The daemonhost lives on
In the whispers of Zarzang campaign we have seen a imperial guard force suddenly attacked by daemons as they uncovered artifacts of unknown origin. Those same daemons attempted to claim those artifacts from an imperial base. A group of daemonhunters was sent to discover what the daemons were after but failed. But during both major attacks a daemonhost named Zarzang was seen. This daemonhost wears the symbols of an inquisitor thought lost. Geffey of the flame was believe to have died in a crash landing while investigating a forbidden world in the outer reaches. The imperial guard launch a massive search and destroy mission at the site of the wreckage, trying to find proof of Geffey’s death.
[We go with a Cityfight mission, Grand Assault. 1500 points of guard battling 1000 points of Daemonhunters with Geffey taking the role of a radical inquisitor. Geffey, story wise, uses both daemonhosts as well as xenos as tools to fire for the Imperium. Zarzang is his daemonhost prisoner who is trying to engineer his own freedom.]
Nine buildings are marked as having energy signatures that need to be investigated. An aerial sweep will have hellstrike missiles launched into spotted trouble spots to help in the sweep. Additionally two more air strikes have been arranged, as well as maps to the sewer system provided.
Warned that they were coming by watching the skies, Inquisitor Geffey had his loyal men plant traps through the ruins. He then set up shop in the medical bay while one of his officers set up in the generator room. His men then spread out through the ruins and awaited the attack to come.
[City fight has stratagems, and the grand assault mission gives the attacker primary bombardment for free, Trent took two demolition stratagems (one build gets destroyed unless he rolls a one on a d6) and the sewer rat stratagem. I picked the medical building stratagem (gives feel no pain to one unit), the power generator stratagem (Allows one unit to reroll fails to wound but I don’t recall using it once in the game) and booby traps (pick either a building or a bit of scenery in which to place a str 6 attack or so).]
For deployment the Inquisitor guardsmen hang back mostly. I took two heavy weapon teams, one mortars and one autocannons. The mortars were deployed to the very rear of the battlefield, while the autocannons join another guard squad in a forward ruin. Behind them is an assault guard unit (no attached heavy weapons team) and behind them another guard squad, this one with an autocannon placed up high. In the middle of the table is the tallest building. Inside which I put one platoon command squad, lead by an officer with a bolter. Behind that sits the leman russ battle tank and another assault guard squad. To it’s left two sentinels were deployed and behind them the mortar team. Finally left of the sentinels goes the inquisitor and his xeno’s (three counting as heavy melta gun servitors, two as minions in carapace armour and two nurses. Thus the whole group as 4+ armour.)
The imperial guard launching the assault deploy in two groups, one on the right with a chimera, three sentinels and about 30 guys. On the left we see two sentinels, a chimera and one unit on foot. The rest is in reserve. Colonel ‘Iron Hands’ Straken has been tasked to lead this assault and is in the group on the right.
The bombardment sees the tallest building in the middle take a hit, killing four of the guardsmen and making it dangerous terrain. The mortar team also takes a direct hit, killing two of the weapon teams. Another unit takes a hit, but loses only a single man. And with that the battle begins.
My inquisitor sentinel trades fire with the sentinel approaching on the right, taking one down. The rest of my guardsmen do not have many targets but they stick to the plan of having three stages of the encounter. Stage one exists just to slow down the approaching guardsmen. Stage two is to hold up the attackers long enough for the stage three to finish them off. It isn’t a good plan, as it writes off one third of my forces from the top, but it feels in character.
(Coming back to this battle report after 9 weeks away, so the actual details are getting fuzzy. I’ll try my best to keep it as close to factual as I can)
The attacking guardsmen push in on the two sides, leaving the middle for the moment. Both chimeras hold onto their cargo, while the sentinels on both sides snipe at available targets. I lose over half of the forward heavy weapons team.
Mostly more sniping out of the defending guardsmen. The captain who lost four of his men to the bombardment of the middle building proves he earned his stripes by sniping at the approaching sentinels with his boltgun. In the following phases his sniping will kill two out of the three sentinels on that side.
[The attacking guardsmen have their two demolitions stratagem go off, having picked two buildings at the back of the table. I hadn’t noticed until now that the stratagem says the target building cannot be in the defenders deployment zone, so the two picked buildings were technically illegal. However, the reason they were targeted is that the attacker wasn’t sure he would be able to get down to them and wanted to make sure. Under that logic I agree they were good targets.]
Two buildings collapse under hellstrike missiles from the air support the attackers have. Under the cover of the missiles, a veteran team climbs out of the sewers and finds itself behind the defending tank. Before the missiles struck leaving the tunnels would’ve been too dangerous. As it was the veteran’s squad knew they had to destroy the tank at all costs.
They were successful.
The defenders found themselves facing a platoon worth of guardsmen on the east side, with a veteran squad behind the defenders on the east as well. The west saw one more veteran squad approaching the inquisitor and his xeno’s. The attacking vehicles were being held up, but with the tank gone that wasn’t going to continue.
The defenders turn their flamers and the raw number of troops in the east to their advantage. The attacking twenty guardsmen are reduced to three, while the veteran squad takes enough losses that the two survivors are broken and fleeing. They shall escape off the table, but away from their own side and will be lost to traps set by the defenders.
The demonhost Zarzang is able to do damage on the east side as well, helping break the attackers on that side. It isn’t enough, as all the building on that side have been explored by the attackers (under the mission objectives as we played them). In the west the defenders are not as lucky. The inquisitor and his xenos are not able to push back the veteran squad approaching, nor are the surviving elements of his guardsmen able to do much of account this turn.
The attackers have a much better turn 3. The last group of veterans climbs out of the sewers between the inquisitor and a squad still picking itself out of the ruins. This squad is lead by the sergeant who carries the heavy bolter (not looking up his name I’m afraid). They will join the other veteran squad on this side and attempt to push the inquisitor out of his hiding spot.
Another unit, behind held in reserve in the chimera will get out and attempt to surround and down the daemonhost. Colonel Iron Hands and his surviving escort will move to get revenge on the lost of his troops in the east. The chimera will roll happily down the street towards the defending guardsmen now that the tank has been lost.
The defending guardsmen push forward, using one squad to reclaim the building in the middle on the east, while the daemonhost is joined by the command squad of that platoon to dealt with his own attackers.
A crossfire between the guardsmen squad in the ruins and the inquisitor squad will see the men accompanying the heavy bolter sarge lost, but he himself survives. The surviving sentinel for the defenders attempts to rush the chimera, only to get itself trapped inside the wrecked (but not destroyed) building. It is just able to see through the ruins enough to zap the chimera, taking out its turret. (6” line of sight blocks through ruins, it was just under 5” as I recall.)
The attacking sarge even climbs into the ruins with his heavy bolter and attempts to mow down the roomful of xenos (and inquisitor) as his other veterans use that moment to sneak forward. They also supply covering fire to allow an officer and his support people to leave the sewer. On the west side of the board the attackers are clearly winning. It doesn’t help that the guardsmen in the east are able to take a building there as well.
The defenders are down to a single building unexplored. They will attempt to pour all the gunfire they can into the attackers to stop them from getting to it.
Between the two sides shooting at each other, only a handful of units remain to each side. The chimera escapes harm, but most of the attacking guardsmen in the east are gone. The daemonhost has torn the iron hand off the colonel, but knows he will be back. Three squads of troops are down to five men or less in the west, but the defenders are down to the same numbers.
The daemonhost scores a teleport and zips itself across the field to help deal with the units in the west. All the other defending units pour themselves as best they can into that side as well. All of it is for not, as the officer who showed up late is able to run recklessly into the final building to claim that objective marker. On turn seven he and his men are slain, but his radio report will prove that the crash was faked and that the guard need to hunt down the radical renegade Inquisitor Geffey. Which will finally bring us to the last chapter in this campaign. An imperial guard planetstrike against a daemons of Chaos army with an inquisitor ally.