Friday, June 23, 2017

The Shadow War Draws to a Close

For weeks now, bands of adventurers have stalked brazenly through the ruins of silent Chalcydon, plundering its treasures and leaving bloodshed and mayhem in their wake. Having looted the best and most valuable riches, it is only the rumor of a hidden vault, the ultimate prize, that keeps them on the wasted planet. Then, as the kill teams plot their next moves, everything changes.

The planet's atmosphere, crackling with a slowly gathering psychic energy, is suddenly supercharged. Elsewhere in the galaxy, the Warmaster Abaddon tears a gaping wound known as the Cicatrix Maledictum across the surface of reality. At that exact moment, on Chalcydon, a third moon appears in the night sky. This is Peregrinus, the Ghost Moon, and sickness and horror are visited wherever its sickly light shines.

The rising of the Ghost Moon emboldens the scavenger cults living below the planet's surface. A roiling human wave boils out into the streets. They fling their arms skyward and shout, "Bless the coming of The Traveler!" Capering gaunt figures and strange, multi-limbed monstrosities flicker across vid screens as warning klaxons scream to life.

Nothing like a little planetary destruction between friends

After six weeks, we closed out our Shadow War: Armageddon league with a massive six player multiplayer event. Of the 15 Kill Teams who participated in the league, these six teams remained on the surface of Chalcydon after the rise of the Ghost Moon. As demons and cultists began to seep out from every crack, what began as a quest for plunder soon because a struggle for survival!

Going into this scenario, one of our Ork players, Grant, had a runaway lead, but this would be a chance for the other players to catch up. Using plenty of terrain, we set up a dense hive city layout with a very large, very tall, ruined skyscraper in the center of the board. Per Games Workshop's official multiplayer mission, I placed a cache with multiple loot counters at the top of this tower. The rules: last Kill Team on the field wins, and every token take out of the cache would result in an additional piece of Salvage (our league's stand-in for Promethium) at the end of the game.

Unfortunately, demonic incursions tend to complicate matters. In addition to the battle in the city, there was also a small side board representing the Ghost Moon. Thanks to the psychic efforts of the shadowy Father Midnight, revealed to be radical Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Jepthah Harn, players were able to traverse portals leading to the moon. Players were able to earn additional Salvage points by visiting the moon and fighting The Traveler. As if the situation wasn't urgent enough, The Traveler emerged from the Immaterium tolling a great rotten bell. Each turn, he would strike the bell 1d6 times. Once the bell was rung 49 times, his ritual would be complete, and every Kill Team would lose the game. The stakes were high indeed.

An early attempt by Thomas' Adeptus Mechanicus expedition to seize the central objective was thoroughly routed by Alex's carefully-placed Space Marine team, causing Thomas to bottle out early. After awarding the "bottle award, " a bottle of soda, I enlisted him as my lieutenant and he took over the part of The Traveler and his waves of summoned Plaguebearers. Panos' Orks and Ian's Task Force Beracruz Imperial Guard traded shots in the ruins as Grant made all haste for the portal, completely ignoring the battle on the main table.

As a wave of Grant's Orks spilled out of the portal and onto the moon, they were surprised to find that they weren't the first ones there. Our Tyranid player, Jake, had previously asked me if he could use the optional one-man army rules for the final scenario. I advised him that he could, but that I thought it was a bad idea. I was very wrong – Jake brought a horrifying Tyranid monstrosity with enough skill advances to make up the numbers. While Grant's Orks slowly fought their way up the main stairway through waves of Plaguebearers, Jake's alien terror scaled the cliff to engage the demon directly.

The surface of the Ghost Moon quickly became a blood bath, as Panos' Orks entered the portal, followed by Alex's scouts, who lobbed grenades to great effect into the masses of Orks. Meanwhile Jake's Tyranid traded blows with The Traveler as Ian's Rogue Trader household, true professionals to the end, remained focused on the cache.

Sadly, we had to call the game for time as the store was closing, but after six turns the armageddon clock was well past the halfway point due to some very lucky rolls. As one of our players put it, "The success of any multiplayer game can be determined by the amount of yelling." Following that metric, this game mas definitely a success and a fitting sendoff to a great league. For now, it's time to get swept up in the frenzy of 8th edition, but I look forward to revisiting Shadow War in the future.

Monday, June 12, 2017

War of the Rats Kill Teams

Our Shadow War: Armageddon league draws to a close this week. More than a dozen intrepid Kill Teams have descended upon the planet Chalcydon to "reclaim" its hidden treasures, and in the process, have helped kick off a warp storm that threatens to draw the entire planet into the Immaterium.

I've had a blast organizing this six week event, and all of the participants have set high standards for appearance and sportsmanship. Here's a look at just three of our many beautifully painted combatants.

Fer Villanea's Thousand Sons: Team Space Egypt

Ian Wallace's Rogue Trader Household: Task Force Beracruz

Tom McCole's Alpha Legion

Thursday, June 8, 2017