Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Raven's Flight

An Audio Book Review

This is a review about Raven's Flight, the recent Horus Heresy Audio book by Gav Thorpe. Origionally I wasn't even going to get the audio book as I like reading, but I figured I would since it was Horus heresy and it would give me something to listen to in between classes out at college.

For those that know nothing, the book is about the fight on Isstvan V after the Raven Guard, Iron Hands, and Salamanders were massacred at the drop site. The book Fulgrim also goes into some detail about Isstvan V and Ferrus Manus vs. Fulgrim, but only touches on the dropsite massacre. Following a lot of other HH novels, Raven's Flight follows several story lines (2 in this case). One dealing with Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard, and another following Marcus Valerias, an officer of the imperial guard at the raven spire.

What was Good:
I thought that the reading was pretty good, and the sound effects added something to the story that might not otherwise have been there. It was definately easy to get involved in the story. The book also offers some insight into the Raven Guard and particularly thier Primarch Corax, particularly on his weapons, combat style, and his "unique" abilities.

What was Bad:
The whole book is only just over an hour, and frankly, I think that there was more context in some of the short stories in Tales of Battle. The story begins interestingly enough with a fortuitus dream by Marcus Valerias, unfortunately it doesn't really go anywhere from there. The basic parts of a story such as the rising action and climax seem to have taken a vacation from this publication. Unlike most of the HH books, the traitors barely even get a minute in this book,even the battles that provide the action of the other books are relagted to a single scene (maybe 1 1/2). The book has more introspection than I thought was necesary, and very little conflict. The book also ends fairly abruptly, and doesn't really give any sort of resolution to the story.

My Opinion:
I would give Raven's Flight a mere 2 out of 5, and I love the HH novels. Basically, there are only two reasons to read the novels, 1) You love the HH novels and have an OCD obsession to read/listen to them all, or 2) You really like the Raven Guard Chapter, and want to know everything about them. Besides these, I think would say the 75 minutes would probably be better spent painting, modelling, reading or staring off into space. If you want spoilers, scroll down.

Has anyone else listened to it? I know that it hasn't reached many store shelves, how many even knew about it.


Marcus Valerias begins having nightmares about burning ravesn soon after Corax leaves for Isstvan V. Corax's story starts after the dropsite massacre where we learn that Vulkan stayed on the dropsite and was massacred, although we don't learn of his exact fate. Corax and his few remaining warroirs then ambush a Iron Warriors Tank column, and Corax says some choice words about Perturabo and his' relationship.

Continueing to have horrible dreams, Valerias appeals to the last Raven Guard Commander to allow him to go to Isstvan. Obviously, he refuses. Valerias, not cowed, decides to go anyway. And in a discussion which almost gets his entire fleet destroyed by the Raven Spire's defense turrets he convinces the Raven Guard Commander to allow him to go.

At the same time, the raven guard have managed to survive, although only 3,000 are left out of a qouted 80,000! marines. They face thier last stand against the World Eaters and Angron, set to die when Dropships from Valerias swoop in to save them from the first wave and allow them to retreat to orbit. The book then promply ends.

Interesting Facts:
- Corax uses a reat energized whip which can apparently slice a terminator in half.
- Corax can also make himself "unnoticeable" to people around him.
- The size of preheresy legions is hinted at when Corax says that he came to Isstvan V with 80,000 marines.

***************Spoiler End************

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Thousand Sons

So I just go done with the last book of the Horus Heresy and figured that I would write up a quick review. A lot of people were upset when it was announced that Graham McNiell would be covering the Thousand sons side of the heresy, saying that his writing style would be unable to show the complexity of the Thousand sons. In a way I would say that they were right, but also that they were wrong.
The book starts some time before the heresy when the thousand sons are on the planet Aghoru. It is soon apparent that the world wasn't always human, and although it never tells you exactly what alien race was there first, its pretty obvious. This is also where you get a first glimpse of the Thousand Sons relationship with Space Wolves as well as their fighting style.
Without giving too much away the book takes you in depth into the legion and the mind of Magnus, the tragic hero of the book. Unlike Battle for the Abyss (and to a lesser extent the other HH books) the Thousand Sons are not portrayed as traitors, and in many cases McNiell shows there fervent desire to please the Emperor.
The book continues through another war of compliance where the Space Wolves, Word Bearers, and Thousand Sons fight together, Ullanor, the Council of Nikea, and the eventual fall of Prospero.
More than most of the other books, A Thousand Sons' main character is not a marine, but the primarch Magnus (although Ahriman is also pretty prevalent). It also gives you a lot of insight into the mind of the Emperor.
The book really points out how little the marine legions really knew about the warp during the heresy. It does however tell you how the Librarian Companies were formed, and how the powers of the warp are harnessed (at least by the 1k Sons), and the descriptions of the powers of the Thousand Sons are pretty cool.
The book ends with the escape of the Thousand sons from prospero to the planet of sorcerors, and gives a small idea that the Rubric is just after the end of the book.

Overall, I would rate the book a 8/10. It gives a lot of insight and touches on things that the other Horus Heresy books don't. The idea of Magnus as the perfect tragic hero is really well protrayed, however it seemed like there was only a cursory attempt to put intrigue and plot twists into the book. If you already know the story of the Thousand sons, it reads a little bland, like a movie that has cool special effects, but you already know the end. In the end, if you like the HH novels, I would definately suggest it since it fills in where other novels leave out.

So after reading the book, I was pretty pumped about the Thousand Sons and thier abilities and figured I would write up some trial rules for a Preheresy 1k son's squad. I haven't playtested these or anything, but they might be fun to try out sometime.

Thousand Sons Battle Squad 100 pts

Thousand Son 4 4 4 4 1 4 1 9 3+
Sorceror 4 4 4 4 1 4 1 10 3+

Sorceror and 4 Thousand Sons, Up to 5 more Thousand Sons may be added for +15 pts each.

Thousand Son:

-Bolt Pistol
-Force Weapon

Special Rules:
Thousand Sons:

-Cult Psyker

-Any Thousand Son may be upgraded to a Sorceror for +20 pts.
-Any Sorceror have Melta Bombs for +5 pts.
-A Sorceror May select one of the following cult psychic powers:
-Kine Shield +15 pts
-Bio Manipulation +15 pts
-Telepathy +15 pts
-Warp Fire +20 pts
-Strands of the Future +5 pts
-The squad may have a rhino as a transport.


Enumerations: All of the Thousand Sons have mastered the mental training to focus thier minds, and shut out all emotion, allowing them to fight as if machines. Thousand Sons and Sorcerers are Fearless.

Tutelary: Each sorcerer has his own Tutelary, a fragment of the primordial creator that empowers his spells. Sorcerers may cast spells through their tutelaries. In order to represent this, you may count the origin of any spell cast by a Thousand Son Sorcerer as any point within 12" of the sorcerer. Declare this point before attempting any leadership checks, and use this point to determine range, LOS, and cover if necessary.

Cult Psyker: Each of the different Cults of the Thousand Sons practice different types of warp manipulation, and although squads are made up of primarily one cult, others are dispersed between squads. To represent this, only one cult psychic power may be duplicated in any squad. Also, every cult is able to summon lightning of the warp to burn their foes. Sorcerer's know the Warp Lightning power in addition to any other psychic powers. Thousand Son's sorcerers may only use one psychic power in a turn, although they may also use the ability of their force weapon in addition to this.

Kine Shields: The powers of the Raptora cult is the ability to create shields of force around themselves and others. This power is usable in your movement phase. If successful, the squad has a 4+ Inv. Save until the end of your opponents next turn.

Biomanipulation: The powers of the Pavoni are able to change the melocular structure of themselves or thier enemies. They are able to cause nuerons to misfire, and muscles to spasm. This is a Shooting attack with a range of 12" that targets a single squad. If the psychic test is passed, 1d6 models in the squad must take Toughness tests. If the tests are failed, they are removed from play with no armor or invulnerable saves allowed.

Telepathy: The members of the Athanean Cult are able to read the minds of their enemies and relay information to other members of their army. This power is used at the beginning of the turn before any other actions are taken. Choose one friendly unit. That unit may not move, shoot, assault or take any action this turn. During your opponents next turn, you may interrupt your opponents turn and move, shoot, and assault with the chosen unit. You may also take any special actions during this time as well.

Warp Fire: The warp fire of the Pyrae burns not only the physical form but also their spirit in the aether, only when it has completely consumed the soul of the victim will it extinguish itself. This power is a shooting attack. It has the following profile: Strength 4 AP - Assault 3. For each enemy that saves against the attack put a fire counter on the unit. During each of your subsequent shooting phases, resolve a shooting attack against any unit with Fire counters on it. This attack ignores cover, automatically hits and has the following profile: Strength 4 AP - Assualt X, where X is the number of fire counters on the unit. Remove one fire counter on the unit for each model that is removed by this attack.

Strands of the Future: The Corvidae can look to the strands of the future and see and interpret the myriad of timelines that would make normal men go mad. Use this power at the beginning of the turn. The psyker may reroll all failed to hit, to wound, armor saves, and invulnerable saves until the end of the turn. Enemies who have to take armor or invulnerable saves from the psyker's attacks must re-roll successful ones.

Warp Lighting: All sorcerers of the Thousand Sons can create Lighting with their powers. This power is a shooting attack with the following profile: Range 12" Strength 4 AP 2 Assault 2.

So there it is, let me know what you all think.