Playing against my older younger brother, we ran 75U each. We each put together our own side of the field. I got counter-deployment, and he got first turn. I have a post-amble summary of the battle, that along with aren't intended for RK18 judging, as they are just my thoughts on the game.
Previously on A Magikallenic Mystery Tour:
After uncovering the identification signal of a long lost Praetorian Dreadnought, Master Anatolia Argheart is dispatched to the Magikallenic Cloud to try and find the source of the signal. At the same time Argheart uses this as an opportunity to grab a foothold in the Magikallenic. Conquering the planet of Friebig, Argheart plans to crush dissent with a referendum on which cities she will bombard from orbit…
This is a special bulletin from the Praetorian News Intergalactic Service, we are going live to our reporter in the field, Jeremy McDonnell
“It has been one month to the day that Friegebig IV was annexed from the Space Piltogg’s, and one week since this historic referendum that has shocked three galaxies was called. As I stand here on the deserted streets of New Bielefeld, a warship hangs above the capitol building like an executioner's axe held aloft over of a condemned mans head.
Even though we have mere minutes of daylight left, curfew has been pushed back to allow for the polls to close late, with a shocking turnout of voters, attempts to boycott the vote failed in the mid-afternoon. Reportedly local terrorist and rebel groups began infighting at this time, and several explosions have been recorded at known rebel hideouts.
A variety of groups both national and international, governmental and NGO, have fought until the last moment to nullify the vote, attempts to reclassify planet as commonwealth territory fell through, and pressure by the AN general assembly and security council have failed to move president Grace Rhesus’s support of Master Anatolia Argheart’s bold action. Two days ago the Trattorian ambassador went on record as stating that Praetorians are “sick bastards”, and other reactions have been decidedly mixed. One sticking point has been whether or not waging a systematic holocaust against Piltogg’s is morally justifiable in and of itself. While general assembly leaders were able to come to the conclusion that punching Piltogg’s is a form of pre-emptive self-defence, a concordance was not reached on vapourizing them.”
Suddenly one of his crew interrupted Jeremy. The reporters face drained of colour as he someone was speaking to him from off camera.
“As night falls, remaining Praetorian nationals are being ordered to evacuate either to starships in orbit, or to established safe locations well outside city limits. Our crew has been warned we have to catch the next outbound transport, or risk being caught in a potential blast area. We will be returning to the studio in New Praetoria to show the outpouring of support for the people of Friebig. This has been Jeremy McDonnell, reporting for the Praetorian News Intergalactic Service.”
Command Ship of Task Force Revenant, Heathen Class Battleship HEMS Stormfront
Far above the planet, a formidable force of warships waits in orbit. A small shuttlecraft carrying Idris Pilate had docked with the flagship, and he diligently makes his way to the bridge.
“I didn’t need to be summoned from the surface for my own safety, I’d like to be on the ground with my men.”
“I know that would be your preference, but I didn’t bring you up here for your safety, but rather the view. The final tally is almost ready, and when it is, the light show will be impressive.”
“Have you considered my suggestion to ignore the votes outcome? It would stop us destroying key infrastructure.”
“No, that just wouldn’t be sporting. I promised a fair vote, and I’ll it to give them, even if doing so hinders this whole campaign.”
The pair took in the view for a few moments. Pilate was uneasy aboard starships, the gravity never felt right to him, and the idea of deadly void mere metres from him gave the veteran a sick feeling in his stomach.
A lieutenant spoke out aloud as his screen began to flash with the incoming communique.
”Master Argheart! We are receiving a priority long range transmission from the RARCom Fleet, they have picked up the signal, and confirmed it matches that of an IFF transponder from an Exodus dreadnought. They’ve narrowed the search area to 300 light years.”
“Excellent. Direct the reconnaissance fleet “Phantom” to join RARCom in the search. We might be able to close this campaign far earlier than expected, then we can focus our efforts on securing more systems in the Magikallenic.”
”It will be done master. And an update just in from the surface, final tally expected in three hours.”
Idris Pilate took the good news as a chance to make leave for himself.
“My shuttle is still docked, I would be best put to work on the surface to deal with any unexpected outcomes from this experiment with direct democracy. It isn’t a preference, only pragmatism my master.”
Argheart had her reservations, but she saw no reason to prevent pilate.
“Very well. Return to the surface.”
Light years away however, a dark tide was approaching
In a dark chamber onboard an Immortal command ship, General Bruce Menzies of Britannia awaits an audience with the Omicron shard of Warhead.
“You bring me across space to some remote galaxy, and then summon me to one of your foul chambers. All without a word of reason. Why are we out here Warhead?”
“Hold your tongue Menzies. This is the least foul of my chambers.”
“I’ve heard of the things you have done. How it has made you an outcast, looked down upon by the other shards. They say you plot and scheme, all while lacking their enviable strength and bloodlust. I have no choice in being here, but I won’t let you waste my time.”
“Very well. I’ll get to it.”
“Behold! Galaxia Nehellenium. Pathetic isn’t it? A smattering of warring tribes. No direction, no unity, no common destiny. And yet this universal backwater has put up quite a fight. Our invasion plans have been constantly delayed. Everytime we get the galaxy in a state for invasion, something changes and we have to start all over again. For every superpower we can stomp out, two more rise.”
Warheads monologue was starting to tire Menzies, but the Terrorkhan looked on enraptured by his commanders words.
“Take the Scythians for instance. Forever a thorn in our side. And they play around with dangerous technology they barely understand.”
Something, perhaps a distant memory of a conversation, clicked in Menzies head.
“Exactly. They are like undisciplined children with toys. No respect for what they have. They don’t even know the damage they are causing.”
“So what is this about? Really.”
“All in good time, but first a quick story. Not long ago, the Immortals revealed themselves to this galaxy, and offered our hand in peace, which some peoples, like yours, wisely accepted.”
“Yes, it was very peaceful. Only a few billion died.”
Cheerfully the shard continued.
“Exactly. And others accepted our offer as well. But some of those that did, would later go back on our agreed friendship. Taking with them the technology and resources we quite happily provided to them. One nation used that technology and those resources to build a fleet of warships. Including one very special ship.”
“Is this getting to a point?”
“Whiiiich… the Scythians then stole. And like they do with everything, slapped antimatter weaponry on it, and sent it back in time to help them in the alternate future.”
The implications of this protracted tale began to swirl in Menzies head.
“Yeah. Not exactly common knowledge. And without them knowing it, their technology and Immortal technology shares a 99% similarity. They’re even coding using our machine code. From my own research, I’ve found the location of multiple copies of this vessel around the multiverse. It keeps jumping around. New owners, new crews, new upgrades. From the far future back to the inception of creation. Its timeline is a para-causal mess”
“And you’ve found one in the Magikallenic Galaxy?”
“You are sharp Menzies. I knew I chose wisely in you. You might not respect me, but you are smart enough to follow me.”
Menzies was uneasy at the shards words. He didn’t want to follow anybody, not least a being of eldritch inclination.
“And I am not the only being to know of its existence. It seems the original owners of the vessel have finally caught up with it. If that is the case, this copy of the ship is the furthest along in its own timeline. Who knows what kind of technology or saved information it could have aboard.”
“So we capture the warship?”
“No. We wipe out those seeking it, then capture the vessel. They’re ahead of us in the search, we can’t risk them finding it first. You will return to your flagship, and ready a detachment of your men to fight on the ground. The Terrorkhan of many words over here will prepare our own soldiers to fight. I shall join you as well. Our fleet will engage in orbit, and we shall leave none alive. You should go now. We’ll be dropping out of warp soon.”
Menzies stood to attention.
“As you order Lord Warhead.”
Proximity sensors blared aboard Arghearts flagship, as the Immortal fleet emerged from warp. Argheart looked out in terror at the wave of metal about to crash against her armada. Hurriedly she began shouting out orders.
“A fleet?! Report! were our deep range sensors down? What are we dealing with? Get me confirmation those ships are what I think they are.”
One ensign at a station piped up.
“Deep range sensors are operational, scanning evasion method used by the inbound vessels is unknown.”
Immediately afterwards, a lieutenant added in.
“Tactical computer confirms Immortal and Britannian signatures! Totalling sixteen Immortal battleships, thirty-two Immortal cruisers, four Britannian battleships, and three dreadnoughts! We are beginning battle simulations now.”
“We’re not going to wait for simulations, order the squadrons to scatter and keep distance between warships. We don’t want to get caught by incoming black hole missiles. Send a message to Fleet Command headquarters. We are about to engage the Immortals.”
The Praetorian fleet began to put distance between its ships, spreading itself out.
“Master! Enemy fleet is launching ground transports, tactical computer plotting an intercept course.”
“No need. We’ll be cut to bits if we focus our attention on the ground transports. Leave them. Any second now the tactical computer will tell us against an Immortal fleet like that, our odds are grim. We can’t attack them directly. Hmm. Get me the captain of the bloodhound… And issue a general evacuation order for the planet.”
“You’re coming through clear Master Argheart. I’ll have the other interceptors form up on me. We’ll be ready to go on your command.”
“Remember, you’re only to intercept and tackle any Immortal ships that make a break towards us, or to move into bombardment range of the planet. We’ll hard burn away from them and kite their fleet as best we can and avoid incoming fire our way. Argheart out.”
Down on the planet below, the Praetorians hurriedly packed men and supplies aboard whatever vessels they could muster, while enemy forces were readying to rally against them.
The battlefield is set. The two sides nervously staring each other down, waiting for the first shot to be fired, and then for all hell to break loose.
The Immortals and Britannians takes positions. Bruce Menzies will be marching his forces directly towards the enemy, supported by two skullbane walkers.
Idris has his marines digging in, and preparing to bitterly hold their ground.
The Omicron shard rides into battle in the clawed hand of skullbane.
“Show them no mercy! We fight until they no longer draw breath!”
The shards flames burn visibly brighter as he speaks.
The Terrorkhan horde roars in bloodlust at the words. Bellator Indominus holds his black hole caster tightly, waiting for the chaos to begin.
Tucked between two bunkers, Idris begins broadcasting to his men.
“Alright, no fancy speeches today. We have transports that need protecting until they are away. We’ll do that job no matter what, then think about our own sorry hides afterwards.”
The battle begins with Sir Romeo dashing across the battlefield, powered by his mechs landspinners.
The skullbane carrying Warhead clambers atop a truck and caravan. Warhead surveys the battlefield below him from this lofty vantage point.
“...Hmm, that will work nicely”
Menzies moves his men forward, the skullbane following.
The Terrorkhan shuffle positions within the ruins, ready for the carnage that is about to unfold. While the Phalanx units begin to cross over the road towards the bunkers.
The Phalanxes let loose a burst of fire from their SMGs, cutting a drones arm off.
Then turning it to scrap entirely.
A Terrorkhan readies his rocket launcher, but he’s loaded the projectile in backwards! Blowing himself to bits.
His comrade isn’t so inept, and precisely lands a shot through a bunkers slit, killing the occupants. However the fortification somehow remains intact, and the remaining drone atop it undamaged.
Clutching his axe, Sir Romeo tries to slice through the Crusader Tanks cannon, but the weapon is unwieldy and narrowly misses the barrel.
In a fit of rage, Sir Romeo tries to grab a drone from atop a bunker, but the robots reactions are unparalleled, and it adeptly dodges the mechs open gauntlet.
The forward skullbane sprays a wicked torrent of fire from its autocannon, cutting down four marines, while also damaging the tank and spider drone.
A Britannian Knight-Lancer opens up with his minigun, firing off a full belt of ammunition in the vain hope of landing good shots on the far-off bunker.
Bellator Indominus fires his black hole caster, however the event horizon is unable to engulf more than the remains of an already destroyed drone.
The rear skullbane fires between the legs of the other, landing more good hits upon the tank.
“Enough, it is time for me to make my move, Sir Romeo, prepare yourself!”
The skullbane lurches backwards, them propels its arm forwards, Warhead resting between its clawed fingers. Until the arm brakes, and Warhead is catapulted like a fireball.
The battlefield goes silent for a moment, as all watch in awe at the spectacle.
The mech moves so fast that those who blink miss it. Its arm swinging up and round to catch the flaming Warhead streaking through the sky.
Channeling dark powers, the Shard unleashes a lightning bolt of orange transparent chainsaws at the unprepared Idris below.
And the he fucked up.
Was it the nausea from being catapulted? Or did the amount of energy required to channel that many chainsaws into existence cause him to faint? Maybe he just slipped. Regardless, the shard found himself prone, the floor littered with chainsaws, and at the feet of those he tried to kill moments ago.
“Ow… My back”
“Oh?!… Leave him to me men. This one is mine.”
The balance of the battle shifted, as all of a sudden Praetoria put itself on the offensive.
The Commando tank was riddled with bullets, but it still had all eight wheels. It charged, smashing aside the truck, and sending the skullbane tumbling. Its gun pointed and ready to fire at the Terrorkhan.
The weapon had seized up from the impact, and would need to be reset to fire again.
The Crusader charged its gauss cannon. It began as a faint buzzing, static charge filled the air causing hair to stand up. Building to the crescendo of its firing.
Aware of the imminent danger, this Terrorkhan shoved Indominus from the roof of the ruined building, and out of reach of the blast.
The heat wave was felt by all, then the shockwave moments later as the ruins were blasted apart. The crater was filled with the stench of burning flesh, and the dying screams of those being immolated by the flames.
A phalanx was cut down by a drone, but Praetorian shooting began to suffer from missed shots and weapons malfunctions.
“Any last words you Immortal filth?”
“I have no need for last words, but you will!”
Warhead successfully catches Idris’s blade with his chainsword staff.
The Immortal pushes off the blade, and uses the opportunity to jump up from prone.
Before his counterattack misses, glancing off of his opponents shield.
While the two heroes duel under the shadow of the Britannian Knightmare, the Immortal forces begin to rally. Depleted in number, but not in fighting spirit.
The Skullbane pulls itself up and off of the truck. Placing a foot on the caravan, and its claw on the truck, it pushes them backwards.
Making room for its allies to advance.
Across the battlefield, Indominus pulls himself to his feet, the remaining Terrorkhan rallying behind him.
The Britannians continue forward. Menzies leading the charge.
Mindful of Warhead below him, Sir Romeo once again tries to assault the Crusader tank with his axe. Metal connects with metal, releasing a resonant soundwave like that of a tuning fork. The Crusader suffers minor damage, but is still in fighting condition.
“Unlike me, when you die, you don’t get to come back. What a pity. You wont get to see what I’ll do to that broad you call master!”
Pilate again deflects the chainsword staff with his shield.
“Foul creature! you’ll pay for those words!”
“Form a firing line men! We shall take down the metal beasty!”
Menzies men for up behind him, releasing a volley of fire from their laser muskets and star-webleys.
The concentrated fire pierces through the tanks hull, igniting internal stores, and blowing the turret clean off. Now it is nothing more than a soon to be burnt out husk.
Indominus fires off the black hole caster again, however it fails to make even a dent in the Crusaders heavy armour.
A Templar spider drone clambers atop the caravan. Autoloaders readying the weapon for the next round.
Praetorian marines advance on both flanks of the battlefield.
The Crusader lurches forward, giving itself a few inches distance from the Knightmare frame.
Marines open fire on a phalanx, but their shots fail to penetrate his shield.
A Templar spider drone opens fire on a skullbane, dealing some damage to the walker.
In a quick moment, Idris stabs his cold steel between Warheads faceplate. The flames die instantly, then body goes limp.
The shards robes fall to the floor, the body seeming vanished.
“You won't be doing anything to anyone for some time. I hope your core ends up in the food chain so you’ll have the pleasure of your body reconstructing up a pigs ass.”
Unaware of what has just transpired mere inches away, the gunner aboard the Crusader opens fire into the Knightmares nether regions. In what can only be described as a unsportmanly blow.
The Knightmare crumbles like wet tissue paper, as the concussive force of the blast blows open the two bunkers, and kills some unlucky marines. Sir Romeo’s mount is still technically functional, but entirely immobile.
With their commander gone, the Knightmare frame out of commission, light fading rapidly, and most of the Terrorkhan contingent wiped out, it falls upon Menzies to signal for an inglorious retreat.
Back in orbit, Master Argheart has spent the last few minutes desperately trying to direct her ships away from incoming fire to buy those on the surface every minute she can.
“Master! We have confirmation from the surface, all transports are away!... And… I’m getting reports that Idris Pilate was killed in action. Death has not been confirmed, but there was no time to search for the body.”
Argheart lowered her head, drawing a long breath.
“So that is how it is. Very well. Issue an order to all ships, fire up drives and make best speed to rally point alpha. We shall regroup there.”
Some time after the battle
Idris awakes somewhere cold and unfamiliar. While he knows not where he is, his senses have a clarity to them that he has not felt in some time.
“Where am I?...”
“Somewhere safe for now.”
“Wha?! Who was that voice? And where am I exactly. Is this hell?.”
Idris tried to avert his gaze, but the creature was inescapable. He was seemingly surrounded by her on all sides.
“Why would you think yourself in hell?”
“I watch on eagerly as worlds are razed. I lead young men desperate for glory to gruesome meaningless deaths. I am racist, xenophobic and close-minded. I expected I would end up in some kind of hell if one existed.... Wha, what are you?”
“I? I am Asun’goreth, elder goddess. You slayed my minion on the planet below, and for that, I have resurrected and brought you here.”
“And so you wish to enact your own vengeance?”
“No silly. I want to give you arcane power. You would make a worthy pawn to do my bidding.”
“No. This is heretical weeb shit. I want nothing you have to offer, and no part in your foul schemes. Send me on my way to my rest.”
“Rest? For your prowess in combat, I have given you life anew. No strings were attached to that. My offer won’t stand though. And the Omicron shard shall return, rebuilt from his Immortal core. He will want his revenge, and you have only seen a sliver of the power I have given to him.”
“Very well. I hope to never cross paths again with you Asun’goreth. But before I go. I have to know, why would a shard of the Warhead swear fealty to a creature like yourself?”
“You wish to know your enemy? The Omicron shards core is fractured, it can only provide him with a frail body upon regeneration. He is entirely reliant on the arcane energy I provide to even move.”
“And what did you ask of him in return for this power?”
>Battlefield was too small, and the frontline was too short. Many units didn't get to battle as they were stuck in the back.
>Too much full height cover. This made friendly units blocking line of sight even worse.
>Super tanks take up far too much space.
Tactically, I'll be making the following balance changes in future games:
>MkV explosive shells are far too big an advantage for one side to have. The Crusader slaughtered through the meat of my opponents army in a single shot, and frankly it was anticlimactic for so many units to functionally contribute nothing to the battle. Even with the high use, tracked shots means I'll functionally kill most of what I am shooting at.
>My opponent picked the Axe over the MkV autocannon for the Knightmare, but the Autocannon likely would have been really effective. That rapid-firing at the Crusader with a +7 bonus could have done some serious damage.
>All units should be in better positions at the start of the game. We both had units stuck in the back and away from the action.
Ultimately I went a bit too big given how rusty I am. Next fight should be something smaller where everything on the table actually gets used. Also trying to work this all into some kind of vaguely sensical story was a pain.
Still, was a lot of fun getting everything onto the table and making a huge mess.