Raynah sprinted down the corridor, closely followed by Zacharias and Three, Duchalla made up the rear, firing short bursts of her heavy bolter, keeping the corpses at bay. She did not feel rusty anymore, the weapon felt like an extension of her body again, just like in the old days. Zombies, that’s what Zacharias had called the walking dead, an ancient Terran term. The public elevator was too heavily guarded, it was impossible to get up that way, they were stuck here in the bottom of the Lesotho Complex. The zombies were getting more and more restless, something was going on, it felt like everything was about to explode. Suddenly the others fell back “The way ahead is closed” said Zacharias. “Damn!” Duchalla swore. The zombies were closing in both from behind and ahead of them. “I can’t hold them much longer” Duchalla said through clenched teeth.
Suddenly an inferno of flames lit up the corridor behind them, the zombies were being burned from behind, stupidly they did not run from the flames or turn aside, they just kept shambling on as usual while getting burned from behind. They heard shouting and now, it was clear to her that a flamer were being turned on the corpses, she started to fire her heavy bolter at the remaining zombies, in no time they were gone and they could retreat in relative peace down the smoky corridor. Two figures emerged from the smoke, two older manufactorum workers, both clad in strangely archaic protective military gear. One was carrying an Imperial Guard flamer, smiling rather maniacally behind sewed together lips, better one living maniac on our side than a dead one.. Perhaps it was some penance. The other barked like a line officer “get over here, we may have found a way out! You there with the heavy bolter, you look like a veteran what’s your name?” “Corporal Duchalla Kaide Cadian 34th” she suddenly felt more safe from having this Grizzled veteran about her, it felt like they had a chance. “I am lieutenant Hector Callahan of the 1st Barbaran Chrono Janizaries! You bring up the rear, keep them at bay, Grulgor here and his flamer take point and I’ll show the way!”
The big day of the Lesotho 2-12 game had finally come! On Saturday January 13th we met up at Warhammer World to play the game. I can not begin to describe how big an honor it was for me to be invited to take part in this game with so many luminaries of 40K!
This is not supposed to be a normal battle report, describing everything happening in the game, that would be impossible. We were about a dozen players playing in a labyrinth in three levels, we all had different missions. This is the story told from my perspective and that of my band of humble survivors caught in the bottom of the labyrinth.
A big thank you goes to Jonathan Hartman for starting this venture. He created the labyrinth of the Lesotho Complex; 12 tiles to be put together in different ways to make this sci-fi labyrinth in the best Resident Evil style. There was so much atmosphere in it, an incredible amount of detail. There were propaganda posters here and there, there was a smashed botanicum area, toilet facilities rusty pipes, he used a LOT of that Modelmates rust paint… oil stains, hazard stripes and dirt, the game board was fantastic! A great Labour of love. He had it all flown over from LA! Fantastic! Great initiative. Apart from Jonathan (Shibboleth), we were Isaac Tobin (Weirdingsway), Jeremy David Lueth (Grimpulp), Peter Hudson (PDH), Neil Reed (Neil 101), Helge Wilhelm Dahl (Wilhelminiatures), Nigel Wood (gyppeswyck), Henry South, Jake Ozga (Exprofundis), Tim Molloy (Tearsofisstvan) and John Blanche.
We had a wonderful time. Some of us met up the day before for gawking at each other’s miniatures, playing a few pick up games and generally getting to know one another, dinner after. Nottingham railway station burned that day and was closed the whole day, so Jake and Neil were delayed, but they made it to the big game on Saturday.
All three levels of the Labyrinth
My desperate band of humble survivors started in the farthest corner of the bottom level of the complex, they had to make their way out, so in order to survive, they just had to sneak and fight their way through all three levels of the complex. Helge had a band of scientists from the laboratory, who also tried to find their way out, they were caught in another corner of the bottom level. Hector Callahan, Duchallah and the rest of my warband snuck out nice and quietly and encountered zombies immediately. The battle was on! The zombies were not too hard to kill, but there were so many of them! they did pose a serious risk in time, because one got bogged down by them and you can only fight so many enemies at once, so it was all about holding them at arm’s length and inch towards the elevator or stairway to the next level.
There were some pretty big and ugly monsters among the zombies, they were zombie masters, the intention was that they could control the nearby zombies as a coherent force. They had nasty stats and were hard to kill as well as brutally dangerous.
One of these big monsters promptly killed one of Isaac’s warriors and got very much in the way of everybody else, as he occupied an intersection of the mid level. Isaac Tobin played the warband of Navigator Agent Plenipotent Palmeria Limen Akuhm, who was on a mission in to recover a powerful warp resonating beacon and bring it out.
Isaac’s navigator had a device that could create a warp bridge between two points, in essence a portal, very handy for a job like this.
After killing a lot of zombies and trekking a good way through the lower level to avoid one of Johns fearsome giant zombies, my band of survivors made it to the stairway leading up to a hatch in level two. The elevator was much too heavily guarded. At the stairway they joined forces with Jonathan’s bounty hunter Krieger and his gang. Krieger had kidnapped the data archives manager of the complex and were fighting their way out. Our two warbands killed many zombies together before being separated.
Raynah looked at Duchalla askance and said “I think those guys have kidnapped that data manager”. Duchalla said “that doesn’t matter as long as we can help each other survive. Maybe they will meet justice on the outside, either way it is not for us to decide, we have to do whatever we can to make it out.” Hector and Krieger looked back and shouted simultaneously “move out! strike for the stairway in the next room!” Krieger and his boys quickly made their way up the stairs as Hector, Duchalla and the others fought a rearguard action as they inched their way to the stairs. Three, Fabio Grulgor with the flamer and Zacharias went single file up the stairs while Duchalla and Hector pumped round after round into the seething mass of zombies closing in! Suddenly a twisted mutated monster that towered at twice the height of a man pushed towards them! Raynah let out a scream “The big one’s back!” It pushed the normal zombies aside, it looked like it had some intelligence or at least some intend behind its eyes! Duchalla Pumped it full of mass reactives to little effect, it kept coming relentlessly! “Run!” Hector pushed Raynah up the stairs and followed himself. Duchalla backed up to the stairwell, still firing at the thing, then she ran… Fortunately the hatch at the top of the stairs was much too small for the big beast to fit through, she slammed it shut.
My survivors were through the first level and struck out for the elevator in the opposite end on the second level along with Krieger and his team. Fabio Grulgor with his flamer proved very handy against the many zombies!
As for the rules of the game, everything was kept rather simple; old basic Necromunda rules. No looking up in books, just fast action packed gaming. Jeremy did a fantastic job of GM’ing the game, he would shout out “Warbands move!” and all warbands moved simultaneously. Then “Warbands shoot!” and every warband would shoot. Much of the action was warbands against zombies, but it also often happened that warbands got into fights with each other, people’s goals were different. When warbands fought, we just rolled of to see who would go first and resolved everything else in order of initiative.
“Zombies move!” we moved all zombies 3 inches towards the nearest enemy, when they got into contact, they charged and we had close combat. Whenever we killed zombies we handed them to the player to our right, who would respawn the zombies wherever he saw fit along the edge of the next level. In that way we could not use them to deliberately thwart each other, but we could put some pressure on each other and the number of zombies was constant!
It was one of the best flowing games I have ever had!
A few days earlier in Cisnerro’s headquarters at Mondus Centurium, Alfa Secundus: “Get to work!” roared Dominic Cisnerro, arch interrogator of the Ordo Malleus of the Inquisition of holy Terra. The hall was abuzz with activity as the aides and lower ranking agents ran to and fro, several different scribes and logus servitors worked frantically to note everything down and send orders in several directions. Servoskulls were flying around carrying messages, keeping time, lighting the way, projecting hololith images and countless other tasks as the holy Inquisition went into action. “We have placed a system-wide blockade on the Lesotho Complex” said Cisnerro “No ships leave the system at all, no ships enter the system without my express command! We are closing the entire complex down with immediate effect. Sanction extremis! Doctor Valantion is to be stopped immediately, his whole operation is to be shut down and he will be held accountable for this whole situation and will meet imperial justice. Send the black and the white! They are to bring justice to doctor Valantion!”
“The inquisitrixes? Khaletha Sayeed and Hestora Agarl?” asked the aide with a shaky voice. Both inquisitrixes were known to be extremely hardline. “Yes send them both under my personal orders to put a stop to doctor Valantion immediately apprehend him or kill him!” The aide ran off and within the hour the two inquisitrixes were on their way to Lesotho 2-12.
My band of survivors made their way through the second level of the labyrinth, the elevator was at the opposite end. Fabio Grulgor with his flamer and Duchalla with her heavy bolter kept the zombies at bay. At an intersection Krieger and his boys chose to go down another corridor towards the elevator. They didn’t get far… Peter’s Inquisitrix, Hestora Agarl were on her way from the other end of the corridor. Krieger accidentally shot one of her servoskulls and it quickly developed into a lethal shoot out between the two warbands. It ended pretty badly for Krieger and his crew!
As my band of survivors got to the other end of their corridor and got near to the elevator a band of woman gangers came rushing in shooting wildly at zombies. That was Henry South’s Escher gang, Lowthion Bells on their way out with something they had stolen. They were just about to shoot at my survivors! Hector shouted “Hey don’t shoot we’re not zombies” mercifully they let them be.. Duchalla sighed and stepped back a little, some time ago she had been approached by one of the gangers and asked to join the Bells as they had heard that she was pretty handy with a gun, she had refused, such gang life was exactly what she had escaped from by joining the Imperial guard all those years ago…
Suddenly as they made their way through gangers and zombies, a warp portal opened up nearby disgorging Navigator Agent Plenipotent Palmeria Limen Akuhm and her henchmen as well as a bunch of scientists from the lab facility. Isaac’s and Helge’s warbands, it got incredibly crowded at the elevator. One of the scientist’s number was a lumbering, weird two-headed monstrosity, clearly gene modified and looking quite infected as well! Raynah was terrified of him. The scientists reassured everybody that he was not contagious and was not of the same kind as all the contagious zombies they were fighting. They did come from the same laboratory, but as Duchalla would say “they are the living, so they are our friends at the moment and that is all that matters!” All three gangs crowded into the elevator which ferried them up.
Raynah stood as far as possible from the two-headed lab thing. Just then when everybody was milling around the elevator to the first level, a boom resounded all over the Lesotho complex! It could be heard everywhere, some large explosion, that shook the entire complex. Down the corridor leading to the elevator, a hole opened up in the ceiling and a pillar with a bird’s nest on top of it fell through the upper floor and down on this level. Someone had blown up a grenade at it and it fell through the floor!
I don’t really have any idea of what happened at the upper floor until now. It appears that there had been a fight between the bird man, his skull birds and a couple of the warbands, I think Jeremy’s rogue trader was involved in it. The Bird man is one of Neill’s creations, he used to be the janitor, who was tasked with keeping the bird droppings away, cleaning and such, he had to shoot the strange skull birds as well and keep their numbers down. The skull birds and the bird’s nest were Neill’s creations as well. These feral servoskulls were infecting the upper levels of the Lesotho
complex and had to be kept under control. The janitor got infected by the virus and turned into a zombie, only to be abused and shat upon by the very skull birds he had been tasked to clean up after and keep down. I think those skull birds were brilliant and kind of a match to my own spider servoskulls. I’m gonna steal some of that idea one day Neil! :-)Right after in the chaos that followed, My survivors, Helge’s scientist survivors and Isaac’s navigator and retinue made their way up the elevator. It ferried them back and forth. The rogue trader jumped down the hole from the upper level and sprinted to the elevator, I think he was after the warp beacon the navigator had retrieved from the lower level. Just as he sprinted to the elevator the doors shut with a “ding” and it went up with the prize, right in front of his nose! That was one of those cinematic moments, one couldn’t have planned but it coincidentially played out perfectly.
The bird skulls and the pillar with the bird’s nest
From the topmost elevator it was only a short way to the exit, but it was flooded with zombies. Duchalla and Grulgor shot and flamed them a lot but they kept coming. In their midst stood a daemonic entity towering over them. It screamed and threatened and had some control of the nearby zombies.
Suddenly duke Philippos Xudi, one of Navigator Palmeria’s men threw a vortex grenade! It landed in the middle of the mass of zombies and sucked in a lot of them, but it also got in the way. The vortex effectively blocked the way out. Fabio Grulgor with the flamer had become too happy with burning zombies and he couldn’t have it, right there on the other side of the vortex was a lot of zombies and the way out! He tried to inch past the vortex… He failed his initiative roll and got sucked in! His flamer exploded, but the explosion got sucked in as well. Right after that the vortex scattered a little to the side and the zombies started to press in upon the warbands again. They made it to a neighboring room, where navigator Palmeria made a new warp portal to the other side and the exit.
Duchalla stood in the door pumping mass reactives into the mass of zombies, holding them back. “Get behind me, the portal is in the next room” she shouted. The other survivors and the scientists inched behind her and into the room with the warp portal. She kept firing as the zombies got closer and closer. She looked behind her shoulder for a second and saw that Raynah had made it and Zacharias as well. More zombies came shambling towards them “I can’t hold them much longer” she said through gritted teeth as she fired another burst into the seething mass of corpses.
Suddenly with a hiss of hydraulics the bulkhead door slammed down.
Duchalla was too preoccupied with holding the zombies back, she did not see it coming and couldn’t jump aside.
The door crushed her!
“Noooo!!” came Raynah’s piercing scream from the other side of the door.
A servitor had been standing and fiddling with a control panel for most of the game, randomly opening and closing fire doors. Poor Duchalla failed her initiative roll as the heavy door slammed down and crushed her as she was standing there holding the zombies back so the others could make it to the navigator’s warp portal.
Meanwhile in the lab facility, inquisitrix Hestora Agarl and Tim’s inquisitrix Khaletha Sayeed had finally made their way to the chamber of doctor Valantion himself, now doctor death would face justice! They charged into the room and there stood Spirehead and the Chainhorse, doctor Death’s two bodyguards towering over a bunch of zombies and in the back stood doctor Death himself towering over them all.
The inquisitrixes made short work of the normal zombies as they pressed in on their target. Hestora Agarl charged Spirehead and a brutal fight started. Several of the ordinary zombies and the Chainhorse joined the fight. All that created enough of a diversion for Khaletha Sayeed to get close to doctor Death and charge him.
Alas in the end the giant axe of spirehead proved too much for Hestora Agarl and she was killed.
Just then a titanic battle unfolded between Khaletha Sayeed and doctor Death. They traded lots of blows and delivered several wounds to each other. The doctor’s weird medical tool hit as hard as a powerfist and if he managed to kill the inquisitrix with it, he would inject the virus directly into her bloodstream, thus turning her into a zombie!
At the exit of the Lesotho complex, navigator agent Palmeria had opened her warp portal, creating a way out to the other side of the vortex through a small side room. Just as the navigator and one of her men made it through the portal, they were set upon by the daemonic entity! They fought hard, got hurt by the daemon, wounded it in return, but it still stood. That battle right in front of the portal made it increasingly hard for people to get through from the other side.
Enforcer Zacharias had managed to squeeze through and now he mustered all his courage and joined the battle with the daemon. One lucky hit and he managed to jam his bolt pistol down the daemon’s throat and fire a burst!’
The daemonic entity was dead and the way was clear.
Everybody sprinted to the exit.
In the room at the other end, the rest of the survivors sprinted to the portal and the way out. Just as Three was about to jump through the portal, he was set upon by a bunch of zombies and went down.
The rest made it out!
In the laboratory, the battle was coming to an end. It was hard to tell who would win, both the inquisitrix and doctor Death were severely wounded.
In the end Inquisitrix Sayeed won. The titanic doctor Death was felled! The threat was removed, imperial justice was served!
So our game was at an end. Doctor Death was dead, the survivors had made it out. It was fantastic that those two things happened simultaneously. It made for a very cinematic end of the game. There were several other missions taking place at the same time, but it was impossible to keep track of it all when 12 players were battling it out on one table at the same time.
The ending just couldn’t have been any better!
It was absolutely fantastic to be part of this game, we all had a great time. There were no winners or losers, the story played out perfectly and in that sense we were all winners, we had a good time. That is the best about story driven games. It is not important to make the hardest characters or the meanest army, it is far more important to get in character and just go with the flow and see where the story takes you.
It was also great to finally meet these people and hobby heroes I only knew online until now, new friends were made.
The game board looked soo good very well made and creating just the right atmosphere for this game. The miniatures were great, so many cool conversions and lovely paint jobs. A special mention goes to Jake Ozga’s plague zombies, they were covered in slime, made from glue and they were actually sticky to touch ewww. Neil’s cherubym and birds nest made a great impression on me. Johns figures have always been a great influence in mine, it was great to finally see some of them with my own eyes! All in all seeing the terrain pieces and all the figures in the flesh and not just on a computer screen was one of the best parts of this whole experience for me, it is just something else entirely.
I returned home exhausted but filled with inspiration!
A huge thank you to Jonathan for inviting me to play this game.
I hope to be back in Warhammer World for another big game sometime in the not too distant future 😉
Neil 101 has made a cool write-up on the game from his perspective here: Distopus
That’s it for now. The slate is clean, ready for the next project, the next hobby adventure.