“You dare to claim this world? It was ours when your ancestors still lived in the trees. You are vermin, an irritating infestation that must be exterminated.“—Rohotep, Overlord of Dryllia and vassal of the Sautekh Dynasty.
Tophet is a lightly populated, industrialized world on the eastern (rimward) edge of the Corvus Cluster, not far from the Dryillian and Stigmata systems. Tophet is noted for abundant mineral resources, fertile agricultural regions, several sizable metropolitan areas, and a population of approximately 150 million.
Communications with the planet were lost in late 737.M41 (three years ago), but Imperial authorities eventually managed to receive intermittent astropathic messages some months ago. What they learned was that a cybernetic xeno species [Classification: Necrons] have invaded—with enemy troops arriving from out of their system but also rising up from below the planet’s surface.
Apparently, Tophet originally was a Necron-held world and, unknown to the Imperial authorities, long-dormant xeno crypts were buried beneath the planet’s surface. Now, the Necrons are awakening and want their world back.
Since the Necron’s initial attack, Tophet’s Planetary Defense Force (PDF) has managed to fight the xenos to a stalemate. Alas, Imperial reinforcements have not arrived, as military forces in the Corvus Cluster are simply spread too thin, and Tophet’s strategic value falls short compared to other battlefields.
It is not known if the Necrons are aware of the Imperium’s unwillingness to commit military assets to Tophet. But, on 6 360 740.M41, the xenos took advantage of the lack of Imperial support to launch a new offensive.
IMPERIAL FORCES (approximately 2,300)
- Company Command Squad, with Chimera
- Platoon Command Squads (2), with heavy bolters
- Tank Commander Pask, with Vanquisher tank
- Ministorum Priests (2), one with veterans, one with Bullgryns
- Infantry Squads (6), with flamers
- Bullgryns (3), with grenadier gauntlets and slabshields.
- Special Weapons Squads (2), two flamers and one meltagun each
- Veteran Squad, with Chimera, heavy flamer, two flamers
- Primaris Psyker (1), divination specialty
- Lemon Russ Battle Tanks (2)
- Punisher Tank
- Hydra anti-air vehicle
- Valkyrie, with lascannon and missile pods
- Lightning fighter, with long-barreled autogun, twin-linked lascannon
NECRON FORCES (approximately 2300 points)
- Overlord, with Command Barge, warscythe
- Cryptek, with staff of light
- Immortals (5), with gauss blasters
- Warriors Squads (3 x 10), with gauss flayers
- Lychguard (5), with hyperphase swords and dispersion shields
- Canoptek Wraiths (3)
- Destroyers (4)
- Tomb Blades (3)
- Triarch Stalker, heat ray
- Annihilation Barge, with telsa cannon, twin-linked telsa destructor
- Ghost Ark
- Doomsday Ark, with doomsday cannon
- Night Scythe, with twin-linked telsa destructor
- Doom Scythe, with death ray, twin-linked telsa destructor
TheGM: This was a solo game, and I had the Necrons set up first. Putting on my cybernetic hat, I placed my three objectives in a line across my deployment zone. This would force the Imperials to come to me if they wanted sufficient victory points to win. In theory, I could simply sit back and shoot—or be aggressive and advance, delaying them so they could not threaten the objectives I already held.
Giving up the initiative didn’t appeal to me. I wanted my Imperial counterpart to be afraid to devote everything to an attack. So, as I had tougher troops with better weaponry, I put two squads of Warriors, the Lychguard, and the Wraiths on the side of the table where there was an Imperial objective in some building ruins.
That would influence the Imperial deployment, as would placing a Triarch Stalker and Tomb Blades on the opposite flank.
Donning my Imperial hat, I realized I would have to attack, as the Neurons already controlled more objectives than I did. So I put my armor in the center of the table, supported by several squads of infantry.
Two squads, a platoon command squad, and my Sentinels went to one flank to defend one objective, and possibly advance along the weaker Necron flank. Noting the strong attack forces in the buildings on the “west” flank, I put two squads of infantry and a platoon command squad in the building with the objective—and positioned a veteran squad in a Chimera and two special weapons squads nearby, where the troops could support my armor or the building.
Necrons Turn One
Two squads of Warriors, the Lychguard, and the Wraiths stand in a ruined building in the northwest corner of the battlefield. To the south is an Imperial-held objective. This entire force advances out of the ruins to seize that objective.
From the center of the table, a squad of Destroyers and the Annihilation Barge leave the center of the Necron deployment zone and race to support this attack.
Along the rest of the deployment zone, the xenos are content to stay in place and engage in long-range fire with the Imperials. The Doomsday Ark targets Commander Pask’s Vanquisher tank but misses.
Imperial Turn One
Facing the Necrons for the first time, the Imperial commander suddenly becomes cautious. On the west flank, Imperial troops opt to remain out of sight. As tempting as it would be to fire at the xenos as they march across open ground, the platoon commander is afraid of exposing himself to the superior Necron weapons, even when his troops are in cover.
In the center, Pask and his heavy tank platoon advance slowly. All tanks target the Doomsday Ark, but none of their shots strike home. One shot from a battle cannon scatters and strikes the Ghost Ark, but the shell fails to penetrate the vehicle’s quantum shielding.
Necron Turn Two
Three Tomb Blades and the Triarch Stalker leave the cover of a shanty and probe the east flank of the Imperial Guard.
In the center, a Doom Scythe joins the battle, strafing Pask’s Vanquisher tank and destroying it. The Necrons claim “First Blood.”
On the west flank, the Necron infantry continue their advance on the Imperial-held building. They take fire from the nearby Chimera armored transport that is positioned near the road. The Command Barge and Destroyers continue to race across open ground in order to join the advance.
Diving from the clouds, a Night Scythe arrives to support this advance. It targets the Platoon Command Squad in the building. The squad’s heavy bolter team is killed.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.