping Center has been finished put down a Path to Enlightenment (tier 1 tech upgrade building) near the base. After that they can build the remaining three possible plasma generators (a base can only support six at a time), around which time I should be able to afford tier-1 upgrades for resource and energy production.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/991/fJtXN2.jpg)
{Gamenote: another nice depth-of-view shot. I’ve included the minimap in this snapshot to illustrate the next paragraph’s info.}

Meanwhile, the Volunteer Legion on our left wing has chosen to push forward far enough to capture and deny a relic to the enemy (the Chaos Marines directly opposite them). The Arisen between us are only expanding forward as far as I myself went.

Step 5: while backfield expansion is going on, start bringing out my Team 1 Kroot company: four squads each of Carnivores, three squads of Hounds (all with shaper leaders), plus an elite Shaper squad. They’re assigned to gather in a bombshell crater a little forward, for heavy cover. By now the critical location has been captured, and aside from discouraging opportunity pushes by any enemies the scouts are done for this operation.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/2288/Sw7Y3O.jpg)
{Gamenote: a shot of the forward base and forming-up point. No enemy contact on our side yet, but they will have already captured the relic a little farther ahead past that ruined block of buildings across the street. Over on the left, blue silhouettes show allied Vol Marines about to work on taking the next critical point forward. This will be challenged for a while! The scout team is annihilated and that big blob of Vols, pushed forward on the minimap, will withdraw just to be safe -- despite being nowhere near the lost scout fight!}

Step 6: having finished the Path in the backfield, I schedule feral leap training for the Kroot (their only upgrade for now); and I give orders for the Tau Ethereal commander to come out along with the elite Tau builder. The Ethereal will camp in the backfield giving bonuses to units (and choosing elite Tau shooters to be sent forward as an occasionally increasing guard unit near the relic eventually); the elite builder has plenty of armor and can defend himself in a pinch, plus he builds as fast as four upgraded Earth Caste teams! -- so he goes forward as Builder 8. Builder 9 comes back to cap the remaining resource points between our positions and then to join Builder 0 for creating further support structures the rest of the operation.

Step 7: build a second main base near the first one, in our deep backfield, and once that’s done add another six plasma generators when convenient. This is all we’ll need for the operation, as long as I keep up with refinement technology. By now the Arisen Scarabs have {also} tried to take the central critical point in the operational area, and {also} got rebuffed by Chaos forces. We’ll do something about that later. The Arisen in the middle of our front, will occasionally send a horde of scarabs to help out building up my side of the operation!


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7537/PgoFGn.jpg)
{Gamenote: this maxiumum zoom-out shows what the Arisen are doing -- no combat units at all really! The AI apparently decided it should just spam the most scarabs possible, help us on either side with building things (you might be able to see a swarm waiting with my builders for the final plasma generator to finish dropping in), and otherwise just donate power to us. On the minimap, the Vols Marines can be seen holding onto a forward position at the leftward relic point, though not with anything like their original force.}


Step 8: with the first arrival of chaos forces nearby, and half of my first Kroot company in the field, I decided to start reinforcing them early with extra troops in each unit in case of trouble. Each arriving squad received reinforcement permissions, too, although we didn’t have enough resources yet for everyone at once.

Step 9: once the First Kroot company has been fully reinforced, it’s time to send them forward to attack and hopefully remove the Dark Eldar fortified guns on the relic. Naturally this attempt aggravates the fey into retaliation...

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3825/l09TMX.jpg)

...and so the Kroot lose nerve and retreat back to the safety of the guns on our nearby points; but some bodies (Kroot and fey) are left behind to feed on and get stronger. This harassment will go back and forth for a while until we capture the point and eliminate nearby support buildings. (Meanwhile our allies will have moved up equally far in the middle, but keep losing the middle point to the enemy’s combined forces.)

Step 10: since by now we’ll have convinced our foes that they should stop their predations and focus back in our direction (the fastest way to successfully spare as many victims as possible elsewhere in the city), I take a moment to buff up the Stealthsuits with extra units in their squads and plasma weapons as well as Tier 1 technical upgrades. This should be sufficient to protect our critical point unless Chaos drives down the middle in a combined thrust -- which with our distractions left and right shouldn’t happen. The Vol Marines have surged forward past their relic in the middle of the left flank, and taken the next resource point, which will soon give them a decisive logistic advantage over the Chaos Marines in front of them.

Step 11: The elite Builder 8 has arrived at the front, where he sets up a Vehicle Beacon and a few turrets near our first resource captures. The Kroot haven’t taken the relic yet, thanks to the Chaos team choosing to combine some forces in its defense, but they’re getting stronger and the new turrets will help create more Chaos casualties as they chase First Kroot Company back and forth from raids. Once the vehicle beacon is set up, we can start bringing in a few Skyrays for artillery support. These will become the core for 3rd Company (2nd hasn’t started yet). The first of the elite Tau shooters now pushe forward a little to take a rooftop position adding to harassment casualties near the enemy’s relic.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3319/gSHRGY.jpg)

Step 12: I’ve saved up enough resources and energy to start working on major backfield upgrades, starting with a Kauyon Command Post. The new small turrets also start teching up on their armor, and basic refinement teching continues when available, and armor tech for the fortified posts.

Step 13: with the Kauyon Command Post up, I can invest in several new Kroot upgrades. Two elite Tau squads are now overwatching the enemy relic area, and Builder-8 can now start putting out the major Tau turrets.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/8420/VBZCxu.jpg)
{Gamenote: see the minimap? That blue blob upper left on the minimap, is the Vol Marines’ forward base. Practically untouched through all of this. The enemy is focusing most of its aggro on me.}

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/6272/45zoNA.jpg)
{Gamenote: a rare closeup of the Tau super-turret getting into the fight! -- there’s an adorable little Earth-caste saucer operating it, which I didn’t notice until now!}
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 30, 2019, 09:26:52 PM
(Part 2 of 2)

Step 14: with the elite overwatch squads and now three Skyrays for arty support, as well as the new Kroot upgrades, we can finally make a concerted effort (later than I expected or wanted) to take the relic. The fey have held it so long that we can expect some problematic epic units eventually, but we haven’t seen any yet by the time we secure the area. Just to be safe (and to increase our basic resource gathering speed), I also order upgrades of all fortified listening posts to heavy plasma (mostly for the armor bonus as they can’t shoot fast enough to pose a real risk to enemy vehicles and epic units). We have yet to lose an inch of ground in the middle, despite constant Kroot panics; and the Volunteer Legion hasn’t budged off the relic they captured early in the operation -- nor off the pair of resource points beyond it!

Step 15: with the relic area now solidly under our control, it’s time to bring in 2nd Company! -- a Kroot Alpha Knarloc commander (slow but very punchy, riding something like an old dinosaur) and seven Krootox squads (each a pair of creatures like combat gorillas, which can be upgraded to three or four units per squad). These things have almost unbreakable morale, and are far tougher than 1st Company, so they’ll take over as lead ground assault for the second half of the operation. (I could bring in Greater Knarlocs, too, now -- whole squads of those dino-things -- but they cost epic resource points, which are limited to one thousand in this area, and I’d rather spend those on a pair of small Titans.)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/9061/diaDcI.jpg)


Step 16: the new Knarloc Alpha commander benefits from hero training which I now bother to invest in; which in turn allows me to buy one command upgrade per level (sometimes) such as increased squad numbers (the units in each squad) and (from the Etherial) increased production speed. I also buy some more Kroot upgrade tech while parrying thrusts from combined Chaos factions. (See prior snapshot!) Builder-8 begins setting up advanced plasma turrets (fast shooting plasma and hard to destroy, effective against literally everything, and a long range) on a rooftop at the forward edge of our secured area.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3799/bqEXKp.jpg)



Step 17: the backfield builder teams start work on a titan assembly dome, as I take advantage of new squad-cap logistics to bring all squads in 1st and 2nd company to larger numbers. We easily beat back a few sorties along the way.

Step 18: the Chaos team finally thinks they’ve got enough combined power to take out one of our forward groups, and goes after the apparently weaker group: the Vol Legion. (They don’t need the help yet. {g}) I’m now able to order the production of the first small titan; some titan tech upgrades afterward; and the second slightly larger titan. In order to proceed somewhat further, I also need to put out the Mont’ka Command post (and its upgrades), reserved for the Tau units proper although we don’t have many in the field. But at least the elite squads chosen by the Etherial will benefit from it! (As will the Titans perhaps.) 3rd Company adds more missile artillery ships to eventually support the titans.

Step 19: having bounced off the Space Marines, Chaos makes the mistake of thinking the Tau might be weaker, and launches a major assault on our position. This effectively starts the final protracted battle, as I send all companies into the defense and then forward to begin removing enemy logistic strength. This isn’t a cakewalk! The 1st Kroot company never loses any squads, but that’s only because they tend to run away sooner than be destroyed. Most of the original 2nd Company is destroyed in our first assaults, and I eventually pull the Alpha and his remaining Krootox squad back to safety while I rebuild his company.

Step 20: the first Titan arrives, and teams up with the missile artillery to start hitting hard; along with my new Ion Cannon built in the backfield which can hit anything in the operational area! (Including my own units so I try to keep it focused on enemy concentrations.)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2912/KuPNoi.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/8298/sobJ2P.jpg)
{Gamenote: the ion cannon trail with a zoom-out focus of the distant target just hit!}

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6921/q5wNve.jpg)


Step 21: our second and final Titan arrives to join 2nd Company, around the time the Chaos Demons are removed from the operational area. From this point it’s only a mopping up operation as the Chaos Marines can’t field enough to stop us and the Space Marines are overruning their traitor brethren.

Afterward... “I see,” said Eria archly, “that the Arisen never lost nor slew nor I think even built any combat units!”

“Nor did the Eldar, hm,” I teased. And got a kniving glare in return. Joking about Eldar protecting themselves from losses? -- not a good idea, even after all these years. She had lived whole eons suffering the loss of her people.

We kept the Arisen away from the surviving civilians for now as well, as Volunteer Marines and Militium coaxed them from hiding and, together with Tau and yes even the Eldar, gave them food and medical aid and shelter. We explained they didn’t have to accept it, since this might get them in trouble with the Emperor and his forces; but they often did anyway. We tried to be gentle with any suicidal attackers “for the Emperor”, and gave every such survivor of such attempts free permission to return to the Empire as soon as possible. Perhaps not surprisingly, few accepted that offer when faced with the welcome they expected! -- but some did.

And when they did return to the Empire, they brought news to them, of a new and kinder Emperor-apparent, who was bringing all the galaxy together, even the worst of enemies, even former Chaos soldiers, to defeat Chaos.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 31, 2019, 07:51:06 PM
CHAPTER TWELVE -- FRATRICIDE
----------------------------
{Gamenote: I accidentally clicked a button on UltApoc which tried to evenly spread all factions between two teams, which messed up my plans for multi-team and odd-team matches for a while until I realized my mistake -- thus explaining why this match goes back to vanilla!}

{6-player official map Streets of Vogen}

“Well, this is a fine gratitude,” I grumbled. “Not unexpected,” I added -- along with Eria, at which I smiled.

We hadn’t finished recovering the overrun civilians from the ‘ghost city’; Volunteer D’oru’kan and Guards, as our most numerous troops, were ringing our perimeters as we expanded out, protecting our rescue operations from the expected Chaos riposte.

Now the riposte was coming -- but so was a hostile force of Dark Angel Space Marines! With two brigades of Chaos World Eaters closing in on our wings, the Dark Angels had sent a small division in behind them, no doubt hoping to catch them between us and then rolling forward over our lighter guards.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/9867/4XfE7U.jpg)

This worked reasonably well for the Dark Angels: our Orks and Guards had time to bring themselves up to decent power for knockout blows against the Chaos minions who found themselves surrounded by foes on all sides.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/9664/aPOWTt.jpg)

{Gamenote: I rolled that Chaos base out of the game a couple of minutes later.}

However...

“Well met and well done, Dark Angels of the Emperor!” called out a sergeant of our Guards as together they finished off the World Eater incursion on our left wing. “Now the people can be secured here, and any who wish to join you will be allowed to -- “

A rocket-powered explosive round from a Space Marine bolter blew off his head. “Traitor Guardsmen! Beware their lies!” called out a Marine sergeant.

This reply was met with a lamentable but understandable number of grenade launchers from the Volunteer Guards.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5679/eHFjdg.jpg)


The surviving Dark Angels withdrew in much confusion over why the guardsmen didn’t simply cringe and run away at the first command casualty.

Anticipating problems at the front line, Eria had sent Eldar speaker technology forward; and so, near a Force Commander for one brigade I called out: “Peace, my fellow humans! We mean you no harm! Together we have driven Chaos from this side of the city, but -- “

“Locate that transmission and ignore his words,” ordered the Commander.

“-- but we will be glad for you to help the people here, and I will withdraw so that you can reach them, as you wish.”

“Any civilians must be executed at once,” the Force Commander added, “on suspicion of being spies or incurably infected with the chaos of these traitors.”

“We do not serve Chaos, Commander. And if you insist on harming the civilians, then we shall have to bring them with us for their protection. Moreover -- “

“Chaos fights among itself, as always,” he declared. “This shall be our victory!... what? Orks helping the traitor guards? More evidence of their foul Chaos,” he decided. “Your actions belie your words, as expected!” That was to me.

I sighed, but didn’t transmit the sigh. “Moreover,” I started again, “if you insist on trying to push through us to kill the civilians, we shall have to protect them by destroying you. I would rather you survive to help the fight against the Chaos invasion here.”

“Forward! Let there be no survivors!” agreed the Commander of the other brigade.

There weren’t. Among them.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5907/qeaKiZ.jpg)

“...your Guardsmen acquitted themselves marvelously, even against the armored Marines.” Eria was trying to help me feel better about this debacle. “They kept two brigades of Dark Angels distracted and tied down until your D’oru’kan assault force could...” I shook my head and couldn’t bring myself to look at her.

“You knew this would happen,” she reminded me, more sternly. “It’s why we didn’t try to help protect the system sooner, while the Imperial presence was still overwhelmingly strong.”

“I knew, yes, eventually this would happen. I just didn’t want it to. Every day or hour we avoided outright fighting with the Empire, was another hour or day that we were fighting off the chaos together. Now we will have to keep the Empire from also coming in to kill the civilians. And there’s only one way to do that.”

“Then let us finish gathering civilians from Kasr Partox, before your... before the Empire,” she corrected herself, “decides to virus bomb this planet back to sterile molten lava.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on October 31, 2019, 08:25:25 PM
CHAPTER THIRTEEN -- GHOST HUNTERS
---------------------------------

{2-player official map Faceoff, with a Firestorm upgrade, played in UltApoc.}

“I know you’re going to say,” I said, “that chaos has been laughing at us for eons already.”

“That doesn’t make it less painful now, I know,” Eria answered. She couldn’t comfort me and didn’t try.

“So, the Empire thinks they should try Demonhunters against us -- as if we were spawned from Chaos itself!” I slammed a fist on a table. She eyed that warily for a moment, and I got myself under control. “A clever propaganda move on their part. Well, we shouldn’t disappoint their expectations I suppose, although we don’t have any demons to offer them.

“Let them eat Necrons.”

“I think we can pre-position some scarabs and a dormant monolith close to their own forward base,” Eria noticed.

“Necrons don’t rush anyone’s base very quickly. Though we can harass them with attack scarabs... But I’m not sure why I would bother?”

“If they had any sense, they’d be the ones rushing you!” she snorted.

“They have enough sense to try to get strong first, but yes, they should be shooting my builder scarabs before I can set up a summoning core.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6099/kfiNIp.jpg)

“Perhaps they don’t know you’re here?”

“They mustn’t be Lodge Investigatio then! Perhaps Lodge Purificatio? I’m not very familiar with their organizations. There, three Necron Warrior squads should be enough. Upgraded of course...”

The Demonhunters had not been idle; they had been creating squads and sending them out to secure the whole operational area nearby. No doubt they intended this to be a first large and overwhelming step! But, there wouldn’t be a second. For them.

A set of their builders, floating on quite clever and mobile anti-gravity bells, conferred with each other near their latest creation about what to do next -- when the walking skeletons arrived and started shooting that creation.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2677/LtFUUI.jpg)

As they bravely started repairs, I directed fire onto them to warn them off. Their armor was reasonably good and they wouldn’t be harmed at first, if they would just retreat.

They staunchly continued repairs, assuming the small company of arisen machines would be put down soon by the numerous Demonhunter squads now returning to defend their base.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8503/98Egl1.jpg)


“BEGONE AND LIVE!” I thundered through speakers in the frames of the warriors. “If you insist on seeking to kill the people you should be trying to save -- THEN THE DEAD SHALL ARISE TO JUDGE YOU!”

The Demonhunters didn’t last long under concentrated barrages, breaking quickly under fire as I shifted around between squads. They tried, they truly did.

But they had only learned how to hunt Demons. Not ghosts in machines.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/7089/ARAOnW.jpg)

“This is so pointless!” I grimaced at the bitter taste of their defeat. With no more troops remaining on the ground, some fool of a tactician insisted on sending down new squads to stop the Arisen from pulling apart their base at a molecular level. Gaussian rifles were like tiny, directed black holes the size of a few electrons, suspended in eldritch techno-energy. The idiot in charge of dooming his troops kept sending them down into that mess until the portal buildings fell. The last few squads of Stormtroopers actually turned their own lasguns on the portal building itself to stop their commander from sending down more!


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/8934/zmxMfs.jpg)

{Gamenote: this was, as shown, a thing that happened! Why, I’m unsure. I confirmed I didn’t have a loose piece of a unit over there...}

Then they turned their weapons upon the skinless monsters that had arisen. But we didn’t shoot back.

“I appreciate you trying to spare your comrades from the fate you commander insisted on sending them into,” I tried to reasonably complement them through the internal speakers on the chasses. “I don’t want to hurt you; neither do the Arisen, but they don’t quite think in sentimental fashions. The question is... sigh,” I sighed, knowing they were ignoring me or just couldn’t hear over their own shooting and panic.

A Guards sergeant nearby offered a hand, and I gave him the mic. “CEASE FIRING YOU SONS OF MOTHERLESS GOATS!” He added more invective and lambasted them for ignorantly shooting at weapons we had secured for protecting the civilians nearby, as though they were nothing but mindless Orks, “no offense,” he added to a passing Nob who had stopped to admire the sergeant’s efforts.

“None taken,” grumbled the Nob, himself a sergeant for some Shootas. “Many of us are. I compare my squad to useless wormy humies, too.”

“We lost nine Arisen,” I meanwhile reported to Eria, “three or four of those were builder scarabs -- for seventy-nine Demonhunters. Seventy-nine men, and some women, who shouldn’t have had to die.”

“They’ll keep trying. You know that,” she said. “Their leaders won’t quit; they didn’t get to be leaders, in the grim darkness of this galaxy, by quitting.”

“Well, I might have made some converts and saved a few,” the Guardsman sergeant said. “Any’s better than none. I’ll go talk to them, see what can be done.”

“...any spared are better than none,” I reminded myself.

And seriously thought, for the first time, of overthrowing the Empire.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: bayonetbrant on October 31, 2019, 09:46:27 PM
You've put a crapton of time into this. Wow
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: mirth on October 31, 2019, 10:31:52 PM
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: bob48 on November 01, 2019, 07:02:00 AM
Makes me almost want to play it again.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 01, 2019, 10:04:51 AM
Thanks!

The narrative part was just me playing around for a while on a plot that would allow me to play a bunch of different factions against each other, on maps that I hadn't played before, including a lot of nice fan-made maps that I'm glad to give some exposure to.

The next several chapters, up through 18, will be me just taking advantage of some random rolls to play out an evacuation / aid scenario for this side-world abandoned early by the Empire in the canonical fall of Cadia, as an excuse to play some increasingly larger "city" maps I hadn't played before.

After chapter 18 I'll be doing more plot-related chapters through the grand finale of the season (which is chapter 22 if I recall correctly).
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 01, 2019, 09:47:25 PM
CHAPTER FOURTEEN -- GOOD PRACTICE
---------------------------------
[Next map, 2-player classic map “Fallen City” with FoK upgrade.]

“Reports coming in!” a Guardsman signals officer called out. “Some weird bony creatures seen skittering around the outskirts of our perimeter.”

“Sounds like Chaos Demons. Too bad we don’t have any Demonhunters yet,” I grunted. Nor would we, before we finished evacuating Kasr Partox. “I’ll dispatch the Vol’u from a forward base nearby, see what’s going on. They need more practice facing Chaos, but unless there’s a major incursion perhaps they can just deal with the matter with Stealthsuits. They can’t rely on the Kroot all the time; that wouldn’t be fair to their own allies!”

The Tau deployed their mobile forward base and the Stealthsuits started capturing nearby points while the Earth Caste builders set up plasma generators for power, eventually splitting up to cap the points with listening posts and to create the Tau Command Post while the scouts looked around further to find the closest critical points on our side of the bridges.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/3740/4PmDEF.jpg)

“Creepy place,” I muttered. “All civilians gone?”

The comms officer affirmed, “As far as we know.”

The squad near the bridge was still working on raising control of the local critical point, when a mob of skittering things darted from the gloom on the other side and crossed the bridge. The scouts relayed video, but stayed silent, avoiding detection in their cloak.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1074/1k66M1.jpg)

“Seriously ugly, even by Chaos standards. But oddly more... organized than I was expecting.” More mobs of the same things were running by now across the bridge! -- most heeled to their right once across and headed for the middle critical point which our scouts had already finished with, but the initial mob tried scratching without much success at the bridge’s listening post, which then upgraded to a fully fortified dual plasma cannon.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3541/gEKmdZ.jpg)


“Hold fire,” I directed. “They clearly can’t hurt our post armor, and our scouts will be mobbed if we don’t hit them hard with plasma. Wait till we finish upgrading and reinforcing.”

That didn’t take much longer; the first mob skittered away -- still on our side of the bridge -- under precision fire from the newly fortified point, allowing both scout teams to consolidate together with a third for ambushing the other creatures. Despite their very superior numbers, they couldn’t seem to understand where the shots were coming from, so didn’t get close enough to uncover the scouts -- but didn’t run away either.

{Gamenote: unfortunately my footage of this was never very good, so no snapshots.}

“Good morale,” I murmured. “They lost the mobs, but the mobs did stay to fight. That could have gone a lot worse. Not quite as aggressive as I was expecting for Chaos monsters...”

“BEWARE!” Eria boomed, her voice unusually deep as she glided into our tactical center. “THE SHADOW UPON THE WARP HAS COME FORTH!”

We had all jumped a little at her entrance, even me, but we recovered quickly. “That sounds portentous...?” I gently prodded. “The Tau are trying a one on one fight against some peculiar Chaos demons. More peculiar than usual I mean.”

“Show me.” We back-played the video, as some mobile turret suits started deploying to protect our approaches. I wasn’t quite ready to send in a full company of stealthsuits yet, but the Etherial leader was on his way...

“Genestealers.” Eria managed to twist the word gracefully in contempt.

“That sounds familiar... oh!” I slapped my forehead. “The Tyranids are here?! Already!? Scanning officer, why didn’t we detect anything approaching from space?!”

“No,” said Eria. “These are the brood of a genestealer cultist. Some third or fourth generation genestealer must have infiltrated this area of the Kasr some time ago, avoiding detection until now. With the advent of the Chaos invasion, he... or she but for various reasons they are usually male... he must have thought his brood should start staking a claim to the area.”

“Why?” I wondered. “They couldn’t fight off a dedicated Chaos attempt to remove them. Could they? Or would they?”

“Maybe, maybe not,” she mused, yes and no. “Our prevalent theory is that Tyranids are not inherently chaotic, although they can organize warp power very well, moreso than Orks naturally process it. However, as advance infestations of genestealers create hybrids with sentient species, they themselves acquire more directive sentience -- stronger spirits,” she explained, “but also capable of making choices. We think the hybrid patriarchs have been choosing to flirt with, or outright court, Chaos. Which,” she added, “is why Imperials aren’t wrong to regard them as Chaos breeds. Most of what the Imperials run across, are found in what you call space hulks: twisted nightmare conglomerations of ships that went adrift in the warp, some larger than planets now! The Tyranids thrive there, but aren’t creations of the warp like Chaos demons. I agree with the theorists who think early arrivals in this galaxy, ages ago, started converting to Chaos, and so -- “

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8341/IUCkhV.jpg)


I held up a hand. “Sorry,” I said. “Seeing off a first serious sally over the bridge. We’re moving toward the relic point on our side of the river, too. Please continue?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/4539/e3hfAm.jpg)


“ -- so, the patriarchs have been hiding broods in the warp, gaining access, and consorting with the warp powers. The Tyranid hive fleets started warping as they entered our galaxy, though not very far or accurately. Before then, they simply spent millions of your years in stasis between galaxies and worlds. Their leaders here have given them power beyond what...” She stopped as a much larger assault hove into view.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1593/Yv2cUo.jpg)


This one caused many more casualties, but I had already directed the deployment of Crisis Suits; and even basic ones tended to be very punchy! -- though also clumsy. Better Crisis fighters were on the way, as were Skyray artillery. We recovered from the pyrrhic wave with decent speed; and the Vol’u created battlegroups securing our side of both bridges.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6889/866fej.jpg)


“The Tyranids,” she started again as the crises of multiple assault waves safely passed, “have become more powerful thanks to their scout leaders treating Chaos as a... capability, for want of a better word, to be absorbed into hive knowledge. They might however end up rejecting Chaos, or becoming highly resistant to its influences. They seem more capable of directing it than the slaves of Chaos in this galaxy. Which, logically, would be the end of the threat of universal Chaotic dissolution -- if the Tyranids ever fully assimilated all life in this galaxy, or all sentient life at least, to themselves. It is interesting,” she pondered, as I left behind only a punchy token force at the relic and started our push across the northern bridge near our base, “that no other galaxies, so far as we can detect them, show signs of major chaos destabilization. Nothing like the Eye of Terror; not even close.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5377/7zvwOC.jpg)


“Although, we’re seeing light from many years in the past, of course,” I countered over my shoulder. “Even millions or billions of years. If we could see them directly, there might be more eruptions visible by now.”

“We have thought of that,” she answered, a little tartly. “But our ability to sense warp fluctuations, in the warp itself, is finely tuned; and the warp negates time and space effects. We are certain that by now we would have detected ripples from outside this galaxy, if other such problems existed.”

“That seems unlikely beyond all imagination. Perhaps it is divine intervention,” I suggested, while wondering whether we needed the ion cannon to finish off the enemy’s final areas. I decided to try testing Tau satellite drone prototypes instead. The companies raised by the Vol’u looked fully able to repel and wipe off anything remaining on the ground ahead of them.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8461/KAakRm.jpg)


“...perhaps,” she allowed. She had always been uneasy about my religious beliefs; when expressed as philosophy they must not have seemed as threatening as what she, and her people, had been accustomed to dealing with so far. “Our leading theory, practically unanimous aside from some abstentions, is that this has been the only galaxy where sentient life has... been born.” She wouldn’t say we had been created; not in a sense beyond the way the Eldar and the Orks had been created by fellow creatures.

“Also grossly unlikely, if rationality is only a production of complex non-rational behaviors. But then,” I somewhat teased her, “the illusion of rational behavior would only be an illusion of rationality. And you,” I reminded her, from many earlier discussions, “are not a mere illusion of rationality.”

“...the point,” she continued on after a moment, “is that the Tyranids might well have been non-sentient before arriving in this galaxy. And they remain mostly non-sentient, being as you say only an illusion of rationality. Except for some true directors -- however those came to be. We expect them to take control of the interstellar hive swarms in any event. And that,” she stated with what sounded like a conclusion to any further discussion on this topic, “would be why the genestealer leader here has emerged now.

“He won’t care that you are blasting his colony to constituent atoms. He was using their conglomeration to send a message to any nearest arm of a hive swarm: come and feed!”

“Relatedly,” I said, “the Tau Empire became famous for being the first of our local races in this galaxy to stop and destroy a splinter of a hive fleet dead in space. I just learned that, from chatter among the Vol’u down there, reminding each other of their past successes. They do fairly well on the ground, too! -- despite some panicking by the scouts along the way.”

“I doubt that we have seen the only patriarch’s brood in this system,” Eria sighed.

“And we shall have to screen everyone rescued so far, for genestealer infection...”

“Excuse me, sir, Tau satellite weapon ready!” a tech officer reported.

We tried moving it into position to test on the Tyranid base, but it didn’t arrive in time.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/715/eQVLKJ.jpg)

“Good practice, though!” I congratulated the Vol’u -- and then I made some preliminary notes about an exit strategy later...

***

“I’m here to take your names and register you for resettlement and restoration with any surviving family. Are your quarters functional? -- under the circumstances,” he added. “These are meant to be temporary, and although we’re always still growing this Craftworld we’re running a little short of room.”

“Oh, I understand, we’re very grateful. My name is Marid,” she said, “and these are my children -- oh, will you be our case worker now?”

“Yes, and for some other families. I’ll help you get settled into shipboard routine, find you a place to settle, provide healthcare, some testingMMMPH!”

After a minute of deep kissing, she released him and said, “How sweet! I’m sure you’ll take very good care of us now. And I’ll be so grateful!

“Now, how can I call you, you alone, when I have needs?”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 02, 2019, 10:18:35 AM
(That, by the way, was not a massive gaping plot hole.   8)  But it won't be explained this Season.)
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 02, 2019, 01:51:08 PM
CHAPTER FIFTEEN -- STRUGGLE OF REDEMPTION
-----------------------------------------

[Next: 2-player match, classical map “Pavonis” with UltApoc set to “Normal”, thus “Hard” by vanilla standards.]


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/622/NBJs3Z.jpg)

The comms officer showed me footage of the Emperor’s Children parading some Noise Marines around our perimeter, broadcasting a challenge to our orange-and-white Legion. “We’ve scrubbed the audio carefully, nothing malicious coming through,” he assured me.

“Other than themselves. Obviously a trap, playing to our ego. I should feed them Necrons, too!” I chuckled a moment, then... “Hm, no, they would have a propaganda victory if we don’t respond with the Volunteer Legion. Normally that wouldn’t matter, but we’re trying to convince as many civilians as possible to evacuate with us. So... let’s see, we can still put the Arisen in between on defense, so that Chaos will have to think two or three times if they want to succeed. Then while they’re distracted wondering if that’s our answer, we’ll start infiltrating the Vol Legion from another direction, and try to force an escalation more or less on par instead of attacking into their defenses.”

“Such as they are,” snorted Force Commander Pauel nearby. “Chaos lives to attack. Believe me. Still, better to use their momentum to throw them over, I agree.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/9750/3LbCIS.jpg)

“Too bad the Legion Generals decided not to ‘waste’ plasma guns on these scouts.” Even now I couldn’t believe it; but I didn’t micromanage the force organizations. “If they had been defeated by troops that weren’t even Marines...!” We shared a laugh at the fury and embarrassment that would have wrought!

“You’ll be throwing plenty of plasma at this problem, soon enough,” promised Pauel.

That turned out to be partly untrue. The initial Tactical Marines, following in after the first scouts, got doled out plasma weaponry at a stingy rate.

“Our only chance at success,” I reminded everyone involved, “is to strike fast enough that the enemy can’t build up overwhelming numbers here from their rear reserve. AND EACH MARINE SQUAD GETS ONLY ONE PLASMA!”

“At first,” someone dared reply, to which I corrected, “No, at first they get NONE!”

“We’re moving along fine. The flamers on the Assault Marines are doing the job. You can even give them plasma instead, later, if you like,” Pauel smirked.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7827/NXugEx.jpg)

I had to agree: “I’m honestly considering skipping Tactical Marines and their ranged weapons at all in future fights, and just wait for Devastators as ranged. Or maybe vehicles....”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6839/q9aEYS.jpg)

“While we can’t swarm them with plasma scouts -- “ “-- anymore -- “ I groused, and Pauel continued, “-- at this rate I can guarantee a victory almost as embarrassing: we won’t bother sending in any commanders.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/9583/BzsyeS.jpg)

His prediction turned out to be accurate! -- and instead we spent the requisition and energy on teching up to strong ranged and melee troops, including a sergeant squad.

Our rush took longer than anticipated, only because the Chaos commander wisely sent builders away from his base to recreate a couple of bases elsewhere, sacrificing his first one.

By the end, we even had a couple of Terminator Squads on the field. But no commanders, only the usual sergeants.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/2427/Q72WIP.jpg)

“That could have gone very badly,” I observed, “but you pushed ahead and got it done, Commander. I commend you!”

He nodded once, in satisfaction. “This is a struggle for, and against, redemption. Out there on the field, we -- many of us -- are answering a question for ourselves: did we do the right thing, renouncing Chaos?”

“That ought to be obvious.”

“To you, of course, it is; and logically I agree. But you must understand, the overwhelming drive for Chaos -- for us, when we accepted Chaos -- was the power to win, to win at any and every cost. To win, and to survive even if we lost.

“We can’t help but think about that,” he quietly mused. “We thought about that, or dwelt on those feelings rather, for far too long -- too long to simply ignore the question now. Reason is superior in many ways to an asteroid strike; but reason alone will simply die by the asteroid strike. That is the temptation: to be the asteroid. And smash down reason. All reason.”

“...and how do you answer the struggle for that question?” I asked, with pointed wariness.

He smiled. “Some of us died. Died again, some of us. But we defeated a clearly much stronger foe, by using our reason.

“And by finding good allies to trust, we will complete the defeat of this foe!

“So: now that we’ve gotten their attention, I’ll go out personally and oversee building up defenses to brush aside the forthcoming enraged attempt at riposte,” Pauel declared.

“And meanwhile,” I grinned, “on their other flank...

“...combat gretchens!”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 02, 2019, 02:38:57 PM
CHAPTER SIXTEEN -- COMBAT GRETCHENS
-----------------------------------

{2-player map: Under Siege, one of the original DoW campaign maps, adjusted for skirmish and multi-play. Normally the human skirmisher would have to start in the city, as the Space Marines did in the campaign; but I set the positions to random so I could get a start outside the city.}

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5498/68Iz7N.jpg)

“Combat gretchens.” Eria stated this with an attempt at detached gravity, but her eyes looked a little like a cat’s when she has gotten stuck between a glass door and its storm screen and is trying to figure out how she got into this ridiculous situation and, more importantly, how to get out. (I had more than a little experience with cats, over the years.)

“I’m guessing you never foresaw combat gretchens.” I couldn’t stop grinning about this.

“.... ........do they have plasma?”

Ouch. “Uh, no, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. But they have adorable little tanks!”

“They will be slaughtered!” she insisted.

“Sort of,” I allowed. “Although they respawn, or should I say respore, very quickly, keeping a developing consciousness. Their sentience is quite remarkable. And, more importantly: they want to fight, and do their part!”

“But they could not possibly succeed! Not against the Emperor’s Children!”

“Normally, no, but this is meant as an insulting spoiler attack from their other flank. They don’t have to destroy the Chaos brigade; they only have to destroy the Children’s expansion toward the wooded park -- the D’oru’kan have infiltrated a small forward base into the area. The Chaos Marines clearly don’t expect a strike, especially from Orks, in that direction yet.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/4502/sfiR4N.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/3977/bJDS5f.jpg)

“So, each combat gretchen squad will first focus on taking a requisition point, including the relic point. The regular gretchens will focus on capping the points, setting up war banners... I mean ‘waaagh’ banners,” I smiled, “all of which are manned by gretchens, of course...”

“Of course,” she murmured in something like shock.

“...a nice pile of guns -- the listening posts and most other Ork structures have gretchen gunners on them. Quite quickly we’ll be in position to give four of the seven combat gretchen squads small anti-armor and anti-personnel cannons; I doubt we’ll even need the grot tanks at this rate! Those four squads will be the shooters, and the other three will be the melee fighters, which we’ll swarm more heavily.

“Now it’s time to move up before the Children really understand what threat they’re under.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/8577/FayfNX.jpg)

“Annnnnnd all of a sudden, we’z in der base, eatin’ der lunch!” I growled in the Orkan accent.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/6371/8BQAKM.jpg)


“I’m.... I’m watching gretchens murdering a Chaos Lord...” Eria’s whole world-view seemed to be tipping over.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/8011/T5Yy0h.jpg)

“Sure, it’s taking them some time to do so. But we’re teching up at the pile-a-gunz, and increasing their logistic capability to bring in more grots. And I gave them a firm pep talk before the mission: they can panic, but they are NOT allowed to flee back to the nearest fortified point! This is their chance to do something important without their larger, more developed brothers -- who are counting on the gretchens to get it done! Oh, did he run away? Smart move. He should keep going.”

“....and now Chaos Marines are fleeing in terror for their lives... from gretchens...”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7701/7ibM0H.jpg)


“I don’t think we’ll even need to build artillery,” I mused. “But I’ll instruct the support grots to do so anyway. Gretchens operate all orkan artillery, as you know.”

“...yes, I... I do recall knowing that... I just never thought it was important to know... are Orks on the field somewhere? I’ve been hearing an ever-growing roar in the distance.”

“Sure, I’ve been gathering them up farther off in the backfield, to move up into the position the gretchens are taking, prepared to put heavy flank pressure on the Children. I’ve been broadcasting this fight to them, and to all our allies -- even broadly across the whole Cadian system! I want everyone to see a forward base of Chaos Marines being stomped -- by a company of gretchens. Who, from now on, will be called great-chens!

“Consequently, their larger brothers over there, are cheering them on!” And I beamed proudly for the little troops. “That’s what you’ve been hearing.

“Oh, look, the Chaos Lord found the courage to come back for more! Here, have more great-chens! One hundred and seventy grots in your base, in twelve minutes by the clock -- I mean, in what’s left of your base.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1262/tS0Klo.jpg)

“The Children won’t stand for this.”

“I hope not! They came here to trick and trap us with appeals to our pride, because that’s how they think. Now I’m turning the tables, to trick and trap them with appeals to their pride.

“So: they can either retreat in total disgrace, or they can double and triple down their sunk costs, so to speak, and devote a strong force to prevent being overrun by greatchens! -- and by their own redeemed brothers who have proven that reasonable and wise skill can and will overcome blind strength, so that succumbing to chaos to win was a mistake.

“And then, once we have their attention and commitment...

“I’ll send the second death.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 02, 2019, 04:08:59 PM
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN -- THE LONG VIEW
----------------------------------
{Map: Archon IV, apocalypse version; Arisen and Vols vs two CSM Emperor Children teamed. I fought this one on UltApoc’s version of hard.}

“Well met, Canoness!” boomed the Volunteer Force Commander -- he had not stumbled across her group by accident. “How goes the war against Chaos on this Kasr?”

The Canoness called a halt to her troops and directed them to prepare for ambush. While they were dispersing into a good attack formation she called back, “You would know that better than I, traitor scum!”

Pauel sighed. “Indeed, we have rescued nearly a million civilians from Partox so far, thank Justice, and have destroyed several contingents of Chaos raiders; thus drawing a little attention back in our direction, and giving Imperial forces room to maneuver and counter-attack -- even returning to Partox in some numbers!” He gestured to the obvious group of Sisters.

“So does Chaos ever destroy itself! The Emperor be praised!”

“Agreed! -- even though we have different ideas about who counts among the forces that slay and exploit civilians.”

“And how many have you harvested? Nearly a million, did you say?”

“Neither to be slain nor exploited. But since you ask: the Volunteer Army is currently preparing to complete an encirclement and final assault on a large contingent of the Emperor’s Children -- I mean the Chaos Marines, not legitimate Astartes, of course.” That didn’t get a reply, but the Canoness was busy receiving scouting reports and giving further directions. “It will be a difficult fight against a shamed force which has committed major resources to defending and striking back at our audacities. Consequently, we have no way to care for a large pocket of civilians about forty klips in that direction,” he waved generally. “Therefore, we ask if you would be interested in saving them. Of course, you’re welcome to join the fight against the Chaos Marines instead! -- although, we would rather you didn’t attack us in the back while we were distracted: we should still defeat them but everyone would take more casualties. Anyway, if you prefer -- and if you care for the civilians and are worried about us doing something horrible to them -- you may freely move in and rescue them off Partox yourselves. We won’t interfere, and once done with our fight we shall simply create a perimeter to ensure you aren’t interrupted by Dark Eldar or whatever, until you are done.”

“...sounds like an opportune time to hit them from the flank, Canoness.”

But the leader was recalling her prior talk with Pauel. “That would be cowardly, and he would mock us for it. Let them attack each other in the back.”

“But, Lady,” an ecclesiarch protested, “this must be some sort of trap.”

“Naturally. But one we shall disarm.” Then activating her armor’s speakers she called back to Pauel -- though not by name, she wouldn’t give this traitor that honor, “We will see what we can do while you are distracted with your problems, traitor!” Then more quietly again, “This has to be some sort of ambush. I need to know, now, their troop disposition so that we can attack him and his squad most effectively. Before he escapes! Get to it, officers! I haven’t heard back what I need to know!”

“Then I ask only one thing!” he called. “Of course, here it comes,” smirked a Sororita sergeant.

“I ask that you swear on your honor as a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, and upon the honor of the Emperor’s name! -- that you will will feed, heal, and rescue the civilians, giving them over to the Imperial resettlement departments to be safely escorted out of the system and given new homes where they can be useful to the Empire.”

“Obviously,” chuffed the sergeant. But then her eyes widened.

Her Canoness wasn’t answering.

“Lady? Is this also a trap of some sort?” the sergeant asked in some confusion.

“...I swear!” called the Canoness.

“Your speakers may be damaged from a previous battle. I am sorry, but I didn’t hear you swear by your honor and the honor of the Emperor of Humanity!”

The Canoness gritted her teeth; but looking around she saw serious confusion in the eyes around her. She knew, no one better, how easily suspicions of heresy could turn lethal, to one’s life as well as one’s career. She had no desire to spend her days hanging in a penitent engine, fighting with her body exposed. “I swear upon my honor as a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, and upon the honor of the Emperor’s name, may his name be praised!” She had managed not to pause even a little while saying so.

There was, however, a pause as Pauel conferred on his headset; her under-officers were reporting that they hadn’t found the ambush yet, but she reminded them that this blasphemer consorted with elves, and insisted they continue searching.

Then, “Excuse me, Canoness, but my leader insists that you specify what you are swearing; he wants to make sure you aren’t trying to lie behind an evasion. I realize that can’t help but be insulting, but he promises he will accept your word as true, if you specifically tell him, under oath, that you will do your very best to see that the civilians are safely escorted off the planet and out of the system in good health, to be cared for and resettled elsewhere.”

She bared her teeth in an unconscious grimace -- but only for a moment, firmly clamping her lips shut before... but surely her advisors and guard had noticed. There was only one way around their growing suspicions for now; as for later, she would have to take a longer view... “I swear upon my honor as a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, and upon the honor of the name of the Emperor of Humanity, blessed be his name, that I shall do all in my power to take care of those civilians! -- I mean,” she bit her lips, “that I shall safely remove them out of the system to be cared for and resettled at my first available opportunity... always granting that military necessity might delay or disrupt that plan! If so, I shall still have kept my word that I have given, so far as I was able!” And she nodded to the others. “This is propaganda,” she said. “He means for us to try and fail.”

“Oh, I see!” the ecclesiarch nodded. And a sergeant said, “He must think the civilians will be under attack, one strong enough that he cannot entrap them for himself, and so if he sent you and you failed against your promise under your honor and that of the Emperor...!”

“That theory,” said the Canoness, “has much to commend it.” And she raised an eyebrow archly with a brisk nod. “Now get ready to assault this fool. I want bolter shells going downrange the moment we understand his ambush plans.”

“My leader,” called Pauel, “accepts your word on this! Thank you for your patience; I’m sorry to have given even a little insult to the question of your honor.” And he bowed.

“We shall see whose honor is worth nothing,” she promised him -- not with the speakers, only muttered. But that might sound suspicious, so she triggered the suit speakers and shouted, “WE SHALL SEE WHOSE HONOR IS WORTH NOTHING, TRAITOR! Not yet,” she motioned to startled subordinates who had taken more proper firing stances. “We have to be sure where his ambush will strike us first. Keep watching the sides.”

“As you say. May we all keep our honor under Justice Most High! Have a good day, Canoness. I hope we meet again under better circumstances.”

“As do I,” she grumbled, “so I can shoot you in the face properly.”

“He is retreating! Lady, now? He will get away!”

“Then my scouts have failed and must be severely punished for their laxity! But no matter, we shall nip his sweet little plan off the bud and throw it into the furnace of fire.”

Pauel returned to where his Volunteer Legion’s local regiment was making final preparations for the assault. “I hope and pray you are wrong,” he told me over the vox.

“As do I. But I have to take the long view; and either she would attack us from the rear at an inopportune moment, or she would be overrunning the civilians and all our forces are already stretched thin elsewhere. At least there’s some chance now, that more will be saved.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/8224/W2y3r0.jpg)

“How go the Arisen in their preparations?”

“I don’t think we can do more before the assault. I have an Arisen Lord, two Tomb Spyders, some elite Deathstrike and Deathtouch, plus two squads of normal Warriors...” I hestitated.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/4026/WyuGwe.jpg)

“Did you bring the Flayed Ones?” he asked.

“...yes. I wouldn’t normally want to use them, but they were easy to set up and I can send them as a melee strike force which should affect the morale of the enemy. As much as Chaos can have their morale affected.”

“They aren’t exactly brittle. Not always.”

“They have their moments. Your own initial assault company is prepared?”

{Gamenote: I started all sides with a small army for this battle, as well as builders.}

“As you say, I don’t think we’ll get more time to prepare. Our Eldar allies indicate the enemy has detected our advance into these forward bases, and has started shifting to meet us, away from defending against the D’oru’kan horde’s preliminary assault.”

“Good. The Combat Gretchen company did their job, allowing us to build up that ‘Waugh’ and launch it. But as happy as everyone is over there to be fighting -- on both sides! -- the Children have staked their own honor on winning despite their insulting losses here. They will be hitting us with their own elite companies, supported by well-developed bases. I will take the Arisen company about halfway forward, and set up a position to draw attention toward us. Our forces are more expendable, and also reassemble back to life sometimes,” I lopsidedly smiled.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/4408/PEF4gW.jpg)

“Agreed: we should deny them map control as much as possible, in order to out-produce them and win over time on logistics.”

“This area has seen too much fighting already in the recent past, and looting from Chaos afterward -- which, being Divided, they aren’t overly willing to share!” I observed. “No one can expect to harvest more than half the usual energy and requisition supplies here from the mining/storage points.”

“And we’ve all almost spent our budgets on setting up these forward bases and strike teams, so none of us will have much to work with going forward either.”

“In that regard,” I said, “the Arisen will have an advantage: we only need energy to work with! We don’t even need requisition exactly; it only speeds up deployment. So we can focus our builders early on the logistic problem and mostly ignore capping the logistic points.”

“So, I can come get some of your points eventually?”

“Sure! -- but don’t be surprised if Chaos sends teams into our backfield. This will be to our advantage in the long view... here we go, first customers. They could be hitting us with a combined stack, but they’ve sent a substantial fraction out in all directions to go around us, trying to requisition the supplies they desperately need! It’s a hard fight, but we’re doing okay. I’ve given the Tomb Spyders long-range anti-vehicle guns, so they’re ripping the Chaos Dreadnaughts apart.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5844/QaNp4p.jpg)

“Ah. Perhaps I should have done the same: brought our people together in the middle, and taken apart the enemy by pieces, before going after requisition. We’re... having some problems,” he said.

“Fatal?”

“...no. Probably not.”

“I can’t spare anyone yet. I had to deep-strike the Flayed to our central position as backstops, and I haven’t gotten the local teleportation network set up yet, to bring them back to the monolith where they can enter and re-teleport.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1783/G1ymkz.jpg)

“You wouldn’t get here in time otherwise. Necrons aren’t known for running!”

“Not unless we get their skimmers out, no. I can send you a couple of wraiths, but...”

“They wouldn’t make much difference. Send them to go decap and protect the relic position. We’ll get around to it eventually.”

“Will do. Ah, some more opponents!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8312/KBz6D9.jpg)
{Gamenote: a lot of our fighting centered on keeping this advanced point!}

“You’re helping indirectly,” Pauel reported. “The enemy keeps being torn apart by assaulting your position in pieces, and their commanders are clearly worried you’ll advance farther upfield! So they’re taking combatants away from my side, to hit the greater remaining threat.”

“All according to plan. Mua ha ha.”

“Your evil laugh needs work, but will suffice.”

“I don’t think the Arisen ever had an evil laugh, per se, even when they were Necrons, so I suppose it’s fitting since I’m commanding them today. I’m at the point where I could spare you some energy...?”

“No need, thanks. We’re recovering now.”

It took some time, and matters were dire occasionally on the Legion’s side of the field. Even when they managed to advance, they could easily find major Chaos units behind them requiring a withdrawal to meet the threat.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/7943/BLJ7lR.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3461/VFSJCZ.jpg)

I tech’d up the Arisen and advanced them forward one notch to deprive the Children of another logistic point -- also getting their attention again, and away from the Legion. This was enough distraction to allow the Volunteers to make several assaults on the leftmost corner of the enemy’s base; to which I sent some Flayed for aid (much to Pauel’s understandable annoyance.)


 (https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3576/iyPnMd.jpg)

After the third Legion wave or so, the Children’s base had been cleared on that side, and Pauel took some time to consolidate the rest of the operational area before advancing on the final two thirds of the enemy base; while the cluster of Arisen served as a distraction threat. And of course all of this weakened the Children’s defense against the D’oru’kan waaagh!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9758/OQbktt.jpg)


Between one thing, or two things, and another, the Children’s leadership eventually withdrew, leaving their bases to fend and die for themselves. Many fallen souls were collected for purging clean of chaos-warp; I don’t think the enemy had yet understood what was happening there. The Volunteer Legion, largely composed of former fallen souls given new bodies from Astartes geneseed, thanks to the Eldar/Necron spiritual technology, bore the lion’s share of the assault on our side -- as was only proper, under the circumstances.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7259/vtFMec.jpg)

But as I had feared, and somewhat expected, those weren’t the only casualties...

“The purging... has been completed. Lady,” reported an officer of the Sororitas.

“I applaud your foresight, Canoness!” nodded a satisfied ecclesiarch. “You hid your intentions from that traitor very well! And now their miserable plan has been foiled! -- by your steadfast will and...” A sound from above had arrived and was growing louder. “...uh.... that’s odd,” he said looking around, and upward, “that sounds like...”

“INCOMING!” “On our position!?” “Why, how -- “ “Scatter, hurry!”

The ecclesiarch tried to hurry, but he couldn’t scatter effectively.

Not until the drop-pod hit nearby, blasting him to a mess among the rubble. So did four others, crashing in a standard pattern around the center.

“CANONESS!” boomed a voice of wrath. “YOU WHOSE NAME I NO LONGER CARE TO LEARN!”

Force Commander Pauel trod out, clad in Terminator command armor, leading a force of Volunteer Terminator Marines. Our only ones currently, but the sisters wouldn’t know that. Their shock was duly noted.

“FOUL WRETCH! YOU SWORE TO SAVE THESE PEOPLE! SHOW YOURSELF IF YOU DARE, COWARD!”

The Canoness had been thrown aside along with her officers, but all had survived, by fortune or by fate, and... “That couldn’t be true Terminator armor. It has to be a trick. Comms, order assaults from the north and the west at once!”

Pauel instantly demonstrated that, among the various technological groups in our force, we had succeeded in creating more of the lost technology of such armor. And had improved it substantially to modern standards.

“THUS SHALL FALL ALL WHO ATTACK US! STAND DOWN! -- AND COME FORTH, WRETCH, AND WE SHALL SEE WHOSE HONOR IS WORTH NOTHING!”

In truth, when she had given the orders concerning this population, once found, she had received more than a few worried looks. But she had explained the truth as she thought it, and they had no longer given her such looks. Much.

Now Pauel was calling her honor as payment for her deed, thrusting what she had done into the face of her honor, and the honor of the Emperor. For her own people’s sake, she had to go forth and try to answer.

“You have failed, fool!” she broadcast as loud as she could through her armor’s speakers. She wouldn’t have bothered trying; Pauel would surely outclass her with all the Terminator speakers together in concert. But this was for her people to hear, not him. “I saw through your plan, and I have burnt it to the ground!”

“YOU UNJUST CRETIN! YOU SWORE TO HELP AND SAVE THOSE PEOPLE! NOT BURN THEM ALL TO THE GROUND!!”

“And now you will not have them as your spies and puppets, dispersed throughout the Empire, to sow your treachery and heresy!”

“WE HAD NEVER CONTACTED THEM YET! THEY WERE EXPECTING THE EMPIRE TO SAVE THEM! YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT HAD YOU DONE WHAT YOU PROMISED, WHAT YOU PROMISED IN THE EMPEROR’S NAME AND IN HIS HONOR -- TO SAVE THEM!”

She flinched. Hard. Her own honor was of no small concern, to her at least, but to have taken the Emperor’s honor in vain...! No, he had to be lying. This was a trick, a trap. She had prevented it from springing! She was faithful to the Emperor!

“I promised to save them unless military necessity arose! And that is exactly -- “

“FIEND! YOU ARE SAYING YOU PROMISED IN THE EMPEROR’S HONOR AND BY YOUR HONOR YOU WOULDN’T SAVE THEM FROM YOURSELF!! THUS YOU SHOW:

“WE INDEED HAVE DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT WHO COUNTS -- AMONG THOSE THAT SLAY CIVILIANS.”

He wasn’t even shouting now. He sounded sad, more than angry. Sad for them.

Sad for her.

“YOU HAVE SHOWN YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO SAVE THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD. SO WE WILL NOT TRUST YOUR HONOR AGAIN. I SPARE YOUR LIFE, DOER OF INJUSTICE, MERELY FOR THIS: AT LEAST YOU WILL FIGHT CHAOS, TOO. SOMETIMES.”

“...all the time! All the time, you... you traitor! You traitors!” And she stamped her foot. And winced; she hadn’t done that since being a little girl, so long ago.

“I hope,” Force Commander Pauel said, reducing the volume somewhat, but rumbling deep, “we will meet again, some day, in better...” his voice cracked, and he shook his head in grief, as much as his armor allowed, “...in a better day to come. May mercy and justice most certainly hound you forever.

“Oh. The drop-pods will self-destruct in about half a minute. As you might expect. I recommend you be gone by then. But, I can’t say I really care if you stay nearby,” he grated. “Squads, teleport.”

She didn’t stay. But she managed to walk away. With some dignity still intact.

Over the ashes of her victims.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 02, 2019, 04:17:12 PM
{Note: this is roughly the halfway point of the season.}

INTERLUDE -- UPON HER ASHES
---------------------------

The Canoness stood in her command center. Safe now. As safe as anyone could be on this blasted, haunted world, once a bastion of humanity’s power.

She could feel the ashes on the soles of her boots. That was her imagination. But all feeling was of the imagination. She told herself there was no point looking, she had scoured them clean already...

No. She had gotten new boots for her armor already. She had told the techpriests that those had been cursed, by a clever trick of chaos, and to be careful with disposing them.

So it couldn’t be the ashes of those people stabbing into the soles of her feet. Even penitent sisters didn’t have that. They wouldn’t be able to run or stand to fight properly.

Grim silence surrounded her, despite the usual work going on, officers voxing and reports being given and taken. Grim darkness, despite the lights of various screens and the overheads.

She had underestimated that... that ‘Pauel’. He was cruelly clever. He and his leader, who dared to call himself the new Emperor. Automatically she recalled his offenses as a litany -- and just as automatically, felt the usual disappointment upon recalling that there was no evidence he had ever called himself Emperor. Rather that he agreed the Emperor was the Emperor of Humanity.

Which showed how deviously clever he was. Clever and cruel.

The ashes of her honor stabbed and stabbed and sounded like they were screaming, burning alive, as she walked across the command room to look over some normal report about something. She wouldn’t cut off her feet, however. Then she might be unfit for command, or at least be hobbled from being as effective as before.

And then he would win.

“Ah, Canoness!” said the officer at the viewscreen, though she hadn’t said anything. “Uh, the Emperor’s Children have been driven off Partox in a decisive defeat. This,” he kept giving her quick glances, so quick he must have been hoping she wouldn’t see them, “seems likely, according to our strategists, to inspire competition among the Chaos forces about who and how exactly to take advantage of their loss. The overall result will be, they expect, a small yet significant decline in the invasions by Chaos elsewhere in the system, as the foes move to compensate. As a mobile strike force on this world, we should... um... the strategists haven’t been very clear about their expectations for us. Lady?”

“We will serve the Emperor. As always. Never doubt that. Ever.”

“Of course, Lady!” he saluted.

She turned, and a captain-sister stood not far away. Watching her. Intently.

“Your purpose. Be quick,” the Canoness told her.

“My purpose,” she said, her normally dark-skinned face practically pale... with fear? with anger? “is that of the Angel Saints.

“To save the people from Chaos. Because we love them -- “

The captain couldn’t quite finish “them” due to the Canoness having leapt upon her, throwing her to the ground. The captain could have struggled; she wouldn’t have won, due to inferior armor and weaponry, but the Canoness knew her qualities. She would have been a good Canoness herself in due time.

But the captain didn’t struggle. Not even when: “In the name of the Emperor,” declared the Canoness, “I accuse and convict you of treason!” She knew everyone had to be staring at this, but didn’t look away from the captain’s eyes.

Couldn’t look away.

“I accept,” said the captain. “I have betrayed the honor of the Emperor.

“When I pulled the trigger. On those people. Over and over again.”

“On my orders.”

“As you say. On your orders. And on your honor. You didn’t flip a single switch, or pull a flamer’s trigger. You ordered us to. And so -- “

“I am not guilty. I did what had to be done. So did you. I do not accuse you for that, but for this!”

“For what. Because my purpose is to save the people from Chaos?”

“......you are judging me. And I will not accept it.”

“I am judging myself. But yes, since you mention it: I am judging you, too. Lady Canoness.”

“It is a trick, you... you ninny!” She had almost called the captain something much worse, but her conscience could only bear so much. She settled for thumping the captain’s head against the plating of the command center floor. This had to be gotten out now, dealt with now, and the captain had simply volunteered to be the example. “There is no way to verify that the traitor commander spoke truly!”

“All we have is his word,” said the captain. “His promise. Which he kept. And your word. Which -- “

The Canoness ripped out her throat. The captain didn’t even seem surprised. She reflexively tried to breathe for a minute. Then expired. Probably from blood loss, not from asphyxiation. Yet.

The Canoness backed off her body, after ensuring her death. And stood. And looked around.

“Anyone expecting her to rise at once as an angel of light and denounce me,” she said, very calmly and sanely, “can just go line up against the wall outside right now, so you can be shot in an orderly fashion. Save everyone the trouble. No volunteers?” she snarled, or sneered the word. “Good thinking. Get back to work. Someone clean that up.” She would have to write a report explaining the death. Somehow. A faithful and talented captain’s death would not be easy to explain. Even moreso, a captain she herself had personally chosen for her qualities.

“It’s some kind of trick!” she announced. “Obviously! Can’t you all see that!? This is what he wants! To sow doubt in us, doubt in ourselves, doubt in the Emperor! He shall not succeed. I won’t let him; neither shall you. He has done this to us, but -- “

“You have done this to us.” The Canoness whirled to see who would speak to her that way, at this time.

A sergeant, from one of her honor guard. Also personally chosen by the Canoness, for her qualities. She would have made a good captain, but had pleaded to stay a sergeant. For the honor of serving the Canoness. She had been there. Had looked at her with suspicion when the Canoness had tried to find a way around --

“You have done this to us, and to yourself. I give my life, and die, speaking the tru--“

The Canoness’ weaponry was very high quality. “In case anyone else was thinking of opening your mouth to me,” she told them, very sanely and calmly, and reasonably, too, “remember that my weaponry is strong enough to blow a sergeant’s head clean out from under her own hair. Now someone will have to clean that up, to-- never mind. Everyone up! Right now! Outside. March. So help me under the Emperor, I will blast you all right now and set this command center on fire, anyone who remains. Out the door. That’s right, good boy, get going, you might have a future.”

“Oh?” someone to her left asked. “Does he have your word abo--?”

“And there’s another example for all of you!” she declared after the ringing of the next shot inside the walls died off. The walls had been designed to absorb and disperse the sound of even bolter fire, quite quickly. “So if you want to live a few more moments, get to it! Wait up, I’ll go first.” She didn’t want them running away. They mustn’t escape her.

“Up against the wall,” she snarled as she went outside. “All of you. You, too, boy. You might live a little longer. I haven’t made up my mind yet. Understand? I have absolute authority over life and death here. Under my command. This is not optional. Our war against Chaos LEAVES NO OPTIONS!” That was important to emphasize.

They lined up against the wall. There was some quiet weeping. Not from her. Her eyes were sanely clear and reasonable. She was a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, a servant of the Emperor’s honor.

“I know what you’re thinking,” she repeated. “You are all sure that the captain and the sergeant, and maybe whoever else that was, will rise as angelic saints, and blast apart the roof as they ascend, and glare down upon me in absolute judgment. BUT THEY AREN’T! SEE!? THEY AREN’T DOING THAT! THE EMPEROR HASN’T EMPOWERED THEM TO JUDGE ME!! I judge them, not the other way around. Me. I’m the judge here. Not them. That light in the sky... that isn’t them. All that is, is the clouds, randomly parting due to some atmospheric... QUIBBLE!” she screamed. And shot bolter fire into the general direction of the sunbeam. “I know what you’re thinking, it seems awfully improbable that the sun would burn down on my head like fire, on this ruined hell of a planet where smoking rubble has thrown up clouds across the world. Well that’s all it is. Improbable. It isn’t impossible. It isn’t night-time, you dolts.” She wasn’t entirely sure about that, but she would be damned if she checked now. “The fire will go away in a minute. And when it’s gone, I’ll decide how many more I have to kill in order to make my point and keep order in this command. How many more traitors I have to execute,” she corrected herself.

She stood there, waiting for the swirling clouds to cover the sun again.


“And then,” she said, some time later. And paused. And covered her face in her hands. From under her hands she said, “...it doesn’t matter. I don’t think there were angels in the sky. Not really. But it doesn’t matter. Because that’s the story going around now.

“And it doesn’t matter, because I could feel them judging me anyway.

“I could have immediately walked over and turned myself in, to the Inquisition or to some other administrative body. I thought about it. Would they say I was guilty? -- guilty of being an agent of Chaos? Or would they justify my actions? Either way, they had to remove me from duty, I understood that. From duty as a Canoness. I would be strapped to a penitent engine, or perhaps be made a penitent foot runner. Charging into battle, pierced by my sins. I was willing to accept that. I didn’t deserve anything better, anything more.”

She inhaled, like a sign in reverse. And uncovered her face. And looked at Pauel.

And said,

“But I knew, to the core of my soul:

“I’d always be running upon those ashes.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 03, 2019, 02:01:09 PM
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN -- MONSTERS (Part 1 of 2)
----------------------------

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/5264/lesBpg.jpg)

{Gamenote: 3-player fan-made map Inquisitor fortress, on hard (since they’re fighting each other and I’m starting in an area with built-up protections plus some Space Marine tactical and assault infantry support.)}

“I have problems,” Eria announced, after gliding into my room, where I was partially resting. Partially -- because my connection to the Arisen didn’t allow a traditional sleep. I didn’t dream, so much as subsume myself into overseeing management.

“Who doesn’t?” I grimly retorted. Then, “Sorry, that was supposed to be trench humor. I know, you wouldn’t have visited me and said that, unless you knew it was very serious.”

“Until just recently, it was not a problem at all. The war we Eldar instigated between the Tyranids and Chaos demons?”

“I still have no idea how you managed to do that. But, I’m glad we haven’t seen either of those problems for a while, so thanks!”

“Obviously, there couldn’t be such a war unless the demons chose to attack. But we played on their pride, indirectly guiding them into thinking that the Tyranids are competing to be the most horrible monsters.” She couldn’t help but smirk at that. “Who would even care? The Tyranids don’t. But Chaos demons don’t have much in their lives, except the fear they can generate. The Tyranids, in their own way, have each other, and each other’s loyalty.”

“And I understand,” I said, “in their own twisted way, that’s more than enough: justice only amounts to what serves to improve the hive in its capabilities.”

“Yes, although if we could angle this into the hive becoming suspicious of its chaotic hybrid leaders...”

“You haven’t explained your problem. Yet,” I smiled, but tried to convey how tired I was by the smile.

She came to herself, out of her plotting, with a start. “My apologies. Of course, as you say, I wouldn’t have bothered your rest unless it was serious.

“The Volunteer Legion has recently found and taken a fortress; formerly an Inquisitorial chaplain-colonel was stationed there, overseeing compliance for the area.”

“Still not a problem yet.”

“The defenses set up by the Legion are... a start, let us say. Enough to fend off casual probes. For various reasons, more has not been added yet...”

“I see; I’ve found the records. Yes, I think the point is that we aren’t going to stay on this world, so there was only need to have enough to brush off a raid. More fortifications would have been added, from our limited resources, upon facing a greater threat.”

“Properly so. Now something like a greater threat has slipped into the area, not so much against the fortress, as trying to outflank each other.”

“Ah, the nids and the demons.”

“Their parallel advances will bring them into the fortress area soon. I am unsure the fortress will last if both decide to attack at once, or if one decisively defeats the other; and the Volunteer Marines are spread already thin in other areas. As are most of the Volunteer forces.”

“Hm. I would say abandon the area; Lord knows, we have plenty of planet to work on. But, I see from the records...”

“Yes, there are human populations in the area, who haven’t evacuated. They don’t trust us enough yet, but we should be able to get them moved, by fear if nothing else, to put the fortress between them and the advancing monsters -- for now.”

“But if the fortress falls, yes, I see, they’ll be overrun. We have a real problem here.”

“...you have one force which hasn’t overstretched itself, yet. I volunteer us, to help the Legion’s defenses.”

My eyes snapped open wide at that. “I... I’m glad to accept your help on the ground, of course. But I’m... I have to say I’m surprised.”

“I will be critical of myself,” she stated. “I have not... encouraged my people to be of much help in the fighting, so far. And this particular problem has developed, due partly to our responsibility. I wish us to make our contributions to solving the problem. That is all.”

She didn’t exactly flush, but after all these years I could detect signs of some embarrassment. “At once!” I agreed. “Can the Vols provide some help?”

“I think so, yes. One of your Brother Captains and a Force Commander, say that they may be able to get away from their current engagements, and join some tactical marines. Perhaps the new Librarian commander, too. They will not be able to bring out anything like their full strength, but together we... should,” she emphasized, “be able to deflect both wings or tendrils of the devilish arms slinking out that way.”

That sounded problematic. So she hadn’t foreseen the outcome. Oh well. “At the worst,” I said, “if the people see you both fighting together to spare them from those monsters, maybe they’ll finally be encouraged to get on transports out of the area, instead of waiting for the Empire to bomb them to dust. I’ll have the Vol Militia detail some logistic transports as soon as possible. I pray the people will get in them, this time.”

“I’m confident you’ll succeed,” she said. “Now, I myself will go and see to the fortress defense.”

And so, she went.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 03, 2019, 02:02:41 PM
(Part 2 of 2)

{Gamenote: due to map design, you’ll just have to ignore the Blood Angel coloring and markings. I didn’t have any way to set them as Vols, except by making one of the other starting positions also Vols, on my side, and that was too much of a crushing over-roll.}

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/5051/Dhffho.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/7559/Hto2Mw.jpg)


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/4711/kvxKLC.jpg)

“Resources in this area are rather spent,” Pauel told her as they met for planning at the fortress.

“And I see,” she said with just a slight acidity, “the Legion has put down one plasma generator.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1897/eGoTDt.jpg)

“We have been called away. Often.”

“I know. We could have upgraded the area ourselves, already. That was my error, and I am sorry. I was critiquing myself, not you. We should have been doing more to help your operations; and I am to blame for this situation at all. I do not wish to risk my life, or even another Eldar life, for a bunch of ungrateful filthy, dying -- !” She stopped, and carefully inhaled. “But here I am.”

“Ah. Well, I’m here, too, for now, and others may come, but the first requisition should be spent on logistics, of course. We have enough defenses to parry off casual thrusts. For now.”

“Already working on it,” she murmured, sending command orders out as Bonesingers and two squads of scouts arrived.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/2600/IYE2LG.jpg)

“We still have some time. The enemy will be distracted with each other, and with building up their own presence in the area. At first.”

“Once we’re ready to go out and remove them, I recommend trying to hit them for balance, so one of them won’t get so much stronger as to finish off the other.”

“Very well said! -- you would make a good Eldar.”

“To be fair, I’ve been alive now for over ten thousand years, though mostly not in this form. Doesn’t seem that long. In the warp, I mean.”

“I understand. I don’t often meet humans older than I am, and by a fair margin. More precisely, you are the first.”

“So you were born after, um... the Eye of Terror opened?” he diplomatically put it.

“Long after. We do still breed. It is just... difficult. To avoid being captured by Slaanesh while doing so. And we don’t breed very quickly at all in the best of times. Didn’t.”


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/731/Rh0bss.jpg)

“Which is why you protect your dwindling numbers so fiercely. I understand, and I appreciate your gesture of goodwill here that much more by proportion!”

“But do you appreciate her gesture fully yet?”

 

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/9948/4KnEdO.jpg)

Eria and Pauel were both seasoned warriors, very much so; and so though surprised they whirled toward the unexpected and oddly stilted voice, in synchrony together -- though in his armor he couldn’t turn nearly as fast, and so saw him last:

an Imperial Inquisitor.

“So, you aren’t here to fight us,” Eria inferred.

“And you did not foresee my coming. Or I would not have surprised you. Curious.” The massive black-skinned warrior quirked a smile and easily shifted his warhammer in his brilliant, thick armor.


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8848/qAufBE.jpg)

“No, I am only here to be... inquisitive.”

“Very well,” the Force Commander said, “I am Commander Pauel.” He didn’t introduce the Farseer, nor of course his obvious Legion.

Nor did he ask for the other’s name, but paused a moment to offer a chance at reciprocation... “I am Inquisitor Mordecai Toth.”

“I know that name,” the Eldar said. “My teacher fought against you, and with you, on occasion. She said that you were a good opponent.”

“Taldeer, perhaps? I have only met one Farseer yet, besides yourself, although I am sure that I have fought against, and even with, some others. Indirectly. You understand.”

“I do. And yes, I was taught by Taldeer.”

“I felt... ...a loss, when I heard of her death, against the Necron menace on Kronus, during the Dark Crusade. My condolences,” he bowed, more like a nod in his armor. “I found her interesting. I would have been glad to study her more.”

“Dissect her?”

“Unnecessary. And pointless, for me. I would have recommended against it.”

“Interrogation then,” stated Pauel.

“Not torture, no. Any player of the ancient game, appreciates another player worthy of the match.”

“So, if you are not here to kill us, we have some things to do.” Pauel voxed some orders to prepare to bring in tactical marines.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5374/AueBtI.jpg)

“Protecting this fortress?” Toth made that a question. Aimed at Eria. “Eldar protecting an Imperial fortress is, to say the least, a rare spectacle.”

“There are people behind the fortress,” she answered cooly. “We are trying to evacuate them.”

“Speaking of protecting this fortress,” Pauel returned after sending out some orders, “how did you get arrive? And when?”

“Why, just now, a few minutes ago. Shall I tell him how? Or does he know? Or, does he not know?” The Inquisitor watched the enquiring look that Pauel gave Eria; and her wariness.

“Apparently he does not,” she answered. “And I have not yet told him, that this fortress was built around and over an ancient Eldarian webway gate.”

“One in danger of being overrun by highly unstable forces, naturally capable of dangerous warp manipulation,” Toth observed.

Now she did snort. “And the mon-keigh, O Inquistor Mon-keigh: you think we think that you are not?!” Toth squinted at that riposte. “We know how to seal off a captured webway gate.”

“Like this one we are standing over?” Pauel enquired, pointedly looking at Toth.

“This one has never been sealed, yes,” affirmed the Inquisitor. “Guarded, yes, against what might emerge, or who. But, not sealed by the Eldar, nor of course by us. Don’t you find that curious?”

“A backdoor communication channel, then.”

“Perhaps, but one not used. Overtly not used, if I may put it bluntly, keeping in mind the current situation of the Cadian system.”

“In fact,” Eria said, “some blessed saints of the Imperial Sisters recently helped evacuate some troops of yours, through some Eldar webway gates. With our permission.”

“But you did not warn us this invasion was coming.”

“...no.”

“But you knew.”

“...to some extent. Pauel should remember me saying that, during an operational briefing, before we arrived in the area.”

“Among other things, I am inquisitive,” Toth said, “as to why. The fall of the gate, creating a risk of expanding the Eye of Terror, could by no means benefit the Eldar. Or, could it?”

“That is a fascinating question, which we shall have to return to later,” Pauel declared. “You are welcome to join our fight here. Your blows against Chaos spawn would be very helpful. But if you aren’t allowed, or might get into too much trouble, I’ll understand.”

“...you would let me take command of a squad of your Marines?”

“Under supervision, yes.”

“Or, if you prefer, I would allow you to fight along with a squad of Banshees,” the Farseer invited -- a little pointedly.

“That would be... a novel experience,” Toth agreed, cautiously. “If you are serious.”

“Very.”

“Ah, of course,” Pauel slightly smirked. “They would keep a better eye on you in case of treachery.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6180/0GvFeG.jpg)

The fight began in earnest, now, outside.

It continued. For some time.

{Gamenote: to be honest this fight was rather boring -- the Nids and Demons fought each other so much we barely saw them before advancing outside the fortress, and we had plenty of time to max up to an overwhelming power. The map is really designed for a 2 vs 1 fight, not free for all. Also, my game crashed before I finished off the Demons, who had already beaten the Nids after which the AI seems to have given up trying to decide what to do; but I was well on the way to rolling them, too. Please accept these snapshots as indicative.}

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7411/7M9anP.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7530/fhPLQr.jpg)

“I rather hoped,” said Eria after, “the Tyranids would overcome the Chaos demons, if there should be some clear victor between them.”

“Less Chaos that way,” Pauel explained to Toth. “Relatively. Thank you for your service. My men and I appreciate it.”

“As do we,” the Farseer said.

“Returning to our fascinating discussion, as we finish up here: I myself would like to enquire,” Pauel dryly asked, “how exactly did you ever learn how to travel the webways?”

“Yes, a worthy question.” Toth had to have noticed that this was not exactly where the topic had been left off, but he continued anyway: “I will be glad to answer, in exchange for knowing why the webway was never closed, or even destroyed from within, despite being captured by the Inquisition. Farseer Eria, as I’m sure I heard you called by various subordinates: I don’t suppose you would care to explain as well, why you never used it?”

She nodded once, her lips drawn thin. Toth, with a gesture, invited her first to answer.

“My teacher gave out explicit instructions, to keep the gate unsealed.”

“And did she have that authority? Or did she foresee why?”

“Not normally, no; and so that answer is yes. But she didn’t specify. And yes, before you ask, I did ask her.”

“Curious. Do you have any guesses you think worth prudent to share?”

“Until just recently, I had no clue. Just recently, though, my guess is that she saw the gate would be used by you.” Eria smiled, thinly, to see the Inquisitor’s lips now thin in turn.

“...a reasonable guess. I suspected you might answer that -- once you told me the Farseer ordered, prophetically, the gate be left unbarred. So, you deployed to protect the gate for my...”

“As you have just realized, clearly not: once you arrived, we would have had no reason to stay any longer, if that had been my primary goal.”

“...you expect me to return the way I came. The gate must therefore stay protected, so that I may go back.”

“A not-unreasonable guess,” she smirked, “except for being clearly very faulty. I didn’t foresee your coming, and you caught even me by surprise. Quite an embarrassment to me, remember?”

“Or, that is what you want us to believe,” said Toth -- glancing pointedly at Pauel.

“Hm. I’m going to take a guess myself,” the Force Commander said: “you don’t understand her yet. At all.”

“And you do? Are you so sure?”

“I do have more experience than you, not only at dealing with her, but also with strange manipulations and lies, far beyond whatever an Eldar might dream up! So no, I think she meant what she said was her primary goal here; and that was...?” Pauel prompted. “She told you, too, shortly after we met.”

“To save a bunch of ‘mon-keigh’?! You don’t understand the Eldar well at all, I dare to say.”

Pauel glanced at Eria, as they walked back toward the fortress, through the ruined destruction, with the remnants of their army, working together. “Anything,” she said, “I said, might be deemed suspicious, or else redundant if you do understand me. Correct?”


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6924/MsX5ZP.jpg)

“Well answered!” Pauel laughed. “What you may not know,” he answered to Toth, “is that she herself was instrumental in bringing us all together to work with each other, to fight against Chaos. Not against the Imperium, if we can help it. And she has made her prejudices clear, about our species. Self-critically so. And that, she said, is why she has chosen to fight here -- commanding her own people to their deaths, some of them. She said that she is at fault, for not having done enough to fight to save our people yet, and that this situation here was her own....”

“....yes?” Toth inquired. “Her own fault, did she say? How so?”

“She had manipulated the Nids and the Demons into fighting each other, to keep them occupied and not so much a threat to our recovery efforts, to get as many people off this planet and safely away as possible.”

“A very typical Eldar move on the board, I agree.”

“But, the enemies had started trying to outflank each other in this direction, which put the population at risk. Thus, her responsibility for their endangerment.”

“Which she perhaps considered you would blame her for, and so,” Toth suggested, “to protect her status and goodwill in your force, she sacrificed her people to clean up a political mess she had made.”

“She doesn’t like to sacrifice her people,” Pauel replied, shaking his head, waving off the idea. “That isn’t it. No,” he rubbed his chin, “I think it’s something else.”

“Do tell,” invited Toth, still with a satisfied smirk.

“...ha! A-hah!” Pauel’s victorious laugh caused that smirk to falter. “I see the plot! You,” he whirled upon Eria, “arranged for that tendril of their war to reach out in this direction -- in order to convince those people, finally, to trust us to evacuate them!!”

“I did. Well seen. The people needed to see the Eldar helping, too, and I had put them in danger, so it was fair that we risk our lives for them.”

“Bah.” Now Toth was waving that off. “I utterly fail to believe you now regard the value of your people as being equal to our own, so that you would sacrifice them to help us. There must,” he said to Pauel, “you must understand, there HAS TO BE another plot behind this!”

“Of course,” she pertly said. “Considering the circumstances, as they were developing...

“...I wanted to see if this would trigger whatever my teacher’s purpose was, in leaving that webway gate unsealed. Upon her special authority as a Farseer.

“And here you are. O Inquisitor Toth! -- treasured opponent of Farseer Taldeer. Who has somehow learned to navigate our webway, and operate our gates!” And now she was beaming so hard, she was radiating satisfaction just like a cat perched up above a stove! “You can take your turn explaining that, at any time you’re ready, according to our deal.”

“Preposterous! You would have us... you would have me believe, you sacrificed the lives of your people, for this? ...for me?!”

“Not for you. Not at all. And not to see if whatever she had Foreseen would happen. I didn’t know what would happen, remember, or if it would happen at all at this time. I’m deeply curious what the meaning of this will be. But I assure you: I didn’t sacrifice my people’s lives for you.” -- delivered with a glare as hard and sharp as warp-bone. “...I might do so later,” she admitted, looking away. “I don’t know. It depends.”

“And so I am back to why you sacrificed your people’s lives. No answer you gave makes sense, so far.”

“Of course not,” she said... and distantly smiled. “I’ve told you the truth -- but you cannot believe it.”

“I believe it,” Pauel said. “And my belief counts, here. Not his.”

“Your belief counts, my ally. But... maybe also his.

“Maybe that’s what my teacher foresaw. I’ll tell you something else I didn’t foresee: our leader saving you, Commander Pauel. Any of you, at all. That never even occurred to me. I still remember my blank surprise, the moment he suggested it.” She shook her head, amazed. “I... supposed that he would destroy you all, or seal you away forever, or for an eon. Or something. I hadn’t really thought about it. Only assumed. I assumed what I already thought, and felt, to be true. And I was wrong,” she told Pauel. “And I am glad I was wrong, and that I agreed to help him try. And also I am sorry for being wrong. I will admit, I didn’t want you saved, at all. Not specifically you, I didn’t personally know you, but generally none of you. All of you could rot forever, or out of existence all together, as far as I ever cared.

“But he cared. More than I could care.

“And that,” she told Toth, who was busily flicking glances back and forth between them, as if he had forgotten what Pauel had been, “is why I and my people risked our lives today, for your fellow humans. I’ve learned to care more than I did, once. At least, I’ve learned I should care more, although I’m not very good at it yet. My people are learning that, too. Slowly enough, but surely.

“And -- that might -- that might just be --

“-- why my teacher saw to leave a door unsealed. For you. To meet your monsters.”

They walked toward the forward ramp of the fortress, which they would now abandon, its purpose served.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/65/aRjMMP.jpg)

“I don’t know,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I would survive today.

“I hope we’ll see.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 03, 2019, 02:03:31 PM
INTERLUDE -- INQUIRY
--------------------

“Welcome to Craftbase Alaph!” I greeted the Inquisitor as he stepped off the Eldar transport. Eria had chosen not to bring him here through the permanent webway under the Inquisitorial Fortress, nor any of the more temporary ones that had been scattered around during her mission, so that he wouldn’t be able to use the webway to get here again. I walked forward and offered my hand: “My name is John.”

The man looked understandably curious and wary, both in equal measure, but he gasped my hand and answered, in his odd and lilting accent, “Toth, of the Imperial Inquisition -- as I suppose you’ve been told.”

“True. Also, in case you’re wondering, yes I’m human, despite some relatively minor technological upgrades and, let us say, Eldar health training. So I’ll thank you not to crush my hand, testing my strength or resistance to damage.”

“So noted.” And he relaxed and released his grip.

“Your own augmented strength is also noted, for future reference,” I wryly smiled, flexing my hand a little for show. I hadn’t lied, but neither did I want to reveal any actual limits to him. He surely hadn’t shown his own. “Speaking of notes! Please be assured that you have full permission to record and scan whatever you wish -- and can get away with doing of course,” I winked, “while you’re here! Naturally we have some military confidentialities we won’t intentionally let you see, but otherwise be as thorough as you wish. Bring back the fullest report you can.”

“I intended to. But I... appreciate your permission.”

“I’m glad you accepted our invitation back, and I don’t want you to be in any trouble when you return.” He didn’t reply to that, so I continued, “Commander Pauel here will start you on a tour of our facilities, but I’ll need a short report from Farseer Eria before we join you. We’ll be over there in the office for this hangar -- probably out of reach of any sensors in your suit, or psychic abilities. But we’ll join you soon on the tour. Commander?” With that invitation, Pauel led Toth away, as Eria and I withdrew.

“I’m glad you returned,” I told her once we had a reasonable measure of security; not privacy, due to hangar staff doing usual operations, but we were off to the side so that we wouldn’t interrupt them but could respond in case of alert. “I suspected you didn’t see your own return, despite being confident your strategy would get those people on the transports at last.”

“Yes; a... test perhaps. From the source of our foresight.” She preferred to skirt the question of where the Eldar truly received what they saw, although she knew my opinion. This was the closest she had come, so far, to acknowledging any intentionality -- maybe.

“And perhaps a test to see if I would figure out your rationale?”

“Perhaps. And did you?”

“You dropped enough hints to make it reasonably probable, at least, that you had engineered the encroachment by those sparring creatures to convince the civilians to evacuate with us. Of course, I have no way to prove I guessed beforehand; you know I was listening in on conversations down there.”

“You don’t sound as though you entirely approve.”

“Your strategy, yes. Your keeping your strategy from me, no. That’s your prerogative,” I agreed. “I’m not your ultimate authority. But we’re in a war and I don’t appreciate being tested by clever games when other people’s lives are on the line.” I gave her a moderate glare, and added, “Whether Someone Else intended to test you, as your ultimate authority, is irrelevant: that’s no excuse to make yourself feel better by giving me partial rationales, to see if I’ll pick up on them. I know it made no difference in the end,” I forestalled her. “I can see you weren’t trying to undermine or betray anything. Even so, a trivial game for drama’s sake is still a trivial game.”

“...call it a habit, then. We don’t have many enjoyments anymore, so we indulge in drama even when we don’t have to. Not your problem, I know; and I accept the rebuke. I was feeling unsettled by my own rather more important test. You’re right, I did feel more in control by playing you that way. You didn’t deserve that. I won’t lie and say I feel sorry, but... yes, it was unjust and I shouldn’t have done it.”

“Accepted,” I said. “I won’t dwell on it. And, aside from our losses -- especially grievous to you and your people -- I’m glad things have worked out successfully. So, let’s go give Toth a good understanding of what we’re doing and what we’re about, and then...” I was turning away to go, when I heard her say:

“I won’t promise not to do it again.”

I looked back over my shoulder with a puzzled squint --

-- then laughed! “Very well,” I said and turned to bow. “I see you’re going to test on whether I’ll trust you anyway! So I choose to do so.”

About an hour later, after a short but reasonably thorough tour, we and local commanders gathered in a briefing room to question the Inquisitor. While he found the Tau leaders interesting, he was most curious about the D’oru’kan Warboss lounging against the back wall, under a sun-lamp, without any armor.

“I have been... close,” said Toth, “to an orkan Warboss before. I did not enjoy the experience. Neither did he.”

“Never close to one like me, yet, I reckon,” grunted the ork with a lopsided grin.

“Warboss Sunstriker here,” I said, “was the first we ever raised from the reclaimed spores. He may look like he’s napping, but that’s how they process information and pass it around by a biological network.”

“Absolutely fascinating,” murmured Toth. “Using the warp?”

“In a very mild way, yes. Our scientists are just giddy being able to study orkan biotechnology this...!” Pauel coughed, closer to one of the doors. “Oh, yes, the Vol commanders need to get back to their forces soon. My apologies, let’s begin,” I invited, as I beckoned Toth back up to the front of the room.

“So!” I clapped my hands once. “I’m glad you accepted our invitation, and as soon as you like we’ll shuttle you back to the base and ensure a secure perimeter for you to leave by the permanent webway gate. Obviously the Empire is welcome to retake the fortress as soon as you’re feasibly able.”

“Will you be returning the people?” he asked.

“That depends,” I answered. “First, do they want to return to the Empire? If so, we’ll try to get that done. But second... are you going to fry them to a crisp or imprison them for torment or anything else like that, after being in our care? We’ve had some problems along that line: it’s the only reason we’ve fought against the Empire so far -- “

“So far,” Toth noted. And raised an eyebrow.

“I can’t rule out other actions yet; I mean for other reasons than defending civilians from you. I’d like to rule out every combat action against the Empire, though, as soon as feasibly possible. Relatedly -- and not that I’d blame you -- but are you planning to virus bomb this planet?” No answer. “Because we’ve seen and heard some indications along that line. And I’m not keen on sending back civilians to face Exterminatus from on high, you understand.”

He stood for a moment, considering. “Yes,” he said, “that is our plan. I fully support it. The increasing Tyranid infection alone would warrant such an action.”

Before I could speak, one of the Vol Militia commanders snorted and said in derision, “And yet you wanted us to put those people back.”

“He might have still -- “ I calmly started, but, “Just to be clear,” interrupted Toth, “I brought a quantum detonator, deep in my armor, in case I had a chance to wipe out your leadership all at once.”

“You wouldn’t succeed,” I flatly stated.

“Mostly success might be... acceptable,” he shrugged. And carefully watched the faces in the room. No one was rushing for the door -- or rushing him. Naturally, they were tenser now, but --

“If that had been your primary plan,” Eria inferred, “you would have done so already.”

“I reserve the option. Depending on... factors.”

“I hope our restraint at this news is one of those factors,” I said.

“While we are waiting to hear our fate,” Eria continued, just a bit dryly, “would you consider keeping your side of our bargain?”

“...ah. Yes. I cannot deny, you’ve gone out of your way to offer... detailed... answers to my questions.

“The question at hand,” he said to the rest of the room as he settled into something like a lecturing stance, “is how I know how to navigate and operate the Eldar webway and its gates. To some extent.” That caused a ripple of surprise across the room. “To grossly oversimplify the answer: before his... lapse... into his current state, the Emperor had been researching Eldar webway technology, hoping to devise a similarly safe way for humanity to travel interstellar distances. Then Chaos forces seduced away several of his sons, cloned from his own genetic material, to rebel against him. The Horus Heresy. Holy Terra itself was invaded, and the Emperor was lethally harmed in slaying his own most-beloved son, Horus.”

“I vaguely remember those days,” Pauel sighed. “I wasn’t on Terra, but elsewhere. Rebelling.”

That earned a gimlet eye from Toth, who then continued, “Retreating to the Golden Throne, the Emperor was able to sink into a near-coma. His project and many other dreams, had been ruined. The most he could do, was use his nascent technology to broadcast himself as a spiritual beacon, allowing us to navigate the warp more safely than before... somewhat... but still directly. This is also how he can send forth spiritual energy to help bolster his people in times of need.”

“I myself do something a little similar,” I said. “I am supposing you’ve suspected that already.”

“Indeed. Your confirmation is not... unexpected. To make a very long story overly short, various technophiles have long attempted to carry on the Emperor’s former research -- under the oversight of the Inquisition due to obvious risks of warp exposure. That has been nearly ten thousand years. There have been many... problems.”

“Was the Cadian Gate an experiment in webway technology?” I asked.

“Yes. I assume your Eldarian ally will know of this already, and you are asking to see if I’ll truthfully answer.”

“I did already sense this,” she confirmed. “But I have told no one other than fellow Eldar yet, who would also be in position to know. Until just recently, it didn’t seem important, with all our other exertions to focus on.”

I coughed and added, “She did tell me. More than a little amused, that I now count as one of the Eldar, in effect...!”

“I wasn’t sure you wanted me to relay that information,” retorted Eria, with a touch of frost, “considering the circumstances.”

“So why do you want me to know?” Toth wondered.

“Partly just from honesty,” I said. “And partly because I want you to know: we have a plan to try to reverse and close this new Eye of Chaos.”

“...I see. No servant of Chaos would want to do that. Perhaps.”

I chuckled a little at that. “Can’t be too careful, I understand!”

“Wait,” said one of the human commanders, “why would he even be suspicious of that?!”

“Aside from the possibility,” Toth replied, “that your leader is simply lying to me... I prefer not to voice my suspicions.”

“He’s wondering,” said a Tau Etherial, “whether we’re pooling our knowledge on how to manipulate the warp, in a more ordered fashion -- Eldar, and Tau, and not forgetting the D’oru’kan who do so naturally -- to become a new, more effectively dangerous, and less self-destructive Chaos force.”

“Chaos Undivided has been a dream of Chaos,” said Toth, “since time immemorial.”

“A deluded dream,” I observed. “Chaos undivided is chaos ordered, and so no longer chaos.” Toth pointedly rolled his eyes around the room. “Excuse me,” I continued, “but the Imperium, and you yourself personally, constructively use the warp in an ordered fashion. You’re even using webway gate technology! So, while I understand your suspicions, unless you’re about to accuse the Emperor and yourself of trying to become a more effective Chaos power, then...!”

He held up a hand. “I understand my own intentions. By the nature of things, we can only judge intentions from other people by externals.”

“Shall I submit to a mind probe?” I offered.

“Irrelevant for several reasons. First, your own intentions may be pure, but not those of your conspirators. Second, you may corrupt your intentions later. Third, I cannot be sure you wouldn’t know how to foil and fool a mind probe, especially considering your various... upgrades, and training. The fact you volunteered could count in favor of that suspicion.”

I spread my hands and said, “I don’t know what else to tell you, then!”

“Of course. The fact is simply that I cannot be sure. The data points all fit into more than one shape, so to speak.

“However, I acknowledge: they do fit more than one shape. If you will allow me to leave, I shall... ponder what I have learned, and seen, and heard.”

I nodded at once, “Of course you can safely leave, and as I said we’ll arrange for transport safely back to the webway gate, if you prefer.”

“...I do. I make no promise about reducing our forces’... hostilities, toward your people.”

“I didn’t expect you could in any case,” I said.

As promised, we delivered Toth back to the surface, and secured his exit through the permanent webway gate.

“What did that even accomplish?” groused a Vol Militia commander after we left.

“Sowing seeds,” Sunstriker rumbled.

***
Toth walked out of another webway gate, hidden deep within another, very much larger and much more active Inquisitorial fortress. “Inspector-General Phaytes,” Toth saluted and bowed, “I am prepared to make my report; and also I submit to the mind probes, at any degree of intensity, considering my exposure to them.”

“So it shall be,” intoned Phaytes. “Tell me, though: do they present a threat to the Imperium?”

“Considering all I saw....” he paused to do so. “Yes. But not yet.”

“Then,” said Phaytes, “let the Inquiry begin.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 08, 2019, 09:54:38 PM
Less plotty, more dakka!

CHAPTER NINETEEN -- The Strongest There Is
------------------------------------------

{4-player fan-made map “Lake Acrimony”}

“All right, ya grots, lissen up!” Warboss Sunstriker strode up onto a podium where his subcommanders could see him better; anyone could hear him for various reasons. “The boss,” he enunciated rather more clearly, “is sending us on vacation!”

That earned some surly growls, but those were for show. The Orks weren’t stupid, and knew they hadn’t been gathered for nothing. But all armed forces love their traditions.

“Oh no, it’s true!” Sunstriker teased. “We’re going to this resort here!” he pointed on a nearby map.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3195/CtJA4z.jpg)

“Even da humies like ta get out in tha sun and soak a while!” Some snorts of disbelief, but also of interest. “Now, there ain’t much sun,” he casually continued, slipping mostly back out of the traditional accent, “not anymore -- too much waaagh-dust,” he grinned and winked, “so we’ll just have to find somethin’ else to do, I guess.”

“WAAAAAGH!” his subcommanders roared, exactly two seconds then cleanly cutting off. Good discipline!

“Yep, and better! -- these ‘spiky boyz’ decided, hey, why does their boss get to bring Orks, and we don’t? So guess what? They’re hiding out behind a batch of Orks they brought along!

“That means the Vols over here,” he pointed, “are in trouble: they’re still trying to carry the weaker humies out from around the area. They’ll be able to fight, sooner or later, but they asked if we’d like to get stuck in first -- and show them other boyz who the strongest one is!” That earned another disciplined ‘waaaugh’. “These Evil Sunz, they don’t know what we know, see. And they wouldn’t care if they did! So we gotta keep ‘em from gettin’ to the weaker humies, give ‘em a good fight instead! Th’ last good fight they’ll ever get, yeah!?”

“Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! Waugh!” Chanting in disciplined time, the D’oru’kan saluted and marched off to war.

The combat gretchens got there first.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1517/BJDJoM.jpg)

They arrived after the builder gretchens, strictly speaking; but having built the first Orky fort, the builders wisely stayed protected within until the combat gretchen squad emerged.

“You boys, no foolin’ around! -- run up there on the bridge and grab that resource point,” Sunstriker ordered. “Go! You builder lads, you get to work on four generators over in the corner. We’ve got a nice little fort here, and this is the safest place for them. Next combat grots, you start raising requisition mining ownership, here near the base, then work your way over to the leg of the fort which leads around the lake-edge. Last builders! -- you go follow the first combat grots, cap their point at once.

“Our job here is to make things orky up front so that the Militia boys can get armored up in safety: they’re the weak, we’re the strong, and we gotta protect ‘em! Once they’re stronger, they’ll come on up and help us, and then...” he chuckled. “Well, then we’ll see who has the best artillery! I’m bettin’ on our little grots!”

It would be a while longer before Sunstriker could arrive on the field himself, but very soon that forward point was capped and a critical point was being taken.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/4295/hVKLY3.jpg)

“You forward builders, set up a hut for the boys, then start making Waugh Banners! We wanna show all the boyz that we can make the biggest waaaugh,” he growled. “And they’ll be good protection early up for our forward point. Now in the middle of this bridge on the lake, is th’ only relic point in th’ area. But don’t rush up yet. We’re gonna take a few minutes, bring the Big Mek out,” he was a popular subcommander, training to be a warboss someday, “a squad of slugga boys, and then three, count em, three shoota boys squads.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/7379/pmXNRt.jpg)

“You backfield builders! -- once you finish with th’ first generators, you set up a pile o’ guns before you start cappin’ the points your combat greats are gettin’. We need the tech, then more req, get it!?”

The main point to the pile, at first, was to make sure the shoota boys could upgrade to bigger rifles. There was a subtle point of logistics here, and I made a note to talk to Sunstriker about options in the future. Slugga boys cost a little less than Shoota squads, but the main difference was that the “shooters” all started with basic rifles rather than hand guns. However, once the gun pile was set up then Choppers and Shooters became much more equal: any of them could pick up to five special weapons per squad, whether those were flamethrowers, assault rifles, or rocket launchers.

The difference still came down to extra Shoota boys being given regular rifles -- but I knew, from long experience, Sunstriker was playing the angles: every individual ork added to a squad after its formation not only cost a little requisition but also logistical “population”. Yet any squad could only expect to field five Orks competent enough to operate the more complex machines. Thus instead of building one squad of 15 shooters only 5 of which had the best rifles, Sunstriker was going to build three squads of 5 shooters (plus a nob sergeant) all of whom (aside from the nob) would have the advanced rifles! -- hand picking them for the role. The less dextrous Orks would be given axes and sent to the mob of slugga boys, under the direct command (along with their nob) of the Big Mek, although five of those would still get flamethrowers.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1492/gBkZf7.jpg)

This was all fine, and Sunstriker had hit on this clever tactic to great effect long ago: he could field whole companies of assault-rifle Orks, before even getting to the seriously larger guns (like on the “flash gits”). He especially loved being able to outshoot factions famous for being “shooty”, early in a fight!

But I suspected he hadn’t caught up with the recent advantages in orkan organization and training: Choppa squads could also be trained up the way he was thinking, but they would cost a little less to start with because they’d only be given handguns, not rifles, before the assault rifles were distributed. And then, in a pinch, I also suspected the “sluggas” would be better melee fighters.

Then again, as I pondered this, I realized he might have outthought me already! -- for such smaller elite squads needed a little more micro-management to deal with loss replacements, and a new slugga boy assigned to a squad intended to be a ‘heavy’ shooter, wouldn’t even have a rifle to work with before a new assault rifle could be distributed! In other words, if Sunstriker used slugga squads to build his heavy shoota squads, they’d be weaker shooters after taking casualties, thanks to their handguns, than official “shootas” would be with their normal rifles.

A subtle point indeed! Though then again, this point wouldn’t affect him making a third company of early rocket launchers by the same “slugga” method; but I think he got a little too focused on the one “kommando” squad that he was assigned at a time. They could cloak themselves, and were good all around fighters in any role but Sunstriker liked to give them rockets early and use them against hard targets. Which was fine but there was no reason he couldn’t add some lesser cloaked tankbustaz, or even slugga squads upgraded with rockets, for more balanced punch. Oh well, something to talk with him about after this operation.

While the intial task force was gathering, Sunstriker made sure to direct the increase of supplies in the backfield, upgrading requisition guard posts and finishing out the original dole of plasma generators, as well as gearing up production efficiency of both. He was fleshing out his task force, and starting his builders on securing the back door to his fort (with turret towers), when... “Them other boyz is here!” the Mek voxed in.

“Time to get stuck in, boys! -- go show them why we’re stronger!” ordered Sunstriker, sending his combined weapons task force forward: the Big Mek led the charge with Choppa axes hand to hand; the Shootas (mostly upgraded by now), blasted from behind, including support (at this distance) from the upgraded guard towers, and the Kommandos... well, they held back for now, so as not to hurt their own side with splash damage.

The Sunz had sent their own Big Mek subcommander, but all he was leading were combat gretchens (for now). The fight didn’t last long.

“Time to move up and get that relic point! Company one, advance!” The Sunz’ Big Mek returned down the bridge with a squad of sluggas and also some with jet packs. They tried to jump into our Shootas, but were chopped and shot down so hard that only one made it in. Briefly.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3116/Urw6Mk.jpg)

The enemy panicked, including some final squads arriving, and tried to retreat to their own covering guard towers on and around the relic. This would have even worked! -- our Slugga squad was almost wiped out! -- but the combined force of the Shootas and Rocket Kommandos in the company turned the tide. Soon Sunstriker was sending the forward combat grots (who had stayed out of trouble so far) to capture the relic requisition; to be followed by the forward builders to cap the point -- and to build up our own defenses around it.

Around this time, the Vol Militia was starting to send out plenty of their own troops, up the bridge but also up each wing around the lakes. On the bridge they soon met initial World Eater Chaos cultists. The “spiky boys” and Guardsmen exchanged fire for a while, but soon enough Sunstriker’s D’oru’kan task force was on the way to help.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3844/b1FfND.jpg)

The Warboss made sure to keep his Orks technologically advancing as they pushed with the Guardsmen onto Chaos’ side of the bridge, which Sunstriker would give to his ally as soon as enemies were blown off it. (Over to our left, we could see the Guardsmen had advanced into range of Chaos’ own encampment, but were having difficulty doing much over there against the buildings and defenses.)

“Oi! You Guardy boyz! That’s brave, runnin’ on up ahead off the bridge,” called our Big Mek, “but you’re all squishy, and you’re gonna get chewed up on all sides... ganzit ‘n gragit,” he cursed. “C’mon boyz, we gotta go save ‘em.” Sunstriker was busy directing more logistic and defensive improvements in his backfield and didn’t notice that the Mek had taken the task force forward without waiting for the next three Shoota squads to arrive and lend support. This turned out to be a problem, for now the flanking defenses started tearing up the Orks, too! The Kommandos and Shootas were able to remove some of those defenses, but all too soon the remaining squads had to flee back up our side of the bridge to where the builder gretchens were setting up what they called “ouchy platforms”: more powerful guard towers, which unlike the Waugh banners weren’t made of the special wood that could hold the mold spores for calling the Orks together in an organized group. But those were being installed behind, to be upgraded fully to rocket launchers so that the defensive point in front of the captured relic would be potent against all kinds of threats!


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2491/DGm746.jpg)

“Run off by Grot tanks!” scoffed Sunstriker, although to be fair those were hardly the only things shooting up the task force.

“But boss, the little humies were gonna get slaughter’d if we didn’t go up an’ --!”

“If they act dumb, that’s no excuse for you to do it, too! I told you to wait until the new Shootas had arrived! You warned ‘em, right? Their own fault. Gork n Mork, now we gotta re-con-sti-tute... Here, look, our great-chens are havin’ to save our hide!” The Ouchy platforms and Waugh banners were doing their best to hold the line against Chaos encroachment; the builder grots had to stop setting up Boomy Platforms: proper artillery.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1553/l8aN1b.jpg)

“Okay, the humies have got a Leman tank up there to help, that’s good.”

“Boss, what’s a ‘Leman’ anyway?”

“It has somethin’ to do with how humies spawn. Don’t know the details, ‘xactly.

“Grots, you go over and repair the Ouchies; don’t wanna lose ‘em! You can get back to setting up long-range arty later. Where’s the Nobs and Flash Gitz?” “On th’ way, boss!” “Good, the Flashes can fill out a shoota company, and when the Nob Squads start arriving we’ll phase out the Slugga Boyz and I’ll go down and take command on the field m’self,” he grumbled. “Bring out the Mad Doc, too! He’ll get a Nob Squad, along with th’ Big Mek. I’ll send a Weirdboy to the Flash Gitz...”

Before then, the first task force, now with an upgraded Big Mek leading them, helped repel a major sally by Chaos across the bridge, along with Guardsmen allies (and lots of orkan defensive artillery), then started pushing forward again to take and secure the other side of the bridge. But no farther!

Sunstriker checked the logistics in the backfield again... “Huh, why’s that thing burnin’ on our leg defenses? Must’ve seen off a Chaos thrust. You builder grots, get to repairin it! Now, what do I need to do to keep the flow of supplies goin’... hey! You boys on the post, what’re you shootin’ in the air for!?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3955/VXO8U6.jpg)

“That ain’t us!” the gretchens complained, cowering behind their plating while they desperately whirled around their big machine gun on top. “Someone’s shootin’ over us, boss!”

“...what... Grok it!” A Chaos Predator was cheerfully rolling through the Volunteer backfield, blasting away at everything in sight, and heading for Sunstriker’s forward base! -- just where the Nob Squads were forming up.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/9916/NRa9d4.jpg)

This turned out to be a problem for the Predator: the Nobs, though they hadn’t maximized their squad yet, weren’t pushovers, and hacked at the Chaos tank, while nearby gretchens on guard banners started upgrading to rocket launchers. Still, “You boyz up front! Get back here and whop this thing!” demanded Sunstriker. That was unnecessary: the Nob squads forced it farther onto the bridge, in range of the banners already rocketed-up, and it didn’t last much longer. But Sunstriker himself was on the field and on the way. “Oi, I shoulda told a builder squad to make a new fort f’r me to deploy from,” he groused. “Anyone wanna give me a lift...?”

The Volunteer Militia didn’t have any transports handy, but they were busy forming a group near the Ork Boyz hut (our original defensive line on the bridge), setting up minefields as well. Honestly, they were clogging the area! But they had brought some decent hardware with them, including air support.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/444/Af67r2.jpg)

The Guardsman task force took over on the assault down the other end of the bridge, and was doing reasonably well (with some support from long-distance orkan artillery), while Sunstriker got his own upgraded and expanded task force organized.

{Gamenote: alas, I never bothered to run the camera up there and check on the Vol assault, so no pix.}

“Nope,” he told them, slipping more into the orkan accent, “our humie friends prepared, so they’z the ones who get to go up and fight now! You cheer ‘em on, and get prepared, too... no, we ain’t prepared yet! I say when, see? Them Chaos Orks and spiky boyz, they don’t prepare enough, cuz all they want is fightin’. But we gotta fight for more than ourselves! That’s why we’re the strongest Orks! -- we fight for the strongest One there is! So first we get ready, then we go hit ‘em like a buncha nukes! Hm,” he thought while the orkan cheers were swelling in anticipation, “hey, you builder grots, I gotta special mission for ya. You run up to where our humie friends’ve got their guard-post capped, and start buildin’ more boomies. See, I’m gonna have yer brotherz back there start makin’ nukey shells; and once you got a boomie platform or two, you can upgrade them to shoot little nukes, see? Then we’ll show ‘em whose great-chens are the best, yeah!?”

They very much liked this plan. But it took a while.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8163/My7nMC.jpg)

With smaller nukes already being shot into the Evil Sunz’ base, Suntriker led his task force in and progressively wiped it out; as the Guardsmen started doing the same to the World Easter Chaos Marines (who must have been terribly confused about why they weren’t rolling over these mere little humans!)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/8771/PpBojs.jpg)

After a point, however, the Volunteer Guardsmen could almost just hang back and spot for the Orkan nuclear cannons!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7459/NVYAuc.jpg)

The World Eaters didn’t fancy a steady diet of small nuclear blasts, so abandoned their facilities and left the area empty-handed: unable to get to the civilians the Volunteer Guards and Orks had protected.

“A right proper fight! I’m proud’a’ya, boyz! We helped those ones who’re weaker than us, and they helped us when they got themselves stronger -- and together we pulled each other up the mountain, see?

“Up the mountain of VICTORY!”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2019, 03:23:32 PM
CHAPTER TWENTY -- THE GREATEST GOOD
-----------------------------------

The Vol’u Etherial stood at the rampart of the fortress from which he deployed his people during the campaign on Partox -- looking out on the scene of what would soon be slaughter.

“So,” said Ek’cla to Farseer Eria, as she approached from behind. “Your ploys have borne fruit.”

“Once again,” she confirmed, “the Chaos Demons will try to strike against the Tyranid expansion: here, where you will be ready to crush them both, from prepared positions.”

“As we agreed, since the soulless wanderers started shifting in this direction. But why are the humans here?”


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/1032/ujLBWl.jpg)
{Gamenote: 4-player Map, Ores’ Tashn (the Tau Stronghold map from Dark Crusade, I think.) Player 1 is in the stronghold; by tradition should be Tau. Directly across, Demonhunters. Position 3, Chaos Demons. Position 2, Tyranids.}


Eria very shortly sighed. “They were not part of my plan. Destiny weaves its own lace, and I see only the smallest part. No doubt, in accord with their calling, they sensed the coming of the demonic horde, and wish to staunch it.”

“I would be pleased to help them, for the Greater Good of Fair-Togetherness,” he reverently genuflected. “But they will not accept my help, I fear.”

“No. They come from the Empire. And they must steel their will to fight against the worst of monstrous threats. They would only see us as more of such monsters.”

“A great pity. They will reject the greater good, and lose. Or win despite rejecting the greater good, thanks to our interventions; and then, what?”

“Then we shall see.”

Ek’cla didn’t roll his eyes at that, partly because he understood why vaguery was proper sometimes -- but mostly because eye-rolling wasn’t a symbol for ‘whatever’ in his culture.

“The soulless beasts strike first!” reported the Tau Commander Or’e, over the general vox channel, from his post in the middle between the approaches. “My squad will lend firepower. Left wing, be ware of the beastly spirits!” Ek’cla himself could see the fight beginning to his right.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6565/pTy7Xp.jpg)
{Gamenote: there was some kind of “fatal scar error” pausing AI processes throughout the whole match, probably for the Nids. I suspect it happened because I started everyone with a decent-sized armed force, as might be expected with an established Tau command post; and the Tyrannid AI couldn’t figure out what to do with it so paused part of its AI routines. Only part of them, however.}

He would now withdraw, to the midst of the support buildings. His presence allowed the Tau to fight with more spirit, and so he must be protected. He called down another handpicked elite squad of Tau warriors as he departed; he had been sending them to Or’e for his squad, and would continue to do so. Or’e himself commanded a squad of Crisis Battlesuits; relatively basic models but more would be coming. The Kroot would mostly be deployed to the left wing now.

“I see you have things well in hand,” said Eria. “And I know you’ll remember how far the greater good extends.”

“And yet you remind me anyway,” he observed with the barest acerbity. Soon she was gone. And Ek’cla was left to listen to reports as Earth Caste workers nearby hastened their logistic upgrades. Possibly temporary.

Over the next standard hour he heard the flow of battle. Everything would have worked perfectly -- except for the humans. Not that they were failing; they succeeded very well. But, of course, whenever they would meet the Tau, there wasn’t even negotiation. Bodies exploded or hit the ground dead. At least he managed to convince the Kroot allies not to eat the bodies of the humans.

Yes, they did very well. Tau lives were sacrificed to find the Demons’ base, and spot it for a recently erected ion cannon.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5070/UJOvZ3.jpg)

Not many minutes later he managed to get more Stealthsuits into spotting position -- and the demons had been wiped out. Not by the Tau. The Demonhunters had even set up invisible basing! They detected and slew his stealthsuits before the scouts could retreat.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6209/MgcYt6.jpg)

His left wing mostly-Kroot company was sent to take one of the two central relic points from the Demons. Having succeeded, they were then driven off by the Demonhunters. Or rather, the Tau withdrew under orders to avoid fighting the humans as much as possible. More than a few Tau died as a result.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6272/NSMG0x.jpg)

On his right wing, Or’e eventually pushed forward into the Tyranid base -- to discover that the Demonhunters were already far along in taking apart the area. The Tau helped destroy a few structures in reach, and then withdrew, picking up the survivors of the left wing along the way, who had withdrawn from the center.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7182/4XFws4.jpg)

So. As it happened, the Imperial humans did not need their help. Or want it. Indeed, now they were trying to push past his leftward defenses, dying in ever increasing fury.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8477/FPZVq2.jpg)

It was time to leave this place, then, before.......

“AH!” Commander Or’e clutched his head, along with many of his company. How had it happened?! -- they all knew what it meant, but... “FALL BACK! BACK TO OUR BASE!” he cried out, grieving, chased by relentless humans whom he had been ordered to spare if possible.

Most of the base, they discovered, was gone. Only a cloud of glowing dust, and one of the headquarter buildings remained, along with exactly one plasma generator somehow. Everything else? Gone.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1556/3pPgeu.jpg)

Along with Etherial Ek’cla. The holy man had suffered whatever horrible weapon had struck the area. Now he would suffer no more.

“FALL BACK!” Or’e demanded, though precious few remained to fall back with him.

Later, he reported to Farseer Eria. “Our losses, one hundred and seventy-five, including Etherial Ek’cla. Mostly at the hands of the humans. Enemy losses were much higher, of course; mostly at the hands of each other.” He had removed his armor for refurbishing and recalibrating, so that he could rest while making his report. His blue, hairless skin shone brightly, broadcasting his emotions. “The humans have taken back their fortress; it was theirs anyway. We kept it in good repair until they destroyed it.”

Or’e couldn’t weep for his friend and teacher. But he wanted to. “The greater good,” he said. “...the greatest good demands much. The death of our pride. The death of our bodies for the sake of our own enemies, sometimes.”

She nodded. “I sympathize. It has always been so, but now it is... harder, somehow. I do not have much practice suffering for the sake of my enemies. Ungrateful ones at that. I honor you, and your teacher, Commander, and all those you lost.

“They lived and fought... like my own people.

“Let us grieve together in our ways.”

Or’e nodded. “Let us,” he said...

“...be done with this place more quickly.”


{Gamenote: yep, I lost this fight in such an epic fashion, I decided to keep the footage for a chapter entry!}
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2019, 06:38:01 PM
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE -- THE MEN ON THE FIELD (Part 1 of 2)
------------------------------------------

 “Always comes down to the infantry.” That was a standard greeting between Vol Milita Commanders Barodo and Kryg. Barodo managed to say it first this time, before they shook hands.

“Always comes down to the people with feet on the ground,” Kryg replied.

“That’s why we’re here,” Barodo agreed. “Chaos to the left of us; Tyranids to the right; Demonhunters and Space Marines ahead.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3717/vPm7Qr.jpg)
{8-player fan-made Bray Cathedral Subsector map; two Imperial Guards vs a CSM/DE team vs a Demonhunter/SM team vs a Tyranid team. Standard (which for UA is “hard”.}

“Can’t say I’m looking forward to this. But we’ve got to round up this final batch of people on the ground. Before they get rounded up much worse.”

“Wish I could think the Empire was here to help them.”

“Yeah. Me, too. So, y’heard about Ek’cla, right?”

“Damned shame. Liked him a lot, once I got to know him. Or’e must be every shade of blue pissed imaginable.”

“So, here’s what I’m thinking. Who was the first to drop some Space Marines?”

“That’d be us!”

“I can’t say I’m too sorry about that anymore.”

A pause. “Yeah, I’m about done being nice to them,” said Kryg. “We’ve bent over backwards. They wanna help save the people, fine. Go do it over there. They wanna burn the people alive? Then they amount to Chaos now, in my book.”

“The Sisters did that, but these clowns are doing it, too. They’re going to nuke the whole place from orbit, according to that Toth guy, and they clearly don’t care about anyone left on it. So to the pit with them. Why are they even here?!”

“Recovering things left behind is my guess.”

“Well,” Barodo drawled, “so are we. So let’s get to it, secure the operational area, and get those people left behind on some transports. Anyone who wants to run can run. Anyone who doesn’t...”

“Think Prester John up there is gonna care?”

“Probably. If he decides to chew me out, well I’ll just stand there pointing to the civvies we rescued.”

“I don’t think he will. Chew us out, I mean. The Prester knows what’s important. Getting those people out.”

“Right. Our techpriests have set up shops, so let’s get expanding.”

Barodo, a little more safely in the rear, focused on getting his techpriests to bring in logistic support at first, while Kryg sent out some Conscript teams to capture local points, followed by techpriests to cap them -- and to start building plasma generators.

“After I get my logistics up,” said Barodo, “I’m gonna bring in some light cavalry and harass points, find civilians and announce they gotta make a choice now: go to the Empire, come with us, or stay and get mulched by the bugs or enslaved by dark elves.”

“I’m not a big fan of a two front war,” Kryg voxed back, “so I’m going to take only the nearest four or five points and then tech up a little bit to pump out plasma-armed guardsmen as soon as possible. Take the fight to the bugs.”

“The Prester does love to throw plasma at problems until they go away! Gonna be hard to maneuver huge squads through these streets, though...?”

“True, but I’m going in lean. Just enough in each squad to give everyone plasma, or half plasma half melta guns -- I’ve been thinking we need to hit harder targets farther out. Four squads of that to start with, add some medics and sergeants, and some commissars to keep the troops firing at top speed.”

Six minutes into the operation, Barodo had pushed a sizable group halfway to the chaos lines, and the third group of guards were on the way to the forming-up point, with Commissars being directed to join them.

“I’ve got the enemy in my sights,” Barodo voxed.

“Fey?”

“Nope, bugs! I’ve got scouts close to the center of our area, so you need to -- “ “We’re under fire!” one of Kryg’s conscript team interrupted.

“Buggy things arriving,” Kryg confirmed. “Not a few, several types! Conscripts, you’re dismissed, get out of there!” Too late.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8571/Pej6Qx.jpg)

“My short company of guards, with heavy guns from the listening post turret, is hitting hard with plasma; not a moment too soon, but... great, the enemy just tunneled underneath first company!”

“Need some help?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/5962/BaimoS.jpg)

“...eh, no, they tunneled into a wall of plasma fire. Sucks to be them. Some of our conscripts survived, no doubt in shock. You-all can just camp out here, and reinforce your squad. 1st company will start counter-pushing forward; I’ll order up two special weapon teams, too.”

Some high caliber rifle cracks echoed through the city. “Your snipers found something?” “Fey. Not anymore. That’s a flash ruckus you keep kicking up over there!” “The Nids keep trying to send things over here,” Kryg reported. “Lord above, I can see why the Prester loves plasma so much! There was this twenty-five foot armored thing crunching up the street toward us, and we just lit it up -- all it could do was writhe!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/236/lZtNrj.jpg)

“How far have you gotten?”

“Heh, like fifty feet down the street. At least the Conscript squad is safe now!”

“That bad?!”

“Not really, but I’m happy to just be wasting their resources while my guys earn experience, hero up. Once my spec-ops guys arrive, we’ll push on.”

“Kasrkins?”

“No, not them yet; that would take too long, cost too much. Spec-op shooters will be fine, we can kit them with plasma and melta, too, but the spares have decent guns to fill out the squads. ...hey, I see on my op map, your forward guys just found the fey base!”

“Yeah, and enemies came up behind them, too. Ultramarine scouts! You morons, why are you shooting at us, can’t you see we’re fighting the dark elves?! At least wait until we’re done if you don’t want to do any work yourse-- agh, I hate having the Empire shoot at us!”

“Sorry you have two problems, Bar, soon to be three over there! Or four if the Demonhunters arrive. Maybe you should pull back and consolidate?”

“I’ll deal with the left wing,” Barodo testily told his fellow commander. “You just exterminate our bug problem!”

“Can’t say we’re going fast, but we’re doing a clean sweep so far. You got some armor out now?”

“Not big guns yet, but better than nothing.”

“Roger that. I’m taking the mining caches back on either side of our closest bridge. Can’t cap’em yet, but the enemy will stop getting requisition and the troops will appreciate some fallback points. Hey, you’ve got a wall of red over there!”

“Marines and fey mixing it up, with some Chaos Marines for flavor. We’re pot shotting from the side.”

“Not at the Ultrasmurfs, I hope?”

“Well, y’know, we try our best.”

“Oooh, the bugs don’t like us taking our side of the bridge back! -- they’re rushing capture squads at us from the south... followed by the boys in blue! Would you kindly help us shoot the ravening bug monsters please?” he voxed over to the Imperials, but, “well at least they withdrew. Lord above, I can see why. I think we aggravated every bug squad remaining on the map!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2135/KhlX8v.jpg)

“You look surrounded!”

“We are, but mostly they’re coming from one or two directions. A couple of squads are keeping sallies across the bridge from doing much of anything.”

“Can’t let you hog all the glory! My team is formed up, and I’m going in, see if I can set the fey back some.”

“Good luck, oh yay, more bugs arriving. I hope the Empire down there is at least taking some good advantage of this distraction.”

“Team wipe?”

“No, no, we’re staying up, lean no excess. Annnnnd done, bugs? Nope not yet. Now?”

“You should really get going. Sitting there looks awesome -- “

“Yeah, I’m making sure the operators back at base are getting video snaps for posters!”

“-- but that only ends one way.”

“I know, I know, the whole point was to press the bugs early and cripple them. They’ll keep armoring up and evolving if we don’t get moving; though I think we’re forcing them to spend energy and req in just trying to crack us. Now done?! um... oh, hi, good grief!”

“What?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/708/u8R0Hh.jpg)

“A Smurfspeeder just suicide-skidded into our lines! Must have been recon’ing the swarm, then suddenly no swarm left.”

“Dead?”

“Yeah, no choice, he started shooting on us, so...”

“I’ve got some of those guys on my flank here, too. They won’t leave my assault group alone long enough for us to push in on the dark fey, argh!”

“That is just wrong, no two ways about it. Okay, the bugs are down to sending bat squads over the bridge for now, so I’m going to do some upgrades back at base while the company clears across the bridge. Get our Mechanized Command up, so our base can upgrade... okay, that’s going; bridge assault fine... argh, really?! How many things are left over on our side of the bridge!? They’re following us across!”


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/4002/91dtvw.jpg)

“Trapped?”

“Theoretically, but I think we’ll be okay, as long as I can pull everyone together for concentration fire defense. We’ve gone far enough fast enough, and caused enough damage -- only 15 minutes into the op! -- I don’t think they’ve gotten any serious artillery up for splash damage yet. Just poofing poot on us from the air. We’re taking their req point on their side of the bridge; I think they took one behind us but then decided they had to try to stop us, so we should still have one back there.”

“Just so you know, I haven’t gotten any farther but my forward company’s still alive.”

“So I see! What about those problems just south of our base area?”

“Unlike some people, I’ve got Leman Russ tanks now; just one is enough to sort out that dispute among our enemies -- in our favor.”

“For now. You know the Imperials will have Predators on the ground soon, if not already.”

“Tell me about it. Better yet, get your base upgraded and swarm the area with Russ tanks, too!”

“I’ll need at least five minutes before the first one has been delivered to Mech Command and rolling up. But I’ll send them all your way, keep security behind you.”

“Thanks. You ready to push into their base area?”

“Yeah, we better go before they manage to scrape out area attacks, or morale-eaters.”

At 18 minutes, Kryg announced, “Last req point outside their main base, captured! The final push starts now. Won’t end any time soon, but... aw, crap, they did get some arty-turret things out. Need to hit that first!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/9200/C5fydR.jpg)

“Great, yeah, tanks when?”

“When I can spare a minute to arrange them! One of my squads just charged a Carnifex by themselves to krak-grenade that bio-plasma spitter. Good job, guys, now surround him and keep him pinned down, you’ve got good company on the way! Awww, he’s running. Or trodding away I should say. Huh, the Nids still have things they keep sending back to their own base across the bridge...”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7840/1hjt4Y.jpg)

“That’s just wonderful, tanks when?!”

“I’ve got hive tyrants with glowing shields here! But I just got permission to set up tank reception in the Mech Command. Oh, and more Carnifaxes, whee. ...and serious arty, that’s more of a problem. Fortunately they’re still mostly dropping poo-gas on us, nasty but more of a distraction than anything.”

“Yeah, could be worse, they could be summoning whirling vortexes of chaos on you. Ask me why I’m thinking of that.”

“Not quite 22 minutes into the op, and we’re taking the first req spot on the edge of their base. Target rich environment here!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7164/W4lpdL.jpg)

“Well, I’ve got Chaos in my face, and you’ve let flappy things start assaulting your side of our base, so...”

“The flappy things can’t do much. As for chaos in your face: I just told Mech Command to start pumping out Russes and sending them your way.”

By the 28 minute mark Kryg had mostly finished off the Tyranid force aside from some straggler buildings he hadn’t noticed off to the side yet. “Glad that’s done,” he sighed.

“Well, your tanks at the crossroads are doing a fine job fending off pushes by the Empire against us,” Barodo reported.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1340/EhwJRS.jpg)

“Thanks for those. Can’t say I’m cracking enemy positions as well myself yet... The most I can say is that no one has gotten past the halfway point between us and chaos -- not for long -- and so the Empire seems to be focusing on their own push against the Chaos corner.”

“I’ll be over to help soon. Lots of blank spots on the map for our non-allies to be harvesting req and energy from, though...”

“Yeah, they started with all the big energy spots in this area. Close to the only relic point, too!”

“Can’t say the Emperor doesn’t love the Ultrasmurfs.”

“Where does that come from anyway!?”

“Ultra-smurfs? It’s an old word for magical creatures, s-i-m-u-g-h-s. Spelled weird but pronounced smurfs.”

“Oh. Kind of insulting to them then.”

“More than you think; there were these cute little blue gnomish things, see? Found them in some old drawings. And get this, they’re all blue. So blue little round-headed gnomey things, blue little simughs, right? Big and armored, and they’d be...!”

“Got it, great!”

“Just don’t call them that to their faces. For one thing they won’t understand.”

“I just wish they’d stop shooting us in our faces! Relatedly -- are you going to push on them from their left anytime soon?”

“I keep running across bug remnants. They’re re-setting up around here somewhere, so I’m trying to dig out their final builders. Once they’re gone, I think the bugs will go away. I’m getting the next base upgrades ready, though; an air control tower and then... dangit, another hive tyrant? Really?! How did it even get over there? Where did it come from!? Anyway, how about I lasso up the Russes and send them to help you crack through the Chaos line?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/9787/wGgSxj.jpg)

“Sure, but that’s going to leave our right flank awfully exposed.”

“True, but I’m gearing up for Kasrkin and Ogre squads. I’ll have four of each ready to fight soon, and then once I clean house over here, put the bugs to bed, I’ll withdraw 1st company for some well-deserved rear-guard action: they’ll defend our approaches, and the elite company will come help your attack. It’ll be a few minutes...”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2019, 06:40:43 PM
(Part 2 of 2)

At about 31 minutes 30 seconds, the first tyranid regiment stopped reinforcing their line and withdrew. Only seconds later, vox scanners reported the Empire had finished off the other tyranid regiment, too. “Uh-oh. We must have Demonhunters nearby...” Kryg guessed -- quite correctly. His weary first company took a beating trying to get back to the Vol Guards defense line.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3382/12q75p.jpg)

From there, however, at about 37 minutes into the operation...

“My 2nd company isn’t really ready yet,” Kryg admitted.

“Well, your tanks have done well, but they’re having trouble getting into the fey base defenses.”

“Okay, I’ve got my 1st company back up to snuff. I know they don’t want to go, and I don’t blame them, but...”

“Yeah, but the men on the ground have to do all the work.”

“For the sake of the men on the ground, yep. OH GOOD GRIEF!”

“Ultra-smurf devastators raking your flanks on approach, eh?”

{Gamenote: wasn’t able to get a good snap of this.}

“Yep, I think they have Termies now, too! I know you’ve had to deal with this for half an hour already, but dang! We’re going to melt off before we even get to the horrifying slave lord things!”

“Tell me what the difference is now, between the Ultramarines and the Alpha Legion over there...”

“They think we’re Chaos, too, that’s the problem.”

“A problem that gets you rotary cannons in your armpits while you’re trying to stop Chaos.”

“I know. Look, I don’t think we can do this. I’d better pull them back, get second company ready to go.”

“Your call. But your tanks are gonna die over there.”

“I didn’t say I was happy about it.... all right guys, keep going, don’t give up! Smash those elves in their pointy little teeth!”

At about 42 minutes, Kryg sighed and said, “This just isn’t working. How do they still have resources to keep up with us?!”

“Don’t know, but no one can say your guys didn’t try.”

“That arty piece banging away outside our base. How about sending some of those shells over here?”

“Can’t, I’m keeping the Empire from hitting you worse in the side than you already had to deal with.”

“Oh for pity’s sake -- some Imperial gnatwit just called down an orbital strike ON US AT THE GATE!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/4779/JxNFCX.jpg)

“Not on the dark elves, or their armored Chaos buddies, but on us! That’s it, I’m pulling back what we’ve got left. It’s okay guys, you tried your best, everyone can see that...”

“Is your second company finally ready?”

“....sort of? They need to gear up first.”

“Well, come up to the crossroads while you’re gearing up.”

“Great stars above, some ungodly gunfight is going on down there!”

“Yeah, the Chaos Marines sallied south from their base toward the Ultras, and I’m trying to keep a path clear for your 2nd company boys. Eventually,” said Barodo with a hard and critical edge.

“I’ve been distracted by having my first company chewed up and blasted from orbit. But I’ll throw some air power into the mix once I go. Deal?”

“No complaints here.”

By 46:30, Kryg’s 2nd company was on the way, Ogryns up front. “Man the dark elves don’t give up easy, I’ll giv’em that!” he said in some astonishment. “They’ve got a guard tower out on that req point again, spitting at us as we’re coming in!”

“Would you rather have devastators raking you? I can get you a good deal...”

“No, no thanks.”

After the point was decapped again: “Watch out!” Barodo warned. “Chaos has some marines down here guarding the approaches! They’ll flank you if you aren’t careful!”

“Well, gosh, I guess we’ll just flank them with Kasrkins and the Ogryns up their rears... oh, grag wallgokl!”

“Ork cussing? I kind of like it!”

“I thought you said you had pushed the devasmurfies back!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3816/kfSSuf.jpg)

“I had. You took too long. They have armor, we don’t, so...”

“I swear, after we’re done here, I’m not letting those blue-boys keep one square foot of ground in this area.”

“Copy that.”

By 48 minutes, Kryg could report, “The good news is that my Ogryn are in the enemy’s front gates now. Also, Ogryns can’t run away effectively! The bad news is that they’re clogging up the gate and trying to run away. We can’t advance any farther than the 1st company did. At least we aren’t taking as many casualties, but...”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/5961/rIH6Sc.jpg)

“Don’t ask me for any arty support, I’ve got my tubes busy over here.”

“Fine, I’ll just capture that point behind us, cap it with some techpriests, then use the area control to lay some heavy arty down.”

“I find no complaints with this plan,” Barodo chuckled briefly.

“...being chased back out, by a chaos predator...!”

“You’re still making Russes, right? Send up your next tank company, do something about it.”

“No, I think we’re okay on that, but since you mention it, I’ll push them up to help support your flank.”

“No complaints with that plan either. Say, didn’t you order up some air power earlier?”

“Yes and no; they never got to the point of actually SENDING me any,” Kryg groused. “I’m fixing that problem now.”

55:30 “The elves just sent this one little guy out to tank us by himself,” Kryg reported. “When he died, it was like a small nuke went off!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1923/qbMrAR.jpg)

“Well, at least I can say that with your second tank squad we’ve pushed the smurfs and their cronies back, so you don’t have to worry about flanking fire now. The bad news,” said Barodo, “is that you no longer have a second tank company.”

“So I noticed, thanks. Never mind: I’ve capped the point, and just got the first artillery package delivered to the ground. Time to set it up!”

At 56 minutes, the first Earthshaker round was going downrange.

“And that’s just the beginning!” Kryg promised. “Plenty more on the way!... I’ve got to move our guys forward some to make room for more artillery. Three long barrels should be enough.” By 57 minutes the next two had arrived for setup. “Ogryns are stuck in the gates again, good grief. But it doesn’t matter. They just have to spot for the long guns!”

“Going to upgrade to volcano rounds? By the way, have some missile pods to help out.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3015/KUsWx3.jpg)

“Certainly. Oh, thanks! -- I wonder where my airforce is?”

“To be fair, they’ve had a lot of ground to cover for support today. Mostly protecting transports out.”

“Can’t really complain about that. Those poor souls on the ground are why we’re here.”

“Wish the Imperials understood that. My prevalent theory, by the way, is that the Inquisition has capped up practically everything on our right flank and is just sitting back feeding resources to the Ultramarines. Maybe while building up a giant wave of doom to send over here.”

“While we do the work, and they harass us.”

“Well, the Ultramarines aren’t doing much of anything right now. You’re welcome.”

At the one hour mark, Kryg’s airforce request arrived. “On the dot. I think they planned it this way!”

“Anything left there to shoot?”

“Some, yeah; the fey base has been gutted, but the Chaos Marine base still exists. Not for long. I finally unclumped the Ogryns, so I’m getting second company in, too. Say, did you know there’s some stylite psycher or someone standing up here on a tower?!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/111/Yie5aN.jpg)

“All this time!? That’s crazy!”

“He’s still alive, must be one heck of a shield he’s throwing up. Doesn’t seem chaotic, exactly. I’m willing to leave him alone if he leaves us alone.”

“Good plan; aggravating the guy who could shield himself through an hour of Chaos basing plus our bombardments, seems like a losing proposition.”

“I really do think he’s a stylite. Just a guy up on a pillar praying, as a sign of devotion. I kind of admire him doing that while Chaos was taking over below, even if he didn’t help any. It’s like saying, hey, even if you win, people like me will always defy you!”

At one hour three minutes and 45 seconds, the final desecrated base gave up the ghost, somewhat literally, and collapsed back to the Chaos whence it came.

“...and we’re still getting spite from an Ultramarine Whirlwind somewhere over there,” Kryg growled. “Not anything very harmful, just spite.”

“It’s mostly on me,” Barodo grimly replied. “Seems fair for you to have some, too.”

“You know what isn’t fair? Those idiots down there.”

“Just doing what they’re told.”

“No, I don’t think so. I mean, sure,” Kryg said, “the Marines definitely do what they’re told, and Ultramarines couldn’t be more by-the-codex at following orders. But they’re also fanatics. So much so, that rather than team up with us for even a little bit to put down Chaos, they spent the past hour causing us grief!”

“Hm. I can tell you, I’m done letting any civilians run over to them to be slaughtered as infected whatevers.”

“Really?! They were doing that?”

“Not sure I’d blame them, from their perspective. But I’m sure I wouldn’t take their perspective either, in the first place.”

“Got it. So, here’s my plan. You keep them bottled up. That’s stage zero, so to speak. Along with a rush by my last Russes.”

“Okay, stage one?”

“I gather up eight or more ground-attack craft and start scraping them out of the area.”

“Concur. Any stage two?”

“I build another four Earthshaker platforms at the edge of the former Chaos base to help out.”

“Sounds good. Stage three?”

“I just upgraded to Tier five. So, nuclear generator and a nuclear bomb factory is on the way.”

“Any titans?”

“Hm, no, they took the relic early, and I expect they’ve milked it dry by now. Fools.”

“Not gonna complain about no Ultrasmurf titans clomping down on us.”

“True. Say, did I happen to see a baneblade out earlier?”

“You did! Turned the tide and got the smurfs out of your hair for good. Lost him, though, to some land raiders at last.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1726/gBrXe4.jpg)

“A pack of land raiders, just wonderful. I’ll see what kind of baneblade I can set up.”

It took another while; almost another hour. As Barodo had suspected, the Inquisition was building a massive army on the other side of the river, and as the Ultramarine base was slowly pasted off, they surged forth to protect and recapture the relic, seized eventually by Kryg’s 2nd company.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6673/mHx4Ak.jpg)


 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6538/1RV4bK.jpg)

Kryg nuked most of the Ultramarine base, and even had time to set up another nuke to hit the Inquisition base later. Meanwhile, his techpriests capped the relic point, and although no relic energy remained to power up a second baneblade of his, a first stormlord was enough with 8 vultures and the 2nd company to convince the Imperials to withdraw.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2386/xV3M0t.jpg)

Especially after the second nuke.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6127/4ef90B.jpg)

One hour, 55 minutes. The two exhausted commanders walked the ground of the ruined city. Soon to be more ruined.

“I think anyone meaning to flee, with us or anyone else, has already done so,” said Barodo.

“Even though we keep telling them an Exterminatus fleet is on the way.”

“I don’t know if they believe us. If anyone remains.”

“Wounded and can’t get out?”

“Could be. We’ve tried to check, but... it’s just impossible to be sure.”

“Yeah. Did our best, though. Saved as many as we could.”

“How many troops?” asked Barodo.

“433. You?” Kryg didn’t clarify they were speaking of casualties. To honor them, the two friends didn’t think of them as dead.

“545.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7669/0lmbMJ.jpg)

“Ow. You held the middle, though, against literally everyone.”

“Not many bug-lizard things, but yeah.”

“A hard slog. But we did it together, again.” Kryg offered his hand.

Barodo took it. “We all did.

“For the sake of the feet on the ground.”

They shook; and then, turning away from each other for now, they started shepherding each of their regiments to withdraw.


{NEXT TIME -- THE GRAND FINALE TO SEASON ONE!}
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 11, 2019, 07:27:41 PM
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO -- DEATH FROM ABOVE (Part 1 of 7)
--------------------------------------

Marine Commander Pauel stepped off the cloaked Eldar shuttle and asked, “You called?” -- not without a pointed, wary glance above.

“I did,” said Farseer Eria, “for much the same reason I also asked for Tau Commander Kal’os. Who will be here momentarily.”

Pauel nodded and looked around. “Nice fort. Looks defensible. No back or side ramp to worry about; not that I could see from our approach. Plenty of room for Kal’os and his crew when they arrive; maybe for some others...?”

“We shall deploy as well.”

“You have your reasons,” he stated.

“Which I shall explain momentarily. Our shuttle for him is landing now.”

“Your antigrav and cloaking are as impressive as ever.” A pause as he looked around the position. She had been waiting near the opening between the central and left-side courtyards. “Will your explanation include the temperature falling steadily over the past few days?” Snowflakes scattered down from the sky, mingling their fragile, sculpted forms with ashes.

“Yes, among other things,” she smiled, though briefly. “You might as well begin to deploy your stronghold. Ka’los is doing the same to our left; I’ve already placed ours down to your right.”

“Near the relic, then,” he decided, and voxed appropriate orders. “Resource rates?”

“Largely depleted already, in this area.”

“And what will we be facing -- if not why?”

“There will be time to explain when Ka’los arrives. Momentarily.” The Tau Commander was already jogging across his wide stone courtyard in his battle armor.

“Farseer; Force Commander,” Ka’los greeted them moments later, each with a nod of his shielded head. “I understand there’s some emergency here? Enough to risk us being virus bombed?” That might have been sarcasm; Pauel couldn’t quite tell.

“As you may suspect or know already,” Eria began as she walked with a stately glide toward the leftward ramp, which led to the overlook on that side of the gates, “each Inquisitorial fortress has been erected over an ancient Eldar gateway -- all across this world.

“During the civilian evacuation, my people have been carefully updating those gateways. To a more modern level of technology. This fortress sits over the final one.

“Naturally, the Inquisition is well aware of what they have been sitting on, and studying. By now, they will be also aware that we have been rendering the gateways harder to use by their clever studies -- and even harder for them to study.”

“Assuming any survive the death that is coming from above.” Pauel couldn’t see from his angle, but Ka’los sounded as though he was looking up into the overcast night.

“Some may not. Some may. I have hope some will. These particular webways were built to last; have lasted for billions of your years already. Longer than we have been awake in this world.”

“That sounds ominous,” said Pauel. “...ah. Would the core of this world be very cold and dead?”

“Well phrased, yes.”

“And that,” said Ka’los, with one brisk brush of an armored arm, “would also explain why the temperature here has been dropping.”

“Yes. The Imperials found this planet not much more than barren rock, and went to the trouble to lightly terraform an atmosphere for colonization. The Cadian system is rich in other planets. Why bother with this one at all?”

“When you have their resources, why not? There can never be too much logistics, too much defense. Or that,” mused Pauel, “is how it would look.”

“They found the primal webway gates,” Ka’los surmised. “And so built colony forts above them to study them, and to act as guards around them. The colonies were a cover for their true purposes.”

Pauel shrugged: “Not only a cover; you really cannot have too much logistic depth or defense!”

“Yet Partox was one of the first such outposts in this system, not one of the last.” Eria paused near the triple-layer gate, and looked out over the ramparts into the grey distance. “No doubt explained as bureaucratic tanglement, a schedule mis-management.”

Pauel folded his arms in his armor, to lean upon a battlement, looking down over it into the moat below, gauging lines of potential fire. A sound to his left; and with a grim smile he saw that Ka’los had done the same -- and now was looking at him, in just as much surprise and amusement!

“We can expect an Imperial attack in force upon this position,” Ka’los inferred.

“I wouldn’t have brought you both to prepare your forces here, otherwise.”

“They do not mean to let this gate be recovered? They care about it that much -- enough to risk still being here when the Exterminatus fleet arrives?”

“To them, that might be a bonus,” she said. “Their targets may be us. Or even the Prester, John; they might expect him here. ...before the day grows busier,” she dryly added, “what is that title? I have been meaning to ask.”

“A legend from Terra, long long ago,” Pauel explained, “about an immortal Emperor who ruled a secret land, far away, through wisdom and kindness -- and who very much didn’t want to be known as an Emperor. So they just called him an ‘elder’, in one of their languages. After a while they slurred that word a little to make it more unique, not to be confused with other presbyters. Thus, Prester John. There was some speculation, among Terran historians, that our own immortal Emperor of Humanity was once the basis for Prester John, the legend. We do not know how long he lived on Terra among the rest of us, but back when he could still speak he seemed to imply it was much farther back than when he decided to bring all of humanity under his rule at last, during the Unification Wars. However, I cannot imagine that man ruling in kindness and in such humility. Some of us had some reasons for our rebellions; or not altogether bad reasons anyway.”

Eria digested this for a quarter-minute in silence, then asked, “And do you know how old our John really is?”

“...no, can’t say I do. Over a hundred years now since he met you, of course. Do you perhaps know?”

“I do not. He seemed a young man and yet older somehow when I met him, back on the outskirts of his world.”

Pauel pursed his lips in thought at hearing this. “Prester John was supposed to be waiting for something or someone, and living until then. Perhaps he was waiting for you?”

She opened her mouth and closed it again. A couple more times. Then said, “...something to explore at a later time. Our enemies have arrived.” She gestured into the dusk. The two men straightened and started to vox, but -- “Before we begin, let me be clear: these forces have come for vengeance.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/638/VFMDFm.jpg)

{Gamenote: epic 8-player fan-map Castle Rosenstein, 3 vs 5 configuration. Apocalypse level “standard”, which is “hard” vanilla. Resources set to half starting and half generation.}

“The Ultramarines will be deployed in the center. To their left and right will be regiments of different Cadian Guardsmen corps, brought along for flank support. And then, on their extreme left and right, the Lodge Destructio of the Inquisition, and also the Sisters of the Fervent Heart.

“They need a victory, and expect an overpowering victory against us; and so they have started broadcasting out this battle -- in real-time -- throughout the Cadian system and down through relay beacons across the galaxy.

“If we simply make our preparations and leave, we do not know if they will launch their Exterminatus after all before securing and trying to regain access to the primal webway gate.

“We need to beat them, and beat them badly -- enough of a show of skill and force to demonstrate that we are a viable alternative to the Emperor of Humanity. And also enough to convince them to hit this planet with death from above.”

“Which we will be gone from, before it arrives, I hope?” Pauel couldn’t fault Ka’los for being noticeably sardonic in that question; not after what happened with O’re.

“Of course.”

“And why do we need them to virus bomb this planet back to lifeless dust?”

“For the same reason the primary webway gates were scattered all over this planet, back in the wars before the sleep of the Ark within the webway:

“Because this is a Tomb World.” Eria’s musical voice rang like a bell of doom. “And all this lively activity will surely awaken the sleeping undead below, before we are ready. My people forced them to withdraw into their defenses before the history of life in this galaxy began anew; and among other things, those primal gates have succeeded in keeping them unaware of human presences here, until now.

“But then Chaos invaded, and now there is outright war. Apocalyptic war.”

“I want to return to your statement,” said Ka’los: “’before we are ready’.”

“Does the Prester know... oh, never mind, of course he would.”

“Yes, his connection to the Arisen makes him naturally sensitive to such things -- even more than we would be if we did not already know why we had put such gateways here,” she dryly replied. “He has been working carefully on disentangling the Necrons, down in the cold, dead core of this world, out from the grip -- and out from their grip upon -- one of the C’tan. One yet unnamed in this era of life. If he should arise... we would have more problems.”

“So: save the primal gate from further tampering; make sure the humans out there are aggravated enough to grind the surface to powder...” Ka’los had raised two armored fingers.

Pauel added a third -- raised in defiance toward the Imperials quietly setting up their forward bases in the distance, beyond the gloom of sight: “...and look great doing it!”

“Force Commander! -- if Ka’los and I can hold the gates, perhaps with some armored support and some of your excellent turrets -- “ Eria had whirled in a swirl of combat skirts away from the battlements and started for the downward ramp, lowering her battle mask, and drawing her sword.

“ -- can I take the time to whistle in something like a Legio Titanus Warlord Titan? I have just the thing! Or, perhaps, a couple of smaller ones?”

“Helpful though that would be, we need something very much worse to make them question the wisdom of simply ganging together to vent their frustrations.”

“Something... worse than a Warlord Titan. Hum.”

“I can help provide it, but I need you to excavate and recover certain information from your relic point. It is connected to Inquisitorial studies of the primal gate beneath this fortress; I cannot access their studies myself, or not as quickly, but I can tell you where to find them. Your technology should be able to process the information more efficiently than mine, considering the source similarities.”

“More on that later, then. We need to start making initial build orders, now!” Ka’los trotted rightward at the bottom of the ramp, into the left-hand wing of the fort, and switched channels in his suit to vox emergency deployments.

“Agreed,” said Pauel, “you can fill the details later. Let’s get some initial guards on that gatewall. Especially near the gate. They can get in other ways, but the ground forces will try to push through there -- if only as a major distraction!”

“Until later, then!” And Eria teleported over to the fort’s right wing.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 11, 2019, 09:08:54 PM
Just in case there was any worry that this would be mostly plot without much tactical shootyness...  >:D

(Part 2 of 7)

“I want a scout team capturing the req points on either side of the gate, up on that wall, first thing,” Pauel ordered. “Don’t bother sending them squad-reinforcements yet, but send a servitor squad after each of them; you can reinforce those. Another two squads should capture the req points at ground level just inside the gate.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7963/V0In7F.jpg)

“Then capture points backward on this plan; servitor teams following afterward to cap the points. Upgrade them with automatic guns as soon as possible, in the same capture order. Final scout squad focuses on the single req point behind us, as well as the nearby relic and critical point.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1365/SVd7Ch.jpg)

{Gamenote: closeup of the minimap for that prior snapshot!}
 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/597/h1dIFX.png)

“Final pair of servitor squads -- reinforce those, too -- pump out six plasma generators first thing, back near the slag deposits and the single rear req-point. Then you can cap that req point and the relic.

“This is a race for resources now, in a thin field to harvest from; and our only chance at winning is to get ahead and stay ahead!”

A little more than three and a half minutes into the operation, the echoes of pistols could be distantly heard outside, almost inaudible in the moaning, chilling wind as the planet gave up the heat, the life, provided by its many human inhabitants. “Some morons out there must be drunk, or trying to get a promotion!” reported a Vol scout. “A couple of their scouts are speckling the outer gate!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2792/vBEl9C.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/4724/jrckus.jpg)

“Genuinely hilarious!” Pauel agreed. “Maybe they’re etching their names to show that they were there first, before their friends arrive in force!” An enemy commander soon found them something else more productive to do. And soon found someone else to knock on the doors.

7:45, the sixth plasma generator was completed... “Under fire!” someone reported. “What?! Oh, good, they haven’t jumped over the gate yet. A more serious attempt on the outer gate this time, though!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/241/Iz2Dp9.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7274/kVt59P.jpg)

“Also a more mixed group. Flamethrowers on horses... at least they were keeping those animals warm. They’ll have that outer gate down in a few minutes.”

“Why wouldn’t all three gates be equally tough?” a lieutenant wondered in the command center.

“Because it’s supposed to be a trap, obviously,” snorted some older sergeant nearby standing guard. “Sir. Except, the Imperials packed up everything when Chaos chased them out the first time, so now we’ve got to build the traps!”

“To be fair, they withdrew to concentrate force elsewhere,” Pauel clarified. He allowed and encouraged a certain amount of banter, as long as the work got done, helping to season everyone. “Didn’t want to destroy the fort, in case they could come back -- probably so as not to lose any automatic guard protection for other things in here, either.” He’d share the existence of the primal webway gate later, when it was pertinent. “But they took all their gear, to put it to use elsewhere, and so that an enemy getting here first -- like us! -- couldn’t use it against them.”

“Those weapon servitors are no joke, huh,” someone marveled, watching them light up the darkness outside the first gate. “Scouts are all back in position, up top.”

“Okay, time to reinforce them. They can take potshots from on high, under the covering fire of our fortified position caps, until the enemy brings up something beefier; then they should bug out, save themselves from being totally plastered.”

9:30 -- “First gate just went down! Lots of flamers in that group, about to be hot here, soon,” reported a scout from flanking position above the second gate.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/601/9opvHG.jpg)

“Keep your heads down then and let the automatic guns go to work. Take opportunity shots at your discretion.”

“Roger that. Any, um, other turrets you wanna send up here? We’ve got easily a hundred-fifty targets to work on. I mentioned some have flamers, right?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5830/A3qrPQ.jpg)

“Can’t send any yet. The first Stronghold needs to be upgraded before we can put any turrets at all; and after that we need two more Strongholds out, to get twelve more plasma generators in the back, pronto. We’re in a race to get enough resources to do... whatever it is the Farseer wants to do,” Pauel had to finish a little lamely. “Something more impressive than a Warlord Titan.”

“Yeah, well, they’re in a race to get in our gates -- or over them! Over.”

11:00 -- “Second gate is half down; we’re taking potshots, but the enemy has figured out how to flame the gate from outside fortified bolter range.”

“Little do they know that the inner gate is three times as thick and made of partitions each much stronger than those flimsy things. Soon our trap will be complete,” Pauel deadpanned. “Out.” And went back to planning. “Anyone among our very shooty allies who wishes start taking shots from through or above the final gate, you can get into position any time now,” he added on a wider channel. “Annnnny time, over.”

11:55 -- the second Stronghold had been completed, on the left rampart wall (Pauel thought it might serve as a useful distraction target there), and the second set of plasma generators planned out along with a chapel and armory dropped in for assembly, when, “Squad broken!” a scout team reported.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/4042/69vxuQ.jpg)

The enemy had melted the second gate, and could now enter the rampart courtyard far enough to flamethrow the scout teams. “Scouts, withdraw to the main stronghold and get medical attention. You’ve done your job well, and are out of the fight now; evacuate the area.” Switching channels again: “Annnnnnnny time now.”

A Tau Landspeeder floated over to behind the gate. “That doesn’t look like it can shoot accurately through the gate. Which would explain why it isn’t trying,” Pauel dryly observed. “Can it climb a ramp? Or would it prefer not to get its paint singed?”

“The crew is concerned that the heavy flamers will melt the light armor,” Ka’los returned. “They’re giving me information to plan out a deployment behind the gate.”

“I promise, I won’t be offended by anyone volunteering,” Pauel emphasized, “to replace my scouts on the ramparts over the... wait. Scouts, I TOLD YOU TO WITHDRAW! To the first Stronghold, not ten steps back!”

“We’re in less danger here, and can heal our wounds,” a scout replied. “We’re able to fight, we just want to help protect the fortified points from any ACCHK!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/4164/1RxJuz.jpg)

“Damn and blast it! Assault Marines and their Sister counterparts have jumped up onto the ramparts,” Pauel reported to his allies. “Can I get any help at all here?!”

“We have several squads on the ground behind the gate,” Eria reported. “As do we, though not as many yet,” voxed Ka’los. “The moment anyone tries to jump off the wall into your courtyard they will regret it.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8745/8xVAlT.jpg)

“My now-dead scouts regret even more that YOU WEREN’T ON THE WALL!”

“We’re one the wall elsewhere, and thought that you had secured the rampart wall.”

“No, I’ve been busy on the plan Eria promised would provide us something scarier than a Warlord Titan, as soon as possible! Grack clogit!” Pauel pounded a mailed fist onto a portion of command-counter kept conveniently free on its surface for such eventualities. “The first twelve men dead, and I’m only now getting our chapel ready to receive drop-pods!”

“You did order them out,” said Farseer Eria. “They disobeyed your wise counsel. I sympathize with your pain over the result. But, we must consider a deeper defense of your gate, not a shallower one. Those Fervent Heart Sisters now shall learn regret, for continuing onward without support: Ka’los’ troops will make short work. Whereas, the moment those Assault Marines clear the inner wall, we will nail them out of the sky.”

“Meanwhile, we’ve lost the gatewall.”

“...begging your pardon, but not entirely, Commander!” “Eh?!” “We let the Assault Marines focus on the fortified point and got out of their way, didn’t draw attention to ourselves; the other point on the ground, along with that one, chewed them up to where they jetpacked off! I saw some Eldar sneaking shots up over the lip of the wall, too! -- a fine display of marksmanship. Would have preferred them up on the wall, sure, showing off from a distance, but you’ve still got two scout squads on the right gatehouse wall!” a scout reported proudly.

“...amazing. Well, if you insist on standing there to die, at least run your first squad down around and up the other side; we’ll send you some bolters to submachine with, too.”

“Already way ahead of you, sir! We’re passing several Tau squads also taking up position on their portion of the front wall, discouraging jumpers. No fortified positions left here, but the reqs are still ours; send more servitors when you can get around to it.”

“I’ve got most of them detailed to put a third stronghold on the right rampart now; you should see the transport coming in! Once they’re done, we’ll be able to rush the 18th plasma generators; but they’ll stay up on the wall to get that point capped again with guns, as well as some advanced turrets.”

“If I may say so,” interjected Farseer Eria, “having arrived behind the gate myself, I am pleased to see that Ka’los has sent more warriors down here than we have! But we have not been idle. Both of us have garrisoned all points of the wall within shooting range, to punish anyone trying to jump onto the wall and then over.”

“Indeed, your human former-allies have designed the moat and walls so that they themselves might jump down and back, at their discretion,” Ka’los reported. “Which means, that standard jump-packs and, I expect, even short-range teleporters cannot get into the fort with one jump! They can only get to the walls, where they will repent of that choice and die before their packs can cool down and recharge. Therefore, the gate will be the focus of their attacks for some time.”

17:00 -- the enemy has been largely uninterrupted trying to chew through the first layer of the third gate, “but,” Pauel updated his allies, “neither have they bothered to jump the wall again, not needing to get rid of Volunteer fire from above. And they are finding that lasguns and scout speeder machine cannons and even flamers don’t affect the panels of the final gate much -- no doubt they already knew that,” he allowed. “Their flamers aren’t even trying, although that might be because they suspect some scouts still exist up there and don’t want to provide free shots at gel-tanks on their backs! But the other guns might as well scratch away at it until the real power arrives, as long as they aren’t interrupted. They’ve done...” he checked. “Almost no damage so far. So low that on the console, the one panel they’re all focusing on still looks like a solid green line of health!

“I’ve put down two machine cults, and the first Stronghold has just started its upgrade to Tier 3. My main concern at this time, is that the enemy will start flying units into our backfield.”

“Same,” Ka’los agreed. “I shall bring out a few potent anti-air assets.”

“I’m trying to keep my expenditures low, to progress as fast as possible; but I will, too.”

“I appreciate your progress so quickly,” Eria said. “No doubt more quickly than our foes. However, I am concerned that they themselves are also progressing more quickly than usual, since they have barely had any losses to replace.”

“Well, you can just come up here and help do something about that at any time. Or bring some artillery to shoot over the gate!” Pauel invited. “Our third Stronghold is complete, and I’ve got a servitor team rolling up to... ah, yes, the enemy has flamethrowers already ready already,” he sighed. “My little toaster corpses are braving those flames like pros, however, trying to cap that point again!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/4431/UBbgxW.jpg)

18:00 -- “Right gateguard point’s capped again, but the flamer’s eating it up before we can upgrade it. If I’m not going to get more guns up here to shoot,” Pauel grated, “then I’ll have to call in turrets. Those poor servitors will be roasted again... First AA has arrived, second one on the way. Okay, first turret out! -- just in time, the fortified point has its autorotary gun, but is already on its final notches of armor! The turret is sending rotary cannon fire down nicely, distracting the enemy from trying to flame the req point at least. Hah, the Ultrasmurf speeder bikes have mostly stopped even pretending to try to hit the gate! -- though they do have a predator up now, argh. Wait, what’s that? -- I just saw Eldar vehicles jumping up onto the wall FROM DOWN INSIDE THE COURTYARD!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/5593/LZaHbu.jpg)

“Just a quick opportunity strike,” Eria explained, almost purring with pride. “We distracted your enemy long enough for your turret to finish the job, and jumped out again. You’re welcome. I think we’ll keep cycling them in and out for a while.”

“Okay! Now it’s more like a party! Second AA out, so unless they send a VERY dedicated airstrike we’re safe in the middle. Both Thermo-plasma reactors have landed for assembly, and I’ll get the last six regular plasma reactors set up soon. No, scratch that, I’ll put out the orbital relay first, then do the final six...”

“Faster power will reach our surprise faster,” suggested Eria.

“I need the Orbital relay for the relic management station anyway. Also the orbital relay will allow my first stronghold to start upgrading to Tier 4 immediately... oh, good! The fortified point has also upgraded to its more heavily armored form; and I’ve started some basic research on improving their armor and gunpower. Second turret going down! Nice to see some Eldar jump-craft getting into the game!”

“Our lives and deaths are not a game to us,” retorted Eria, with more than a little frost. “...not to all of us. Some cope in care-free ways. They should not be a game to you, in any case.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 12, 2019, 08:11:34 PM
(Part 3 of 7)

21:30 -- “Heavy Armor Deployment being geared,” reported an officer in logistics.

“Not too shabby; we’re doing our job,” the Force Commander assured them. “I hope,” he didn’t add. “Now that we’ve designated resources saved up for that, let’s get those final six plasma generators out at last! Also, what’s our limit on servitor squads? I mean the normal ones, not combat. Five? Six? However many more that we’re allowed at one time, I want them up on that wall, keeping those turrets and the fortified point in good repair. Right now, those servitors are the heroes of our force!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/2710/prSNXO.jpg)

“Come to think of it, add a fourth turret; the ones we’ve got can take the heat a while.” Later, Pauel would remonstrate himself, going over the after-action report, that he hadn’t manually ordered the turrets to concentrate on the flamers down in the courtyard...

23:20 -- checking back on the gate defense: “WHERE IN THE HELL ARE MY TURRETS!? Was there an orbital strike, when I wasn’t paying attention? I was about to compliment them on driving off most of the foes, but -- !”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9877/bbnc57.jpg)

“The Sisters rolled up a heavy flamer tank,” scouts reported, currently still well back from the edge but gaining steath-suits and sniper rifles. “Before we even realized what was happening... drat! -- our other scout team, across the way, guarding the point, just got mortar’d by something! Sure wish we had amazing mechanized artillery pieces somewhere nearby...”

“We could, but the Eldar and the Tau were supposed to be helping take care of things like that, while we’re... (sigh) teching up to put that Farseer’s plan into place. She knows what she’s doing.”

“I have plasma artillery pieces down behind the gate right now,” Ka’los announced. “Send me positional coordinates for the flame tank’s location!”

“I’ll let the scouts work with you on that -- “ “WE’RE KIND OF BUSY BEING SHOT TO PIECES BY SOMETHING UP IN THE AIR!” “ -- I’ll let whichever scouts aren’t busy work with you on that,” Pauel corrected himself, and then to a logistic officer, “I want one of those machine cults working on an armor upgrade, and the other one requisitioning a Mark I Whirlwind from army headquarters, immediately! If we lose the gate before we get to the Farseer’s awe-inspiring plan, then,” he dryly observed, “we won’t get to her awe-inspiring plan.”

“The scouts at the overwatch fortified point have been driven off by that Lightning Fighter,” someone reported. “They’ve taken too many casualties; they won’t be coming back anytime soon.”

“I know one of the points behind the gate is shooting that fighter; can the overwatch fortification hit it?!”

“Unclear: it’s hovering directly overhead, in a safe zone...”

“I have distributed plasma weaponry to some of my forces below,” Eria broke in. “We will drive it away -- or bring it down if the pilot insists on staying! I thought it was targeting your fortified point before, not your scouts, or I would have made such arrangements sooner.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6008/TIUPnw.jpg)

“The Sister pilot is bugging out for home!” a surviving scout on the other side of the gateway wall reported. “We took some shots as she passed, but she’s only about half-damaged. She’ll be back, likely enough. Maybe upgraded.”

25:33 -- “Tier III organized,” announced a new voice on the vox net. “Techmarine Agrabah here, grouping up with your backfield servitors. Orders?”

“Put up the Heavy Machine Cult platform, off to the side; that Whirlwind had a little trouble getting clear of its arrival and assembly point, and I don’t want any land raiders or larger units having similar problems getting into the fight. The Whirlwind should go up our rightward ramp to the gatewall; it won’t need to get very close of course, but there’s a little more protection in that direction at the moment. Come to think of it, now that we’ve got Tier III organization in place... Ah, crog it!” Ork curses were coming in handy today, Pauel thought off in a corner of his mind, followed by wishing he had some Orks to deploy on the side for a sweep across the enemy backfield. “The Fortified Point is almost destroyed! Hurry, get a new servitor squad out there!”

The servitor rolled out from the nearby secondary stronghold, and managed to reach the fortified point in time -- to have the thing explode in the servitor’s face.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6100/pVc68v.jpg)

Fortunately, they had volunteered long ago to suffer various upgrades to help be functional should that happen, but, “Now we have no guns up there at all. Wonderful.”

“Oh, we do,” a scout reported, sardonically. “But those guns belong to that Sister pilot; she just came back over, and now she’s shooting down into the Eldar crowd.”

“And out of our effective range.” Eria sounded as though she was grinding her teeth. “Not out of range of your other fortified point, however; nor some Tau rifles. Nor, if I may say so, out of range of the Falcon Grav tank I just sent to drive her off. She will not stay long.” And she didn’t, zooming away.

“Before we start over again on capping that point, I want servitor teams planting up Perimeter Defense Outposts along the wall edge, overlooking the courtyard,” Pauel ordered. “Three or four if possible. Ignore the artillery strikes!”

“I just sent a Guardian team to help, bringing some small brightlance grav platforms with them,” said the Farseer. “They are trying,” she coldly added, “to ignore the falling artillery as much as possible.”

“Ah; well, they helped! The enemy had to spread out their attention, and now the first PDO is up!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6308/ZLktgM.jpg)

“The foes down there will find THAT a lot harder to deal with. I think I’ll keep a servitor team on repairing it for a little while, until they get the new armor upgrades finished; new PDOs will benefit, too, afterward.”

“So, do you have a Tier beyond 3rd?” Eria asked. “When exactly will the relic research station be ready?”

“Yes, we like to call Tier IV ‘The Unknown Chapter’! We’ve just started arrangements for its organization.”

29:15 -- the second PDO goes into operation over the gate, shortly after their system’s armor improvements are completed; even the heavy flamers brought up to the courtyard now find themselves barely scorching the outer hulls! “The servitors should have enough protection now, to get a listening post up onto the req point again -- and keep it this time! Put a Lascannon on top of the first PDO at once, as well. We’ll try to keep a one to one ratio of anti-infantry and -armor weapons up there over the gateyard.”

“Most of the enemy forces have clustered on the bridge, not in the courtyard anymore,” a still-surviving scout reported.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/8351/jJksF0.jpg)

“I think some of the Tau and Eldar armor behind the gate are showing off now, sniping through the gatecracks! Wish we had some orbital strikes prepared or something like that, to hit that bridge...”

31:40 -- the Whirlwind succumbs at last to counter-battery fire; but now there are four PDOs, three of which are able to target the bridge leading to the courtyard, and two of those with lascannons. Eldar jump bikes are routinely landing in the gateyard to harrass the enemy with anti-vehicle shots before retreating again, and a Falcon Gravtank now takes its own potshots out at bridge targets from behind and between the PDOs!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/9452/O2pp23.jpg)

“Y’know what would be even better?” a scout opined out loud on the other side.

“A fifth PDO in that group?” Pauel deflected. “I could maybe arrange that, but I think I’m out of room? Hm.”

“Sure, but we were thinking, hey, y’know, maybe three or four or five of those PDOs over here on our side of the overlook...”

“Agreed in principle. For that matter, a nice company of eight Whirlwind Mark II armored carriers might be even better! And some Land Raiders, too, while we’re at it!”

“Not that that’s impossible...”

“No, but also not the plan. The Farseer has a surprise. To that end, I’m putting up a thermonuclear plant to gather more energy.”

34:00 -- “Thermonuclear plant set up,” Agrabah reported. “Seems like maybe a nuclear center would go real well with that...”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/6896/N0TKLa.jpg)

“Agreed. But I’m trying to stay with -- one moment. Our first PDO up there is only at half health. We’ll talk about this later.” Pauel directed the currently-only-remaining servitor squad to go to its aid, while there was still plenty of time...

...and then a light from the sky began to shine and focus down...

“ORBITAL STRIKE!” a surviving scout on the other side of the gateyard rampart shouted into the vox net. The first shots rent a near-full health PDO apart; the shockwave blew back the hapless, heroic servitors. That was only the first of several salvos.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/9516/Hjc8WM.jpg)

“Farseer!??” Pauel called, the edge in his voice inquiring.

“Yes, just in case, perhaps you should -- “

“Nuclear Weapons Platform, Agrabah, go! One of the upper strongholds should start on organizing more of relic research, too.”

“I think you will find your relic research station to be more -- “

“I’m sure you’re aware of how hard your own people are fighting past the gate now, Farseer. I’m making those preparation in case we need something less awesome than whatever you’re thinking is even more awesome than a Warlord Imperial Titan.”

37:00 -- “2nd PDO down! Others have been repaired,” reported the warrant officer in charge of monitoring and targeting the group. “No new ones to come yet?”

“I suppose we had better -- “ started Pauel but was interrupted:

“Here, Force Commander. Let this Soul Walker relieve you!!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2053/3DGje4.jpg)

The gangly Eldar mecha leaped up onto the wall and hobbled around, dodging and returning fire; joined by other Eldar vehicles, too.

“ -- um. That will do, for now, perhaps. Thank you,” Pauel sincerely said.

“Don’t lose focus on your mission, Commander. That is all I ask -- all we ask, with our lives.”

“Noted. Pull up the plans for the relic research station.”

“um, boss, that gangly thing is, uh, walkin’ on outta there.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2984/WjYAD3.jpg)

One of the surviving stealthed scouts now felt, with some justification, he had earned the right to make that sardonic report in an orkan accent.

“...okay, current servitor squad, get in there and put up a new PDO. We’ll try to get five back up and running.”

“No good boss,” the report came a minute later. “They’re all shot up, and so was both of the PDOs they tried to lay down.”

“....start organizing the Superweapons in the Nuclear center,” Pauel ordered. “Agrabah, I want a Titan Assembly Bay put down as soon as possible.”

“Commander, the research station -- !”

“You want to tell me what we’re all out here bleeding for, Farseer?!”

“Not over a broadcast channel, no. Regardless of encryption.”

“Okay, you want to glide over here and try to explain it to me using gestures!?”

“...no.”

“Order stands, Techmarine.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 13, 2019, 06:56:12 PM
(Part 4 of 7)

40:00 -- Pauel was trying to decide if another three squads of reinforced servitors could try to put down another PDO, to join the remaining two, against the hellish fire at the gate, when he noticed: “I’m sure your people down behind the gate have seen this already, and just didn’t think it was necessary to report. But one of the major reinforcings panels on the final gate is down.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/2710/NrU6EZ.jpg)

An enemy EMP blast fried all the servitors, as they were trying to repair the fortified point. “Does anyone have good news?”

“This is Agrabah. Titan Platform almost finished.”

“That could be very good news!”

“We can start on smaller titans immediately, but remember our limitations.”

“Noted. What’s the largest single one we can make, under these circumstances?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/6136/CWofJi.jpg)

“The Lucius Pattern Warlord. That would be our only one, but...”

“...buy we might only need one of those. As a last defense of the gate.”

“Bad news is, we need the final Tier organized first to start construction. And 8000 each in energy and req to start that organization.”

“Almost there on energy. Already there on req.”

“Would be nice to have some orbital strikes of our own, while we’re waiting.”

“I’ll gladly authorize that. Put down a deepstrike beacon, Agrabah.”

“You,” declared Eria, “are wandering astray from the plan, Commander!”

Your plan. Which the enemy isn’t going to let you implement. That’s how it goes, sometimes.”

“No need to lecture me on war, human. I have been fighting -- “

“-- almost as long as I have, yes I remember.” That choked her off; she was young for a Farseer, and Pauel had fallen ten millennia earlier, during the Great Heresy. “I promise, I’m taking that under advisement.

Apocalypse Tier organization: divert resources and start!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/8269/qBgP9K.jpg)

“We’ll get a Warlord Titan out at least, Farseer. Or a short company of Land Raiders, which might fit better through that gate after it falls. I promise, the enemy will be impressed.”

43:30 -- Pauel had carefully chivvied the most recent servitor squad into repairing the fortified point, against constantly thrown artillery shells (and another EMP), when suddenly the roaring firestorm of weaponry down below... lessened.

It even could almost be said to have abated! Not entirely, but...

Glancing at his minimap, Pauel saw...

...no more enemy units marked on the map. Not in sight anyway.

Not in the gateyard. Or on the bridge.

“...um, any remaining scouts? What’s going on at the gate?”

“Sir, the enemy withdrew and sent in an Ultramarine Force Commander.”

“They’re setting up an another orbital strike!”

“No doubt. A soul walker is down there trading hits with him, trying to finish him off before... wow, the walker punched the Smurf Commander out of the courtyard! Or he backflipped away, just to show off -- tons of things were shooting at him, can’t say I blame him.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/1374/dBSGAc.jpg)

“Just in time?”

“...no sir, beams are focusing in! Target’s the gate!”

“That’ll likely wipe the basic gate itself. At least it wasn’t the troops gathered behind it! Let me know if any of the other armored plates go down.”

“Well if it does, there’s an awful amount of Tau and Eldar ready to shoot through that, too, sir! Looks like the basic gate held, and all armor plating for now.”

“Commander,” that was Ka’los, “evidence suggests the enemy has grown desperate.”

“If they’re suiciding a Force Commander into the gate, yeah, that’s evidence, I agree.”

“We see signs, especially on our wing of the fort, that enemy groups are pushing up to try to remove our screening units.”

“So they can get airborne units in somewhere. Not a bad idea, under the circumstances. Can they succeed?”

“I do not think so. Or not yet. I gauge this as a probe, or a secondary plan, not a main one.”

“Any idea on their main one?”

“Withdraw, rest a few minutes, and return with any number of Baneblades.”

“Makes sense: divert resources temporarily for upgrades and escalation.”

“I have sent a cloaked ship to investigate this theory...”

“If only we had a superior escalation strategy,” Eria grated.

“If only,” Pauel agreed. “Too bad we don’t, so far as we know. Send up any jump-capable ships to keep them away from the gate. Counter-battery fire would be appreciated... ah, you’re already on it, thanks.” Plasma artillery arc’d over the current servitor squad from inside the fort. “I’m taking the opportunity to get six PDOs set up -- although the enemy artillery’s doing a bang-up job of slowing that down.”

“Rapid stealth recon complete,” Ka’los said. On his minimap, Pauel could see the quick little thing zooming back from the Guardsman base closest to the Tau side of the fort -- going over to take a position, cloaked, in front of some of the remaining gate shields.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3906/2SLkgI.jpg)

Any incoming lateral enemy fire would have to destroy it first. Stellar bravery; Pauel would commend its pilot himself, across the service branches, if he survived this debacle. “Report received: yes,” said Ka’los, “Baneblades of various models are being constructed. Theory, confirmed.”

“Agraba here. 5th Tier organization will soon be complete.”

“Personally,” Pauel said, “I’m curious whether a Warlord class Titan can crush a Baneblade underfoot.”

“Starting construction, sir!”

“Commander. Force Commander.”

“Busy preparing for a final stand, Farseer.”

“Your leader, Prester John, trusts my plan. I dare not say more. I dare not whisper it.”

“They aren’t going to let me do that, Eria.”

“You may set up one of your largest Titans, Commander Pauel. And I will be duly impressed.

“They will sooner or later set up five just as large. And I will be wishing we had something more.”

“...we can retreat through your webway gates any time. Or at almost any time. This would be a fine opportunity to withdraw more troops, safely, than under a heavier assault,” Pauel suggested.

“If we do that,” she said,

“...they will win.”

“That happens.”

“Have you forgotten? They are broadcasting live, across the system, and also across the galaxy! All will see that there is no reason to think about another way, a better way. A way that leads to peace instead of only dissolution into grim darkness.

“Also, if we leave, they will stay, and not turn this world into a lifeless grave --

“ -- and then the unknown C’tan will awaken.”

“... ........

“...all Legion officers, I want clear withdrawal plans set out, immediately, to reach escape routes.

“Agrabah:

“cancel the Titan. Set up the Emperor’s Armory.”

“...as you command. Resources diverting.”

“You think we still have time, Farseer?”

“...I don’t foresee that we don’t, now.”

“That’ll have to do.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 13, 2019, 08:36:14 PM
(Part 5 of 7)

“...uh, boss? Enemy arty and orbital strikes have scotched all our PDO plans. Again.”

“So noted. I don’t suppose you’ve got an Ion Cannon set up in your side of the base yet, Ka’los?”

“No, we have been busy on other matters.”

“Understood.”

“I have deployed a Void Spinner super-heavy artillery craft to guard our side of the gate wall, commander. With another one in reserve,” Eria voxed.

“Understood! -- thanks, that’s ultra-helpful!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/9313/1tXno7.jpg)

{Gamenote: those things can spit out plasma artillery shots at a rate of about 2 per second! Also pictured, my last nearly dead PDO. Counterbattery fire pulped it along with the three servitor squads trying to repair it, 30 seconds later. F for respects.}

“I have also sent a volunteer harassing force beyond the gatebridge,” Eria added. “They will probably not return alive.”

“...understood.”


48:30 -- “Emperor’s Armory, ready,” Agrabah voxed.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/5343/KDMyTm.jpg)

“Sending codes that we have recovered from your computers far below,” Eria said.

“Ultramarine Land Raider at the gatebridge.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/1204/XyQ8u9.jpg)

“So,” Pauel inferred with something similar to relief, “they won’t be sending a Legio Titanicus at us. Just a swarm of Land Raiders. Along with a swarm of Baneblades.” It wasn’t very similar to relief...

“Any of the others might still outclass you on Titans. Outclass us,” Eria emphasized, “all together. Please begin processing code for the project of a hexadecimal number I am sending you.”

“...does this project have a nifty name?”

“No.”

“Project No, then! -- I kind of like it alread... THIRTY THOUSAND REQ AND ENERGY?!”

“You would be far more than halfway there already, Commander, had you -- “

“ -- stayed focus, of course.”

“ -- had you trusted Ka’los and I to hold the gate for you.”

“... .....Okay, Tier V rates can be instigated, but that’ll cost a lot of what we’ve already got...?”

“My calculations,” Ka’los said, “suggest that we will reach the goal sooner if we spend those resources now.”

“Done. We’re starting from around 2000 each now. I will ignore the gate as much as possible so as not to be distracted. Some of the fortified points back here -- all of them actually -- have never gotten fully upgraded, so their requisition rate isn’t as good as it could be. The nuclear power plant and all my plasma generators can punch out rates a lot faster than my requisition right now, so I’m going to dump energy from the reactor into supercharging req. That will give me what I need to upgrade the req points, all of them. Agrabah: as soon as you can, set up a second thermonuclear plant.”

“Sir, I notice this project won’t be using relic resources directly...”

“Yeah, we spent a ton of resources we can’t get back, increasing what we can squeeze from this point. We might have been warned about that.”

“You might indeed have been,” Eria agreed.


55:30 -- “Lots of Eldar vehicles up on their side of the gateway wall, boss. Not so many Tau on our side, currently.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/5182/0O91yb.jpg)

“We are concentrating elsewhere,” Ka’los explained. “Including behind the final gate. Where, I assure you, we can shoot very well through the single gap.”

“Hm.” Pauel rubbed his chin in thought, wondering with a small part of his mind if he could grow a beard now. “I could send three servitor teams around to that side, see if they can set up some PDOs...”

“You are just now one third of the way to your goal, Commander Pauel,” Eria reminded him.

“They don’t cost a lot. I’ll shift the squads over there, just in case.”

57:00 -- “What are you doing, Commander?”

“They might as well at least cap the point! It hasn’t had a listening post on it for almost an hour now: that’s a loss of requisition rates.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1247/DJCmX6.jpg)

“Upgrading it won’t be a waste of time, I agree,” said Ka’los, “as long as the enemy doesn’t destroy it afterward.”

“See?!”

Eria sighed. “Almost 43% gathered. My forces -- our forces -- are fighting successfully to keep the enemy away from the gate. Sacrificially. Don’t be distracted.”

“Any Baneblades yet?”

“...no.”

“They’re saving them for a push. You’re going to need all the firepower you can get at the gate.”

“Numerous Terminator Ultramarines deepstriking into the courtyard, boss!”

“I’d better lay down five PDOs.”

“COMMANDER!”

“Maybe six.”


57:45 -- “Orbital strike on the PDzzzzzzzz....” Pauel palmed his face, as his current servitor squads died on the wall. His final scouts had been there, too. Apparently no infernal deal for immortality after all...

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3531/CMAiPW.jpg)

“I would say I told you so, but most of my guards behind the gate, along with Tau, were also hit with a massive electromagnetic pulse. We will need some time to recover,” said Eria.

“We do have a couple of orbital satellites of our own in the sky, now...” Agrabah suggested.

“You need the help to hold, Eria. Do it, Agrabah.”

“Orbital bombardment AND an orbital strike! Eat flaming death, sirs.”

{Gamenote: alas, I was literally too busy trying to stay in the game, to watch the results on the enemies gathering past the first gate!}

“...back to 43% complete,” grated Eria.

“And now we might last till completion, Farseer.”
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 13, 2019, 09:49:34 PM
(Part 6 of 7)

“Boss! It’s {cough} me! Escaped most of their orbital blast, got vox’d down by the EMP though! Unpacked PDO survived as well! -- I took shelter under it!”

That had to rank as some kind of miracle, Pauel thought, but he sure wasn’t going to complain about it... “Gate no longer has its basic structure, only the armor plating!” the lone surviving scout reported.

“More for us,” said Ka’los, “to shoot through, I think you said.”

So they did.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7222/6hM9cM.jpg)

59:20 -- “First PDO up on our side, woo! Amazing sound and light show down in the pit there, boss! Glad to have something to stand behind for once, peeking down! Repairs to the Fortified Point and its gun, also complete!”

“You know what would be better than a PDO, sergeant?”

“A second PDO, boss?”

“I can arrange that! Fortified post upgrade almost finished...” Hard crumps poomfed over the vox channel.

“Servitor squad mostly pulped by a wicked barrage here, boss.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8906/bXV85f.jpg)

“So noted. PDO package still there?”

“So far.”

“Lining up servitor group number... thirty-seven?!”

“Halfway complete on the energy. Back to 43 percent on the requisition,” Eria sighed.

“You do see that giant red blob on the map outside our gates...”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/1586/sX7CPk.jpg)

“YES IT’S LIKE OUR LITTLE GIANT BLUE BLOB ON MY... on my own map. Commander. Please don’t lose focus.”

Hearing the Farseer shout had been a novel experience. One that Pauel wasn’t eager to repeat. “...we, uh, may not add a 3rd PDO yet. But let’s try not to lose the 2nd before it’s unpacked, okay?”


1:01:45 -- “This is Agrabah. 2nd PDO completed, Commander. Repairs on 1st PDO underway.”

“You don’t have to whisper, Techmarine. I’ve got you on a specially secure channel. I can barely hear you over the firefight down there as it is. ...see anywhere you’d like to put a 3rd PDO?”

“Yes, sir, I do!”

“Permission granted.”


1:03:30 -- “This is Agrabah. Ultramarine Land Raider Ares destroyed while it was trying to retreat! 3rd PDO landed the kill shot.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7703/x0Sdt3.jpg)

Considering the volume of Eldari and Tauian fire that had been engulfing the area, Pauel thought that report to be improbable; but on the other hand, the Vol Legion now had three PDOs once again active over the gatehouse and bridge!

“Almost 61 and a half percent complete, Commander Pauel. On the energy. Requisition continues to lag behind.” Eria sounded strained, and she hadn’t even had to be in any of the fighting directly yet. Pauel hoped that she had invested in bringing up her best tactical gear, just in case.

“I’ve noticed the difference and I’m trying to balance the amounts better now, Farseer. Try not to worry, I have a plan.”

“...does your plan,” Agrabah asked, “involve the fact that PDOs cost a lot more energy than requisition, sir?”

“Good guess, Techmarine!”


1:05:00 -- “This is Agrabah; six of the ten gateshields are gone.”

“Lots more holes for the shooty boys to shoot through, sir.” Pauel wondered if the surviving scout sergeant had made some infernal pact for immortality. In his experience, that wasn’t only an appreciative joke...

4th PDO,” coughed the Techmarine in addition. “Putting a Lascannon up there now.”

“With the gate almost in shambles,” stated Ka’los, “I have directed my crisis suits and some other infantry out onto the bridge. I wish to register gratitude for so much Volunteer Marine firepower supporting our advance.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2892/Y5vejd.jpg)

“Noted,” Eria noted, with almost no trace of a sigh. “Two thirds of the way, in energy.”


1:07:00 -- “Sir, Agrabah. I beg to report that the backfield servitors have been... lax...”

“Did you forget to order them to set up that second thermonuclear generator, in your haste to get up on the wall?”

“That is a distinct possibility, sir. I might not be able to recall.”

“Don’t tell the Farseer.”

“...she, uh... She’s directing the construction of a webway command center, over between our main Stronghold and the nuclear weapons center.”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/5728/ISpKOG.jpg)

Pauel winced. “Farseer!” he cheerfully voxed. “I greatly appreciate your plan to shield our most valuable buildings, or some of them, with your cloaking technology!”

“Noted,” she replied, with barely a trace of a growl. “I see you have started the second generator at last. ...Requisition has caught up to two thirds? -- but energy has lapsed back to 16000?!”

“Oh, that was my plan, Farseer, ma’am. Lady. Highness!” said the Techmarine. “I dumped a lot of energy from the first reactor into supercharging the requisition rate. By my calculations, the two reactors together will catch up around the target mark.”

“Reasonable,” she allowed. “I may send you a commendation later. And some advice on your future.”

“...n... not really necessary, but thank you, Lady Farseer.”

“I may insist.

“Ahem,” Pauel coughed. “I have just capped our other, rightward requisiton point above the gateyard again; which perhaps we may finally keep this time. Pursuant to that, on my command authority I have detonated the remaining plating across the middle of the final gate opening, so that if either of you have some larger infantry units, let us say, you want to send through...?”

“...our elite infantry, together... with your turret support,” she firmly acknowledged, “looks to be keeping the enemy out for now. But thank you. And thank you, sincerely, for your support on the wall.”

“More PDOs on the way!” the Force Commander brightly announced.

“I shall restrain myself from having a heart attack from not-surprise. Men --” her vox cut out abruptly but a little too late.

“Sorry? I couldn’t quite catch that last vox. Watching those other two pieces of plating go down is surprisingly satisfying, though!”

“They were practically worthless anyway, where they were. So, be satisfied,” she said, more serenely.

“Boss, you enjoying watching a stream of elite Tau and Eldar surge steadily out in an offensive assault as much as I am?!”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/9093/grIIDF.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img921/7357/PTQSTk.jpg)

{Gamenote: mere photos cannot depict the relief I felt that the mass of Eldar and Tau behind the gate had not only survived without being zorched by any of the five opponents, but were now flowing out into the battlefield!}

“Yes, sergeant, at least as much! But you know what would be better?”

“Five or six more PDO’s on the rightward side of the gateyard wall?”

“Just in case.”

“Twenty-three thousand requisition,” reported Eria, only slightly less serenely.


1:14:30 -- “Thirty thousand energy,” Eria reported. “Requisition close. Our combined sally to try to stop the Baneblade factories failed, with many casualties. But at least the enemy has been pushed from the gate, for now.”

“How goes your secondary push to keep the enemy’s left side distracted?”

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/858/YtmmXw.jpg)

“Faring better, much to my surprise. Not accomplishing anything constructive, but we’re keeping their resources tied up with some effectiveness.”

“I am genuinely unsure,” said Ka’los, “what the Ultramarines are planning. However, I think they didn’t invest wisely in relic efficiency, and have wasted what little they could get on Land Raiders already. We are staying out of firing range of their base, just to be safe. They might have reserved one.”

“They don’t need relics to cover us in Terminator companies, given time and opportunity,” Pauel said. “Farseer?”

“Resource targets complete,” Eria announced. “And... I must admit, perhaps this timing was best, in its own way. We still need the help to win, but we don’t look desperate. I don’t think they expected us to break their assault and counter-attack, even as fruitlessly as this.”

“The live broadcasts are continuing,” a comms officer verified. “But some time ago, they, um, rephrased their withdrawals as having completed the destruction of our main force, and giving their troops a rest before deploying for...”

“ENEMIES OF THE IMMORTAL EMPEROR, HEAR ME!” The voice seemed to radiate from the heavens. “YOU HAVE COME HERE TO DIE!”

“...might not be just rephrasing,” Pauel muttered.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 14, 2019, 07:13:12 PM
(Part 7 of 7)

“THIS IS A PROCLAMATION, SO THAT ALL WILL KNOW THE TRUTH OF THE COMING VICTORY!”

“I have teleported to your relic study... place,” Eria growled a moment in her own language, “if you will open the doors!”

“A flustered Farseer, not a good sign...” Pauel was snapping his fingers, but an underofficer was way ahead of him.

“ -- AND ALSO SHALL KNOW TRUE FEAR, TRUE DEFEAT! NONE SHALL STAND WITH YOU, JUST AS NONE SHALL STAND AGAINST US!

Sister Tereza strode into the command center, unarmored and unarmed. “...I didn’t think you would need me yet..?”

Who is this ‘nun’ who shall stand against you?!” Pauel quirked a grin, though nervously.

“What’s happening? Are we losing?!”

“They think so,” Ka’los voxed. “More than a little confidently.”

“JUST AS YOU SHALL BURN TO ASH, SO ALL MUST KNOW THAT WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE OUR LIVES FOR THE SAKE OF THE GLORIOUS EMPEROR! AND YOUR DEFEAT SHALL BE THE SEED, AND FORESIGN, OF OUR ULTIMATE VICTORY HERE IN THE CADIAN SYSTEM!”

Pauel jerked his head around to the door, by reflex: “...Tereza, you need to leave, everyone with her! Emergency retreat, at once!

“I think they’re planning to drop the Exterminatus while their forces are still on the ground!!”

“NOW BURN, BURN TO DUST, AND TASTE YOUR FINAL DESPAIR!!!”

People in the command center were rushing to reach the door. Tereza hadn’t budged, but stood aside, saying quietly as Pauel approached, trying to give some order to the crash evacuation...

“I accept my death. For all I did.”

“You chose a new name of ‘harvest’,” Pauel declared, seizing her by the shoulders. “Lead them below, some might be saved, lead them to -- “

-- light had started glowing around them --

“Too late,” she shook her head, looking him clearly in the eyes.

“If we both must die,” she said --

-- the light appeared to be growing from within the air itself --

-- “I’m glad to be with... ...you?”

Pauel almost couldn’t notice the puzzlement on her face; partly because his mind was trying to process what she said, what she meant --

-- and partly because he himself was looking around in equal puzzlement.

By now the light should have increased the temperature far beyond bearing; if they could see it already, within the stronghold, then surely their eyes should have melted already, too...?

“Everyone!” Pauel clapped his gauntleted hands three times. “Please proceed in an orderly manner to your originally planned withdrawal points. Do not panic; this is not an attack. But I believe our time on this planet has ended.

“I don’t really know what’s happening,” he admitted to Tereza more quietly, whose glowing face looked just a little panicked... now that she might live??! “But obviously, this isn’t -- “

The room shifted. Or rather the ground.

Only a little, but noticeable, even within the solidity of the Stronghold.

Tereza twitched her lips in more surprise, and then arching an eyebrow said, “So... did the ground also move for -- ?”

“ATTENTION IMPERIAL FORCES:”

Just as loud or louder, and yet calm contrasted to the previous rising frenzy.

THIS IS PRESTER JOHN.

“YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF ME.

“YOU MAY HAVE ALSO THOUGHT THAT I WAS ON THE SURFACE BELOW.

“BUT I COMMAND THE ARISEN CRAFTWORLD ALAPH!”

“YOU MAY PANIC NOW. BUT I DON’T RECOMMEND IT.”


“This,” said Farseer Eria, as she teleported into the room, upon a glyph she had woven for that purpose, kept clear for any such arrival, “is why I didn’t dare to speak aloud about our plan. Too many ways to listen; then they would have prepared.

“Now they will not be prepared!” And she placed her hands on her hips in triumph, over her battle skirts. “’Depths of despair?!’ Feh. I am Eldari. We have eaten despair at every meal for eons.

“Now no more!”

She nodded, and strode to where Pauel still stood with Tereza. “I have foreseen it,” she explained. “Not this, specifically. This was only a plan. But I know where this should lead.

“Impressed yet?”

“Ah...” Pauel closed his mouth.

“Yes,” voxed Ka’los. “Should we still be withdrawing?”

“With some haste, yes,” she said. “But you may do so with some order. My people are setting temporary webway gates around the central courtyard, and... yes,” she put a hand to one ear of her helmet, “also now in the Tau courtyard. We will evacuate to the Craftworld.”

Pauel raised a finger. “The light was the primal webway gate.”

“Of course.”

“You used it to bring our Craftworld directly into orbit.”

“This was planned long ago, in the first age -- not exactly for this, but in the event the Necrons awakened past the dampening influence exuded by these special webways, yes: a Craftworld could follow the beacon to precisely the vectors necessary for instantly achieving orbits of various sorts.”

“...the ground did move!” Tereza crooked a smile. “It wasn’t just us.”

“NOW THAT YOU HAVE PANICKED, OR NOT... oh, let me adjust the volume, that’s better. I really do not want to panic you, I promise.

“However, unless you withdraw your forces from around that fortress below my position, I will give them as much of a glorious death as they may wish. Except they’ll accomplish nothing by it. Less than nothing. I would prefer they survived, as well as you, to keep fighting... hm? Oh, you’re going to launch Exterminatus at me! Good, good, thank you: I appreciate your effort! One moment please.”

“...we should be leaving more quickly, I think.” Eria shooed them out the door of the now-abandoned control room.

“Why did you need the help of Imperial relic technology?” Pauel asked as they departed, with some alacrity.

“The Imperials had figured out this part of the primal webway purpose; and, alas, being clumsy enough to study vases with hammers, they had entangled the webway workings in a most atrocious mess of sloppy... argh, I have no words!” She sang of her frustrations in her language for a moment.

“By now,” I announced, “you’ll have noticed that your various virus missiles didn’t fail, so much as disappear. Yes, I can do that; the people who work with me are very clever.” I hoped the Imperial force could hear me grinning; but I was sure the cheering technicians could! “So, I’ll just be keeping all those virus bombs, hopefully not returning them to you. You brought enough for a second volley, I hope, just to be safe? We’re leaving behind a nasty mess of Tyranids down there. Fighting a bunch of Chaos demons. I really don’t mind if you glass the surface completely.

“Now, I would prefer if you waited until you evacuated your final forces down there. However,” I said, with some sorrow, “I also would prefer they not try assaulting my friends and fellow workers there, while they’re peacefully leaving. Just be patient and you can have the fortress all to yourse... but, no. I truly wish you would work with me.

“I see you stopped your broadcasting earlier. Was that around the time I swallowed your virus bombs into warp pits? Or before then? Well, no matter, I’ve kept the broadcasts going for you.

“I’m sorry in advance, to every family of the troops remaining down there. Your Empire only acknowledges power to be important.”

I shot ion beams, small nukes, and orbital bombardments all over the enemy.

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/8779/BtAjHz.jpg)

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2981/kPuSno.jpg)

{Gamenote: this is the ultimate Space Marine ability in UltApoc, actually called “Battlefleet Gothic”. Once activated, it randomly chooses an enemy unit-production point and throws a randomly generated number of superweapons at it. And keeps doing this, unstoppably, for the rest of the game; or maybe unless the activated superweapon center gets destroyed.}

“I’m willing for you to retreat, temporarily, at any time. Please, I don’t want to hurt you any more.

“Your Emperor and your Empire think that the power to cause effects is the only ground of justice, the most important importance, in all of reality.

“But that isn’t true. Power is only important, so far as persons are important. Power is only important to persons; and persons, any person, can do what all the natural universe itself, and any others if they exist, cannot do:

“We can act!

“We can introduce effects into the natural system, that Nature itself did not entirely bring about, determinately or randomly or both together.

“Fair-togetherness, fulfilled between persons: that is the most important importance in all reality.

“Don’t be deceived: there is no justice, other than that justice -- the one and only fundamental justice that grounds all reality!

“What I just did to your troops -- that wasn’t justice.

“That was only power. The power to cause effects.

“But I wanted to be just, for them; for you.

“And I still do.

“Therefore, I am going to take the first of my Craftworlds here -- not that I own them, I only command them -- oh, did you know I had more of these now? You’ll understand if I don’t say how many more. Yet. I’m sure you’ll find out later, but we’re making more all the time, so by the time you find out how many more such moons are working together now -- working with Necron, and Tau, and Eldar technology, and also Imperial, don’t want to leave out anyone...!

“Yes, once I take Alaph here, and leave this area, you can do with your planet as you wish, including recovering the survivors among your forces down there. Or, if you want to glass them, too... I could stop you, but I won’t. Because I would have to endanger or outright kill the rest of you, to keep you from killing them, your own people.

“Well, I see you’ve all now spread your ships out, so that you won’t present so much of one target to me, and so that you can hit Alaph from every feasible side -- as though you think I can’t defend and attack both equally well, from the surface of a sphere!

“But anyway, I, John, am not going to be here, when you-all get here!

“That’s a form of a very old joke, by the way. Too long to tell now, and all my people have now arrived, so: fare-well, however you fare!

“I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again. Sooner than later.

“End of transmission.”

I jumped Alaph out and away into another portion of space in the Cadian system, much emptier, before they reached a distant firing distance for their longest ranged beams.

And cloaked it.

To wait.


They didn’t rescue their own surviving forces, before they launched their spare Exterminatus package of virus bombs and such.

I suppose they thought it was the only way to be sure.
Title: Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on November 14, 2019, 08:40:49 PM
post-Season Fakely Anticipated Questions :D
-------------------------------------------

SO, HAVE YOU STARTED SEASON TWO YET?

Not yet, i.e. not at the time of posting the end of Season One.

WILL THERE BE A SEASON TWO?!

Theoretically. I enjoy playing DoW:Soulstorm:UltApoc:Etc. a lot! And I have plans for how the story will end. But this is a good stopping place in case I never get around to doing Season Two.

ASIDE FROM THE ULTIMATE ENDING, WHAT OTHER PLANS FOR SEASON TWO DO I H-- I MEAN DO YOU HAVE?

Villains! -- I really, really need to create some true antagonist characters, but oddly I’m constrained in that I don’t know enough about the Fall of Cadia storyline to figure out how to design many yet. I’ve made some plans, but they need expanding and filling out.

DO THOSE PLANS INCLUDE MARID AND HER CHILDREN?

Marid as a character more than her children per se, yes.

DO THOSE PLANS INCLUDE CHAOS DEVOTEES HIDING AMONG TEAM PRESTER?

Yep, though not overly much since after all Team Prester would be highly motivated and capable at detecting any serious problems along this line.

SEEMS LIKE THAT WOULD BE EVEN MORE TRUE OF TYRANNID INFECTION, THOUGH...

Yep, but I have a plan around that already. I’ll add here that Marid was just a handy bystander originally for P-John to cry in front of for dramatic purposes.

SO IS THAT REALLY PRESTER JOHN??!

That would be telling. And kind-of unimportant really?

DID THE BATTLEFLEET GOTHIC ABILITY HAVE A LITERAL “WIN” BUTTON!!?

No! -- much to my surprise. And I say that, because some of the UltApoc ultraweapons do have a “Win” button, including one I showed (but never got to really use) back when introducing the Tyranids into the story.

DID THE BATTLEFLEET GOTHIC ABILITY JUST WIPE OUT EVERYTHING ON THE MAP IN THIRTY SECONDS FLAT?!

Also no, and also somewhat to my surprise. Allow me to indulge (even more than this entire thread already counts as an indulgence!) in an extended digression on how the final mission really ended.

I thought the Gothic attack would do one of two things: either sweep from one direction or another across the map base by base, destroying each one in turn, until no enemy base was left standing; or else target unit production buildings in some similarly systematic order (like the building with the most hitpoints) until no building was left standing. In other words, something you might reasonably expect “Battlefleet Gothic” to do.

What happens instead, as far as I can guess from watching it happen (and NOT watching it happen!), is that the computer randomly chooses one enemy unit, and launches the least superweapon at it; then randomly chooses one enemy unit nearby for the next superweapon; and so on through all four of them; whereupon it resets the search-choice for a random enemy unit (structure or troop or vehicle, anything) anywhere on the map. If a flyer is hovering over your base, guess what?

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/2992/6CruJD.jpg)

Thhaaaat’s right! -- Battlefleet Gothic might decide to hit that one flyer with a nuclear missile, right over your base! In the example illustrated above, the bomb went off over a wing of my base that had nothing but a requisition point capped, and no troops nearby, so the worst that happened was some buildings got scuffed by the expanding shockwave. (It hurts buildings a lot within the first 25 meters.)

Anyway, the weapons then go on a highly abbreviated timer and they’re shot off again at other randomly chosen enemy targets and their environs; which means they’re likely to hit in staggered waves, since each weapon has longer recharge timers on a scale with their powerlevel.

Those weapons are, in order of power:

1.) Orbital strike. This is carried over from vanilla Dawn of War, and involves a few artillery blasts landing within a designated circle (though since the AI is choosing the targets I can’t see the circle in this case.)

2.) Orbital Bombardment. An UltApoc upgrade to the strike, which adds (I think) four more strikes around a central strike.

3.) Particle cannon. This thing just lands on a target and grinds it down. The key thing about the beam is that you can select it like a ground vehicle and move it across the ground by the usual ‘click to send it over there’ method. It stays active for 20 seconds or thereabouts (I never timed it). It has a very narrow focus, about the size of a single Titan. In other words, it has to be manually managed to some real degree to get its best effect.

4.) Tactical nuke, the largest such nuclear blast in the game (so far as I know), with a blast radius of 25 meters and an expanding shockwave for another 35. It easily fills the camera even on a far zoom out. Within the first zone it kills most troops, and heavily damages most structures and vehicles. The shockwave continues damaging troops but isn’t so damaging to vehicles and structures.

This all may sound great, and the best part is that you pay once and get this repeating effect for the rest of the match COMPLETELY FREE THEREAFTER as long as your nuclear weapon center stays up. In fact, you can double up with your own manually targeted four-mix from your structures as much as you can and want to pay for (those do cost resources).

However, there’s a huge drawback due to the lack of true targeting rationale -- which would have been easy to code in, but which I suspect is missing for balance purposes. This effect is meant to finish off a floundering enemy base in grand style.

It is NOT intended to do my work of progressively wiping five more-or-less fully functional and upgraded enemy bases off the map. If I try to use the effect that way (which I obviously did), then the AI just randomly targets enemy units around the map wherever. I didn’t even know anything was happening for the first several minutes after I triggered it!

This lack of focus is compounded by the Particle cannon usually needing to be manually guided, when I often didn’t even know where it was shooting. And then I discovered that, just like a land vehicle, the beam can’t be sent to park over a building, like an enemy stronghold! It can target a building to start with, but can’t be sent to ‘stand’ on top of another building, or even on top of a unit exactly, only nearby. So to make a direct hit with it, I have to send it on a path through the base, or back and forth. I once used it to hunt a couple of Demonhunter Titans the AI had built, and they just walked around and away from it mostly!

Consequently, I completed “Project No” (ha ha) at around the one hour mark (as noted in my AAR) -- but the mission kept going for another hour and a half! (To be honest, I’m unsure if the “Battlefleet” threw a nuke at an enemy flyer over my base, in that snapshot above, or if the AI managed to get one of its own nukes out at me. But that snapshot happened at the hour-thirty mark: about 30 minutes after pressing the “win” button, figuratively speaking!)

I had to build a company of melee and ranged Terminators, AND a short company of Land Raiders, and march them around finishing off the enemy bases -- while trying to dodge the Battlefleet effect myself!

Worse, there was an ungodly traffic jam of my own allied Eldar and Tau units at the gate, and my Land Raiders (with a few Predators) couldn’t get out (the Termies could deepstrike). So I had to call in my own Particle cannon (and pay for it), twice, on my own allies and forces at the gate, just to clear out enough to let my power hitters (and theirs) get out!

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/1255/ap0bPA.jpg)

That snapshot is 2 hours nine minutes and 42 second into the match. I still had around twenty minutes to go! (Enough so that I had to do this AGAIN later to break up the traffic jam again!)

....{inhale} sooooooo, it was a mess. But man, an epic fight. I’d like to see a pvp 3x5 fight here someday. If anyone has the most recent version of UltApoc, contact me on Steam or here, and let’s set up a Groghead match!

The map designer likes to use this as his special graphic for the map’s loading screen, even though the background terrain definitely isn’t this map. But I thought I’d share it in conclusion. Something like it may happen in Season Two, after all. {g}

 
(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7579/tTdXWU.jpg)

If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed the story and ride!

-- unless you were scrolling down to see how the season ends, and found this buffering instead. Thus the deepness of my strategy becomes apparent.  >:D