Saturday 26 March 2016

The Path to Glory: Lords of the lost and damned

I dream constantly of lands I have never seen, but I do not need to wait for sleep to see them, nor even do I need to close my eyes. The landscape of the Chaos foothills suddenly impose themselves onto the world around me in perfect clarity. At first I was loathe to look about me when these visions descended, but now I see them for the gift they are. 
Listen carefully brothers....and you too may hear the Call of Chaos

Greetings sinners!
The release of the Warband rules for Path to Glory had me and Rob pretty stoked to try them out and inject a change of pace to our games. Unfortunately, even with the best will in the world, we quickly discovered that it was difficult to build reasonably balanced Warbands using the random generating method. The random number of units and unlimited access to wargear led to some pretty uneven Warbands.
Fortunately, I had a plan!

Both Rob and I are struggling to make many tournaments this year. I'm either working when a tournament is being held or the event is strictly ETC rules (1850pts with no Forge World). I'm not the biggest fan of 1850pts tournaments and being the proud owner of 5 Forge World units, I want to use them. Because of this I have nothing planned until August at the earliest.
Rob feels pretty much the same way as I do, so we decided we need a project to keep us entertained while the rest of the Cold Steel Mercs fly the flag at various events....Go Cold Steel Mercs!
Both of us prefer the idea of 'skirmish 40k' rather than 'Apocalypse 40k' that is 7th edition (just wait until Necromunda is releasesd, we'll be all over it!). So I quickly came up with a plan to use the Path To Glory rules to create skirmish Warbands.
This would give each of us a small Warband that initially started at 10 models, but would slowly grow after each battle. We both liked the idea of focusing on building and painting individual models rather than our usual focus on building and painting a unit at a time.

Light danced across the surface of the onyx stone as the Plague Lord turned it over in his hand. Even through his gauntlet, Kithel Nalax could feel the heat emanating from it. Not the cleansing, nourishing heat from a distant sun but the foetid, noxious heat released by a decomposing corpse. Kithel closed his fist, gripping the stone tightly. The slow rhythmic pulse that it had generated when the Plague Lord had first discovered it, had increased in frequency since they had retreated into Mammon's dark and winding cavern system. As they ventured deeper into the caverns, closely pursued by the Castigators, the stone's frequency had become a rhythmic hum that was almost audible to Kithel.
The Plague Lord gripped the stone tighter still, the stone's vibrations travelling up his arm. He cleared his mind of all distractions, savouring the heat and the incessant, sickly pulse that coursed up his arm and into his body...hmm...hmm...hmm....Gl....hmm....or....hmm...yyy....hmm....
"There!" Thought Kithel.
He shut down his comm-link and closed his eyes, blocking out the waves of nausea that threatened to overwhelm him and concentrated on the throbbing pulse that rang in his ears .....hmmm.....A.....hmmm.....Path.....hmmm....To GLORYYYY....

Path To Glory: Lords of the Lost and Damned
As I mentioned earlier, the Path to Glory rules are a little too loose for creating balanced Warbands. To overcome this, I decided to add a few small tweaks to even things out and to reduce the size of the Warband.
Reducing the size of the Warband was simple enough, each roll on the Retinue table would yield one model rather than a unit.

Pick the Champion of your Warband -
  • This is a Chaos Lord with the mark of your Chaos patron. 
  • They can choose any options from Melee Weapons, Ranged Weapons, Terminator Weapons and Special Item Wargear.
  • Your Warlord has D3 Chaos Rewards
  • Your Warlord may take a Chaos Artefact. This costs one roll on the Retinue table.
Generate Followers -
  • Each Warband starts with 10 followers and a Chaos Lord. 
  • Generate 4+D3 followers from the Retinue, Hero & Daemon follower tables.
  • Any roll on the Retinue table may be replaced with a Cult Marine.
  • One roll may be made on the Hero and Daemon follower table.
  • One die roll may be re-rolled.
  • The remaining followers will be made up of Cultists.
  • All models have the mark of their patron for free.
  • All followers may be upgraded with any options available in its unit entry in Codex: Chaos Space Marines.  
Upgrades - Each Warband has 100 points to spend on Wargear upgrades. Any points not used are saved in the Armoury for later upgrades.

Expansion - After each battle one randomly selected follower receives D3 additional squad members which form a unit (up to its maximum unit size). An additional 10 points are added to the Armoury for upgrades.

Because we want a skirmish Warband rather than an army Warband, I decided to replace the Vehicle table with the following Daemon table:

  1. Lesser Daemon
  2. Fury
  3. Elite Daemon
  4. Herald
  5. Special Character Herald
  6. Choose from the above options.   

Kranwulf's lightning claw slipped effortlessly into the Plague Marine's throat, severing his spinal cord in one neat stroke. The Slaanesh Lord's steed mirrored the killing thrust with its tail, piercing the throat of the last of the cultists, cutting short his roar of defiance and bring an end to a combat that was excruciatingly brief for Kranwulf's liking.
The remnants of the Death Guard would soon be cleansed from Mammon, their retreat had turned into a full scale rout. Festus Foulspawn had already fled the planet, abandoning half a company of Death Guard to an ignoble and inglorious death.
Kranwulf had railed against Nestor's orders to stay behind and cleanse Mammon from the pitifully few Death Guard that had been stranded here. He was Kranwulf the Magnificent, Lord of the 5th Cohort! What glory was there to be had in a simple mop-up operation such as this?
Kranwulf had soon been persuaded however, once Nestor had explained his orders a little more 'clearly.'
To celebrate this great honour afforded to Kranwulf, Nestor had gifted him with S'ha-rhea, the swift and elegant steed that Nestor had returned with from the six hells of Slaanesh. Kranwulf had been delighted with this gift and had vowed to quickly eradicate all trace of the Nurgle taint from Mammon.
While the hunt for the Death Guard had provided some entertainment, the lack of glory to be had from such a task had soon diminished these experiences. Kranwulf had looked upon this task as a test of faith, something to be endured, a trial from which he must learn to find the smallest of pleasures from the most mundane of tasks. Finally, his faith had been vindicated, the Slaanesh Lord had found pleasure in the most trivial of things, even the small onyx stone that he toyed with absently.

The first thing we had to do was to create our Chaos Lord, to lead our plucky Warbands.

Name Generator
The Path to Glory has a name generator table, similar to the old Slaves to Darkness for those old timers out there. Each player would roll a D66 and consult the chart, the first roll would generate the first syllable, then another D66 would determine the 2nd syllable (players can roll for a 3rd syllable if they wish). Finally the last D66 roll would generate his title.
This is a great resource for anybody who wants to add more character to their Chaos Space Marine army....and I'm guessing if you're reading this, then Chaos is your thing and your army is all about the background.

Like all good egotistical Slaanesh worshipers, I went first. I rolled up three D66 and got 44, 26 & 25. Consulting the table, that gave me the name Kranwulf the Magnificent!
I then rolled for the number of Chaos Rewards I would receive (a D3 roll) and got 2. We decided that the rewards would be rolled for as well (which happen to contain 6 entries) and consulting the Chaos Codex, Kranwulf received Witch Eater from the Mutation table and a Steed of Slaanesh.
A Chaos Lord can sacrifice a follower to take a Chaos Artefact if they wish, but I chose not to.
Finally we rolled for my Warlord Trait and I received Night Attacker.
The Warlord Trait and Chaos rewards are kept throughout the campaign, so I was hoping for some Noise Marines to take advantage of Kranwulf's Night Fighting ability.

Next up was Rob. We rolled up for his name and got 45, 52 & 15.....Kithel Nalax the Corpulent!
Kithel was blessed with 1 Chaos Reward, a Palanquin. Rob also elected not to sacrifice a unit of followers for a Chaos Artefact.
Finally we rolled for his Warlord Trait using the Nurgle Warlord Traits from the Curse of the Wulfen book and he received Virulent Touch (if a model suffers and unsaved wounds in the assault phase, it must pass a toughness test or take an additional wound with no armour or cover saves).
The Warlord can choose any wargear he likes from the Chaos Wargear List and I suspect Kithel will be acquiring a bike now that he has the Aura of Dark Glory.....but time will tell.

Shrapnel and debris pattered harmlessly off of  Kithel's armour as he continued his search beneath the half buried Octed.
"The Castigators have broken through the North-East perimeter...Request immediate support."
"Negative....Fall back to the final circle!" ordered the Plague Lord.
"Keep digging, time is short, but the glory I promised is but a step away. Brother," continued Kithel  turning to face the Dark Apostle's questioning gaze.
For two days the Death Guard had made their stand deep below the surface of Mammon. The cavern that Kithel Nalax had led them to was the size of a small city. The concentric circles of ancient ruins surrounding the Octed made for an ideal defensive position, but the Castigators' numbers were beginning to tell. 
The Death Guard were surrounded with nowhere to fall back to, it was only a matter of time before the Castigators' Noise Marines scoured the ruins clear with their psycho-sonic weapons. If they concentrated their force on one sector then perhaps they could push through the ever tightening circle, but Kithel Nalax had ordered them to hold their ground, while the Plague Lord continued to dig around in the dirt.

Next up was to determine the number of followers we would start with (D3+4). These can be chosen from the Retinue, Hero or Daemon tables. Once again we put our faith in the dice gods and opted to roll on the tables rather than choose what we wanted.
We had decided that we didn't want to use Vehicles, so I replaced the Vehicle table with a Daemon table. We also decided that if we rolled up something that we didn't want to build & paint then that could be substituted for a Cult Marine.

Rob went first and rolled up 5 units of followers. He then chose one roll each on the Daemon and Hero tables.
He gained a Chosen, Chaos Space Marine & Raptor on the Retinue table. Rob opted to replace the Chaos Marine with a Plague Marine
His roll on the Daemon table resulted in a lesser Daemon, he opted for a Nurgling base rather than a Plague Bearer. Finally, his roll on the Hero table resulted in a Chaos Spawn. Rob opted to use his re-roll and rolled again on the hero table and replaced the Spawn with a Dark
So Kithel Nalax's Warband consists of:
Chaos Lord
Dark Apostle
Plague Marine
Chaos Chosen
Chaos Raptor
Nurgling base

Overall it's a nice mix of units that should be fun to play with & against.

We rolled for me and Our Lady blessed me with 5 units.
I decided to roll 3 times on the Retinue and one each on the Daemon and Hero table.
I gained a Chosen, Chaos Space Marine & a Chaos Spawn. I opted to replace the Chaos Marine with a Noise Marine.
My roll on the Daemon table gifted me with a Slaanesh Herald.
My roll on the Hero table resulted in a level 2 Chaos Sorceror with a gift of mutation....sweet!
Kranwulf the Magnificent's Warband consists of:
Chaos Lord
Slaanesh Herald
Noise Marine
Chaos Spawn

For Kranwulf, I will use my old Nestor model, I just need to remove the Burning Brand and I might do a head swap (maybe use the Space Wolves wolf helmet with horns or spikes).
The Noise Marine is pretty straight forward, I have around 24 knocking about but this will be a modelling and background project so it will give me the impetus to finish the Noise Marine I've been playing around with.
I have a couple of Sorcerors I could use, but again I may very well build a new one. I don't have any Chosen painted up, so it's a great excuse to use one of the excellent Dark Vengeance models.
I'm quite excited about the cultists. I have some old Beastmen models that I want to turn into Slaangor Cultists and I've been wanting to build a new 'Cinders' (a female Cultist armed with a flamer) for ages.
The Slaanesh Herald will give me the perfect excuse to paint my favourite model of all time that my brother in sin gave me.
So expect to see random posts popping up from time to time as we both immerse ourselves in our new-found Warbands and explore our evocative surroundings!
I know Rob has begun work on his Warband already, but instead of starting on my plucky band of followers. I've been building and painting the Chaos Octed to transport us to the Realms of Chaos, which you can see scattered about this post.
Until next time.....may Our Lady grant you her number!

Finally, the means to Kranwulf fulfilling his dreams lay before him. The sweet, seductive whispers from the onyx stone urging him on with the promise of glory had grown ever stronger since he had entered the cave system.
The Death Guard had run out of places to run, the Noise Marines had shouldered their Sonic weaponry for the bitter hand to hand combat that surrounded the Octed. The elevated position Kranwulf's mount afforded him, gave an ideal position to locate his quarry. Finally the hunt was over, the Plague Lord was in his sights. The Slaanesh Lord savoured the moment as he levelled his Combi-Plasma at Kithel Nalax. The Plague Lord had dismounted from his Palanquin and was reaching for the Octed. 
Kranwulf admired the Plague Lord's devotion to his patron, he would rather die holding the symbol of his god, than fight in a futile battle against impossible odds.....and then the Slaanesh Lord saw it. In the Death Guard's hand was an Onyx stone similar to the one Kranwulf carried. Suddenly everything became clear to him, Kranwulf squeezed the trigger just as the the Plague lord placed the stone into one of the Plague Icon's skulls.
A shockwave of immense force slammed into Kranwulf blasting him from his mount. All across the cavern the forces of Slaanesh were smashed to the ground as a sickly pallid light washed over them, blinding them for a fraction of a second. Dazed, the Castigators slowly got to their feet to find the Death Guard gone.
Cries of anguish rang out at being denied their prize , Noise Marines let loose sonic screams that shattered the ruins around them while cultists clawed at their faces with frustration.
"Calm yourselves brothers! The Realms of Chaos await." Bellowed Kranwulf as he caressed the icon of Slaanesh on the Octed.
"Did I not promise you glory in the name of Slaanesh?"
Before anyone could question the Slaanesh Lord's meaning, Kranwulf thrust the Onyx stone into the Slaanesh Icon's aperture....a blinding violet light engulfed them all....    


  1. Nice lead into the campaign Gary. Love that terrain piece, you should do more (as well as everything else of course).

    1. Thanks Iain.
      I find building terrain refreshes the palate, especially in the darker months of the year. The terrain you build for the Ribble lads is a great inspiration to me, so I appreciate the comment.
      Glad you enjoyed the story, I'm never sure if people enjoy them or not, it's the thing that drives me and Rob (yeah I know it should be Rob and I, but it just seems so false typing it that way) much more than the result of the game.

  2. Like the gate mate did you make it or buy it?

    1. The gate was made from foam, cardboard and greenstuff.

  3. Looks really good mate! Keep up the good work;)

  4. Fantastic, evocative and inspiring! Cheers! Really starting to connect with these new characters already:-)

  5. Hi Gary, I've totally forgotten your email address.
    Can you send me an email, as I have something interesting for you.

    Adam - Space Wolves Blog

  6. Great start Gary, looking forward to seeing this little campaign coming together.

    Do you ever play your Chaos without FW units or do you not think it is really viable?

    1. Cheers Rory.
      I do play my Chaos without Forgeworld, but for competitive play I prefer to use FW for a couple of reasons.
      The main reason for me is that the games are much quicker and when I'm playing 5 or 6 games over a weekend I don't want drawn out games as I often find it's nothing to do with the alcohol consumed while playing...honest. The other reason is that I like to stick to my Castigators background and use only Slaanesh or unmarked units and realistically they struggle against the top tiers lists.
      I do think Chaos can compete though, it's just that Chaos Marines are limited to certain units at a competitive level. Level 3 Sorcerors with Nurgle Spawn, Heldrakes, Cultists and Be'lakor are where it's at currently (in my opinion of course). Throw in some Daemon allies and I think they're more than capable of giving as good as they get.
      My next tournament is looking like August, so I might look at getting 3 Soul Grinders and a Slaanesh Cavalcade together to help out the Castigators, as they're looking at limiting FW.
      I do like the Forgeworld stuff though, the Chaos Knight, Fire Raptor and Dreadclaw are firm favourites for me at the moment.

    2. Thanks for the reply, it was just idle wondering. I haven't played a game in years and as is seen through my blog it is taking me a while to get my Thousand Sons together anyway.

    3. The Thousand Sons need dragging from the shadows and into the light brother. Keep persevering with them, I always keep an eye on your blog. I did like the Deadpool Marine by the way.

  7. As always , your story background is wonderful ... So
    inspirational... I think that even my Bringers of Hatred (my personal Warband of Chaos Space Marines) could make a detour into the Realm of the Gods if I find the right astral alignment... and the right players...

    1. Thank you for the kind words brother.
      I wish you good fortune in your endeavours to bring misery and despair to your enemies ;-)