Friday, November 30, 2012

Deathwatch Mission #1

Well my first game of Deathwatch was rather successful. I fumbled the intro but my players got so into the action of second and third act I think they forgot why they were even playing a game!
Kill-team Omega-Maximus-2 (OM2) consisted of 6 marines;
An Imperial Fist Tactical Marine, Raven Guard Assault Marine, Salamander Devastator, Blood Angel Devastator, Iron Hands Tech Marine and an Ultramarine Apothecary,

The Kill-team had a good mix and man was their firepower something to be in awe of!

the Kill-teams mission was simple. Get aboard a rogue trader vessel and look for some illegal weapons. They intercepted the vessel and boarded under the guise of a retiune inspection. The Rogue Trader was pretty surprised when 6 armed space Marines wondered onto his flight deck. He escorted the Kill-team to the cargo hold and dismissed himself and left an aid to assist with the inspection.

As the aid stepped forward he ate a mouthful of fist as the Raven guard punched him out. This is when things got dicey. The Ambush that had be set for the Space Marines tipped off but before they could get their las-cannon into position! The Imperial Fist formed organised a Bolter Assault and kill team opened up! Crew serfs were cut down in droves. The kill team rolled up almost 9 head shots in a row! Noticing the las-cannon being dragged into the position the kill team targeted crew and weapon. The Raven Guard launched himself with his jump pack but fell painfully short of getting onto the gantry the heavy weapon was on. He fell 20 meters but managed to parkour his way to a safe landing. The Salamander and Blood Angel both turned their heavy bolters on the Las-cannon after it barely missed the Imperial Fist.

The ambush was broken and the serfs fled. The Iron Hand took this opportunity to find out what the hell was going on. He hacked into the ships logs and found no data on the cargo, despite the hundreds of containers in front of him. All he knew was there was a timer counting down with only a few hours to go! Deciding being that the smartest thing to do was to look in the container the kill team opened the closest to have a peek at the content; when they found 30+ armed Kroot awakening from Temperale retardation the team calmly closed the door with a couple primed grenades tossed in.
The Kill-team then came to its first party argument. The Imperial Fist wanted to storm the bridge, the RavenG wanted to take the shuttle back to their frigate and blast it. Most of the Kill-team wanted the Rouge Trader for questioning. So they came up with the plan to secure the bridge AND the Shuttle. Once the bridge was secure they would Ram the shuttle into the bridge deck and fly away. Ballsy as all hell; but, the Emperor likes Ballsy! 

The Imperial Fist, Iron Hand and Blood Angel went to attack the bridge, Hopping on an mini-tram for crew movement  they took off down the 4km long ship towards the bridge tower. The Rushing arms-men must have been drunk because No-one saw the Space Marines until the tram was just about at the bridge tower. This squad that did spot the kill team got showered with bolter fire for their trouble!
Meanwhile Raven Guard, Ultramarine and Salamander attacked the Shuttle bay. leading with grenades they scattered the guards. When Ka'dar stepped out to fire his heavy bolter he was rewarded with a jam! Ultramarine and Raven Guard charged in with swords and cut down the guards, Ka'dar followed with his bolt pistol and Combat blade! the shuttle bay was theirs in seconds. 

The Imperial Fist found his squad facing an elevator. Deciding they were clearly walking into a trap, the squad got on top of the elevator for the ride to the bridge deck. When the door opened they tossed grenades into the waiting guards, on grenade bounced harmlessly away, but Iron Hands scored a hit and killed most of the would-be-ambushers. Combat blades and bolters finished them off. The Armoured bridge door loomed. Unable to hack their way in, Iron Hands Grabbed the door with his servo harness and pulled! he managed to eek out enough of a hand hold for Imperial Fist to help pull the door open. When the door was wide enough for them to enter a las-bolt stuck the Imperial fist square in the head. His armour easily reflected the damage and now really pissed Imperial Fist Charged in with combat blade and started to slaughter the bridge crew. Blood Angel and Iron followed. Blood angel wrestled the Rogue Trader to the ground. The bridge crew fled. Looking around they found a void suit for the Trader. Iron Hands then shut down life support. Charges were placed on the Armour glass and with a thunderous explosion, thousands of cracks formed. Outside in the void las-fire and defence turrets could be seen firing.
Raven Guard piloted the Aqueilla  Lander through the defensive fire. a las cannon beam punched through the hull and voided the atmosphere but the Marines power armour made this nothing more than a minor annoyance. Gunning the engines the Lander slammed into the armour glass and rammed in the back of the bridge. Bodies were sucked out into the void Imperial Fists squad boarded the Lander and were barely able to get enough thrust to get out of the ship! The Lander took more damage as it limped out of the fire zone and safety from the dyeing ship!

The mission was based on Gav Thorpes “Mission: Purge.”  I made some changes to make it a single mission in a larger campaign. Thorpe really did a good job writing a story that would start off a Campaign. So now the Kill-team, fresh from an overwhelming successful mission has questions to ask. Why would a rogue trader transport Kroot? What was his destination? Maybe in the next session some of these questions will be answered.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Death Striking!

The Winter War is only a week away! I'm proud to say that I have selected my Drop Pod Sternguard list. I'm pretty pumped and am looking forward to it. I've played about 4 games with the DPS list and think I won't embarrass myself (to much).

This weekend I'm going to DM my first every Deathwatch game. I have 6 players and Kill Team Omega-Maximus-2  is going to have their hands full! I'm really pleased with the Deathwatch system so far. The Character creation is in depth but leaves a lot of room for imagination. I like the fact Space Marines are beyond awesome right out of the gate. They should be. I really hate RPG's that start characters off as bumbling idiots for the sake of "realism."  This doesn't mean I don't want them to be a challenge, but I just don't want my character(s) to be a little bitch ether.

This is where the challenge of being a DM comes into play. How do you make your players feel powerful and vulnerable at the same time? The answer isn't simple but hopefully I can help.

I make the entire world they are on one giant dangerous place. The settings is the most important area of a RPG and therefore should be something that can kill you dead. Whats more terrifying to a mighty space marine; A group of guardsmen with a las-cannon that can be ambushed, out fought and gunned down; or a tiny bridge over a river of liquid nitrogen. I can make the player roll a agility test for every 5 meters of bridge they cover, maybe if I am luckey one will fall and the entire kill team will have to work to rescue their Battle Brother! That's exciting for the players, a hurdle to over come they probably didn't expect. Something they can ether soldier through or find a work-around.  By making the entire setting dangerous you can make use of every stat and skill they have. You want your players to know that at no time they are safe. But you also want them succeed, you should be making the world dangerous but not at the expense of characters lives. So as a DM practice encounters and hazards! At least run the math. Make sure you aren't going to auto-kill then entire party on the first encounter!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holy goodness!

I think that my game on Friday will go down as one of the best of the year. I played another marine player. He was fairly new but had a pretty awesome 4th company ultramarine army. Three tactical squads with two scout sniper squads made up his troops. Two vindicators as heavies, two storm talons and an attack bike squad rolled as fast attacks. Tigerious was the Warlord choice. I rolled up my drop pod list with an additional las/ plas devastator squad vindicator and terminator to bring my numbers up to 1850.

We played kill points on long table edge and man! This game was bloody! My initial drop pod strike managed to kill both vindicators and a put the hurt on Tigerious causing a wound and knocking his squad down to 3 Marines but my damned vengence rounds killed two of my own Sternguard! His attack bike squad duelled with my las/plas devs and snipers and his mounted tac squads disembarked and really put the hurt on my Sterguard. He wiped out one Combat Squad, killed a man or two in every other combat squad. Tigerious Iron armed himself and charged into my 3 man sternguard squad. St9 blows rained down on my squad but their armour held. barely. At this point I was Sweating bullets. I failed all my reserve rolls (with a re-roll) so I had less than 10 Marines to deal with 23 tactical marines, Rhinos and Tigerious himself! I have to admit I was going to call the game at this point; but the sportsman in me said
"Stick it out, this guy is pretty cool and deserves a hard fought game!"

So I pulled up my socks and committed to finishing. Pedro unleashed Dorns arrow and killed two marines, his Sternguard fired their bolt pistols and got another one. Then Pedro waded into combat and killed 4 more Marines! Tigerous continued to be thwarted by the blessed power armour of the sternguard in combat but my vindicator and one more combat squad were wiped out. My terminators refused to come on the board but my multimetla Devs drop poded in and a storm talon arrived! I had a fighting chance now!

Pedro finished off the tac squad and went after Tigerious. The Challenge was short and Tigerious put up a good fight but ultimately Kantors Power fist won out. With Tigerious down the and his remaining tactical sqauds pinned between Two Devs teams and a very angry Pedro Kantor I think my oppenant put over a valiant last stand. He shot down my storm talon and killed Pedro but I simply had to much fire power left for him to deal with.

It was a great game non-the-less. I think the big lesson i took away is that my Sternguard are going to take disgusting casualties. I really need to make sure they have cover, are spread out and have a proper fire support as soon as they land.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What's good and bad about 6th edition?

I think talking about 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000 is a safe topic now-a-days. It has been almost 5 months since the release and I have had enough games to figure out what I like and what I dislike about it.
I really think the best changes all have to do with assaults. I love how restrictive and difficult launching an assault can be now. Assaults and 5th and 4th seem like they were the no-brainer approach to the game. After all assaulting multiple units or chaining assaults could yield really positive results. If your opponent didn’t have a unit that could fight back effectively they would be mopped up. All of the expensive heavy weapons counted for little when you’re only a sword stroke away. But now the balance has shifted and assaulters are at a disadvantage.  Between overwatch and the inability to assault out of stationary transports (with the obvious exceptions) assaulting is now a costly investment. But it’s still so important! Assaulting a unit on a objective is still the best way to remove them.  Assaults are now in the context they should be; a risky investment to gain an advantage. Pure assault armies can still work, but it's an up hill battle.
It was annoying how some armies like Eldar or Dark Eldar could just fly into my lines and if I killed the killed the transport or now something of my mine would die. It just always struck me that units like Tactical Squads or Fire Warriors couldn’t stop this despite sometimes costing more points. The attacking unit would just win combat, hide in cover and then move onto its next victim. In some cases you could wipe out entire units by doing 1 wound! Now small arms are worth their points and not something you just remember after the big guns have fired. 
              Buildings and fortifications are cool as all hell. I love buildings. I love having a squad in a bastion raining hate and discontent on an approaching foe! I love that that foe can assault my building and there is a close quarters battle. I love blowing buildings up. Having guys jump down and die; having guys jump down and live! If you aren’t playing with building rules you are missing out on an epic portion of the game.

The next thing I love is hull points and the vehicle damage table. Where to even begin! In 5th the more vehicles and the more vehicles killing power you had the better off you were. Need to contest an objective?   Throw a rhino at it! How many victories were snatched away by tank-shocking?  Have many times did people roll 5 glancing hits and get shaken results? Now vehicles are the way they should be. They are sturdy without being hard to kill. They can add a lot to a unit without stealing the spot light. They don’t become glorified cans whenever a single missile glances them. All around vehicles better.
            Probably my biggest disappointment in 6th edition is psychic powers; specifically the buffs in Divination and Biomancy.  I don’t get why I can’t deny them. Of all the powers they are most devastating and there is shit all you can do about them.  Let’s be honest, a 5 or 6 at 24 inchs or so is not that bad. The powers would go off more often than not. It’s just frustrating that all of these powers are good to the point of almost being no brainer to take. But at least the rule book powers are random! Some codices get crazy powers for pittance! 
 I think the best example of buffs is fortune. Re-rolling all saves, everything. You just need to roll under 10! I hate this power. It wasn’t so bad in 5th. A Librarian could have a roll off with the Farseer to deny it and at 24 inchs that roll could roll was important! But now players just get it all the time. I know these powers are old, but that’s hardly an excuse when they have a FAQs and Erratas to change rules literally at a whim.  Maybe it's just me and my unfathomable hate for Eldar but buffs in general, are pretty lame. 

Overall I think 6th is a fantastic change. A lot of life got breathed into the game things changed for the better. I know a lot of people were upset with some of the changes. More than one player has said they hated flyers. But as 6th edition codices come out the edition matures i think we are going to see a rich and colourful edition of Warhammer 40,000.