‘The Spirit of Krisstmaas’ - A Tales From the Maelstrom Battle Report.
Hey there blog fans.
While most of our battles in the past have been campaign based games in which our respective forces progressed and developed we thought it might be fun to do a seasonal one of and go truly ‘Old School’!
Much of this was inspired by a group decision to reject the usual battle generation chart in necromunda that we use and try more narrative battles rolled up form the (often eccentric) charts in the Rogue Trader book from the mid 80s.
Colonel Kane (CK from here on) picked up his trusty D10 and rolled for us a ‘Raid and Capture’ scenario that ran thus:
“An unusual character has appeared in the city – a grinning maniac with strange habits and clothes. His questions and talk his questions and tlak have caused some disturbance – especially as he claims to be a traveller from the future. The governor is unsure of how to deal with the problem and sends a detachment of guards to capture the time traveller and any friends he might have.”
Now this we felt was a nod to cult sci fi TV series ‘Doctor Who’ but with a little thought we managed to put a spin on it to fit around existing models.
So in our battle the notorious house breaker Santana Klause and his band of miscreants, have been sighted on the outskirts of ‘Knoelle Wan’ - a small village on the planet ‘Liberty IX’. Klause narrowly escaped capture a year to this day when he was disturbed on the evo of the ‘Emperors Feast’ breaking into homesteads and leaving strange heretical artefacts (often carvings of animals in wood for Juves or strange firey tasting fluid in eldsters homes…). Alerted to this known criminals presence is super sleuth Agent Krupp of the Liberty IX Security Forces. Enlisting the aid of a minor station astropath, Krupp quickly gathered his squad of security troopers and had a grav car drop them on the outskirts of Knoelle Wan – hoping to catch Klause in the act!
In the objectives were simple; CK’s forces had to visit six of the seven homesteads and drop off the ‘heretical artefacts’ while Martini Henries’’ lads (MH from here on) had to try and capture as many as possible alive. Neither side wanted to have any civilian casualties.
To aid them in their pursuits Santana was equipped with a graviton gun (used to moving around heavy ‘gifts’) and a displacer field (used for when the door is locked and he is too big to fit in the chimney!) – this field could be used voluntarily to enter building but had a chance of failure on a roll of a ‘6’ for distance. Klause also varies a warp sack that allowed him to carry any number of the six ‘gifts’, all other figures could carry a gift but doing so took up one hands us, and so a character carrying one present could not use a basic weapon only a single pistol and with two gifts was defenceless. Lastly ‘Nub’ the ratling cook carried a vial of ultra hot chilly soup which would count as a melta bomb in the scenario!
The security forces were armed with a compliment of non lethal needle guns and choke and scare gas as well as some suitably deadly lasguns if the perps didn’t ‘come quietly’.
Lastly and to make matters worse for the psykers, the settlements in the district in which Knoelle lies tell tales on cold dark winter nights of an ancient Daemon called ‘Krisstmass’who is known to play tricks on the mean and cruel and in some cases… to take their souls.
And so, the table was set up and populated with a dozen innocent civilians (which would be controlled by yours truly) and the game as they say was afoot!
The first two turns were uneventful as both sides cautiously approached the settlement, MH’s boys opted to stick together and climb upon the roof of the town to get a better field of view while CK split his forces to reach more building leaving a small group of henchmen to confront the security forces. However, turn three saw the sand of the village market square turn crimson as a spectacularly inaccurate exchange of las gun fire caught two innocent bystanders unaware while missing all of its intended targets. Both CK and MH had managed to kill innocent civilians in their opening volleys.
(game note: to reflect a ‘police action’ and to persuade players not to take wild shots, we decreed that any shot that failed its hit role by two ‘pips’ had a 50% chance of hitting the first thing in its way to an inch of the line of fire either side. For example if you require a 5 or 6 on a D6 then a 4 or a 3 would be a regular miss but a 1 or a 2 would have a chance of hitting bystanders or scenery!)
Agent Krupp returned fire at two of Klauses men taking cover behind a moisture condenser and while his shot missed it missed so badly it struck the condenser… now this wouldn’t normally be an issue had MH not played a special ‘event card’ (each player had three which affected the environment) to cause the shot to hit a weak spot and toxic coolant to erupt from a severed hose… covered in lethal sub zero refrigerating fluid, Klauses henchman ‘Itchy’ was out of the battle!
During this time Klause made good of the distraction to enter several of the houses and leave his dodgy wares. Not knowing exactly which houses had been targeted, MH’s astropath ‘Kirl’ used his psychic power of ‘detect presents’ (pun intended) to locate one of the heretical packages. At around this time Krupp and his loyal trooper Vehrets bravely charge into CK’s henchmen and while Krupp is distracted by a clever feint, Vehrets is laid out cold by ‘Feltcher’. On the other side of the table Santans and his cool ‘Nub’ brave a fusillade of las fire from the security forces atop the building as they run between two shacks… while Santanas crew escape unharmed, local mob boss ‘Abdul Goldberg is not so lucky as he is hit by a stray burst and knocked out cold – seeing the faceoff organised crime floored by the security forces and fearing the reprisals those citizens still present decide that discretion was the better part of valour and begin to flee!
Meanwhile back at the shoot out, Kirl attempted to use the psychic power ‘terrify’ on Belcher as he blazed away but was unsuccessful and Belchers previously erratic aim found its mark.. luckily Kirl was wearing a refractor field disguised as an imperial rosary which absorbed much of the blast leaving him unharmed. The security forces on the roof decide it was time to get stuck in an jumped off, while two of the plucky troopers landed unharmed (despite MH playing a ‘slippery roof’ event card) trooper Ratz landed hard and putting himself ‘down’ thought still on the area.
During the next few turns Santana Klause used his displacer field to project himself into houses to drop off his payload while his psychic assistant ‘Kandy’ , upon finding the door to the next building locked (doors were toughness 4 with 2 ‘wounds’ and locked on a roll of a 5 or 6 at the first attempt of entry) proceeded to try and shoulder charge it down! Back in the square Kirl managed to ‘terrify’ Belcher into fleeing behind the house and while basking in his victory attempted to ‘sense presents’. At this point the air temperature dropped and a chill frost appeared on nearby surfaces as Kirl was assaulted by the psychic manifestation of the deamon Kristmaas (he had rolled a double 1 on his test and suffered a perils of the warp result!) – however the plucky astropath fought of the demonic assault but was left reeling…
In CK next turn he took advantage of Kirls disorientated (pinned!) state and leant out of the homestead window to fire his arcane graviton gun at the sightless wyrd, a lucky hit found Kirls body weight steadily increase to cripple him (hits form the graviton gun reduce the targets move by 1D6 with a move of 0 meaning the character is crippled and out the game) on half movement. As Kirl recovered he lashed out with his mind to terrify Klause (no doubt with visions of acrid sherry and soggy mince pies) who recoiled back from his window… around this time a wet ‘Kersploosh’ sound follwed by a cry of ‘Bollocks!’ signified Nubs Hot Soup bomb failing to find its mark on the Halfling chosen door.
As the security forces returned fire, trooper Mice threw a choke grenade at Klause which detonated on the windowsill – microseconds before the bandit was engulfed in acrid chemical fog his Displacer field kicked in - triggered by the exploding casing – and teleported him to safety outside the domestile. While Klause took stock of his new surroundings and recovered his nerve, kandy and Kirl engaed in a psychic battle of minds that was a dead stand off until an unwitting Kandy let her defences slip and allowed Kristmaas – although able to fight him off the feisty lass was wounded in the entanglement!
Turn 13 began and as if on queue the badluck began, Kirl once again tired to use Detect Presents to locate more heretical devices but again summoned the malevolent spirit (the amount of double 1 and 6s rolled in this battle was truly phenomenal!) . For the next few round sit was truly more ‘Scare Wars’ than ‘Star Wars’ as both sides assaulted each other with hallucinogen grenades, and mental powers used to terrigy or confuse… disorientate troopers and rogues ran from building to building firing upon friends in panic or refusing to move as they believed they were being attacked by swarms of insects. A respite form the psychically induced panic came quickly however when a keen shot from Klaus caused Krupps body mass to go off the scale leaving him alive but helplessly pinned the bloodstained sand. While it looked like it was now all over for the government forces this was clearly not the case as trooper Mice dropped the package he’d recovered to effectively use his lasgun to wound Santana (he had 2 wounds to start with). Seconds later Nub the cook popped out of a window across the square to drop trooper Sable with a well placed shot. In retaliation Kirl attempted to use the dark forces of the warp to terrify Klause into submission but is (once again believe it or not!) attacked by Kristmaas malevolent energy leaving him stunned.
Struggling to get abetter shot Nub climbed to the top of the homestead but at this moment MH played a ‘loose ladder’ event card causing the diminutive delinquent to loose his footing and crash to the ground and sustain a flesh wound – Kirl sends a bolt of terrifying psychic power at the ratling causing hi to break cover and run for the adjoining outhouse – he is never seen again! Back at the mind fight, Kandy ran across to the copse of trees behind which Santana was trying to take cover but was unable to save him from being hit once again and dying from his wounds. In retaliation she unleashes her digital flamer weapon but its flames die off just inches from trooper Mice, in a last ditch of spite Kandy unleashes her mental powers of confusion on the trooper escorting the crippled Astropath Kirl… confused and panicking the trooper mistakes Kirl for bandit and blasts him at point blank range - flooring the Imperial servant. As the surviving troopers rush to aid the Astropath Kandy tearfully shoulders the body of Klause and slips off into the wasteland.
All that was left was for the security forces to tend to their wounded, secure the area and recover the heretical items for examination at the Imperial outpost. Before long the affects of the graviton gun wore off and Krupp was able to walk again and assist the troopers in their clear up.
What can I say…. Colonel Kane.. YOU KILLED SANTA CLAUS, Christmas in the Imperium will be particularly dark and grim this year!
In all seriousness this game was one of the most fun I’ve GM’d for our group to date and while it was a novelty game some great rules came of it – in particular the rules for missed shots in crowd situations and the made up rules allowing psychers to ‘resist’ the powers of other psykers. I also felt that a game with six characters a side with more detail was a little more fun than the ‘mini battle’ engagements we’ve occasionally had with 15 or more models aside.
And the strangest thing about it all, well…. When Krupps patrol returned to the shuttle they found they had only been gone for 9 minutes yet their own chronometers showed the engagement had lasted over an hour! Perhaps this dangerous heretic had some form of temporal distortion device allowing him to suspend the passage of time and allow him to enter many many house all on one night?