As if the Grey Knights didn’t have enough trouble. They semi-successfully defended “the relic” from a covetous space marine chapter, when a bunch of orks rumbled onto the very same battlefield twenty minutes later. Almost makes one feel bad for the boys from Titan, except there is no pity in the 41st millennium.
The mission was “Cleanse & Control” and we played 1500 points. As far as I could tell there were four units of knights in power armor. Most of them seemed to be interceptors, but how is an ork to tell? One group sat out the entire game sheltered inside a ruin guarding an objective and presumably trying not to get shot up. (I imagine those were not interceptors!) Lord Draigo also graced the battle with his presence. He was accompanied by a librarian and a host of terminators. Rounding out the marine forces was a dread knight.
The orks figured they were going to sneak in right before dawn, after the beakies finished beating the crap out of each other, bundle the shiny relic into a trukk and high tail it for home before anyone knew what they were about. Consequently it was the Too Many Chiefs detachment from page 102 of the codex. Pretty much everyone important wanted in on the glory. Two warbosses showed up, one on an enormous motorcycle and another (Warboss Hungry) in a battle wagon lording it over a gaggle of nobz. Then there was the jump infantry commander — some junior lieutenant who happened to be borrowing Zagstruk’s stat line. The less said about him the better. Otherwise, pretty much any ork who could find a ride showed up. I’m not sure who the mortar battery hitched a ride with, but goblins are nothing if not resourceful.
Early Battle: The orks spread out all over the field. They wanted to control the objectives early and take advantage of their mobility before the marines blew up all of their lovely transports. The assault lieutenant drove his large squad of jump troops down the middle of the field. He wanted to impress both warbosses. Further it didn’t occur to him that a small squad of marines would dare bring the fight to him. But bring it they did. A group of five or six marines charged guns blazing into three times their number of orks. When the dust settled all of the orks were dead or routed, including the green lieutenant. Just as well. Saved higher command the trouble of executing him for being an incompetent git!
Otherwise the ork plan seemed to be working. They were recovering valuable archeo-technology out from under the very beakies of the grey beakies! “Fer da Greata Gud an’ da Revulushun!”
Mid-Battle: The goblin mortar battery, for which the orks are (in)famous, was placing accurate hits on strike and interceptor squads. They weren’t doing much against power armor-clad troops, but this heavy shelling could not be allowed to go unchallenged. The marine commander ordered his dreadknight to teleport in on the ork right flank. The artillerymen took one look at that ugly, giant walker shimmering into existence ten feet from their position and high tailed it back to base. This allowed the Grey Knights to secure an objective valuable both for its skyfire potential and as a treasure trove of hidden supplies, i.e. victory points.
The battle raged back and forth with both sides exchanging small arms fire. Neither could be said to control the situation. Despite the early surprise by the orks, the Grey Knights were able to re-secure much of what they had originally lost. Lord Draigo teleported in with a large squad of terminators, though due to some garbled communications he almost materialized directly inside the strike squad corporal, who was fumbling with a particularly high-strung teleporter beacon. Still, all turned out well. The terminators withstood a powerful ork air strike with minimal casualties, and anchored their lines with a force the orks had no means to approach head-on, sideways or any way whatsoever.
Late Battle: The orks did meet dread knight threat. General Hungry ordered his battle wagon to proceed at top speed toward the ork right flank. He radioed the bike squad leader to back up his efforts and engage a supporting interceptor squad. The ork bikers took more casualties from riding at top speed directly through the walls of a ruin than they did from the fight itself.
“Furst man ta krump dat fing gets ta be boss nob!” he bellowed, standing on the cab of his wagon waving his klaw. Hungry mentally congratulated himself for speaking in orky pidgin, then promptly tumbled off accidentally on purpose with all of the frantic klaw-waving. He almost got left behind. Three nobz killed each other in their zeal to reach the dread knight. Another nob or two died shrieking beneath the walker’s huge blade. In the end they ate the grey knight driver and spent the rest of the battle fighting over who would get to pilot the new “dread”.
The remaining bikers dismounted and stood in a circle around their leader’s motorcycle, trying to figure out how to get a suit of power armor untangled from his forks.
Meanwhile, Hungry received a communication from the battle analysts aboard his command strike cruiser. They had determined that the orks had achieved as much as they could possibly expect in their opportunistic raid. Any further indulgence in battle would most likely only serve the ends of the Grey Knights. So he sent up the red flare and as one the orks rolled, ran, flew, crawled and swam for home, leaving the marines scratching their heads and wondering what the hell just happened. Theories included that Tigurius from the last battle summoned the orks using some “unknown and possibly broken” summoning spell. (Wouldn’t it be typical of Roboute Guilliman to pull something like that?)
In any case, the game ended in a draw. Happily, I achieved style points by having Hungry fulfill his Saga of the Cowardly Warboss by not putting himself in a situation where he had a good chance of dying. (See post-script.)
Post Script: As has been mentioned before in the dim recesses of the past, Warboss Hungry (so named because of his appetites for goblin flesh) is rather unusual as ork warbosses go because he believes in using guile, tactics, and intelligence over strength and brute force. In fact he is secretly a coward, though he goes to great lengths to not appear so. In fact he is quite well-spoken, speaks several languages fluently and is an avid reader on a variety of subjects. Shockingly, he is capable of loyalty and friendship, and has close ties with non-orks on many different worlds, especially amongst the Tau. If he has a failing with his men, it is in the heat of battle he sometimes forgets to “speak orky” and the boyz don’t understand a word he is saying.
The upshot of all of this is Warboss Hungry must be fielded with the “Finking Cap” upgrade to account for his intellect. He also has the “Saga of the Cowardly Warboss” though if he knew that his reality were in fact a 40K game he’d prefer to call it the “Saga of the Tactical Super Genius.” Those of you who are familiar with the concept of sagas from the old Space Wolves codex know that the idea is to gain style points by winning the game while playing your character the way your saga says you are supposed to. If you don’t, then you have to redeem your honor the next time around!
So Hungry’s saga requires that he not subject his person to anything where he has a good chance of getting killed. Charging a dread knight with a squad of ten nobz? Send in some “boss nob” mook for the challenge, let the rest of the nobz do the hard work and take credit at the end. He gets word his powerful nob bodyguard is staging a revolt to replace him as chief. Does he reassert his authority by fighting it out with the alpha-nob? No, he “agrees” fresh blood is needed, steps down as boss and then manipulates the nobz into multi-charging three squads of terminators led by Logan Grimnar the next battle and letting nature take its course. So, you get the idea.
Next Time: My impressions about playing in my third “Twin-Linked” tournament up in Sacramento with my charismatic partner, General Mark, of the Farsight Enclaves.