Sunday, 6 February 2011

Space Slann vs Deathwatch Old School vs New School battle report

On a backwater wilderness zone world somewhere on the Eastern Fringe, a transmat portal blinks into life, and a group of aliens, their kind not seen in the galaxy for aeons, emerges. The Slann have travelled from the past to scry what the 41st Millienium portends for their kind, and are horrified at what they find. Their world, so verdant and pristine when they left its pastures, is now a blasted wasteland, stained by the tread of base mortals. Evoking the transmat portal to return to their time, the Slann prepare to depart.

But others have noted their coming, and even as the Slann retreat, the hunters are closing in…

This game was fought using the Necromunda rules, but with psychics as described in Rogue Trader (Necromunda psychics rules are a bit mundane for our tastes!). The Space Slann force was devised using the profiles and points values in Rogue Trader, and these were multiplied by 10 to get an equivalent  Necromunda gang rating. The Deathwatch Kill-team was put together using the stats, skills and gang rating of a Chaos Space Marine from the Outlanders supplement as a basis. The Deathwatch Kill-team came to a gang rating of 2500 with just the gear the models were carrying, so the Space Slann had to be loaded up with lots of exotic equipment to match, which was a bit of a balancing act as I didn’t want to overload the Slann player with unfamiliar rules. The Space Slann had a psyker, and the player would choose one power of each of the four levels.

In this scenario, the Space Slann deployed first, no model nearer than 8” from another (as they are still exploring the area). The Deathwatch then deploy onto a board edge of that player’s choice. To determine who goes first, the Slann each roll 2d6+Initiative; if there is a Space Marine within this distance, the Slann would go first, if not, the Kill-team went first.

The Space Slanns’ objective is to escape the ambush, and they must do so via the transmat portal. This will appear on a secret dice roll made by the GM, and would scatter 2d10” from the centre of the table. This the Space Slann player knew, but he didn’t know that once the portal had appeared he would have to keep it in place, by the nearest model making a Leadership Test – if failed, it would scatter again.

The Deathwatch Kill-team player knew only that he would be facing some form of alien, and wasn’t told anything about his foe or allowed to see their list once the game had started. His objective was to catch at least one alive.

So here’s the highlights of what happened...

Turn 1: The Deathwatch move in from the east, but the Slann psyker envelops three of their number in a Ectoplasmic Mist, slowing them down, and blocking the otherwise dominating position the heavy bolter had gained. The mist would stay in place for a random number of turns known only to the GM, which turned out to be seven.

Turn 2: The Deathwatch struggle through the mists, bolter and plasma round flying back and forth.

Turn 3 and 4: The Slann redeploy in the face of the Kill-team’s advance, and a shot from the heavy bolter causes a Displacer Field to kick in and displace the Slann right into the open.

Turn 5: The transmat portal appears, scattering just behind the Slann psyker (and almost taking him through it in the process).

Turn 6: The Slann suffer their first casualty, the Slann who was displaced into the open. The Assault Marine charges the isolated Commander Xix. The combat result was a draw, but Xix’s Initiative was higher, granting him a hit on the marine, who failed his save and died!

Turn 7: The Slann nearest to the transmat portal fails his Leadership test and it displaces, further to the east, meaning the remaining Slann have further to travel to reach safety. But, two Slann, including the psyker are near enough to flee, and they exit the table via the portal.

Turn 8: The Ectoplasmic Mist dissipates, opening up the heavy bolter’s field of fire. Wasting no time, the heavy bolter downs a Slann while another Battle-Brother captures himself a Slann (the Slann was down, so while the marine remained in base contact he had him subdued).

Turn 9: The transmat portal displaces again, this time ending up inside the giant skull, and closer to the remaining Slann.

Turn 10: The Slann pass their Leadership test to keep the portal in place. The heavy bolter wounds Commander Xix.

Turn 11: The heavy bolter continues its rain of death on the battle field, displacing another Slann in to the open.

Turn 12: Commander Xix guns down the Kill-team leader with his plasma pistol.

Turn 13: All the Slann make a bolt for the portal, and the heavy bolter slays Commander Xix.

Turn 14: Two more Slann escape, the Deathwatch close in a capture another.

The game ended with the Slann getting the majority of their war party away, but two of their number have been captured. Clearly, the next battle will see the Slann attempting to rescue their fellows from the alien autopsy tables of the Ordo Xenos!


  1. WooHoo you guys are back! Great battle report as always and the game looked like it was a blast.

  2. Thanks mate! It was fun for me as GM, though the players found it a bit of a slog at times, as they were unfamiliar with the bands' rules plus the loadouts weren't really ideal. Next game they'll be able to design the bands themselves with their own tactics in mind, so it should be a lot better :-)

  3. I'm glad to see you back as well. Everything you post here is a reminder of what makes 40K great, and this was another good immersion in the possibilities past and present. Maybe even future? The Slann could yet return.

    And why stop there? With all that material GW has out of print they could make an excellent skirmish game filled with all kinds of options, even if released only electronically. You guys are doing a lot to show a way.

  4. My first time here, and I have to say that I really admire the way you fellows are working with the game. It's creative and fearless -original but grounded in lore. Brilliant.

  5. I really enjoyed reading the battle report, those Slann are fantastic. I'm thankful Porky linked here from his blog, this was great!

  6. Cool! The nicely painted marines are actually 'true scale' next to the classic slann. Thanks for the great story and for explaining how you used the Necromunda rules; I will have to try that! Can't wait to see if the slann get their fallen comrades back....

  7. Hey Amareo - 'mashing up' (as the cool kids say!) the rules is pretty easy, as RT was always meant to be played with a GM. It has a points-build system included too, so you don't even need army lists. Personally, the only thing I think it lacks are skills, wound effects and (to a degree) a campaign system, and fortunately Necromunda provides all that and is pretty much compatible. Andy Chambers once said that the Necro gang ratings are just 40k points values x10, so this allows for the systems to be mixed very well. From there, its just a matter of 'costing' skills for your characters, and this is fairly simple too, by applying experience points to earn advances and taking them as additional points on the cost of the character.

    Hope that helps!

  8. Colonel Kane: Thanks, that is helpful- especially the costing on the skills! I hadn't thought about that or looked at the costing system in RT in many years, but I see how it works well with Necromunda. We'll try it- my son (who wasn't even born when RT and Necromunda came out) is already hard at work on his Tau gang.


  9. A Tau gang could be quite interesting, especially with some Kroot and Kroot Hounds.

    As part of the post game myself and pontiff discussed how we both found the game tacticaly difficult for different reasons, with the main block being about the Heavy Bolter I had set up on the hill. To which my team was in trouble without the gunner dominating the ground the numerically superior Slann (made a lot worse when I fluffed my dice in the first combat).

    The game was very well thought out, and run. I had no idea what my opponant was after and stuck to my brief of Capture. Very tense, especially with the portal moving about as I had no idea it was an escape route until too late!

  10. Great battle report, great scenery, top blog!

  11. Inspiring stuff as always. Love the Slann (and the table and the rest of the figures. Eerything really)

    Having finally given up on 40k in 2004 or so my group (cranky Rogue Trader veterans all) have been creeping slowly back towards it lately, mostly because of Space Hulk and the Horus Heresy books.

    We have "regressed" as far as Gorkamorka so far, but your fantastic stuff has me thinking all kinds of crazy possibilities as usual :) Keep it up, keep flying the flag!

    One quick rules question: out of curiosity do you use the original Rogue Trader stat lines for Marines or do you use the Necromunda era ones (T3 vs T4 basically)?

  12. Cheers Sho3box! For this battle we used the stats and cost of the Chaos Space Marine given in the Outlanders book. In future our battles will be closer to RT, so we'll use them at T4 (and Power Armour Sv 3+) costed using the RT points formula.

  13. Thanks for the info (and I had forgotten that RT era marines were Sv 4. Seriously old school).

    However one might feel about the evolution of 40k over the last 20 plus years, I think that a marine isnt really a marine without T4, Sv3.

    I am seriously impressed that you seem to be codifying your house rules. Mash ups like that are very hard to lock down. Kudos.

    Cant wait to see your next installment:)

  14. Yeah, we have Andy Chambers joining the studio in '90 to thank for the T4, Sv3+. Thankfully he felt the same as you do, and convinced Rick Priestly to change the profile.

    On the mash up front, I intend to lay the rules out nicely at some stage, in case others find them useful.

  15. Hey how did you guys do the portal effect? That seriously rocks my socks.

    1. It's a Vortex Grenade template Games Workshop made a few years back. I think it was a limited release, but I'm they did something similar for Storm of Magic more recently, so you might be able to get something like it.

  16. Lovely scenario ,i too have that dinosaur skull for scenary .Merry xmas