Three major competitions went ahead this month; while we had to cancel the "Looter" contest, the extended deadline of the Kill Team competition finally bore fruit and yielded some exceptional entries, such as MrManson's worse-for-wear Marines and Wissam's Guardsmen:
The Army Standard contest also showed some very well-painted and well-modeled entries, such as Valar's unique Kroot banner, and MrManson's Tzeentchian Daemon:
The short story competition had an astounding nineteen entries; our Tau board moderator Vash113 won out by a tight margin with his entry below.
Sergeant Allen Fox barely registered the targets before him, as they appeared and then disappeared in the blizzard of las blasts tearing through the narrow rockcrete corridor. Fragments of rockcrete were thrown into the air with each missed shot, filling the corridor with dust while blood pumped from the corpses littering the floor and grenade smoke filled the air.
One of the troopers to his left fell as his chest exploded from within, splashing the walls and ceiling bright crimson. It was then that Fox realized that a new enemy had appeared. Taller than any human had a right to be and armored from head to toe with ceramite plates adorned with spikes, scraps of flesh, and strange and terrifying sigils that were painful to look upon. The Chaos Marine was roaring a blasphemous litany as his bolter cut down another of the Storm Troopers. Fox switched his aim to the chaos marine without thought, his hellpistol sending bolt after bolt of lasblast streaking into the armored plates of the twisted astartes, but his shots did little more than discolor the paint work. The Chaos Marine laughed as he shot down two more of the storm troopers, advancing down the corridor still shouting hellish prayers. Fox did not have time for fear but he was worried, worried that he would not reach his destination, that the foul creatures of the warp would spill forth, that the Imperium would suffer, suffer because of him, because he was too weak, and that he could not allow.
Drawing forth his power saber Fox screamed “For the Emperor!” as he rushed the chaos marine, the astartes seemed surprised at the childish attempt to charge him, but instead of shooting Fox down, the chaos marine let go of its bolter with one hand and drew forth a serrated combat knife to meet the charge. The surviving storm troopers, with bayonets fixed, rushed after their sergeant, echoing his cry as they fired. The chaos marine shot one of the troopers almost lazily before swinging his combat knife at Fox. The sergeant ducked under the blow and brought his saber around with the speed of long practice to take the marine’s arm off at the elbow. The chaos marine screamed more in rage than in pain and swung his bolter around like a club with blinding speed. The bolter smashed into fox like a canon blow, sending him crashing against the shattered rockcrete wall with enough force to shatter his helmet.
Fox crumpled to the ground, his helmet falling away as blood ran into his eyes. He tried to see through the blood and the spinning in his vision to the chaos marine as it stood over him, its bolter muzzle trained at his face. This was it. This was how he would die.
But the bolter didn’t fire. Instead, the wall behind the chaos marine exploded, and the traitor spun around through the shower of debris, to come face to face with a gun-metal grey space marine wielding a giant halberd. The space marine rammed the blade through the traitor’s torso and lifted him into the air, unloading his bolter into the chaos marine’s face. The traitor’s head disintegrated, raining foul smelling blood and fragments of ceramite on Fox. The marine casually flipped his halberd to the side, sending the headless corpse crashing into a heap on the ruined floor. Fox’s head was swimming, his vision was spinning, but he just managed to raise his gaze to stare at the grey armored marine as he bent over him and…
Fox awoke with a start, sitting bolt upright in his bunk, cold sweat soaking his shirt and sheets. He was breathing hard as his mind struggled to comprehend what had happened. He was in a Spartan barracks cell of the Ordo Malleus vessel the Herald of Vengeance en route to Nemesis Tessera. He was Sergeant Allen Fox of the 2nd Squad, VIIth Company of the Cadian 1173rd Storm Trooper Regiment in service to Inquisitor Lord Torquemada Coteaz. That thought seemed to steady his mind and he felt his heartbeat returning to normal. Slowly he pulled off the covers and sat on the edge of his bunk, wiping the sweat from his face with the back of his hand. In his mind he still saw the grey armored giant standing over him, but he couldn’t recall the rest of the dream, the nightmare, the memory… he couldn’t tell which it was. He had served the Ordo Malleus for twenty years and could remember very few of his missions. Mind-wiping, that was the norm for an Inquisitorial Storm Trooper. The things he saw on his missions were sanity shattering. Those who survived the missions often needed to be mind wiped, erasing the corrupting memories. For some reason, though, he still called upon skills he could no longer remember learning, and had nightmares that he could never quite recall though he knew they were a regular occurrence.
With a groan he stood up and walked to the small desk sitting in the corner, he opened the top drawer and took out a bottle of sleeping pills. He popped the cap and spilled a couple of the little blue tablets out into his palm. Rolling them in his hand Fox stared at the tiny blue pills for a moment then popped them into his mouth and swallowed them. He closed the bottle and put it back in the drawer, then went back to his bunk, back to his routine, back to the nightmares. He was an Inquisitorial Storm Trooper, and he served the Emperor. That was all that mattered.
Top Five Tau Threads
Top Six non-Tau Topics this Month
Commander Songblade has been a member of Tau Online since October 2007. He plays a number of armies, and is active in creating quizzess for the FT Gazzet - an informal gazzet produced by some of the TO members.
(Q) What attracted you to this site and how have you found it so far?
A: Well finding the site was entirely by chance: I Googled something like 'Tau Forum', and the rest is history...ish....
I have found the site to very good, as the community is much better than some other sites have.
(Q) Which armies do you collect, how big are they and how long has it taken to accumulate them?
A: I have Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Tau, Kroot, Gue'vesa, Ogres, Dogs of War and I have small Inquisition groups. I have gathered these over 6 years, and they are all around 1000-1500 points (excluding the Space Marines who are near 3,000). I have enjoyed doing Tau and Kroot the most, mainly due to this site.
(Q) Any advice for the rest of the community?
A: A few bits of advice, number 1 is to try and do a TOMV. If you don't get much painting done they're very rewarding. 2 is to go on chat, as it's very fun and despite what Bubgum tells you, there aren't many spambots. 3 is to read the Strange Gazzet!
(Q) Did you or ever have an intimate relationship with FT?
A: Well somewhere inbetween scorpion attacks and marrying him, I'm gonna have to say yes.
(Q) How did you discover the world of games workshop?
A: My brother got a box of Space Marines, which I completely loved, and decided I had to get. My first ever units were a Tactical Squad and a Dreadnought.
(Q) What are your hobbies outside of GW?
A: As some of you may know, I'm an Xbox Live junkie, so I spend a lot of time of that. I like playing Rugby, Football and Tennis.
(Q) Why the name Commander Songblade? And do you have any other previous usernames?
A: Commander Songblade is the name of my Tau Commander. Songblade was chosen as it sounds poetic, yet deadly....at least to me it does. I don't have any previous usernames (though I was the Strange Baby for three hours). My other ideas for names were Shas'o Smiley and Commander Smurf.
(Q) What do you think is the best thing about Warhammer 40k?
A:That unlike many other games, it has an infinite boundry, so I could make up a scenario where whole worlds are destroyed, and nobody bats an eyelid.
(Q) What do you think is the worst thing about Warhammer 40k?
A: Probably.....the fact that GW make a set of rules about morale then make it so almost no armies use it.
(Q) What do you think is the secret of success on Tau-Online?
A: A balance of hard-work, friendliness and plenty of back-stabbing!
(Q) Why the spelling fetish?
A: B3b4u5e 1t g3t5 r3477y 4nn0y1ng wh3n p30pl3 typ3 l1k3 th15. Also, I just feel that since it's a forum, you have plenty of time to write, so you don't need to speed type.
- Tau Online
Rant: Gone Batty - A Vampire Counts Rant by Wargamer
Well, the Vampire Counts have resurfaced from their Tombs, and death and mayhem once again stalks the land.
Thank god; two weeks in a Dwaven Bar listening to Longbeards is enough to make any man crave armies of the walking dead.
Alas, what we have before us is what you would expect, but not what we wanted; a festering abhorrance the likes of which should never have seen the light of day. This is not to say the Vampire Count book is bad, but it is rather... blinkered.
Let me explain; if you want to field a Von Carstein army led by Vlad, Mannfred or Konrad, you'll be over the moon. If you want to field a Von Carstein army full stop, you'll be over the moon. If, however, you want to field a "Barrow" army, with lots of Wight and Wraiths and Necromancers commanding generic and decidedly un-Vampiric legions of the walking dead, you are royally screwed. Why? Because without Vampires, you get bugger-all magic. Necromancers have been nerfed so hard I wouldn't even call them Spellcasters anymore; they are always Level 1. You can buy upgrades that give them more spells, but that's it; 1 Power Dice, 1 Dispel Dice. Wow. In other words, anyone who doesn't want a Vampire has lost before they even start setting up models.
So, how do we get a Level 2 Caster without bumping for a Vampire Lord? Well, you have two options; either take the "Acolyte" version of Mannfred (180pts), or go with a Vampire with the Dark Acolyte power (130pts). No chance of any more cheap casters! The only saving grace I can find is the Wight King; 3 Wounds, Toughness 5 and Ld 9, plus all mundane weapons have Killing Blow. This guy is my Hero of Choice when it comes to picking a General; sod the bloody Vampires!
Now for my second gripe; this really is "Vampire Counts". The previous edition was more "Vampires of the Old World", which in my opinion was good. As much as I love having an army led by someone who just walked off of a 1920s Film Set, it was rather fun being able to have variation; seductive Lahmians, Necrarchs dominating the Magic phase, Strigoi and Blood Dragon Vampires competing to see who could smash the most Regiments single-handed... ah, glory days.
Now it's all Carstein. That's it. Okay, so there are passing mentions to the other Bloodlines (more than passing in some cases), but this book leaves you under no delusions whose belfry is packing the bats. You can use the Vampire Powers to recreate the various Bloodlines, but it's just not the same; you can make a Necrarch into a Combat Monster, or a Magic-toting Blood Dragon!
Flavour of the Month, "Always Strikes First", got in there too. Yippie.
Anyway, to sum up. The new Vampire Counts book is very nice. It's big, pretty, and probably going to be a lot of fun to use, but it's also a bloody huge disappointment for anyone who didn't want to be straight-jacketted into playing the Von-Carstein Army from the back of the previous Army Book. If you played a Necromancer list, or any of the specialist forces (Strigoi and Bretonnian Blood Dragon, for example), then don't bother; your army is ruined.
Extract from the up and coming story, Cha'Mont'Yr.
"Cali, get Perks and set up as ordered. I want the meeting to take place as we planned" Halgar spoke over the din of a throaty engine as the red and cream Chimera ground to a halt outside the Governor’s Palace.
"I’ll make sure he gets into his vantage point and is ready for the shot" Cali replied, an evil grin crossing her face and making her scar twist and contort horribly.
"Praise be to Him!" Halgar murmured as he trudged up the steps towards the Palace towards the awaiting Guards.
"Perks, up! You have orders!" Cali spat as she glared at her best sniper who had remained sat in the Chimera.
"Yes, Sarge!" thundered Perks as he threw off the crash webbing and got up and strolled across to where Cali was waiting at the open hatch.
"Make ready. The plan is to go ahead as we discussed" Cali’s voice was low so that only Perks could hear.
"Understood" Perks replied, his tone equally hushed. Cali banged on the hull of the Chimera, Perks returned to his seat as the hatch begun to rise and the Chimera begun to slide off.
Cali turned around to see that the Grand Marshall was still being held up by the security detail outside the Palace. Taking the rain slicked steps two by two, Cali came up on the doors of the Palace and took out a slip of paper and offered it to the nearest guard. She watched as the security officer studied the slip and then waved them in, through the double doors a few seconds later.
"Just how did you get us in so easily?" asked the Grand Marshall when they were out of earshot of anyone.
"When you’re the sergeant of an infiltration outfit, you learn to forge orders pretty easily" sniggered Cali.
The buzzer sounded in the Lord General’s quarters, and despite the time, McGoff answered it, knowing it was probably something far too important to ignore.
"Lord, Grand Marshall Halgar is here to see you" came the voice of his personal assistant across the small speaker built into the intercom system. "Can he wait until morning?" asked the Lord General, half asleep.
"The Grand Marshall says it’s urgent sir. Should I tell him to go away now and tell him to come back tomorrow?"
"No, let him in. Just tell him to be mindful and make it quick."
A minute later, a short knock on the door came, and then, slowly, the door slid open to the General’s quarters and the Grand Marshall walked in, flanked by the Guardsman he had called Cali.
"Yes, Halgar?" asked the Lord General, his eyes half closed.
"I have come here to alert you to inform you of a plot."
"A plot?" asked McGoff, not quite sure of where this was heading and far too asleep to realise the danger he was in.
"Yes, a plot on your life. You see…" A shot rang out across the courtyard, passing through the armoured glass and striking the Lord General between the eyes and throwing his limp body against the wall with a damp thud. "That right about now, your about to killed…" by Halgar continued, a board smile crossing his face as alarms and sirens blared overhead "by a lone assassin".
The Palace and surrounding grounds would rapidly go into lock down, becoming a hell of a lot harder to escape from if he didn’t act fast, Perks knew. Dropping out of sight below the sill of the window, Perks threw down the Imperial hotshot power pack and carefully unscrewed the now spent sniper barrel of his weapon, making sure to leave no other traces of his passing as he slipped away from the window and back over to the doorway.
Taking a fresh lasgun clip from his pouch and screwing in an ordinary, standard issue lasgun barrel with expert ease, Perks slipped out into the corridor as searchlights begun to light up the front of the building he was in.
Perks knew the inside of the building quite well, and hadn’t needed to resort to the tissue thin map Cali had given him. He had spent weeks planning his escape route, it had taken him weeks to scope out the underground tunnels, learning the subterranean topography just for this moment. Perks had ran down the stairway and was busy working open a doorway into the tunnels below ground by the time the first charges blew the doors off their hinges.
Dropping into the filth covered tunnels and into chilly waist deep water, Perks preyed that his escape hatch wouldn’t be found until much later that night, but the sniper continued on, using the water currents to aid his movement and minimise the noise he was making.
It was eerie down there, the only points of light he had were the few working overhead lights that were too dim to make any real use of, and it took over three hours to return to his camp using the tunnels, travelling in close to pitch black. He simply couldn’t risk using a lamp pack, for if there were anyone following him, the light would have given him away long before he knew he was being followed.
Fluff: Planetfall by Wargamer
They were already waiting. They had been waiting since before the vessel entered orbit. They watched with inhuman eyes as the drop pod broke away, and the stricken craft burned up in the atmosphere. They watched, and waited.
Severius moved through the forest, flowing like water between the tall trunks, evading the unseen pitfalls seemingly by instinct. Tyronis kept close behind, weapon armed and ready. The two Space Marines, adorned in pocked and scarred armour, wound their way through the endless woodland, leaving behind the smoking crater where their Drop Pod had impacted. The self-destruct mechanism would neave no trace of it behind; the Tau would never know anyone had survived the crash.
"Brother, halt!" Severius hissed, bloodshot eyes staring into the darkness.
Tyronis leaned to one side, the world given a strange green tint by his helmet's autosenses. Built in Auspex units cycled through thermal and motion scanning, density calculation protocols and radiation monitoring, all of which failed to find anything unsual. Despite this, he trusted Severius; he had powers beyond that of simple technology.
The Battlesuit emerged. It was a massive thing of glinting black metal, a monstrous shadow amidst the trees. The plasma weapon on its arm pulsed and throbbed organically, giving off radiant bursts of gritty light as the containment systems fought to hold back its enormous power. It strode forwards, apparantly failing to notice the two grey-armoured intruders a mere stone's throw away. Suddenly, the plasma rifle raised, barking off a blinding flash of energy. The Practice Drone exploded in mid-air, annihilated by the shot. Satisfied, the Battlesuit powered down its weapon, and turned to depart.
"A training exercise," Severius said at last. The two had remained motionless and silent for many minutes since the encounter, for fear of being detected.
"So, there are Tau here. Excellent! I shall relish this!"
Severius glanced over his shoulder. "Calm yourself, Brother. We shall not be moved by lust for vengeance. The Tau, in their ignorance, commited a terrible act upon this soil, but we must forgive them."
"Aye," Tyronis answered, nodding slowly. "It is our way to show benevolence to the misguided."
The two began to move again, winding deeper and deeper into the forests. Briefly, the sounds of battle floated towards them as unseen Tau conducted further training exercises. It took some time to leave these sounds behind, but the Marines pressed on with grim determination, driven by a greater purpose.
The sun began to set. Tyronis gestured to a small cave, and Severius nodded in acknowledgement. They settled down for the night, though neither truly slept. They took turns guarding the entrance, watching as the rains came and filled the world with a deafening roar that brought back visions of battles past. Occasionally, when Tyronis was on guard, he would lean out and peer into the darkness, rapidly cycling his helmet's systems as something moved in the distance. Usually it was some small creature, or desperate carnivore, but on occasion there was no evidence of what had moved, and that made him uneasy.
"I think we are being watched," he said as Severius stepped up to take the watch.
"I know," he replied, softly. "Patience, Brother. I know what hunts us, and I am prepared. Let us play this game a little longer, and let our foe think himself invisible to us..."
Dawn was too long coming. The night's storms had passed quickly, and the relentless heat boiled the ground-water and filled the air with vapour. Even the superhuman constitution of a Space Marine could not endure the heat without breaking into a sweat, and thick, greasy droplets of perspiration were running down Severius' head.
"We are getting close now, Brother," Severius whispered, stepping into a cluster of trees that looked no different than any other.
Tyronis turned to look back the way they had come. Again, though there was no sign of pursuit, he was on edge.
"Do not worry about them, Brother. Grandfather Nurgle shall provide us armies enough to crush our foes upon this world." He smiled, raising a corroded pistol toward a gap in the trees ahead.
"Until he does, Tyronis, consider the old maxim; the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
A Sentry Drone appeared, hovering slowly along its pre-programmed course. It was speckled in dark green camo, a pair of carbines slung beneath its disk-shaped body.
The pistol fired.