View Full Version : Cities of Death campaign idea -- pls read and comment!

18-06-2006, 18:58
I just read the Cities Of Death supplement, and was totally inspired to start working on a narrative campaign that could be used with Medusa V and incorporating CoD.

The basis for this campaign came out of an idea that I got on the train today: how cool would it be to build a ziggurat as an intact building. Then I got to thinking, well, what would a ziggurat be doing on Medusa V? And how could it be of interest, and to which armies?

Since I am an Eldar player and my son plays Tau, I began to fashion a premise where I could use the ziggurat as the starting point for a short campaign. We are both begining players, and this is my first attempt at writing a mission.

So, I would appreciate any feedback you may have, or questions, so that I can think this through properly.

The first mission is basically a mod on the Assasination mission in CoD.

Please read and comment! :)

The Battle For Laertes

The small city of Laertes, original population of 1.3M, is located in middle of Battle Zone Euryales, along its northern border between Megaera’s Cradle and Guilleman’s Scar. The Imperium does not know where the ziggurat located in the center of the city came from; the city was built around the former. (Some visionary City Planner for the Imperium might have thought it added ‘rustic charm’ to the city)

The ziggurat has been fully examined by the Imperium, and it is believed to made of solid rock and to be ceremonial in nature. The Eldar, however, know differently…

This Narrative Campaign, the Battle for Laertes, is designed for one Eldar army and one Tau army.

Mission 01 – Summoning The Bloody Handed God

As Van Grothe’s Rapidity boils over, ever closer to Medusa V, the ziggurat located in Leartes has begun to resonate with psychic energy. A detachment of Eldar has been sent down to investigate, and one of its Farseers has determined that the ziggurat is acting like a psychic focusing point. Casting his mind along the skein of destiny, he has foreseen the return of the Bloody Handed God. However, in order to summon the Avatar, he must use all his psychic might to act as a beacon for the Bloody Handed God to home in on.

In the middle of the night, the Farseer and his Bodyguard steal their way into Leartes and make their way to the top of the ziggurat. Hours later the rest of the Eldar detachment realize that their leader has snuck away, and fearing the worst, storm into the city to offer aid.

Tau sensors have picked up on the movement of the Eldar and a detachment is sent in to investigate. The Tau’s prime directive, to investigate Warp phenomenon, seems to be taking a very real turn as they now know the ziggurat is somehow related to the Warp. The closer they get to the ziggurat, which is now glowing in the night, and surrounded by blasts of lighting, the more sure they are that whatever the Eldar are up to, it can not simply be observed, but must also be stopped, and the ziggurat seized for the Greater Good.

This is a Gamma Level mission, 6 turns in length

The Eldar player must keep his Farseer alive long enough to complete the summoning.

The Tau player must assassinate the Farseer before the end of the 6th turn.

The Tau player gets to select 2 Cityfighting Stratagems, except for Sacred Ground.

The Eldar player automatically gets the ziggurat as a Sacred Ground Stratagem and one other Stratagem.


1. The ziggurat is placed in the center of the table and does not count as a ruin placement. Buildings are placed around the ziggurat as normal. The game begins with the Eldar HQ (Farseer and Bodyguard) already on the ziggurat’s pinnacle.
2. Table quarters are rolled for as normal, and deployment is as normal. No units can deploy within 12” of the ziggurat.
3. The Farseer must successfully use 3 psychic powers during the mission in order to summon the Avatar.
4. If the Farseer dies, the Eldar player automatically loses.
5. If the Farseer stays alive to the 6th turn, the Avatar is placed at the top of the ziggurat at the beginning of the Eldar’s Movement Phase during that turn. The Avatar is considered to be Infiltrating, and cannot move more than 1” nor shoot during the Eldar turn. At the end of the Eldar's 6th turn, if the Avatar is on the field, the Eldar player wins.

18-06-2006, 21:28

how cool would it be to build a ziggurat

This is a simple project that nets you a nice display piece.

Just make sure and plan for 1.5in (40mm) wide courses.

how could it be of interest, and to which armies?

Restricting your campaign to just Eldar and Tau might be too narrow.

A wider appeal could be had by making the Farseer a generic "Psycher".

The Defenders needn't be Tau for any campaign-specific reason, afaict.

Battle for Laertes, is designed for one Eldar army and one Tau army

There should instead be a "Forces" entry here.

How large a force can each side expect to field?

Also, "Battle at the Ziggurat" might be a better title.

Especially since 'Laertes' is likely to be represented by ruins. :- )

5. If the Farseer stays alive to the 6th turn, the Avatar is placed

In principle, this is a good start on an interesting campaign.

It just reads like a one-off mission for you and your opponent alone.

To make it a true CoD Campaign, just broaden its scope a little.

Also, the Ziggurat scenario should be the culmination of the campaign.

It's the only one that needs your Master-Crafted terrain piece! :- )

All the missions leading up to it can involve more generic buildings/ruins.

Well done, so far. Keep up the good work, and have fun!


18-06-2006, 22:59
Thanx for the pointers, Playa!

I admit, for the 1st mission in a campaign it's a bit epic. In fact, when I was thinking of the scenario, it had more in common with Robert E Howard's type of a story than Isaac Asmimov (to pick 2 names at random); in other words, it's more of a science fantasy-epic story than straight sci fi.

Your ideas are thought-provoking.

Anyone else?

Mad Doc Grotsnik
18-06-2006, 23:13
Whenever I attempt to write a Campaign, I think of the Buffy approach. The arcing storyline is the most important, but it doesn't mean you can't have fun little distractions along the way!

Why not introduce some kill team for when one side needs to nobble something important? Adds variety to your campaign, and keeps your players on their toes! Or indeed hooves, for the Tau player.

19-06-2006, 00:05
Thanx for the idea, Mad Dog!

I think I will incorporate your idea into the story.

20-06-2006, 01:24
Maybe a scenario before the armies arrive at the zig (kinda like the Eastwood movie 'The Gauntlet').

I like the Kill Team idea. Combat Patrol might be easier, and not add too many rules (you mentioned just starting out so it would also allow you and your son to build your forces up:D ).

There's great articles on narrative campaigns in some old WDs, alas, I'm moving and they're packed. If you want, I'll look them up and send you issue #s (shoot me a PM).

20-06-2006, 02:36
Thanks for the input, ffclubhero!

Well, I learned an important lesson today -- a straight edge and cutting mat RULE! I started making the templates for the levels of the ziggurat, but knew I would need some kinda help cutting the pieces straight. A quick trip to Pearl Paint on Canal St provided me with a 24" straight edge and a cutting mat.

I made the top piece, but didn't account for the actual thickness of the foamcore, so I will have to re-make the templates (using graph paper) to get em to fit perfectly. I was really impressed with how straight the pieces were, though! :)

20-06-2006, 02:38
Thanx again to all who have posted their thoughts and ideas!
I actually posted this thread on another Warhammer forum, and it was totally ignored! :(

20-06-2006, 03:30
You do know how the Avatar is brought to life, right? Its not like it is in DoW...

Here's from WD 127:

At the core of every Craftworld is a sealed chamber. Inside this chamber, upon a throne of smouldering iron, sits an Avatar of the Bloody Handed God. The Avatar is as still as a statue of ancient metal, pitted with age and encrusted with the patina of corrosion. His eyes reveal only an empty darkness as if his whole body were a hollow metal shell. The chamber is built of gleaming wraithbone whose skeletal structure stretches throughout the entire Craftworld, its strands connecting every part of the Craftworld to the throne.

When the Eldar prepare for war the metal body of the Avatar begins to glow as the heat of his fiery blood is kindled. His metal heart begins to quicken and his iron flesh starts to pulse with life. Liquid iron boils through his veins, and his whole body crackles and hisses like a furnace. When he stirs upon his throne Exarchs and Aspect Warriors all over the Craftworld feel the vibrations reverberate through the gleaming threads of wraithbone which spread like naked ribs throughout its caverns and chambers. Recognising the Avatar's battle-call, the Exarchs and Aspect Warriors hurry to the shrines of the War God to begin the rituals of preparation.

As the Avatar's first stirrings are felt, the oldest Exarchs - one from each of the principal shrines on the Craftworld - gather outside the chamber and begin the ritual of Awakening. They wear their ritual masks and armour. They are accompanied by another Exarch called the Young King. The Young King is selected every year by the ritual divination of the Craftworld's Farseers - the psykers who guide the Craftworld's political decisions. The position is held only for one year, after which the Exarch steps down and another Young King is elected. The Awakening ceremony begins as the Young King is ritually disrobed and his body painted in blood with the runes of Kaela Mensha Khaine - weaving shapes that evoke the annual orbit of the sun, its rise in the solar dawn and its inevitable autumnal fall. With due ceremony the Exarchs bring the ritual regalia of the Avatar from its place in the various shrines of the War God, and present it to the Young King. Across his shoulders is draped the long mantle fastened by its golden pin. In his right hand he carries the long dark weapon of the Avatar - the Siun Daellae - the Doom that Wails. Into his hand is pressed the Cup of Criel - the bloody cup containing blood drawn from his own body.

The six Exarchs, the Young King, and a huge choir of Eldar Seers position themselves outside the massive bronze doors of the throne room, watching as its ancient metal grows hotter and starts to glow with a ruddy light. Behind them the Seer Choir sings the Hymn of Blood and the Exarchs take up its cry. From within the chamber come sounds of splintering metal and cracking flame. Very slowly the bronze doors begin to open. The interior is filled with brightness, in the very centre of which is the iron throne and, sat upon it, the Avatar himself, a great dark shadow amongst the unbearable light. The Young King steps inside as the Hymn of Blood reaches a crescendo of ritualised screams, seemingly random, but actually as carefully orchestrated and rehearsed as the rest of the ceremony. Slowly and deliberately the brazen doors close.

The music and the singing cease and the noises within the chamber become dull and bass like the sound of distant thunder. The Exarchs join hands forming a continuous circuit and begin their vigil. Groups of Exarchs take it in turns to maintain a continuous humming chant. Sometimes they must wait for several days, but usually an hour or two elapses before the Avatar awakes. He awakes without any warning. Suddenly there is a loud inhuman scream and the bronze doors are thrown aside by an explosion of energy and light. The Exarchs struggle against the hurricane of force trying desperately to remain on their feet and maintain their closed circle. The Avatar walks from his throne and at that moment in shrines throughout the Craftworld the Aspect Warriors don their helmets in the culmination of a ritual that has paralleled that before the throne room.

The Avatar's previously empty shell is now filled with a powerful energy. His eyes glow like coals and as he moves his whole surface crackles and spits like smouldering metal. Molten iron flows through his veins and bubbles of fiery ichor burst and solidify upon his skin. Dark tendrils of smoke and flying cinder enwreathe him. Mixed with the hot smell of brazure and coal is the unmistakable taint of blood. He wears the mantle fastened upon his shoulder with its dagger-pin. His long powerful arms are covered with blood up to his elbows. Thick red blood oozes from his hands and drips from his fingers and leaving steaming red droplets behind him. In his right hand he carries the Doom that Wails. The runes etched upon it appear to writhe and struggle inside the weapon, as if tortured by the heat of the Avatar's bloody grasp. Of the Young King there remains no trace - unless it is the sickly seeping blood that drips from the Avatar's gory arms.

20-06-2006, 12:18
Wow, that must've taken a long time to copy, MechTau! Thanx for the extra info! The basics of what you mentioned are in the Craftworld Eldar supplement, but that WD quote has a lot more detail, fluff, what have you.


20-06-2006, 14:53
Have you thought about making the zig hollow and putting an enthroned avatar inside? Bit of work, but if you were making it a regular part of your gaming or a family project, could be cool....

20-06-2006, 15:17
Great idea! AND not far off from my long-range ideas re: the fate of Laertes.

The idea of the ziggurat being an egg or cocoon of sorts has lots of potential! :)