Author Topic: Dawn of Armageddon -- Dawn of War AAR (Season One Complete!)  (Read 1328 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2019, 05:14:46 PM »
****** Author's Fake Asked Questions :D ******


SO, FARSEER IS BEST WAIFU?!  ^-^

...what!? No, good grief. That wouldn't make a lick of sense in the setting. Though it does make some sense as a rumor, under the circumstances, and I'll be indirectly addressing it several chapters from now. (Though no plans to address the rumor directly until Season Two perhaps. Thus my choice to start the FAQ with this silly question for both practicality and amusement.  ::) )


IS THIS THE END OF SEASON ONE?

No, this is just the end of the setup for the main plot.


HALFWAY THROUGH SEASON ONE'S CHAPTERS?

Pretty close, but not by wordcount. I'm a tick under 19% there.


GOOD LORD, WE SHOULDN'T HAVE ASKED...!  :hide:

Well, you know, me being me.  >:D

Some of the chapters will be pure narrative (especially the interludes), others more tactically or narratively focused. There's a mix. As you might expect, due to the increase in chapter length I may not post a new one every day, depending on circumstances. But as previously noted, it's written and 'filmed'. I just need to find sample snapshots, and stitch them in.


DAWN OF APOCALYPSE NOW?!

Yep, going forward -- although I'll switch back to vanilla a little at first until I work out an accidental problem. I'll explain that later in a {gamenote}.


OMG IT'LL BE NICE TO FINALLY SEE WHAT THE HELL THE BATTLES ARE EVEN DOING FROM A DISTANCE!

I realized later I could have been playing vanilla with the camera zoom mod activated, but yes the constricted focus made for some difficulty in getting snapshots.

Then again, being so zoomed in does have the advantage of being able to see the models a lot better; and doesn't chug the processor as much. So, pros and cons. UltApoc still allows me to zoom in very far, but for gameplay purposes that isn't as useful. The snapshotting challenges remain, unfortunately, at any zoom, just differently.  :buck2:


WILL YOU BE GETTING BACK TO SNEAKING IN CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY (SAID NO ONE EVER)?!

Sure!  8)


WILL YOUR ORIGINAL DON'T STEAL GARY STU CHARACTER EVER STOP BEING SO MUCH OF A SELF-INSERT WISH FULFILLMENT FANTASY?!

No? Yes and no. He's definitely a Gary Stu (or Marty Stu) in practically every regard, but he isn't an original character. He's a fictional character built by other people from a historical character, sort of. And then I turned him into a non-distaff Mary Sue.  :crazy2: I'll be revealing what's up with him before the end of Season One.


WELL, PFFT, OBVIOUSLY HE'S --

No, he isn't Aslan.  ::)


....WELL, OKAY, OBVIOUSLY HE'S THAT GUY FROM YOUR FANTASY NOVELS (WHO APPARENTLY ALSO ISN'T ASLAN), AH-HAAAAAAH!

Also no. Though their behavior does have some similarities and not by accident.


FINE, WHATEVER, SINCE YOU'RE PLAYING DAWN OF WAR, WILL YOU BE REFERENCING ITS OVERARCHING STORYLINE IN ANY WAY?

Two characters will be ported over as guest stars in Season One! ...sort of. One directly, the other indirectly.


WILL YOU BE MARY SUE-ING YOUR WAY INTO SOME CANONICAL 40K STORY ALSO, ASIDE FROM WHETHER GAMES WORKSHOP CONSIDERS THE DOW GAMES CANONICAL NOW AND/OR TO WHAT EXTENT?!

Yes.  :D

With some alterations.


OKAY I'M RUNNING OUT OF FAKE QUESTIONS TO ASK MYSELF EVEN FOR HUMOR'S SAKE, AND ALSO I'M FIGHTING OFF A HEADCOLD, SO CEASE THE VOICES IN MY HEAD ALREADY!

Oh, do you hear the voices, too?  :wow: :hide:

Season One kicks into full gear next.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 05:16:25 PM by JasonPratt »
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.


Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2019, 05:34:49 PM »
INTERLUDE TWO -- DETONATION
---------------------------

“As I foresaw, some of your years ago: the end of the age approaches!”

Eria stood before a mixed congregation of high ranking commanders, deep in the core of our Craftworld. Arisen were absent, as were Orks, but they did not interact well in larger society. I would pass along information and any recommendations back and forth with spirits from the Arisen, and together with Eria I would later talk with the D’oru’kan leaders more simply.

“Against us, and fighting among themselves, we may consider the following groups:

“First, and worst, Chaos strives to be undivided. Very soon they shall launch a combined assault on the Cadian gate, which I foresee they shall win, to my sorrow. So doing they shall create, in effect, a smaller Eye of Terror, and so actual armies of Chaos demons will start erupting into our reality, even without former Astartes traitors to enable them.

“More or less allied with them, under a stronger impellment from Slaanesh, our fallen brothers and sisters, popularly known as the evil fey,” she still refused to call them ‘Dark Eldar’, “shall strengthen their depredations.

“These together, I must emphasize, threaten all the universe with dissolution! -- not our galaxy only!

“Second, standing against them, more or less united, we find the forces of the Emperor of Humanity. Regardless!” she forestalled some dispute from our human commanders. “Whatever our criticisms, he has earned that proper descriptive title!”

“I may be your Emperor, in a way,” I added, “but not of humanity. They will see me as a false Emperor, and so, being in competition, will fight against us when they find us.”

“Aside from the Legionary Chapters, and from the uncountable Astra Militarum, we can expect no help from the Sisters of Battle, and only flame if we dare approach. In case any wonder,” Eria sighed, “this is why we will not be able to spare the Gate of Cadia from falling to Chaos. I have scried and searched until my spiritual eyes have bled! But it is no use, there is no option for us to follow. If we tried to help, we would only make things worse. Fewer of our theoretical allies would survive, and our task would be more difficult, not even counting the increase in tragedies to follow from having fewer Imperial defenders remaining to fight against the Chaos eruption.

“As it stands, the new increase in Chaos will surely inspire the Empire to create whole armies of Daemonhunters. This will be helpful, but not to us,” she wryly observed. “No,” she then corrected herself, “I must not fall into their error. They will be helpful, and so to us as well. Directly or indirectly, we all are trying to gain the same peace.”

“Excuse me, lady, for saying so,” a Force Commander interjected, “but they wish to be free of Chaos. Not to be at peace. I know from long experience... very long experience...” he grimaced, to grim chuckles around him, “they want only war; except without the chaos formed from war. Their peace would only be the grave of everyone but themselves. And then they would strike at each other, knowing and caring only for war.”

“I do not believe they all want that,” I said. “But I do think their Emperor does, and of course your own experience cannot be denied,” I bowed.

“The peace that is only of the grave,” Eria continued, “the most ancient enemy, aside from Chaos in its way: the Necrons. They are arising, and we are too small to stop them all, although we hope to gather them all together eventually under the colors of the Arisen. Until then, they will fight directly and indirectly against the invasion of Chaos, but also against all life in seeking to do that.

“The Orks would have long ago over-run this galaxy, had they not been fighting against each other, keeping each other down. Aside from our reclaimed D’oru’kan, they are certainly agents of Chaos, although they chaotically fight against other such agents, as against themselves. I expect that they shall grow stronger with the rising of more Chaos.

“And then, from the side of all this: the galaxy eaters have recently arrived! The Tyranid swarms have crossed the void and are filtering into our galaxy. In their own way,” she mused, “they are our antithesis: they oppose chaos by collecting all into a togetherness, a cooperation, corrupted though it is. They do not fight one another, and their invasion will last for eons! -- as we would need to eradicate them from other whole galaxies elsewhere in the universe, which they have already gathered under their shadow! Unless we conceive of some way to keep them out of our galaxy, there can be no victory over them even by Eldari lifetimes. Victory we shall find,” she clarified, “but the struggle goes beyond what even I can see.

“Still, while they generate an increase in Chaos at the bleeding edges of their advance, so to speak, their infection doesn’t actually result in ever-growing Chaos. Their problem is that their togetherness isn’t fairly joined among persons -- as your leader would put it. But they do eliminate a spiritual competition; by eliminating the persons as far as they can, while making use of persons, even strongly spiritual ones, in their vanguard: late-generation Genestealers.

“Aside from Chaos, these are the ultimate enemy. We shall try to manipulate un-Arisen Necrons into fighting them as much as possible, since they are effectively diametric foes.

“Meanwhile, we can expect at least partial support, and not likely any warring opposition, from the various Tau and Eldar groups: those who have not joined us yet, do not see us as a threat to themselves. Nor are we!

“Twelve basic groups, then,” she concluded. “From which we ourselves have been drawn by the Justice which keeps us all in existence. I will leave philosophical disputes and debates about details on that, to sages among us,” she wryly smiled.

“Therefore! -- how shall we begin, what humans call Armageddon?”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2019, 07:22:41 PM »
Well, I needed to stay up long enough to take more medicine, and to work on something non-important (so no mp games), therefore...! :D

CHAPTER ELEVEN -- UNVEILING
---------------------------
{Gamenote: 6-player fan-made map “Ghost City II”, originally created for the Firestorm Over Kronus mod (which UltApoc largely incorporates, I think.) Played on Easy, which is “Standard” for UltApoc -- “Standard” being “Hard”! I tried many, many times to beat this setup on “Standard” and gave it up eventually.)}

“What a disaster,” I murmured in pity and horror, as Eria and I looked over the ruins of the Cadian system.

“Not quite a second Eye of Chaos yet. But opening. An artificial eye, so to speak.” The Farseer was scanning the system trying to find the most efficient way through the future to a desired result.

“We should now be able to strike at the enemy’s fringes,” I noted, “without the Imperium complaining lethally back in our direction. We can render aid, set Chaos back, and reveal ourselves to the people as an alternative hope. A better hope -- we hope!”

“How you humans thought creating a massive warp gate this near to the Eye of Terror was a good thing...” Eria muttered.

“I’m sure the thinking was that they could quickly reinforce the sector against incursions from the Eye.”

“Now we must shut the Gate -- poke out the new and growing Eye, before it fully opens and focuses its stare.”

“Into growing more such eyes across the face of the galaxy,” I agreed. “Stereotypical of Chaos! Well, we mustn’t fall into the trap of trying to compete with others in shutting the Gate. If the Imperium has a good idea...”

“I do,” she said, quietly. “But I don’t like it.”

After she explained her plan, all I could do was nod. It sounded horrific to me, too. But probable.

“If we need to get their attention first, let’s start where we can save some populations from slavery raids,” I suggested. “Kasr Sonnen hasn’t fallen yet, and Kasr Holn is standing strong for now; but the Empire has been forced away from Kasr Partox. I don’t blame them: they had to consolidate defenses with relatively limited resources, until reinforcements can be gathered.

“But now we can help the people left behind!”

Eria agreed, and Foresaw a new raid fomenting in one of the ruined cities of the Fortress World. We could land forward bases in time, in a portion already rendered devoid of people, and so fight our way to the convocation to stop it, distracting them from the flank of their intentions into turning our direction instead.

To this ghost city I chose to dispatch the Volunteer Legion; the Vol’u Tau; and between them a group of Arisen.



I would oversee the Tau this time. They had surprisingly brittle morale, and not many ways to inspire themselves, so against concentrated Chaos forces they suffered disproportionately. But we needed to reveal to everyone involved that we were bringing combined and cooperative forces to fight the infection. At least I had convinced this new Tau branch force to accept and innovate the use of non-mobile turrets!

{Gamenote: canonically the Tau don’t build turrets or walls, preferring aggressive skill. I tried playing this setup without Tau turrets and realized the Tau were dumb canonically. {wry g}}

The key to my plan would be to invest heavily in the Tau’s Kroot allies instead of in Tau warriors themselves. I usually preferred to swarm with Stealthsuits early after some upgrades, on my general theory that throwing a lot of cheap plasma at a problem makes it go away very cost-effectively! -- and the Stealthsuits start invisible without extra cost. Also, the Tau had recently developed some upgraded Stealthsuits which could be brought out fairly early, and the Tau Commander could be upgraded to being a shielded stealthsuit himself (with stealth detection, otherwise absent).

The drawback to this method, is that Kroot morale is no inherently better than any other Tau, and against an enemy that likes to get in your face and eat morale, they’re just as brittle as any other Tau. Moreover, when the Kroot take losses I only need to logistically assign more Kroot; but when the Tau (including the Stealthsuits) take losses I have to pay for teching up the replacements with shields and plasma, too.

The Kroot have just as brittle morale, but take fewer losses before running for safety, and their losses cost fewer resources to recover.

{Gamenote: I was testing a global sub-modifier for this setup, where any ‘broken’ squad on any team immediately retreats to the nearest captured point.}

Still, we’d start this operation with a couple of Stealthsuits already on the ground near the first base, along with a builder. So, for my meticulous plan...!

Step 1: rush the first stealth units and builder halfway to the enemy, but short of the soon-contested relic point, and let them start capping resource gathering points. Go ahead and reinforce the builder, but not the suits (saving those resources and energy for buffing up faster elsewhere.) The two stealth units each take a resource point with orders to go get and guard the nearby critical point when they’re done.

 


{Gamenote: you can see on the minimap how relatively far forward we pushed with initial resource capture troops. Also, this chapter will be a lot more ‘tactical’ than some others, largely because I posted it some months ago as a tease for working on this project: I didn’t want to spoil the ‘narrative’ parts of the story yet.}

Step 2: immediately bring out a second builder and a third stealth squad. Reinforce the second builder (to save time building faster) but not the stealth suit as before. The second builder starts working on three plasma generators for early energy income; the third scout will zig-zag capture all other resource points up to the forward limit and then join the stealth group to discourage opportunity attempts against the critical point: we might need that point later for construction of larger units!

Step 3: as the first scouts finish their pair of resource captures, their nearby Earth Caste builder (team 9 in my nomenclature) caps the points and between them builds a Kroot Shaping Center. Using this method, all Listening Posts (capping the resource gathering pits) can be upgraded immediately, or almost immediately, to fortified positions.
 


{Gamenote: if you look very carefully, and/or click the snapshot to zoom in, you can see the forward team starting to build the Shaping Center far in the distance. This particular map is nice for having almost no “fog” to obscure depth of view; a real problem on some other maps when playing UltApoc!}


Step 4: in our backfield, the 0-team builders cap the nearest point, possibly the second nearest as well depending on timing, and then once the Shaping Center has been finished put down a Path to Enlightenment (tier 1 tech upgrade building) near the base. After that they can build the remaining three possible plasma generators (a base can only support six at a time), around which time I should be able to afford tier-1 upgrades for resource and energy production.

 

{Gamenote: another nice depth-of-view shot. I’ve included the minimap in this snapshot to illustrate the next paragraph’s info.}

Meanwhile, the Volunteer Legion on our left wing has chosen to push forward far enough to capture and deny a relic to the enemy (the Chaos Marines directly opposite them). The Arisen between us are only expanding forward as far as I myself went.

Step 5: while backfield expansion is going on, start bringing out my Team 1 Kroot company: four squads each of Carnivores, three squads of Hounds (all with shaper leaders), plus an elite Shaper squad. They’re assigned to gather in a bombshell crater a little forward, for heavy cover. By now the critical location has been captured, and aside from discouraging opportunity pushes by any enemies the scouts are done for this operation.

 

{Gamenote: a shot of the forward base and forming-up point. No enemy contact on our side yet, but they will have already captured the relic a little farther ahead past that ruined block of buildings across the street. Over on the left, blue silhouettes show allied Vol Marines about to work on taking the next critical point forward. This will be challenged for a while! The scout team is annihilated and that big blob of Vols, pushed forward on the minimap, will withdraw just to be safe -- despite being nowhere near the lost scout fight!}

Step 6: having finished the Path in the backfield, I schedule feral leap training for the Kroot (their only upgrade for now); and I give orders for the Tau Ethereal commander to come out along with the elite Tau builder. The Ethereal will camp in the backfield giving bonuses to units (and choosing elite Tau shooters to be sent forward as an occasionally increasing guard unit near the relic eventually); the elite builder has plenty of armor and can defend himself in a pinch, plus he builds as fast as four upgraded Earth Caste teams! -- so he goes forward as Builder 8. Builder 9 comes back to cap the remaining resource points between our positions and then to join Builder 0 for creating further support structures the rest of the operation.

Step 7: build a second main base near the first one, in our deep backfield, and once that’s done add another six plasma generators when convenient. This is all we’ll need for the operation, as long as I keep up with refinement technology. By now the Arisen Scarabs have {also} tried to take the central critical point in the operational area, and {also} got rebuffed by Chaos forces. We’ll do something about that later. The Arisen in the middle of our front, will occasionally send a horde of scarabs to help out building up my side of the operation!


 

{Gamenote: this maxiumum zoom-out shows what the Arisen are doing -- no combat units at all really! The AI apparently decided it should just spam the most scarabs possible, help us on either side with building things (you might be able to see a swarm waiting with my builders for the final plasma generator to finish dropping in), and otherwise just donate power to us. On the minimap, the Vols Marines can be seen holding onto a forward position at the leftward relic point, though not with anything like their original force.}


Step 8: with the first arrival of chaos forces nearby, and half of my first Kroot company in the field, I decided to start reinforcing them early with extra troops in each unit in case of trouble. Each arriving squad received reinforcement permissions, too, although we didn’t have enough resources yet for everyone at once.

Step 9: once the First Kroot company has been fully reinforced, it’s time to send them forward to attack and hopefully remove the Dark Eldar fortified guns on the relic. Naturally this attempt aggravates the fey into retaliation...

 


...and so the Kroot lose nerve and retreat back to the safety of the guns on our nearby points; but some bodies (Kroot and fey) are left behind to feed on and get stronger. This harassment will go back and forth for a while until we capture the point and eliminate nearby support buildings. (Meanwhile our allies will have moved up equally far in the middle, but keep losing the middle point to the enemy’s combined forces.)

Step 10: since by now we’ll have convinced our foes that they should stop their predations and focus back in our direction (the fastest way to successfully spare as many victims as possible elsewhere in the city), I take a moment to buff up the Stealthsuits with extra units in their squads and plasma weapons as well as Tier 1 technical upgrades. This should be sufficient to protect our critical point unless Chaos drives down the middle in a combined thrust -- which with our distractions left and right shouldn’t happen. The Vol Marines have surged forward past their relic in the middle of the left flank, and taken the next resource point, which will soon give them a decisive logistic advantage over the Chaos Marines in front of them.

Step 11: The elite Builder 8 has arrived at the front, where he sets up a Vehicle Beacon and a few turrets near our first resource captures. The Kroot haven’t taken the relic yet, thanks to the Chaos team choosing to combine some forces in its defense, but they’re getting stronger and the new turrets will help create more Chaos casualties as they chase First Kroot Company back and forth from raids. Once the vehicle beacon is set up, we can start bringing in a few Skyrays for artillery support. These will become the core for 3rd Company (2nd hasn’t started yet). The first of the elite Tau shooters now pushe forward a little to take a rooftop position adding to harassment casualties near the enemy’s relic.

 


Step 12: I’ve saved up enough resources and energy to start working on major backfield upgrades, starting with a Kauyon Command Post. The new small turrets also start teching up on their armor, and basic refinement teching continues when available, and armor tech for the fortified posts.

Step 13: with the Kauyon Command Post up, I can invest in several new Kroot upgrades. Two elite Tau squads are now overwatching the enemy relic area, and Builder-8 can now start putting out the major Tau turrets.

 

{Gamenote: see the minimap? That blue blob upper left on the minimap, is the Vol Marines’ forward base. Practically untouched through all of this. The enemy is focusing most of its aggro on me.}

 

{Gamenote: a rare closeup of the Tau super-turret getting into the fight! -- there’s an adorable little Earth-caste saucer operating it, which I didn’t notice until now!}
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2019, 07:24:13 PM »
(Part 2 of 2)

Step 14: with the elite overwatch squads and now three Skyrays for arty support, as well as the new Kroot upgrades, we can finally make a concerted effort (later than I expected or wanted) to take the relic. The fey have held it so long that we can expect some problematic epic units eventually, but we haven’t seen any yet by the time we secure the area. Just to be safe (and to increase our basic resource gathering speed), I also order upgrades of all fortified listening posts to heavy plasma (mostly for the armor bonus as they can’t shoot fast enough to pose a real risk to enemy vehicles and epic units). We have yet to lose an inch of ground in the middle, despite constant Kroot panics; and the Volunteer Legion hasn’t budged off the relic they captured early in the operation -- nor off the pair of resource points beyond it!

Step 15: with the relic area now solidly under our control, it’s time to bring in 2nd Company! -- a Kroot Alpha Knarloc commander (slow but very punchy, riding something like an old dinosaur) and seven Krootox squads (each a pair of creatures like combat gorillas, which can be upgraded to three or four units per squad). These things have almost unbreakable morale, and are far tougher than 1st Company, so they’ll take over as lead ground assault for the second half of the operation. (I could bring in Greater Knarlocs, too, now -- whole squads of those dino-things -- but they cost epic resource points, which are limited to one thousand in this area, and I’d rather spend those on a pair of small Titans.)

 



Step 16: the new Knarloc Alpha commander benefits from hero training which I now bother to invest in; which in turn allows me to buy one command upgrade per level (sometimes) such as increased squad numbers (the units in each squad) and (from the Etherial) increased production speed. I also buy some more Kroot upgrade tech while parrying thrusts from combined Chaos factions. (See prior snapshot!) Builder-8 begins setting up advanced plasma turrets (fast shooting plasma and hard to destroy, effective against literally everything, and a long range) on a rooftop at the forward edge of our secured area.

 




Step 17: the backfield builder teams start work on a titan assembly dome, as I take advantage of new squad-cap logistics to bring all squads in 1st and 2nd company to larger numbers. We easily beat back a few sorties along the way.

Step 18: the Chaos team finally thinks they’ve got enough combined power to take out one of our forward groups, and goes after the apparently weaker group: the Vol Legion. (They don’t need the help yet. {g}) I’m now able to order the production of the first small titan; some titan tech upgrades afterward; and the second slightly larger titan. In order to proceed somewhat further, I also need to put out the Mont’ka Command post (and its upgrades), reserved for the Tau units proper although we don’t have many in the field. But at least the elite squads chosen by the Etherial will benefit from it! (As will the Titans perhaps.) 3rd Company adds more missile artillery ships to eventually support the titans.

Step 19: having bounced off the Space Marines, Chaos makes the mistake of thinking the Tau might be weaker, and launches a major assault on our position. This effectively starts the final protracted battle, as I send all companies into the defense and then forward to begin removing enemy logistic strength. This isn’t a cakewalk! The 1st Kroot company never loses any squads, but that’s only because they tend to run away sooner than be destroyed. Most of the original 2nd Company is destroyed in our first assaults, and I eventually pull the Alpha and his remaining Krootox squad back to safety while I rebuild his company.

Step 20: the first Titan arrives, and teams up with the missile artillery to start hitting hard; along with my new Ion Cannon built in the backfield which can hit anything in the operational area! (Including my own units so I try to keep it focused on enemy concentrations.)

 


 

{Gamenote: the ion cannon trail with a zoom-out focus of the distant target just hit!}

 



Step 21: our second and final Titan arrives to join 2nd Company, around the time the Chaos Demons are removed from the operational area. From this point it’s only a mopping up operation as the Chaos Marines can’t field enough to stop us and the Space Marines are overruning their traitor brethren.

Afterward... “I see,” said Eria archly, “that the Arisen never lost nor slew nor I think even built any combat units!”

“Nor did the Eldar, hm,” I teased. And got a kniving glare in return. Joking about Eldar protecting themselves from losses? -- not a good idea, even after all these years. She had lived whole eons suffering the loss of her people.

We kept the Arisen away from the surviving civilians for now as well, as Volunteer Marines and Militium coaxed them from hiding and, together with Tau and yes even the Eldar, gave them food and medical aid and shelter. We explained they didn’t have to accept it, since this might get them in trouble with the Emperor and his forces; but they often did anyway. We tried to be gentle with any suicidal attackers “for the Emperor”, and gave every such survivor of such attempts free permission to return to the Empire as soon as possible. Perhaps not surprisingly, few accepted that offer when faced with the welcome they expected! -- but some did.

And when they did return to the Empire, they brought news to them, of a new and kinder Emperor-apparent, who was bringing all the galaxy together, even the worst of enemies, even former Chaos soldiers, to defeat Chaos.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 08:17:44 AM by JasonPratt »
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2019, 05:54:08 PM »
CHAPTER TWELVE -- FRATRICIDE
----------------------------
{Gamenote: I accidentally clicked a button on UltApoc which tried to evenly spread all factions between two teams, which messed up my plans for multi-team and odd-team matches for a while until I realized my mistake -- thus explaining why this match goes back to vanilla!}

{6-player official map Streets of Vogen}

“Well, this is a fine gratitude,” I grumbled. “Not unexpected,” I added -- along with Eria, at which I smiled.

We hadn’t finished recovering the overrun civilians from the ‘ghost city’; Volunteer D’oru’kan and Guards, as our most numerous troops, were ringing our perimeters as we expanded out, protecting our rescue operations from the expected Chaos riposte.

Now the riposte was coming -- but so was a hostile force of Dark Angel Space Marines! With two brigades of Chaos World Eaters closing in on our wings, the Dark Angels had sent a small division in behind them, no doubt hoping to catch them between us and then rolling forward over our lighter guards.


 


This worked reasonably well for the Dark Angels: our Orks and Guards had time to bring themselves up to decent power for knockout blows against the Chaos minions who found themselves surrounded by foes on all sides.

 


{Gamenote: I rolled that Chaos base out of the game a couple of minutes later.}

However...

“Well met and well done, Dark Angels of the Emperor!” called out a sergeant of our Guards as together they finished off the World Eater incursion on our left wing. “Now the people can be secured here, and any who wish to join you will be allowed to -- “

A rocket-powered explosive round from a Space Marine bolter blew off his head. “Traitor Guardsmen! Beware their lies!” called out a Marine sergeant.

This reply was met with a lamentable but understandable number of grenade launchers from the Volunteer Guards.

 



The surviving Dark Angels withdrew in much confusion over why the guardsmen didn’t simply cringe and run away at the first command casualty.

Anticipating problems at the front line, Eria had sent Eldar speaker technology forward; and so, near a Force Commander for one brigade I called out: “Peace, my fellow humans! We mean you no harm! Together we have driven Chaos from this side of the city, but -- “

“Locate that transmission and ignore his words,” ordered the Commander.

“-- but we will be glad for you to help the people here, and I will withdraw so that you can reach them, as you wish.”

“Any civilians must be executed at once,” the Force Commander added, “on suspicion of being spies or incurably infected with the chaos of these traitors.”

“We do not serve Chaos, Commander. And if you insist on harming the civilians, then we shall have to bring them with us for their protection. Moreover -- “

“Chaos fights among itself, as always,” he declared. “This shall be our victory!... what? Orks helping the traitor guards? More evidence of their foul Chaos,” he decided. “Your actions belie your words, as expected!” That was to me.

I sighed, but didn’t transmit the sigh. “Moreover,” I started again, “if you insist on trying to push through us to kill the civilians, we shall have to protect them by destroying you. I would rather you survive to help the fight against the Chaos invasion here.”

“Forward! Let there be no survivors!” agreed the Commander of the other brigade.

There weren’t. Among them.

 


“...your Guardsmen acquitted themselves marvelously, even against the armored Marines.” Eria was trying to help me feel better about this debacle. “They kept two brigades of Dark Angels distracted and tied down until your D’oru’kan assault force could...” I shook my head and couldn’t bring myself to look at her.

“You knew this would happen,” she reminded me, more sternly. “It’s why we didn’t try to help protect the system sooner, while the Imperial presence was still overwhelmingly strong.”

“I knew, yes, eventually this would happen. I just didn’t want it to. Every day or hour we avoided outright fighting with the Empire, was another hour or day that we were fighting off the chaos together. Now we will have to keep the Empire from also coming in to kill the civilians. And there’s only one way to do that.”

“Then let us finish gathering civilians from Kasr Partox, before your... before the Empire,” she corrected herself, “decides to virus bomb this planet back to sterile molten lava.”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2019, 06:26:27 PM »
CHAPTER THIRTEEN -- GHOST HUNTERS
---------------------------------

{2-player official map Faceoff, with a Firestorm upgrade, played in UltApoc.}

“I know you’re going to say,” I said, “that chaos has been laughing at us for eons already.”

“That doesn’t make it less painful now, I know,” Eria answered. She couldn’t comfort me and didn’t try.

“So, the Empire thinks they should try Demonhunters against us -- as if we were spawned from Chaos itself!” I slammed a fist on a table. She eyed that warily for a moment, and I got myself under control. “A clever propaganda move on their part. Well, we shouldn’t disappoint their expectations I suppose, although we don’t have any demons to offer them.

“Let them eat Necrons.”

“I think we can pre-position some scarabs and a dormant monolith close to their own forward base,” Eria noticed.

“Necrons don’t rush anyone’s base very quickly. Though we can harass them with attack scarabs... But I’m not sure why I would bother?”

“If they had any sense, they’d be the ones rushing you!” she snorted.

“They have enough sense to try to get strong first, but yes, they should be shooting my builder scarabs before I can set up a summoning core.”

 


“Perhaps they don’t know you’re here?”

“They mustn’t be Lodge Investigatio then! Perhaps Lodge Purificatio? I’m not very familiar with their organizations. There, three Necron Warrior squads should be enough. Upgraded of course...”

The Demonhunters had not been idle; they had been creating squads and sending them out to secure the whole operational area nearby. No doubt they intended this to be a first large and overwhelming step! But, there wouldn’t be a second. For them.

A set of their builders, floating on quite clever and mobile anti-gravity bells, conferred with each other near their latest creation about what to do next -- when the walking skeletons arrived and started shooting that creation.


 


As they bravely started repairs, I directed fire onto them to warn them off. Their armor was reasonably good and they wouldn’t be harmed at first, if they would just retreat.

They staunchly continued repairs, assuming the small company of arisen machines would be put down soon by the numerous Demonhunter squads now returning to defend their base.

 



“BEGONE AND LIVE!” I thundered through speakers in the frames of the warriors. “If you insist on seeking to kill the people you should be trying to save -- THEN THE DEAD SHALL ARISE TO JUDGE YOU!”

The Demonhunters didn’t last long under concentrated barrages, breaking quickly under fire as I shifted around between squads. They tried, they truly did.

But they had only learned how to hunt Demons. Not ghosts in machines.

 


“This is so pointless!” I grimaced at the bitter taste of their defeat. With no more troops remaining on the ground, some fool of a tactician insisted on sending down new squads to stop the Arisen from pulling apart their base at a molecular level. Gaussian rifles were like tiny, directed black holes the size of a few electrons, suspended in eldritch techno-energy. The idiot in charge of dooming his troops kept sending them down into that mess until the portal buildings fell. The last few squads of Stormtroopers actually turned their own lasguns on the portal building itself to stop their commander from sending down more!


 


{Gamenote: this was, as shown, a thing that happened! Why, I’m unsure. I confirmed I didn’t have a loose piece of a unit over there...}

Then they turned their weapons upon the skinless monsters that had arisen. But we didn’t shoot back.

“I appreciate you trying to spare your comrades from the fate you commander insisted on sending them into,” I tried to reasonably complement them through the internal speakers on the chasses. “I don’t want to hurt you; neither do the Arisen, but they don’t quite think in sentimental fashions. The question is... sigh,” I sighed, knowing they were ignoring me or just couldn’t hear over their own shooting and panic.

A Guards sergeant nearby offered a hand, and I gave him the mic. “CEASE FIRING YOU SONS OF MOTHERLESS GOATS!” He added more invective and lambasted them for ignorantly shooting at weapons we had secured for protecting the civilians nearby, as though they were nothing but mindless Orks, “no offense,” he added to a passing Nob who had stopped to admire the sergeant’s efforts.

“None taken,” grumbled the Nob, himself a sergeant for some Shootas. “Many of us are. I compare my squad to useless wormy humies, too.”

“We lost nine Arisen,” I meanwhile reported to Eria, “three or four of those were builder scarabs -- for seventy-nine Demonhunters. Seventy-nine men, and some women, who shouldn’t have had to die.”

“They’ll keep trying. You know that,” she said. “Their leaders won’t quit; they didn’t get to be leaders, in the grim darkness of this galaxy, by quitting.”

“Well, I might have made some converts and saved a few,” the Guardsman sergeant said. “Any’s better than none. I’ll go talk to them, see what can be done.”

“...any spared are better than none,” I reminded myself.

And seriously thought, for the first time, of overthrowing the Empire.
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2019, 07:49:04 PM »
CHAPTER FOURTEEN -- GOOD PRACTICE
---------------------------------
[Next map, 2-player classic map “Fallen City” with FoK upgrade.]

“Reports coming in!” a Guardsman signals officer called out. “Some weird bony creatures seen skittering around the outskirts of our perimeter.”

“Sounds like Chaos Demons. Too bad we don’t have any Demonhunters yet,” I grunted. Nor would we, before we finished evacuating Kasr Partox. “I’ll dispatch the Vol’u from a forward base nearby, see what’s going on. They need more practice facing Chaos, but unless there’s a major incursion perhaps they can just deal with the matter with Stealthsuits. They can’t rely on the Kroot all the time; that wouldn’t be fair to their own allies!”

The Tau deployed their mobile forward base and the Stealthsuits started capturing nearby points while the Earth Caste builders set up plasma generators for power, eventually splitting up to cap the points with listening posts and to create the Tau Command Post while the scouts looked around further to find the closest critical points on our side of the bridges.

 


“Creepy place,” I muttered. “All civilians gone?”

The comms officer affirmed, “As far as we know.”

The squad near the bridge was still working on raising control of the local critical point, when a mob of skittering things darted from the gloom on the other side and crossed the bridge. The scouts relayed video, but stayed silent, avoiding detection in their cloak.

 


“Seriously ugly, even by Chaos standards. But oddly more... organized than I was expecting.” More mobs of the same things were running by now across the bridge! -- most heeled to their right once across and headed for the middle critical point which our scouts had already finished with, but the initial mob tried scratching without much success at the bridge’s listening post, which then upgraded to a fully fortified dual plasma cannon.


 



“Hold fire,” I directed. “They clearly can’t hurt our post armor, and our scouts will be mobbed if we don’t hit them hard with plasma. Wait till we finish upgrading and reinforcing.”

That didn’t take much longer; the first mob skittered away -- still on our side of the bridge -- under precision fire from the newly fortified point, allowing both scout teams to consolidate together with a third for ambushing the other creatures. Despite their very superior numbers, they couldn’t seem to understand where the shots were coming from, so didn’t get close enough to uncover the scouts -- but didn’t run away either.

{Gamenote: unfortunately my footage of this was never very good, so no snapshots.}

“Good morale,” I murmured. “They lost the mobs, but the mobs did stay to fight. That could have gone a lot worse. Not quite as aggressive as I was expecting for Chaos monsters...”

“BEWARE!” Eria boomed, her voice unusually deep as she glided into our tactical center. “THE SHADOW UPON THE WARP HAS COME FORTH!”

We had all jumped a little at her entrance, even me, but we recovered quickly. “That sounds portentous...?” I gently prodded. “The Tau are trying a one on one fight against some peculiar Chaos demons. More peculiar than usual I mean.”

“Show me.” We back-played the video, as some mobile turret suits started deploying to protect our approaches. I wasn’t quite ready to send in a full company of stealthsuits yet, but the Etherial leader was on his way...

“Genestealers.” Eria managed to twist the word gracefully in contempt.

“That sounds familiar... oh!” I slapped my forehead. “The Tyranids are here?! Already!? Scanning officer, why didn’t we detect anything approaching from space?!”

“No,” said Eria. “These are the brood of a genestealer cultist. Some third or fourth generation genestealer must have infiltrated this area of the Kasr some time ago, avoiding detection until now. With the advent of the Chaos invasion, he... or she but for various reasons they are usually male... he must have thought his brood should start staking a claim to the area.”

“Why?” I wondered. “They couldn’t fight off a dedicated Chaos attempt to remove them. Could they? Or would they?”

“Maybe, maybe not,” she mused, yes and no. “Our prevalent theory is that Tyranids are not inherently chaotic, although they can organize warp power very well, moreso than Orks naturally process it. However, as advance infestations of genestealers create hybrids with sentient species, they themselves acquire more directive sentience -- stronger spirits,” she explained, “but also capable of making choices. We think the hybrid patriarchs have been choosing to flirt with, or outright court, Chaos. Which,” she added, “is why Imperials aren’t wrong to regard them as Chaos breeds. Most of what the Imperials run across, are found in what you call space hulks: twisted nightmare conglomerations of ships that went adrift in the warp, some larger than planets now! The Tyranids thrive there, but aren’t creations of the warp like Chaos demons. I agree with the theorists who think early arrivals in this galaxy, ages ago, started converting to Chaos, and so -- “

 



I held up a hand. “Sorry,” I said. “Seeing off a first serious sally over the bridge. We’re moving toward the relic point on our side of the river, too. Please continue?”

 



“ -- so, the patriarchs have been hiding broods in the warp, gaining access, and consorting with the warp powers. The Tyranid hive fleets started warping as they entered our galaxy, though not very far or accurately. Before then, they simply spent millions of your years in stasis between galaxies and worlds. Their leaders here have given them power beyond what...” She stopped as a much larger assault hove into view.


 



This one caused many more casualties, but I had already directed the deployment of Crisis Suits; and even basic ones tended to be very punchy! -- though also clumsy. Better Crisis fighters were on the way, as were Skyray artillery. We recovered from the pyrrhic wave with decent speed; and the Vol’u created battlegroups securing our side of both bridges.

 



“The Tyranids,” she started again as the crises of multiple assault waves safely passed, “have become more powerful thanks to their scout leaders treating Chaos as a... capability, for want of a better word, to be absorbed into hive knowledge. They might however end up rejecting Chaos, or becoming highly resistant to its influences. They seem more capable of directing it than the slaves of Chaos in this galaxy. Which, logically, would be the end of the threat of universal Chaotic dissolution -- if the Tyranids ever fully assimilated all life in this galaxy, or all sentient life at least, to themselves. It is interesting,” she pondered, as I left behind only a punchy token force at the relic and started our push across the northern bridge near our base, “that no other galaxies, so far as we can detect them, show signs of major chaos destabilization. Nothing like the Eye of Terror; not even close.”

 



“Although, we’re seeing light from many years in the past, of course,” I countered over my shoulder. “Even millions or billions of years. If we could see them directly, there might be more eruptions visible by now.”

“We have thought of that,” she answered, a little tartly. “But our ability to sense warp fluctuations, in the warp itself, is finely tuned; and the warp negates time and space effects. We are certain that by now we would have detected ripples from outside this galaxy, if other such problems existed.”

“That seems unlikely beyond all imagination. Perhaps it is divine intervention,” I suggested, while wondering whether we needed the ion cannon to finish off the enemy’s final areas. I decided to try testing Tau satellite drone prototypes instead. The companies raised by the Vol’u looked fully able to repel and wipe off anything remaining on the ground ahead of them.

 



“...perhaps,” she allowed. She had always been uneasy about my religious beliefs; when expressed as philosophy they must not have seemed as threatening as what she, and her people, had been accustomed to dealing with so far. “Our leading theory, practically unanimous aside from some abstentions, is that this has been the only galaxy where sentient life has... been born.” She wouldn’t say we had been created; not in a sense beyond the way the Eldar and the Orks had been created by fellow creatures.

“Also grossly unlikely, if rationality is only a production of complex non-rational behaviors. But then,” I somewhat teased her, “the illusion of rational behavior would only be an illusion of rationality. And you,” I reminded her, from many earlier discussions, “are not a mere illusion of rationality.”

“...the point,” she continued on after a moment, “is that the Tyranids might well have been non-sentient before arriving in this galaxy. And they remain mostly non-sentient, being as you say only an illusion of rationality. Except for some true directors -- however those came to be. We expect them to take control of the interstellar hive swarms in any event. And that,” she stated with what sounded like a conclusion to any further discussion on this topic, “would be why the genestealer leader here has emerged now.

“He won’t care that you are blasting his colony to constituent atoms. He was using their conglomeration to send a message to any nearest arm of a hive swarm: come and feed!”

“Relatedly,” I said, “the Tau Empire became famous for being the first of our local races in this galaxy to stop and destroy a splinter of a hive fleet dead in space. I just learned that, from chatter among the Vol’u down there, reminding each other of their past successes. They do fairly well on the ground, too! -- despite some panicking by the scouts along the way.”

“I doubt that we have seen the only patriarch’s brood in this system,” Eria sighed.

“And we shall have to screen everyone rescued so far, for genestealer infection...”

“Excuse me, sir, Tau satellite weapon ready!” a tech officer reported.

We tried moving it into position to test on the Tyranid base, but it didn’t arrive in time.

 


“Good practice, though!” I congratulated the Vol’u -- and then I made some preliminary notes about an exit strategy later...

***

“I’m here to take your names and register you for resettlement and restoration with any surviving family. Are your quarters functional? -- under the circumstances,” he added. “These are meant to be temporary, and although we’re always still growing this Craftworld we’re running a little short of room.”

“Oh, I understand, we’re very grateful. My name is Marid,” she said, “and these are my children -- oh, will you be our case worker now?”

“Yes, and for some other families. I’ll help you get settled into shipboard routine, find you a place to settle, provide healthcare, some testingMMMPH!”

After a minute of deep kissing, she released him and said, “How sweet! I’m sure you’ll take very good care of us now. And I’ll be so grateful!

“Now, how can I call you, you alone, when I have needs?”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2019, 08:18:05 AM »
(That, by the way, was not a massive gaping plot hole.  ^-^ But it won't be explained this Season.)
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2019, 11:53:58 AM »
CHAPTER FIFTEEN -- STRUGGLE OF REDEMPTION
-----------------------------------------

[Next: 2-player match, classical map “Pavonis” with UltApoc set to “Normal”, thus “Hard” by vanilla standards.]


 


The comms officer showed me footage of the Emperor’s Children parading some Noise Marines around our perimeter, broadcasting a challenge to our orange-and-white Legion. “We’ve scrubbed the audio carefully, nothing malicious coming through,” he assured me.

“Other than themselves. Obviously a trap, playing to our ego. I should feed them Necrons, too!” I chuckled a moment, then... “Hm, no, they would have a propaganda victory if we don’t respond with the Volunteer Legion. Normally that wouldn’t matter, but we’re trying to convince as many civilians as possible to evacuate with us. So... let’s see, we can still put the Arisen in between on defense, so that Chaos will have to think two or three times if they want to succeed. Then while they’re distracted wondering if that’s our answer, we’ll start infiltrating the Vol Legion from another direction, and try to force an escalation more or less on par instead of attacking into their defenses.”

“Such as they are,” snorted Force Commander Pauel nearby. “Chaos lives to attack. Believe me. Still, better to use their momentum to throw them over, I agree.”

 


“Too bad the Legion Generals decided not to ‘waste’ plasma guns on these scouts.” Even now I couldn’t believe it; but I didn’t micromanage the force organizations. “If they had been defeated by troops that weren’t even Marines...!” We shared a laugh at the fury and embarrassment that would have wrought!

“You’ll be throwing plenty of plasma at this problem, soon enough,” promised Pauel.

That turned out to be partly untrue. The initial Tactical Marines, following in after the first scouts, got doled out plasma weaponry at a stingy rate.

“Our only chance at success,” I reminded everyone involved, “is to strike fast enough that the enemy can’t build up overwhelming numbers here from their rear reserve. AND EACH MARINE SQUAD GETS ONLY ONE PLASMA!”

“At first,” someone dared reply, to which I corrected, “No, at first they get NONE!”

“We’re moving along fine. The flamers on the Assault Marines are doing the job. You can even give them plasma instead, later, if you like,” Pauel smirked.

 


I had to agree: “I’m honestly considering skipping Tactical Marines and their ranged weapons at all in future fights, and just wait for Devastators as ranged. Or maybe vehicles....”

 


“While we can’t swarm them with plasma scouts -- “ “-- anymore -- “ I groused, and Pauel continued, “-- at this rate I can guarantee a victory almost as embarrassing: we won’t bother sending in any commanders.”

 


His prediction turned out to be accurate! -- and instead we spent the requisition and energy on teching up to strong ranged and melee troops, including a sergeant squad.

Our rush took longer than anticipated, only because the Chaos commander wisely sent builders away from his base to recreate a couple of bases elsewhere, sacrificing his first one.

By the end, we even had a couple of Terminator Squads on the field. But no commanders, only the usual sergeants.

 


“That could have gone very badly,” I observed, “but you pushed ahead and got it done, Commander. I commend you!”

He nodded once, in satisfaction. “This is a struggle for, and against, redemption. Out there on the field, we -- many of us -- are answering a question for ourselves: did we do the right thing, renouncing Chaos?”

“That ought to be obvious.”

“To you, of course, it is; and logically I agree. But you must understand, the overwhelming drive for Chaos -- for us, when we accepted Chaos -- was the power to win, to win at any and every cost. To win, and to survive even if we lost.

“We can’t help but think about that,” he quietly mused. “We thought about that, or dwelt on those feelings rather, for far too long -- too long to simply ignore the question now. Reason is superior in many ways to an asteroid strike; but reason alone will simply die by the asteroid strike. That is the temptation: to be the asteroid. And smash down reason. All reason.”

“...and how do you answer the struggle for that question?” I asked, with pointed wariness.

He smiled. “Some of us died. Died again, some of us. But we defeated a clearly much stronger foe, by using our reason.

“And by finding good allies to trust, we will complete the defeat of this foe!

“So: now that we’ve gotten their attention, I’ll go out personally and oversee building up defenses to brush aside the forthcoming enraged attempt at riposte,” Pauel declared.

“And meanwhile,” I grinned, “on their other flank...

“...combat gretchens!”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2019, 12:42:00 PM »
CHAPTER SIXTEEN -- COMBAT GRETCHENS
-----------------------------------

{2-player map: Under Siege, one of the original DoW campaign maps, adjusted for skirmish and multi-play. Normally the human skirmisher would have to start in the city, as the Space Marines did in the campaign; but I set the positions to random so I could get a start outside the city.}

 


“Combat gretchens.” Eria stated this with an attempt at detached gravity, but her eyes looked a little like a cat’s when she has gotten stuck between a glass door and its storm screen and is trying to figure out how she got into this ridiculous situation and, more importantly, how to get out. (I had more than a little experience with cats, over the years.)

“I’m guessing you never foresaw combat gretchens.” I couldn’t stop grinning about this.

“.... ........do they have plasma?”

Ouch. “Uh, no, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. But they have adorable little tanks!”

“They will be slaughtered!” she insisted.

“Sort of,” I allowed. “Although they respawn, or should I say respore, very quickly, keeping a developing consciousness. Their sentience is quite remarkable. And, more importantly: they want to fight, and do their part!”

“But they could not possibly succeed! Not against the Emperor’s Children!”

“Normally, no, but this is meant as an insulting spoiler attack from their other flank. They don’t have to destroy the Chaos brigade; they only have to destroy the Children’s expansion toward the wooded park -- the D’oru’kan have infiltrated a small forward base into the area. The Chaos Marines clearly don’t expect a strike, especially from Orks, in that direction yet.

 


 


“So, each combat gretchen squad will first focus on taking a requisition point, including the relic point. The regular gretchens will focus on capping the points, setting up war banners... I mean ‘waaagh’ banners,” I smiled, “all of which are manned by gretchens, of course...”

“Of course,” she murmured in something like shock.

“...a nice pile of guns -- the listening posts and most other Ork structures have gretchen gunners on them. Quite quickly we’ll be in position to give four of the seven combat gretchen squads small anti-armor and anti-personnel cannons; I doubt we’ll even need the grot tanks at this rate! Those four squads will be the shooters, and the other three will be the melee fighters, which we’ll swarm more heavily.

“Now it’s time to move up before the Children really understand what threat they’re under.

 


“Annnnnnd all of a sudden, we’z in der base, eatin’ der lunch!” I growled in the Orkan accent.

 



“I’m.... I’m watching gretchens murdering a Chaos Lord...” Eria’s whole world-view seemed to be tipping over.

 


“Sure, it’s taking them some time to do so. But we’re teching up at the pile-a-gunz, and increasing their logistic capability to bring in more grots. And I gave them a firm pep talk before the mission: they can panic, but they are NOT allowed to flee back to the nearest fortified point! This is their chance to do something important without their larger, more developed brothers -- who are counting on the gretchens to get it done! Oh, did he run away? Smart move. He should keep going.”

“....and now Chaos Marines are fleeing in terror for their lives... from gretchens...”

 



“I don’t think we’ll even need to build artillery,” I mused. “But I’ll instruct the support grots to do so anyway. Gretchens operate all orkan artillery, as you know.”

“...yes, I... I do recall knowing that... I just never thought it was important to know... are Orks on the field somewhere? I’ve been hearing an ever-growing roar in the distance.”

“Sure, I’ve been gathering them up farther off in the backfield, to move up into the position the gretchens are taking, prepared to put heavy flank pressure on the Children. I’ve been broadcasting this fight to them, and to all our allies -- even broadly across the whole Cadian system! I want everyone to see a forward base of Chaos Marines being stomped -- by a company of gretchens. Who, from now on, will be called great-chens!

“Consequently, their larger brothers over there, are cheering them on!” And I beamed proudly for the little troops. “That’s what you’ve been hearing.

“Oh, look, the Chaos Lord found the courage to come back for more! Here, have more great-chens! One hundred and seventy grots in your base, in twelve minutes by the clock -- I mean, in what’s left of your base.”

 


“The Children won’t stand for this.”

“I hope not! They came here to trick and trap us with appeals to our pride, because that’s how they think. Now I’m turning the tables, to trick and trap them with appeals to their pride.

“So: they can either retreat in total disgrace, or they can double and triple down their sunk costs, so to speak, and devote a strong force to prevent being overrun by greatchens! -- and by their own redeemed brothers who have proven that reasonable and wise skill can and will overcome blind strength, so that succumbing to Chaos to win was a mistake.

“And then, once we have their attention and commitment...

“I’ll send the second death.”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2019, 02:08:14 PM »
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN -- THE LONG VIEW
----------------------------------
{Map: Archon IV, apocalypse version; Arisen and Vols vs two CSM Emperor Children teamed. I fought this one on UltApoc’s version of hard.}

“Well met, Canoness!” boomed the Volunteer Force Commander -- he had not stumbled across her group by accident. “How goes the war against Chaos on this Kasr?”

The Canoness called a halt to her troops and directed them to prepare for ambush. While they were dispersing into a good attack formation she called back, “You would know that better than I, traitor scum!”

Pauel sighed. “Indeed, we have rescued nearly a million civilians from Partox so far, thank Justice, and have destroyed several contingents of Chaos raiders; thus drawing a little attention back in our direction, and giving Imperial forces room to maneuver and counter-attack -- even returning to Partox in some numbers!” He gestured to the obvious group of Sisters.

“So does Chaos ever destroy itself! The Emperor be praised!”

“Agreed! -- even though we have different ideas about who counts among the forces that slay and exploit civilians.”

“And how many have you harvested? Nearly a million, did you say?”

“Neither to be slain nor exploited. But since you ask: the Volunteer Army is currently preparing to complete an encirclement and final assault on a large contingent of the Emperor’s Children -- I mean the Chaos Marines, not legitimate Astartes, of course.” That didn’t get a reply, but the Canoness was busy receiving scouting reports and giving further directions. “It will be a difficult fight against a shamed force which has committed major resources to defending and striking back at our audacities. Consequently, we have no way to care for a large pocket of civilians about forty klips in that direction,” he waved generally. “Therefore, we ask if you would be interested in saving them. Of course, you’re welcome to join the fight against the Chaos Marines instead! -- although, we would rather you didn’t attack us in the back while we were distracted: we should still defeat them but everyone would take more casualties. Anyway, if you prefer -- and if you care for the civilians and are worried about us doing something horrible to them -- you may freely move in and rescue them off Partox yourselves. We won’t interfere, and once done with our fight we shall simply create a perimeter to ensure you aren’t interrupted by Dark Eldar or whatever, until you are done.”

“...sounds like an opportune time to hit them from the flank, Canoness.”

But the leader was recalling her prior talk with Pauel. “That would be cowardly, and he would mock us for it. Let them attack each other in the back.”

“But, Lady,” an ecclesiarch protested, “this must be some sort of trap.”

“Naturally. But one we shall disarm.” Then activating her armor’s speakers she called back to Pauel -- though not by name, she wouldn’t give this traitor that honor, “We will see what we can do while you are distracted with your problems, traitor!” Then more quietly again, “This has to be some sort of ambush. I need to know, now, their troop disposition so that we can attack him and his squad most effectively. Before he escapes! Get to it, officers! I haven’t heard back what I need to know!”

“Then I ask only one thing!” he called. “Of course, here it comes,” smirked a Sororita sergeant.

“I ask that you swear on your honor as a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, and upon the honor of the Emperor’s name! -- that you will will feed, heal, and rescue the civilians, giving them over to the Imperial resettlement departments to be safely escorted out of the system and given new homes where they can be useful to the Empire.”

“Obviously,” chuffed the sergeant. But then her eyes widened.

Her Canoness wasn’t answering.

“Lady? Is this also a trap of some sort?” the sergeant asked in some confusion.

“...I swear!” called the Canoness.

“Your speakers may be damaged from a previous battle. I am sorry, but I didn’t hear you swear by your honor and the honor of the Emperor of Humanity!”

The Canoness gritted her teeth; but looking around she saw serious confusion in the eyes around her. She knew, no one better, how easily suspicions of heresy could turn lethal, to one’s life as well as one’s career. She had no desire to spend her days hanging in a penitent engine, fighting with her body exposed. “I swear upon my honor as a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, and upon the honor of the Emperor’s name, may his name be praised!” She had managed not to pause even a little while saying so.

There was, however, a pause as Pauel conferred on his headset; her under-officers were reporting that they hadn’t found the ambush yet, but she reminded them that this blasphemer consorted with elves, and insisted they continue searching.

Then, “Excuse me, Canoness, but my leader insists that you specify what you are swearing; he wants to make sure you aren’t trying to lie behind an evasion. I realize that can’t help but be insulting, but he promises he will accept your word as true, if you specifically tell him, under oath, that you will do your very best to see that the civilians are safely escorted off the planet and out of the system in good health, to be cared for and resettled elsewhere.”

She bared her teeth in an unconscious grimace -- but only for a moment, firmly clamping her lips shut before... but surely her advisors and guard had noticed. There was only one way around their growing suspicions for now; as for later, she would have to take a longer view... “I swear upon my honor as a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, and upon the honor of the name of the Emperor of Humanity, blessed be his name, that I shall do all in my power to take care of those civilians! -- I mean,” she bit her lips, “that I shall safely remove them out of the system to be cared for and resettled at my first available opportunity... always granting that military necessity might delay or disrupt that plan! If so, I shall still have kept my word that I have given, so far as I was able!” And she nodded to the others. “This is propaganda,” she said. “He means for us to try and fail.”

“Oh, I see!” the ecclesiarch nodded. And a sergeant said, “He must think the civilians will be under attack, one strong enough that he cannot entrap them for himself, and so if he sent you and you failed against your promise under your honor and that of the Emperor...!”

“That theory,” said the Canoness, “has much to commend it.” And she raised an eyebrow archly with a brisk nod. “Now get ready to assault this fool. I want bolter shells going downrange the moment we understand his ambush plans.”

“My leader,” called Pauel, “accepts your word on this! Thank you for your patience; I’m sorry to have given even a little insult to the question of your honor.” And he bowed.

“We shall see whose honor is worth nothing,” she promised him -- not with the speakers, only muttered. But that might sound suspicious, so she triggered the suit speakers and shouted, “WE SHALL SEE WHOSE HONOR IS WORTH NOTHING, TRAITOR! Not yet,” she motioned to startled subordinates who had taken more proper firing stances. “We have to be sure where his ambush will strike us first. Keep watching the sides.”

“As you say. May we all keep our honor under Justice Most High! Have a good day, Canoness. I hope we meet again under better circumstances.”

“As do I,” she grumbled, “so I can shoot you in the face properly.”

“He is retreating! Lady, now? He will get away!”

“Then my scouts have failed and must be severely punished for their laxity! But no matter, we shall nip his sweet little plan off the bud and throw it into the furnace of fire.”

Pauel returned to where his Volunteer Legion’s local regiment was making final preparations for the assault. “I hope and pray you are wrong,” he told me over the vox.

“As do I. But I have to take the long view; and either she would attack us from the rear at an inopportune moment, or she would be overrunning the civilians and all our forces are already stretched thin elsewhere. At least there’s some chance now, that more will be saved.”

 


“How go the Arisen in their preparations?”

“I don’t think we can do more before the assault. I have an Arisen Lord, two Tomb Spyders, some elite Deathstrike and Deathtouch, plus two squads of normal Warriors...” I hestitated.

 


“Did you bring the Flayed Ones?” he asked.

“...yes. I wouldn’t normally want to use them, but they were easy to set up and I can send them as a melee strike force which should affect the morale of the enemy. As much as Chaos can have their morale affected.”

“They aren’t exactly brittle. Not always.”

“They have their moments. Your own initial assault company is prepared?”

{Gamenote: I started all sides with a small army for this battle, as well as builders.}

“As you say, I don’t think we’ll get more time to prepare. Our Eldar allies indicate the enemy has detected our advance into these forward bases, and has started shifting to meet us, away from defending against the D’oru’kan horde’s preliminary assault.”

“Good. The Combat Gretchen company did their job, allowing us to build up that ‘Waugh’ and launch it. But as happy as everyone is over there to be fighting -- on both sides! -- the Children have staked their own honor on winning despite their insulting losses here. They will be hitting us with their own elite companies, supported by well-developed bases. I will take the Arisen company about halfway forward, and set up a position to draw attention toward us. Our forces are more expendable, and also reassemble back to life sometimes,” I lopsidedly smiled.

 


“Agreed: we should deny them map control as much as possible, in order to out-produce them and win over time on logistics.”

“This area has seen too much fighting already in the recent past, and looting from Chaos afterward -- which, being Divided, they aren’t overly willing to share!” I observed. “No one can expect to harvest more than half the usual energy and requisition supplies here from the mining/storage points.”

“And we’ve all almost spent our budgets on setting up these forward bases and strike teams, so none of us will have much to work with going forward either.”

“In that regard,” I said, “the Arisen will have an advantage: we only need energy to work with! We don’t even need requisition exactly; it only speeds up deployment. So we can focus our builders early on the logistic problem and mostly ignore capping the logistic points.”

“So, I can come get some of your points eventually?”

“Sure! -- but don’t be surprised if Chaos sends teams into our backfield. This will be to our advantage in the long view... here we go, first customers. They could be hitting us with a combined stack, but they’ve sent a substantial fraction out in all directions to go around us, trying to requisition the supplies they desperately need! It’s a hard fight, but we’re doing okay. I’ve given the Tomb Spyders long-range anti-vehicle guns, so they’re ripping the Chaos Dreadnaughts apart.”

 


“Ah. Perhaps I should have done the same: brought our people together in the middle, and taken apart the enemy by pieces, before going after requisition. We’re... having some problems,” he said.

“Fatal?”

“...no. Probably not.”

“I can’t spare anyone yet. I had to deep-strike the Flayed to our central position as backstops, and I haven’t gotten the local teleportation network set up yet, to bring them back to the monolith where they can enter and re-teleport.”

 


“You wouldn’t get here in time otherwise. Necrons aren’t known for running!”

“Not unless we get their skimmers out, no. I can send you a couple of wraiths, but...”

“They wouldn’t make much difference. Send them to go decap and protect the relic position. We’ll get around to it eventually.”

“Will do. Ah, some more opponents!”

 

{Gamenote: a lot of our fighting centered on keeping this advanced point!}

“You’re helping indirectly,” Pauel reported. “The enemy keeps being torn apart by assaulting your position in pieces, and their commanders are clearly worried you’ll advance farther upfield! So they’re taking combatants away from my side, to hit the greater remaining threat.”

“All according to plan. Mua ha ha.”

“Your evil laugh needs work, but will suffice.”

“I don’t think the Arisen ever had an evil laugh, per se, even when they were Necrons, so I suppose it’s fitting since I’m commanding them today. I’m at the point where I could spare you some energy...?”

“No need, thanks. We’re recovering now.”

It took some time, and matters were dire occasionally on the Legion’s side of the field. Even when they managed to advance, they could easily find major Chaos units behind them requiring a withdrawal to meet the threat.

 


 


I tech’d up the Arisen and advanced them forward one notch to deprive the Children of another logistic point -- also getting their attention again, and away from the Legion. This was enough distraction to allow the Volunteers to make several assaults on the leftmost corner of the enemy’s base; to which I sent some Flayed for aid (much to Pauel’s understandable annoyance.)


 

After the third Legion wave or so, the Children’s base had been cleared on that side, and Pauel took some time to consolidate the rest of the operational area before advancing on the final two thirds of the enemy base; while the cluster of Arisen served as a distraction threat. And of course all of this weakened the Children’s defense against the D’oru’kan waaagh!

 



Between one thing, or two things, and another, the Children’s leadership eventually withdrew, leaving their bases to fend and die for themselves. Many fallen souls were collected for purging clean of chaos-warp; I don’t think the enemy had yet understood what was happening there. The Volunteer Legion, largely composed of former fallen souls given new bodies from Astartes geneseed, thanks to the Eldar/Necron spiritual technology, bore the lion’s share of the assault on our side -- as was only proper, under the circumstances.

 


But as I had feared, and somewhat expected, those weren’t the only casualties...

“The purging... has been completed. Lady,” reported an officer of the Sororitas.

“I applaud your foresight, Canoness!” nodded a satisfied ecclesiarch. “You hid your intentions from that traitor very well! And now their miserable plan has been foiled! -- by your steadfast will and...” A sound from above had arrived and was growing louder. “...uh.... that’s odd,” he said looking around, and upward, “that sounds like...”

“INCOMING!” “On our position!?” “Why, how -- “ “Scatter, hurry!”

The ecclesiarch tried to hurry, but he couldn’t scatter effectively.

Not until the drop-pod hit nearby, blasting him to a mess among the rubble. So did four others, crashing in a standard pattern around the center.

“CANONESS!” boomed a voice of wrath. “YOU WHOSE NAME I NO LONGER CARE TO LEARN!”

Force Commander Pauel trod out, clad in Terminator command armor, leading a force of Volunteer Terminator Marines. Our only ones currently, but the sisters wouldn’t know that. Their shock was duly noted.

“FOUL WRETCH! YOU SWORE TO SAVE THESE PEOPLE! SHOW YOURSELF IF YOU DARE, COWARD!”

The Canoness had been thrown aside along with her officers, but all had survived, by fortune or by fate, and... “That couldn’t be true Terminator armor. It has to be a trick. Comms, order assaults from the north and the west at once!”

Pauel instantly demonstrated that, among the various technological groups in our force, we had succeeded in creating more of the lost technology of such armor. And had improved it substantially to modern standards.

“THUS SHALL FALL ALL WHO ATTACK US! STAND DOWN! -- AND COME FORTH, WRETCH, AND WE SHALL SEE WHOSE HONOR IS WORTH NOTHING!”

In truth, when she had given the orders concerning this population, once found, she had received more than a few worried looks. But she had explained the truth as she thought it, and they had no longer given her such looks. Much.

Now Pauel was calling her honor as payment for her deed, thrusting what she had done into the face of her honor, and the honor of the Emperor. For her own people’s sake, she had to go forth and try to answer.

“You have failed, fool!” she broadcast as loud as she could through her armor’s speakers. She wouldn’t have bothered trying; Pauel would surely outclass her with all the Terminator speakers together in concert. But this was for her people to hear, not him. “I saw through your plan, and I have burnt it to the ground!”

“YOU UNJUST CRETIN! YOU SWORE TO HELP AND SAVE THOSE PEOPLE! NOT BURN THEM ALL TO THE GROUND!!”

“And now you will not have them as your spies and puppets, dispersed throughout the Empire, to sow your treachery and heresy!”

“WE HAD NEVER CONTACTED THEM YET! THEY WERE EXPECTING THE EMPIRE TO SAVE THEM! YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT HAD YOU DONE WHAT YOU PROMISED, WHAT YOU PROMISED IN THE EMPEROR’S NAME AND IN HIS HONOR -- TO SAVE THEM!”

She flinched. Hard. Her own honor was of no small concern, to her at least, but to have taken the Emperor’s honor in vain...! No, he had to be lying. This was a trick, a trap. She had prevented it from springing! She was faithful to the Emperor!

“I promised to save them unless military necessity arose! And that is exactly -- “

“FIEND! YOU ARE SAYING YOU PROMISED IN THE EMPEROR’S HONOR AND BY YOUR HONOR YOU WOULDN’T SAVE THEM FROM YOURSELF!! THUS YOU SHOW:

“WE INDEED HAVE DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT WHO COUNTS -- AMONG THOSE THAT SLAY CIVILIANS.”

He wasn’t even shouting now. He sounded sad, more than angry. Sad for them.

Sad for her.

“YOU HAVE SHOWN YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO SAVE THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD. SO WE WILL NOT TRUST YOUR HONOR AGAIN. I SPARE YOUR LIFE, DOER OF INJUSTICE, MERELY FOR THIS: AT LEAST YOU WILL FIGHT CHAOS, TOO. SOMETIMES.”

“...all the time! All the time, you... you traitor! You traitors!” And she stamped her foot. And winced; she hadn’t done that since being a little girl, so long ago.

“I hope,” Force Commander Pauel said, reducing the volume somewhat, but rumbling deep, “we will meet again, some day, in better...” his voice cracked, and he shook his head in grief, as much as his armor allowed, “...in a better day to come. May mercy and justice most certainly hound you forever.

“Oh. The drop-pods will self-destruct in about half a minute. As you might expect. I recommend you be gone by then. But, I can’t say I really care if you stay nearby,” he grated. “Squads, teleport.”

She didn’t stay. But she managed to walk away. With some dignity still intact.

Over the ashes of her victims.
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2019, 02:17:06 PM »
{Note: this is roughly the halfway point of the season.}

INTERLUDE -- UPON HER ASHES
---------------------------

The Canoness stood in her command center. Safe now. As safe as anyone could be on this blasted, haunted world, once a bastion of humanity’s power.

She could feel the ashes on the soles of her boots. That was her imagination. But all feeling was of the imagination. She told herself there was no point looking, she had scoured them clean already...

No. She had gotten new boots for her armor already. She had told the techpriests that those had been cursed, by a clever trick of chaos, and to be careful with disposing them.

So it couldn’t be the ashes of those people stabbing into the soles of her feet. Even penitent sisters didn’t have that. They wouldn’t be able to run or stand to fight properly.

Grim silence surrounded her, despite the usual work going on, officers voxing and reports being given and taken. Grim darkness, despite the lights of various screens and the overheads.

She had underestimated that... that ‘Pauel’. He was cruelly clever. He and his leader, who dared to call himself the new Emperor. Automatically she recalled his offenses as a litany -- and just as automatically, felt the usual disappointment upon recalling that there was no evidence he had ever called himself Emperor. Rather that he agreed the Emperor was the Emperor of Humanity.

Which showed how deviously clever he was. Clever and cruel.

The ashes of her honor stabbed and stabbed and sounded like they were screaming, burning alive, as she walked across the command room to look over some normal report about something. She wouldn’t cut off her feet, however. Then she might be unfit for command, or at least be hobbled from being as effective as before.

And then he would win.

“Ah, Canoness!” said the officer at the viewscreen, though she hadn’t said anything. “Uh, the Emperor’s Children have been driven off Partox in a decisive defeat. This,” he kept giving her quick glances, so quick he must have been hoping she wouldn’t see them, “seems likely, according to our strategists, to inspire competition among the Chaos forces about who and how exactly to take advantage of their loss. The overall result will be, they expect, a small yet significant decline in the invasions by Chaos elsewhere in the system, as the foes move to compensate. As a mobile strike force on this world, we should... um... the strategists haven’t been very clear about their expectations for us. Lady?”

“We will serve the Emperor. As always. Never doubt that. Ever.”

“Of course, Lady!” he saluted.

She turned, and a captain-sister stood not far away. Watching her. Intently.

“Your purpose. Be quick,” the Canoness told her.

“My purpose,” she said, her normally dark-skinned face practically pale... with fear? with anger? “is that of the Angel Saints.

“To save the people from Chaos. Because we love them -- “

The captain couldn’t quite finish “them” due to the Canoness having leapt upon her, throwing her to the ground. The captain could have struggled; she wouldn’t have won, due to inferior armor and weaponry, but the Canoness knew her qualities. She would have been a good Canoness herself in due time.

But the captain didn’t struggle. Not even when: “In the name of the Emperor,” declared the Canoness, “I accuse and convict you of treason!” She knew everyone had to be staring at this, but didn’t look away from the captain’s eyes.

Couldn’t look away.

“I accept,” said the captain. “I have betrayed the honor of the Emperor.

“When I pulled the trigger. On those people. Over and over again.”

“On my orders.”

“As you say. On your orders. And on your honor. You didn’t flip a single switch, or pull a flamer’s trigger. You ordered us to. And so -- “

“I am not guilty. I did what had to be done. So did you. I do not accuse you for that, but for this!”

“For what. Because my purpose is to save the people from Chaos?”

“......you are judging me. And I will not accept it.”

“I am judging myself. But yes, since you mention it: I am judging you, too. Lady Canoness.”

“It is a trick, you... you ninny!” She had almost called the captain something much worse, but her conscience could only bear so much. She settled for thumping the captain’s head against the plating of the command center floor. This had to be gotten out now, dealt with now, and the captain had simply volunteered to be the example. “There is no way to verify that the traitor commander spoke truly!”

“All we have is his word,” said the captain. “His promise. Which he kept. And your word. Which -- “

The Canoness ripped out her throat. The captain didn’t even seem surprised. She reflexively tried to breathe for a minute. Then expired. Probably from blood loss, not from asphyxiation. Yet.

The Canoness backed off her body, after ensuring her death. And stood. And looked around.

“Anyone expecting her to rise at once as an angel of light and denounce me,” she said, very calmly and sanely, “can just go line up against the wall outside right now, so you can be shot in an orderly fashion. Save everyone the trouble. No volunteers?” she snarled, or sneered the word. “Good thinking. Get back to work. Someone clean that up.” She would have to write a report explaining the death. Somehow. A faithful and talented captain’s death would not be easy to explain. Even moreso, a captain she herself had personally chosen for her qualities.

“It’s some kind of trick!” she announced. “Obviously! Can’t you all see that!? This is what he wants! To sow doubt in us, doubt in ourselves, doubt in the Emperor! He shall not succeed. I won’t let him; neither shall you. He has done this to us, but -- “

“You have done this to us.” The Canoness whirled to see who would speak to her that way, at this time.

A sergeant, from one of her honor guard. Also personally chosen by the Canoness, for her qualities. She would have made a good captain, but had pleaded to stay a sergeant. For the honor of serving the Canoness. She had been there. Had looked at her with suspicion when the Canoness had tried to find a way around --

“You have done this to us, and to yourself. I give my life, and die, speaking the tru--“

The Canoness’ weaponry was very high quality. “In case anyone else was thinking of opening your mouth to me,” she told them, very sanely and calmly, and reasonably, too, “remember that my weaponry is strong enough to blow a sergeant’s head clean out from under her own hair. Now someone will have to clean that up, to-- never mind. Everyone up! Right now! Outside. March. So help me under the Emperor, I will blast you all right now and set this command center on fire, anyone who remains. Out the door. That’s right, good boy, get going, you might have a future.”

“Oh?” someone to her left asked. “Does he have your word abo--?”

“And there’s another example for all of you!” she declared after the ringing of the next shot inside the walls died off. The walls had been designed to absorb and disperse the sound of even bolter fire, quite quickly. “So if you want to live a few more moments, get to it! Wait up, I’ll go first.” She didn’t want them running away. They mustn’t escape her.

“Up against the wall,” she snarled as she went outside. “All of you. You, too, boy. You might live a little longer. I haven’t made up my mind yet. Understand? I have absolute authority over life and death here. Under my command. This is not optional. Our war against Chaos LEAVES NO OPTIONS!” That was important to emphasize.

They lined up against the wall. There was some quiet weeping. Not from her. Her eyes were sanely clear and reasonable. She was a Canoness of the Fervent Heart, a servant of the Emperor’s honor.

“I know what you’re thinking,” she repeated. “You are all sure that the captain and the sergeant, and maybe whoever else that was, will rise as angelic saints, and blast apart the roof as they ascend, and glare down upon me in absolute judgment. BUT THEY AREN’T! SEE!? THEY AREN’T DOING THAT! THE EMPEROR HASN’T EMPOWERED THEM TO JUDGE ME!! I judge them, not the other way around. Me. I’m the judge here. Not them. That light in the sky... that isn’t them. All that is, is the clouds, randomly parting due to some atmospheric... QUIBBLE!” she screamed. And shot bolter fire into the general direction of the sunbeam. “I know what you’re thinking, it seems awfully improbable that the sun would burn down on my head like fire, on this ruined hell of a planet where smoking rubble has thrown up clouds across the world. Well that’s all it is. Improbable. It isn’t impossible. It isn’t night-time, you dolts.” She wasn’t entirely sure about that, but she would be damned if she checked now. “The fire will go away in a minute. And when it’s gone, I’ll decide how many more I have to kill in order to make my point and keep order in this command. How many more traitors I have to execute,” she corrected herself.

She stood there, waiting for the swirling clouds to cover the sun again.


“And then,” she said, some time later. And paused. And covered her face in her hands. From under her hands she said, “...it doesn’t matter. I don’t think there were angels in the sky. Not really. But it doesn’t matter. Because that’s the story going around now.

“And it doesn’t matter, because I could feel them judging me anyway.

“I could have immediately walked over and turned myself in, to the Inquisition or to some other administrative body. I thought about it. Would they say I was guilty? -- guilty of being an agent of Chaos? Or would they justify my actions? Either way, they had to remove me from duty, I understood that. From duty as a Canoness. I would be strapped to a penitent engine, or perhaps be made a penitent foot runner. Charging into battle, pierced by my sins. I was willing to accept that. I didn’t deserve anything better, anything more.”

She inhaled, like a sign in reverse. And uncovered her face. And looked at Pauel.

And said,

“But I knew, to the core of my soul:

“I’d always be running upon those ashes.”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2019, 12:14:17 PM »
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN -- MONSTERS (Part 1 of 2)
----------------------------

 


{Gamenote: 3-player fan-made map Inquisitor fortress, on hard (since they’re fighting each other and I’m starting in an area with built-up protections plus some Space Marine tactical and assault infantry support.)}

“I have problems,” Eria announced, after gliding into my room, where I was partially resting. Partially -- because my connection to the Arisen didn’t allow a traditional sleep. I didn’t dream, so much as subsume myself into overseeing management.

“Who doesn’t?” I grimly retorted. Then, “Sorry, that was supposed to be trench humor. I know, you wouldn’t have visited me and said that, unless you knew it was very serious.”

“Until just recently, it was not a problem at all. The war we Eldar instigated between the Tyranids and Chaos demons?”

“I still have no idea how you managed to do that. But, I’m glad we haven’t seen either of those problems for a while, so thanks!”

“Obviously, there couldn’t be such a war unless the demons chose to attack. But we played on their pride, indirectly guiding them into thinking that the Tyranids are competing to be the most horrible monsters.” She couldn’t help but smirk at that. “Who would even care? The Tyranids don’t. But Chaos demons don’t have much in their lives, except the fear they can generate. The Tyranids, in their own way, have each other, and each other’s loyalty.”

“And I understand,” I said, “in their own twisted way, that’s more than enough: justice only amounts to what serves to improve the hive in its capabilities.”

“Yes, although if we could angle this into the hive becoming suspicious of its chaotic hybrid leaders...”

“You haven’t explained your problem. Yet,” I smiled, but tried to convey how tired I was by the smile.

She came to herself, out of her plotting, with a start. “My apologies. Of course, as you say, I wouldn’t have bothered your rest unless it was serious.

“The Volunteer Legion has recently found and taken a fortress; formerly an Inquisitorial chaplain-colonel was stationed there, overseeing compliance for the area.”

“Still not a problem yet.”

“The defenses set up by the Legion are... a start, let us say. Enough to fend off casual probes. For various reasons, more has not been added yet...”

“I see; I’ve found the records. Yes, I think the point is that we aren’t going to stay on this world, so there was only need to have enough to brush off a raid. More fortifications would have been added, from our limited resources, upon facing a greater threat.”

“Properly so. Now something like a greater threat has slipped into the area, not so much against the fortress, as trying to outflank each other.”

“Ah, the nids and the demons.”

“Their parallel advances will bring them into the fortress area soon. I am unsure the fortress will last if both decide to attack at once, or if one decisively defeats the other; and the Volunteer Marines are spread already thin in other areas. As are most of the Volunteer forces.”

“Hm. I would say abandon the area; Lord knows, we have plenty of planet to work on. But, I see from the records...”

“Yes, there are human populations in the area, who haven’t evacuated. They don’t trust us enough yet, but we should be able to get them moved, by fear if nothing else, to put the fortress between them and the advancing monsters -- for now.”

“But if the fortress falls, yes, I see, they’ll be overrun. We have a real problem here.”

“...you have one force which hasn’t overstretched itself, yet. I volunteer us, to help the Legion’s defenses.”

My eyes snapped open wide at that. “I... I’m glad to accept your help on the ground, of course. But I’m... I have to say I’m surprised.”

“I will be critical of myself,” she stated. “I have not... encouraged my people to be of much help in the fighting, so far. And this particular problem has developed, due partly to our responsibility. I wish us to make our contributions to solving the problem. That is all.”

She didn’t exactly flush, but after all these years I could detect signs of some embarrassment. “At once!” I agreed. “Can the Vols provide some help?”

“I think so, yes. One of your Brother Captains and a Force Commander, say that they may be able to get away from their current engagements, and join some tactical marines. Perhaps the new Librarian commander, too. They will not be able to bring out anything like their full strength, but together we... should,” she emphasized, “be able to deflect both wings or tendrils of the devilish arms slinking out that way.”

That sounded problematic. So she hadn’t foreseen the outcome. Oh well. “At the worst,” I said, “if the people see you both fighting together to spare them from those monsters, maybe they’ll finally be encouraged to get on transports out of the area, instead of waiting for the Empire to bomb them to dust. I’ll have the Vol Militia detail some logistic transports as soon as possible. I pray the people will get in them, this time.”

“I’m confident you’ll succeed,” she said. “Now, I myself will go and see to the fortress defense.”

And so, she went.

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2019, 12:18:59 PM »

{Gamenote: due to map design, you’ll just have to ignore the Blood Angel coloring and markings. I didn’t have any way to set them as Vols, except by making one of the other starting positions also Vols, on my side, and that was too much of a crushing over-roll.}

 


 



 


“Resources in this area are rather spent,” Pauel told her as they met for planning at the fortress.

“And I see,” she said with just a slight acidity, “the Legion has put down one plasma generator.”

 


“We have been called away. Often.”

“I know. We could have upgraded the area ourselves, already. That was my error, and I am sorry. I was critiquing myself, not you. We should have been doing more to help your operations; and I am to blame for this situation at all. I do not wish to risk my life, or even another Eldar life, for a bunch of ungrateful filthy, dying -- !” She stopped, and carefully inhaled. “But here I am.”

“Ah. Well, I’m here, too, for now, and others may come, but the first requisition should be spent on logistics, of course. We have enough defenses to parry off casual thrusts. For now.”

“Already working on it,” she murmured, sending command orders out as Bonesingers and two squads of scouts arrived.

 


“We still have some time. The enemy will be distracted with each other, and with building up their own presence in the area. At first.”

“Once we’re ready to go out and remove them, I recommend trying to hit them for balance, so one of them won’t get so much stronger as to finish off the other.”

“Very well said! -- you would make a good Eldar.”

“To be fair, I’ve been alive now for over ten thousand years, though mostly not in this form. Doesn’t seem that long. In the warp, I mean.”

“I understand. I don’t often meet humans older than I am, and by a fair margin. More precisely, you are the first.”

“So you were born after, um... the Eye of Terror opened?” he diplomatically put it.

“Long after. We do still breed. It is just... difficult. To avoid being captured by Slaanesh while doing so. And we don’t breed very quickly at all in the best of times. Didn’t.”


 


“Which is why you protect your dwindling numbers so fiercely. I understand, and I appreciate your gesture of goodwill here that much more by proportion!”

“But do you appreciate her gesture fully yet?”

 



Eria and Pauel were both seasoned warriors, very much so; and so though surprised they whirled toward the unexpected and oddly stilted voice, in synchrony together -- though in his armor he couldn’t turn nearly as fast, and so saw him last:

an Imperial Inquisitor.

“So, you aren’t here to fight us,” Eria inferred.

“And you did not foresee my coming. Or I would not have surprised you. Curious.” The massive black-skinned warrior quirked a smile and easily shifted his warhammer in his brilliant, thick armor.


 


“No, I am only here to be... inquisitive.”

“Very well,” the Force Commander said, “I am Commander Pauel.” He didn’t introduce the Farseer, nor of course his obvious Legion.

Nor did he ask for the other’s name, but paused a moment to offer a chance at reciprocation... “I am Inquisitor Mordecai Toth.”

“I know that name,” the Eldar said. “My teacher fought against you, and with you, on occasion. She said that you were a good opponent.”

“Taldeer, perhaps? I have only met one Farseer yet, besides yourself, although I am sure that I have fought against, and even with, some others. Indirectly. You understand.”

“I do. And yes, I was taught by Taldeer.”

“I felt... ...a loss, when I heard of her death, against the Necron menace on Kronus, during the Dark Crusade. My condolences,” he bowed, more like a nod in his armor. “I found her interesting. I would have been glad to study her more.”

“Dissect her?”

“Unnecessary. And pointless, for me. I would have recommended against it.”

“Interrogation then,” stated Pauel.

“Not torture, no. Any player of the ancient game, appreciates another player worthy of the match.”

“So, if you are not here to kill us, we have some things to do.” Pauel voxed some orders to prepare to bring in tactical marines.

 


“Protecting this fortress?” Toth made that a question. Aimed at Eria. “Eldar protecting an Imperial fortress is, to say the least, a rare spectacle.”

“There are people behind the fortress,” she answered cooly. “We are trying to evacuate them.”

“Speaking of protecting this fortress,” Pauel returned after sending out some orders, “how did you get arrive? And when?”

“Why, just now, a few minutes ago. Shall I tell him how? Or does he know? Or, does he not know?” The Inquisitor watched the enquiring look that Pauel gave Eria; and her wariness.

“Apparently he does not,” she answered. “And I have not yet told him, that this fortress was built around and over an ancient Eldarian webway gate.”

“One in danger of being overrun by highly unstable forces, naturally capable of dangerous warp manipulation,” Toth observed.

Now she did snort. “And the mon-keigh, O Inquistor Mon-keigh: you think we think that you are not?!” Toth squinted at that riposte. “We know how to seal off a captured webway gate.”

“Like this one we are standing over?” Pauel enquired, pointedly looking at Toth.

“This one has never been sealed, yes,” affirmed the Inquisitor. “Guarded, yes, against what might emerge, or who. But, not sealed by the Eldar, nor of course by us. Don’t you find that curious?”

“A backdoor communication channel, then.”

“Perhaps, but one not used. Overtly not used, if I may put it bluntly, keeping in mind the current situation of the Cadian system.”

“In fact,” Eria said, “some blessed saints of the Imperial Sisters recently helped evacuate some troops of yours, through some Eldar webway gates. With our permission.”

“But you did not warn us this invasion was coming.”

“...no.”

“But you knew.”

“...to some extent. Pauel should remember me saying that, during an operational briefing, before we arrived in the area.”

“Among other things, I am inquisitive,” Toth said, “as to why. The fall of the gate, creating a risk of expanding the Eye of Terror, could by no means benefit the Eldar. Or, could it?”

“That is a fascinating question, which we shall have to return to later,” Pauel declared. “You are welcome to join our fight here. Your blows against Chaos spawn would be very helpful. But if you aren’t allowed, or might get into too much trouble, I’ll understand.”

“...you would let me take command of a squad of your Marines?”

“Under supervision, yes.”

“Or, if you prefer, I would allow you to fight along with a squad of Banshees,” the Farseer invited -- a little pointedly.

“That would be... a novel experience,” Toth agreed, cautiously. “If you are serious.”

“Very.”

“Ah, of course,” Pauel slightly smirked. “They would keep a better eye on you in case of treachery.”

 


The fight began in earnest, now, outside.

It continued. For some time.

{Gamenote: to be honest this fight was rather boring -- the Nids and Demons fought each other so much we barely saw them before advancing outside the fortress, and we had plenty of time to max up to an overwhelming power. The map is really designed for a 2 vs 1 fight, not free for all. Also, my game crashed before I finished off the Demons, who had already beaten the Nids after which the AI seems to have given up trying to decide what to do; but I was well on the way to rolling them, too. Please accept these snapshots as indicative.}

 


 


“I rather hoped,” said Eria after, “the Tyranids would overcome the Chaos demons, if there should be some clear victor between them.”

“Less Chaos that way,” Pauel explained to Toth. “Relatively. Thank you for your service. My men and I appreciate it.”

“As do we,” the Farseer said.

“Returning to our fascinating discussion, as we finish up here: I myself would like to enquire,” Pauel dryly asked, “how exactly did you ever learn how to travel the webways?”

“Yes, a worthy question.” Toth had to have noticed that this was not exactly where the topic had been left off, but he continued anyway: “I will be glad to answer, in exchange for knowing why the webway was never closed, or even destroyed from within, despite being captured by the Inquisition. Farseer Eria, as I’m sure I heard you called by various subordinates: I don’t suppose you would care to explain as well, why you never used it?”

She nodded once, her lips drawn thin. Toth, with a gesture, invited her first to answer.

“My teacher gave out explicit instructions, to keep the gate unsealed.”

“And did she have that authority? Or did she foresee why?”

“Not normally, no; and so that answer is yes. But she didn’t specify. And yes, before you ask, I did ask her.”

“Curious. Do you have any guesses you think worth prudent to share?”

“Until just recently, I had no clue. Just recently, though, my guess is that she saw the gate would be used by you.” Eria smiled, thinly, to see the Inquisitor’s lips now thin in turn.

“...a reasonable guess. I suspected you might answer that -- once you told me the Farseer ordered, prophetically, the gate be left unbarred. So, you deployed to protect the gate for my...”

“As you have just realized, clearly not: once you arrived, we would have had no reason to stay any longer, if that had been my primary goal.”

“...you expect me to return the way I came. The gate must therefore stay protected, so that I may go back.”

“A not-unreasonable guess,” she smirked, “except for being clearly very faulty. I didn’t foresee your coming, and you caught even me by surprise. Quite an embarrassment to me, remember?”

“Or, that is what you want us to believe,” said Toth -- glancing pointedly at Pauel.

“Hm. I’m going to take a guess myself,” the Force Commander said: “you don’t understand her yet. At all.”

“And you do? Are you so sure?”

“I do have more experience than you, not only at dealing with her, but also with strange manipulations and lies, far beyond whatever an Eldar might dream up! So no, I think she meant what she said was her primary goal here; and that was...?” Pauel prompted. “She told you, too, shortly after we met.”

“To save a bunch of ‘mon-keigh’?! You don’t understand the Eldar well at all, I dare to say.”

Pauel glanced at Eria, as they walked back toward the fortress, through the ruined destruction, with the remnants of their army, working together. “Anything,” she said, “I said, might be deemed suspicious, or else redundant if you do understand me. Correct?”


 


“Well answered!” Pauel laughed. “What you may not know,” he answered to Toth, “is that she herself was instrumental in bringing us all together to work with each other, to fight against Chaos. Not against the Imperium, if we can help it. And she has made her prejudices clear, about our species. Self-critically so. And that, she said, is why she has chosen to fight here -- commanding her own people to their deaths, some of them. She said that she is at fault, for not having done enough to fight to save our people yet, and that this situation here was her own....”

“....yes?” Toth inquired. “Her own fault, did she say? How so?”

“She had manipulated the Nids and the Demons into fighting each other, to keep them occupied and not so much a threat to our recovery efforts, to get as many people off this planet and safely away as possible.”

“A very typical Eldar move on the board, I agree.”

“But, the enemies had started trying to outflank each other in this direction, which put the population at risk. Thus, her responsibility for their endangerment.”

“Which she perhaps considered you would blame her for, and so,” Toth suggested, “to protect her status and goodwill in your force, she sacrificed her people to clean up a political mess she had made.”

“She doesn’t like to sacrifice her people,” Pauel replied, shaking his head, waving off the idea. “That isn’t it. No,” he rubbed his chin, “I think it’s something else.”

“Do tell,” invited Toth, still with a satisfied smirk.

“...ha! A-hah!” Pauel’s victorious laugh caused that smirk to falter. “I see the plot! You,” he whirled upon Eria, “arranged for that tendril of their war to reach out in this direction -- in order to convince those people, finally, to trust us to evacuate them!!”

“I did. Well seen. The people needed to see the Eldar helping, too, and I had put them in danger, so it was fair that we risk our lives for them.”

“Bah.” Now Toth was waving that off. “I utterly fail to believe you now regard the value of your people as being equal to our own, so that you would sacrifice them to help us. There must,” he said to Pauel, “you must understand, there HAS TO BE another plot behind this!”

“Of course,” she pertly said. “Considering the circumstances, as they were developing...

“...I wanted to see if this would trigger whatever my teacher’s purpose was, in leaving that webway gate unsealed. Upon her special authority as a Farseer.

“And here you are. O Inquisitor Toth! -- treasured opponent of Farseer Taldeer. Who has somehow learned to navigate our webway, and operate our gates!” And now she was beaming so hard, she was radiating satisfaction just like a cat perched up above a stove! “You can take your turn explaining that, at any time you’re ready, according to our deal.”

“Preposterous! You would have us... you would have me believe, you sacrificed the lives of your people, for this? ...for me?!”

“Not for you. Not at all. And not to see if whatever she had Foreseen would happen. I didn’t know what would happen, remember, or if it would happen at all at this time. I’m deeply curious what the meaning of this will be. But I assure you: I didn’t sacrifice my people’s lives for you.” -- delivered with a glare as hard and sharp as warp-bone. “...I might do so later,” she admitted, looking away. “I don’t know. It depends.”

“And so I am back to why you sacrificed your people’s lives. No answer you gave makes sense, so far.”

“Of course not,” she said... and distantly smiled. “I’ve told you the truth -- but you cannot believe it.”

“I believe it,” Pauel said. “And my belief counts, here. Not his.”

“Your belief counts, my ally. But... maybe also his.

“Maybe that’s what my teacher foresaw. I’ll tell you something else I didn’t foresee: our leader saving you, Commander Pauel. Any of you, at all. That never even occurred to me. I still remember my blank surprise, the moment he suggested it.” She shook her head, amazed. “I... supposed that he would destroy you all, or seal you away forever, or for an eon. Or something. I hadn’t really thought about it. Only assumed. I assumed what I already thought, and felt, to be true. And I was wrong,” she told Pauel. “And I am glad I was wrong, and that I agreed to help him try. And also I am sorry for being wrong. I will admit, I didn’t want you saved, at all. Not specifically you, I didn’t personally know you, but generally none of you. All of you could rot forever, or out of existence all together, as far as I ever cared.

“But he cared. More than I could care.

“And that,” she told Toth, who was busily flicking glances back and forth between them, as if he had forgotten what Pauel had been, “is why I and my people risked our lives today, for your fellow humans. I’ve learned to care more than I did, once. At least, I’ve learned I should care more, although I’m not very good at it yet. My people are learning that, too. Slowly enough, but surely.

“And -- that might -- that might just be --

“-- why my teacher saw to leave a door unsealed. For you. To meet your monsters.”

They walked toward the forward ramp of the fortress, which they would now abandon, its purpose served.

 


“I don’t know,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I would survive today.

“I hope we’ll see.”
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative Dawn of War AAR
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2019, 12:19:44 PM »
INTERLUDE -- INQUIRY
--------------------------

{Note: no screenshots on this entry, only plot}

“Welcome to Craftbase Alaph!” I greeted the Inquisitor as he stepped off the Eldar transport. Eria had chosen not to bring him here through the permanent webway under the Inquisitorial Fortress, nor any of the more temporary ones that had been scattered around during her mission, so that he wouldn’t be able to use the webway to get here again. I walked forward and offered my hand: “My name is John.”

The man looked understandably curious and wary, both in equal measure, but he gasped my hand and answered, in his odd and lilting accent, “Toth, of the Imperial Inquisition -- as I suppose you’ve been told.”

“True. Also, in case you’re wondering, yes I’m human, despite some relatively minor technological upgrades and, let us say, Eldar health training. So I’ll thank you not to crush my hand, testing my strength or resistance to damage.”

“So noted.” And he relaxed and released his grip.

“Your own augmented strength is also noted, for future reference,” I wryly smiled, flexing my hand a little for show. I hadn’t lied, but neither did I want to reveal any actual limits to him. He surely hadn’t shown his own. “Speaking of notes! Please be assured that you have full permission to record and scan whatever you wish -- and can get away with doing of course,” I winked, “while you’re here! Naturally we have some military confidentialities we won’t intentionally let you see, but otherwise be as thorough as you wish. Bring back the fullest report you can.”

“I intended to. But I... appreciate your permission.”

“I’m glad you accepted our invitation back, and I don’t want you to be in any trouble when you return.” He didn’t reply to that, so I continued, “Commander Pauel here will start you on a tour of our facilities, but I’ll need a short report from Farseer Eria before we join you. We’ll be over there in the office for this hangar -- probably out of reach of any sensors in your suit, or psychic abilities. But we’ll join you soon on the tour. Commander?” With that invitation, Pauel led Toth away, as Eria and I withdrew.

“I’m glad you returned,” I told her once we had a reasonable measure of security; not privacy, due to hangar staff doing usual operations, but we were off to the side so that we wouldn’t interrupt them but could respond in case of alert. “I suspected you didn’t see your own return, despite being confident your strategy would get those people on the transports at last.”

“Yes; a... test perhaps. From the source of our foresight.” She preferred to skirt the question of where the Eldar truly received what they saw, although she knew my opinion. This was the closest she had come, so far, to acknowledging any intentionality -- maybe.

“And perhaps a test to see if I would figure out your rationale?”

“Perhaps. And did you?”

“You dropped enough hints to make it reasonably probable, at least, that you had engineered the encroachment by those sparring creatures to convince the civilians to evacuate with us. Of course, I have no way to prove I guessed beforehand; you know I was listening in on conversations down there.”

“You don’t sound as though you entirely approve.”

“Your strategy, yes. Your keeping your strategy from me, no. That’s your prerogative,” I agreed. “I’m not your ultimate authority. But we’re in a war and I don’t appreciate being tested by clever games when other people’s lives are on the line.” I gave her a moderate glare, and added, “Whether Someone Else intended to test you, as your ultimate authority, is irrelevant: that’s no excuse to make yourself feel better by giving me partial rationales, to see if I’ll pick up on them. I know it made no difference in the end,” I forestalled her. “I can see you weren’t trying to undermine or betray anything. Even so, a trivial game for drama’s sake is still a trivial game.”

“...call it a habit, then. We don’t have many enjoyments anymore, so we indulge in drama even when we don’t have to. Not your problem, I know; and I accept the rebuke. I was feeling unsettled by my own rather more important test. You’re right, I did feel more in control by playing you that way. You didn’t deserve that. I won’t lie and say I feel sorry, but... yes, it was unjust and I shouldn’t have done it.”

“Accepted,” I said. “I won’t dwell on it. And, aside from our losses -- especially grievous to you and your people -- I’m glad things have worked out successfully. So, let’s go give Toth a good understanding of what we’re doing and what we’re about, and then...” I was turning away to go, when I heard her say:

“I won’t promise not to do it again.”

I looked back over my shoulder with a puzzled squint --

-- then laughed! “Very well,” I said and turned to bow. “I see you’re going to test on whether I’ll trust you anyway! So I choose to do so.”

About an hour later, after a short but reasonably thorough tour, we and local commanders gathered in a briefing room to question the Inquisitor. While he found the Tau leaders interesting, he was most curious about the D’oru’kan Warboss lounging against the back wall, under a sun-lamp, without any armor.

“I have been... close,” said Toth, “to an orkan Warboss before. I did not enjoy the experience. Neither did he.”

“Never close to one like me, yet, I reckon,” grunted the ork with a lopsided grin.

“Warboss Sunstriker here,” I said, “was the first we ever raised from the reclaimed spores. He may look like he’s napping, but that’s how they process information and pass it around by a biological network.”

“Absolutely fascinating,” murmured Toth. “Using the warp?”

“In a very mild way, yes. Our scientists are just giddy being able to study orkan biotechnology this...!” Pauel coughed, closer to one of the doors. “Oh, yes, the Vol commanders need to get back to their forces soon. My apologies, let’s begin,” I invited, as I beckoned Toth back up to the front of the room.

“So!” I clapped my hands once. “I’m glad you accepted our invitation, and as soon as you like we’ll shuttle you back to the base and ensure a secure perimeter for you to leave by the permanent webway gate. Obviously the Empire is welcome to retake the fortress as soon as you’re feasibly able.”

“Will you be returning the people?” he asked.

“That depends,” I answered. “First, do they want to return to the Empire? If so, we’ll try to get that done. But second... are you going to fry them to a crisp or imprison them for torment or anything else like that, after being in our care? We’ve had some problems along that line: it’s the only reason we’ve fought against the Empire so far -- “

“So far,” Toth noted. And raised an eyebrow.

“I can’t rule out other actions yet; I mean for other reasons than defending civilians from you. I’d like to rule out every combat action against the Empire, though, as soon as feasibly possible. Relatedly -- and not that I’d blame you -- but are you planning to virus bomb this planet?” No answer. “Because we’ve seen and heard some indications along that line. And I’m not keen on sending back civilians to face Exterminatus from on high, you understand.”

He stood for a moment, considering. “Yes,” he said, “that is our plan. I fully support it. The increasing Tyranid infection alone would warrant such an action.”

Before I could speak, one of the Vol Militia commanders snorted and said in derision, “And yet you wanted us to put those people back.”

“He might have still -- “ I calmly started, but, “Just to be clear,” interrupted Toth, “I brought a quantum detonator, deep in my armor, in case I had a chance to wipe out your leadership all at once.”

“You wouldn’t succeed,” I flatly stated.

“Mostly success might be... acceptable,” he shrugged. And carefully watched the faces in the room. No one was rushing for the door -- or rushing him. Naturally, they were tenser now, but --

“If that had been your primary plan,” Eria inferred, “you would have done so already.”

“I reserve the option. Depending on... factors.”

“I hope our restraint at this news is one of those factors,” I said.

“While we are waiting to hear our fate,” Eria continued, just a bit dryly, “would you consider keeping your side of our bargain?”

“...ah. Yes. I cannot deny, you’ve gone out of your way to offer... detailed... answers to my questions.

“The question at hand,” he said to the rest of the room as he settled into something like a lecturing stance, “is how I know how to navigate and operate the Eldar webway and its gates. To some extent.” That caused a ripple of surprise across the room. “To grossly oversimplify the answer: before his... lapse... into his current state, the Emperor had been researching Eldar webway technology, hoping to devise a similarly safe way for humanity to travel interstellar distances. Then Chaos forces seduced away several of his sons, cloned from his own genetic material, to rebel against him. The Horus Heresy. Holy Terra itself was invaded, and the Emperor was lethally harmed in slaying his own most-beloved son, Horus.”

“I vaguely remember those days,” Pauel sighed. “I wasn’t on Terra, but elsewhere. Rebelling.”

That earned a gimlet eye from Toth, who then continued, “Retreating to the Golden Throne, the Emperor was able to sink into a near-coma. His project and many other dreams, had been ruined. The most he could do, was use his nascent technology to broadcast himself as a spiritual beacon, allowing us to navigate the warp more safely than before... somewhat... but still directly. This is also how he can send forth spiritual energy to help bolster his people in times of need.”

“I myself do something a little similar,” I said. “I am supposing you’ve suspected that already.”

“Indeed. Your confirmation is not... unexpected. To make a very long story overly short, various technophiles have long attempted to carry on the Emperor’s former research -- under the oversight of the Inquisition due to obvious risks of warp exposure. That has been nearly ten thousand years. There have been many... problems.”

“Was the Cadian Gate an experiment in webway technology?” I asked.

“Yes. I assume your Eldarian ally will know of this already, and you are asking to see if I’ll truthfully answer.”

“I did already sense this,” she confirmed. “But I have told no one other than fellow Eldar yet, who would also be in position to know. Until just recently, it didn’t seem important, with all our other exertions to focus on.”

I coughed and added, “She did tell me. More than a little amused, that I now count as one of the Eldar, in effect...!”

“I wasn’t sure you wanted me to relay that information,” retorted Eria, with a touch of frost, “considering the circumstances.”

“So why do you want me to know?” Toth wondered.

“Partly just from honesty,” I said. “And partly because I want you to know: we have a plan to try to reverse and close this new Eye of Chaos.”

“...I see. No servant of Chaos would want to do that. Perhaps.”

I chuckled a little at that. “Can’t be too careful, I understand!”

“Wait,” said one of the human commanders, “why would he even be suspicious of that?!”

“Aside from the possibility,” Toth replied, “that your leader is simply lying to me... I prefer not to voice my suspicions.”

“He’s wondering,” said a Tau Etherial, “whether we’re pooling our knowledge on how to manipulate the warp, in a more ordered fashion -- Eldar, and Tau, and not forgetting the D’oru’kan who do so naturally -- to become a new, more effectively dangerous, and less self-destructive Chaos force.”

“Chaos Undivided has been a dream of Chaos,” said Toth, “since time immemorial.”

“A deluded dream,” I observed. “Chaos undivided is chaos ordered, and so no longer chaos.” Toth pointedly rolled his eyes around the room. “Excuse me,” I continued, “but the Imperium, and you yourself personally, constructively use the warp in an ordered fashion. You’re even using webway gate technology! So, while I understand your suspicions, unless you’re about to accuse the Emperor and yourself of trying to become a more effective Chaos power, then...!”

He held up a hand. “I understand my own intentions. By the nature of things, we can only judge intentions from other people by externals.”

“Shall I submit to a mind probe?” I offered.

“Irrelevant for several reasons. First, your own intentions may be pure, but not those of your conspirators. Second, you may corrupt your intentions later. Third, I cannot be sure you wouldn’t know how to foil and fool a mind probe, especially considering your various... upgrades, and training. The fact you volunteered could count in favor of that suspicion.”

I spread my hands and said, “I don’t know what else to tell you, then!”

“Of course. The fact is simply that I cannot be sure. The data points all fit into more than one shape, so to speak.

“However, I acknowledge: they do fit more than one shape. If you will allow me to leave, I shall... ponder what I have learned, and seen, and heard.”

I nodded at once, “Of course you can safely leave, and as I said we’ll arrange for transport safely back to the webway gate, if you prefer.”

“...I do. I make no promise about reducing our forces’... hostilities, toward your people.”

“I didn’t expect you could in any case,” I said.

As promised, we delivered Toth back to the surface, and secured his exit through the permanent webway gate.

“What did that even accomplish?” groused a Vol Militia commander after we left.

“Sowing seeds,” Sunstriker rumbled.

***
Toth walked out of another webway gate, hidden deep within another, very much larger and much more active Inquisitorial fortress. “Inspector-General Phaytes,” Toth saluted and bowed, “I am prepared to make my report; and also I submit to the mind probes, at any degree of intensity, considering my exposure to them.”

“So it shall be,” intoned Phaytes. “Tell me, though: do they present a threat to the Imperium?”

“Considering all I saw....” he paused to do so. “Yes. But not yet.”

“Then,” said Phaytes, “let the Inquiry begin.”


{Note: the next three chapters will be less plot more shooty.  O:-) }
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.