Hot on the heels of NOVA Open 2022, I bring to you Team Imperium’s account of the GHO 2022 narrative event.

If you are an avid reader of the site, then you may have heard of a little something called “The 2022 US Goonhammer Open Narrative Event: Defense of Lenk”. If you are unaware, this was a little baby event that occurred on August 13th-14th and played using a combination of the crusade rules from the Warhammer 40,000 Core Book, crusade rules from the various codexes, and the Dataslates current to August 2022 and the matched play rules from Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition Warzone: Nephilim. A 6-round slobberknocker where three teams of 8 Warhammer players (Imperium, Chaos, and Xenos) fought over resources to help their teams win more games or apply debuffs to other teams for their games. One such resource was a BIG GUN!

(Scott fights for the Big Gun for team BADMAN. Photo Credit: TheChirurgeon)

The event was super cool and really fun, and here’s the story of how the Imperium actually did super good (as the title suggests).

In this story, our heroes crushed the enemy handily in every confrontation. The other players for Team Imperium obviously did well too. Rocco was gifted a glorious captain’s hat. With this hat he led his Imperial allies to victory.

(Wow. That’s a bad hat. Credit: Swiftblade)

Rocco led the charge into the system alongside the Space Marines of the White Scars Successors Chapter: The Brotherhood of the Flowing Tide.

(Brotherhood of the Flowing Tide. Credit: Rocco Gest)

Rocco’s second-in-command, Michael (Enz0_da_Baker), heroically charged into the fray with his Dark Angels Successors: The Angels of Reclamation.

(The Angels of Reclamation. Credit: Enz0_da_Baker)

The most successful hero, and the bulwark of the Imperium’s forces, Andrew (SmearierHades3), commanded the mighty forces of the Salamanders Successors Chapter: The Sons of Ash.

(Sons of Ash. Credit: SmearierHades3)

As expected, the mighty heroes of the SPACE MARINES destroyed the insidious machinations of Chaos and purged the horrid xenos. Here’s are the heroes’ tales of victory:

Tales of Victory


My first game was against Scott Horras “Heresy”, who brought a really cool Traitor (for this event) guard army with a Baneblade. Our mission was to fight over control of the orbital defense cannon, Lenk’s very own BFG. In this mission, if you started an action while controlling the objective marker by the BFG, you fired it at the end of your turn. It dropped a hot load of mortal wounds on a Titanic or Aircraft unit on basically any table in the hall.

Oh… did we mention you can shoot across tables?

Well, Scott and I brawled over the table, my terminator squads cutting through Guardsman, but the bombardment of the tanks was too much. I did get to fire the cannon once (Rocco: I did use this singular boon to annihilate a single Wraithseer and promptly lose the game I was playing), but Chaos won control of the gun during the next round.

(Big Gun Fight Photo. Credit: James Robertson)

My next game was with Andrew, a great guy and a local who I’ve hung out with a few times, but haven’t played yet. He brought a beautiful Night Lords army. The mission had him designating four units to scout, with his victory points dependent on how far they reached into my territory each turn, and me scoring off how few of his scouts were in my zones.

The nature of this game allowed me to ignore most of his army entirely, focusing on a Daemon prince first, and then some terminators and Warp Talons. I was able to eventually take down most of his scouts, leaving two Raptors left. I knew I could weather his shooting, kill them, and win the game.

And then Andrew pulled the most cowardly, dastardly, awful, disgusting, baby move ever: his two surviving Raptors ran away, back into the sky, like two scared spiky children. Some little stinky diaper move called “Screaming Skies.” More like “screaming to mommy to kiss your wittle knee because you have a wittle booboo”. They probably went flying back to Papa Curze but couldn’t cuz he’s dead.

When they returned at the end of his next movement phase, it guaranteed him a draw, and it would be the win unless I killed them. I was able to sprint Captain-Brother Bohemond IV up the board, as well as my Redemptor, Ancient Bohemond I. My captain aimed his super cool crusade relic assault combi-plasma, and missed. Then the Redemptor blew them all up.

Probably the coolest game I got was a Zone Mortalis mission against Scott. Scott had a lot of Bullgryns, but even cooler than that, he brought some Cyclops. All they did was 1) get punched to death by terminators or 2) blow up and frag guardsmen. Scott was able to pull off the victory, but I got to see Deathwing terminators reduce traitor guard to a pink mist. My personal highlight was Scott’s souped up Inquisitor character charging in with an amped up thunder hammer, utterly whiffing against a single Bladeguard Veteran, and then joining the pink mist cloud.

My final game was against Quinn’s gorgeous Ynnari Eldar. TL;DR elves are even more nuts with all the crusade points they can earn. I killed enough of his guys to max kill points, but then the rest of his army showed up, and after a turn of psychic murder, I threw in the towel. Six games of warhammer is exhausting, even against cool opponents with sick armies.

But, I left GHO wanting to play more games of Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition Warzone: Nephilim. Maybeee not Crusade, because even with simplified XP rules, it’s a lot of extra work. But it turns out that Warhammer is good and fun and a cool time. As the Lion said, “hamming is its own reward.”



I loved the event. I got to play against friends all day and hang out and socialize with them all night. Absolute banger of a vacation weekend for me. I had a really great time playing against all of my opponents. On the first day I played against Craftworld Ulthwe Aeldari, Drukhari, and Bork’an T’au. The highlight of these games being the 1,000pt fight against Bor’kan. We had to protect data points distributed between our units. He gained a lot of victory points by actually performing the mission action and transferring data points to his characters. I simply played “slaughter the T’au”. Being White Scars I had a great time soaking up shots from his Hammer Head and charging with my Vanguard Veterans headfirst into his commander. My Gravis Captain also put in his work to bust up a squad of pathfinders in one-fell swoop.

(Primaris Gravis Captain with Power Fist. Credit: Rocco Gest)

I adored playing my White Scars all weekend. I pumped maximum experience into my captain, giving him Hunter’s Instincts (plus 1 to hit and wound in melee against MONSTERS and VEHICLES), I master-crafted his boltstorm gauntlet so that he could still get the extra power fist attack from Gravis Fighting-Style, artisan bionics for a 5+++, the Dark Age Displacer Belt so that he can just teleport around the map, and finally vortex bolts so that his gun can deal d3+3 mortal wounds once per battle. He was a hardy boy and valiantly fought a Beastboss on Squigosaur to the death.

That was first game of Day 2. I played against Dave of Team Cuddle Buddies and his Deathskullz. The classic battle between Orks and White Scars ensued. It was like the battle from Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris came to life in front of my eyes. Except I lost despite annihilating every Ork character in sight. It was hard fought and the points total came close due to some key durability losses due to my ignorance of the power of Orks.

My final two games were also great treats. I played against friend of Goonhammer, Greg Narro(Klobasnek), and his Novokh Necron horde. For thematic purposes he brought as many Skorpekh units as he could muster (the theme was crabs) and we both proceeded to spend two turns keeping out fast melee units hidden behind terrain as my two Redemptors tried to shoot down a Doomstalker and a blob of Necron Warriors. The only unit that I had a really tough time against for this mission was his Canoptek Wraiths. They soaked up too many of the wounds that my Vanguard Veterans put out  and slashed them to bits. He ended up winning the game because my bloodlust forced me to charge off of an objective, meaning I couldn’t begin to come back from VP disparity.

(Brotherhood v. Necrons Cage Match. Photo Credit: Greg Narro)

The final game was against my good friend and fellow contributor, MildNorman (Norman), and his Chaos Knights from his custom House Gloam. I knew going into this mission that I simply wasn’t going to defeat him on the mission objective, so I created my own game in which I tried to kill as many knights as possible. The first knight I took down was his crazy cool Khornate Knight Rampager with melta rifle shots, and 37 lightning claw attacks. It all was going very poorly, but I did kill between 2 and 3 armigers and plinked his Tzeentchian Knight Desecrator down to 18 wounds. I made the big play I was waiting for and teleported my Gravis Captain 9” away from the Knight and unleashed his vortex bolter for the maximum 6 mortal wounds. I used the Fierce Rivalries stratagem to roll 3d6 on the charge and drop the lowest. I make the charge, get in for 3 AP-4 Damage 4 boltstorm gauntlet attacks…and Norman rolls 2 6’s to save. Letting one wound through. He promptly squashed my captain and we called the game there. It was a ton of fun!

(That line of marines is TOTALLY in deep strike. Photo Credit: Kevin Stillman)


There are three things I love in Warhammer: Power Armor, Trenches, and a cool place to plant the Chapter Banner. The GHO narrative delivered hefty doses of all three. 3 of my 6 games that weekend were either Planetstrike missions or offered me free fortifications to supplement my forces as part of the narrative. Being the cunning tactician that I am, a Hammerfall bunker that I used to hold my Redemptors in place during the flight from Houston found its place serving on the front lines while my men added their bodies to the foundations of the Wall of Martyrs.

(Impenetrable Wall of Martyrs. Credit: SmearierHades3)

My first game that weekend started the narrative juices flowing right out of the gate.  I was matched against [Patrick] and his chaotically aligned Necrons. The first round began with a blisteringly accurate firestorm, rolling the same location 3 times. This saw my techmarine and one of my aggressor squads unceremoniously obliterated, 2 of my 3 Redemptors bracketed, and my ancient was knocked to his knees before the Necrons had even materialized.  But unwilling to let the standard fall, my ancient roared defiance with the stratagem Rise from the Ashes and stood back up on one wound.  As the necrons closed in from all directions the space marines took heart at the symbol of their Chapter’s might still flying and managed to cling to the objectives long enough to secure victory, trading lives in the trenches before forming up on the banner for a final push out.  To cap it off the ancient saw the now isolated overlord on his last wound, aimed his bolt rifle, and planted the leader in the ground.  I thought it was pretty fucking coolio.

Day two was a day for engine kills.  I’ll let people in on a secret, I love killing knights.  The bigger the enemy, the happier I am.  When I saw I would be going up against Dan and his lovely Chaos Knights, I was pretty excited.  Dan is a regular opponent and friend of mine from Houston and a class opponent.  But he’s a Badman and thus there can be no mercy.  Dan clearly also believes in no mercy and promptly destroys my Hammerfall bunker before it has a chance to rotate its turret.  While his war dogs engaged my clusters of troops on the side objectives, his big knights and my dreadnoughts clashed in the middle while orbital strikes and B I G cannons smashed units apart, or at least the dirt around the units.  When the dust settled, the marines had held the line at great cost and the knights lay shattered on the field with 5 battlescars to remember the battle by.

(Picture taken moments before disaster. Credit: Swiftblade)

My second game that day was also against Chaos Knights, this time piloted by Norman.  I haven’t had the chance to play him before, but can safely say I would play him again if given the chance.  His awesomely converted Chaos Knights felt like the narrative result of Chaos Ascending on Lenk which just felt super cool for my little narrative world.  At this point in the campaign Imperial forces are CRUSHING THE ENEMY ON ALL FRONTS AVE IMPERATOR I mean being pushed back planetwide.  Imperial forces are being consolidated for a Last Stand to try and break the enemy advance or at least buy time for civilians to evacuate if they’re still alive.  Most importantly, I get trenches and my Hammerfall bunker to deploy.  And for the first time this weekend I get to go first.  Normally against Chaos Knights my lust for heavy metal death is tempered by not knowing if I’ll get to shoot first or not.  Not so this time.  Once both big knights were placed, all 3 eradicator squads took up positions on the frontline for a do or die effort to break the knights’ advance immediately.  It was almost Die and not Do.  After all 9 eradicators had fired, the Tzeentch knight of winged horror stood with 6 wounds.  My Redemptors were standing by, but on the other side of the table a cracked out Khorne Big Boi was lining up the tackle on my left flank and I needed to put some damage on him.  This left one option, the Hammerfall Bunker.  Up to this point it had yet to fire a shot, having been targeted and destroyed on turn 1 every game it had deployed.  But now it drew a bead, let fly with Cawl patented Superkrak Missiles, and one single missile slipped through the corrupted ion shield and rolled a 6 on its damage, sending the Knight to the ground at last.  Would this bunker ever land another shot again? No, of course not.  But for one moment dreams came true and the Emperor smiled.  Inspired by such a display of might, my Redemptors proceeded to unleash full hell on the Khorne Big Boi and saw it crashing down in a display of silly dice rolls that left both of us a little dumbfounded.

This event was a blast beginning to end.  A bunch of cool people, playing on cool and thematic terrain, doing cool missions for 6 games of hammer(fall)ing.  Thanks to Rob for organizing this insanity, Greg and Dan for roping me into it, and all the peeps there for the great games and good times.  My only criticism is Rob didn’t have Robute Guilliman show up and personally turn the tide of our COMPLETE AND UTTER DESTRUCTION OF THE ENEMY FORCES ON LENK AVE IMPERATOR.

END PROPAGANDA, or Closing Thoughts

Overall the event was a really good time despite the utter and crushing defeat that the Imperium suffered.

Michael: I left GHO wanting to play more games of Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition Warzone: Nephilim. Maybeee not Crusade, because even with simplified XP rules, it’s a lot of extra work. But it turns out that Warhammer is good and fun and a cool time. 

Space Marine crusade rules are rather boring. My captain becoming a Lord Executioner is sort of cool, and it’s now in my personal fluff, but there’s not much going on in either agendas or between-game activities. I didn’t even bother hunting the Fallen because I likely wouldn’t get to use that in six games.

But it was a highlight of my year. As the Lion said, “hamming is its own reward.”

Andrew: I feel like in order to describe why I like Crusade missions and in particular the GHO Narrative, I need to tell how I got into 40k in the first place.  Flashback to 4th edition and Battle for Macragge has just come out.  My buddy has been talking my ear off about this fantasy thing and it sounds pretty neat, but when I see the table of blue dudes and aliens my sci-fi brain overrides all other thoughts.  My friend says he’s pretty familiar with the rules and offers to show me a game.  I take the blue men and he takes the tyranids.  In hindsight, the stat line he described for them would sound very familiar to anyone who had seen a carnifex statline while my little blue friends were described as what you would expect a tactical marine squad to be.  So, as you can expect, my 10 tactical marines were annihilated and I only managed to kill 1 out of about 16 “gaunts” with a carnifex statline.  And I thought this game is impossible, fucking AWESOME where do I sign up.  As much as I love playing competitive, balanced games, nothing says THIS IS 40K to me like being placed in an uphill battle where the Fates have determined your death and it’s your job to say who the hell do you think I am?

Now does every game need to be like that? God no, but to his credit, Rob did a great job crafting and adapting a series of scenarios that asked players to consider new ways to fight for victory, while not being as impossible as Battle for Macarnifex.  They presented a unique set of challenges that let you stretch a whole different set of tactical muscles set to the backdrop of the world falling apart.  Add on to that the cross-map cannon fire, team rewards for victory and penalties for defeat in different theaters each round, and a well stocked set of narrative terrain and you have a recipe for excellence.  With any luck, the Sons of Ash will rise up again in the next narrative event to man the line and die eyes forward.

Rocco: The weekend started with a bad hat, and it ended with a bad hat. Not for lack of me trying to get rid of it, the hat came home with me. I thought I could pawn it off to other Imperium commanders through the guise of “letting them be the commander” and saying things like “the hat is cool and a symbol of authority”, but the hat kept coming back. The hat watches me while I sleep. It haunts my dreams. Who made this hat? Why did it have to find me? This hat is my curse. I have one man to blame for this, and he’ll rue the day he forced this burden upon me. This is a seriously bad hat.

We all had a great time and anticipate the next narrative event run by Rob Goonhammer (Rob Jones, TheChirurgeon).

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