The Skitari of Kaiyune IV are extremely deadly. Very little of the human is left in them. The Alphas are the exception. They are made from the most successful mercenaries that the tech priests of Kaiyune come across.
The Alphas are ruthless commanders, some have compared them to the Commisars of the Imperial Guard for the heedless way they send wave after wave of their skitari into a fight.
Deadly marksmen, or at least marks-once-men, the skitari of Kaiyune IV hammer their foes with a storm of long range firepower.
Their distinctive blue great coats cover a more traditional red armor plating. Kaiyune IV has been out of touch with Mars for centuries but still follow her precepts. At least, they claim to.
Kaiyune IV is a space-faring forgeworld, at its center is a Mechanicum Ark ship. Over the centuries it has been built and rebuilt. Ships have been added to the original Ark, bolted and welded on so that the original Ark is barely visible.
The forge is reclusive. While it appears to remain loyal to the Imperium and to Mars, contact with it is so rare that no one can know for sure where its loyalties lie.
Blue & white are the predominant colors of the forgeworld. The techpriests still wear red on their shoulders in memory of far away Mars.
Arch Magos Tamos Sondon
The Arch Magos has not been seen in many years. Occasionally static-riddled messages from deep within the Ark are received from him. These messages in broken binaric encourage the techpriests to continue to build on the original ark. To that end they have mined the system’s planets and asteroids of all metals and isotopes. What the Arch Magos is doing in the Ark is a mystery. He alone is allowed into it’s core.
The forgeworld forces fight primarily to keep the forgeworld secret. Ships that travel to the forgeworld are captured, ransacked and added to the bulk of the forgeworld. The missing ships have not gone unnoticed by the Imperium at large but no one in the Imperium has taken any action.
There are also internal wars between the magos, some attempting to fill the void of Arch Magos Sondon’s absence. Others for rank or to acquire coveted resources of other minor forges. Still other forges fight merely to test new weapons and battle protocols.
It is unclear. The Arch Magos is working to a plan. But what that plan is no one but the Arch Magos knows.
The Dire Avengers of the Shrieking Soul Shrine have a long history with the craftworld Biel-Tan. Their exarch is one of the oldest of all the Dire Avenger shrines. A master of warfare in times of crisis he leads his avengers in swift strikes. Uncannily striking the foe in their weakest spots. These strikes cause the enemy’s commanders to change their battle plans to the benefit of the forces of Biel-Tan.
The Shrieking Soul Shrine Dire Avengers work closely with Howling Banshees. They thin an enemies ranks with their focused shuriken fire before the Banshees leap in. The exarch wields the dire sword Soul Scream, given to the first exarch of the shrine by Asurman himself. Through a millenia of battles it has been wielded by the exarch of the shrine.Its killing stroke decapitating the foe. The soul gem on the sword is said to hold the soul of an exarch slain by Asurman for fleeing the battlefield and dishonoring his now cursed and forgotten shrine.
Small Strike Teams
For small strikes the exarch will take his 4 most trusted warriors in a Falcon that delivers them where they need to be. The Falcon then provides covering fire. After accomplishing their purpose they return to the Falcon and move on to their next target. The small strike teams never get bogged down in long, protracted fights. These small teams strike behind the enemy’s lines, forcing the enemy commander to deal with them.
Large Strike Teams
For larger strikes the exarch will take a full squad and a Wave Serpent to deliver them where their firepower will provide the greatest benefit. The larger squads have successfully held up rampaging Orc mobs and turned Tyranid swarms to where they could be decimated by other the forces of Biel-Tan.
The larger teams hold a portion of the battlefield, denying the enemy a flanking maneuver or forcing the enemy to split his forces around the Dire Avengers.
Walking through Target at this time of year always makes me think about GM’ing an RPG.
All the school supplies for sale artfully displayed in a small section of the store awakens an itch in my gaming soul.
Seeing all the packages of crisp, clean graph paper, the new empty binders/notebooks with lots of empty pockets, dividers and the packages of pens, pencils, colored pencils, highlighters etc makes me want to rip open those packages of graph paper and colored pencils and begin laying out the bones of an adventure.
But what adventure?
I’m no longer interested in the worlds of Fantasy. Dungeons & Dragons will always have an honored spot in my memory. Designing dungeons ruled by a vampire clan that threw orcs, gelatinous cubes, zombies, skeletons and giants at the adventurers in vain attempts to prevent the adventurers reaching and destroying the vampires was fun. Or sketching out vast cave networks where the adventurers were being hunted down by an angry red dragon for killing its hatchlings. The creation of these worlds and populating them with monsters, magic swords, potions and scrolls will always be remembered as fun, creative times.
But I’m currently more interested in science fiction settings.
And this is where my conflict is.
I really like what I’ve read about the Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG system. There is/was a live play podcast called “Bothan Banter” https://bothanbanter.com/ that was very entertaining to listen to and provided great insight into game play that you can’t get from reading the rules & sourcebooks.
But I like Marc Miller’s Traveller universe better. It ‘feels’ more of a science-fiction milieu, especially if set during the time of the Imperium. Where the Star Wars universe is a little more cartoony in my opinion. In the Traveller universe I can see more adventures in the style of Robert H. Heinlien, like Lazarus Long and his extended family colonizing planets and moving on, or Starship Troopers engaged in pitched battles.
I think an Edge of the Empire story could work with a Traveller style feel. It’s a little grittier than an Age of Rebellion story, it could deal more with humans and aliens, less with Force users and Imperial antagonists. A story about gamblers, second sons from aristocratic planets, shady deals, crime lords and their henchmen all while keeping out of Imperial view would flow nicely. Or a remote colony world where rare metals are discovered leading to an influx of prospectors, confidence tricksters, unscrupulous corporations and mercenaries hiring out as guards, bandits or militia.
FFG’s dice with their success/fail mechanic, advantages, disadvantages, triumphs and despair encourage and nurture storytelling. The GM can make a task more challenging by adding difficulty dice to the dice pool. The players can enhance their successes by rolling some advantages or triumphs. Likewise the GM can tone down their successes if they roll some disadvantages.
Sure, maybe they successfully picked the pocket of a minor character by rolling up a success, however some threats lead to a loud mouthed kid that saw them and he starts yelling what he saw at the top of his lungs!
The Avatar of Khaine is the embodiment of the spirit of Khaine in a shell of molten metal.
Khaine was the god of war of the Eldar. In times of crisis, when a craftworld goes to war the spirit of Khaine is summoned and a towering construct of metal is imbued with Khaine’s rage. The avatar stirs the spirit of war in the breasts of the craftworld’s citizens as they don their war masks as Guardians or one of the Aspect Warriors.
The fiery, blazing avatar towers over the Guardians and they become fearless in his vicinity. Wielding the Wailing Doom, a fearsome weapon in the shape of a sword or a spear the Avatar stalks the battlefields of the 41st millenium destroying all foes it comes across.
The Citadel metal model of the Avatar is a fine sculpt but is showing its age. Also, it hardly ‘towers over the battlefield’ anymore, being about the size of a plastic Wraith Blade.
On the table
A main role of the avatar is to provide a bubble of fearlessness to the units around him. It’s prime role is to get into combat and start slaying the foe. The great strength and high toughness make the avatar an excellent tool for taking out high value targets. One must be careful against being tarpitted by lesser foes.
This model was painted with Citadel colors. I tried some wet blending but became impatient and so the blending is not as smooth as intended. The green hair and green gemstones are intended to show this is the Avatar for the craftworld Biel-Tan. After applying the static grass and sand to the base I sealed it with Citadel Purity Seal. Big mistake. It frosted over horribly.
I applied a gloss coat and that reduced the frosting.
Necron Warriors and Immortals are the nuts and bolts of any Necron arny. They fill the all important Troops slot and are forces to be reckoned with. Warriors are the most basic of Necrons. With their limited intelligence and free will they go where they’re told and do what they’re told. Which is usually, “Go there and kill those”. Armed with Gauss flayers a squad of 10 can fire a good number of shots at any unit. These semi-sentient automatons can be embarked upon Ghost Arks for rapid deployment. Ghost Arks can be used as mobile bunkers adding additional firepower with their Gauss Flayer arrays while providing protection to the Warriors riding on them.
The Bigs of the Necrons
The Immortals are the Warriors ‘Big Brothers’, slightly bulkier, with a better armor save (3+ vs 4+) and armed with either a Gauss Blaster or Tesla Carbine Immortals are a threat to most foes. They are footsloggers like Warriors, designed to advance implacably while laying down a torrent of fire. Denied the ability to ride on Ghost Arks, Immortals have access to the deadly Night Scythe as a transport vehicle. Being a flyer the Night Scythe can’t start on the board but with teleportation beams a Night Scythe can deliver a squad of Immortals where they need to be with great reliability.
Both Immortals and Warriors are excellent objective holders. Both benefit from Reanimation Protocols (or at least they did in 7th Edition, here’s hoping 8th keeps them as resilient). Some of the most fun I’ve had with Warriors is having an opponent kill 3 or 4 of them only to have 2 or 3 stand back up! This is particularly fun against psycher heavy armies since Necrons have virtually no psychic defense (or least they didn’t in 7th, here’s hoping blah blah blah)
Before Djetari became a necron, he was a necrontyr of considerable skill. While his tactical and strategic abilities were not the best his ability to inspire was superb. He gathered a great host, more warriors and veterans than any other of the Leytek aristocracy.
He organized his hosts units he called ‘Centuries’. A century consisted of 100 rank and file soldiers, 25 veterans armed with Gauss Blasters and 25 veterans armed with Tesla carbines and their associated vehicles.
Necrontyr to Necron
Djetari’s charisma was diminished during the transformation from flesh to living metal. However the vast numbers of warriors and Immortals keyed to his control made up for the loss of his inspiring presence. Having hosts of undying soldiers at his command also made up for his lack of strategic skill. He could afford to send wave after wave, rank after rank of warriors at his foes. His Immortals could target key objectives while his warriors kept his enemies busy.
The necron canoptek spyders are the workhorses of the tomb world. The spyders are monstrously strong with razor sharp pincers that cut through flesh, living metal and steel easily. Hovering above the ground the spyders are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the tomb world’s technology.
They are capable of spawning scarabs, small scuttling mindless creatures that burrow through anything. The scarabs break larger items down to smaller units that the spyders can handle more easily. A small swarm of scarabs can destroy even the mightiest of the Imperium’s war machines in very short order.
Necron spyders move slowly so they tend to fill a defensive role. Hanging in the back field spawning scarabs, sending them out in waves of destruction. Foes that reach the spyder find themselves being crushed by spyder’s strength. The living metal of the spyder’s body protects against all but the most devastating of weapons. The spyders claws and pincers pierce and rend the toughest armor with ease.
Occasionally the spyder will mount short range weaponry that destroys metal and flesh by breaking down their molecular bonds. Unfeeling and uncaring a necron spyder can cut a swathe through any foolish enough to attack it.
In his fleshlife the necron Destroyer Lord Zerg was a cruel, vicious member of the Necrontyr aristocracy. Zerg had a tactical genius for swift strikes that inflicted great damage to his enemies. He was justly feared by other members of the Leytek Dynasty. Few of the other lords of Leytek would openly oppose him. Those that did would often find themselves falling to his fatal blade. Short and extremely strong for a necrontyr, Zerg was quick to anger and take offense.
When the Silent King made his bargain with the C’tan to transform the Necrontyr into the Necrons, the Leytek Dynasty was just beginning to rise in prominence. In them the Silent King saw a viable threat to himself and relocated the dynasty to the outer reaches of his domain. Zerg took this removal to the hinterlands as a personal insult. As a result a deep hatred and silent rage began to grow in psyche. This rage festered during the long millenia that the Leytek tombworld slept.
Lord Zerg had arranged with the crypteks that he was to wake from the great sleep before the other lords. Over the centuries his anger at the Silent King had grown and became less discriminate. Anyone or anything that he even imagined slighted him became a target of his hatred. Zerg forced the crypteks to remove his legs and fuse him to a destroyer skimmer. The pain of that transformation shredded the last few strands of sanity he had left.
The Tomb World
While the necrons of the Leytek Dynasty slept deep in their tombs, the world that was theirs was discovered and laid claim to by other races of the galaxy. The eldar Craftworld Krahlee saw an uninhabited world and nurtured it as a Maiden world. They cultivated it and it was a garden world for the ship bound eldar to visit in times of peace.
After the human galaxy was torn asunder by the Horus Heresy, a small group fled the war torn Imperium and established a colony. The colony grew slowly because they used little of the technology of the Imperium, fearful that either the savage forces of roaming chaos warbands or the heavy handed bureaucracy of the Imperium would notice its use. When the eldar of Craftworld Krahlee took notice of the humans they attacked. Faced with destruction by the eldar a distress signal was sent but it was too late. The humans of Morgan’s Grief were slaughtered. The Imperium arrived too late but found an agri-world and a righteous reason of vengeance to claim it.
The Tomb World Today
Zerg woke to find his home a playground for the hated eldar and infested by a race of primitives with powerful weapons and seemingly unending numbers.
He immediately instructed the crypteks to speed up the awakening of the Leytek but also to keep them hidden. Zerg and his lieutenants began a series of quick raids killing eldar and human alike. This temporarily satisfied their rage and lust for killing. These raids also provided Zerg with much needed information on how the galaxy changed during their long sleep.
The Necrons would pounce on the unsuspecting interlopers of their world. Zerg’s lieutenants zooming in first Gauss blasters thinning out the foe. Zerg would then sweep in swinging his Warscythe and decimate the rest in a frenzy of hacks and slashes.