Only War Playtest

Last Stand of Rourke's Command
Mission Conclusion

…melted rockcrete smoulders in the two metre cavity left by the detonation.
The acrid smell of burnt metal and the heavy ozone of discharged plasma waft over the wall.

Stormtrooper Mac immediately orders a nearby 88th to the redoubt to summon the last of the reserves to the north wall.

Sasha scans for enemy with his comrade, his heavy bolter firmly braced on the pintle mount of the south-east tower.

Josiah calls, “Contact! large numbers, Kroot, south wall.” He readies the storm bolter.

Kaine hauls the makeshift promethium hose around from the east wall as it continues to bellow the rusty tinged fuel over the ground in front the the base.

Kroot pour from the northern forest edge, dozens, scores, perhaps hundreds, loping, almost galloping in animal like ferver towards the breach. The storm bolter up with its distinctive low pitched, sticcato buzz as it spits out .75 cal rounds in a veritable scythe across the dark open field.
Kaine arrives and hands the hose to a guardsman while he startsto lay suppressive fire upon the Kroot before them.
Kroot continue to pour from the darkness of the forest, some falling almost immediately as their legs disappear beneath them or their guts explode in violent micro-explosions. They surge forward.
Lasgun and storm bolter reap havoc and death, but the Kroot crash into the maelstrom with blind disregard. Dozens fall, but still the wave of hungry snapping maws pushes forward.

Emerging from the top of the promethium silo, Dimitri! Blown aside by the plasma blast, gathers himself together and makes his way down the ladder barking orders for status reports and troop dispositions.

The Kroot wave starts to slow down as it gathers closer to the death being heaped upon it from the tower and wall, but it presses forward with each fallen Kroot, another steps forward.
The reserve guardsman reach the wall and join their lasguns to the fray.
Kaine signals to Alexi to shut off the promethium flow, promethium now a shallow moat around the north-east corner of the base.

The Kroot are almost at the base, their vile chirping and hooting now audible even over the near constant hammer and crack of outgoing fire. Dimitri staggers up to the breach, chainsword and bolt pistol in hand, a valiant demonstration of Imperial defiance to the wave of xenos which seeks to overwhelm it.

The Kroot pour into the breach, bolt rounds thump into the enemy as they leap through the gap. A Kroot warrior angrily wields his axe-rifle towards the Commissar, but the brave soldier dodges the felling blow, another Kroot jabs and thrusts his weapon, and another leaps behind the valiant vanguardian of the Empire. The commissar’s eye widen, he shudders, and shudders again as the long, slender blade is pulled free of his body. Dimitri looks vacantly at the savage before him, the Kroot raises his long axe-rifle and swings it once more.
Kaine is atop the parapet to Dimitri’s right and sees the Kroot fill the breach and hears the awful sounds of carnage. Wasting no time, he draws and tosses two grenades into the gap, each letting off a loud crump – the sheer mass of bodies seemingly absorbing the sound as well as the deadly fragmentation.
The surge of Kroot is only slowed momentarily and more of the foul creatures leap up, onto, and over the breach.

Kroot reach the North wall proper and begin to climb its almost sheer surface with ease. Kain sees his opportunity and fires upon the promethium soaked ground underneath them. Las-burn marks scorch the ground but fail to ignite the fuel. Kain fires again and suddenly a wave of heat and fire erupt along the wall almost throwing him off the parapet.
Awful, awful cries of agony come from the wall as dozens of Kroot are instantly burned alive.

Sasha, has removed the heavy bolter from its pintle mount and set it up on the tripod facing the internal courtyard of the base. He immediately opens up on several creatures as they hop down through the breach. Their bodies explode as massive rounds rip them apart.

Mac moves down the west wall grabbing up bullpup lasguns he had placed earlier, his own hellgun now depleted. Seeing that Kroot have made it through the breach, the veteran marksman kneels and shoots, taking down one after the other as they seek cover from the heavy bolter, but remain vulnerable to his enfilade.

lasgun beam burn across the compound, bolter rounds explode against the rubbled north wall, Kroot jump forward and fall dead….then slience.

Josiah clambers down the NW tower, his storm bolter empty, and retreats to the HQ Chimera. Alexi has moved to the PoP and has powered up the turret autocannon to defend the breach.

The wave of Kroot held at bay by Josiah reaches the wall and again the slaughter spills out over the courtyard as Kroot leap over the breach. Kroot on the north wall stalk the guardsman, hacking at them with merciless determination.

Josiah and his team reach the Chimera and open the rear, stumbling in only seconds before a party of Kroot warriors snap and grab at them through the open hatch. Ozone fills the interior of the Chimera and a sharp crack resonates as several Kroot are blown backward from an intense electrical discharge, Josiah slumps from the exertion and the hatch is closed.

Autocannons burst into life filling the breach with deadly shells, the heavy bolter fires again, lasgun beams streak across the base. The carnage is seemingly insurmountable but yet Kroot still gain ground, as one falls another makes it a step further.
They reach the deboubt were Kain and Mac have retreated. Easily leaping over the makeshift barrier between the Chimeras, the gauntish warriors buffet and bash at the brave guardsmen. swords flash, grenades explode, both Kain and Mac are brought low under the onslaught and fire. Fallen but not defeated they regain themselves and clash against their towering enemies. Several guardsmen are cut down. Thrusts, cuts, cannonfire, screams…then silence.

It is over.

No more Kroot assault the walls, and the three hours of relentless fighting turns into 8 hours of tense waiting. Dawn finally arrives and it is with much relief that the squad see a support column of infantry marching up from the swamp banks to the south.
Josiah starts to snore…

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Forward Point Apha
The Trap...

Regrouping at dawn the squad moved out toward the base.
Fanning out on approach to the base, Gunner Sasha deployed the lascannon in the treeline while Commissar Dragonov scouted forward and Stormtrooper Mac scouted for flankers.
The base looked quiet, and the gate was wide open.
Operator Kain throttles up the Pride of Prypiat and begins his tactical approach, zigging left, and zagging right. Kain quickly encounters trouble as his brings the Chimera over the open ground between the base and the forest edge. The soil is wet and loose, and the area is covered in tree stumps and craters where tress have been more thoroughly removed. The beloved APC catches a track on a tree stump and screams to a stop. While Kain switches gears and revs backwards off the stump, Josiah drives the communication chimera calmly past and directly through the open gates.
A squad of 88th Guardsmen and Stormtrooper Mac spill out and immediately begin a search of the evidently abandoned base.
Josiah remarks that he has a bad feeling about the situation, sensing a trap as his senses wander to the ominous promethium silo which occupies a large part of the rear of the base.
The Commissar goes to investigate the fuel silo while Mac searches the command bunker finding the journal of the 88th’s colonel.
The rest of the team arrives and set up defensive positions.
The commissar approaches the the silo and spies an officer slumped over the re-fueling valves of the promethium tanks. Dimitri immediately searches the body disturbing a live Krak greanade which falls to the ground beneath the pipes. Instinctively, the Commissar hurls himself onto the grenade…CRUMPF!
Josiah alerts the team and Kain is first on the scene and administers first aid. Miraculously, Dimitri has survived but is heavily wounded and moved to medical bay of the base for Josiah to watch over.

After reading the journal, Mac decides the base will soon be attacked by a large Kroot force and organises a more complete defense throughout the rest of the day: sentries are posted on each wall; the storm bolter and heavy bolter are unmounted from the chimeras and put on the wall corner towers, while the lascannon commands the gate; and Kain builds a last bastion fall back position between the chimeras in the centre of the base.

The day passes and defenses are completed.

Evening arrives and the sentries miss the initial Kroot scouting elements. As night falls the guardsmen light large search-lamps to illuminate the kill-zone around the base.
A horrible Hooting comes from the forest. The sound of hundreds of Kroot in unison, entirely surrounding the base. Only the emergence of the Commissar from sickbay, and his resolute inspiration, saves the base defenders from panic.

It goes quiet.

Then from the forest edge pour hundreds of Kroot, from all sides, a flood of vile, loping, savage warriors hungry for fresh meat.
Lasguns ripple into action along the base parapets, cutting down dozens of Kroot and pinning several sections. On the east wall where Kain and several guardsman rain fire down into the advancing horde, the Kroot reach the wall. Kain orders a grenade barrage and a cascade of explosions clears the field of enemy causing a general rout on his wall.
Kroot leaders emerge from the forest and recall their remaining warriors.

Time passes into the night. The guardsmen reorganise their defense and Operator Kain jury-rigs a pipe from the promethium tanks to the east wall, ready to pour down onto the enemy should they reach the wall again. Others search the compound for supplies and scrounge some war materials which they put to use on the walls.
As preparations continue a single Kroot is spotted from the forest edge, he has been painted deep red, and he starts forward in a slow loping gate. The sentries open up, and the Kroot falls, just as another Kroot emerges, in similar dress. Then from another facing, more Kroot.
A staccato of staggered skirmishers seeth forward under lasgun fire, several are brought down, but one reaches the wall and climbs.
The Kroot mounts the top of the wall and attacks a guardsman but is brought low from persistent fire from Josiah. The Commissar has emerged again from the sickbay and makes his way to the parapet where the Kroot made the wall, only to feel the static ionisation of the plasma charge the Kroot was carrying reach critical mass.
The Commissar and two guardsmen are instantly engulfed in a bright flash of plasma, which leaves a large gap in the top of the wall.

…to be continued…

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Rourke's Command
Part I

Pre-dawn on the third day after landing.
The greenish-brown mist which hangs perpetually over the waters of the Hellfens slowly rises, lazy steam to the warmth of the morning light stretching out over the sleepy expanse.

The squad is called before the platoon commander, Lt. Mormont.
Assembled in the Administratum Building, in the underground auditorium, the group is given an urgent mission.
To cross the Hellfens and link up with the garrison at Forward Point Alpha. Garrison commander Rourke, of the 88th Light Infantry Regiment (of the mining world of Oertha), has not reported back to Sector Command for two days.
The platoon question Kroot presence and local troop dispositions but are soon finished their briefing and setting about their task of obtaining their Mission-Assignment-Gear and heading off across the Hellfens.
It takes the platoon two hours of waiting in line to acquire their Mission-Assignment-Gear and, remarkably, receive most of what they are issued. However, instead of a crate of Demolition packs they instead receive a crate of Dress uniforms, Calisi issue, Ogyrn sized: a fine and necessary equipment issue, obviously in preparation for the eventuality that Ogyrn may one day join any Calisi force.
Commissar Dragonov collects the walking wounded returned to duty, which are assigned to the platoon for transport back to the 88th. Dragonov interrigates the squad for signs of cowardace and decides to keep an eye on a particular miscriant named Mike, whose face was disfigured by a Kroot plasma weapon blast…(ironic considering the Commissars fate…)

The squad is eventually underway, augmented with the company HQ command Chimera, a squad of guardsman, and a heavy bolter.
The trek across the Hellfens is a long, unpleasant affair, the murky uneven fens creating a dangerous and uncomfortable environment for travel. Progressing through contested territory requires an open top with pintle mounted weapons ready which exposes everyone to the horrendous stench of the decay-filled waters of the Hellfens, made even worse as the amphibioius Chimera churns up the long resting muck of the marsh floor bringing ancient rot to the surface.
Kain’s expert navigation skills enable the squad to make good time across the Hellfens and avoid one of the dangers inherit to the area: large, black, hidden sinkholes which have a undercurrents capable of sucking large fallen trees completly beneath the surface in violent and sudden action.
Ichthyostegaccopy

During their hours of stentch-ridden, slow-crawling trekking across the swamp the group see large amphibian predators laying beneath the oily water-line, each several metres in length. There are hundreds of these creatures lazily wallowing in the rank waters of the Hellfens, sometimes the groups can see a dozen or more at a time, and rarely is one not visible within a few hundred metres of the squad.

.

Several hours into their journey the commissar, who is diligently manning the bolter fixed to the lead Chimera, hears a distant electric thumping sound coming from far above him. As he looks up a high-pitched slow hum reverberates across the swampy waters as it passes over head. The commissar sees a long line of pillowy black smoke trailing to earth behind a firey ball spewing ash as it arcs across the sky and then disappears on the horizon followed by a muffled and distant roar.
The troop quickly recognise the distinctive whimpering of tau cannon and the whine of a hammerhead passing overhead. The group decide to detour and investigate the downed craft.
Without radioing in, the patrol turns 45 degrees and makes for the presmed crash-site.

The endless bright greens, drab olives, and murky browns of the endless fens merge and confuse Kain, lead driver. The party searches for hours before giving up on what should have been an easy and straight forward task. Not wishing to waste anymore time the squad sets about returning to the course Kain previosly laid out and get back on mission…but they are now lost, and critical hours pass before the APCs find their way back to their original detour point.

It takes several more hours of monotonous driving, in filthy, cold, stinking waters before the squad reaches the drier shores of the Hellfens where the land slowly starts to rise from the fetted muck into the highland ridges which crisscross their way up to the Kromon plateau.
The sun succummed to the ridgeline several hours previous and the party has been using its driving lights to navigate to within 1km of FP Alpha.

Aware that they have most likely alerted the occupants of FP Alpha to presence of the APCs and receiving no reply from hails, the group halts and sends off a scouting element while the squad remains with full driving lights towards the base to entice a patrol.

While the scouting party (Mac and Kain) are flanking the base to gain higher ground, the APCs come under sudden and violent attack. The sentries in the cupolas do not see the advancing Kroot who approach from the sides where no lights are shining. Several Kroot make physical contact with the vehicles before the alarm is raised (in the form of bolter fire from the rear vehicle).
Las fire, plasma blasts, and bolter fire erupts in brilliant arcs, and in the ensuing battle Commissar Dragonov is seemingly blasted by several enemy energy rounds, as he mans the lead pintle gun – he disappears from view under a series of blue-white explosions.
The fight is over as suddenly as it started as the Kroot rapdily withdraw before the Imperials can mount a more organised resistance, and Josiah immediately attends the lead vehicle to check the body of their beloved leader.

God-Emperor be praised! Miraclulously Dimitri has survived, although his face has received a severe plasma burn. Josiah performs first aid.

The scouting team, after reaching their vantage oint on the far side of the base are only able to discern the 5m plascrete walls, sentry towers, and crude fires inside the comlex. Unable to gain any concrete intel because of the darkness and lack of magnification equipment, they see the fire-fight break out and decide to return to the main group. On-route, the team spies a Kroot war-party heading back from the APCs. They team immediately open fire catching the otherwise fast moving Kroot unawares. Mac cuts down three in one long burst of his hellgun, while Kain frags the area. They quickly check the bodies and move on.

Everyone re-groups and it is decided that the squad should halt and wait until dawn to assault the base.
During the night, the squad comes under sparodic hit and run attacks and lose one of the walking wounded guardsman. Nearly everyone suffers from lack of sleep, but esecially Kain who stayed awake all night working on the Chimera’s track malfunction.

session end…

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The (Second) Baraban Campaign
Welcome to the Suck

Hercules dropship
The session begins with a landing transport making its atmospheric entry to Baraban. The massive vessel is large enough to carry one full mechanised platoon of the 9th Calisi. Troops are strapped into their Chimera, their limited view of the transport interior their only vista – there are no exterior viewports within the cargo section, nor is there any viewscreen to provide information about the flight status.

A series of red lights illuminate the interior of the transport during flight, casting everything in an eerie glow. The roar of the engines overshadows all other sound, save the occasional worried laugh or gasp from their fellows during flight. It is virtually impossible to carry on a conversation during flight.
Each of the troops is prepare in this standard armour and carries his regimental lasgun. Other standard equipment is stored in a slingbag in a bin under their seat. The platoon Lascannon is partly disassembled and stowed above the seats. The Chimera itself is locked in place with a series of large clamps and thick one foot wide straps.
The 1st Platoon was the last one to enter the vessel as is their privilege. Because of that, they are seated closest to the transport’s loading ramp.

The craft is currently on final approach to one of Baraban’s Imperial fortifications, located on the Northern continent. While far from the regions that once represented the planet’s largest human populations, the area was once sparsely inhabited.
The initial briefings have so far indicated that the 9th is being assigned near front lines. The nature and number of the enemyin this region has not yet been clarified. Rumours have circulated about the front, but nothing has been confirmed.

As the transport descends through the atmosphere, it frequently bumps and shakes. As the vehicle prepares for its final approach, the ship’s speakers crackle and a voice mumbles somethingv almost indistinguishable over the sound of the engines and the static of the speakers. The ship’s pilot informs the passengers that they are entering a hot landing zone: enemy are currently attacking the depot’s spaceport. The squads should be prepared to engage in combat immediately upon disembarking. Landing should be in less than 10 minutes.
Only Kain, the Chimera Driver, and Josiah, the distrusted Psyho -I mean Psyker, were able to interpret it. Kain attempts to signal to the others squad members has he unbuckles and makes his way to the driver compartment to begin awakening the Chimera’s machine spirit. Josiah likewise attempts to convey to his squad-mates the impending situation using his data-slate – all their efforts are in vain as the sound of the engines precludes speech, and neither they, nor their team-mates have any non-verbal communication skills or the awareness to comprehend the strange hand gestures and battle-footage (from the data-slate) that Kain and Josiah are going on with.

The transport is shifting substantially and the engines are roaring as it prepares to make a hurried landing while under enemy fire. The shuttle lands with a violent lurch. Kain is jostled and buffeted but luckily is not injured.
As the ship finally stops moving, the compartment lights switch from red to white and a green light illuminates the hatch, indicating that it is unlocked and may be opened.

228 max
From the moment it is opened, the squad is immediately aware of the sounds of battle and see strange hunched figures loping across the landing strip. The squad recognise them as Kroot warriors! The Kroot have a substantial numerical advantage, and have broken through the western defenses, threatening to overrun the already occupied Guard position in the centre.
Three Krootox, mounted with large cannons, divert to handle the Guard reinforcements emerging from the transport while the main war-band continues its advance to the humans’ flank.

Hurriedly the squad leaps into action. Sasha opens the rear assault ramp of the Chimera and Mac, with elite discipline, charges out into the transport hold. Both soldiers begin to unlock the Chimera from its transit bindings. Commissar Dragonov reminds the troops of the valiant nature of their task here on Baraban and the fate that awaits Humanity should they fail!

The Large Kroot war-beasts advance…

Kain’s preparedness in awakening the Chimera before landing allows them to begin engaging the enemy with the Autocannon wile still in the cargo hold. White flashes of energy smash into the front armour of the Chimera, the Kroot cannons blazing away wildly.

Sasha returns to the Chimera to retrieve his lascannon and begins to prepare it to engage the large Krootox, but the Commissar issues a directive! “Everyone back inside the Chimera and prepare to exit the ship!” Sasha returns the lascannon to storage and Mac undoes the last restraining bolt from the Chimera as the armoured transport lurches into motion.

Down the ramp and into the fray!

The autocannon continues to land hit after hit into the giant Kroot war-beasts, which are almost the same size as the Chimera but the dense muscle and sheer bulk of the creatures enable the enemy to weather the onslaught and close on the Chimera.
Dimitri mans the storm bolter and suppresses the Kroot warriors as they cross the open landing field.
A Krootox stumbles under the kinetic force of three autocannon rounds slamming through its mass. The Kroot warrior is thrown from its back and rolls into a runing charge at the Chimera.
Sasha mans the the Hull-Flamer and unleashes litres of burning Promethium onto the Kroot warrior.
The warrior somehow survives and leaps onto the Chimera and begins to enter the open hatch left by the Commissar who had only just abandoned his position at the pintle mounted storm-bolter.

The Kroot warrior squarks angrily at the tasty crew inside the Chimera as its head thrusts inside the turret cupola. Mac fires his hellgun cutting multiple laser marks craoss the inside of the turret but missing. Dimitri fires his blessed bolt pistol sending explosive rounds ricocheting around the cabin but also misses the warrior. The Kroot is about to push himself inside the Chimera and begin his gruesome work when suddenly arcs of lightening fill the turret and engulf the Kroot cooking his wiry avian muscle and freezing him dead in the hatchway.

The Krootox cannon blasts rip into the vulnerable side armour of the Chimera as Kain valiantly maneuvers the vehicle away from the advancing giants and towards to base. Mac pushes the Kroot corpse from the “Pride of Prypiat” and mans the storm bolter swinging it to face the mammoth Krootox only metres from them – but even the furious storm of bolter rounds does little to these creatures.

The situation threatens to become dire until Sasha emerges from the rear top hatch of he Chimera with his lascannon, and bracing it on the hull blasts the hulking enemy into gory Kroot Fried Creature pieces.

The squad mop up the flanking Kroot but not before they cause some damage to the base forces. Josiah uses his psychic powers again but summons a terrible warp scream which terrifies one of the squad members.
Sb blackwater on fire
The squad has become aware that their transport has an engine on fire and after the enemy are dealt with they pursue a multi-thread plan to solve the problem. Kain attempts to shut down the fuel lines to the dangerously cycling engine, but almost fry themselves in a gout of engine blast. Sasha finds fire fighting equipment and brings it to the engine while Dimitri orders base personnel to assist. The engine is not saved but is prevented from detonation!

In the aftermath the squad help rebuild and reorganise the base gaining both valuable information about their situation and forging important relationships with the local garrison.


NOTE

This blog entry was WAY too long, so I am going to be even more brief from now on.

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