Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Search For Festus - The Fate of a Nurgle Lord

The Warpsmith punched in the access code leading to the armoury and beckoned Tosis to follow.
"The artefact is more than just a badge of, office my lord" he croaked.
"I have told you before Seradis, don't call me that.....not yet."
Seradis was about to incline his head then thought better of it.
"Indeed, the true value lies with the manner of its... requisition!" Continued the Warpsmith.
"I am aware of its original owner's misfortune, I was there at the Champions of Chaos trial after all.
We only narrowly avoided Sladic's fate ourselves, Festus' bumbling attempts at glory left us all exposed. It is only through sheer luck that it is the Lord of the Red Tide who resides in the god's Gilded Cage and not Lord Festus!"
"He is ill suited to lead us lor...Tosis, why do you insist on bending your knee to him?"
"While he lives he is our lord and all efforts must be made to save him, I would expect no less, the grandfather see's all Seradis.....he will not find me lacking faith."

They reached the armoury chamber and struck the rune of entry.
Putrid, shrunken heads adorned the walls, casting a sickly green light from orb less eye sockets. At the far end of the reliquary hung a baroque flamer of exquisite workmanship. The sharp jagged filigree of the casing and the daemonic muzzle (that of a rabid wild dog) were the work of a master artificer.

"The World Eaters would expend much blood to reclaim the burning brand were they to learn of its location," said the Warpsmith, "Lord Sladic's penitence within the Gilded Cage is almost at an end...."
"One problem at a time Seradis interrupted Tosis.
"Prime Lord Festus' trophy...I shall take it to him!

Greetings sinners!
The fate of Festus hangs in the balance, Fleshsmith Mo'reau has worked tirelessly on the Nurgle Lord and his ministrations are almost complete.
Tosis Mire has broken into the Sorcerer's lair, but will he be in time or is the Plague Lord's fate to spend his remaining days as an Engineered Spawn fighting for the Castigators?
Read on and discover his fate.
As Fleshsmith Mo'reau works on his body, Lucian Soulweaver purges the Plague Lord's mind.

The Sorcerer's Lair

Death Guard
Tosis Mire - Lord, MoN, Lightning Claw, Powerfist, Burning Brand, Slaughterer's Horns, Sigil of Corruption & Daemonheart.
Squad Pestilent - 7 Plague Marines, 2 Melta Guns, Rask with Power Weapon & Melta Bombs
Squad Contagion _ 7 Plague Marines, 2 Plasma, Septus with Power Weapon & Melta Bombs.
Squad Aberrant - 7 Possessed, MoN
Helbrute, Multi Melta, Powerfist
The Languid - 5 Chao Spawn, MoN.
Squad Necrosis - 1 Obliterator, MoN.

Lucian's Dark Menagerie
Lucian Soulweaver - Sorcerer (level 3), Force Axe, Prophet of the Voices, Sigil of Corruption.
The Enlightened - 5 Possessed, MoS
Chiron the Fleshmaster - Helbrute, Multi-Melta, Powerfist.
Shaithis the Penitent - Helbrute, Power Scourge, Plasma Cannon.
Squad Prurient - 5 Noise Marines, Ryak with Blastmaster, Doom Siren.
Squad Sublime - 5 Noise Marines, Darius with Blastmaster, Lighning Claw & Doom Siren.
The Sullied - 5 Chaos Spawn.
.....and not forgetting Fleshsmith Mo'reau

The Castigators have 3 respawn points that allow three destroyed units to be placed in ongoing reserve.
The Death Guard have delayed the Castigators' reserve rolls until turn 6.

The Castigators deployed their Spawn centrally with one Dread on the right and the other on the left. Five Noise Marines deployed on the left (out of shot) in a room. The rest would have to wait until turn 6 to arrive!

The Death Guard's scouts set off their charges, blowing 5 doors allowing easy access for their main force. Tosis Mire and two units of Plague Marines rushed into the underground complex supported by 7 Possessed and a Helbrute.....

......The Nurgle Spawn hurtled forward down the left flank.....

....thanks to their scouts blowing the doors.

The Castigators repositioned their forces, with the Dread and Noise Marines opening their doors to cover the corridor.

The Noise Marines shoot at the Nurgle Spawn, putting wound on one of them.

In a sneaky move, more reminiscent of Tzeentch than Nurgle, the Obliterator deepstrikes in, hoping to get behind Chiron the Dreadnought. His coordinates are slightly off though and he scatters into next compound......

.....bypassing the Castigators' defences!

The Nurgle Spawn hurtle down the corridor towards the Noise Marines.... the rest of the Death Guard struggle to keep up.

With no other target, the Obliterator vaporises the door to the Fleshsmith's laboratorium with his Multi-Melta.

On the left the Nurgle Spawn charge into the Noise Marines....

.....killing three for no loss. The Castigators' defences had been breached, they were in serious danger of been over-run.

Aware of how much danger the Nurgle Obliterator posed, Chiron the Dread, opened the door to target him. The Dread couldn't fit through the door, so the Castigators' Spawn hurried across to help out. The Fleshsmith moved across the Laboratorium to block the Obliterator's path.

Chiron levelled his Multi-Melta at the Obliterator and promptly missed! It was down to the Spawn to save the day, they needed a 7 to reach him and rolled....a.....


The Dread on the left charged into the Nurgle Spawn.....

......ripping apart one of the noisome beasts, Unfortunately it didn't save the Noise Marines from the Spawn's attacks.

The Castigators' Spawn slammed into the Obliterator putting 11 wounds on him....Only one got through his armour though.

The Nurgle Possessed, Plague Marines and Helbrute continued their relentless advance through the lair's twisting corridors.

Tosis urged his Plague Marines on to help out his Spawn.

The Castigators had held the first wave, but the Death Guard were closing fast.

Squad Contagion blew another door with their Plasma Guns

A whirlwind of teeth and claws tore into the Obliterator as the Castigators' Spawn ripped him apart.

The Spawn moved through the door to block the Plague Marines' advance, while Chiron moved to cover the other entrance.

The Noise Marine reinforcements arrived on the left, using one of my respawn points (2 left). They opened up on Tosis and his Plague Marines but the Nurgle warriors shrugged off the shots.

The Castigators' Spawn moved up to stop the Plague Marines advance on the right....

.....the Death Guard levelled two Plasma Guns and a Bolter at the charging Spawn, wounding one of the Engineered beasts, but it cost them dearly as one of the Plague Marine's Plasma overheated and took him out. Another fell to the Spawn's fury.

The Nurgle Spawn on the left lost another of their number to the Dreads attacks.

The Death Guard's Possessed sprinted into the outer compound closely followed by their Helbrute.

The newly arrived Noise Marines discovered just how powerful Tosis Mire had become as the Plague Lord used his Burning Brand to take out three of their number, Tosis' entourage gunned down another leaving one left.

The Plague Marines on the right switched to their Plague Knives taking out a Spawn, but lost two of their number in the process.

The lone Noise Marine moved up to avenge his fallen brothers and killed one of the advancing Plague Marines with his Bolt Gun. The Dread continued his battle with the Nurgle Spawn, dragging down another.

Chiron moved up towards the Nurgle Possessed and pausing to level his Multi-Melta at them...

......obliterated one.....

.....before charging into combat against them.

On the right, the Castigators' Spawn dragged down three of the Plague Marines, but not before Nurgle's elite plunged their Plague Knives into the perverse abominations, taking another out.

Chiron ripped apart one the Nurgle Possessed, blocking the Death Guard's advance and buying precious time for the Castigators' reinforcements to arrive.

On the left, Tosis and his Plague Marines closed in on the Castigators' Dread blocking their path.....

In the centre the Nurgle Helbrute moved up and charged its Slaaneshi counterpart.

Tosis Charged into the Dreadnought, stripping two hull points from the mighty war machine.

The Nurgle Helbrute smashed into Chiron, stripping two hull points from the Dread. Chiron retaliated stripping two hull points from his Nurgle counterpart and more importantly, tearing his power fist off

The combat on the left flank went much better for the Death Guard as Tosis punched through the armour of the Castigators' Dread, tearing it apart. The plucky lone Noise Marine held out against the Spawn.

The centre was a different story as Chiron smashed apart the Nurgle Helbrute and continued to lock down the Nurgle Possessed.

The right the Death Guard threat was neutralised by the Spawn, the last Plague Marine selling his life dearly by taking out another Spawn with his Plague Knife.

The Engineered Spawn consolidated towards Chiron.

With the left flank clear, Tosis moved into the outer compound leaving the Spawn to finish off the lone Noise Marine.....

.....and walk straight into the jaws of hell as the Castigators reinforcements finally arrived!

Lucian and his Possessed arrived, but were unable to charge the Nurgle Spawn this turn....

Squad Prurient levelled their weapons at Tosis' squad, the aspiring champion Ryak extending his jaws for a sonic scream..... did Darius for squad Sublime, supported by Shaithis the Dread.

All three units blasted away into the Plague Marines, but as the smoke cleared only two Plague Marines had fallen, Tosis had taken two wounds to save his squad from further harm, truly a remarkable leader!

In the centre, the Nurgle Possessed morphed their bodies into rending killing machines. Clambering all over Chiron they punched through his armour and ripped out power cables, taking him out of the battle.

Not content with that, the Nurgle Possessed entered the inner compound and made for the Castigators' Spawn....

....closing with them at frightening speed.

Realising that he had walked straight into a trap, Tosis prepared to buy his Possessed as much time as possible to complete their objective.

Tosis split from the squad and issued his orders....

.....The Melta gunner from squad Contagion levelled his weapon at the Dread blocking their path. The Plague Marine's aim was true and a mighty explosion showered all in the vicinity as the Dread went critical. As the smoke cleared, a Noise Marine from each squad lay dead on the floor!

The Nurgle Possessed tore into the Castigators' Spawn.

Tosis charged into squad Sublime..... the Nurgle Spawn charged into Lucian and his Possessed.

The Castigators' Possessed tore one of the Spawn apart, but one held on to stop their progress.

Tosis issued a challenge, which Darius eagerly accepted. Tosis gutted the Slaanesh champion and hacked apart two of his squad mates, leaving one Noise Marine to battle on alone.....

.....and tying the Castigators forces up!

The Nurgle Possessed ripped the Engineered Spawn apart with contemptuous ease and consolidated towards the Laboratorium.

Squad Prurient shot at the Plague Marines that had done so much damage, Ryak's Doomsiren shattering the bodies of three of them.

Not content the Noise Marines multi-charged the lone Plague Marine and Tosis....

 ......consumed with blood lust, the Noise Champion bellowed his challenge to the Plague Lord.

Lucian and his Possessed ripped apart the Nurgle Spawn and consolidated towards the Plague Lord....

....but they were so far out of position, they weren't even in the picture!

Tosis and the Noise Champion, Ryak struck at the same time. Rob asked what was he armed with? "Nothing but faith in Our Lady!" I replied. Rob smiled as Tosis landed a telling blow on the Noise Champion....but his smile faded as all of Ryak's attacks hit and wounded. It disappeared altogether as Tosis failed his save and finally succumbed to his wounds! The lone Plague Marine battled on against the rest of the Ryak's Noise Marines, while the sole survivor from Squad Sublime consolidated towards the Laboratorium. The Castigators had secured the area, but they were seriously out of position!

Although the Death Guard only had their Possessed left, the Castigators were so far out of position, that the battle had swung firmly in their favour. With no guns the Possessed had to waste a turn tearing the door open to the Laboratorium, giving the Castigators vital time to close the distance.

Lucian realising that time was running out rolled 'Beasts' twice on the Vessels of Chaos table to close the distance, while the Noise Marines finished off the lone Plague Marine!

The Nurgle Possessed surrounded Fleshsmith Mo'reau.....

.....infuriated at being disturbed by the aberrant Possessed, the Fleshsmith lashed out at them, but the Daemonic flesh of the Possessed was impervious to his attacks. In a flurry of attacks the Possessed dispatched the Fleshsmith with ease and consolidated into base contact with their fallen Lord!

The Nurgle Possessed clawed at the bonds of their fallen Lord. One round of combat would see them free Festus and active their teleporters whisking the fallen Plague Lord and themselves away to safety. Lucian and his Possessed moved in from the north as the remnants from the Noise Marine squads moved in from the southeast door. The Sorcerer attempted to cast Psychic Shriek upon the Nurgle intruders, but the fickle powers of the warp eluded him and even with his familiar lending its aid, Lucian failed to focus his powers succesfully....

The Castigators charged in, surrounding the Nurgle Possessed on all sides. The Nurgle warriors were out numbered 2-1 but if one should survive, then the Death Guard would win!

The Noise Marines struck first, wounding three times despite the Nurgle Possessed's toughness. In the Warp the dark gods laughed as all three saves were failed, leaving two to fight on! The Slaanesh Possessed struck at lightning speed, claws, talons and pincers rained down on their Nurgle counter-parts, hacking the last two apart and condemning Festus to a fate worse than death!

The Castigators were victorious!

Phew! What a game. We really thought the game would be over before it even got started at one point. The Death Guard looked like they could nick it early on with the lone Obliterator. Then the Death Guard advance stalled and the Castigators looked to have it in the bag when their reinforcements arrived. Tosis showed why he's the right man to lead the Death Guard and put the failures of Festus behind them, by smashing aside the Castigators' carefully prepared trap and putting the Death Guard firmly in the driving seat. Just when it looked like it was all over for the Castigators, Lucian rolled to move as beasts twice to bring them back into the game. Even then, we still thought that the Castigators didn't have enough attacks to finish them off. If it hadn't been for Rob rolling triple one for his armour saves against the Noise Marines then it could so easily have been a victory for Rob.
We both enjoyed the game immensely and I cannot recommend Zone Mortalis enough!
I hope you enjoyed the report and until next time.....may Our Lady grant you her number!

Fleshsmith Mo'reau connected the final vial to the patients spine under the ever present scrutiny of Chiron.
"It is done, my Lord".
Chiron gave a satisfied nod to his acolyte.
"Excellent work as always Mo'reau, Lucian will be pleased to hear it."
"Pleased to hear what?" Said the Sorcerer entering the Laboratorium.
"Festus, my Lord. I have finished him," replied Mo'reau "He is ready to join the ranks of the Sullied!"
The familiar sounds of Chiron's laughter elicited a knowing smile from Lucian. 
"Have I said something to amuse my Lords? Inquired the Fleshsmith.
"You are a master in the art of flesh-crafting Mo'reau..."
"Thank you my Lord, your...."
Lucian held up a hand halting the Fleshsmith's sycophancy.
"But you still have much to learn Mo'reau," said the Sorcerer.
"Festus no longer exists. I destroyed his conscious mind and delivered his putrid soul to his Empyrean master several days ago. This mewling remnant is nothing more than an amusing trophy for me."
"Then Tosis Mire's efforts to save his Lord were all in vain," marvelled the Fleshsmith.
"Not at all," purred Lucian. "Tosis has shown his understanding of the Great Game. Mark my words, he will be one to watch in the future."


  1. Great game mate great write up. If I had held the bunker a turn longer or even if I had taken it in less attempts. a very different story may have been written! :-) always fun and now I have a new Lord to build.

  2. Btw you did a great job on the campaign balance with this, worked out very close despite my initial failing I still felt there was a chance right up to the end.

    If you can find a bit more spare time there's a game I know with a few army books that need a bit of work with their balance.

    1. LOL....I'm pretty sure I could balance most of it within a couple of weeks ;-)

  3. Fame, however fleeting, at last.

    Great story to a great game, nice one lads.

    1. We thought you might enjoy the explanation of where the Burning Brand came from ;-)

  4. Great read man, cheers for writing it up for us. Sounds like fun.

    1. Cheers Rory.
      Hopefully, future battle reports will look a bit better. I discovered that my old mobile has a cracked lens (hardly surprising the amount of times I've dropped it), which is why some parts of the photos are a bit blurry. I've ordered a new phone which should have a better camera.

    2. While the pictures weren't exactly WD worthy I didn't have a problem with them. Always nice tos ee two fully painted armies smacking each other.

  5. A very hard-fought campaign for sure. But the thing I like most is the open ending. What are the rewards of victory if it brings the stagnation of the finished task? To achieve perfection is to strive for it, and there is no greater pleasure than that of the task that lies ahead. Cheers.

    1. Wise words brother, we are all but pawns in the dark gods' Great Game.

  6. Lord Adiatun Varunn2 May 2016 at 06:01

    Great story, as usual! Tosis got to drive the Death Guard in future battles and the Castigators have a new toy...Too bad for Festus but the Gods are fickle :-) Thank you both, you are an inspiration to all us players of the Long War, I wish you tons of fun in the endless war of the far future.

    1. Thank you....may Our Lady grant you her number!

  7. Re-Reading the opening notes Gary. Is it me or is there a hint of the campaign expanding to include an attempt to get the brand back to it's rightful owners.

    1. A Machiavellian plot you say? Such underhand and dishonourable practices are beneath the Dark Prince's chosen....although rumour has it that a certain Tzeentchian Sorcerer has been known to frequent the place from time to time ;-)

    2. If you want the brand back Ian 'come and claim it!' ;-) Tosis will greet you with open armes.

  8. Replies
    1. Tues, thurs best for me Thursday is generally my foray into the castigators lair. We maybe able to meet half way and cause some destruction there?

  9. Great read lad's! Nail biter right too the end. Looking forward to seeing Robs new lord and Garys spawn version of Fests. Just a idea Gaz why not do each spawn model in your spawn unit a fallen enemy lord or champion from each chaos God. So your new slaanesh spawn model a spawn model for Fests a spawn model for tzeentch lord or champion and spawn model for khorne lord or champion and a slaanesh spawn champion to lead the unit. Lot of conversation and green stuff work but will look great mate;-).

    1. All of my engineered Spawn come from vanquished foes. I have a couple of Wolfy Spawn that are from Alex's pups and another that will represent a Red Scorpion from Iain's army. Of course the idea is there, I just have to finish them ;-)