Saturday, 8 April 2017


Spoilers, it's Guilliman!

Welcome back to my lack lustre and late coverage of the Gathering Storm campaign.  You will notice that there is no coverage of the Fracture of Biel'Tan book, and this is for a couple reasons.  First off, those god damned pointy eared sons of bitches get enough attention and I have less than NO interest in covering the Aeldari.  Second, and far more importantly, the guys on the "Mob Rules" podcast did such a good job that I figured I'd just pitch their podcast here, and they didn't even pay me to say that!  Check out "Episode 44: Gathering Eldar and the tale of the broken gate".

These guys are great to listen to.


Our Heroes emerge onto some planet in the Ultramar system, presumably from a Webway gate.  Those fucking things seem to be EVERYWHERE!  Lo and behold, the whole damn system is under attack by Chaos.  I assume that we will learn about how this comes to be when GW goes back to flesh out the 13th Black Crusade campaign they started.  Cawl leads them to a Bastion being attacked by Heldrakes, one of which breaks off and comes to harass the newcomers, who happen to have a Knight who just shoots the thing down.  When a second Heldrake hits the dirt the third takes off.  The Cadians are allowed to enter the compound and with some convincing from Celestine and Greyfax, managed to get plane tickets to Macragge for a handful of their company.  Although the Ynnari depart back through the Webway, Yvraine and the Visarch were to travel with the "Celestinians".  In the long days that it took to travel from that podunk little planet to Macragge, Greyfax got her crabs all cured up thanks to little help from Cawl, all the while remaining wary of Celestines seemingly righteous and miraculous powers.  Yvraine and Cawl discuss something and come to a decision, we don't know what it is though, and the Visarch and Amalrich train and spar.

They reach Macragge and it is under attack.  Again, we don't know how Chaos got there, or how long they have been there, but the capital city Hera is under siege and a daring landing run to break through the forces of Chaos is made.  The next several paragraphs describe the Fortress city of Hera and it's decor before we finally reach Chapter Master, Marneus Calgar.  Now it turns out that Hera was Cawl's destination all along due to the reliquary he's been carrying around since his ship got rekt.

Calgar claims he doesn't know what the fuck Cawl is talking about, Cawl agrees and says he's there for Guilliman.  This is an issue because Guilliman is in stasis after losing a fight to his freaky snake-brother Fulgrim.  Well nobody wanted to let Cawl in to the shrine to see the primarch's body until Tigurius said some bull shit about a dream he had about iron birds, a flaming sword, and a giant bloody maw, whatever.  It gets the party in to see the shrine, under heavy guard of course.  Remember, the city they are in is under siege, there is an actual battle happening outside right now, so all those guards are not defending the city.
This is the time where we find out that Cawl was commissioned by Guilliman before he "died" to build him a suit of armour, which is able to revive him.  There was another thing in that contract which we don't find out about.  Well, this is great news, but before everyone can get all excited, Yvraine speaks up explaining that in order for Guilliman to be resurrected, he must die first.  Well this does not sit well with most, but there are some who actually believe enough to think it will work, but before anyone can really make any kind of decision an Ultramarine Thunderhawk comes smashing in through a window, but it's not Ultramarines that get out, it's Black Legion.  And they start killing shit.  Cawl and Yvraine use this interruption to set up the reliquary and cut the cables keeping Guilliman in stasis.
The next two and a half pages are all about how the Black Legion push their way to the foot of Gilliman's stasis chamber, then the microwave dings and out jumps the 400lb gorilla swinging a giant flaming sword.  Right after that he breaks the siege and frees Hera.


Finally, with some breathing room, Roboute was able to take stock of the situation was not happy.  The religious idolatry, worshipping the Emperor as a god, everything that he knew to be heresy before his nap had come to fruition.  He has a full page where he inner monologues about it.  It's very emotional and even goes as far as saying that Horus would be laughing because this is exactly what he based his rebellion on.  It's a self fulfilling prophesy/conspiracy.  This all occurs during his 4 days of seclusion and when he emerges, the war to reclaim Ultramar begins.  As word got around, as it tends to, armies from every creed came flocking to the Primarch's aide including the Dark Angels, Raven Guard, Space Wolves, White Scars, Black Templars (who bestowed Amalrich with the Black Blade and armour of the Emperor's Champion), Imperial Navy battleships, Barons of Knight worlds, the Adeptus Mechanicus, Titan Legions, and even the Adeptus Ministorum.  The last of which Roboute did not want amongst his allies, and only by the convincing words of Celestine and Greyfax of the Ministorums's power did he allow the proclamation of his Divinity.  Only further adding to the hypocrisy.  After months of battle he realized that the agents of Chaos were delaying him, preventing him from completing the reconquest of Ultramar and keeping him from venturing forth to Terra.  Commanding Calgar, Tigurius, and Agemman to remain and continue the battle for Ultramar, Roboute assembled the Celestinians and any armies they commanded, along with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Companies of Ultramarines with Cato Sicarius at their lead, to join him in he perilous journey to Terra.  The Eldar all fucked off to look for more Eldar to join their cause and to find more planets with those black pylons things they tried to get working on Cadia.

With the Warp roiling and churning with storms, the journey is fraught with danger and the Navigators dare to only make short jumps through the warp.  We all know the terrible things that happen in the Warp and some of them do, though the Terran Crusade never consider turning from their path.  After one such horrific jump the Imperial warships find themselves materializing right in the middle of an ambush staged by Magnus and the Thousand Sons.  Magnus casts a spell that grabs the Imperial ships and drags them deep into the Maelstrom, only half surviving the ordeal.  Once in the Maelstrom, they were fucking lost.  Like srsly lost.

That's how lost they are.
Blindly bouncing from planet to planet, desperately searching for anything they might be able to use to escape the Maelstrom, Guilliman is tormented by the Great Lord of Change, and right hand of Tzeentch, Kairos Fateweaver.  At every turn Kairos is there taunting the Primarch, reminding him of his past failures, and describing failures yet to come, really getting in his head and under his skin.

Only a few of you will really understand this
Finally, on a world made of black marble and blood, Guilliman received a message from a non-daemonic source, and yet it led straight into a Red Corsairs trap.  And I have to say that this trap is the most fucking ridiculous ACME idea of a trap I've ever seen.  Basically, it's millions of ships all chained together making a large web cloud too large to go around.  Think about that, a graveyard of ships so big that it would cause too much of a delay for the fleet to go around, even though it's clearly a fucking trap.
So with the trap sprung, the Red Corsairs paved the way for Kairos to make his way to the Primarch.  See, through all the taunting, and sowing the seeds of doubt, Kairos was actually weaving spells of power into the Primarch's being, and coming face to face he was able to enact these spells and use them to form chains of crystal and bind the Primarch.  With Guilliman bound, the rest of the crew lowered their weapons and were taken to the Red Corsairs stronghold, which turns out to be a Blackstone Fortress.


Suddenly Harlequins AND Cypher happens, gaining access to the Blackstone Fortress from some hidden basement escape hatch and rescues everyone after Guilliman agrees to take Cypher to Terra and the Golden Throne.  Aided by a poorly timed attack by Skarbrand and a well time attack by the Legion of the Damned, they are able to make it to the trap door and into the Webway.

I want to take a second and explain what kind of army was actually saved by Cypher, because they list a whole bunch of shit that just does not fucking compute.  First off they rescue Celestine and her Geminae.  Next is Cawl and his Mechanicus forces which includes multiple Dunecrawlers and ranks of  Skitarii and Battle Servitors.  The last cell contains Voldus, his Grey Knights, and their Dreadknights, as well as the rest of the Space Marines of the crusade and DOZENS OF VEHICLES AND DREADNOUGHTS!  What kind of idiot bond villain decided to keep every one locked up with all their fucking vehicles and super suits?!?  I also keep picturing either Celestine and her two friends in an absolutely massive aircraft hangar size cell all to themselves, or each cell gradually getting bigger and bigger.  And all this shit fits through this secret door that had not been used in thousands of years, and this one leads to the god damn webway.  Now if you have listened to the Fracture of Biel-tan review by Mob Rules, you will know how secure doors are.

They were far from out of trouble however and the forces of the Thousand Sons relentlessly attack them as they travel through the twisting paths to...

The fucking Moon!

This time however, they are unable to close the door quick enough and Thousand Sons were able to step out onto the Moon followed by Magnus.  Guilliman and Magnus fight and Magnus kicks ass until Sisters of Silence show up and surround Guilliman, who charges once again and manages to get Magnus back through the gate into the Webway which is closed behind him.  With Magnus out of the picture and reinforcements arrived it was a short time before the last of the Thousand Sons were destroyed.  The next couple pages describe the trip to Terra and to the doors of the Throne room.  There they meet with Aquila Commander Kalim Varanor who, after much pompous introducing, announced that only the Primarch would be allowed in to the Throne room.  This didn't sit well with Cypher but that didn't really matter because Guilliman had him arrested because while he didn't know who Cypher was, he recognised the blade that Cypher has always carried but never drawn, and it did not give him a warm happy feeling.  And so Cypher was tossed in jail which he promptly escaped from.

Guilliman enters the Throne room and after a day and a night, emerges with "all the enlightenment that he required".  He joins the Lords of Terra, removing and replacing several of them and begins preparing for Abaddon and the 13th Black Crusade to arrive.

The End...

Or is it?

So there it is, the final instalment of the Gathering Storm campaign and as far as the story goes, I like it, but as with the other books the writing isn't the strongest.  It wavers back and forth from full of action to droning on about the architecture to once again describing the miraculous victory that was snatched from the jaws of defeat.  Right up to the end that is.

What the fuck was that about?  He shows up, saves the day, get arrested and disappears.  It's like the writers wrote themselves into a corner and needed a plot hook to save the day and didn't want to use just Harlequins because they fucking popped up a dozen time in the last book.  The last 2 pages of this story quite simply ruin the 90 pages that preceded it and feels like they ran out of time.  It's a piss poor cliffhanger and a piss poor way to leave off the story.  Looking back on this story, as cool as it was up till the end, NOTHING HAPPENS!  Guilliman wakes up and makes his way to Terra.  And while a Primarch waking up and getting back into the game is a big deal, it's nothing compared to the previous 2 books in which 5 NEW characters are introduced, an ancient weapon used to hold back the warp is discovered, Cadia is destroyed along with a Blackstone Fortress, the Imperial forces ally with the Eldar, and new Eldar religion is created along with a new prophesy to save the race and/or kill Slaanesh, and the Craftworld Biel-tan is destroyed (I'm still a little confused on this though).

Well, shit got real there for a minute.  Lets keep that pain train rolling and I'm gonna bitch about the pictures, again.  The art work is cool, it always is, and while I don't have to mention it to you, I feel I have to because once again I'm going to rip on the pics of the models.  What is it with GW and that set up?  Almost every pic has the same 3 "tropes", smoke, a harsh light in the background, and it's taken looking into the face of the good guys over the shoulder of the bad guys with them in the foreground blurry.  Now that that is out of the way, lets talk rules...

I'm going to skip the part about the missions, no one really cares that much although there are some pretty crazy missions for funzies, and get right into the data slates and wargear starting with...


While he didn't actually get new rules, there was some additions surrounding him and he got a new bad ass model.  For those of you who don't know, Cypher is a 190pt model with a host of special rules and some bad ass pistols which he dual wields.  During the shooting phase he can shoot with each twice, or shoot with each once and run, he fires overwatch at his normal BS which is 10, and he shoots his pistols in combat making half(rounding up) of his attacks using the bolt pistol and the rest with the plasma pistol at I8.  He also has ATSKNF, Eternal Warrior, Fleet, Hit and Run, Infiltrate, and Shrouded.  Finally, he and his unit/formation of Fallen(basically Chaos Chosen) have been given their own faction which is battle brothers with both Armies of the Imperium AND Chaos Space Marines.


Grand Master Voldus is a nobody.  He gets almost no introduction in the story and is quite replaceable, but he gets a model and rules anyway.  He is a super Grey Knight Librarian who can generate an extra Sanctic power and has a Thunder Hammer that doesn't have Unwieldy.  You won't ever see him though cause he is 240 points and he is so forgettable that you probably didn't notice the name under his model is wrong.  You won't see the Bulwark of Purity formation either because they are still over costed and the formation is only really useful against daemons.

Roboute Guilliman

For a mere 110 points more you can get Roboute Guillimen, Primarch of the Ultramarines!  This guy is something else, with a typical Primarch stat line (6's all over the place) he has some serious army boosting rules.  Friendly units from Armies of the Imperium re-roll failed Morale, Fear, and Pinning checks.  Plus you get an additional set of doctrines that affect all Ultramarine models in the army, not just the detachment.  Plus he has ALL of the Command Traits from the rule book.  Aside from that he is a pushover, except for his 2+ armour and 3+ invul saves, and his S10 AP1 sword that is D on a 6 to hit and that he can make attacks equal to the number of enemy models within 1" of him, and he has a 24" S6 AP2 Assault 3 Rending ranged weapon, and his armour can bring him back to life after you kill him, and he has FNP.  His ONLY drawback is that he is a Monstrous Creature.  I think you will see quite a bit of him, mainly used for his army buffs, he is also a formidable anchor and deterrent for armies looking to assault your forces.  I don't see the Victrix Guard being used, as it consists of units that are typically over priced and they are not allowed a transport.  They do allow Guilliman to "Look Out Sir!" some wounds to them, but he is a pretty tough customer as it is and all this does is allow your opponent to target 2 units with one round of fire(sort of).

Which brings us to the new Warlord Traits and Relics.  2 of the Warlord traits are worth it, one giving you +4 to Seize the Initiative, the other giving the Warlord and all units within 6" of him Split fire.  That last one could really come in handy with a Skyhammer.  The relics are rather meh, one of the better ones giving Eternal Warrior.  The big one is 60 points and is a banner that allows models removed to make an attack before it's removed from play, among some other things.

The last rules to grace this book is a new detachment for Ultramarines.  Similar to the Gladius Strike force, Objective Secured is scattered about(minus vehicles), with the additional bonus of getting to use multiple doctrines per turn.

My overall feelings on this book are mixed.  The story is pretty great right up to the last 2 pages and the writing is not the strongest as it dwells on the front thing too often.  The art is really cool, but the model displays are repetitive and become boring.  The rules are strong, but not strong enough to be used all that often to any great results.  The models are awesome, as always, but 2 of the characters that got models are barely in the book.  Both Cypher and Voldus could have been completely removed from the story and it wound't have changed a thing.  I give this book an overall rating of 5.5 out of 10.  It was a real lack lustre way to end a great campaign and I hope they pick up from this point in the next series, or take up where Traitors Hate left off and bounce back and forth like a Tarantino movie.

Thanks to everyone for reading this and if you have any thoughts on the article, want to tell me I'm wrong or an idiot, or have any ideas for future articles, feel free to leave a comment.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.