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 Orpheus: The Bitter End

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Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Orpheus: The Bitter End   Tue 18 Feb - 12:19:22

Orpheus: To The Bitter End

The 175th and final day of the bitterly contested Orphean campaign and the final outcome rests on an apocalyptic confrontation on the already devastated planetoid Melagan III.

For the clinching action to determine the future of the Orphean Sector both sides brought forces of apocalyptic proportions. Overlord Schomnicour led an apocalyptic formation of thirty immortals and two crypteks supported by the Tesseract Vault NNV Sovereign of the Stars and the Obelisk NNV No Mercy.

His most powerful asset was a Transcendent CíTan, but in addition Phaeron Merexis led another apocalyptic formation of nine wraiths, three of them armed with Transdimensional beamers, 2 with particle casters and four with whip coils. The Doomsday Ark NNV Crushing Blow and two Sentry pylons provided heavy support.

In reserve he had the Doom Scythes NNV Hatred, Strike Leader and Volley Fire, plus the Night Scythe NNV Capricious with ten deathmarks and two more crypteks aboard. Eight aconthrites were his final reserve. The resurrection war cell meant he might get additional support from scarabs and or tomb spyders but that would depend on luck to a major extent, luck that would not materialise.

The battleground extended across city ruins to the west with a river bisecting the terrain north south in the centre. To the right more open terrain contained two objectives; four others lay amongst the ruins.

Unusually Schomnicour had unwittingly created a secondary reserve after the 74th Assault Brigade became trapped in the webway by an inter-dimensional rift. The chances of it arriving in time were slight. It included the Night Shroud NNV Fresh Impetus, the Night Scythes NNV Battle Order and Whiplash with fifteen deathmarks and four crypteks aboard.

There was also another apocalyptic formation, led by Destroyer Lord Tíkau with six heavy and 9 normal destroyers, the Tesseract Ark NNV Unrelenting, a Triarch Stalker equipped with heavy Gauss cannon, nine pariahs and a cryptek, plus a unit of five variously equipped tomb blades.

Final additional heavy support might be available from the NNV Acid Test, Vengeance Taker and Point Blank, a trio of Annihilation Barges. These delayed forces amounted to a shortfall of 2999 in strength, but fortunately Schomnicour, alerted in time that more than a third of his expected strength was struggling to arrive, had been able to negotiate a contingent of Dark Eldar mercenaries to bolster his strength. Perhaps the fell creatures could atone for their intervention on the Imperial side earlier in the campaign.

The Dark Eldar would mainly hold our right eastern flank with several transports bringing troops and heavy support units too. They had three webway portals on the battleground giving them wider deployment options. Apart from wychs and a venom, they also had grotesques, Payne engines, scourge and one of their huge heavy support barges.

Matching his combined force, the enemy had a Baneblade, Shadowblade and Titan in the super heavy department with a rhino, tank and flak unit amongst the marinesí armour. In reserve four fliers, most notably a Thunderhawk. A heavy squad occupied a building to the North West holding an objective, two dreadnaughts would appear by drop pod and the blood angels would deploy at least four squads of marines and two vindicators.

Two units of sanguinary guard and commander Dante with entourage added formidable power to the marines plus two squads of terminators. A number of priests added to his abilities, and at least one more unit of marines would deploy by deep strike, plus the passengers on his transports.

Schomnicour took the left flank with his cryptek and gauss blaster equipped immortals; on his right he had a cryptek with tesla carbine equipped immortals and forward of him the third squad also with gauss blasters. Merexis and his wraiths lurked amongst buildings to the right in the centre and ahead of them they were faced by the enemy vindicators.

A transcendent CíTan was towards the centre with the No Mercy hovering behind it, whilst in the centre on the main road through the ruined cityscape the Crushing blow took position. A sentry pylon was positioned at the rear of the left flank and another was the furthest east Necron unit, also placed deep. To the left of the eastern pylon, the Sovereign of the Stars was adding its strength to our right.

An opening bombardment by both sides was ineffective; the enemy rhino deep on the right and the bane and shadow blades took minor damage. The most serious damage was the immobilisation of the rhino. The marinesí orbital support was wildly inaccurate as our support fleet harried their bombardment platforms effectively.

The enemy tried to deep strike two units of terminators to the south east but one failed. Commander Dante and his squad did appear however, as did a further squad of sanguinary guard on the western flank, plus two storm raven gunships to the North West and two drop pods containing dreadnaughts which landed just in front of the immortals.

The sentry pylon cut down two of Danteís squad including his standard bearer but return fire now did serious damage. The Crushing blow lost its quantum shielding early which would have devastating consequences later. Our three immortal squads all took heavy losses to enemy fire in particular Schomnicourís squad which broke and fled and then was assaulted and destroyed by Dante. Meanwhile the eastern pylon came under fire from the enemy flak battery and was damaged.

The western sentry pylon was also destroyed in the maelstrom of fire from the enemy gunships and heavy weapons, whilst the dreadnaughtsí flamers added to the losses on the right of our immortals, only the wraiths withstood the enemy fire well. The Sovereign of the Stars was the target of concentrated fire on the right and damaged with our Dark Eldar allies noticeably absent to draw enemy fire.

Schomnicour reanimated successfully and our counter attack began with our trio of Doom Scythes arriving on the left flank: The Hatred shot down the left hand Storm Raven, then the Strike Leader damaged the other and the Volley Fire finished it off. The Night Scythe Capricious dropped her deathmarks to the south west, targeting Dante and his surviving squad members; however, the enemy now activated a shield generator protecting both Dante and the terminator squad. Cowards!

Deprived of targets the deathmarks and CíTan had to hold their fire, the Capricious however opened up on the enemy sanguinary guards. Meanwhile in the centre the wraiths split up, one squad with Merexis assaulting the closest walker which had been damaged by the cryptekís Voltaic staff. It was easily destroyed. Equally easily the other two squads attacked and destroyed the vindicator on the road.

The Sovereign now engaged the enemy Baneblade which the Imperials had felt necessary to protect with a shabby smoke screen* but it did little damage. Worse, the Crushing Blow fired on the same target but its shot passed over it striking a Dark Eldar Venom that had belatedly appeared. Fortunately the craftís cheating shields saved it from damage or our alliance might have been a short one.

* I refer you to my earlier ĎCowards!í remark

Talking of the Dark Eldar they were now appearing all over the field, using their webway portals to drop troops deep in enemy territory and their raiders and ravagers appeared on the more open eastern side of the field targeting the two objectives there. Schomnicour joined the left hand immortal squad and they fired on the left hand walker but it remained, even the overlordís tachyon arrow failing to penetrate.

The transcendent CíTan assaulted Danteís squad and destroyed it apart from the enemy war master and the cowardly Blood Angel leader broke off rather than mix it with the star god. Nevertheless, at the end of the first exchange the imperials were ahead five to four.

Then a virus bomb detonated causing havoc across the field. The marines generally came off worse but Schomnicourís primary systems were affected and he phased out, later making a full recovery. The Hatred was shot down by a huge Thunderhawk that appeared in the North West and it also destroyed our wraiths in the centre along with Overlord Merexis. A storm talon also arrived in support.

The Sovereign took heavy fire from the enemy titan and exploded, the detonation also obliterating the nearby Crushing Blow, heavy marine casualties also resulted as several units of tactical marines had just deep struck into the area. More enemy reserves were advancing onto the scene from the north at the same time, and the second unit of terminators now dropped in to the south west.

Our deathmarks were cut to pieces by enemy fire and then finished off in assault, whilst Dante finished off the few remaining western immortals. One of the Raiders bringing troops to assist us exploded as it arrived in the kill zone we now occupied in the south west quadrant. It was looking desperate for us; our commanders gone and to make matters worse this had also cut off the possibility of accessing our tomb spyder and scarab reserves in the area.

Our CíTan now deployed its wave of withering against the two south western terminator squads, impressively wiping out all but three of the heavily armoured marines. The last walker was taken out by the Capricious and our aconthrites using Flank March appeared behind the enemy and inflicted losses on the heavy squad holding the rear objective. The wraiths destroyed the second vindicator in assault without breaking sweat.

The Strike Leader attacked the marines at the rear whilst the Volley Fire inflicted losses on the marines that had deep struck impudently onto one of the objectives in our zone. The dark Eldar were engaging enemy armour with their scourge, taking out the flak battery but lost their Razorwing early. They also had pockets of units on the western side including wychs and incubi. At the end of the second turn the score had moved to twelve ten in our favour.

Another virus bomb then detonated, and we lost our last cryptek to it. The two units of marines behind our centre now destroyed the No Mercy and the Volley Fireís death ray was disabled. The Capricious exploded and the immortals after being reduced to two survivors broke and fled.

The CíTan was assaulted by the three survivors of the two terminator squads, losing two of their number. The aconthrites were now affected by psychic attack and could do nothing but contest the North West objective. Our wraiths having dealt with the enemy armour on this flank fell back towards the central objective. The Doom Scythes inflicted losses on the enemy right and cleared the central objective.

Now we unleashed our surprise attack stratagem, the replacement Tesseract Vault the NNV Majestic Defiance appearing behind the enemy and destroying the enemy Baneblade. It also badly damaged the enemy Thunderhawk. The CíTan finished off the last terminator and the wraiths destroyed one of the drop pods. At the end of this turn the score had reached twenty fourteen in our favour.

Then the atmosphere caught fire, wiping out entire units across the board including unfortunately our aconthrites. The Majestic Defiance was destroyed, releasing its CíTan and our wraiths were destroyed by Dante. The Dark Eldarís huge transport had appeared in the south west and engaged the remnants of the blood angels, but was destroyed, forcing its grotesques to disembark along with their warlord.

Our CíTan wiped out the last few blood angels that were facing up to the grotesques unfortunately killing one ally, but hey you canít make an omeletteÖIt then shot down the Storm Talon. The Other CíTan failed to bring down the Thunderhawk again but did kill the very last blood angel marine. At the end of this turn the score had moved to twenty four twenty in our favour.

Continued atmospheric explosions swept almost everything off the field; the Volley Fire and Strike Leader were destroyed in this way. The enemy shadow blade destroyed the Majestic Defianceís CíTan but our remaining CíTan, though wounded gravely at last shot down the Thunderhawk which fortunately did not drop on the Payne engine that had moved to contest the central objective.

Our CíTan now attacked Dante, holding another objective rightfully ours but incredibly its wave of withering failed and Danteís inferno did not therefore occur. It would come down to our final assault and the CíTan was triumphant, taking the objective and slaying the war master. The score as the battle ended - twenty eight to twenty five in our favour. The Orphean campaign ends as a triumph for the Necrontyr.

Only the CíTan remained for us, a loss rate of around 90%, whilst the Dark Eldar had Lord Rakarth, two grotesques and their Payne engine remaining. The Dark Eldar had played a vital role in the engagement holding objectives and drawing firepower most of the battle from two super heavies and generally dividing the enemy despite not being able to inflict heavy losses.

The Blood Angels were completely destroyed, but the marines, almost entirely to the east of the river still had a viable force including a chapter master and command squad, their titan, shadow sword, a rhino, chief librarian and five tactical marines. Territorially the east was theirs, the west belonged to us.


Orphean Victory Points Awarded:

Necrons 7

Blood Angels/ Marines 0

Score after only engagement:

Imperials 0

Necrons 7

Campaign Score:

Imperials 33

Necrons 37

It is believed that the Necrons gain three additional points for only using non campaign warlords twice making the final score 40 to 33 in their favour. It is assumed that Dante ultimately survived avoiding a further -1 on the imperial score.

Campaign Summary:

Amarah Sector, Thamyris sector Imperial wins, 4-1 and 2-1

Arcantis sector, Hydroghast sector, Necron Wins, 2-1 and 3-0

7 wins each and three draws after four sectors.

The 18th battle, the Apocalypse decider, went to the Necrons

Loss summary:

Dark Eldar † (Fought on both sides)

Imperium (Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Marines)


Tau (Fought with the Imperium)

Tyranids (Fought both sides)

*From an estimated total deployment of 44,000, average deployment approx 2,400

Necron loss breakdown:

Aconthrites 3 units of 5 deployed
Annihilation Barges 16 of 21
Command Barges 1 of 1
Crypteks 28 of 48
CíTan shards 2 of 3
Deathmarks 11 units of 23
Destroyers 4 units of 4
Doom Scythes 11 of 17
Doomsday Arks 4 of 7
Flayed ones 1 unit of 1
Gauss Pylons 1 of 1
Gauss Sentry Pylons 5 units of 10
Ghost Arks 0 of 1
Heavy Destroyers 6 units of 6
Immortals 28 units of 41
Lords 4 of 11
Lychguard 2 units of 2
Monoliths 1 of 1
Named Characters 2 of 2
Night Scythes 7 of 22
Night Shrouds 2 of 3
Obelisks 1 of 1
Overlords 6* of 13
Pariahs 2 units of 3
Tesseract Arks 1 of 1
Tesseract Vaults 2 of 2
Tomb Stalkers 1 of 1
Transcendent CíTans 2 of 3
Triarch Praetorians 2 units of 3
Triarch Stalkers 2 of 2
Warriors 9 units of 16
Wraiths 16 units of 18

*Including two campaign warlords. All five of the other campaign warlords were injured once. In the two battles commanded by non campaign warlords both were lost and are counted amongst the six overlords.

Not used at all in the campaign: Canoptek Scarabs, Tomb Spyders, Tomb Blades, and Tomb Sentinels though these were all in the 3000 strong reserve force not used in the final apocalyptic battle with the exception of the Tomb sentinel.
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