This scenario was inspired by a follower of the Corvus Cluster. Having expressed traitorous rhetoric against Imperial rule on Dar Sai (in a comment that followed a battle report), this follower was declared a traitor and heretic by Imperial authorities.
This inspired the creation of Lecia Athena (aka “Ath”), whose many crimes were announced in a wanted poster issued in mid-740.M41.
Recently, the Adeptus Arbites received information that Lecia was organizing a Tau-sanctioned guerilla unit to attack Imperial authority. (In fact, Lecia suggested some parameters for this mission as her introduction to the battlefield.)
In early 741.M41, an invading Tau force seeks to conquer the agri-moon of Dar Sai, which orbits a gas giant in the Sculptor System.
In the months since the Tau captured a major southern city, Port Aruna, the xenos have been pushing east toward the equally important city of Malifax. The Tau offensive is losing steam amidst the thick forests of the planet, but Imperial troops remain hard-pressed to hold back the xenos.
Imperial casualties have been heavy and, to replace front-line troops, military facilities behind the lines have been stripped to the bare minimum of personnel. One facility that is undermanned is a small weapons depot near the village of Aladra.
This is the target of Lecia and her followers, a group that they hope will one day grow into the 1st Gu’vesa Cadre of Dar-Sai—with Lecia, of course, as its commander.
For this scenario, we will use Shadow War: Armageddon. But the scenario will work just as well with Kill Team.
To fit our scenario design, we “fudged” the rules a bit: the Tau sympathizers were represented by a mix of Imperial Guard and Genestealer Cult hybrids. (The cultist stats are equivalent to conscripts, but their weapons and armor are inferior.)
As the depot guards are second-line PDF troops, only the sergeant and specialists are veteran guardsman. The rest are treated as regular guardsmen of a Astra Militarum Veteran Kill Team.
The following list is based on 1,000-point Kill Teams (under Shadow War rules). Make according adjustments to fit the rules you use.
Lecia Athena (x1)— Treat as a veteran Imperial Guard sergeant with shotgun, flak armor, frag grenades. Add +1 to Leadership for her inspirational fanaticism to her cause.
Guerillas (x7)—Treat as Neophyte Initiates (Genestealer Cult) with combat blades, mining suits,and autoguns. One guerilla will have blasting charges.
Guerilla Specialists (x2)—Treat as Neophyte Heavy Initiates with combat blades and mining suits. One specialist is armed with a heavy stubber; the other with a flamer.
• Veteran Sergeant with combat blade, flak armor, and lasgun.
• Guardsmen (7) with combat blades, flak armor, and lasguns. One guardsmen has frag grenades.
• Special Weapons Operatives (2) with combat blades and flak armor. One operative is armed with a heavy bolter; the other with a sniper rifle.
The battlefield is a small army depot surrounded by a massive forest. A 24–inch-in-diameter in the center of the game table should be largely open, but broken up by a series of tents, a ramshackle hut, a Chimera or Taurox, stacks of weapons crates, barrels, and other scatter terrain.
Beyond the depot, treat the terrain as if the guardsmen have been clearing an open kill zone, but one that they haven’t had time to complete. In a skirmish game, there needs to be cover for the combatants. So, this six-inch-wide zone should include some some cleared areas, there should still be the occasional brush, downed tree, rock formation, or other scatter.
The edges of the battlefield should be heavy woods.
We used a mix of “The Raid” and “Scavengers” scenarios. We can’t spell out all the special rules in the rule book (copyright issues), but we can offer you these guidelines:
• Imperial deployment. Deploy no more than half your guards on the table. The rest are off-board on patrol.
• Random guard movement: Until an alarm is sounded, the guards move in a random manner.
• Hidden movement. Create rules to allow the guerillas to “sneak around.” If the guerillas are not in LOS (behind cover or behind the guards), then no alarm is sounded.
• Sounding the alarm. Obviously if someone shoots a gun, the alarm is sounded (unless your rules allow for silencers). If you melee with someone, you must kill the guard or he will shout out an alarm. Also develop rules for “spotting” the attackers as they sneak up. (Guards have a 120-degree line of sight to the front.)
• Reinforcements. The turn after the alarm is sounded, bring reinforcements on randomly. Don’t let all the reinforcements arrive immediately (or all at the same time), but don’t make it too hard for reinforcements to show up. The battle may be over before they arrive.
• Seizing arms: Create rules to allow Athena’s forces to grab a gun cache and leave the table. Make the caches relatively easy to move, or Athena’s forces cannot win unless they capture the depot. (Which is a perfectly acceptable victory condition, but a grab-and-run strategy may be easier to achieve.)
• Vehicles: In our scenario, the vehicles (and weapons caches) were treated as terrain. We didn’t allow players to use the Chimera’s multi-laser or heavy bolter (obviously the vehicles were under repair).
• Morale: You need rules that allow the battle to end when either combatant fails its morale. In this scenario, you have second-line conscripts and amateur civilians fighting, so if either side loses one-third of its forces, it must make a “army” morale check every turn thereafter.
When one side “breaks,” the game ends. It’s assumed the losing side flees from the table, and the winner claims the battlefield.
The Imperial player deploys five objectives within the depot area . One objective is placed in the center of the depot; the other four are spread out within the circle, with no objective within 8″ of another.
The guerillas can win two ways: Leave the table with a minimum of three objectives—or go for the big win by breaking the other side’s morale. If the depot guards flee, the guerillas will have time to loot the entire depot.
The guardsmen win by denying the guerillas victory. The guards win big if they keep the guerillas from leaving the table with no objectives.
* * *
That’s about it. Don’t expect a 20-figure skirmish game to last much more than 30 minutes.
It may be over much quicker. As these are essentially conscript-quality troops, no one is too eager to endure heavy casualties. So some good shooting could end the game in as little as 10 minutes.
But that’s okay. Switch sides and play it again. I’d have to play this scenario a half dozen times to guarantee it’s balanced, so feel free to tweak the rules, set it up again, and give it another go.
Have fun. For example, why not give the guerillas an armor-piercing weapon, and let the guards jump use a vehicle in the fighting. Let Lecia set fires. Let someone find a cache of grenades and start tossing them about. Enjoy yourself.
We’ll soon write up a battle report of what “really happened” when Lecia Athena attacked the weapons depot.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.