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Birthday Spankings 2013:  Wolves and Tigers and Bears—Oh My! by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore
Shamshir Talatra dug his fingers into the stone of the crag he was climbing and pulled himself, Terminator armor and all, up onto an outcropping.

Below and behind him, his band of renegades was striking the camp they had been using for the last couple of weeks as they had searched for a piece of ancient archeotech that Inquisitor Varman Kumar had asked Shamshir to retrieve.  Ironically, just as his men had located what they thought might be the item, they had seen Imperial landing craft arrive, presumably in search of the same.  Depending how close the Imperials were would determine whether Shamshir and his men could attempt to take the item, and how quickly the renegades would have to flee with it.

As he climbed the last few feet to the top, where he would be able to see where the item sat, abandoned in an overgrown area that had been a city during the Age of Strife, he found himself face to snout with a large, snarling bear-like creature.

Shamshir fell back, raising his bolter, as Keric Quicbrand of the Space Wolves dismounted, hand raised. “Old friend,” the Wolf Lord said, “it has been too long since we last met. I see you have met my new friend, Arctos.”  He jerked his head back to indicate the bear, who did his part by growling.

“I cannot believe you allow yourself to be borne by such a beast,” Shamshir replied, regained his composure.  If the Space Wolves were the army described in the reports, there was a chance he and his men could get away without a battle.  He needed to play on the bonds of friendship between the Fighting Tigers and Space Wolves that apparently Keric still honored. 

The Wolf Lord handed Shamshir a small flask.  “This is eisvassa.  It’s not as flavorful as your spiced beer on Veda, but it gets the juices flowing.”  Shamshir took a drink and felt a cold, burning sensation as the liquid travelled down his throat.  As with all other Space Marines, the preomnor implanted in him during the Transformation filtered out any effects of the alcohol, so he only experienced the taste, scent, and feel of the drink.

“This seems a remote area for you to be travelling,” Shamshir said, handed back the flask.  “What brings you here?”

 Keric laughed and took a swig of the drink.  “Why, you do.  We had heard reports that you had gone rogue after your demotion, leading a group of Chaos scum.  We were skeptical and wanted to get firsthand proof, and so tracked you down by following sightings of ‘renegade Tiger Marines.’”

“We don’t –,” Shamshir started, fearing his chance for a clean getaway was gone.

“Save it, old friend,” Keric said, no longer smiling. He put away the flask, took a few steps back towards the bear. “My Scouts have seen the ghostlike figures amongst your army.  Even if you are not a servant to the Dark Powers, you have crossed a line.”

“You don’t understand,” Shamshir said.

“I understand well enough,” Keric said, mounting the bear.  “I understand that it’s only a matter of time for you.  You think you control the monsters under you, but you don’t.  Not really.  Eventually, either they will kill you, or you’ll have to cross more lines to keep their obedience.

“Consider what’s to come,” Keric continued, “as a training exercise, like the ones we used to have together.  Except this time, we will be using live ammunition.  I’ll give you enough time to rejoin your force, and then we’ll come.”

“This isn’t necessary,” Shamshir insisted.

“Yes, I’m afraid it is,” Keric replied.  The Wolf Lord turned his mount and disappeared down the other side of the hill.

 Shamshir sighed and began the climb back down the other side. 

Every April, my buddy Pat and I use his birthday as an excuse to get together for a game of 40K. This year, we thought we’d trot out his tried-and-true Space Wolves up against my Fearful Symmetry renegades, who aren’t evil but still use the latest version of the Chaos Space Marine codex.  Follow along and let’s see what happened, eh?

Fearful Symmetry: 1997 points  by Kenton Kilgore
This army was formed by the disgraced former Fighting Tiger Shamshir Talatra, and uses several figures from my collection of Stripeypants, heavily supplemented by “rakshasas” (malevolent supernatural beings of Hindu myth) and “Ghost Tygers” (benevolent supernatural beings of my invention).  For many years, I counted the “rakshasas” and “Ghost Tygers” as Daemons, but there was no way I was going to pay $50 for the new codex to use with an Allied detachment to an army I play maybe twice a year.  So now, the former Daemons are units from Codex: Spikey Bad–Guy Marines, like so:

  • Shamshir Talatra. Counts as Chaos Lord w/ Terminator armor, power weapon, combi-bolter, Mark of Khorne, combat familiar
  • Squad Rudra.  Counts as 10 Chaos Space Marines, including one w/ flamer and one w/ melta-gun
  • Lesser Rakshasa Pack #1.  Counts as 20 Khorne Berzerkers, including Champion w/ power weapon
  • Lesser Rakshasa Pack #2.  Counts as 20 Khorne Berzerkers, including Champion w/ power weapon
  • Greater Rakshasa Pack.  Counts as 7 Possessed Marines, including Champion w/ gift of mutation
  • Ghost Tygers.  Count as 5 Warp Talons, including Champion w/ gift of mutation
  • Squad Agni.  Counts as 5 Havocs, including two w/ lascannons, one w/ missile launcher, one w/ autocannon 
  • Bronze Tyger.  Counts as Forgefiend w/ ectoplasmic cannon and two Hades autocannons
  • Bronze Tyger.  Counts as Forgefiend w/ ectoplasmic cannon and two Hades autocannons

My force is a hopefully-balanced mix of shooty and close-combat units.  The army is not terrible mobile (which fits its theme as a ragtag-collection of washouts, raw recruits, and reformed turncoats scraping by as best they can), but I knew the Wolves were bringing the fight to me, anyway—Pat doesn’t do “stand-back-and-shoot” with them.  I expected a lot of action in the Assault Phases, and hopefully, my ex-Tigers would be able to go toe-to-toe with the sons of Fenris.

Keric Quicbrand’s Great Company: 2002 points  by Patrick Eibel
When we first planned this game, Kenton and I were both going to play Chaos warbands to try out the (relatively) new codex.  It quickly became apparent, however, that our Chaos army lists were very similar.  To change things up I opted to bring Space Wolves, and to make things really different I tried to focus on units that Chaos just can’t get.  Here is my list:

  • Wolf Lord Keric Quicbrand. Two wolf claws, belt of Russ, thunderwolf mount, 2 Fenrisian wolves
  • Rune Priest Harald Torvald. Psychic powers: Stormcaller and Living Lightning
  • Grey Hunter Pack Jormundgandr (# 1). 9 Grey Hunters, including 1 w/ meltagun, 1 w/ wolf standard; in a Drop Pod transport. (Rune Priest attached here)
  • Grey Hunter Pack Sigmar (# 2). 10 Grey Hunters, including 2 w/ plasma guns, 1 w/ plasma pistol; in a Drop Pod transport
  • Grey Hunter Pack Gylfi (# 3). 10 Grey Hunters, including 2 w/ plasma guns, 1 w/ Mark of the Wulfen; in a Drop Pod transport
  • Grey Hunter Pack Skrymir (# 4). As Grey Hunter Pack Gylfi
  • The Bear Riders of Krom.  4 Thunderwolf Cavalry, including 1 w/ wolf claw and storm shield, 2 w/ storm shields
  • Fenrisian Wolf Pack. 14 wolves
  • Land Speeder Squadron Valkyrie. 2 Land Speeders w/ multi-meltas
  • Long Fang Pack Aesir. 5 Long Fangs, including 3 w/ missile launchers, 1 w/ plasma cannon
  • Long Fang Pack Venir. 5 Long Fangs, including 3 w/ missile launchers, 1 w/ lascannon

I recently expanded my Thunderwolf riders to four plus the Wolf Lord, so I was eager to try them out.  Since I knew Kenton’s Khorne-pokes would want to get close, I tried to being lots of plasma weapons to thin his guys out before they got to strike.  The Long Fangs were for some much-needed long-range support, the Speeders were there to deal with the ubiquitous Forgefiends, and the Fenris Wolves were just for fun and to look cool running alongside the bears.

Set-Up
We played at Pat’s house on a 4' x 8' table Pat had set up ahead of time.  We rolled up Warlord Traits and Pat got “Target Priority” for Keric.  Much more useful, we agreed, was “Black Crusader” for Shamshir (from Codex: Chaos Space Marines), which would give all friendly units within 12" of him Preferred Enemy against Space Marines.

I rolled for the gifts of mutation that I had purchased, and with a “13,” I received nothing for the leader of the Greater Rakshasas (Possessed).  The chief Ghost Tyger (Warp Talon) was more fortunate, coming up with +1 Toughness.

We rolled for mission (“The Relic”) and deployment (“Dawn of War,” with darkness falling later in the game).  We also diced for table side, and I won, choosing the one with the tall bastion (with non-functional guns, of course, as I had not bought any fortifications).  Accordingly, I deployed first, with all of my units within 12" of Shamshir so as to benefit from Preferred Enemy.  I jammed my Lesser Rakshasas (Khorne Berzerkers) up on the edge of my deployment zone to make a charge for the objective in the center of the table.  I put Squad Agni (Havocs) in the bastion on my left flank, Squad Rudra (Chaos Space Marines) in the ruins on my right, with the Greater Rakshasas (Possessed) behind them—I had seen Pat’s Drop Pods, and knew there would be company calling.  I put the Ghost Tygers (Warp Talons) behind the Lesser Rakshasas and the Bronze Tygers (Forgefiends) behind them to provide fire.

 

Pat deployed Wolf Lord Keric and his Thunder…bear Cavalry behind some trees, along with his Fenris Wolves.  He put his Long Fangs and his Land Speeders on his right flank, across from my Havocs.  Pat attempted to seize the initiative, failed, and off we went.

 

Turn 1
With the exception of Squad Agni, my army advanced, with Shamshir, my Lesser Rakshasas, and the Ghost Tygers going towards the objective.  Squad Rudra moved to better firing positions in the ruins, and the Greater Rakshasas followed.  Agni and the Bronze Tygers fired on one pack of Long Fangs, killing two (they were in a bunker).  Squad Rudra had a bead on the Fenris Wolves, and they shot two of them dead.

On Pat’s turn, two of his Drop Pods arrived, one of them behind my lines, the other right in front, near the relic.  The Fenris Wolves, Thunderbears, and Land Speeders advanced, with the vehicles firing their multi-meltas at the closer Bronze Tyger, knocking off a Hull Point, though the Forgefiend’s daemonic possession shrugged off the “shaken” result.  A missile launcher from a Long Fang took out another Hull Point, however.  Hmmm.

More worrisome was the Grey Hunter pack behind my lines, which deployed from its Drop Pod and fired into my other Bronze Tyger from behind, wrecking it by knocking off 3 Hull Points with their melta gun and rapid-firing bolters.  Rude.

 

More fire from Long Fangs killed one of my lascannons guys and the dude with the autocannon in Squad Agni.  The other Grey Hunter pack and its Drop Pod fired into Lesser Rakshasa Pack #1, killing 4.  Alas for them, I had 16 left, plus Shamshir. The Thunderbears failed to make a charge against Lesser Rakshasa Pack #2, but the Fenris Wolves reached the Ghost Tygers.  The scrap took out 6 Wolves but killed all Tygers.  Keric’s crew had definitely come to take names and kick ass.

Turn 2
All righty, then.  On my turn, my surviving Bronze Tyger regenerated a Hull Point thanks to the It Will Not Die ability.  Squad Rudra fired on the first Grey Hunter pack, the one that had waxed my other Bronze Tyger, and three sons of Fenris went back to Valhalla (no, not the planet where the pseudo-Soviet IG run around in their tacky-ass long coats).  Shamshir and Lesser Rakshasa Pack #1 shot at the second Grey Hunter squad, killing four of them.  The Bronze Tyger unloaded its Hades autocannons at the Thunderbears, dropping one, and Lesser Rakshasa Pack #2 took out another.

Grey Hunter Pack #2 evidently didn’t like the chili Shamshir and crew were serving, because they fell back out of charging range.  Grey Hunter Pack #1 snap-fired in vain at the Greater Rakshasas as the Tiger Men from Hell charged.  The leader challenged the Rune Priest with the pack, and they slew each other simultaneously.  The Rakshasas killed four, thanks to the vorpal weapons they rolled up at the beginning of the fight, and the Hunters killed one and hung around to keep swinging next turn. 

 

Lesser Rakshasa Pack #2 charged Keric and the TBears, with the leader of the TigerDudes challenging Keric and losing embarrassingly for his presumption.  However, the rest of the pack inflicted 37 Wounds on the Thunderbears, killing all of them.  Keric and the Rakshasas formed up to keep fighting.

On Pat’s turn, his other two Drop Pods arrived, right around the relic, and Grey Hunters spilled out to menace Shamshir and Lesser Rak Pack 1.  They rapid-fired, killing 9 Raks and losing one of their own from plasma gun feedback.   

 

The Land Speeders fired on my Bronze Tyger, immobilizing it and knocking off a Hull Point.  The Long Fangs fired on it as well, to no effect, though their plasma cannon did frappe the missile launcher guy from Squad Agni (hooray for split fire). 

 

The Fenris Wolves charged Lesser Rak Pack #2, who ignored them, throwing everything at Keric after he killed four of them first.  The Raks wounded Keric 10 times, but he only suffered one, making all his other saves.  The Fenris Wolves killed four Tigermen, and the fight continued.

Grey Hunter Pack #2 charged Shamshir and his Rak pals: Team Chaos killed three and Team Wolf killed one.  The Grey Hunters retreated 5".  Elsewhere, the Greater Rakshasas and their vorpal claws polished off the last of Grey Hunter Pack #1, though they lost three of their own (ouch!).

Turn 3
At the start of my turn, the Bronze Tyger regenerated another Hull Point, and was now only down one.  Seeing as how it could not turn to target the Land Speeders, my tigerbot returned fire on the Long Fangs, killing three from Pack #2.  Squad Rudra let it rip against Grey Hunter Pack #3, gunning down four of them.  Shamshir and his Lesser Rakshasas fired on Grey Hunter Pack #4, killing one.

Shamshir and crew then charged, losing a proxied Berzerker to Overwatch fire.  While Shamshir did fine hitting, he rolled four “2’s” to wound, and only killed one Grey Hunter.  No matter: his backups hacked up four Grey Hunters while only losing one of their own.  Grey Hunters threw 10 Attacks at Shamshir, but he easily shrugged off all their hits.  The Hunters lost their nerve and fell back 3".

Meanwhile, the two remaining Greater Rakshasas charged GH Pack #3, again rolling “vorpal weapons.”  Four Hunters dropped, as did one Possessed Marine, and though the Hunters tried to fall back, they were caught and the fight continued.  Elsewhere, Keric hack-n-slashed another four Lesser Rakshasas, a Fenris Wolf killed another, and the tigerheads did skadoosh against Keric.

On Pat’s turn, one of the Grey Hunters from Pack #4 had the cajones to pick up the relic, which made him Target Numero Uno to Senor Shamshir.  The Land Speeders swooped behind the Bronze Tyger and fired, easily kersploding it.  Drop Pods and Grey Hunters fired on Squad Rudra and Shamshir’s bunch, which resulted in two Lesser Rakshasas being killed.

In the Assault Phase, Keric kept on keeping on, killing the last three Lesser Rakshasas from that bunch and then sweeping towards the middle of the board.  The last Greater Rakshasa killed one Grey Hunter from Pack #3, leaving one Imperial left from that unit.

 

Turn 4
Squad Agni’s lascannon knocked a Wound off Keric and Squad Rudra unloaded their bolters on him, dropping the Wolf Lord.  Shamshir and his sole surviving Lesser Rakshasa charged GH Pack #4: Shamshir had 7 Attacks, but only hit once.  The last Rak and GH killed each other, leaving no one with the relic.  Not far away, the last Greater Rakshasa and member of GH Pack #3 continued to grapple, with neither gaining the upper hand.

 

On Pat’s turn, the Land Speeders vaporized Shamshir as the Fenris Wolves rushed to engage Squad Rudra.  Long Fangs, Drop Pods, and unengaged Grey Hunters fired on Rudra, killing three of them.

The Fenris Wolves charged Squad Rudra and lost four to Overwatch fire—stay, Fido, stay!  The last two made it into close combat and got clubbed by boltgun butts and knives—lie down, Fido, lie down!  The lone Greater Rakshasa and his GH playmate continued to tussle.

Turn 5
I rolled, and the Night Fighting rules took effect (big whoop, at this point).  Squad Rudra advanced to pick up the relic, then fired on the two guys left from Grey Hunter Pack #2, killing one of them.  Squad Agni fired on the Speeders, shaking one.  The last Hunter from Pack #3 killed the last Greater Rakshasa, winning himself extra Ikea meatballs for dinner. On Pat’s turn, his forces—Speeders, Long Fangs, Drop Pods, Grey Hunters—fired everything they had at Squad Rudra, killing 4 out of 7, and forcing the Stripeypants to drop the relic and fall back.       

Turn 6
I had a slim chance left: if I could rally, my guys could storm back and take the relic, and hopefully I could weather Pat’s fire.  Alas, my guys bricked their attempt to regroup, and continued falling back (“Hey, if the Swedish Chef Chapter wants the darn thing so bad, they can have it”).  Pat’s guys closed in and claimed the prize—and the game.

Final Score
Keric Quicbrand’s Great Company: 5 Victory Points
Fearful Symmetry: 1 Victory Point

Post-Game Analysis  by Patrick Eibel
As is usual with games between Kenton and me, this one was close and bloody.  Space Wolves are every bit the match for an assault-oriented Chaos force.  I was really impressed with my guys’ ability to hang in close combat, and with the Possessed Marines, who seemed to get a lot of vorpal attacks on my good-guys. 

I was also impressed with the Thunderwolf Cavalry, but only up to a point.  They make themselves such a target that it is hard for them to make back their points (though Keric did in spades.)  My Overwatch shooting accounted for few casualties.  Plasma and bolt weapons are hard to rely on when being charged, but flamers really rock (the Fenrisian Wolves are still licking their singed fur.) 

This game was so close, it literally came down to one or two guys claiming the objective at the end, which is all you can ask for an afternoon of gaming,

 

Post-Game Analysis  by Kenton Kilgore
Bah!  Pat’s being much too gracious.  I played like crap, and only some decent dice rolls (and Pat and I botching a rule) kept the game as close as it was. 

I completely mis-used the Warp Talons, and got them killed for not much gain.  I should have Deep Struck them in between the Long Fangs to possibly Blind them, or at least give them something else to shoot at besides my Forgefiends.  The Fiends should have made the Speeders their #1 target, as their multi-meltas were the greatest threat.  Squad Agni should have been better positioned so that more of them had angles of fire. 

For the most part, my dice rolls were good, bolstered by Shamshir’s Preferred Enemy ability.  Shamshir himself was craptastic in fights, with lots of bad rolls: I need to arm him better to make him as fearsome as Keric, who was killing four guys every Assault Phase.  Khorne Berzerkers on the charge are fearsome, but the Space Wolves had the grit to hang in there and wear them down.

The rule we blew was allowing me to shoot at Keric after he had waded through Lesser Rak Pack #2 and was on his way to fight for the relic.  I failed to notice that Keric was within 2” of the Fenris Wolves, so automatically, he had joined them.  I’m sure there was no way, given how depleted my force was by that point, that I would have been able to shoot all the Fenris Wolves and bring him down before he got to the center of the board and hacked up any Stripeypants he found there.  I only realized this after the game, and I apologized to Pat; fortunately, it had no bearing on the outcome of the game, as the better army (and the better man) had won.

Obviously, I need more practice.  Pat, let’s get together again soon for a rematch….  

Carrying a narrow, sealed metal container, Rune Priest Harald Torvald went to where the men had propped Wolf Lord Keric Quicbrand against the remains of a wall. Though Harald’s head was bandaged, it was his pride that had suffered most, when a blow from the Greater Rakshasa’s champion had knocked him senseless just as he had caved in the monster’s chest with his own strike.

An ordinary human could not hope to survive even a single wound from an exploding bolt shell, but Keric had survived two—but then, Keric was extraordinary even for a Space Wolf.  “Tell me that’s the little pieces of Shamshir Talatra’s skull you have in that canister,” Keric growled to Harald, as the medi-thralls worked to mend him and his ursine mount, Arctos, similarly wounded by bolters.

“No, I can’t,” Harald said. “All at once, before we could gather prisoners or strip the dead, the entire enemy fighting force simply disappeared right before us, gone…who knows where.”

Keric grunted.  “We’ll assume he lives, then,” the Wolf Lord decided, “and resume our hunt.  So what is that you have?”

“Looks like nothingmore than a message-tube,” Harald said, “but Shamshir, his daemons, and his renegades were intent on having it. Shall I?”

 Keric nodded, and Harald twisted off the cap of the tube with some difficulty, even for his superhuman strength.  He held out a hand, tipped the canister with the other.  A small crystal figurine, in the rough shape of a man, fell into Harald’s palm.

“What is that?” Keric asked.

 Harald dropped the canister, turned the figurine over in his hands.  “I…I don’t know.”  He closed his eyes, concentrated, let the power of the Warp fill him.  Looked at it with his witch sight.

What appeared to normal eyes to be merely crudely-carved crystal was, viewed psychically, a humanoid of inky darkness, dotted here and there by what seemed to be tiny stars.  It was no hunk of inanimate rock: it was alive, sentient, filled with hatred.  It shrieked inside his head, and the anger and cruelty and malice that it bombarded Harald with staggered him almost as badly as the blow from the Rakshasa.  Harald reeled…

…and then his years of training as a Rune Priest saved him, drove the hateful keening from his mind.  He severed the psychic connection between himself and this hell-doll, snapped open his physical eyes.  Threw the figurine to the ground and smashed it beneath his armored boots until it was powder.

“Whatever it was, it was best, that none should have it,” Harald said.. 

 
Posted  May 2013
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain  <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle