The Sorathian Affair: A Narrative Campaign

Within the space known to the Imperium of Man as the Viridian sector, lies the Sorathian system. Its young star is orbited by seven planets. During the Great Crusade these worlds were conquered in the name of the Emperor of humanity. Throughout the great war wrought by Warmaster Horus, every corner of the galaxy was touched by the conflict and this system was no exception.

The Sorathian System

In the aftermath, these distant worlds were abandoned by the new, more cautious Imperium. Some within the Administrartum would see the system return to the fold, and a reclamation fleet has already been dispatched. But humanity is not alone in its interest of this sector. Every major faction in the galaxy has something of value to gain amongst the Sorathian worlds.

Overview: This campaign is intended to be flexible, responsive to player input and focused on that “cinematic” aspect of the game that we keep hearing about. As you will see in the posts that follow, there are many factions participating in the campaign, each led by a varied cast of characters. These Warlords are the players’ avatars within the campaign. Events during the Sorathian Affair will be dictated by the choices made by players. New players wishing to play 40k games in the universe of this campaign can create their own characters be added to the tale.

Gameplay: This is not a turn based campaign. Instead, it will progress by chapters, each one advancing the campaign story, according to the outcomes of the battles fought, and choices made by players. There are several ways in which you can participate. First, you can join the various events that will be run every now and then (such as the battle for Tarandros) where major plot points will be resolved. Second, you can play narrative games using the special campaign rules. Finally, you can play regular games of 40k set in the Sorathian System.

Aside from the player armies (of which more can be added at any time), there will also be a number of NPC Warlords from various races, that will interact with players in different and hopefully fun ways. Unlike player factions, NPCs will not grow in power from game to game, though they may be affected by particularly significant plot points in the narrative. This will allow players to switch roles from time to time, should they desire to do so.

Victory Conditions: As a “story mode” campaign, everyone’s primary objective is to have as much fun as possible. However, everyone has a general goal, which are provided more as plot devices than a means to “win” the campaign. Certainly there are significant milestones that can be reached by every participant, which will give each player access to truly unique abilities, units and items.

While most faction’s objectives are known only to themselves, the Tau Empire and Imperial Guard are less than subtle about their intent to colonize the Sorathian system for the glory of their respective peoples. These two factions are unique in that they alone have the resources and inclination to occupy a world on a permanent basis. Should a Tyranid hive fleet ever reach the system, it might similarly begin to harvest planets and consume their bio-mass.

In game terms, this means that these three factions can “conquer” planets. This task will be of varying difficulty, depending on the native populations and the desire of other players to aid or oppose the would be conquerors. At the time of the campaign’s start, only Commander Darkstar of the Tau reached the system in order to lay claim to its worlds. As you can see from the galactic map, his conquest has already begun.

Planetfall: Introduction

Cap’n Klaw stomped back and forth across the armored plates on top of his landed space craft, Da Jolly Roja. The ship was surrounded by a sea of orks. Excited, feral orks, anxiously waiting to fight in Da grand space waaagh!! The ork pirate Captain had been very successful in convincing the native ork populations of Tarandros to join him. With brute force and promises of gud fights, feral orks had flocked to him and virtually the entire planet was now under his “control.”

But Cap’n Klaw had one problem. The giant Roks that he needed to carry his new horde of Boyz off planet were still under construction and far from completed. Meanwhile, his boyz were getting restless and would soon turn on each-other if Klaw did not find anyone else for them to fight. At a loss, Cap’n Klaw shrugged and decided to tell his expectant masses more stories of the great fights that they would be having.

“Listen up boyz” the ork boss roared from his vantage point. “Now I iz gonna tell yas bout da best enemy ta fight!” A lone ork shouted up “Iz it da bug things ya told us of boss?” “No!” Klaw shouted back. “What bout dem fish people?” At this Kap’n claw roared with laughter. “Na boyz, da best fights are wif da umies!” Thousands of orks gasped in amazed unison. “Umies…what’s a Umie boss?!” many of them asked. Pleased that he had gotten their attention, Klaw smiled evilly and shouted: “Umies are just like orks, but smaller and weaker, coz dey got pink skin and everyone knows green skin is da best!” At this the crowd roared and cheered. Cap’n claw silenced them with a barked order for quiet and continued. “But da umies, dey smart and come at ya wit many, many of dem weak boyz and dey try very hard to fight as gud as orks! Dey got many wagons an—”

“Boss?” someone interrupted. “is dat a umie?” Anoyed, Kap’n Klaw reached for his dakka pistol and fired at the speaker. He missed the intended target, but hit another ork right between the eyes. This was good enough as far as Klaw was concerned. He was about to continue his story, when he heard a very familiar sound. He turned around and saw the unmistakeable trail of space marine drop-pods falling from the sky. “Oh…dat! Na boyz, dem be space Mahreens! Dey be like umie Nobz, but angrier. Dis gonna be a real gud fight boyz…GO GET EM!!!”

With frenzied abandon, the entire feral ork mass hurled itself in the direction of the falling drop pods. Their excitement was so great, that Da Jolly Roja, rocked back and forth as the tide pushed onwards, almost tipping their captain off of it. But the salty space ork used his mighty claw to grab hold of his ship and weathered the storm. Once the feral orks had passed, he laughed and went below decks to prepare for the beginning of his grand Space Waaagh!

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The steel rain of Ultramarine drop pods burst through atmosphere. Squadrons of Stormtalon gunships patrolled the skies below, ensuring no harm would come to their brothers. The cacophony of screeching metal would have been deafening to anyone within these ceramite meteors. But within his drop pod, Brother Captain Titus could hear only the rhythmic chanting of space marines preparing for war.

As the last ritual word was spoken, the drop-pod struck home. The Ultramarines barely noticed the thunderous impact and waited patiently for their transport to open completely. In the instant that the landing leafs hit the ground, Captain Titus strode forth and breathed in the arid air of Tarandros. With the studied precision of centuries, his honour guard formed a protective ring around his majestic countenance. The sons of Guilliman had arrived.

Captain Titus Arrives

A Brief History of My Hobby Life

I guess this will sort of a greeting to the internet at large as well as a little background about me as it relates to the hobby.  I was introduced to the world of 40k when I was in high school.  At that time the game was in its third edition.  I was sold a second hand mix of chaos space marines by a friend and so I began.

I was initially drawn to the hobby purely for the game.  At that time the fluff provided in the codices and main rule book was minimal by comparison now and I was not immediately drawn to it.  My painting skills at the time were quite poor (although there are times I feel like I haven’t improved much over the years).  Plus on a limited budget like I had at that time, I would rather spend my money on models than paints.

Overtime I end up trading that chaos army for a fantasy army (vampire counts).  The vampire counts were traded for empire.  Then the Tau came out.  A whole new race; and I fell in love with the aesthetic of the army.  I started my first army from scratch at that time, the Tau.   In terms of my love of the game, it was a competitive army, and that is what I wanted at the time.

I got bored of the tau, they succeeded with the winning aspect of the game, but there was no variety.  I was drawn back to power armor so I started a space marine army.  This was my first army that I really tried to paint well.  And I failed miserably at this.  I didn’t have the money to collect many models, so often my friends and I would proxy new units to see if we liked them before buying them.  There was no friendly local game store, so all orders were direct orders from GW.

It was at this point that my involvement in the hobby went into stasis.  I went off to college.  My armies were eventually boxed up and put into the garage at home. I had zero involvement in the world of 40k and fantasy for 7 years.  I left 40k during the beginning of 4th edition and 6th edition fantasy.

Upon leaving college and moving to Maryland I discovered a games workshop store in White Marsh.  Thus my love of the hobby was restored.  This is where I met the other members of this blog and our gaming group was forged.  Many of my Saturday’s were spent in that tiny 3 table store.  My fiancé was not to move up for a year and I lived in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment.  So I had a little disposable income, which the hobby was grateful to take.

I literally got back into the game a month before 6th edition dropped.  The manager of the GW store was kind of enough to tell me to not bother buying and learning 5th edition and just wait for 6th edition to drop.  I used that time to get my armies back up to par.  I got the old space marines and tau back from my mother’s.  To be honest, I was embraced by the poor quality of the painting, modeling, and even the priming.  Eventually I was able to salvage most of my tau army.  Ultimately, the space marines were not salvageable.

Shortly after 6th edition dropped I grew bored of my armies (again).  Tau was not appealing to play at the time, as I would need to buy a lot of models to fill out the army.  Space marines were generally considered week, and I had about 1000 points of poorly painted stuff.  I added a few units (terminators and rhinos I believe), but still yearned for something new.  It was then that I heard the voice of gork (or possibly mork) and set out to start an ork army.

I acquired the vast majority of my orks second.  I got a huge lot from a fellow gamer at the white marsh store.  I picked up several lots through craigslist.  I added several new units of course.  The orks were the first army that I really got into the painting, converting, and the underlying story.

My orks are freebooters.  I loved the pirate theme to the army.  All my orks have red striped pants.  There is a smattering of eye patches, great coats, parrots, and other pirate bits throughout the army.  Looking back, the paint scheme I choose is very colorful, perhaps to colorful.  It takes far too long for me to paint a single boy and I have hundreds of them.  Sometime I will do a better army feature article on them.

After starting my orks I still felt like I wanted something different.  This is where I get back into fantasy.  I pick up a vampire counts army.  I set standards for myself with this army.  I could only buy a box once I had painted the previous purchase.  It turns out I can paint them very quickly.  I have rapidly accumulated about 2500pts of painted VC, with about 500 more points waiting to be painted.  I have put fantasy on hold for the time being, but more on that in another article.

At this point I was feeling a little overwhelmed with my hobby.  I had acquired nearly 3000 points in orks, all of which needed repainted in my freebooter scheme.  The new tau codex had dropped and I went hog wild with new models for them.  And of course, I stripped down the old tau to start a new color scheme for the army.  I was steadily working on my VC, box by box.  The space marines weren’t getting any love.  So I sold the army.  Stupid mistake.

Since then the lovely little store in white marsh has closed.  I gaming group was displaced initially to Titan Games and Hobbies.  We have recently re-located to critical hit games.  There are pros and cons to both shops, something else I can go into later.

I have steadily progressed on both the tau and orks.  The VC was “completed” and had been shelved for the time being.  I have moved to a town house now that my fiancé is here.  Overall my hobby budget took a severe hit, so I don’t often make big purchases anymore.  I recently experienced a little hobby burn out.  I had always liked the Iron Hands, and after they finally got some rules in the new codex, so I took this as my opportunity to re-invigorate myself and start a new army.  I can cover the army and hobby burn out later.

And there you have it.  A little long winded, but that is my hobby history in a nutshell.  Hopefully this will serve to let any of you readers understand my background when I give my opinion.