Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Malfactus Rift Campaign - part 1

Godfather Viktor, Blessed Knight, Wailslake and I are about to start a WH40K 8th edition campaign. We have been discussing the setting and what kind of warbands we will be using. We were chatting about bands of adventurers exploring the dark side of the Cicatrix Maledictum in the "current" timeline of the 40K universe. It's still early days as far as planning is concerned but this is where we've got to so far...


The Great Rift is a tear in reality that essentially divides the Imperium in half. Its emergence was a literal galaxy-shattering event, which threw the Imperium into chaos and ushered in new wars across nearly every world in the Imperium. So powerful and far was this storm that the very laws of physics fray at the edges as the inconsistencies of time fluctuations, once largely localised to larger storms such as the Eye of Terror, spread across the galaxy. Some worlds felt centuries go by in an instant while others were all but frozen in time, and still others have suffered constant temporal shifts. 
None fully understand the origins of the rift – though there are many theories: the breach of the Cadian Gate, the sorcery of a Daemon Primarch, catastrophe in the Webway, mass bloodshed and fire in the Damocles Gulf – all may have caused or contributed to it. The rift is variously known by the cultures of the galaxy as the Crimson Path, the Mouth of Ruin, the Warpscar, the Dathedian, Gork’s Grin and a thousand other names besides. To the Imperium it is the Cicatrix Maledictum, or just the Great Rift. To those on the Terran side, it is a tainted scar across the sky. To those unfortunates on the far side, it is far worse…


Blessed Knight made up a name for a region: "Ghoul Star Rifts". I didn't realise he'd made it up and went looking for it on the new Dark Imperium map.... and found it! So that was settled - we would be exploring the far north-east of the galaxy, way beyond the reach of the Imperium now that the Astronomican is not "visible" for half the galaxy!

The Ghoul Stars and surrounding regions, as shown in the Dark Imperium map:

So I made a zoomed-in version of the map and added a sepia filter, as that's my preference for all maps. It's an area a few hundred light years across, so we are looking at a relatively small area but it still has a few interesting things going on - a huge Warp Rift in the middle for one! The Ork empire of Waaagh Bork around Desperation is off the map to the south east. So it won't feature but remains a looming threat. There are also 2 splinter hive fleets to the north east!

We will probably zoom in a bit more for the campaign's narrative but this gives some context of the regions around where the action will take place.

There are probably hundreds of unlisted start systems in the area - plenty of room for us to make stuff up! But the "headline" planets of the region:
  • New Drekport
  • Sistec Prime
  • Malfactus (a warp rift)
  • Quisto’Rol
  • Lunaphage
This is the same area of the map as it appears in Codex Chaos Space Marines:

The Desolation of Dreth VI is listed a daemonic incursion.

The moved name label also shows Malfactus is one rift not two, as I had thought from the Dark Imperium galaxy map.

The map according to Codex Grey Knights:

The Carsayon Vortex is classed as chaos stronghold or daemon world.

I noticed the warp rift is shifted quite a lot north in the Grey Knight version, it probably changes over the years. Hard to map a shifting region like that - imagine trying to plot a safe course around it, without the aid of the Astronomicon!


During our last game I said, outloud, that 40K Orks are not doing anything for me at the moment, so of course the first idea I have for this campaign is for an Ork warband: Ork Explorerz! (I think this article was nagging the back of my mind: Warhammer 40,000: Top 5 Explorers)
The Warhammer 40,000 universe is a terrifying place where even your own mind is no refuge against the myriad horrors of the galaxy. Despite this, it’s also packed with adventurers and glory seekers who willingly travel to the dark corners of space in search of treasure, fame, mysterious artefacts or simply inner peace.
While most Orks are totally content with a life of mindless violence as part of a larger clan, some strive for individuality (or just fancy a bigger share of the post-battle loot). These Orks become Freebooterz, roaming bands of pirates who hire their services to Orks across the galaxy. 
I was thinking about my recent (and WIP) 40k projects and all of them are centred on Mancunius Dome. I needed something new, and fairly quick, or it might feel a bit crow-barred in. I have loads of unbuilt Ork models, so zero spend required! Plus Freebooterz, while totally different to my "proper" Ork army, are easy to justify as a small add-on force.

My warband for the campaign is taking shape: Warboss Throttle and his Freebooters, The Dust Hogz. They will not look like the standard Ork Space Pirates based on the look of real C17th pirates (since I have a pirate Orruk army already). I'm sticking to the look of Boss Nob Woz (below): so a bit Mad Max. biker leathers, fur, feathers, "scrap" trophies, etc.

The Dust Hogz
  • Warboss Throttle (Power 4)
  • 5 Nobz - Mugwak, Smarg, Draktor, Arg and Boss Nob Nognox (Power 11)
  • 10 Ork Boyz, including Boss Nob Woz (Power 5)
  • Warphead - Ghizzud (Power 4)
Power Level 24

Exploring and charting the edges of the Malfactus Rift.  A small group of characterful and individual Freebooters: pirates, adventurers and scavengers, exploring the outer fringe of the Dark Imperium. Poking around in Space Hulks and on backwater planets, finding ancient alien gubbinz and getting into scrapes.

I painted this guy for our planned "Mad MorkX" game from 2015 (that never actually happened). I'm going to build my Exporerz around him in the same style.

There will be more to come over the next few weeks: The other's are also working on new warbands and we are going to come up with a few plot lines.

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