The Crimson Wake – Gorgon Crystals warband

For the Gorgon Crystals Inquisitor campaign at Asgard Wargames, I’ve pulled together a few warbands from my own collection to count as ‘house’ warbands. These are for folks who want to play but don’t have the minis to dive straight in.

You can see all the house warbands here.

WARBAND OVERVIEW

The Crimson Wake are a band of Chaos-worshiping mutants, traitors, and heretics dedicated to the spreading of anarchy and disorder, particularly when it comes to undoing the works of the Emperor’s most Holy Inquisition.

They are followers of Chaos Undivided, worshiping the Big Four as a pantheon to be worshipped equally as different emanations of the same universal force. That force is not inherently good or evil, it is simply the natural order of the universe – disorder and entropy.

This gives them the flexibility to have a variety of gifts from different patrons to make them interesting to play with and against, and allows them to pursue their goals through a whole plethora of means. Direct or subtle, explosive or sneaky, nothing is off the table with the Crimson Wake. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy having a good ol’ fashioned group of unpredictable baddies in their lineup?

Uh oh, it’s the Crimson Wake again. What are they up to this time?

Leader – Arch-heretic Lurz Karo

Karo is the leader of this particular Crimson Wake warband with a personal interest in the warp-tainted artefacts he’s heard are being unearthed on the fringes of Imperial space. Whatever culture made them had such effortless command over the warp and its energies, Karo wants some of it for himself.

He was once a planetary governor sick of his lot and the filth he had inherited, and engineered an atrocity as a way of “starting again”. His former Imperial masters didn’t take kindly to this, but the voices that spoke to him from a spooky mask he found told him it was a great idea.

Now he’s embraced Chaos Undivided, he can orchestrate all the renovative activities he desires. Already a keen swordsman from his days as an upstart young noble, he grew his oratory skills as he grew into his birthright of power.

He is a strong all-rounder on the battlefield with a collection of tricks up his sleeve (and hooked onto his belt), including deadly ammunition types and shrunken head grenades.

Traitor Guardsman Dmitri

Dmitri, like many in this particular Crimson Wake cell, is ex-guard. He served as a forward scout, but his reconnaissance become more and more brutal until even his own brothers-in-arms refused to go out on patrol with him. He began to hunt alone, delighting in the terror he could cause. It was only a matter of time before forces of the warp began to pay attention

Unlike the other Crimson Wake cell members however, he has not been physically changed by the fickle forces of Chaos, and instead gifted something to enhance his terror tactics. An unassuming iron horn engraved with “Balaghron”, the name of a terrible warp predator, that when pressed to his lips expelled the most fearsome cacophony he’d ever heard.

On the battlefield, he acts as ranged support – running and gunning with his powerful hellforged lasgun. Once per game he can also unleash Balaghron’s horn, causing everyone within earshot to make a Willpower -30 test or be stunned for D3 turns.

Traitor Guardsman Kraw

Kraw only has vague memories of his past as an underhive bounty hunter before being conscripted into the Imperial Guard to fight a war he can barely recall. Facing a Chaos incursion, he was exposed to a massive burst of warp energy when a creature from the Immaterium teleported into him. Rather than exploding into shreds of torn flesh, the two beings somehow melded together, and Kraw emerged unscathed but horrendously mutated.

His former squad turned their guns on him, abhorred by the abomination he had become, but their las rounds passed straight through him. He fled, protected by his new-found powers, thanking the warp for getting him out of that terrible war.

Kraw is a gunslinger affected by uncontrollable dimensional shifting. At the beginning of his turn he makes a Willpower test. If he passes, he is slightly phased out of reality, giving him forcefield armour against conventional attacks and making him incredibly difficult to detect – the perfect tool for a sneaky gun fighter!

Unfortunately it is rather unpredictable, and Kraw often finds himself without his phasing when he least expects it…

Mucus the Ancient

Mucus was discovered by the Crimson Wake being worshipped by a corpse grinder cult in an underhive abattoir. His appearance matched numerous reports across the sub-sector that spanned hundreds of years and doesn’t appear to have aged. Mucus himself has little memory of anything at all, but possesses incredible knowledge and wisdom accrued over centuries – the kind of dichotomy that only raw Chaos can gift.

It is theorised that he was once three individual entities, perhaps a Navigator or Astropath, as Mucus does not seem to perceive time in the same manner as humans do. It can often lead to him making strange or contradictory decisions that initially seem to be blunders, but end up being works of incredible foresight.

On the battlefield, Mucus is an unstoppable killing machine. His daemonic armour shrugs off attacks from most conventional weapons and his warp-infused strength can tear opponents apart in moments. He is, however, in three minds about anything, which can delay or obfuscate his decision-making – sometimes leading him down a path that seems wasteful, ineffective or downright stupid to his team mates.

There is, of course, always a reason. It just might not manifest in these human’s regular life spans.

Traitor Guardsman Tlaxcala

Tlaxcala was once a plasma gunner for the Imperial Guard before he was struck with a psychic bolt from a Tzeentchian sorcerer. His body mutated in horrible ways, stretching and elongating, melding with his weapon.

His blood boiled away in his veins, replaced with white hot plasma from his gun. The Changer of Ways had replaced his blood with plasma, and he found he could fire his weapon indefinitely – a valuable asset to the Crimson Wake.

His plasma blood has the additional advantage of splashing on anyone who attacks him in melee, eating through armour and dissolving weapons.

Traitor Guardsman Zenkhang

Our final Crimson Wake member is Zenkhang – a scrounger, fixer, and sole survivor of a platoon wiped out by a strange wasting disease. He attributed his predicament to good fortune and strong constitution, but after picking through the bodies for valuables and a new pair of boots, happened across a strange and disgusting-looking knife.

Little did he know at the time that he’d been hand picked by Grandfather Nurgle to carry a new and exotic disease further afield. Whenever a foe is struck by the blade, they find themselves hacking and coughing, arteries clogging and lungs filling with fluid with every cut made.

In combat Zenkhang is a good all-rounder – his shotgun is great at close quarters, enticing enemies to charge him to avoid his withering hail of fire. Once they’ve taken the bait, he can switch to his unassuming knife and infect his opponent with its corrupting edge – a virulent disease so powerful it can lay low any size foe given enough time.

Other warbands

You can see all the house warbands here.

Inquisitor Vanth and retinue – Gorgon Crystals warband

For the Gorgon Crystals Inquisitor campaign at Asgard Wargames, I’ve pulled together a few warbands from my own collection to count as ‘house’ warbands. These are for folks who want to play but don’t have the minis to dive straight in.

You can see all the house warbands here.

Warband overview

Inquisitor Vanth and his retinue have been skulking the sector for decades. He is one of the most influential Inquisitors in the Onus Region, despite having no seat on the Conclave there. He subscribes to the radical Xanthite ideology – that the best weapon against Chaos is Chaos itself – and seeks to gather resources and knowledge to harness Chaos to the best of his ability.

He surrounds himself with loyal Imperial soldiers, each hand picked for their unique abilities, before scrubbing their old identities and bolstering his ranks of anonymous soldiers. He watches individuals from afar, sometimes for years, before engineering accidents or shifts in administration that put these warriors under his employ with no trace of where they came from.

Vanth rarely deals with anything personally – his warband (lead by the fearsome Colonel Chase Vaux) are often the first and last thing his enemies see – but the Gorgon Crystals have piqued his curiosity too much. Xenos artefacts capable of manipulating the warp around them? Those sound too dangerous to be allowed in anyone’s hands but Vanth’s…

Leader – Inquisitor Tarik Vanth

Vanth rarely puts himself in harm’s way, preferring to send his loyal foot soldiers to deal with the hands-on elements of his operations. When Vanth deems it necessary to personally intervene however, he does so with many radical and dangerous tools at his disposal. As daemonic entities are his main concern, he has equipped himself with the finest daemon-slaying weapons he could lay his armoured hands on.

He has a hand-held scanner for rooting out warp taint, backed by his own considerable psychic powers to cloud, control and delude the minds of lesser mortals. On his shoulder is an MIU-linked psycannon for tearing up heretics while keeping his hands free for postulating and planning.

Finally, he wields a terrifying daemon weapon – the spirit of a hungering warp predator bound to a finely-balanced sword. Vanth spent decades hunting down the perfect daemonic entity to bind to his will – a creature of such malice and spite that it craves the flesh of daemons above all others – a perfect tool in the hands of a daemon hunter.

Colonel Chase Vaux

Vaux is Vanth’s right hand man (and not just because of his huge right hand). He was once a Cadian war hero who lead a beleaguered defense force and successfully repelled a daemonic incursion, but was considered “over exposed” to the daemonic taint by his superiors and sentenced to death. Vanth staged a dramatic intervention, saving Vaux’s life (and eskills) and earning his unswerving loyalty.

In battle, Vaux is a beacon of stoicism. He strides towards the foe, bolt pistol raised, placing his shots carefully and purposefully. He prides himself on his marksmanship, and believes that no foe is too large or too powerful to shrug off a Kraken Penetrator bolt round to a particularly sensitive spot. Go for the eyes!

Specialist Foric Scylan and Trooper michael grey

Vanth’s foes are legion and his problems are numerous. He needs suitably skilled warriors under his command to take full tactical advantage of any given situation.

Scylan is a demolitions specialist – he can take out anything with any amount of explosives, knowing exactly where to place his charges to wreak maximum carnage. He lost his leg to a Chaos spawn – he wore a brace of shaped charges around his ankle and fed himself to the monstrosity, destroying it from the inside out.

Trooper Grey is a psychic anomaly – a Pariah. Through a fluke of birth he was born with an anti-warp gene, and is a metaphysical black hole for psychic powers, daemonic entities and other warpcraft. He is practically invisible to creatures of the warp, and absorbs psychic attacks to those in his immediate radius – a powerful tool in the hands of a daemon hunter.

Unfortunately this power comes with the utter inexplicable revulsion his fellow man feels around him, and many Pariahs are killed early in their lives from the hatred and fear that people feel around them. Luckily for Grey, Vanth discovered his secret before his superiors did, and recruited him into his ranks to utilise his unique powers for the benefit of the Imperium.

Trooper Gene Ric and Sergeant Hugo Honeis

Every away team needs a medic, and Honeis fills that role in Vanth’s retinue. He was once a lowly militiaman conscripted to fight off a Chaos uprising on his homeworld, and Vanth was leading a retaliation force that ended in disaster for him. Vanth was wounded and dragged to a civilian triage, where Honeis treated him alongside other dead and dying citizens.

Most other physicians were dead or had fled the horrors the incursion brought, but Vanth was impressed at Honeis’ commitment to the wounded that Vanth brought him on board his escape shuttle before the city was purged with fire from orbit.

Trooper Gene Ric is unique in Vanth’s retinue in that he doesn’t possess any specialist skills, knowledge, or martial prowess, nor saved Vanth’s life in unlikely circumstances. He is, however, a statistical anomaly in so many Munitorum reports that he caught Vanth’s eye.

Trooper Ric is lucky – as in, really lucky. Lucky enough to escape certain death an implausible number of times and have even Inquisitors discussing his merits with increasing incredulity. An individual as lucky as him couldn’t be natural… could it?

Rather than have Trooper Ric captured and pulled apart by Magos Biologis for study, Vanth swooped in and added him to his retinue. It wasn’t hard to find him of course, Trooper Ric seemed to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time…

Other warbands

You can see all the house warbands here.

Diamond’s Interests – Gorgon Crystals warband

For the Gorgon Crystals Inquisitor campaign at Asgard Wargames, I’ve pulled together a few warbands from my own collection to count as ‘house’ warbands. These are for folks who want to play but don’t have the minis to dive straight in.

You can see all the house warbands here.

Warband overview

The mysterious wealthy benefactor “Diamond One” has taken a personal interest in the discovery of the strange xenos artifacts on the shores of Port Impetus. He has arrived on the fringes of Imperial space and found himself remarkably at ease with the criminal underworld there, allying himself with a guild of Chrono-gladiators called the Deathclocks to support and protect him on his adventures.

His motives are selfish – he wants the crystals for his own gain. There are rumours he is connected to the Precipice Dreadquill, a mass-produced serial literature portraying exaggerated, censored, or romanticized versions of events from across the sector. Although illegal to possess, it doesn’t stop the Dreadquill from finding its way into the hands of millions of labourers. Such a readership would be very interested in the story of the Gorgon Crystals…

Leader – Diamond One

Little is confirmed about Diamond One’s identity other than rumours (possible put about by himself). He is reputedly attached to the Precipice Dreadquill, perhaps in an informant or administrative role, and he shares many similarities with a scion of the Shultz household on Daphnia who went missing several years ago.

He has a clearly defined sense of right and wrong, and is very popular with the workers, labourers and underhivers. He has little time for discussions of lawfulness however, and is happy to break all manner of laws to achieve his goals.

Lightly armed and armoured, he relies on his wit and speed to see him out of a sticky situation. He carries an esoteric mix of equipment – an Eldar shuriken pistol and a hand-held archeotech device that operates like a (slightly) more controlled displacer field.

This acts as a regular displacer field that doesn’t activate in response to attacks, but is manually activated instead. The user can roll two scatter dice to pick the direction, so with some luck allows them to travel in the intended direction!

Chrono-gladiator Aries

Aries is an ageing chrono-gladiator – a cybernetic pitfighter fitted with a device that will explode and kill him after a period of time. The only way to set back that timer is to kill, so a chrono-gladiator lives expressly to butcher others in bloodsport matches in an effort to stave off death for another day.

Aries’ history in the arenas has earned him many years of respite, but his clock still ticks. Diamond One’s proposal was too good to be true – in exchange for protection in an upcoming expedition, Diamond One would not only pay enough to retire on, but would perform the necessary surgery to permanently halt Aries’ deathclock so he could achieve the one thing no chrono-gladiator ever could: die of old age.

On the field, Aries is uncomplicated. His twin chain claws and combat drug injectors have felled larger opponents than him in the arenas of Mercy, and each claw is fitted with a small ranged weapon – just in case.

Guilder Romaan Fetch

Aries’ support staff and pit crew comprise of a collection of mechanics and labourers to keep his systems functioning (chain claws don’t have opposable thumbs), and Fetch is the smartest of the bunch.

He’s often tagging along closely behind his master patching up bullet wounds or blown power conduits, or persuading stubborn security spirits to allow access through doors or crates where brute force would be inappropriate.

His equipment is practical and reliable – a lasgun with underslung grenade launcher and a variety of grenades (photon flash, haywire and frag) to suit an ever-changing battlefield.

Guilder Max Rockatansky

Rockatansky is the other human element of the pit crew, able to provide a bit more muscle when rites of percussive maintenance are required. He specialises more on the ordnance side of things, and keeps the crew’s weapons firing true.

He mounts a chainblade under his lasgun for close encounters and a krak grenade for unscrewing really tight nuts.

Clamps

via GIPHY

Everyone needs a friendly piston-assisted clamping buddy for all your hauling and clampage needs. Clamps is mostly machine, with a pair of magnificent squeezers for carrying, lifting, bending and.. uh.. clamping.

Being lobotomised, he doesn’t suffer from such trivial things as fear or self-preservation, and his reinforced interior provides him excellent protection against cuts and scrapes.

Inquisitor: Gorgon Crystals warbands

The Gorgon Crystals Inquisitor campaign is almost upon us, so let’s look at the house warbands on offer for our players.

Players are encouraged to build and use their own warbands, but for those who don’t have enough minis to fill out a roster (or are just starting off) – there’s plenty to choose from.

Warbands have a variable size depending on the access to resources their leader has. Although players will typically be taking the same number of miniatures into their games as each other, having a large warband to pick from gives you a tactical advantage (but the unfortunate agony of choice!).

Every warband will have its own feature article on them, but for now they’re all listed here for posterity.

The Crimson Wake

As seen in the first Prologue mission, the Crimson Wake are a collection of Chaos Undivided mutants, traitors and heretics dedicated to disruption, anarchy and undoing the works of the Holy Inquisition.

Lead by Arch-Hertic Karo Lurz, they predominantly recruit ex-guardsmen and ‘useful’ mutants into their echelons, but they are not above using swathes of expendable goons to achieve their goals. Their ‘gifts’ are sometimes aligned with individual Chaos gods, such as Zhenkang’s plague knife or Mucus’ immense strength and lust for blood.

Their detailed article is here:

Diamond’s Interests

Diamond One, the callsign of a mysterious benefactor arrived at Port Impetus with a vested (and well-financed) interest in the Gorgon Crystals. Originally from Daphnia, it is rumoured he is part of the infamous propaganda machine The Precipice Dreadquill, but such hearsay is quickly dismissed as fanciful.

He has allied himself with a guild of chrono-gladiators, the Deathclock Guild, lead by the fearsome Aries. Not only do such deep pockets need careful protection, but Diamond One has promised the cybernetic warrior reprieve to permanently pause his built-in death clock if he can help Diamond One secure a crystal for himself.

They are accompanied by Aries’ pit crew, as the lack of prehensile thumbs makes repairs and refuelling quite tricky for the ageing chrono-gladiator.

Their detailed article is here:

Interrogator Dune’s Warband

Interrogator Ezekiel Dune is a radical member of the Ordo Xenos, extremely tired with the hardline “all xenos are bad” position, and considers it a waste of resources to direct hatred equally among all xenos species. Far better to understand that while humans are still obviously superior, not all xenos are bad – most are, but some are helpful, even vital to the continuation of mankind’s survival.

He is joined in battle by trusted agents from all walks of life that he can rely on to watch his back and carry out orders without hesitation.

Their detailed article is here:

Mawdryn’s Purge

Inquisitor Tanik Mawdryn was exiled from the Onus Conclave for his highly questionable methods of intelligence gathering – burning a hive city for suspected heresy on circumstantial evidence. He wandered the fringes of the sector, gathering a group of zealots and fanatics to his cause.

He has also recruited the silent help of Sister Ivixia of the Order Censorum, a radical sect of the Orders Famulous dedicated to deleting mutation and corruption from high Imperial society with extreme prejudice, specialising in the annihilation of texts and artefacts. The fact Mawdryn attracts genetic deviants to his cause desperate for redemption in the eyes of the holy Emperor is not an irony lost to him, and Sister Ivixia is a powerful encouragement tool for joining his ranks.

Their detailed article is here:

Vanth’s Warband

Inquisitor Vanth is a radical member of the Ordo Malleus – barely tolerated by the Conclave if not for relentlessly producing results against the forces of Chaos. Subscribing closely to Xanthitism, Vanth wields a daemon blade that hungers for the flesh of other warp entities, and boasts his own considerable psychic prowess.

He is joined by loyal, die-hard bodyguards recruited from various ranks and regiments of the Imperial Guard, hand picked for their skills, force of will, or – in the case of the pariah Trooper Grey – an accident of birth.

Their detailed article is here:

MOTB: Crystals

The money shot

I’ve been banging on about the Gorgon Crystals campaign a lot recently, and for it I needed some battlefield tokens to represent the.. uh… crystals. I’ve mucked about with carving crystalline structures out of plastic sprue before, but I didn’t really have the fortitude to create at least half a dozen markers out of the stuff.

Cue Bad Squiddo Games! I’ve been following their stuff for a while now, and even picked up some of their Cargo Supplies and Food Supplies kits to build my market scene (which is still lying unpainted in a box somewhere…), and knew their set of crystals would be perfect.

p a c k i d g e

I put in the order and waited. Even though it was a busy post-Christmas period, it still turned up within days of me ordering. A++ service!

p a c k i d g e

The minis came out the blister perfectly – no mould lines in sight. The only tidying I did was shaving down one or two bottoms where they’d been clipped from their sprue. A two-minute job and it’s time to hit the spray.

Blue tack woes

Now, in my haste, I didn’t give them a proper soapy bath that you should always do with resin minis. This is to clean off any releasing agent to make paint adhere better and make them a little less slippy.

I was too proud and lazy to do this – after all – what’s the worst that could happen?

Turns out, the releasing agent is basically vaseline for blue tack. I had to hold them with needle nose pliers and superglue them to paint pots because blue tack wouldn’t even pretend to hold onto them.

I kept telling myself that yes, this was a far easier and more efficient method than just doing what you’re supposed to do.

Time for the pink

I knew I wanted a purple/pink colour scheme to add that alien quality I was looking for, but I didn’t know how to paint crystals. I knew there was something funny about the direction you blend colours to make them look like prisms, but I couldn’t even begin to figure it out. Time for a tutorial!

A cursory google provided me with this great tutorial on painting gems/crystals, and I just substituted the blues for pinks and crimsons to produce an effect I was really happy with.

It was, however, quite time consuming, and I was sick of the sight of pink and purple by the end of four very long evenings of painstaking wet blending. I’m glad I did though, because I think the results speak for themselves!

They’ll appear in plenty of Inquisitor battle reports over the next few weeks, and hopefully I can get more Bad Squiddo bits to paint up in the near future, so watch this space!

Inquisitor Battle Report: Death of a Vagabond, part 2

I’m running an Inquisitor campaign, The Gorgon Crystals, at my FLGS Asgard Wargames, and this is the second Prologue mission.

The setup is the same as the first mission, designed to introduce new players to the game with pre-made warbands and set the scene for the campaign. Although there will be many different versions of the events that happened on board the Sojourner, these will all just be part of the usual rumour, speculation and conflicting reports the Inquisition has to deal with.

Setting the scene

Our two warbands were meeting in the cargo hold of an ore hauler, the Sojourner. The cargo crews had built a city of sorts among the ore, and it was among these ruins our explorers would come to blows.

Upon arriving, the warbands find the crew butchered by their own hands – some had clawed the skin from their flesh in a horrendous bout of insanity. The cause for this wave of madness wasn’t clear, but drag marks, manic wailing and strange energy readings indicated the source was in the cargo hold.

Full scene-setting details are in Part 1 here.

The Warbands

We once again had two players, both new to the system, and a pair of deranged crewmen NPCs who are defending their junk totem in the centre of the cargo bay. Both players were using pre-made warbands, picked from a roster of 5.

The warband of Colonel Vaux

From left to right: Sergeant Honeis, Colonel Vaux, Trooper Grey

The radical Inquisitor Vanth is not one to miss an opportunity like the Sojourner. He is, of course, too busy to attend himself so sends his right-hand man, Colonel Chase Vaux, and a pair of guardsmen to back him up.

On the left is Sergeant Hugo Honeis, first-rate medic and vital to the survival of the team. He has been called upon countless times to patch up whatever’s left of Vanth’s warband after a run-in with his usual foes. Colonel Chase Vaux is in the centre – a steely-eyed sharp shooter armed with bolt pistol and power fist. Finally is Trooper Michael Grey, an unassuming guardsman with autogun and a secret power – traces of the Pariah gene. Vanth seeks out pariahs for his warband, and has ordered Grey along on the expedition. Whatever they find on the Sojourner, Grey’s powers against the warp and daemonkind would certainly come in useful.

Trellio’s hired help

From left to right: Conan, Trellio and TJ Razor

Hecate Trellio is an ex-guardsman turned smuggler, with dubious links equally to the Inquisition as to the criminal underworld. In this instance, she has been ‘requested’ by a former Inquisitorial associate to investigate the Sojourner and bring back whatever she can. Speed is vital, so she has rounded up two hired thugs from Port Impetus to help her – Conan the Unkillable and TJ Razor.

Conan was born in a hive city and brought up a criminal racket called the Red Hand Gang. His pigmentation mutation was largely overlooked for his convenient ability to see in the dark (although he has to wear special shades to see in the daylight), but none were prepared for his final party trick – regeneration. After ‘dying’ too many times to be believable, he moved to the fringes of space to make a living as a nigh-unkillable mercenary.

Razor was born into servitude in the belly of a great voidship, falling in with a labour gang called the Pursers Grim. His survival skills were sharpened as keenly as his knives, and his skills are highly sought after for those who need something dealt with quietly.

The investigation begins

Once again, our warbands start on opposing corners of the map with the objective in the centre. Unlike the first Prologue mission the map is dense with terrain, making progress along the ground safer but slower, whereas taking the high ground across the platforms would be quicker, but far more exposed.

Vaux’s warband on the left, Trellio’s warband on the right

Trellio’s mercenaries quickly move to cover, scanning the terrain ahead of them for the origin of the insane cackling they can hear. Trellio spots a pair of crewmen covered in dried blood on the central tower, the base strapped with metal like a bizarre totem pole.

She taps her microbead and informs her colleagues of the situation while TJ Razor sprints ahead.

Even in the guttering emergency lumens, the remaining crewmen can be seen welding chunks of metal to the loading tower, talking to themselves in a lilting cackle, occasionally breaking into wails of laughter. Trellio takes no chances, signalling both to her team as hostile.

Vaux’s warband are less fortunate with their initial checks – identifying the sound but not their source. They clamber up gantries and cautiously head to the centre, double-checking corners and scanning horizons for movement.

Trooper Grey mounts the base of a ladder, intending on taking the exposed catwalk directly to the centre.

Hearing the green light for a kill shot, Conan gets over-exuberant with mounting the walkway. He learns the importance of a Risky Action check, and clotheslines himself in the gut trying to leap onto the platform (right next to a perfectly good ladder).

Pretending not to notice Conan’s performance, Trellio scales the catwalk and crouches behind some railings. She clocks both crewmen and a mysterious third party – a military figure in dark uniform shouldering a rifle at the crewmen. She keeps her head down to see how it plays out.

The crystal is revealed! As Trellio squints through the gloom, she notices a sickly purple glow emanating from a cluster of crystals in the centre of the totem tower. The crewmen seem to be coveting it, talking to it as an exhausted father would a newborn.

An ill wind surrounds it, and staring too long strains the eyes and gives an overwhelming sense of nausea.

As Trellio looks on, Trooper Grey executes his orders. He squeezes his autogun’s trigger. Hot lead spatters the metal totem, chewing through the padded work gear of the crewman and biting into his gut.

The sound of gunfire is punctuated with the sound of manic wailing. Everyone hears and quickens their step.

Sergeant Honeis shoulders his lasgun and sets his sights on the second crewman. He looses a burst of fire but they patter harmlessly off the totem around his target. He curses under his breath as the crewman dips out of sight, hammer raised, screaming into the darkness.

The first crewman bounds towards his aggressor, dropping his welding torch en route from a heavy blow to the arm. Grey keeps his cool and keeps plugging shots into the mad deckhand until he stumbles and falls to the ground.

As far as she could tell, the dark-uniformed guardsman (and, presumably, whoever else was with him) hadn’t noticed her or her team yet. Trellio sneaks over to the vacated welding torch to see if there is a cunning distraction she could concoct with it, but locks eyes on the prize instead – a trio of incredible, glowing, nausea-inducing xenos crystals.

Meanwhile TJ Razor has secreted himself into a perfect striking position on the other side of the loading bay. TJ takes a huge huff on his inhaler of Spur, readying himself for a few turns of thrilling heroics.

The raging crewman on the walkway hasn’t noticed TJ at all, more predisposed with Sergeant Honeis peppering him with las fire. The crewman looses an unhinged laugh and bounds from platform to platform trying to close the gap.

Honeis realises the sudden danger of his situation and snaps his rifle to his cheek. The crewman was moving too fast to get a clear shot , ducking and weaving behind railings and exhaust stacks. The crewman leaps from the final platform…

Meanwhile, Vaux has moved into a central position and takes cover behind some low crates. He has been kept appraised of the unfolding situation by his inferiors, and has chosen this moment to place his considered shots.

Slowly and purposefully, he raises his bolt pistol to eye line and squeezes. The bolt rounds explode across the crewman, carving out huge chunks of flesh with every round. He is knocked from the air mid-flight and tumbles to the ground.

TJ Razor finally makes it to where the crewman was, only to see him tumble to the ground below. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, he leaps onto the wounded crewman, knife flashing in the lumen-light.

The blade plunges deep into the crewman’s shoulder, blood pouring from the wound. The crewman’s struggles bleed away in moments, leaving a lifeless body on the floor.

With all the enemy guns seemingly pointing everywhere except her, Trellio makes a break for the crystals. She thumbs a few snapdragon shells into her shotgun in case she needs to make a quick getaway, but Grey is too busy finishing off the crewman on his platform.

Conan, having spent the entirety of the game failing to climb ladders or roll more than 1 Action at a time, suddenly finds himself with a glut of energy.

With all four Actions being rolled every turn until the end of the game, he throws himself onto the platform and lays down a punishing hail of fire in Grey’s direction.

Vaux takes cover behind the crates and squeezes off a shot at TJ Razor, who returns fire with a throwing knife. Both marksmen fidget around cover, trying to land a definitive shot without revealing themselves.

TJ’s microbead pipes up – Trellio shouting over the sounds of gunfire and boots pounding on metal. She had secured whatever they’d come here to find – it was time to evac.

Protected by the withering covering fire from Conan, Trellio effortlessly covers the distance between her and the evac point. She makes off with the prize, ensuring she hands in the three two crystals to the appropriate authorities, as requested.

The last few warband members take a final few pot shots at one another to cover the retreat, but the scenario is over – victory goes to Trellio’s warband.

And yet…

With Trellio’s warband in hasty retreat with the crystals, Vaux and his team take a few moments to pore over the carnage the crewmen left behind. They discover the crystals were only one set of a much larger shipment – a shipment that is now conspicuously absent.

Scavengers must have made off with the other crystals, and with Port Impetus being the nearest convenient fence point for stolen xenos artifacts, it seems that they might have a much larger problem on their hands…

What next?

Thanks to our players and to our gracious hosts, Asgard Wargames! We’re pretty much done on prologue missions now, maybe squeezing in another if there is more interest among new players, but otherwise it’s on to the main event! Watch this space…

MOTB: Arcane ruins

Finished product first!

I guess there’s a theme with recent MOTBs, so it’s a good time to post ruins! Truth be told, I’ve had these ruins ready for quite some time, but having only just purchased a lovely new battle mat from Pwork Games it was a great time to get some photos done.

Out with the old

I must have owned this kit for over a decade, getting dragged around between uni, house moves and all sorts. A few years ago I had a weekend spare and I wanted to finally get it from sprue to battlefield.

Original box art!

I had a tiny problem – much of the kit had been lost to the annals of time I was missing at least one whole upright pillar, the top of the monolith and at least one bit of broken pillar. I’d need to get creative.

In with the new

Luckily my pals at Hobgoblin 3D had me covered. I’d been doing some work for them and I was paid in scatter terrain (can all my paychecks be in scatter terrain please?) and I found the dungeon brazier fit perfectly in the gap at the top. Result!

I’d been using it for practising painting techniques, so it wouldn’t matter if it was getting repainted.

They were quite impressive all assembled. I’d used a cheap readymix DIY filler and smeared it all over, giving the flat edges a bit of texture and tidying up some of the more heinous mould lines.

It was a shame I was missing a few pieces, but it’s supposed to be ruins so the mismatched appearance would be fine.

Weirdly the bits I was missing the most was upright pillars, and the ones I did have tended to be two of the same half, so they didn’t fit together particularly well. Plenty of hacking and filling was needed to finish them off, and the final upright was made from two chunks of ruins glued on top of each other. It ended up with a very wonky appearance… but ruins!

The final upright didn’t have a back half at all, and with not enough pieces to bodge together a second upright, the final freestanding ruin had to be laid down. I wanted to make it look like it was being reclaimed by the earth, and I had some more plants from Hobgoblin to fill the gap and make it a more rounded piece of scatter.

With plenty more filler applied and a long drying time, it was on to the undercoat!

All white on the night

I wanted to avoid doing MORE grey ruins – my collection of terrain was 90% drybrushed grey over a black undercoat which is incredibly dull to look at. I was looking at some tutorials for painting wraithbone structures for our Rogue Trader campaign at the time and I enjoyed how striking Seraphim Sepia was over a white undercoat, so the plan was set in motion.

All dressed up

They existed for almost two years before the gaming mat was purchased, and it’s such a lovely backdrop for these minis I had to finally take some photos!

The stone was painted with washes of Seraphim Sepia and Agrax Earthshade, with progressively lighter drybrushes of boney colours, finishing on an edge highlight of pure white.

I was playing with my latest new technical too – Nihilak Oxide – to do some patina on the bronze. This was just Warplock Bronze painted straight over the bits I wanted to be metallic with the Oxide dabbed messily into the recesses. With a bit of rag, I wiped it off the most prominent edges and that was that.

The downed ruin had some extra textures to paint, namely the ground and plant. I had another half a dozen plant bits that I batch painted at the same time (more on those in another post), so this was done to replicate that. Otherwise, the ground was a dark brown base with lighter browns drybrushed over the top, with a few select grassy tufts from Army Painter.

When they’re separated, the ruins take up a decent amount of board space. I doubt they’d ever be big enough to use as a focal point, but as some LOS-breaking scatter I think they perform quite well.

Plus, the big bonus is they appear to work extremely well at both 28mm and 54mm – something that is becoming (again) increasingly important to my collection!

A final size comparison with an as-yet un-photographed mini – a Demeten Hastati. Again, more on those guys in a later post. The ruins make great cover!

Very happy with how it all came out! For a weekend’s worth of work, I got something striking and practical for the tabletop using bits that were just gathering dust. I’d been meaning to shoot them for some time, and with the new battlemat arriving, it was a great opportunity to use them as a backdrop for some other minis too.

Watch this space…

Inquisitor FAQs

With the Gorgon Crystals campaign kicking off recently, there are a lot of questions about a 20-year old discontinued game with weird rules and tricky figure scales. Here are some answers.

What is Inquisitor?

Inquisitor is a narrative skirmish wargame, focused primarily around the conflicts of the Holy Inquisition, either amongst its own ranks or against the enemies of mankind. Unlike the core game of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, it is not about the front-line of mud and gas and behemoth engines, but is instead set amongst the internal and domestic complexities of the Imperium – shadow wars where good, evil, right and wrong all merge into indistinct shades of grey.

If you have read the Eisenhorn series, you will already be familiar with the concept of an Inquisitor and his closest allies striving against these more subtle (but no less dangerous) threats to the Imperium, with their reward often to die alone and unremembered by the billions of citizens they may have saved from the encroaching dark.

Inquisitor is your chance to tell the dramatic, daring (and sometimes clumsy) stories of these unsung heroes.

How does it play?

Players have a warband of 2-4 models and play out a narrative scenario arbitrated by a Games Master (GM). The scenarios are typically part of a linked narrative devised by the GM, and the players’ warbands have conflicting goals and ideologies on how best to resolve the scenario, usually resulting in violence and thrilling heroics.

The Inquisitor rules allow the characters in the game to try to do just about anything, and the GM adjudicates how these are resolved. Players roleplay a character from their warband, nominate their actions, and make dice rolls to see how well things happen. The next character in the Initiative order then takes their turn, and so on. 

Inquisitor is a game of tension, risk, and close calls, followed by explosions, violence, and pushing people off buildings. While the players do have objectives to achieve and there can be winners and losers, the main aim of the players is to use the rules and miniatures to create a compelling story on the tabletop that is retold countless times for many years after!

Why 54mm?

While Inquisitor was originally released at 54mm, smaller 28mm Inquisitor (INQ28) has become highly popular in recent years. Both scales are equally valid and should both be encouraged! Inquisitor presents a fantastic gaming and modelling opportunity whatever size your models may be.

The larger size of 54mm models allows more detail, is strongly associated with the game and can be a welcome contrast from the impersonal little grunts that die in droves during games of WH40K. These differences can help set the rather unique tone of Inquisitor.

A more in-depth study of the merits of both scales is here:

What does it cost?

Games Workshop released the rules for free in 2004, rehosted here:

A warband is typically 3-5 models, and although an official Inquisitor miniature might set you back £20 on eBay, the huge number of 3rd party miniature companies and the rise of 3D printing means you can put a warband together for very little.

Ebay is a good place to trawl for cheap minis, you can often get more common figures like Slick Devlan, Eisenhorn and Preacher Josef for £10-15.

If conversion is your thing, you can often pick up cheap toy soldiers and add 40k bits to make them fit in – special shout out to the Russian ‘Tehnolog’ range who produce a range of minis of varying quality but the inarguable cost of around £8 (including postage) for 5 minis.

Games Workshop’s scale creep has been a boon to 54mm modelling too – Ork arms have always been a reliable fallback, but the Primaris and Necromunda ranges also have perfectly scaled arms, hands and weapons to use.

I’ve done some scale studies on 3d printed 54mm weapons here:

Extensive 54mm/1:32 scale mini manufacturers are listed here:

Inquisitor Battle Report: Death of a Vagabond, part 1

All the essentials

I’m running an Inquisitor campaign, The Gorgon Crystals, at my FLGS Asgard Wargames. The campaign will run over two weeks and comprising up to six scenarios, with a prologue period of almost a month to introduce people to the game and help build warbands.

We played our first prologue scenario this week – Death of a Vagabond.

++++Message Incoming++++

“We have received reports of a vagabond-class merchant vessel, the Sojourner, on a collision course with Port Impetus. It is non-responsive to hails, and at least one scavenger crew has boarded the Sojourner and not returned.

The Imperial Navy has been dispatched to intercept and destroy before it reaches Port Impetus, but the question remains: what happened on board the Sojourner?

Assemble an insertion team to investigate before it is destroyed and report your findings. Emperor protects.”

++++Message Ends++++

Setting the scene

Our two warbands were meeting in the cargo hold of an ore hauler, the Sojourner. The cargo crews had built a city of sorts among the ore, and it was among these ruins our explorers would come to blows.

Upon arriving, the warbands find the crew butchered by their own hands – some had clawed the skin from their flesh in a horrendous bout of insanity. The cause for this wave of madness wasn’t clear, but drag marks, manic wailing and strange energy readings indicated the source was in the cargo hold.

Environmental conditions

Emergency lumens still flicker here and there from fading batteries – it would require an Awareness check to successfully see another character.

Warbands

We had two players for this prologue game and some NPCs – a pair of deranged crewmen who had taken to building a pile of miscellaneous junk in the centre of town. One player used their own warband, the other was from a selection of pre-made warbands I had put together to introduce people to the game.

The Crimson Wake

From left to right: Zenkhang, Karo and Kraw

The Crimson Wake are a group of traitors, scum and heretics that have banded together to pursue whatever power is fueling the unrest in Haimm. They don’t care what it is, they just want to pinch it and use it for their own ends.

The first is Traitor Guardsman Zenkhang, an ex-soldier blessed with a strong constitution and a warp-tainted Plague Knife. The second is Arch-Heretic Lurz Karo, an ex-planetary governor who plunged a city into the abyss to further the whims of his dark patrons. The third is Traitor Guardsman Kraw, a gunslinger with an uncontrollable ability to phase in and out of reality.

Haimm Mercenaries

From left to right: Esmeralda, Sophia, Maxwell

This band of mercenaries were once part of a pilgrimage beyond Imperial space, but their vessel was torn apart by the gravity riptide of Haimm and they were stranded. They rebuilt themselves (literally, in some cases) as mercenaries capable of any job, and on the fringes of civilised space, there were plenty of jobs for those who needed to slip between the cracks.

First is Esmeralda, a bionic woman with a powerful terror-sword, a semi-powered two-handed weapon easily capable of cleaving a man in two. The leader of the group is Sophia, packing a sawn-off shotgun pistol, duelling blade and hidden conversion field. Finally there’s Maxwell, the team’s ranged support. His scoped rifle has put many holes in many heads.

The investigation begins

Our warbands begun at opposite corners of the table, with a pair of maddened crewmen in the centre to act as a buffer.

It is eerily quiet, without even the familiar hum of a plasma drive, and both warbands advance cautiously.

Zhenkang takes point for the Crimson Wake

Maxwell takes up an observation point in some ruins to the north of the clearing, picking out two figures in the gloom ahead. They seem to be dragging detritus onto a central pile – perhaps some kind of storage? It’s not clear. They also appear to be talking to themselves and covered head to toe in dried blood.

Poor crewmen, just want to make their awful sacrilegious totem in peace

Esmeralda wastes no time closing the gap between her and her prey. Maxwell had tagged two potential hostiles around the storage pile, and Esmeralda was having none of this ‘potential’ nonsense.

Maxwell sees Esmeralda moving up and places a shot straight into the crewman’s gut with his suppressed rifle. He rolls around in agony, wailing to himself. Someone’s sure to have heard that…

Meanwhile, the Crimson Wake have been taking an uncharacteristically cautious approach. Lurz wants whatever has turned these crewmen mad, and isn’t that fussed as to how he gets it.

He gives the nod to Zhenkang who unleashes a hail of lead from his shotgun, striding across the barricades and open ground, firing wildly from the hip. He’s having such a good time.

Gunfire fills the hangar bay. Sophia recognises the familiar sound of a pump-action shotgun – something none of her comrades carry – and identifies a third party threat. She microbeads a warning to her team – expect a fight.

Maxwell spots a strange purple glow emanating from the top of the garbage pile – a collection of crystals that churn the stomach to look upon. The crewmen seem to have been building this totem in reverence of the crystals – nobody has any idea what they could be, but it is undoubtedly the source of the crew’s madness.

With the objective revealed, Sophia breaks cover and sprints for the detritus heap in the centre. Maxwell covers her advance by putting a rifle round through the hip of the second crewman, who had been left bloodied by Zhenkang’s shotgun assault.

Esmeralda charges the crazed downed crewman, bisecting his top half from his bottom half in a single swing of her terror-sword.

Sophia scrambles up the side of the garbage heap to come face to face with a masked man covered in symbols of the Arch-Enemy. His mouth twists into a grin, warmed by the purple glow of the crystal, and bares jagged teeth.

“Oh, how I’d hoped I wouldn’t be the only one!”

Kraw had finally drawn a bead on Esmeralda, loosing off shots with his revolvers but unable to stop the relentless charge of the sword-wielding mercenary. Kraw’s dimensional instability had helped him avoid detection, but it didn’t help him against an overhead blow from Esmeralda’s terror-sword. A huge gash across his chest sends him sprawling to the ground.

Karo and Sophia pause, eyes locked, trying to guess the other’s intention. They both lunge for the crystal, Sophia’s hand grasping it first. Karo lurches awkwardly to one side, his play for the crystal was a fake!

She finds herself staring down the barrel of a mid-magnum stub revolver, just in time to hear the hammer crack against the firing pin.

An incredible burst of light erupts from Sophia’s chest. A concealed conversion field, undetected until now, exploded into life. The stub round’s kinetic energy reborn as a burst of sound and light, protecting Sophia and dazzling everyone unfortunate enough to be looking at her.

Karo raises his arm just in time, but Kraw and Zhenkang receive the full concussive blast, leaving them gasping for air. Maxwell had sighted up Zhenkang ready to land another shot only to have his optics fried by a sudden burst of light. He cursed, knowing full well what had happened, but was powerless to do anything about it.

Sophia raises her sawn-off, aiming for centre mass. Karo’s erratic movements throw off her aim and she tears a hole from the cloth on his arm. His twisted smile writhes into a manic grimace, his crooked teeth like a tray of used needles. He feints again, this time thrusting his sword straight towards Sophia’s face.

Her reflexes fail her, and she feels the cold steel inside her cheek, cutting a jagged tear from mouth to ear. Pain overwhelms her and she drops to a knee, spitting blood and broken teeth.

Her vision sharpens enough to see the red-robed figure of Karo escaping across the hangar floor, purple glowing crystal under his arm, with Zhenkang in tow. She makes a quick headcount, her senses still spinning. All her team were alive, but that flickering guardsman Kraw was nowhere to be seen.

Karo had escaped with the crystal, but Sophia was sure it wouldn’t be the last she saw of him.

Inquisitor campaign: The Gorgon Crystals

“Beware the dead, even as you fear death. For the God-Emperor protects us after death, but that which slumbers eternal may rise again.”

-From the journal of Acolyte Mora ‘Darksight’ Valerius

For the attention of the conclave of Asgard

Dissent stirs on the fringes of civilised space. Mines have gone silent. Warp-infused artefacts have washed up on the shores of Port Impetus amid reports of madness and violence.

With so much conflicting information, the Holy Ordos have dispatched their finest agents to contain and control what they can, and to eliminate what they can not.

The Inquisition is not the only organisation to have interests here – members of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Rogue Traders and agents of the Arch Enemy have all been reported converging on the cursed system of Haimm, eager to find the source of the artefacts for their own purposes.

The shadow war for the Gorgon Crystals has begun.

The Gorgon Crystals

The Gorgon Crystals is a short Inquisitor 54mm campaign held at Asgard Wargames. It is being run by me and a few assistant GMs.

I have plenty of spare warbands for other players to run around with, so the intention is to get people into the game as quickly as possible without asking them to invest in a bunch of 54mm figures.

The campaign structure

The Gorgon Crystals campaign consists of three parts:

  1. Prologue – Introductory games to set the scene across a 2-4 week period to give players time to build warbands.
  2. The Investigation – Four scenarios played over two weeks (Wednesday and Friday evenings). Complete objectives and gather evidence to uncover the secrets of the Gorgon Crystals.
  3. The Finale – One large game to determine the outcome of the campaign, played with warbands who complete the most objectives

Players don’t need any models or knowledge of the game to play. Pre-made warbands are available for those who want to take part in the campaign without investing in minis, and every game will allow players to drop in or out as they wish.

The narrative nature of Inquisitor requires a certain level of continuity, and although the campaign is designed so you don’t need to attend every scenario, it’s helpful for the GM to know who is likely to be playing in advance. It’s first come first serve, but priority will always be for those who build their own warband or book a slot in the scenario.

Scenario format

Two scenarios are played each week – a Primus and a Secundus. These scenarios are from the same stage of the investigation but from different theatres of conflict. 

Each scenario has three objectives – one for each faction: Puritan, Radical and Selfish. Objectives are often conflicting (even with warbands of the same faction), but they can also overlap with other faction objectives, meaning it can be wise to seek impromptu alliances or backstab erstwhile colleagues to complete your goals.

Completing an objective gives you a boon you can utilise in your next game. Completing a Primus objective also earns you a piece of Vital Evidence – those warbands with the most Vital Evidence will play in the finale. Completing a Secundus objective will guarantee you a place in the next Primus scenario.

Would you like to know more?

Keep an eye on the Gorgon Crystals tag – there’ll be battle reports, scenarios and more as the campaign progresses. Hit up Dreadquill on social media and come say hi!