Sunday, April 5, 2009

Battle Report: The Necropolis Campaign, Part One

Necrons vs. Eldar
The planet of Axis Columen is located in a very strategic location in the Arcadia Sector. Recently, the Imperial Navy discovered a signal emanating from the planet's surface of unknown origin. After dispatching a scout team to investigate and quickly losing contact with them, the Navy alerted a force of Brazen Claws Space Marines. The marines quickly determined the signal to be of Necron origin, and dispatched a force to eliminate the signal's source on the planet, while directly the Imperial Navy to prepare to repel any Necron fleet that might arrive in response to the signal.

The Brazen Claws discovered that the planet was harboring a massive Necron force beneath the surface, and moved to destroy the beacon that was sending the signal before it was too late. Unfortunately, just before they were able to, a large Necron fleet arrived in the system and smashed the Imperial Navy fleet in orbit, and send a response signal. On the planet's surface, the tombworld generators were activated, and a massive Necron vessel, the Necropolis, awakened from its long slumber. A large portion of the planet's crust was torn apart as the buried tombship tore free of its planetary grave and lifted off, heading to join the rest of the fleet. The massive fleet began to move implacably through the sector, destroying any settlement it came across and harvesting the souls of those who lived there.

While the Imperial Navy floundered desperately to amass another fleet to take on the Necrons, a third race intervened. The Eldar of the Yriel-Dyann Craftworld, an erstwhile enemy of the Imperium that still occasionally conducted commerce raiding from the shadows of the Saepes Obscura, suddenly appeared to take on the threat. Perhaps recognizing that the Necron menace, if left unchecked, would do far more than merely wipe out the Imperials in the sector; perhaps just to give time for the Imperials to regroup and strike; or perhaps for other reasons beyond the ken of humans, the Eldar would take a stand. The Eldar fleet was much smaller than that of the Necrons, so their attack was ultimately doomed, but the Eldar were known for taking on impossible odds. But then the Yriel-Dyann Eldar would receive aid from an unexpected ally...

Yriel Dyann Fleet
Void Stalker580
Eclipse Class Cruiser250
Shadow Class Cruiser210
2 Hellebore Class Frigates150
3 Aconite Class Frigates195
3 Aconite Class Frigates195
3 Hemlock Class Destroyers120
3 Nightshade Class Destroyers120
3 Nightshade Class Destroyers120

Yriel-Dyann Eldar Briefing
Tyrant: If there is any race in 40K that puts their souls in the hand of fate, it is the Eldar, and this battle looks to prove that once again. This will be my first BFG fight in a long time, so not only do I have to remember how to play and learn a bunch of new rules, but I am facing the Necrons, quite possibly the deadliest foes of the Eldar in BFG. That being said, it's a great way to get back into it using my whole fleet (with some Imperial support) in a battle whose outcome is more or less predetermined. That can take quite a bit of pressure off...

Okay, so what to do? Originally I had plans on clustering my fleet into one huge battle group, until I learned about the "Soul Harvester" on the Necropolis ship. Needless to say, even with holo-fields saves, I don't want to give him the opportunity to wipe out a chunk of my fleet with one shot, so I think I'll spread them out in a much wider front and only come together when we close with the Necrons. Hopefully the Eldar maneuverability (and the Necrons lack thereof) will allow me to keep a few ships in his rear fire arcs to avoid the sickness of some of his weapons. Hopefully my torps, bombers and Pulsar Lances will do their job and I can crip on or two of his capital ships.

Tainbaharr Eldar Fleet
Wraithship (pulsar lance and launch bays)160
Wraithship (weapon batteries and torpedoes)160
3 Shadowhunters (lances)120
3 Shadowhunters (lances)120
3 Shadowhunters (weapon batteries)120
3 Shadowhunters (weapon batteries)120

Tainbaharr Eldar Briefing
Darkwing: To keep things interesting, I kept Tyrant in the dark about just who his allies were going to be this battle--he made the assumption that it was going to be my Imperial Fleet and I didn't contradict him. The truth was, I was eager to try out my Craftworld Eldar Fleet, and this seemed to be the battle to do it. So the Tainbaharr fleet will make its debut in a trial by fire--against a very powerful Necron fleet. I have little reason to expect the fleet will survive, but I hope to take a Necron ship or two along with me.

Necron Fleet
Cairn Class Tombship550
3 Scythe Class Harvest Ships825
Vulture Class Cruiser300
Shroud Class Light Cruiser155
5 Jackal Class Escorts250
5 Jackal Class Escorts250
4 Dirge Class Escorts200
6 Khopesh Class Ramships240
6 Khopesh Class Ramships240

Necron Briefing
Badelaire: This is easily the largest Battlefleet Gothic force I've ever set down on the table. What's more, it'll be only the third battle I've played with my Necron fleet, so there's going to be confusion both on the part of the rules (which, with the infrequency of how often we play BFG, always require some relearning), and on the part of keeping my actions straight, making sure every ship moves, every ship fires, and making sure my special orders (and the order in which I call them) make sense.
On the other hand, this is going to be pretty darn cool. The Necropolic model is fantastic, and it is truly a force to be reckoned with all on its own. While slow, its firepower is trememdous and its ability to withstand punishment is equally impressive. And the ship is going to need it--if my opponents are smart, their sole goal will be to destroy the Necropolis before it harvests yet another world.
However, the big ship isn't going in solo. The Tombship and three Scythes are going to be brutal in their own right. While the Scythes do tend to rely on their Star Pulses and Particle Whips a lot, their Lightning arc is nothing to sneeze at if I can get within range of the Eldar vessles, and the Tombship's massive St 20 LA battery will cripple or kill almost any Eldar vessel I'll be facing. On top of this, the firepower of my escorts is likewise impressive, and they have the speed to catch up to the nimble Eldar that my capital ships lack. And, while the Shroud and Vulture might not be that effective this game, they can still be dangerous in the right circumstances and with the right rolls.
I will be curious as to how the Khopeshes play out in this scenario. Since Eldar get a holofield save against ramming, the Khopeshes won't be able to hit home very often. However, having 12 of them on the table means I can still do a lot to intercept ordnance and force leadership checks on the Eldar for shooting past the closest targets. Since the Necropolis is all that matters, if the Khopeshes get wiped out, as long as they are doing their part to keep the Necropolis in one piece, I'll be happy.
The Fleet Engagement Scenario will be used, with the Tainbaharr fleet arriving from a random table edge on Turn 2.

Turn 1
The Yriel-Dyann fleet moved in to attack with a three pronged strike--the Eclipse Cruiser and escorts to the north, the Void Stalker and its company to sunward (east), and the Shadow Cruiser and escorts to the south. The Eldar opened fire with their weapons and torpedo salvos, causing some superficial hits on the Silver Scythe, damaging its Lightning Arc.

The Necrons responded by sending squadrons of Jackals after the Eldar flanking fleets, while the bulk of the Necron Fleet advanced to meet the Eldar head on. An Eldar torpedo salvo slammed into the Bronze Scythe, delivering several hits, damaging the Scythe's drive and crippling it.

Some Necron Khopeshes intercepted the Eldar Bombers, and two of them were destroyed taking out the bomber wave.

The Necropolis swung its prow to starboard, bringing the Void Stalker within its sights, and unleashed the Soul Harvester. The shot was on the mark, destroying some intervening bombers, but the Void Stalker was saved from any damage by its holofields.

The Shadow Cruiser was not so lucky, as a squadron of Jackals concentrated its fire on the vessel, delivering seven hits and overloading its plasma drive, causing the ship to explode. To the north, the Silver Scythe's Gauss Particle Whip tore apart a pair of Aconite Frigates. The northern squadron of Jackals concentrated their fire on the Hellebores, destroying both of them.

A pair of errant torpedoes closed on the Necropolis, delivering a single hit. The Necron ships attempted to repair, and the Silver Scythe repaired its damaged Lightning Arc, while the Bronze Scythe repaired its drives.

Turn 2
From behind the Necron Fleet, the forces of the Tainnbaharr Craftworld made its appearance. Taking advantage of the new arrivals, the Yriel-Dyann Eldar closed in.

The Hemlocks opened fire with their pulsars, destroying all four Dirges. The Void Stalker concentrated its fire on the Shroud, delivering nine hits and reducing to a blazing hulk, and reloaded its ordnance. Three Nightshades on the northern flank targetted the Silver Scythe, hitting it and damaging its Lightning Arc again. The Eclipse opened fire on the nearby Khopeshes with its Pulsar Lances, destroying all four, and reloaded its ordnance for another strike.

In an excellent position to strike, the entire Tainbaharr fleet opened fire on the Necropolis, which immediately braced for impact. The ships' weapon batteries, pulsar and phantom lances blasted away at the Necropolis, and succeeded in delivering seventeen hits, most of which were subseqeuntly saved, but four shots broke through and damaged the massive ship.

The Shroud drifted forward, its fires flickering out. The Necropolis lumbered forward, while the Tombship went on Lock On orders. Both squadrons of Jackals went on All Ahead Full orders, and one Jackal from the southern squadron slammed into some Eldar torpedoes and was destroyed. The Gold and Silver Scythes went on Come to New Heading orders and spun around, and all three Scythes concentrated their fire on the northern Nightshades, but failed to destroy any of them.

The southern Khopeshes all attempted to ram the Void Stalker, but were all thwarted by the Eldar battleship's holofields. The Vulture Class Cruiser made its move on the Void Stalker as well, and did better, delivering four hits with its Lightning Arc and Gauss Particle Whip. The Tombship then also fired on the Void Stalker, having Locked On with its weapon systems--and the Void Stalker did not stand a chance. Shots from the Gauss Particle Whip crippled it, and a massive discharge from the Tombship's Lightning Arc destroyed the vessel.

The Necropolis, surrounded by Eldar vessels, or rather, targets, unleashed its formidable weaponry upon them. Its starboard Lightning Arc took out two Aconites, the fore Lightning Arc a pair of Hemlocks, and the port Lightning Arc a Nightshade. The starboard Gauss Particle Whip destroyed the last Aconite, while the port Gauss Particle Whip damaged the Tainnbaharr Dragonship, delivering a single hit and shredding its mainsail.

The Eldar had struck hard, but the Necrons had struck back harder...

Turn 3
The Yriel-Dyann Eldar unleashed its firepower, with Eclipse and northern Nightshades on the Scythes, an Aconite on some Jackals, and the southern Nightshades on the Necropolis, but the Necrons emerged from the fire with no damage sustained.

The Tainbaharr again focused all their firepower on the Necropolis, which, naturally, braced for impact again. The Eldar ships delivered 25 hits total, 21 of which were saved by the Necron vessel. The Necropolis was surviving barrage after barrage without suffering crippling damage.

The Dragonship, within close range of a Necron Khopesh, made a hit and run attack and succeeded in destroying the ramship. The Eclipse launched a wave of bombers which headed towards the Bronze Scythe.

The northern Nightshades fired a torpedo salvo which impacted the Silver Scythe, delivering a single hit. The Gold and Silver Scythes fired on the last Eldar Aconite, destroying it. The Bronze Scythe fired on the Eclipse, shredding its mainsail with its Lightning Arc and crippling it with a hit from its Gauss Particle Whip.

The southern Jackals fired on the Dragonship, destroying the ship's Infinity Circuit and crippling the ship. The Necropolis destroyed the last southern Nighshade with its port Gauss Particle Whip, and finished off the Dragonship with a massive discharge from its port Lightning Arc. It then fired its aft Lightning Arc on the Pulsar Wraithship, combining its fire with the Vulture. The Wraithship shuddered until the barrage, its mainsail destroyed and superstructure damaged, and it was crippled to boot.

The northern Jackals fired on the squadron of phantom lance Shadowhunters, destroying all of them.

Finally the Silver Scythe repaired its Lightning Arc damage.

Turn 4
Heavily damaged and combat ineffective, the Pulsar Wraithship took the opporunity to disengage while it still could. Three Nightshades from the Yriel-Dyann fleet did the same.

The Shadowhunters manuevered into better firing positions, but one of the ships was caught in the blast of the destruction of other vessels and was destroyed.

The Eclipse took a shot at the Bronze Scythe, and damaged it, allowing the other Tainnbaharr Wraithship to close and fire, finally destroying the Bronze Scythe, which vanished in a ball of light.

The Necropolis braced for impact yet again, taking fire from eight Shadowhunters, which succeeded in delivering two hits to the Necropolis, crippling it and damaging its Lightning Arc array. After delivering these shots, several of the Shadowhunters turned and fled, leaving the battle area.

The remaining Shadowhunters, unable to disengage, found themselves targetted by the Vulture and Tombship, which destroyed all three of them. The Gold and Silver Scythes targetted the Wraithship, smashing it to pieces with their concentrated fire.

As the only Eldar ship left, the crippled Eclipse disengaged to fight another day. Aside from losing a single Scythe, the Necron fleet was intact. The Shroud, reduced to a drifting hulk, would be repaired and rejoin the fleet. The Eldar had thrown their might against the Necrons, and the result could only be called a defeat.
Tainbaharr Eldar Debriefing
Darkwing: The defeat of the Eldar was all but inevitable, but I had some hope when my fleet arrived directly astern of the Necropolis. At the time, all of us were wondering if such a placement was going to end the battle in a hurry with the Eldar ships blowing the Necropolis out of the sky. But after all the dice were rolled, and with the benefits of Bracing for Impact, the Necropolis easily survived the barrage. Beyond that, it was only a matter of doing as much damage as possible before being wiped out. That said, in the end I was happy that we finished off the one Scythe that we did. One less ship for the Imperial fleet to worry about in the next battle.
Necron Debriefing
Badelaire: So far, so good. While losing a cruiser is unfortunate, I know I'll be getting back all my formidable escorts, and while the Khopeshes did their jobs but little damage in this battle, against the Imperials they will be far more effective. Also, since my Vulture survived the Eldar onslaught, it'll be able to reap its fair share of Imperial souls, sniping and killing cruisers weakened by escort or capital ship fire.
The Necropolis was dealt some serious hurt, but it is still alive and ready to harvest. Again, Necron and Eldar ships are a very interesting match--each has abilities that defend against and give advantage towards the other, but both are very "non-standard" fleets. Against the more traditional Imperial ships, the benefits allowed to the Necron fleet will give it a serious advantage.
However, I am aware that Darkwing's space docks have been busy these last couple of months, and there may be some surprises in store for the Necropolis and its fleet when we enter Imperial space. Only time (and the luck of the dice) will tell if these rumored "surprises" will serve him well in the battle ahead.

1 comment:

Nocturus said...

Sweet, great battle! So is there going to be a combat patrol style battle rep with the Marines left from the last campaign?