Armies of the Jungle: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions

In this series, we showcase armies used by your humble Jungle Guides.  By detailing how the army was collected, how the background and color schemes were developed, and how the army is used on the battlefield, we hope that this series will provide inspiration for those interested in collecting similar armies.

“I was promised a thousand and one yellow daffodils—and yet, there are none,” Archon Syryx Lynatharr said.  He turned to Dr. Jheste, his advisor.  “Why is that?”

“As you can see, Your Magnificence,” the Haemonculus replied, extending an arm, “the city is on fire.”

Indeed, everywhere, the towering, barbed spires of Commorragh were engulfed in flames, both natural—yellow, orange, and red—and supernatural—purple, blue, green.  From high above, an explosion, and the screams of the burning and dying, and the barking laughter of daemons. 

Clutching their splinter rifles a bit tighter, a few of the silver-helmeted Kabalite Warriors guarding Lynatharr and Jheste nervously glanced up, even as thousands of their comrades scrambled through the rippling, gaping tear in reality that was allowing them to return, at last, to the Dark City.

“Don’t make excuses,” Lynatharr snapped, clacking his pincers.  Not long ago, he had obtained a talisman of substantial Warp power that had, with the proper ancient incantations, transmorphed him into a bizarre, centauroid fusion of Drukhari and giant scorpion. 

Lynatharr had noticed that in addition to securing greater obedience from his troops by their sheer horror at his ghastly appearance, his wits had settled considerably.  He was now less prone to the frenzied mood swings and nonsensical ravings that had plagued him since his mind snapped during centuries of incarceration—alive, conscious, but immobile and incommunicado—inside a stasis chamber in an Adeptus Astartes fortress.  Not, to be sure, that he was going to reveal this improvement to Jheste or any of the other Dark Eldar he commanded.

At his other side, Eklavdrah, one of his fiercest fighters, whom he had recently elevated to Dracon.  “Chaos, here in Commorragh,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief.  She looked past Lynatharr, to Jheste.  “How can this be happening?  Has Vect been deposed?”

“He has not,” growled Dr’zzllah, Lynatharr’s daughter, pushing her way through the soldiers ringing him.  “So I have learned, at some cost.” 

She pointed her glaive, spattered with daemon ichor and the blood of rival Drukhari, at Jheste.  “His lies have led us into ruin, Father. There is only so long that my Handmaidens can hold back the Bloodletters that assail this sector—and the Black Heart Kabal who are counterattacking them.  Once Vect hears of us, the rest of our lives will be measured in minutes.”

As if to accentuate her point, squadrons of Voidraven bombers and Razorwing fighters screeched past overhead, cannons and missiles flashing like hundreds of bolts of lightning, briefly turning the sky from eternal dark into brilliant day.  Not far away, dozens of daemon-infested towers exploded, the ground beneath the feet of Lynatharr and the others quivering as burning chunks of the buildings toppled and crashed.

“It is true,” Jheste admitted to Lynatharr, “that there are no daffodils, yellow or otherwise, and there never were. For that prevarication, I do deeply apologize.”

“You are not forgiven,” Lynatharr snarled.

“It is also true that Khaine’s Gate is broken, and that the invasion of Chaos into the Dark City affords us the perfect opportunity to make our return, and establish a base of operations.”

“Here, in the slums?” hissed Dr’zzllah. “I am—”

“You are my most-favored concubine,” Lynatharr assured her, “so I know that you will accompany me wherever I go.  And I choose to go here.”  He turned back to the Haemonculus.  “Yet, my daughter has a point.  If Vect fends off the daemons and regains control of the city, what then?”

“He will first have to find us,” Jheste replied, “and we will lair deep in the warrens beneath our feet, secreted by this.” He held up a glittering crystal figurine of a man, twin to the one that Lynatharr had claimed and used, and still kept on his person.

“Where did you get that?” Dr’zzllah demanded.    

“Somewhere impossible. And, perhaps, it can do the impossible for us.”

Lynatharr grinned, a thousand thin needles. 

Introduction

I started collecting Dark Eldar (now known as Drukhari) in 1998, when the 3rd Edition 40K boxed set hit the stores.  I love them because they’re the 41st Millennium’s equivalent to the Drow, some of my favorite monsters of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

They’ve always been a challenge to play—especially before 2010, when they finally got a new, upgraded codex with plenty of options to make them competitive—but I’ve stuck with them.  They’re zippy, they’re killy, they have lots of dirty tricks up their barbed sleeves, and with a little work, you can make them very distinctive.  Here’s what I did with mine.

Modeling and Painting

My army started with the 20 plastic Dark Eldar figures that came with the 3rd Edition boxed set, and many of my friends gave me those that came with theirs.

A lot of DE armies (especially the Death Twinkies first came out) have what I call “long underwear scheme” of one color (often black) for the body, and another for the helmet: boring!  I was inspired by the villainous Dallas Cowboys American football team to put my guys in blue and silver.

Also, when possible, I try to incorporate scorpions into the army’s visual theme.  Accordingly, the Archon Syryx Lynatharr model is a Scorpion Man from Reaper Miniatures.  It’s a fantasy figure, but I think it works perfectly well, and is appropriately menacing.  This mini ties in with my Grotesques, represented by Giant Scorpion models also from Reaper.

The original, 3rd Edition Talos model resembled a giant mechanical scorpion, so to fit the theme, I included three in my army.  My Cronos Parasite Engine a Scorponok toy (based off the first Transformers movie) from a McDonald’s Happy Meal.  Laugh or sneer (or both) all you want, but it was better than paying $46 for it. Plus, it was very easy to paint (and the cheeseburger was yummy).

Each of my Raiders has its guns mounted curling over the craft, as if it were a scorpion’s sting at the end of its tail.  My Reavers (kitbashed from Goody Two-Shoe Eldar Guardian Jetbikes) also have “tails.”

I knew as soon as I started this army that I would paint them like the Drow, with jet-black skin, and white hair.  It took me a while to get the look right: I highlighted the skin with blue; added silver to the hair to give it definition; and switched from silver eyes to red to make them pop.

A few years back, my friend Patrick gave me some Mandrakes, but given as how the Scorpions are dark-skinned, he thought he’d do the reverse and paint them as albinos.

Fluffwise, it doesn’t really work, as Mandrakes are supposed to be creatures of shadow, but as anyone who’s ever seen my female Space Marines knows, I happily disregard the fluff when the opportunity for a cool paint job or conversion comes along.  Pat has a very natural painting style, in marked contrast to my “cartoony” efforts.  I really like how the faces are deliberately poorly-defined: it makes them more mysterious and creepy.

Finally, bases.  As an amateur astronomer, it tickles me to no end to see the bases of 40K figures covered in green grass or yellow sand, two very Earthlike features that would probably be hard to find throughout the galaxy.  I cover the bases of my Scorps in sand, then paint over them in shades of blue to represent a cobalt/ammonium desert where the Kabal kept a secret base after being exiled from Commorragh.

Background

Syryx Lynatharr and the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions lost a power struggle against Asdrubael Vect’s Kabal of the Black Heart, and fled the Dark City.

The Ozone Scorpions wandered through the galaxy, always staying one step ahead of their many enemies, until they came to the planet Veda.  Lynatharr and his followers found it ridiculously easily to enslave the primitive human population, and exploit the world’s great natural wealth.

Their reign of terror lasted for a thousand years, until the complacent Scorpions were surprised and routed by a new Space Marine Chapter, the Fighting Tigers.  Many of the Scorpions managed to flee into the nearby Maelstrom, but the Tigers imprisoned Syryx Lynatharr, alive and conscious, in a stasis chamber.

Eight hundred years later, during the attack on Veda by the Warband Bloodcomet, the stasis chamber was damaged and Lynatharr escaped.  His sanity had snapped under his long confinement, but he found the remnants of his kabal, and reasserted his rule.

Exposure to radiation and warp energy deep within the Maelstrom has mutated the Scorpions, turning their skin jet black, their eyes burning red, and their hair silvery-white.  Their eyes are sensitive to light, so they prefer to fight at night.  Their very touch withers plants and drains the life from animals.

For a while after Lynatharr reasserted his rule, the Scorpions merely conducted raids on various targets, with some success.  Once he felt his forces were ready, Lynatharr ordered them to retake Tharalon, their ancient subterranean city on Veda, while the majority of the Fighting Tigers were off-planet during the First Crusade for Auros IX.

Space Wolves under Ferin Ironhammer repelled the Dark Eldar, but Lynatharr accomplished his secret goal: to recover a crystal figurine of great but mysterious power from beneath the Scorpions’ ancient city there.

Using the figurine, Lynatharr escaped certain death in the final battle against the Wolves, then freed his daughter/concubine Dr’zzllah from interdimensional imprisonment inflicted upon her by Vect.

Assisted by the Haemonculus Dr. Jheste, Lynatharr used the figurine to deliberately mutate himself into a loathsome combination of scorpion and Dark Eldar.  What else the figurine can do—and what else Lynatharr will do with it—remains to be seen.

Lynatharr and Dr’zzllah are intent on acquiring more figurines: she led her followers against the Sisters of Mercy and against a Kult of Speed to obtain others in the hope of gaining sufficient power to overthrow her father.  Lynatharr is aware of her treachery, however, and actually seems to encourage it….

Waging War

In the past, I had divided the army into two detachments: one that was large and shooty, with LOTS of Kabalite Warriors, in addition to Mandrakes, Grotesques, and Taloses.  The other was fast-and-choppy, with Wyches aboard Raiders, as well as Reavers.  I also used to make copious use of webway portals to get Taloses, Grotesques, and infantry Warrior units where they need to be.

The whiz-bangy Codex: Drukhari offers several options that make the DE even more effective.  As of this writing (March 2019), I’ve portioned my large collection into three armies, named “Blue,” “Silver,” and “Purple” (for the colors used on my figures).

Each army is about 2000 points, and 100+ Power Rating.  In the lists below, I’ve named some of the units to fit the theme of the army, and I what they are or “count as” in parentheses.

Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions: “Blue Army” List

This configuration is a Battalion, giving me 8 Command Points at the start of the game.  It’s made up of figures with the <KABAL> keyword (and a few of those “hired gun” units you can use in any list) so that all of them enjoy the Scorpion’s Sting (okay, really the “Serpent’s Kiss”) Obsession from page 115.  This lets all <KABAL> units re-roll “to wound” rolls of “1” with all splinter weapons and melee weapons.

Is there a more appropriate Obsession for a bunch of Drukhari named after scorpions?  Methinks not.  The army consists of:

  • Archon Syryx Lynatharr + 5 Silver Scorpions (Incubi) + Raider w/ dark lance
  • Dracon Eklavdrah (stats as Archon) + 4 Silver Scorpions (Lhamaeans) + Venom w/ 2 splinter cannons
  • Blue Scorpions Squad 0.  20 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ blasters + 2 w/ shredders + 2 w/ splinter cannons)
  • Blue Scorpions Squad 1.  20 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ blasters + 2 w/ shredders + 2 w/ splinter cannons)
  • Blue Scorpions Squad 2.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Raider w/ dark lance
  • Blue Scorpions Squad 3.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Raider w/ dark lance
  • Blue Scorpions Squad 4.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ blasters + 1 w/ splinter cannon) + Raider w/ dark lance
  • Blue Scorpions Squad 5.  20 Kabalite Warriors (includes 1 w/ blaster + 2 w/ shredders + 2 w/ splinter cannons)
  • 10 Deathstalkers (Mandrakes)
  • 2 Ravagers w/ 3 dark lances each

Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions: “Silver Army” List

This configuration is composed of three Patrol detachments, which, thanks to the Raiding Force rule on page 114 of Codex: Dickheads, gives me 7 Command Points at the start of the game.

The army itself is made of two detachments of <WYCH> units, who enjoy the Obsession Only the Strong Will Thrive (+1 to Strength, and when a unit with this rule fails a Morale check, only one model must flee; see page 116).  The third Patrol detachment is a group of <KABAL> units, sent by Syryx to keep tabs on his rebellious daughter/lover Dr’zzllah.

The army consists of:

  • Patrol 1:
    • Dr’zzllah (Succubus) + 5 Handmaidens (Wyches) + Raider w/ dark lance
      5 Silver Scorpions (Incubi) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Black Scorpions, Squad 1.  6 Reavers (includes 2 bikes w/ blasters, 2 w/ grav-talons)
    • Black Scorpions, Squad 2.  4 Reavers (includes 1 bike w/ blaster, 1 w/ grav-talons)
  • Patrol 2:
    • Phaedra (Succubus), who rides w/ Dr’zzllah
    • 10 Handmaidens (Wyches, includes 3 w/ hydra gauntlets) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • 10 Deathstalkers (Mandrakes)
    • Warp Scorpions, Squad 0.  Count as 5 Scourges (includes 4 w/ splinter cannons)
    • Warp Scorpions, Squad 1.  Count as 5 Scourges (includes 4 w/ splinter cannons)
  • Patrol 3:
    • Dracon Eklavdrah (stats as Archon) + 4 Silver Scorpions (Lhamaeans) + Venom w/ 2 splinter cannons
    • Blue Scorpions Squad 2.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Blue Scorpions Squad 3.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Blue Scorpions Squad 4.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ blasters + 1 w/ splinter cannon) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Warp Scorpions, Squad 2.  Count as 5 Scourges (includes 4 w/ splinter cannons)

Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions: “Purple Army” List

This list is likewise made of three Patrol detachments, two of which are <COVEN> units, who have the Connoisseurs of Pain Obsession (4+ Invulnerable Save due to Insensible to Pain rule; see page 117).  The other detachment is—you guessed it—a <KABAL> force that accompanies the Haemonculi and reports back to Syryx.

  • Patrol 1:
    • Dr. Jheste (Haemonculus) + 5 Scorpion Guards (Wracks) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Warp Scorpions, Squad 0.  5 Scourges (includes 4 w/ splinter cannons)
    • Steel Scorpions 1-3.  3 Taloses, each w/ 2 macro-scalpels + 2 heat lances
    • Steel Scorpion 4. Cronos Pain Engine w/ spirit syphon + spirit-leech tentacles + spirit vortex
  • Patrol 2:
    • Vulnayvya (Haemonculus) + 5 Scorpion Guards (Wracks) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • 6 Super Scorpions (count as Grotesques)
    • Warp Scorpions, Squad 1.  Count as 5 Scourges (includes 4 w/ splinter cannons)
  • Patrol 3:
    • Dracon Eklavdrah (stats as Archon) + 4 Silver Scorpions (Lhamaeans) + Venom w/ 2 splinter cannons
    • Blue Scorpions Squad 2.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Blue Scorpions Squad 3.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Raider w/ dark lance
    • Blue Scorpions Squad 4.  10 Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ blasters + 1 w/ splinter cannon) + Raider w/ dark lance

Conclusion

And there you have it!  I haven’t been able to play the new-and-hopefully-improved Ozone Scorpions yet (this project kept me very busy), but I hope to do so soon, perhaps against Pat’s Kult of Speed again?  Or even, his Space Wolves?

 

When he isn’t playing or blogging about 40K, Kenton Kilgore writes kickass SF/F for young adults, and adults who are still young.  This Wasted Land, his latest novel, is not your typical teenage love story.  It’s more like:

  • Boy meets Girl;
  • Evil Witch takes Boy;
  • Girl goes to get Boy back.

He is also the author of Lost Dogs, the story of the end of the world as seen, heard–and smelled–by a dog.  His first novel was Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons.  With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature.  

Visit kentonkilgore.com, and follow Kenton on Facebook for frequent posts on sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction.  You can also catch him on Instagram.

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