Martin - GM
Matt - Space Wolves Wolf Scout Bjorn
Garreth - Iron Hands Techmarine Maakus
Designated Leader - Assault Marine Hakim
Kill-Team Oath - Oath of Glory
Mission Requisition - 100
Mission Eight - Spearhead
You are to meet the Imperial commanders of outpost Theta Tercius on the outlying planet of Heldays Hope and organise the defences of the outpost with the arrival of the Tyranid landing forces. Commander Van Strauss of the 95th Flellian rifles needs time for their strategic reserve to deploy and fortify before the main wave hits. The kill squad will be deployed by Thunderhawk on Astartes Bikes to strike the Tyranids hard and withdraw in a series of feints on the far side of the swarm to draw them away from the outpost to give them more time to prepare.
The Tyranids have three main drop sites and are marshalling their swarms ready to strike. The synapse creatures need to be killed to sow chaos and disrupt their landing. Priority organisms are Warriors, Zoanthropes and Hive Tyrants if present. Secondary targets are siege organisms such as Carnifex's.
The Kill-Team has been issued with two standard Astartes Bikes, one scout variant equipped with a Grenade Launcher and an Astartes Attack Bike reinforced and modified to enable it to be piloted by the considerable mass of the teams Techmarine with the modified Heavy Bolter of their Devastator mounted upon the sidecar. The Devastator Tyr requisitioned several clips of specialist ammunition to compliment his standard load-out, while the White Scar Hakim took a powered spear-like weapon favoured by his chapter for enhancing charges and the Space Wolf Bjorn took a Missile Launcher with a mixture of Frag and Krak Missiles. As the mission would primarily consist of surgical hit and run tactics it was decided that Hakim would be designated team leader on this occasion as his tactical experience better suited a mission of this type than the Black Templars less subtle methods....
Having little intelligence to go on the team decided to attack the most central of the three Tyranid landing sites hoping that this would prevent the groups from joining together and forming a single horde. A Thunderhawk transport allocated to the team dropped them and their bikes a relatively safe distance away in order to give them some time to formulate a plan of attack.
The enemy horde consisted primarily of a vast swathe of one of the smaller Tyranid Gaunt forms flanked by two midsize groups of Tyranid Warriors and led by a larger more fearsome looking Warrior that seemed to be herding the smaller forms forward. Hakim formed the team into a staggered 'finger four' formation with the intention of clearing enough of the swarm to enable them to engage the Warriors before withdrawing. Hopefully this could be achieved in a single pass though the White Scar had orientated the attack to prevent them getting bogged down should a subsequent run be required.
Editors Note - Our White Scars player basically stayed in character for pretty much the whole session...also apparently when we actually use tactics it throws our GM a bit...
Maakus and Tyr decided to split their fire each aiming at a different group of Warriors. A pair of Tyranid Warriors were torn apart by the Imperial Fists Heavy Bolter rounds with a third taking severe wounds. The Techmarine switched his Storm Bolter rounds from 'blast' to 'felling' mode and the modified Rounds punched through the second Warrior groups exoskeletons killing all six in a spectacularly efficient display of shooting. The larger bioform at the rear seemingly identified the Attack Bike team as the primary threat and moved in their direction.
Editors Note - Matts Black Templar has been blown up, set on fire and suffered critical damage to virtually every limb at least once...also in one mission his kill count amounted to a single tree...
The Devastator continued pouring Heavy Bolter shells into the remaining Warriors killing another two and finishing off the wounded one as it attempted to engage the three Astartes amongst the rapidly thinning mass of Guants. Maakus targeted the Warrior Prime and in a display of overkill reduced it to paste with two full bursts of optimised Storm Bolter hits. Noting the proximity of the Attack Bike team to the surviving Warrior Hakim diverted himself and the Space Wolf to intercept it while leaving the Black Templar to prevent the Guants from reinforcing them in turn. Bjorn arrived momentarily before Hakim and collided with the remaining Warrior at full speed with the White Scar fatally spearing it on his Power Lance before it could recover. It seemed that Hakim's well organised assault tactics had worked perfectly as all their primary and secondary targets from this group were eliminated.
Unfortunately he had failed to take one thing into account...
Klaus had decided that the optimal way to clear the area of Guants while simultaneously drawing them away from the other team members was to spin his bike around in circles while attempting to bludgeon to death anything that came near with his Power Maul. However the skills necessary for this unconventional 'donut' manoeuvre were beyond his capabilities and he managed to lose control of the bike and mere moments later found himself underneath both it and several dozen opportunist Tyranid creatures. The team vox was briefly filled with some unusual noise interference uncannily similar to the sound of four Astartes sighing at the same time...
Thinking quickly Hakim distributed some new orders...
The Iron Hand banked the Assault Bike back towards the mass of Termagants as his Imperial Fist passenger raked them with Bolt Rounds before swerving aside at the last moment and scooping the battered Black Templar up with his Servo Arm as the other team members attempted to further disorientate the now leaderless creatures before they could regroup. As the bikes would be required for the other phases of the mission Hakim directed the Techmarine to drop Klaus with them and attempt a dangerous last rush through the newly massing enemy in order to retrieve the foolish would-be Chaplains abandoned bike as they gave covering fire.
Assisted by both his Servo Arms, several Manipulator Mechadendrites and a number of other implant systems capable of gripping actions Maakus managed to grasp the battered vehicle as the Attack Bike swooped passed and drag it somewhat noisily away as their retreat was covered by Bolter, Grenade and Missile fire...
Editors Note - That was a lot of extra tests using abilities that none of us were expecting to be using this session. Unsurprisingly 'Grab bike with implant system designed for something else while engaged in advanced movement manoeuvres while avoiding multiple weapons blasts from your own team as they try to keep you from being overwhelmed by Hormagants and then drag the aforementioned bike to safety' is not covered anywhere in the rule-book...
With the first target group leaderless and in disarray Hakim led the kill team in a course designed to minimise their chance of pursuit in order for them to prepare themselves for their second objective and to buy them a little time to assess the severity of the setback created by Klaus. Their Apothecary hadn't accompanied them on this mission as he had been tasked with analysing the Tyranid bio-matter recovered from an early operation in order to facilitate the development of a more deadly genophage to use against the expanding Tyranid incursion.
After some consideration the Iron Hand stabilised the Black Templar and stapled together the worst of his wounds before doing what he could to bring the damaged bike back to some semblance of working order. Hakim suggested that prioritising locomotion over firepower would be the best use of their time in these circumstances upon which the Techmarine agreed. He managed to get the bike itself running again though Hakim's prompting meant the time wasn't available to restore the twin-linked bolters at it's front that had suffered severely as the vehicles front had embedded itself in the ground. Klaus would just have to rely on his sidearm instead.
Still lacking tactical information Hakim arbitrarily decided that they would travel East in order to assault one of the remaining two Tyranid drop sites. A large ridge overlooked this particular drop site so the team moved to this tactical vantage point in order to formulate a plan of attack. This group was significantly larger than the first and consisted mainly of Hormagaunts though something much larger could be observed moving at it's centre.
Long range observations via several of the Techmarines sensory arrays revealed this central monstrosity to be a Hive Tyrant protected by resilient looking protectors identified as Hive Guard. Given the large quantity of Hormagaunts surrounding the Synapse creature their earlier strategy of cutting a corridor through would leave them quickly overwhelmed even if they reached the primary target. Though the Astartes had no issues with sacrificing themselves to ensure victory this would leave the third drop-site free to act without any disruption. Clearly a more sophisticated set of tactics would be necessary this time. Once again the White Scar had an idea in mind which hopefully on this occasion wouldn't be disrupted by any-one falling off anything...
Hakim suggested as the Hormagaunt variant of Tyranid was adapted for close combat rather than ranged warfare that if they circled the horde making feints towards it and then pulling back that they may be able to thin the shield of lesser forms hopefully creating a pathway to the more important central target. This would of course require precise manoeuvring so as to get close enough to draw out elements of the horde without themselves been caught up by the notoriously fast moving Hormagant bioforms.
Hakim formed the team into a similar staggered formation as before and they raced down the ridge at full speed ready to implement the White Scar's daring plan. The first circumnavigation they made only partially thinned the enemy formation as they darted in and out firing their various weapons into the densely packed crowd. A second and third series of assaults began to have the desired effect as the casualties inflicted by the Kill Team rapidly began to mount and the swarm began to spread and thin in several areas. Hakim decided that a fourth series of attacks in key areas should be sufficient to create enough disruption to make a strike on the Hive Tyrant a viable proposition.
His assumption proved to be correct as he transmitted to his battle brothers a exploitable but still dangerous potential route to the Hive Tyrant. Maakus and his Devastator passenger cut through the diminished enemy with their usual efficient ranged firepower as the more assault inclined members of the team sliced and bludgeoned aside opportune targets on the way to the Marines primary goal. Letting his usual zeal yet again overtake common sense Klaus fell behind his comrades progress as he focused on enemies around him rather than their actual goal.
Editors Note - Either that or he was being terrible at his job again...I decided to be diplomatic when doing the write-up...the GM was also particularly generous in not having him overwhelmed and eaten...
Hakim showed off all the famed piloting skills of his Chapter during mounted attacks as he expertly weaved through the leaping Gaunts before driving his Power Lance into the closest of the massive monstrosities bulky defenders slicing effortlessly through it's dense exoskeleton into it's torso. Somehow it survived the incredible amount of damage caused though it was clearly wounded nearly to death. Seeing one of it's bodyguard so hideously wounded the Hive Tyrant turned it's attention on the attackers unleashing a powerful psychic attack on them that cut through even the formidable mental defences of an Astartes leaving only the bionically enhanced brain of the Techmarine unaffected.
Several Guants attempted to protect their leader but were quickly cut down by bolter and blade as the Space Marines moved towards the only target of importance. The Hive Tyrant towered over the approaching kill-team but at least it's size allowed them all to attack it simultaneously. Multiple Bolt Rounds slammed into it but only those enhanced by the Techmarines own abilities did any damage of significance.
Doubting the ability of any of his usual weapons compliment to harm a creature of this scale and resilience the Wolf Scout Bjorn reached for his requisitioned Missile Launcher and fired a Krak Missile directly at it. The projectile was designed to be the bane of heavily armoured tanks and therefore made a mockery of the Hive Tyrants defensive adaptations tearing a huge chunk from it's torso. As it staggered backwards a burst of Heavy Bolter fire targeted the exact spot rendered vulnerable by the aforementioned Krak Missile tearing the monstrosity into bloody chunks.
Noting the futility of attempting to also eliminate the hundreds of remaining Guants, Hakim ordered the teams withdrawal before they became bogged down in a prolonged and wasteful engagement. Once they were safely away from the now confused mass of lesser forms the wounded were treated to another session with Maakus's flesh stapler and a cocktail of stimulants from the primitive but still effective medicae mechadendrites injectors. Half empty magazines of ammunition were then replaced with full ones before the bikers moved to their third and final objective.
The final target area was surrounded by a strange distortion which at first the team took as dust thrown into the air by the enemies movement or as some form of heat haze. As they drew even closer it became evident that some unnatural atmospheric disruption was shielding the advancing enemy.
The Techmarines sensors and Auspex arrays once again proved their worth as they penetrated the protective shield and detected a trio of Tyranid Zoanthropes. No doubt these floating creatures were moving to support their fellows in both a defensive and offensive role. Given the destructive capabilities attributed to these psychic aberrations it was vital that they be destroyed before they could bring their abilities to bear against the walls of the fortress the team had been sent to defend.
As soon as the enemy was identified the Black Templar immediately charged forwards given his Chapters feelings about psykers. Realising that their own comrade was about to get in the way both the Iron Fist and Imperial Fist unleashed vast amounts of firepower into the enemy trio but many of the rounds were deflected by the psychic shield surrounding their foe and two of them survived the onslaught.
As Klaus neared the remaining pair of enemies he suddenly fell to the floor as his body was wracked with spasms, victim of an insidious psychic assault. The Templars potential target began to glow with energy but inexplicably exploded before the psionic energy could be focused towards the approaching Marines. Praising the Emperor for this stroke of good luck Hakim once again readied his his Power Lance and charged forward. Their good fortune continued as the White Scars powerful strike slipped past the final levitating monsters defences and skewered it neatly through the centre of it's body. With the death of the last strange bioform the surrounding miasma faded into nothing. The final objective had been successfully neutralised.
The triumphant team circled back past the previous pair of drop sites making several additional ranged strikes upon the now chaotic deployment zones in order to further sow chaos and disruption amongst the enemy. Satisfied that they'd done all they could and conscious that their services would be needed to help organise the fortresses outposts defences they began the long and necessarily circuitous journey back to base.
Back to Reality
Lucky dice rolls are the bane of many a GM and I have the feeling that some fortunate rolls on our part combined with some new abilities we'd acquired caught Martin a little by surprise. The Power Lance taken by Tristan's character stacked with both innate White Scar abilities and a heavy bias in Strength and Weapon Skill gave him horrendous damage output on the charge. My own characters 'Master of Arms' Deed adding 'Felling' (which reduced the enemies Toughness considerably) to my Storm Bolters meant that the enemies damage reduction was largely bypassed.
Additionally both my ability to add Blasts to Bolt rounds and the same effect being provided by the Devastators 'Metal Storm' rounds caused massive casualties amongst the Tyranids meat shields. I have a feeling that our enemies will be far more numerous and accompanied by much tougher allies in our next mission...
We all got the full compliment of Renown thanks to achieving all our objectives and some extra due to our choice of Oath. We were given 250XP across the board with the bulk of the bonus experience (500 in fact) going to Tristans White Scar for some excellent in character battle plans and assaults. Most of the rest of us also benefited from some bonus XP (between 250 and 300) though any-one whose read the above will be unsurprised to discover that Matt's Black Templar didn't get any...