Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Jornath: The Eyes of Oil

He ran, Helica and Thumas just ahead of him, as the staccato bursts of a hundred guns turned the air about his company into a humming chorus of supersonic metal slugs. Ducking as a sinister hiss tore the air just below his right ear, he stumbled in his stride, looking down to right his footing and double-check that his webbing still remained free of any bullet holes.  He glanced back towards Helica and Thumas, just climbing over the first scrap metal barricades at the top of the defilade, Thumas using the las-shot corpse of a freshly slain greenskin as leverage to vault atop the obstacle, Helica climbing over a pile of tires and haphazardly piled wooden slats.  In the distance, the looming silhouette of the immobilized Ork Superheavy Landfortress sat, like some sort of great reptilian beast from prehistory forged of bolted sheet metal and roughshod mechanisms of pig iron.

He vaulted over the tires, following after Helica's route, the idea of touching one of the beasts sickened him greatly. As he overcame the barricade he lost his footing on the far side, tripping and rolling into a trench behind the defilade, he struggled to right himself in the dust, choking on hungry mouthfuls of dirt clogged air as he fought to regain control of himself and continue the charge.  As he clambered to his feet he saw Thumas torn in two by fat orkish slugger fire, and collapse back into the trench trailed by an arc of bright crimson.

The halves of Thumas's body were quickly followed by the form of Helica, diving back into the trench before turning and pouring out a torrent of lasgun fire. She turned to him, wild-eyed with terror and adrenaline in equal measure. She shouted "ORKS!" though the words were entirely drowned out by the sounds of battle around them.  But the warning was no use, the alien monsters were already on them, a half dozen brutish greenskinned savages, armed with an assortment of cleavers and pistols. Helica's skull was split open like a ripe fruit by the butchering cleaver of the first Ork into the trench,  he brought his lasgun up, emptying the clip into the killers bellowing face. The rifle vibrated in his hand until it clicked empty and he dropped the gun, there was no time to reload, he looking down and pulled his combat knife, looking back up just in time to see the flash of an orkish pistol moments before the stubby round smashed directly into his....

Bisckell Eckrad opened his augmetic eye with a whirring click, and let out a pent up breath. He continued to look up at the massive painting of the Orkish warrior, done in the late Baroque stylings of Thyssian Caltomore, with its overly dramatic lighting and its emphasis on the beasts piercing red eyes, done to draw attention to the feral soullessness of one of mankind's oldest and most barbaric of enemies. His sensibilities as an officer told him that it was well executed, and a particularly good rendition with all the phlegm and drama any wealthy patron of the arts might look for in such a piece. But the old soldier in him shuddered inwardly and wished to light the priceless work aflame.

He was awakened from his introspection by the sharp tapping of boots against the lacquered oak of the Command Leviathans floor, turning he saw a middle-aged man with the pale complexion indicative of someone who spent much of their time aboard a starship, he was dressed in the starchy pressed uniform of General Mutenfur's Tactica Staff.

"Admiring the piece?" Began the man in an arched slightly amused voice, raising one black eyebrow slightly in a mirror to a faint smirk crawling up one of his angular cheeks.

"Oh. Yes, quite a stirring thing." Eckrad replied, not quite as confidently as he would have liked.

"Yes" the man crooned, coming to a halt and arching his head up at the Orks piercing gaze.
 "The Lord General had it commissioned after Vilhoffen. The A. G. took a bit of a pounding but the lads pulled through just like always." With that statement, the smirk and its attendant eyebrow dropped., though the man maintained an air of self-assured arrogance.

"Indeed. The Greenskin is a particular menace, difficult to root out wherever they are found" Eckrad replied, finally finding his stride again.

"Oh yes. You Jornathii had a bit of a scrap with the greenies from what I remember?" the man said, still staring up at the painting. That sent an instinctual twinge of irritation through Eckrad, he would hardly classify a system-wide multi-generation conflict involving dozens of Astartes Chapters and Knight households as a "little scrap" but still, he was here to make a good impression and diplomacy was paramount in these instances.

" Yes a bit of one." He replied, hiding his annoyance behind a broad smile.

" I thought that was the case. Either, or, let's say we cut to the quick, shall we. I am Brigadier Iwa Fariq, a member of General Mutenfur's personal staff. The General is ready to discuss your unit's deployments with you." The man brought his gaze back down from the painting and back to Eckard, the eyebrow and smirk returning along with it.

"Very Good, I am ready to attend him directly," Eckrad replied, maintaining his smile all the while.

"Right this way," Fariq said, turning back the way he had entered and begun clicking off across the lacquered floor again,  before stopping after a moment and turning back to face Eckrad, all smirks and raised eyebrows forgotten.

"By the By, let me be the first of the Senior Command Staff to welcome you and your troopers to Devos IV, Regent General" he said, in an altogether more sincere tone, and began walking towards the exit.  Eckrad took one more look at the painting, with its burning red eyes, the echos of a planet's worth of fallen heroes swimming in his mind. And turned to follow Fariq from the chamber.

Thanks for reading!  This post was a part of an ongoing narrative campaign, in the "living setting" of Jornath. For more information about Jornath as a setting, including units, missions, and posts from other Jornath bloggers be sure to click on the Jornath [40k] tab at the top of this page for an up to date list of all posts.

-Your Favorite Madman-

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Jornath [The Woodcutters Due] : Raid on Fendricks Altelier

The 56th Lumberman's Guildmuster, a portion of the 23rd New Model Cohort of Northern Manfredi, was deployed in reserve to the 1st Usamiljen Bastion Cohort's Operation Vengeful Deliverance, which is that units liberation of the Mountain town of Saltzkhost in an attempt to wrestle control of major transit roadways through the region from the Orks. With the 334th Idirian Irregulars, the other supporting Regiment, in retreat after the Fall of Wilset 452, to the north of Saltzkhost, and the Fusiliers themselves embroiled in house to house fighting in the town proper, the 56th Lumberman's Guildmuster are left to punch through on the right by seizing control of the village of Breznasobor to the North East of Saltzkhost, from which they can threaten the aliens line of supply and potentially encircle their overstretching forces.  The first stepping stone to this goal is the seizure of Fendricks Altelier, a long-abandoned artists workshop on a bluff within mortar range of Breznasobor.

The 1st Companies 2nd Platoon is the leading element, with their 2nd Squad entering the midst of the Altelier, where they encountered warriors of Klurgz Krumpin Korp, prowling through the overgrown ruins....


Its been nearly a year since I've moved house in with my lovely girlfriend Jess, and with things starting to calm down in my work life to a relatively steady rhythm, I finally started to get to work on a board for my new home.  With the first 2x2 complete, I will admit I got a bit excited and decided to leap into a skirmish game using a bastardized version of the 40k corerules, Mordhiem and Kill Team own my own devising.  While I play these little solo skirmishes Ive been sending the live AAR to other members of the Jornath group via Facebook messanger.  Here are the photos and commentary for posterities sake.

Turn 1 ends with the Jornathii advancing cautiously, peppering the aliens with long range Las fire and slaying one. The orks advance quickly and output a surprisingly accurate amount of fire, but the armor and cover (perhaps also the emperors divine intervention) save all but one of the guardsmen. Leaving casualties at the end of the first tied with 1 down apiece

The imperials take the bold approach and aggressively push to force the aliens back from the ateliers gate and meet with early success, with the flamer slaying one beast outright and bayonets scoring two wounds on one boy and one on the other. However the aliens saved all their armor checks and slew the guard Sgt for his trouble and 'stunned' two others,. In their turn the orks turn the tables on the imperials rolling their flank just as they sought to do to them. A Cascade of slugga and shoota rounds impact the guard flamer operator, but he passes 4 armor saves (evidently blessed flak armor). And scores two 'stunned' results on the Xenos who sought to move into assault and finish him. Can the guard turn the failed charge into victory? We will see, as we move into turn 3

The imperial injured begin two recover moving to 'knocked down' allowing them to begin crawling away from the danger. The flamer makes best use of his change in luck, pressing into the orks left flank, scoring a 'knocked down' result on one. The other lasgunner still standing attempts to finish off the stunned orks in the courtyard but fails the shot. In the Ork turn, those wounded last turn move to 'knocked down' and crawl away from the errant flamer operator. The remaining Ork on the left charges the flamer but is slain in a gout of promethium in the attempt. The orks at the gate slay the embattled guardsman and fall upon the flamer as they consolidate from the combat.

The imperial wounded recover, and pour Las rounds at the wounded and unengaged aliens, slaying one of the down aliens, all attempt to charge into the combat to save the flamer operator but only one makes the charge, and bayonets prove unable to injure the nerveless flesh of the greenskin, and the alien hacks the flamer to the ground with brutal arcs of his Choppa.

The orks recover and set about shooting and hacking their way across the board. Fortunately, the emperor still smiles over two platoon and both men are only 'knocked down'. With the man at the gate passing 3 of 4 armor saves against the aliens axes and rolling low on the injury die.

The orks continue to push the separated guardsmen, looking for anything to halt the aliens the last man still standing throws a frag grenade at the onrushing orks but sadly rolls on a 2 for the hits. However the result was still enough to injure and kill one of the aliens! Though it was small comfort, as the survivor quickly ran the man down and tore him to pieces. In the guards deployment, the wounded man is charged by the other Choppa boy and is auto slain. With one guardsman left against three orks, it may well take a divine miracle to bring victory to jornaths defenders

The last man recovers and signals his intent to die before submitting to the alien by slaying the nearest greenskin in a torrent of las fire. For the next two turns, he fights a running gun battle with the remaining orks where he passes three armor saves, but unfortunately couldn't get the edge over the aliens and is finally slain in a hail of bullets. The Atelier has fallen to the orkish Invaders.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Jornath: The New Model Cohort

Art from Art of Morkarr

An Excerpt from Ichan Rechenbacher's "Treatises and Meditations of Post-War Martial Formations on Jornath"

Chapter 4 - The Campaign on Devos IV

When we look to understand the formation of the first formally founded expeditionary Regiments after the conclusion of the first Jornathii Ork War, it is important to understand the restructuring which occurred in Jornath's indigenous military units during the mid-war period. Of course, as explained previously, Pre and Early War Jornathii society relied on a byzantine system of private, commercial and state-funded militias to comprise its Planetary Defense Forces. This puzzle of different units was a carryover from the earliest days of Jornath's liberation in the Great Crusade and was closely tied into its hereditary political system. While the "Cohort System" as it was called, provided a versatile toolkit of various military specializations on a unit by unit basis. It made large scale operations difficult to orchestrate, as each Cohort could vary wildly in its equipment, practices, and command structures, leading to disastrous campaigns such as Operation Remits Maw. When Astra Militarum Officers and Astartes Commanders arrived to stabilize the situation, clerical errors within the Sub-Sectors Tactica Outline of Jornath's Strengths created additional confusion and led to strategic blunders that took several years to recover from.  

When the Emerald Scream event took place, it set a short timeline for the emergency restructuring of Jornath's planetary defense forces. With the alien's astropathic message drawing Xenos reinforcements from the Skinner Worlds into the system, drastic actions needed to be taken. To buy time for this restructuring and to deny the aliens' an uncontested base in system multiple Astartes chapters, knight households, and Guard Regiments formed Battlegroup Ankou. The Struggle for Jornath's Moon has become Legendary in the Sector and is the subject of no shortage of academic analysis.  

While the Angels of Death carved their glory in the stars, the Imperial Guard and the Skitarii Maniples of the Adeptus Mechanicus were finally surrounding and destroying the largest Ork units on Jornath's surface. In the heartland of Kula Province and in those regions unblighted by the alien's presence, a mass conscription effort began, spearheaded by the Mordian Iron Guard. 

The Kula Conservator Cohort, being a watchword for Jornathii Military excellence by this point in the War was used as the model for the restructuring of Jornath’s planetary defense forces. In broad terms, the basic outline of roughly 200,000 men, split across 11 Regiments with an attached force of armor was used to stitch together a myriad of different guildmusters, huscarls and cohorts of various origins and unite their oftentimes contradictory ethics and command structures with a single overarching leadership cadre. This was broadly very appealing as it allowed for local cohorts to retain many of their traditions at a regimental level, while still acting harmoniously with other dissimilar units in service to the Imperium. 

In later years, after the Conclusion of the First Jornathii Ork War, units from the world would be highly sought after by Astra Militarum commanders the length of the Sector and on rare occasions beyond. A Jornathii Expeditionary Regiment represents an army group’s strength of light infantry with associated armor and transportation, able to reliably source its weapons and equipment, due to the political ties of Cohort and Guildmuster Leaders with Jornath’s vast network of merchant houses and hereditary wealth. It was no surprise then that when vicious fighting broke out on Devos IV, that the most illustrious of Jornath’s forces was sent to aid in the fighting. 

The most notable changes to the Kula Conservator Cohort’s structure during the New Model Cohort Reformation, was to separate the administrative duties of the first, second and third regimental commanders, and place them into the hands of a Cohort Command Staff headed by the newly founded position of Regent General, which holds a significant amount of political and martial power, not only on Jornath but in many of the elite circles of the Vahland Sectors nobility. The first Regent General, Calces Brost was killed only three months after inheriting the position during the Ork Reinforcement Fleets’ landings in the Wriit Expanse. He was succeeded by Sarah Moliquare, whose shrewd tactical capabilities and penchant for ruthlessness both on the battlefield and in the ballrooms of Kula Hive. When Moliquare retired to the private sector after the conclusion of the 1st Jornathii Ork War, Bisckell Eckrad ascended to the rank, and was the first to lead the KCC in off world operations. First in a formal blooding against a minor Seccessionist Uprising on Tankore, and then to the War for Devos IV.  

Scholars will note in the official campaign reports filed by the 3422AG, and the Office of the Deputy Plenipotentary for War that the Kula Conservator Cohort’s constituent regiments have added honorifics referencing many actions from aforementioned 1st Ork War for those unfamiliar I will detail them shortly below.

1st Suetonious Regt: The 1st Regiment spent much of the early portion of the war as a dedicated garrison for Kula Hive when the outcome of many of the early campaigns was still in question. After Operation Gray Jewel, and ground operations on Jornath itself were firmly in hand, the 1st took part in the final destruction of the Ork scrap cities in the Kulan Swampland alongside the Sons of Medusa. When the Ork reinforcement fleets made landfall on Jornath following the Defense of Ankou, the 1st fought in the prolonged halting actions to stopper the massed alien armor formations coming from the Writt Expanse. While they took significant losses, they were in the end successful, and so adopted the name of Jornath’s doomed Orbital Defense Platform, whose bitter defiance prevented the initial Ork invasion from becoming a catastrophic disaster. 

2nd Usamiljen Regt: The 2nd spent a great deal of the war in the North, fighting alongside the Usamiljen Fusiliers and the Guffmans Platz Cohorts during the Liberation of Usamilplatz, Remits Maw, and the Late War Campaigns to bring the alien’s last remaining mountain strongholds to heel. Prior to the Ork War, Kulan high society looked at the northern provinces as backward or at the very least beneath the more cultured mores of society life and the Cohorts, which had been tied into the hereditary political system from centuries reflected this also, leading to a great deal of mistrust, failure to cooperate and occasional inter-unit feuding during the Early War Period, particularly as Supreme Armsmaster Vasinus began his initial campaigns. When the 2nd adopted this honorific, it marked a notable turning point in domestic Jornathii politics, the high esteem and influence that the Kula Cohort commanded, helped to alleviate some of this ill will and internal bias, which would inevitably lead to greater integration of Usamiljen born nobility into leadership roles within the planetary government.

3rd Berhas Regt: The 3rd earned their name in the gruesome Siege of Fort Berhas, during which dozens of battered PDF formations, withdrew to a mountain stronghold following the disaster of Operation Remits Maw. When the Orks launched their Summer Offensive, the Fortress became a defensive loadstone, and was surrounded by massive numbers of greenskins, looking to loot the holdout for its stores of ammunition, vehicles, and atomics. Had it not been for the sacrifices made by the 3KCC and units like them, the War for Jornath may well have taken an altogether more devastating turn for the planet. 

4th Nizajain Regt: The 4th, are named in honor of the final battle of the campaign that saw the Cohort’s 6th Regiment slain to a man. The 4th was positioned along the cordon line of the South Eastern portion of the Ork Exclusion Zone during the beginning of the Ork’s Summer Offensive. When it became clear of the gravity of the situation, the 4th attempted to effect a breakthrough to Bolasku and the 6th through the Salt Marshes along the coast, but took thousands of losses under Ork guns in the attempt and were forced to withdraw. When the time came to Liberate Bolasku years later, the 4th were the first Regiment to enter the city. During the Liberation, they retrieved the 2nd Company Standard of the 6th Regiment, tearing it down from where it hung as spoil from the wall of Smashmek Gragga Snazzrivet’s command center along the Bolasku docks. The banner travels with the 4th still, and is a prized relic of the entire cohort. It flew proudly both on the Cohorts review upon arrival at Devos IV and in the 4th’s first engagement against heretic forces outside Xyphonica. 

5th Oakenzid Regt: The 5th, are named after Oakenzid Hive, which played a major role during the Mid to Late War period of the War for Jornath. When the Ork Reinforcement fleets made their landings in the Writt Expanse, the Hive provided a base for units participating in the massive set piece engagements in the arid south. As casualties began to mount in this theatre, the KCC dropped its Kula only recruiting restrictions, and many of the new Oakenzid born recruits found themselves placed into the 5KCC

7th Bolasku (the 906ers) Regt: The 7th are a prolific Regiment, participating in many of the greatest battles of the War for Jornath, they fought alongside the then 10th (now 11th) under Supreme Armsmaster Vazinas’ in the earliest campaigns to crush the orks in the North, playing a key role in the Sundering of Galjasim which saw the western spur of the super bridge connecting the Mechanicus Forge City/State of Prima Jama with the roadways latticing the Usamiljen Mountains totally destroyed in a calculated feint which would go on to allow the Mechanicus’ forces to play a vital part in the war. They participated in Operation Remits Maw, and consequently found themselves within Fortress Behras after only barely escaping the mountains with the Regiment intact. In honor of their impressive roll of honor, the 7th have 2 honorifics,  the first and the one most commonly associated in official Munitorum and Astra Militarum record is “Bolasku” after the site of the 6th Regiments Last Stand, the second which is spoken more informally by the common soldiery is the “906ers” which refers to the Regiments defense of Fortress Behras, also known by its identifier code H-906.

8th Grehazin Regt: The 8th is named for the Pillars of Grehazin, a rocky string of islets near to Nizajain Isle and another one of the major battle sites in the campaign that saw the 6th destroyed. Elements of the 8th KCC did participate in the fighting at the Straits, alongside Naval Armsmen and Astartes from the Mortifactors and White Scars Chapters. While much of the Regiment was deployed near to Guffmans Platz at the time of the Orks breakout attempt on the coast, the 5th, 6th and 8th Companies were on recruiting and rest duties within Kula Hive itself, and given the experience of the KCC in shipborne small unit actions during peacetime, they were sent into the fray as a favorable option to styme the aliens. 

9th Remits Maw Regt: The 9th are named for the disastrous Operation Remits Maw, an early blunder by Northern Cohort Commanders which saw many of the gains made by Supreme Armsmaster Vazinas after the first Ork landings, lost to poor planning and even worse logistics. The 9th have the particularly dubious honor of being amongst the few Regiments to fight their way north to Prima Jama rather than withdrawing south to the PDF’s rally point of Fortress Behras. Forsaking much of the Cohorts SOP, the 9th acted as light infantry, and fractured on a platoon level to slowly inch their way until they reached the Southern lines of the Krater Cohort and the Skitarii of Prima Jama, preserving much of their number in the process. The 9th is also the Regiment from which the Cohorts Regent General on Devos IV Bisckell Eckrad rose from, and it is no doubt that the pragmatism displayed by the Regiment during this action rubbed off on RgtGen. Eckrad, for it was the belief of many within the command structure of Devos IV’s loyalist forces at the time and the conclusion of academics studying the war years afterward, that these formative engagements under the 9ths notoriously laissez faire commander Major Kenlo “Crash” Ean may well have shaped the KCC’s eventual commander into the capable strategic thinker that he would eventually become. 

10th Guffmans Platz Regt: The 10th are named for the major transit hub of Guffmans-Platz, a town known across Jornath for its thriving bohemian culture. During the war Guffmans Platz found itself as the staging point for many operations into the Usamiljen Mountains from the South, as Imperial forces attempted to crush the Orks between Mechanicus troops in the North and their own lines. Over nearly a decade of vicious fighting, many within the 10th found an appreciation for the Northerners they fought alongside in these campaigns, and when word came that the Cohort would leave Jornath as an expeditionary force, it was a unanimous decision to name the Regiment in honor of their Northern comrades.

11th Vazinas Honourias (The Old Guard) Regt: The 11th, formerly the designation of the Cohorts Armored contingent, was formed of veteran companies from many different Regiments that were refounded over the course of the War for Jornath, the 11th also includes experienced armored units, making the force composition very similar to a Cadian style Shock Troop Regiment. It is an honor for a trooper, squad or vehicle crew to be inducted into the 11th, it acts as a reward for meritorious service in the Cohort to get your “Double Ones”, and the 11th, which is significantly smaller in number than many of the other Regiments is used most often as a de facto Special Forces Group for the Cohort. They are named for Supreme Armsmaster Vazinas, Jornath’s overall commander of Planetary Defense Forces. 

12th Rothresh Mechanised Regt: The 12th are the Cohorts Armored Forces, representing its wealth of Chimera APC’s, Leman Russ’, and other associated mechanized assets. The 12th are named for the Rothresh Industrial House, a major fabrication guild on Jornath based near to Oakenzid Hive, after the Ork reinforcement fleets landed in the Writt Expanse, armored forces became a major factor in holding off the tide of greenskin light vehicles pouring out of the desert. As the weeks crawled painfully by and losses began to mount, the Rothresh foundries, whose chief output traditionally had been agricultural machinery and sea going vessels destined for Oakenzid’s port, shifted their production to the Crocatta armored vehicle, an extreme local modification of the Chimera chassis. Doing this with limited Mechanicus advisory support, and with the fabrication complex itself threatened by Ork Dreadnought formations, this influx of armored pieces is credited with tipping the fighting in the Mid War against the aliens. Thusly the 12th honor this success by carrying forth the name of the guild into the wider Imperium.