A Warlord Escapes
As the PDF advanced through the ruins, the fighting became more intense—and intimate. The Kastelan Robots used their incendine combustors to good effect, driving the mutant defenders back, but elsewhere, the mutants rushed forward in suicidal charges, forcing Imperial troops to engage in hand-to-hand combat.
The worst fighting occurred in a tall building in the corner of the ruins. There, the mutant leader commanded the defense, and a Sgt. Karim Zamani led a squad into the building. The fighting was intense, with guns fired at point-blank range, grenades exploding in confined spaces, and men killing one another with rifle butts, bayonets, and bare hands.
In the end, Sgt. Zamani and his squad were killed. The only survivor of the fight was the mutant warlord, later determined to a Chakir Suleiman, who leapt from a second-floor window and landed outside the walls of the ruins. He fled across the desert and joined a mob of 300 mutants who later charged the Skitarii and annihilated them.
The final drama of the ruins came when three mutant walkers, apparently a form of power armor built from industrial parts, broke through the front gate of the ruins and charged the Kastelan Robots. Using their power fists to good effect, the automatons quickly ended the threat—and the ruins were in Imperial hands.
Although the 1st Company had consolidated its hold on the ruins, it was in danger of being encircled. As just noted, the warlord Suleiman led a mob of mutants against the Skitarii and destroyed the unit. The mutants moved forward, taking control of the ground to the east of the ruins.
To the north, the huge mutant armored vehicle dominated the landscape, firing its autocannons at any Imperial target of note. To the west, the mutant Ridgeriders were threatening the flank of the Onagers.
The mutant ambush to the south, aimed at the heavy bolter squad and 3rd Company, had been halted for a time by disciplined volleys. But mutant reinforces swelled the rebels’ numbers, and in their third assault of the Imperial line, they broke through. Lt. Col. Hamzah, having just wrested the ruins from the mutants, now found himself forced to give the order to withdraw.
March or Die
The 1st Company managed to maintain firing ranks as it withdrew. One rank would fire, then fall back 50 meters behind the next rank that was firing. By leapfrogging in this manner, the company was able to keep the mutants at bay as it moved south.
For the 2nd and 3rd Companies, having lost key officers and NCOs, the withdraw quickly became a rout. Many troopers ran without regard to formation, and some even threw aside their weapons as they ran.
These soldiers were easy prey to the mutants, particularly Atalan Jackals and Ridgeriders. Soldiers were not just killed but scalped, mutilated, beheaded, or tied as living trophies to the hulls of vehicles.
After an hour, the mutants appeared to lose interest in the fleeing Imperial troops. By this point, Lt. Col. Hamzah was wounded but managed to organize the remnants of 2nd and 3rd Companies into a converged company, and he led his devastated command south to the village of Oukaimeden, just south of the Thar Basin.
++ End Report + +
Imperial Victory Points: 1 objective, 3 v.p.; First Blood, 1 v.p. = 4 v.p.
Mutant Victory Points: 1 Objective, 3 v.p.; Slay the Warlord, 1 v.p.; Linebreaker, 1 v.p. = 5 v.p.
Mutant Minor Victory
TheGM: The tabletop game was a bit closer than this report suggests. But the end result was the same: The mutants were clearly the winners. The only hope for the Imperials was to book it.
I am very impressed with Kastelan Robots. Their incendine combustors were devastating against infantry. But the real killer of the game was the Cult Ambush rule of the Genestealers (err, I mean mutants). Having troops just pop up next to you can really throw off the best last plains of an opponent.
The ambush rules really capture the desert guerilla warfare that I was seeking. The mutants clearly are experts at moving unseen through the desert, and this ability compensates well for their less extensive array of weaponry.
This mini-campaign is going to be really interesting.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.