Veda In the Balance Campaign, Battle #1: Old Grudges Die Hard

by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore

Huron Blackheart strode from the hastily constructed shanty he was using as a headquarters, and joined the Master of Executions, who was standing in the shadows of the fuel dispensary.  The two made a grotesque pair, one disfigured in a long-ago explosion that left his face hideously scarred, the other encased in the skull armor of his station.  They surveyed the Red Corsair warband making preparations for battle throughout the bivouac. 

“It will be soon,” rasped Huron, “that our old friends the Fighting Tigers will be in the area.  No doubt, they intend, like us, to use these abandoned fueling stations to supply their ships.”

The Master of Executions grunted.  “The men are not ready.  We are too few to wage a full battle as yet.”  His voice was flat, dead, the creak of a coffin lid.

“I agree.”  If the leader of the Red Corsair warband took any affront to his lieutenant’s lack of deference, he showed no concern.

 A dull hum could be heard off in the distance, and Huron turned to watch as a plume of dust approached, kicked up by a rapidly moving vehicle.  “That is why I have made other arrangements.”  He waved to the others in the warband to let the vehicle approach.

With a loud rumble, a ramshackle bike-like vehicle skidded into the encampment.  A large, green Ork disembarked, and, spewing a string of profanity, made his way to the two Red Corsair leaders.

“I’m lookin’ for da mook wot dat put out da message ‘ bout da Tiger ‘oomies.”  He removed the stub of a well-gnawed cigar from his mouth and spat on the ground.

Huron stepped forward.  “It seems that we have a mutual enemy, who will be at this facility within a few days.  As I proposed in my message, we would welcome your help, and share any spoils….”

Speedo the Big Mek spat on the ground again, “An’?”

“And, of course, you will be well compensated for your assistance.”  Huron tossed a gold medallion to the Ork.  “This relic should be worth something.  You will get the rest after the battle.”

“Yoo bet I will.  We’ll set up ovah dere,” Speedo said, pointing to the other side of the valley.  He kicked up dirt as he strode back to his Wartrike.

Speedo, rarin’ to go

Climbing aboard, Speedo told his driver, “Yoo’ze can’t trust ‘oomies.  I’ze hate da whole lot uv ’em.  An’ Mahreen ‘oomies iz da worst.  We’ll tell da ladz to have some fun wif anyone dumb enuff wot gets too close.” The driver nodded and thumbed the trike to life, and the two of them roared off.

Behind them, in the Corsair camp, the Master of Executions turned to Huron.  “The Greenskins are not to be trusted.”

Huron smiled grimly.  “Of course not.  Tell the men to kill whoever gets in their way.”

Fiction by Patrick Eibel

Campaign Set-Up

by Patrick Eibel

The Jungle celebrating its 20th year is an excellent reason to run a campaign.  Kenton and I have been hard at work on some of our armies, so we’ll feature several of them.

One of the factions that will definitely be included is the Red Corsairs, an old enemy of the Fighting Tigers.  While I had collected and converted models to represent a Red Corsair army, I had neglected to keep up with the rules updates for Chaos Space Marines (that may be the subject of a different article).

I dutifully went out and picked up the supplement Imperium Nihilus: Vigilus Ablaze, which provided some fresh rules for the Renegade Chaos factions, but also outlined some new battle scenarios.  Thus, an idea was born.

If you have been following the birthday posts on the Jungle’s Facebook page, you will know that something dire has occurred on the Fighting Tigers’ home planet of Veda.  Swapping Veda for Vigilus, and losing the Abaddon the De-spoiled storyline, I think we can find out what happened in the best way possible: on the battlefield.

Veda in the Balance Campaign (uses Vigilus Ablaze missions and scoring)

  • Game 1 : Allies of Convenience (100 Power Rating per side)
    • Attacker: 50 PR of Red Corsairs, 50 PR of Kult of Speed Orks
    • Defender: 100+ PR of Fighting Tigers
  • Game 2: From an Unexpected Quarter (roughly 100 PR per side)
  • Game 3: Metal Onslaught (roughly 100 PR per side)
    • Attacker: Chaos Space Marines (over half of the PR must be Vehicles or Monsters)
    • Defender: Fighting Tigers (less than half of the PR can be Vehicles or Monsters)
  • Game 4: Demise of a Legend (roughly 100 PR per side)
    • Attacker: Fighting Tigers (must include Khandar Madu)
    • Defender: Red Corsairs (must include Huron Blackheart)
  • Game 5: Apocalypse (points TBD)
    • Forces of Order (may use Fighting Tigers and Dvergar [AdMech] units)
    • Forces of Chaos (may use Chaos Space Marine, Death Guard, and Ork units)

The winner will be determined by the accumulated Glory Points from each battle (it’s a Vigilus campaign thing–we’ll fill you in as we go) and whatever bonus points we devise for the Apocalypse battle.

The Mission: Allies of Convenience

by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore

Alliances in war are complex and often fleeting, but sometimes the enemy of your enemy can be your friend.  However, no matter how aligned your motives appear to be, you were foes of each other once, and will be so again—and your so-called allies could turn on you at any moment.

As mentioned, this mission is from IN:VA, and if you don’t have that supplement, here’s a summary of how it works:

  • One player is the Attacker, who divide their forces into two separate, distinct armies, each with roughly half of their Power Ratings.  Alternatively, two players, each with their own separate, distinct army, can take the role of the Attacker.  Each of the two armies has its own Warlord.
  • The other player is the Defender, whose army has a PR equal or greater to the Attacker’s.
  • If either player’s forces are Battle-forged, there are mission-specific Stratagems they may use (Attacker: Keep Your Distance; Useful Distraction; Strike in Concert.  Defender: Sow Doubt; Misdirected Attack; Strength of Unity).
  • The Attacker’s armies, though temporary allies, are actually enemies, so the two forces may not be set up within 9″ of “allied” units.
  • Attacker units can shoot at Defender units even if Attacker units from the allied army are within 1″ of Defender units, randomizing hits between them.  Attacker units do not have to fight allied units if they are within 1″ of them but there are no Defender units within 1″.
  • The Defender sets up first, with their entire army in the middle of the board.  Both of the Attacker’s forces then set up, along the edges of the board.
  • On a die roll of 1-3, the Attacker goes first; otherwise, the Defender goes first.
  • The game uses the Random Battle Length rules from page 120 of IN:VA.
  • If one army is totally destroyed, the other army’s player wins a major victory.
  • If one, but not both, of the Attacker’s forces is destroyed, the Defender wins a minor victory.
  • To determine a winner in any other case, the Power Ratings of every surviving unit on each side are added up and compared to that side’s starting total to calculate a percentage; whichever side has a higher surviving percentage wins a minor victory (a tie goes to the Defender).

Red Corsairs/Ork Alliance (PR 100)

by Patrick Eibel

The premise of our first battle is that two disparate forces get together to take on a common enemy.  I brought one of my more recent armies, the Red Corsairs, and paired them with an old favorite, my Orks.

Story-wise, both armies perfectly fit the campaign.  My Greenskins have been kicking around Kenton’s Tigers for decades, as shown in battle reports and campaigns on the old Jungle site.  My Corsairs haven’t taken on the Stripeypants yet, but Kenton’s fluff says that they are archenemies from the distant past.

Red Corsairs Renegade Chaos Space Marines (Power Rating 50):

  • Huron Blackheart w/ Tyrant’s Claw, power axe, frag and krak grenades; Hamadrya; Warlord Trait: Eternal Vendetta
  • Master of Executions
  • 10 Chaos Space Marines.  Aspiring Champion w/ power sword; 2 w/ flamers; 1 w/ Icon of Vengeance. Rhino transport
  • 5 Chosen.  Champion w/ twin lightning claws; 2 w/ flamers; 2 w/ chainswords.  Rhino transport
  • 2 Vindicators

Chaos Space Marines may have a Legion Trait, and the Corsairs’ is Dark Raiders, which allows them to Advance and charge in the same turn.

Kult of Speed Orks (Power Rating 50):

  • Speedo da Big Mek on Deffkilla Wartrike. Warlord Trait: Speed Freek (can charge even after Falling Back)
  • 10 Boyz.  Nob w/ kustom shoota; 1 w/ big shoota; Trukk w/ rokkit launcha
  • 10 Boyz.  Nob w/ kustom shoota; 1 w/ big shoota; Trukk w/ rokkit launcha
  • 20 Boyz.  Nob w/ power klaw; 2 w/ rokkit launchas
  • Bonebreaka w/ killkannon
  • Dakka Jet w/ 6 supa-shootas
  • 5 Warbikes + Nob on Warbike w/ power klaw

Orks can have a Klan Kultur, and the one I use for Speedo and his Boyz is Red Ones Go Fasta (+1″ to Move).  You can find out more about this army here.

Speedo da Big Mek

Fighting Tigers of Veda Space Marines (PR 111)

by Kenton Kilgore

In this fiction piece, Tiger of Varuna (aka Chaplain) Daksha Ram was given a detachment of Space Marines and was dispatched to Veda, the Fighting Tigers’ home, to determine why all contact had been lost with the planet.

As I mentioned in the same blog post, I recently split my massive collection into six separate armies (or “shikars”), each organized around a theme.  Daksha Ram’s is a mechanized infantry force, with 60 Tactical Marines mounted in Rhinos, backed up by Veterans in Razorbacks.

FToV Shikar #6: “Sabretooth Tigers”

  • Tiger of Varuna Daksha Ram.  Chaplain w/ crozius arcanum, plasma pistol; Litany of Hate, Recitation of Focus. Warlord Trait: The Imperium’s Sword
  • Tiger of Tvashtri Parvin Sreedhar. Techmarine w/ power axe, bolt pistol, and servo arm
  • Fighting Tiger Black Ops: 5 Vanguard Veterans.  Veteran Sergeant w/ power fist and storm shield; 1 w/ twin lightning claws; 3 w/ chainswords and bolt pistols.  Razorback w/ twin lascannon
  • Tigers of Indra: 5 Sternguard Veterans.  Veteran Sergeant w/ lightning claw, and combi-flamer; 2 w/ storm bolters; 1 w/ flamer; 1 w/ heavy flamer.  Razorback w/ twin lascannon
  • Tigers of Rudra: 10 Tactical Marines, including Sergeant w/ power fist; 1 w/ melta gun; 1 w/ heavy bolter.  Rhino w/ two storm bolters
  • Tigers of Rudra: 10 Tactical Marines, including Sergeant w/ combi-flamer; 1 w/ flamer; 1 w/ heavy bolter.  Rhino w/ two storm bolters
  • Tigers of Rudra: 10 Tactical Marines, including Sergeant w/ power fist and combi-flamer; 1 w/ melta gun; 1 w/ heavy bolter.  Rhino w/ two storm bolters
  • Tigers of Rudra: 10 Tactical Marines, including Sergeant w/ power fist; 1 w/ melta gun; 1 w/ heavy bolter.  Rhino w/ two storm bolters
  • Tigers of Rudra: 10 Tactical Marines, including Sergeant w/ power fist and combi-flamer; 1 w/ melta gun; 1 w/ missile launcher.  Rhino w/ two storm bolters
  • Tigers of Rudra: 10 Tactical Marines, including Sergeant w/ power fist; 1 w/ melta gun; 1 w/ heavy bolter.  Rhino w/ two storm bolters

Space Marines can have Chapter Traits: this army uses Long-range Marksmen (+3″ to weapons’ range), and Stealthy (+1 to saving throws from shooting attacks at more than 12″ range).

I build my lists in 2000-point chunks (this one totals 1994), but its Power Rating came out to 111.  I offered to cut it down, but Pat said that the mission scenario was flexible on the Power Rating used by the Defender.

Setting Up

by Kenton Kilgore

We played at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD, roughly midway between my house and Pat’s.  The table was 4′ by 6′, and as is our custom, Pat set up the scenery.  He went for a desert landscape, with lots of obstacles, and a series of very impressive industrial pieces near the center.

Red Corsair deployment

Pat had accidentally his vehicles at home, but fortunately, I had brought my entire FToV collection with me, so I lent him two Razorbacks (to fill in as Chaos Space Marine Rhinos), and two other tanks (a Whirlwind and a Vindicator) to proxy as CSM Vindicators.

Pat wasn’t the only one who had misplaced a model: I looked through the many boxes that I keep my 200+ Tiger figures, I could not find the mini for Daksha Ram!  Not wanting to hold up the game, I used a proxy.

Have you seen this Chaplain?

The mission dictated that I, as the Defender, had to deploy in a narrow strip down the middle of the board, while the Attacker put his armies on each long table edge.  I kept all my troops in their transports.

Fighting Tiger deployment

Pat set up his Corsairs along one flank, and turned over command of his Orks to his able son, young Master Thomas, who set his Orks across from my line of tanks.

Ork deployment

We rolled, and the combined forces of Disorder went first. As has become a standard feature here at the Equatorial Rainforest, we’re presenting our report in narrative style, but so everyone understands what’s going on, we will, when necessary, note or explain something in game terms by putting it in [brackets] as an aside to the actual tale.

Turn 1

by Kenton Kilgore

Rumbling from their hiding places, the Red Corsair tanks ground toward the Fighting Tigers, their two Vindicators firing, one of them severely damaging a Razorback [-6 Wounds].  It gave Huron particular satisfaction to know that yesterday, his men had ambushed the lead elements of the Tiger convey, killed the Loyalist crews without damaging their vehicles, and had stolen the tanks for themselves.

‘Ere come da Orks!

Simultaneously, the Orks surged for the Space Marines, guns blazing, but only the Warbikes struck home, managing to puncture the side of a Rhino in a few places [-2 Wounds].

Brutality inbound!

Boyz jumped from the Bonebreaka, charging the same Rhino, and with the frenzied blows of their Nob, they nigh-crippled the transport [-5 Wounds], despite the vehicle running over one of them.

Ork Boyz hammer a Fighting Tiger transport

The twin lascannons of a Razorback nearly destroyed [-8 Wounds] one of the Corsair Rhinos, but the Tigers focused their fury on the Orks.

Tiger vehicles fend off the oncoming Red Corsairs

As the wounded Vedic Rhino pulled away, Tactical Marines disembarked from it and others nearby, firing at close range, obliterating the Boyz from the Bonebreaka, and half of those that jumped from an adjacent Trukk.

The Tigers fight back

The Trukk Boyz hardly had a moment before Tiger troopers were upon them and the Warbikes, stabbing with combat blades, killing the former.

Tigers taking on the Warbikers

Turn 2

Huron Blackheart scowled as he stepped from his transport.  Despite being surrounded, the Tigers had already inflicted substantial casualties on his supposed allies, the Orks.  Worse, to Huron’s mind, was that the Tigers were refusing to directly engage his forces, but were only sending their Rhinos to block his warriors’ path.

Huron and his pet are *not* amused

Aided by his bestial Hamadrya companion, he summoned the powers of the Warp, successfully casting Infernal Gaze and then Smite, but he only managed to take down a single Fighting Tiger Black Operative, an elite close-combat operative who wore green armor to better blend in with the jungle that this unit favored.

A blast from a Vindicator reduces a Tiger transport to slag

The shot from one Vindicator went wide of its mark, but the demolisher cannon of the other hit home against the Razorback they had targeted before, exploding it in a massive burst that killed another Black Op nearby.

Speedo and his Boyz surge forward

Despite its massive volume, Ork shooting, even from the many guns of the Dakka Jet, was unimpressive, taking out four Marines from a squad.  Rokkits from a Trukk damaged the surviving Razorback [-3 Wounds].

Speedo gets stuck in

Speedo led the Ork countercharge into the Tigers, though he managed only to strike down a single Tactical Marine.  More successful were the remaining Trukk Boyz, who wiped out the remnants of the squad who had lost four moments before.  Already stuck in, the Warbikers and the Tigers engaged with them continued to battle, with the striped Astartes losing one, while killing two riders.

Tigers and Ork bikers continue to tussle

Bottled up by enemy Rhinos, the ruins of the industrial center, and the natural terrain, the Corsairs could do little but disembark from their transports and attempt to smash their way through.  Ill-equipped to destroy tanks, they managed to lightly damage one [-1 Wound to a single Rhino], even though one of them was shot dead [by Overwatch fire] as they charged.

Red Corsairs and a wall of Fighting Tiger transports

After depositing the rest of their passengers, all of the Tiger vehicles moved toward the Corsairs, determined to keep them hemmed in and out of the battle.  Too eager to strike, Huron found himself in front of his contingent, and he suffered several gunshots [-2 Wounds] from storm bolters atop Rhinos.

A formidable blockade

As before, the Tigers focused on the Orks.  While the Razorback’s lascannons missed the Dakka Jet, Tactical Marines on the ground, with bolters and missile launchers, did much better, severely damaging it [-9 Wounds total].  Tigers of Rudra also fired at point-blank range at a Trukk, riddling it with bolter rounds until it exploded, flaming chunks raining from the sky.

Even more FT Tactical Marines engage the Orks

Tiger Rhinos rammed the Corsairs, but Huron and his Chosen shredded and smashed one to scrap.  Across the field, Daksha Ram hoisted his crozius, bellowing commands in High Mahaduyanan, and led the Black Ops into the Trukk Boyz, butchering them.  The Tactical Marines and Warbikers continued to melee.

Huron’s frustration grows as the Tigers hold him and his Corsairs at bay

Turn 3

While the Dakka Jet continued to fire ineffectually at the massed Tigers below it, the Orks and Corsairs stayed stuck in close combat. Huron invoked his Infernal Gaze again, lightly damaging a nearby white-and-black Rhino [-2 Wounds].  A Vindicator fired a shot at the Loyalists, but only succeeded in killing a single Sternguard Veteran.

As the Orks run out of Boyz, the Corsairs are stymied

“Enough!” growled Huron, charging the white-and-black transport, tearing it to pieces with his Tyrant’s Claw.  These Tigers had held his Corsairs at bay, but he was determined to smash through their rolling defensive line and kill them all single-handedly, if he had to.

Huron tears his way through the Tiger tanks

He need not have worried, however, because not far away, the Bonebreaka charged into the Sternguard Veterans, squashing the four remaining members with its deffrolla.  Speedo also struck down the last of the Tactical Marines on him.

But there were more—many more—Tactical Marines about.  They fired again on the Dakka Jet, this time crashing it. They charged into the mass battling the Warbikers, reinforcing them, killing one and wounding another.

Speedo under assault by Daksha Ram and yet another Tactical Squad

“To me! Charge!” Daksha Ram called, pointing at Speedo.  The Big Mek fought well, but was no match, dragged off his bike and beaten to submission under thunderous blows from Daksha Ram’s crozius aracanum.

A screeching noise filled the air—reinforcements, but for whom? Daksha Ram looked skyward. Thunderhawks painted with tiger stripes: surely they must be commanded by Raja Khandar Madu herself, who had pledged to harry Huron Blackheart and his Corsairs until they were wiped out.

“Get you gone,” Daksha Ram told Speedo, but the Big Mek had already begun to slink away, as Huron and his men retreated.

“We’ze ain’t done, Stripeypants,” Speedo muttered. “Yooze got lucky dis time, dat’s all.”

Winner: Fighting Tigers of Veda (minor victory)

 

Fighting Tiger Tactical Marines face down Ork Boyz

PaT’S Post-Game Analysis 

Overall, I was pleased with much of the battle, even though my side didn’t win.  I was particularly happy that my nine-year-old son wanted to help play, and was willing to control the Orks (until he lost interest).

Pat and Thomas. Pat wore a glove because he had badly cut his hand the day before

I don’t get to play too often, and so have struggled getting a handle on the new edition.  I made sorting out all the special gimmicks, stratagems, and abilities a priority, and the preparation showed.  The mission played havoc with both sides with lines of sight, hampered mobility, and the Orks and Corsairs staying away from each other to focus on the Tigers.

For all the simplification of the 40K rules, our games do not seem to have gotten any shorter.  Kenton continues to demonstrate brilliant tactics (that must be why he is the one writing the deployment articles) by blunting the attack capability of the Corsairs.  I will definitely have to up my game, as it were.

Kenton scores a minor victory as the winner and earns 11 Glory Points, while I get 1 point in defeat.

Kenton’s Post-Game Analysis

Pat gives me too much credit: not even a tactical idiot like me wants to simultaneously fight the Chaos Space Marines and the Orks, while being surrounded.  Better, I thought, to use the terrain (which was difficult for all three armies to negotiate) and my 24 PR’s worth of expendable transports to block the Corsairs, so that I could throw 77 PR’s worth of Tigers at 50 PRs of Orks.  Like American football, 40K is often a game of creating mismatches.

I could have attempted to ignore the Orks and attack the Corsairs, who had much fewer guys, but the Kult of Speed had the zoominess to catch up with me: at best, I’d only keep them out the fight for a turn or two.  Still, I had a moment of thinking “WTF am I doing?” as I moved all my guys right for the mass of Orks.  If you do that when you play “vanilla” Marines, usually, you’re asking for an ass-kicking.  Fortunately, I had numbers and firepower on my side.

And how about those numbers?  I’ve always been a huge fan of standard Tactical Marines, and the rules for Bolter Discipline, Shock Assault, and Combat Doctrines (not to mention the Successor Chapter Traits Long-range Marksmen and Stealthy) from the latest codex make them absolutely rock!  You can keep your oh-so-flashy Primaris Marines, and I’ll keep it old-school, thanks.

Now, if I could only find where my mini for Daksha Ram went.  I hope he hasn’t been kidnapped by Ork Kommandos….


When he isn’t playing or blogging about 40K, Kenton Kilgore writes killer SF/F for young adults, and adults who are still young.  This Wasted Land, his latest novel, isn’t 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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