The Scrutator Semper Chronicles – Chapter 1 Introduction

Welcome to the Scrutator Semper Chronicles, a bi-weekly series that will tell the story of campaigns I have played using the ANNIHILATION campaign system for Warmachine and Hordes devised by the very talented Owen Conlan. You’ve already seen the first installment, but I thought an introductory post was in order to show where the series came from. The idea of ANNIHILATION is to show how two armies that clash over a number of battles take casualties and may gain the upper hand on each other by successive victories. At the beginning of the campaign each player makes a list which comprises all of the models that can be taken by that player in the campaign. If you are playing a game of 15 points, followed by a 25, then a 35 point, and a 50 point game to finish, you make a list which comprises 80% of the total 125 points, for a 100 point list. All of your forces have to come out of this ever-diminishing reserve. If any of your troops die, they’re gone for good!

This added element of fatality brings something extra with it. You might not be so eager to throw away a unit or a warjack on an expensive gamble if you won’t have it for future games as a result. Gambits that have become standard, for example charging your own troopers with your warcaster to get them further up the table, may not be worth it if you run out of troopers for the next encounter. The campaign system also encourages the players to weave together a story to explain why their two armies are fighting. This is the aspect that really appeals to me…particularly because I don’t win many games! The story of Warmachine and Hordes is rich and well-developed, but the games we play in a tournament or even casually often don’t take the story into account. In the campaign, the players are thinking about how each victory changes the story being told.

Each week I will put up two articles here on Overload Online. The first will be the continuing story of Scrutator Semper and his dogsbody Master Siskington as they work to strengthen the Protectorate of Menoth’s hold on Llael. The second will be an account of the campaign that was the inspiration for this story, largely focusing on the narrative too but with details of the game itself. This first campaign takes place back when I was first starting to play more regularly and try and take the game a bit more seriously, so be prepared for lots of errors of judgement on my part. My first opponent was my good buddy Duggy, and we decided to play a campaign called “The Relics of Saint Malathric”, where Protectorate and Cygnar forces fight over which faith can claim the great man (who was originally devised as an antithesis to Saint Patrick, being the patron saint of joblessness and emigration). I commanded the Protectorate army, led by High Exemplar Kreoss and Grand Scrutator Severius. Duggy took the formidable Major Victoria Haley and Constance Blaize, the Morrowan warcaster. It was Constance that gave the idea for the background of the campaign.

The early part of this campaign took place in Summer 2012, and was finally finished August 2013. Let it never be said that I’m not a finisher! It’s funny to look back at it now and see how different the scenarios and our collections were. I took multiple iterations of units to take account of any casualties they might suffer, but I didn’t take any maximum units because at the time I didn’t own any! You’ll also notice that the Muse community’s vote for best non-character warjack in the game is absent, at this stage I still hadn’t gotten around to buying a Reckoner. Perhaps because all the conventional wisdom I had found told me that the Reckoner should be taken at every opportunity. It’s something I’ve noticed in a lot of players including myself, a reluctance to follow such advice. I still don’t own the Harbinger!

Looking at the list below, I was looking to run quite infantry-heavy, and to take the best advantage from the ‘casters I was running with Errants and Zealots. I liked the idea of running Severius’ theme force as well at some stage, and so I gave myself the option. The warjacks are more resilient than troops in ANNIHILATION, so long as they are not destroyed completely they can continue on, though with the potential for reduced stats if they take more than half damage. If I was making this list again now, I would certainly max out some of the units, double or triple up on the Vassal, and most certainly put in a Vassal Mechanik or two. Your priorities in list construction for a campaign are to ensure the longevity of your army. If your opponent grinds you down in one game, or wipes out a particularly useful unit you will be sorely pressed to take back the advantage in the next bout.

High Exemplar Kreoss (*5pts)
* Repenter (4pts)
* Revenger (6pts)
* Fire of Salvation (9pts)
* Templar (8pts)
Grand Scrutator Severius (*6pts)
* Revenger (6pts)
* Vanquisher (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Exemplar Bastions (Leader and 2 Grunts) (5pts)
Exemplar Errants (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Exemplar Errants (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Exemplar Vengers (Leader and 2 Grunts) (7pts)
Holy Zealots (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer (2pts)
Holy Zealots (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer (2pts)
Knights Exemplar (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Knights Exemplar (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Temple Flameguard (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard (2pts)
Temple Flameguard (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard (2pts)
Knight Exemplar Seneschal (3pts)
Knight Exemplar Seneschal (3pts)
The Wrack (3 wracks) (1pts)
The Wrack (3 wracks) (1pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)

Duggy took quite a melee-focused force considering the faction he is playing, and rather more warjacks than you usually see in Cygnar. The Charger is underrated as one of Cygnar’s best warjacks, and Duggy used it to great effect. He expected me to be playing a lot of exemplars and flameguard, so he was sure to bring his own heavy hitters and high armour infantry to match them.

Constance Blaize, Knights of the Prophet (*6pts)
* Gallant (9pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Charger (4pts)
* Charger (4pts)
* Hunter (6pts)
* Hunter (6pts)
* Lancer (6pts)
* Lancer (6pts)
* Defender (9pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Precursor Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Precursor Knight Officer & Standard (2pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
Stormguard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
Sword Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Sword Knight Officer & Standard (2pts)
Gun Mage Captain Adept (2pts)
Gun Mage Captain Adept (2pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

The lists were set, the battle lines were drawn. All that remained was to actually play the games. And of course because this is a campaign, there needed to be a reason for these two armies to be duking it out. This is the campaign background I set out:

“None dispute the sainthood of the great man Malathric. They say he could walk on water, that beasts on the wing flocked to his outstretched arms. Even though he lived thousands of years ago, his legacy lives on.

His sainthood is not up for dispute. The real trouble is over which god he worshipped. There are conflicting reports, ancient manuscripts which say one thing and then another. Everyone wants to interpret it so that the greatest saint in the history of Immoren bolsters their faith alone.

Until now, Malathric’s allegiance was the subject only of a war of words. But recently the great Llaelese explorer Doctor Maximillian Grincheux uncovered evidence that relics of Malathric exist, buried under a long-forgotten Orgoth ruin in the Bloodstone Marches. This has sparked an even greater conflict, as the followers of Morrow and Menoth race to seize the relics for the glory of their god.”

As you will have seen earlier in the week in the adventures of Scrutator Semper and Master Siskington, the battle over Saint Malathric began as a tussle between rival sects on the streets of Merwynn. But it would end on the Bloodstone Marches themselves, where warriors would fight to the death to see which faction would seize the Saint’s remains for themselves and bring greater glory to their god. Tune in next Monday for the next segment in Scrutator Semper’s story, and next Friday for the first battle report from the campaign. See you next time!

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3 thoughts on “The Scrutator Semper Chronicles – Chapter 1 Introduction

  1. I don’t understand how you would ever run out of models. If I have 4 lists that fit into 100 points, when would I ever be forced to take less than the maximum number of points? One just builds each of the lists without any overlap and constrained by force allotments.

    • You make a very good point, which made me double-check my facts. In fact we played 15,25,35 and then 50 and Owen’s rules involve picking a list which is 80% of the total points for those, so it’s a 100 point list for 125 points total. Apologies for that, I have edited the article to correct myself!

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