Hello, reader. I’m Greg ‘Klobasnek’ Narro, and I’m running the Houston branch of the Vadinax Crusade. This is the second Crusade league I’ve run for my clubmates. The first one in 2021 was fairly barebones by necessity due to the pandemic, but I’ve got high aspirations for telling a big collaborative story for Vadinax.
The Parasbine System
Parasbine Secundus is one of the industrial powerhouses of the Vadinax Cluster. The planet is only marginally habitable, with a thin atmosphere which leaves it exposed to solar radiation. Its wind-blasted desert landscape holds minimal life or mineral wealth of its own, but the nearby asteroid belt of Espern’s Drift more than makes up for the latter.
The Drift holds riches beyond measure. Metals, ores, minerals, and even Blackstone can be found there in much higher concentrations than anywhere else in the sector. The Drift is far too perilous to sustain permanent settlements, but the Imperium desperately needs the riches within it. Mining crews plumb the Drift, hauling ores and minerals back to Parasbine Secundus for smelting, processing, and export to nearby hive worlds such as Kyrene and Attos. These bulk freighters bring back the food and essential supplies on their return trips that the planet otherwise lacks.
Large swathes of Parasbine Secundus are covered in discarded regolith and soaked in chemical runoff from the processing facilities. The population is primarily clustered around the vast foundry complexes scattered across the planet’s surface. The equatorial port cities of Kephistrone and Miltner’s Docks have some meager facilities to cater for the asteroid miners and bulk freighter crews on shore leave.
At least, that was how Parasbine Secundus was prior to the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum. The opening of the Rift immediately wreaked havoc on mining and shipping operations. Not long after, Abaddon’s forces dropped out of the warp and made landfall, driving the disorganized and outmatched PDF and defenders back. Now the last bit of Imperial resistance on the planet is besieged in Kephistrone, galvanized by a Sororitas garrison tasked with defending its basilica.
The Forces of Parasbine
The 30+ players in the campaign are divided into six battlegroups, with overlapping motivations.
Makarios’ Shock Troops are the Chaos forces besieging the port of Kephistrone. Lord Makarios of the World Eaters (Rob ‘TheChirurgeon’ Jones) is impatient to crush the remaining resistance on the planet and move on to a more populated planet with bountiful skulls to claim.
The Soulbinder’s Cabal represents the longer term Chaos occupation force. Malioch Soulbinder (Dan ‘Swiftblade’ Richardson) is tasked with subjugating the population and turning the planet’s plentiful forges into hellish factories of daemon engines to sustain Abaddon’s armies.
The Defenders of Kephistrone are the remaining planetside Imperial forces from prior to the invasion, bloodied and weary, dug in around the Basilica of the Bloodied Shroud. Canoness Preceptor Theshea Collumo of the Order of Her Resplendent Ashes has instituted martial law in the port and mustered every citizen towards the defense of the city.
Strike Force Gladius are a small force of Space Marines, who have just dropped out of the warp intending to refuel and resupply on their way to counterattack Lenk on General Forsythe’s orders. They find the planet on the brink of complete collapse and desperately in need of their forces. Lenk will have to wait.
The Espern’s Belt Miners, meanwhile, are stranded in the asteroid field as Parasbine burns. A trading delegation from the Trans-Hyperion Alliance has decided to simply plumb the Belt themselves for the rare minerals they need for their ancestor core. A few of the Imperial miners are still clinging on out in the void as well against all odds, though there is something distinctly… off… about the Departmento Laborum. They seem to take the adage “many arms make light work” a bit too literally.
Beneath the miners’ feet, however, the Sun’chur Dynasty awakens. The rich bounty of Espern’s Drift is no coincidence; it was once the crown world of Zjar’atel. Eons ago, during the Dynasty’s slumber Zjar’atel was struck by a rogue planetoid, fracturing the planet and creating Espern’s Drift. Now, the energies of the Cicatrix Maledictum charge ancient Blackstone machinery and bring the shattered and broken remnants of the Dynasty back to wakefulness.
This is a sort of experimental setup for our local crusade here, and it may be different from what our other local organizers are going, but I’m pretty excited to give it a try for a number of reasons.
- With a smaller number of factions and a tighter group, we can tell a smaller, tighter story. Every player knows exactly how their force got there, and how their opponent’s force got there, so it’s easier to build a shared narrative.
- Scheduling is flexible. The greater Houston metro area is really big, and the majority of my players have kids and full time jobs. Essentially, my job boils down to, once a month, pairing off the battleforces against each other, telling them why they’re fighting, and where they’re fighting, and letting the players take it from there. They can play one game a week, for a month, they can play 4 games in a weekend and then do nothing the rest of the month. They can play at our home store, or at another store, or on David’s porch at 5 AM. Whatever works best for them.
- It’s the right amount of organizer effort for me. I’ve got a 4 month old who is a hard cap on my personal gaming time, but doing this allows me to still be an active part of the community and keep maintaining and building relationships.
- I get to be devious. Each battlegroup has its own private Discord channel, which gives me a lot of opportunities to play with asymmetric information and give groups tricky decisions to make. The transmission frequencies around Parasbine Secundus are frequently jammed or garbled, so cooperation between even firmly allied battlegroups could be trickier than expected.
I hope that’s whetted your appetite for what’s to come over here in our corner of Vadinax, and maybe it’s given you some inspiration for your own future narratives. You can follow along with the developments on the Astros Militarum Instagram and Twitter accounts, or, let’s be honest, just read Rob and Dan’s columns here at Goonhammer as they fight to kick the servants of the false Emperor out of Parasbine for good.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.