Presaging a great conflict to come, forces of the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Chaos, Tyranids and Orks landed on Aquiline XII, an extreme-light-gravity world with an unstable planetary rotation and weird magnetic fields; combatants discovered these phenomena in combination caused all but the heaviest objects on its surface to be unpredictably cast up into its atmosphere. However, the mysterious power source radiating an unclassifiable energy signature somewhere on the planet's surface appeared able to defy this effect--and so the race began to reach, identify and claim this objective on Aquiline's treacherous surface. Regular infantry, even normal vehicles, lacked sufficient mass to retain contact with the surface and function, however...so the only option was to send in the Superheavies!
Six players (and twice that many onlookers as the game wore on) arrived at HobbytownUSA Dallas' Game Hall to accept the gauntlet thrown down. Five arrived with either superheavy vehicles or gargantuan creatures--an Imperial Guard Baneblade, an Imperial Guard Hellhammer, a Chaos Traitor Doomhammer, an Ork Stompa and a Tyranid Scythed Heirodule. The Space Marines of the Howling Griffons chapter dispatched a Predator tank in defiance of the risk of being cast into orbit. All six were beautifully painted, making the table a great pleasure to look at as the battle progressed.
The objective was determined to be in the ruins of an abandoned Ork fortress, planetside. To get there, each model had to test against a D6 before each Movement phase to see whether it succumbed to the weird gravitic phenomena of Aquiline XII: one a rolled '1', any superheavy or gargantuan creature could not move that turn as it struggled to retain purchase on the surface (non-superheavies had to roll twice, accepting any result of '1'); if the vehicle rolled another '1' on its next Movement phase, it was hurled into orbit around the planet. Any fully-painted participating model got to ignore its first rolled '1'.
As the battle progressed, every model faced this consequence at least once--all being saved from their first rolled '1' by having been so nicely painted by their players. No one struggled with the atmospheric effects more than Clay Smith's beautifully-painted Ork Stompa--and aptly, it was the first model to fail consecutive tests, and be launched into space, gatla-blasting and grot-missiling at the enemy all the way. It will be interesting to see whether the meks responsible for it had the foresight to seal it against vacuum...
On the right flank, Jack Salva's Hellhammer found itself alone in a duel for its life against David Caldwell's Scythed Heirodule: the Hellhammer blasted away valiantly at the onrushing beast, doing it two Wounds, before the black-and-purple monster was able to come to grips with, and finally wreck, the valiant Imperial tank. One more shooting turn...
One the left flank, the Stompa and Chad Jones' Doomhammer gunfought Tim Gregart's Baneblade and Jeff Whitehead's Predator: the space marine tank made a valiant run for the Objective, coming within a turn of reaching its cover before succumbing, while the Baneblade held its own against two Disorder superheavies until gravity evened the odds.
The Heirodule's superior speed allowed it to reach the Ork ruin first, and with the demise of the two furthest-advanced Imperial vehicles, it appeared control of the objective would belong the Tyranids--but Tim pulled out the now-standard-in-fifth-edition building destruction rules, trained the entire arsenal of the Baneblade on the Ork fastness...and atomized it, destroying whatever had been secreted inside, and denying the enemy the objective.
With the secret now obliterated, only surviving remained: the Baneblade continued to reap its bloody tally, finishing the Heirodule, before the Doomhammer disabled it in turn, to claim last-vehicle-standing honours.
What the Tyranid had seen in the depths of that old ruin could only be guessed at from impressions of psykers in orbit: a strange sigil of power, a rune of activation of some sort, perhaps...and the lingering words, somehow related: 'Mordant Thirteenth...'
Thanks to everyone who participated, and all those hobbyists who took time out of their holiday to drop by and cheer one side or the other on. A good time was had, and in addition to an afternoon of Apocalypse fun, all six participants in 'Send In The Superheavies' earned an unadvertised bonus: their first participation stamp in 2009's Apocalypse Lucky 13s Campaign for North Texas!
Watch the mailing list and website at http://www.adeptusnorthtexas.com for the next North Texas area Apocalypse, Warhammer and Lucky 13s events--including the first formally announced events of the 2009 campaign--Mega-Battle 1 on May 9 and the Gallery of Giants!