40K OSR Inside

[40K OSR] Thousand Sons Army (1/?) – The Warband of Sergeant Allogenes

In an effort to keep myself awake in the long dark teatime of the soul, when my stupid morning insomnia starts to catch up with me, I’ve taken to making more randomly generated Realms of Chaos warbands. The process takes an hour or two, and just about evades the Scylla and Charybdis of needing to think so I don’t fall asleep with being so tired I’m barely conscious. I might do a whole 2000 or 3000 point Thousand Sons army…

Let’s start with a Mighty Champion, for 400 of your Earth points. I would like it on the record that I rolled for all of this with actual dice, and didn’t fix a single one.

Rolling for his initial profile gives me a Marine Champion – not too shabby, although I’d have preferred something with multiple wounds.

 M  WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  Ld Int  Cl  WP
 4  5  5  4 3 1  5 1 8 8  10  9

The Mark of Tzeentch gives him a random magical item (I got the Blasted Standard… useful, though I’ll probably fob it off on someone in the Retinue) and d3 Chaos Attributes (Tzeentch being a generous master). I only get the one, but Tzeentch be praised it’s a good one: Chaos Lord! That’s two extra rolls on the Retinue table, and a 50/50 chance of getting a) Chaos armour, b) a psi-level, c) a Daemon Weapon, d) a further d6 Attributes and e) an across-the-board improvement to his characteristics. I get everything except the Attributes, because I am just that jammy.

On top of that, being a Mighty Champion gets him a further d4+4 rolls on the Chaos Rewards table. I net myself six and get to rolling. My Champion’s Chaos armour is improved (groovy), as is his psi-level with the Gift of Magic (nice); he is blessed with the Bestial Face of a goat (extra attack, not knocking it) and a Flaming Arm (a shooting attack or a brutal extra melee punch that’ll immolate one model and force a Break test on his enemies, all for the low low price of not being able to wield a weapon with that hand). I double up on the Bestial Face, so that’s one written off, and my last one is… Eye of God.

Since he only has three Attributes and five Gifts at this point, he picks up an extra Wound and Attack, an extra psi-level, and a Chaos Weapon, which turns out to be a sword with the power of Magic Reflection. If I can roll equal to or less than his WS on two dice, a hostile psychic attack aimed against him will be bounced back to its originator. Once again: Tzeentch be praised. Of course, he can’t use it and his daemon sword at the same time, on account of only having one decent arm, but it’ll make a neat backup weapon.

 M  WS  BS  S  T W I  A  Ld  Int  Cl  WP
4 6 7 6 4 5 7 3 9 9 10+2 10+1

Here’s the characteristic profile after all the various Attributes are factored in. Also, he’s a third level psyker with 25 psi-points to burn. What a monster.

Of course, his Daemon Weapon has a goodly chance of containing a Daemon Prince, which will necessitate more dice being rolled. I opt for the ‘instant’ Daemon Prince rather than going completely from scratch. Once again, the result is among the most old-school of possible outcomes: a Fimm Warrior of Tzeentch, for whom I roll nine Gifts (and add 40 to the first six rolls, discounting anything that will turn him into a Spawn). This +40 modifier goes a long way, as I notch up two Strength results and three Eye of God results, along with a Flaming Arm (again), Enormous Noise*, Ecstatic Duplication** and the final Eye of God that makes a Daemon of him.

* I thought this was a typo for Nose, but no!
** Of no use to a Daemon bound into a sword, but a fabulous bit of Tzeentchy business; taking on some resemblance to a Pink Horror, the Champion splits into two Blue Horrors if killed, and recombines after the game, becoming functionally immortal unless both those Blue Horrors are killed… one wonders how he ended up in the sword to begin with.

 M  WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  Ld Int  Cl  WP
 4  4  3  10 5 4  3 4 6 5  6  6

Howlgrin Warpspurt Llan’chiae’abluun’naa (random name generator strikes again!), therefore, grants his bearer +4 to hit rolls, a second flame attack (6″ range or melee, deals d6 S3 hits to one target, the target’s unit must take a Rout test immediately), and on a 4+ the mere act of drawing him causes a foul noise that inflicts a -1 to hit penalty on everyone within 6″.

Marvellous. Now all I need to do is roll up a Retinue. I have two rolls from the Chaos Lord Attribute, and a further three from his Gifts (since every second Gift earns you a Retinue roll). I get eight Chaos Squats, two Ork Freebooters, a Freebooter Kaptain and a lone Chaos Cultist (who I suspect will be carrying the Blasted Standard on his master’s behalf). For a laugh, I roll a Dominant Attribute for each ‘unit’ the Retinue contains: a Cloud of Flies for the Squats, making them hard to hit (I may choose to represent this as an awful flickery flame noise instead, linking back to the daemon weapon); Pin Heads for the Freebooters (-1 Int and stupidity, deary deary me); Extremely Thin for the Kaptain (-1 T and a decidedly un-Orky physique) and a Poisonous Bite for the lone Cultist.

I generate 23 points for their equipment, which is enough to buy boltguns for all the Squats and a grenade launcher for the Kaptain. The Freebooters will have to make do with their boltguns, while the Cultist comes with a bolt pistol, flak armour and a lasgun anyway (there are advantages to being a unit of one!).

This is already quite enough to kick off a little bit of narrative skirmish play, in my book. It’s clear what’s happened here…

Long ago, before the Heresy and the scouring of Prospero and the fall and rise of Magnus’ Thousand Sons, there was a world. It was one of thousands that dotted the infinite night of space – small, and isolated, and positively infested with hostile forms of life. Many damned things dwelt upon this warp-tossed orb – rats that walked like men, elves that walked like women, and cyclopean lizard-beasts that walked like cyclopean lizard-beasts who lurked within the baleful swamps, dragging heavy club-tipped tails behind them.

One such beast made a pact, long long ago in the before-time. Sick with lust and envy for the sorceress-queen of his tribe, he sought to rend the customs and the laws that bound him to the role of warrior and – well, not quite pawn, but certainly no better than knight. The Changer of Ways heard him, and there was a breaking of bonds and a bending of rules and sure enough, the beast Howlgrin learned sorcery to match that of his mistress and strength enough to take her for his own.

A pity, then, that his world was doomed. In the heavens the Dark Gods laughed, the ground shook and trembled, and there was a wailing and lamenting and gnashing of teeth as the very laws of reality became a corroded shadow of themselves. Once more, Howlgrin blasphemed, and thrashed within the jaws of destiny, crying out for his master to save him; and the Changer of Ways laughed his myriad laughter and reached out his gnarly digit, and Howlgrin was cast into the Warp’s flux. He would survive, at the most terrible cost of all…

It was some time later – or some time earlier, for the Warp is a silly place and Tzeentch is a meddlesome Power – that the long shrieking sword called Howlgrin Warpflux was delivered to its intended recipient. Allogenes of the Thousand Sons was simply in the right place at the right time; like Howlgrin, he was crying out for Tzeentch to deliver him from the vengeance of the Space Wolves, and Tzeentch is nothing if not a kindly and perverse lord. The most fortunate Allogenes was given far more than he asked for – far more than he deserved – and he knows full well the debt he owes the Master of Mutation…


[V:tM] City Of Lost Clanbooks – an experiment in lassitude

Here’s something I did a couple of weeks ago and only just got around to copying the notes for. Since I have PDFs of all the Revised Edition Clanbooks, and since many of them provide sample broods of NPCs, I had a flick through to see if I could nail together a working city out of those (and thus with minimal effort on the part of me, the alleged ‘Storyteller’).

Everyone’s quite high generation (I think the eldest character here is eighth or ninth), but… I think it works, maybe for a city where the Prince has recently been eliminated and various powers are struggling to take control, with less emphasis on sect and more emphasis on clan. The Ravnos afford an interesting B-plot to the competing Lasombra and Ventrue leadership bids, while the responsibility for keeping the Masquerade and arranging Elysium has devolved to the Setites and Malkavians respectively. The other broods are out-of-towners who can show up as ‘adventures’ in their own right or descend on the city sensing opportunity.

Clans with a * next to them don’t have a sample brood, and I’ve given some thought as to where they might be. My thoughts took a sort of post-Gehenna “some Antediluvians rose and others didn’t, some clans survived and some didn’t” turn. A more sensible alternative is covered in the fourth image.
What happened to all those Antediluvians? I dug up a copy of Gehenna to see.
Here’s the thing. When Ravnos/Ravana/Zapathasura/whatever died, Clan Ravnos went mad and tore itself apart. Was this a) an effect of Chimerstry 10 (see V:tM Second Edition… I want to say Storyteller’s Handbook?) or b) something that happens with all Antediluvians? If b), does the clan still go mad if the Antediluvian is a) diablerised or b) genuinely dead? Then I lost my patience with this nerdism, remembered why I was actually doing the thought experiment, and got back on task.
Here’s the one I’ve tried to keep clear. The way I see it, you have two options for what to do with the “missing” clans. Either all the PCs are members of one clan, and form a brood with a shared NPC sire (or maybe one of them sired another, or one of them’s a ghoul; can your group handle that?), OR the PCs are (as is traditional) members of different clans and you present them with that shortlist to choose from. Given that all the other clans are quite united in this city, I’d opt for the first one – a brood of three characters with an NPC elder to look out for them. Maybe a star-crossed lover or lone infiltrator from another clan, since the Ventrue brood has a rogue element who’s pretending to be a Toreador.

[40K OSR] [Blood Bowl] Army List Follies

I’ve done some silly things this week. I blame mild sleep deprivation – well, not deprivation, more a dysfunction of the sleep pattern which has led to me regularly awakening at three or four a/m and passing out well before eight p/m. This is my natural sleep pattern, and it has a tendency to reassert itself in the bleak midwinter when the nights draw in. I dislike it.

Anyway, between that and a desire to avoid rewriting a white paper about autism, I have decided to indulge the symptoms of autism and experiment with some peculiar army lists for semi-obsolete wargames. In my defence, Blood Bowl’s new tabletop edition has just hit the shops like a twin-tailed comet stuck up the arse of a bat out of hell, and new miniatures for the Thousand Sons – rather tempting miniatures, too – are soon to follow. There’s some stimulus at work here. Of course, being me, I don’t rush out and buy things, oh no: I commit to theory wank instead. Behold.

The XV Legion First XV

First up – a Chaos Space Marines list. For second edition 40K. Obviously. I mean, who plays the current rules when there’s a version with even more cards, tokens, arbitrary silliness and table cruft out there? (Don’t answer that.)


Disc of Tzeentch

Mark of Tzeentch, Terminator armour with chainaxe and combi-bolter, Psychic Hood

Mark of Tzeentch, hand flamer, krak grenades, plasma grenades, Force Rod

SQUADS – 617

2 with chainaxe and combi-bolter, 2 with chainaxe and reaper autocannon

Krak grenades. 2 with boltguns, 3 with flamers

Krak grenades. 2 with boltguns, 1 with autocannon


Power claw, twin linked autocannon, Coruscating Warp Flame

Since it’s second edition, it has a special character. We all used them all the time, don’tcherknow? (I didn’t, actually, but I’m clearly in the minority, and I did own several.) Since it’s Thousand Sons, it has Ahriman, and since it has Ahriman, I’ve doubled down and made him the general, which restricts me to fielding only Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines or Tzeentch Daemons.

The second edition Codex is relatively clear about designating various things as Thousand Sons. Obviously, there’s an army list entry for Thousand Sons Marines. One can also designate a Sorcerer with the Mark of Tzeentch as a Thousand Sons Sorcerer, which allows him to lead a squad of said Marines as though he were an Aspiring Champion. One can even upgrade Terminators to Thousand Sons Terminators, if one so wishes.

I might be stretching a bit to say that a Terminator-armoured Sorcerer can be attached to a squad of Terminators in the same way, but I think it’s a reasonable extrapolation from the rules.

I might be stretching it a bit further with the Dreadnought, but I wanted a vehicle in there and I did buy it the Tzeentch Vehicle Reward.

1500 points. Fifteen models, plus the Dreadnought. I’ve seen worse in battle reports (that one in the Battles book with Ragnar Blackmane, Njal Stormcaller, Bjorn the Fell-Handed and Eldrad Ulthran all turning up to a podunk Bunker Assault, plus a Land Raider and Imperial Assassin… that springs to mind). Admittedly those didn’t have models which vanished into the aether if Energy Drain was played, but… actually, I have no ‘but’. I just have a cast-iron grip on the Psychic phase, a lot of autocannons, and no interest whatsoever in taking psychology tests (Dreadnought excepted).

The worst part is, I could build this with one blister pack, two boxes and one Forge World kit. (I could use the plastic Helbrute, but why would I use the plastic Helbrute?) I wonder if it’d work under the new rules?

Zombie Nation Army

Necromantic Team

#1 – Zombie
#2 – Zombie
#3 – Zombie
#4 – Zombie
#5 – Zombie
#6 – Zombie
#7 – Zombie
#8 – Zombie
#9 – Zombie
#10 – Zombie
#11 – Zombie
#12 – Zombie
#13 – Zombie
#14 – Zombie
#15 – Zombie
#16 – Zombie

5 Team Re-Rolls

I didn’t come up with this all by myself – Ravenpoe’s team guides over on Reddit gave me the idea.

It was a really good idea.

When you don’t have expensive, skilful, difficult-to-replace players to fret about, you relax. You learn to take that ‘Both Down’ for the sake of causing a turnover; you learn to foul because who cares if one Zombie gets sent off?

When you don’t have flair players or even positionals to pull off risky plays, you play a basic game. Slow. Steady. You screen rather than scrum; you stand back and you let the opponent come to you and cause their own damn turnovers. You have to play properly, but you don’t feel like you’re wasting potential by not using the skills you don’t have.

When you’re that chill, you learn to take risks. Yes, I just said you don’t have the positionals to pull it off. Who cares? You’re running a stupid Zombie team. Go for that slightly dodgy pass. You never know. If you screw it up… so what? You’re not using your Real Team.

So far I’ve fought Skaven and Amazons to a draw. That’s in the first PC game, by the way, when the first teams you face have a 300 TV advantage on you. I spend my inducements on an Igor (just in case someone actually dies), and then either a Wizard (if I have 150K to burn, but not 200) or a couple of Bribes (because why not put the boot in?) I briefly considered hiring Von Drakenberg for my third game (the token Vampire amongst the Zombie swarm) but I think I’ll maintain the purity of the experiment for now. I’ve even gotten two Interceptions, thanks to my tendency to keep the Zombies near enemy players without actually standing next to them and giving away free blocks. One of them even scored a Touchdown.

I did briefly consider using a Khemri team and Skeletons (slightly more movement and Thick Skull to keep them on the field), but Zombies are just so much more… relaxing, and that’s the point of this daft little experiment: it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt while playing this stupid game.

By the way…

I’m still making terrible Let’s Play videos. I think the channel will update on Wednesdays and Sundays, until I forget or come down with the Conniptions or have better things to do.