Let your plans be as dark and impenetrable as night, and when it comes time to move; fall like a thunderbolt.

Sun Tzu

When it comes to campaigns, there are a multitude of rule sets out there that you can call upon to change the way the game is played. Whether you want to play key battles throughout the history of the Heresy, or just do something a little bit off piste; the Black and Red books offer the ability to do so. There are also some third party books out there, such as what the Mournival offers, for those whose campaign and custom character thirsts are not quenched by the rule sets in the official books.

Most of these rule sets depend on the Attrition rule to determine Victory Points, either as a Primary or Secondary Objective. However, this doesn’t have any actual effect on the armies in the Campaign – aside from some character development. Ask yourself; How differently would you play if a loss of a unit in a game meant you couldn’t use it for the rest of the Campaign?

That is the basic premise behind this Campaign Crafting. Two small fleets, one Loyalist, one Traitor; Battling with finite resources over the world of 72.23 until there’s nothing left.

History of 72.23

72.23 is better known as Orjaku; a sandy industrial world, rich in Adamantium and is populated by 4.3 billion Orjakeens. It is unusual in the fact that it orbits its main sequence star alone, with only highly radiologically enriched asteroids as it’s neighbours. During the compliance of 72.23, the White Scars were met by fearsome resistance, with the governance of Orjaku using highly advanced Neutron beam weapons, fitted onto heavily armoured cortex controlled quadrupedal tanks known as Dune Crawlers.

The White Scars took the planetary seat of governance, Rakavere in a campaign that was planned to take 1 month. 3.5 months later, they achieved their goal and remotely disabled the quadrupedal tanks. However, the damage done to Rakavere was extensive, including the destruction of a precious STC fragment for an advanced Adamantium mining barge. Production and the recovery of 72.23 was slow and difficult as a direct result of this loss and by the time of the outbreak of the Heresy, it was estimated that only 57% of the critical military industrial infrastructure had been returned to operational capability.

Thus, the fleets of the Warmaster avoided Orjaku, deeming it to be of limited tactical or military value. However, Orjaku had been diverting resources to a new project; the Oppressor Class Neutron Cannon. This weapon was designed to be used as an anti-orbital system, as well as having potential to be fitted to Mechanicum Tractor Crawler units and Warlord Titans. Roughly the size of a Belicosa Volcano Cannon, the Oppressor offered not only similar damage capabilities to the Belicosa; but it also created a cascading concussion effect, able to stumble Titans and render defenders of installations or drop ships unconscious.

When news broke of this weapons existence via the informant networks, Horus ordered a fleet break off and secure the weapon. Rogal Dorn ordered a fleet to capture or destroy the weapon.

Campaign Structure

The campaign will be four games in total length, with players crafting a up to 11,000 point “Battalion Roster” from which they will choose to deploy elements each game. This Battalion Roster will be confirmed and locked into a Spreadsheet prior to the Campaign starting.

Each game has a small number of objectives that will provide reward for the team that holds them at the end of each game. Any losses incurred by attrition in game are annotated to the Spreadsheet and denies any further use of the unit in future games. The reward for holding an Objective at the end of the last game turn is critical to the campaign; 1 objective equals 2 Victory Points and allows the owning force to regenerate a single lost unit per player – excluding Lords of War. Lords of War instead may regenerate D3 Hull Points or D3 Wounds per Objective per player.

VP are scored using the normal rules for Horus Heresy, including the Price of Failure for Lords of War. Lords of War that move Force Org slots still classify as Lords of War for regeneration reasons.

Players will either be attacking or defending, with attacking players deploying up to 4,000 points per game, and defending players up to 3,000 points per game.

Defenders start with 2 of the 4 Objectives available to them, with the remaining 2 objectives being neutral, set in neutral ground. Depending on the game scenario, defenders may have pre-prepared positions (+1 Cover Save on T1) or have ruined building that they can occupy.

Attackers have the first turn.

Games will be set into the following order:

  • Game 1: Loyalist Defenders. 5 Turns.
  • Game 2: Traitor Defenders. 5 Turns.
  • Game 3: Loyalist Defenders. 5 Turns.
  • Game 4: Traitor Defenders. 5 Turns.

At the end of Game 4 the total number of VP scored in the Campaign will be added together for each side to determine the winner. With up to 8 VP on the table before attrition/price of failure etc is added per game, this makes planning your games and the turns critical.

Game Structure

Each game will see the following occur:

  • D-4, 0001hrs LOCAL: Scenario Released.
  • D-2, 0001hrs LOCAL: Players lock in armies on the Spreadsheet.
  • D-Day, 1100hrs LOCAL: Players arrive at venue and table is established.
  • D, 1145hrs LOCAL: Oaths of Moment, final team discussions.
  • D, 1200hrs LOCAL: Game Starts.
  • D, 1730hrs LOCAL: Game Ends.
  • D, 1730hrs LOCAL: Game VP and Attrition Recorded.
  • D, 1800hrs LOCAL: Players depart.
  • D+5, 0001hrs LOCAL: Battle Report Released on Blog.

Army Composition

Each player has up to 11,000 points to build their force with. Players are free to organise their forces however they see fit, however they must fulfill at least one of the following Force Organisations in game (double Force Org is permitted for every game in the Campaign to provide some additional narrative):

  • Crusade.
  • Onslaught.
  • Leviathan.

Should a player find themselves suffering vastly heavy losses, and find they cannot field any of those Force Organisations, they may field an Allied Detachment and deploy alongside another player, even if their Force Organisation or Rite of War does not normally allow this.

Players could create four 3,000 point Armies, that could operate regardless of losses – but would be “under strength” for Attacking games. Alternatively, players can create a “pool” from which they can construct their armies from, at risk of having losses affect their fielding capability significantly.

Refinement Required

This is draft 1 of the Campaign rule set. No doubt they’ll change, and when they do I’ll post the current set of rules for anyone interested.