[40K OSR] Thousand Sons Army (3/3) – All His Little Wizards

This is all rendered somewhat moot by the manifestation of a current 40K gaming project in a similar vein, but one does like to finish things off where one can…

With 800 points spent it’s time to look at rounding out the first 1000 point ‘block’ of the traditional 40K OSR army. I want to stick to random generation for the time being, but I also want something a bit more predictable than the usual means of rolling up Champions.

Thrall Wizards are a nice Tzeentchy compromise. You have eight dudes who’ll be replenished between campaign games, since there’s no shortage of apprentices; they have a random Wizard Champion so you still have the fun of chucking some d100s around; and they bung around a whole mess of psychic powers. Hours of fun and they cost 200 points, rounding off the first block of the army very nicely.

The Wizard Champion has the Mark of Tzeentch, which gets him a magic item (Chaos Armour that’s fused to his body, for a 4+ save and a T bonus – nice) and d3 Chaos Attributes. 3 Chaos Attributes. Two Heads is fun, Alcoholism is… detrimental, but amusing, and Mindless is…

… oh, crap. Mindless rather obviates the point of taking Thrall Wizards in the first place, since he won’t actually be able to use any psychic powers if his brains have dribbled out. Were this just an ordinary Champion I’d chalk it up to the whimsy of Chaos and have fun with it, but I can’t be bothered resolving the conflict between how Thrall Wizards work and how Mindless works, so I indulge in my first reroll and get Horns instead. I imagine him with a couple of twisted-up, Tzaangor-like heads, bottle in one hand, arcane fire coruscating around the other, trying to work out whether he should ask Tzeentch for a Boon or a packet of pork scratchings.

While I’m here, I should probably bother to learn about a few things – like how to generate psychic powers for my little wizards. To the Rogue Trader rulebook! (Page 48, if you’re keeping up…)

Allogenes

As a third level psyker, Allogenes can be expected to have nine psychic powers (or 3d6, maximum 10). Tzeentch is perfectly happy with nine psychic powers, that being the Sacred Number and all, and he can’t have more powers than his Int (which is 9) anyway.

Three of those powers will be the Tzeentch “spells” of the appropriate level: Boon of Tzeentch, Pink Fire of Tzeentch and Transformation of Tzeentch. I’ll randomise the rest: d3 to determine level, and d10 to determine power at that level.

Animate Weapon; Aura of Resistance; Telepathy 2; Mental Bolt; Immunity from Poison; and a duplicate Animate Weapon, which I rerolled in favour of Rout. Long story short: this fellow can bring his armour save up to an impressive 2+, send his spare weapon off to stab people up on his behalf (though it drains psi-points at an impressive rate), engage in short back-and-forth communication with other models; break enemy units from combat; oh, and he has three different ways to kill you with mind bullets, armour saves be damned.

Thrall Wizards

The Thralls’ Champion has three powers: one is always Boon of Tzeentch, and the other two are Aura of Resistance and Cure Injury. He also has 14 psi-points of his very very own.

Each of the individual Thralls has one power and d6 psi-points they can pass up to the Champion should they be needed. Let more dice roll!

  1. Mental Blow: 2 psi-points
  2. Telekinesis 1: 3 psi-points
  3. Hammerhand: 2 psi-points
  4. Mental Blow: 5 psi-points
  5. Steal Mind: 4 psi-points
  6. Cure Injury: 6 psi-points
  7. Hammerhand: 3 psi-points
  8. Telepathy 1: 1 psi-point

In case anyone’s wondering, the point of these lads is that they serve as a psychic battery for their Champion, who can throw around d6 powers per turn, either using his own powers and psi-pool or the unit’s. However, they’re very fragile, and they have to cluster up in base contact in order to pass points and powers around.

[40K OSR] Thousand Sons Army (1/?) – The Warband of Sergeant Allogenes

[40K OSR] Thousand Sons Army (2/?) – Aant’n Tzaangor & Bray

[40K OSR] Thousand Sons Army (2/3) – Aant’n Tzaangor & Bray

The battle against my sleep pattern continues, and thus more Thousand Sons warbands are being rolled!

My next Champion will also be Mighty, but this time I’ve opted for a Beastman – a brutal native of the Planet of the Sorcerers who’ll act as chieftain for any disposable Tzaangor I end up taking. Hopefully he’ll get a nice big retinue and put lots of T4 W2 bullet catchers on the board.

Once again, I end up with a fairly mediocre starting profile: a level 5 Hero. Being a Beastman, he has a chance of starting with Chaos Attributes (although he doesn’t get any); he also starts with two rolls on the Followers table, since he must have come from a tribe somewhere.

My first group? Seven Tzaangor with two Chaos Attributes, and they got Weapon Master (for bonus Weapon Skill) and Long Legs – better at fighting and quicker at getting in there. Tzeentch be praised!

The second group are a bit less spectacular; two ordinary Beastmen with bows and only one Attribute, which turns out to be Limb Loss. This is one of the fiddly ones, but in practical terms it means they’ll have the combat prowess of exactly one Beastman between them. Goodness knows how they fire their bows – maybe one of them holds it and the other one nocks and pulls?

My Champion’s Mark of Tzeentch results in a magical Parrying Blade (not going to say no to that) and two Chaos Attributes. The first one’s Regeneration, which is pretty good and compensates for his lack of armour; the second one’s Crossbreed, which starts off a flurry of rolling on subtables and counting on fingers to determine exactly which bits of him originate with which creatures. He ends up being half-Beastman, half Cold One – the head is pure Beastman, the upper body and upper limbs are a weird composite, and the lower bdy and legs are pure Cold One. Given the birdlike appearance of the Tzaangor, being half lizard isn’t entirely mental, and it’s not hard to imagine that he merged with his steed when he first acquired the attention of the Changer of Ways. In terms of characteristics, I have to average out the two profiles; this means he’s faster than the average Beastman, no longer quite as skillful in combat, but significantly braver and more strong-willed. He’ll also inherit some of the Cold One’s special rules – I forget exactly what they are in this edition, but it’s usually some combination of stupidity, scaly skin and a repulsive smell.

As a Mighty Champion he has d4+4 further rewards: I rolled five, which means I can make another three rolls on the Followers table.

The Rewards turn out to be a bit of a giggle. Firstly, Blood Substitution: apparently my Beastman Champion has Leeches in his blood, which results in a complicated on-hit procedure for dousing melee opponents in d6 S1 hits per turn until the leeches have had enough. Secondly, Frenzy, which is passed on to every Follower he has so far as well. Thirdly, a beak – quite appropriate for a Tzaangor, and nets him an extra attack. Fourthly, a tail, which doesn’t do anything but completes his Cold One hybrid body. Finally, Manikin – which scared me for a minute until I realised it’s the one where a miniature version of himself is growing out of his face.

The final profile looks a little bit like this:

 M WS BS  S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP
 6  4  4  4  4  2  2  3  5  5  8  8

Meanwhile, the first Followers roll produces another Beastman Hero. This one’s a 15, and so technically outclasses my Champion (that’s awkward). Perhaps he’s my Champion’s father – the power behind the throne, who dedicated his mutant offspring to Tzeentch and ‘advises’ the tribe without putting himself in harm’s way? He comes with d6+2 Attributes, but I end up with only 3. Blood Rage is a T bonus and situational frenzy – for tidiness’ sake I might be tempted to pass along the frenzy from the Champion instead, although I like the idea that this older, wiser Beastman can keep his cool slightly better than his brain-dead half-lizard offspring. His other two are Cloven Hooves – utterly valueless on a Beastman – and Tentacles, replacing his left arm.

 M WS BS S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP
 4 6  4 4 6 4 5 3 10+1 6 9 8

The last two sets of Followers are more straightforward; another batch of 8 Tzaangors (with Hideous Appearance this time, so they cause fear), and 3 Minotaurs who end up with 3 Attributes: +2 I (nice), a Silly Walk (not so nice) and stupidity, clearly trying to imitate their leader’s reptilian stride. There are a lot of subtle ties between the units here – the bloodgreed on the Minotaurs is reminiscent of the Blood Rage reward on the Follower Hero, for one thing – and it does feel like they’re all one tribe of various-sized Chaotic nasties.

 

[40K OSR] Thousand Sons Army (1/3) – The Warband of Sergeant Allogenes

In an effort to keep myself awake in the long dark teatime of the soul, when my stupid morning insomnia starts to catch up with me, I’ve taken to making more randomly generated Realms of Chaos warbands. The process takes an hour or two, and just about evades the Scylla and Charybdis of needing to think so I don’t fall asleep with being so tired I’m barely conscious. I might do a whole 2000 or 3000 point Thousand Sons army…

Let’s start with a Mighty Champion, for 400 of your Earth points. I would like it on the record that I rolled for all of this with actual dice, and didn’t fix a single one.

Rolling for his initial profile gives me a Marine Champion – not too shabby, although I’d have preferred something with multiple wounds.

 M  WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  Ld Int  Cl  WP
 4  5  5  4 3 1  5 1 8 8  10  9

The Mark of Tzeentch gives him a random magical item (I got the Blasted Standard… useful, though I’ll probably fob it off on someone in the Retinue) and d3 Chaos Attributes (Tzeentch being a generous master). I only get the one, but Tzeentch be praised it’s a good one: Chaos Lord! That’s two extra rolls on the Retinue table, and a 50/50 chance of getting a) Chaos armour, b) a psi-level, c) a Daemon Weapon, d) a further d6 Attributes and e) an across-the-board improvement to his characteristics. I get everything except the Attributes, because I am just that jammy.

On top of that, being a Mighty Champion gets him a further d4+4 rolls on the Chaos Rewards table. I net myself six and get to rolling. My Champion’s Chaos armour is improved (groovy), as is his psi-level with the Gift of Magic (nice); he is blessed with the Bestial Face of a goat (extra attack, not knocking it) and a Flaming Arm (a shooting attack or a brutal extra melee punch that’ll immolate one model and force a Break test on his enemies, all for the low low price of not being able to wield a weapon with that hand). I double up on the Bestial Face, so that’s one written off, and my last one is… Eye of God.

Since he only has three Attributes and five Gifts at this point, he picks up an extra Wound and Attack, an extra psi-level, and a Chaos Weapon, which turns out to be a sword with the power of Magic Reflection. If I can roll equal to or less than his WS on two dice, a hostile psychic attack aimed against him will be bounced back to its originator. Once again: Tzeentch be praised. Of course, he can’t use it and his daemon sword at the same time, on account of only having one decent arm, but it’ll make a neat backup weapon.

 M  WS  BS  S  T W I  A  Ld  Int  Cl  WP
4 6 7 6 4 5 7 3 9 9 10+2 10+1

Here’s the characteristic profile after all the various Attributes are factored in. Also, he’s a third level psyker with 25 psi-points to burn. What a monster.

Of course, his Daemon Weapon has a goodly chance of containing a Daemon Prince, which will necessitate more dice being rolled. I opt for the ‘instant’ Daemon Prince rather than going completely from scratch. Once again, the result is among the most old-school of possible outcomes: a Fimm Warrior of Tzeentch, for whom I roll nine Gifts (and add 40 to the first six rolls, discounting anything that will turn him into a Spawn). This +40 modifier goes a long way, as I notch up two Strength results and three Eye of God results, along with a Flaming Arm (again), Enormous Noise*, Ecstatic Duplication** and the final Eye of God that makes a Daemon of him.

* I thought this was a typo for Nose, but no!
** Of no use to a Daemon bound into a sword, but a fabulous bit of Tzeentchy business; taking on some resemblance to a Pink Horror, the Champion splits into two Blue Horrors if killed, and recombines after the game, becoming functionally immortal unless both those Blue Horrors are killed… one wonders how he ended up in the sword to begin with.

 M  WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  Ld Int  Cl  WP
 4  4  3  10 5 4  3 4 6 5  6  6

Howlgrin Warpspurt Llan’chiae’abluun’naa (random name generator strikes again!), therefore, grants his bearer +4 to hit rolls, a second flame attack (6″ range or melee, deals d6 S3 hits to one target, the target’s unit must take a Rout test immediately), and on a 4+ the mere act of drawing him causes a foul noise that inflicts a -1 to hit penalty on everyone within 6″.

Marvellous. Now all I need to do is roll up a Retinue. I have two rolls from the Chaos Lord Attribute, and a further three from his Gifts (since every second Gift earns you a Retinue roll). I get eight Chaos Squats, two Ork Freebooters, a Freebooter Kaptain and a lone Chaos Cultist (who I suspect will be carrying the Blasted Standard on his master’s behalf). For a laugh, I roll a Dominant Attribute for each ‘unit’ the Retinue contains: a Cloud of Flies for the Squats, making them hard to hit (I may choose to represent this as an awful flickery flame noise instead, linking back to the daemon weapon); Pin Heads for the Freebooters (-1 Int and stupidity, deary deary me); Extremely Thin for the Kaptain (-1 T and a decidedly un-Orky physique) and a Poisonous Bite for the lone Cultist.

I generate 23 points for their equipment, which is enough to buy boltguns for all the Squats and a grenade launcher for the Kaptain. The Freebooters will have to make do with their boltguns, while the Cultist comes with a bolt pistol, flak armour and a lasgun anyway (there are advantages to being a unit of one!).

This is already quite enough to kick off a little bit of narrative skirmish play, in my book. It’s clear what’s happened here…

Long ago, before the Heresy and the scouring of Prospero and the fall and rise of Magnus’ Thousand Sons, there was a world. It was one of thousands that dotted the infinite night of space – small, and isolated, and positively infested with hostile forms of life. Many damned things dwelt upon this warp-tossed orb – rats that walked like men, elves that walked like women, and cyclopean lizard-beasts that walked like cyclopean lizard-beasts who lurked within the baleful swamps, dragging heavy club-tipped tails behind them.

One such beast made a pact, long long ago in the before-time. Sick with lust and envy for the sorceress-queen of his tribe, he sought to rend the customs and the laws that bound him to the role of warrior and – well, not quite pawn, but certainly no better than knight. The Changer of Ways heard him, and there was a breaking of bonds and a bending of rules and sure enough, the beast Howlgrin learned sorcery to match that of his mistress and strength enough to take her for his own.

A pity, then, that his world was doomed. In the heavens the Dark Gods laughed, the ground shook and trembled, and there was a wailing and lamenting and gnashing of teeth as the very laws of reality became a corroded shadow of themselves. Once more, Howlgrin blasphemed, and thrashed within the jaws of destiny, crying out for his master to save him; and the Changer of Ways laughed his myriad laughter and reached out his gnarly digit, and Howlgrin was cast into the Warp’s flux. He would survive, at the most terrible cost of all…

It was some time later – or some time earlier, for the Warp is a silly place and Tzeentch is a meddlesome Power – that the long shrieking sword called Howlgrin Warpflux was delivered to its intended recipient. Allogenes of the Thousand Sons was simply in the right place at the right time; like Howlgrin, he was crying out for Tzeentch to deliver him from the vengeance of the Space Wolves, and Tzeentch is nothing if not a kindly and perverse lord. The most fortunate Allogenes was given far more than he asked for – far more than he deserved – and he knows full well the debt he owes the Master of Mutation…