Only the truly desperate or insane would ever attempt to invade Fenris and besiege the Fang, one of the Imperium's greatest bastions. Adam Troke stokes up the campfire and recounts two such tales of battle on the Space Wolves' home world.
The Fang is reckoned by many to be the mightiest fortress in the Imperium, save only the ancient defences of Terra. For millennia it has stood inviolate against the worst horrors of the galaxy, proof against any and all attackers. It has been said that only a madman would choose to march upon the savage world of Fenris, and only the truly desperate would make war against its principle defence,
The Fang is the towering citadel of the Space Wolves, a mighty stronghold carved into the flesh of the tallest mountain peak on all of Fenris. The Fang thrusts proudly into the sky, piercing the very heavens with its soaring majesty, and at its peak the war-fleets of the Space Wolves can dock and take on the weapons, munitions and warriors to crush the foes of Mankind.
There is no weakness in the defences of the Fang, no secret flaw that might enable the Space Wolves' foes to lay them low -the machineries within their great fortress are unequalled examples of lost technology, powered by thermal reactors that have operated without fault or failure since the days when Leman Russ strode the stars. Orbital defence lasers, massive weapons that can shatter the greatest starships, stand sentinel against enemies borne amid the
stars, concealed from prying eyes deep
within the slopes of the Fang. Turrets sporting battle cannons and heavy bolters guard the great gates, maintaining a watch of constant vigilance on the snow-covered slopes below, sweeping the terrain around the Fang for the enemies of the Chapter.
So it is that the future of the Space Wolves Chapter is secure, for none but the utterly insane or vengeful would dare to make an assault on the Fang - for if the planet's cruel climate and brutal fauna aren't deadly enough, the Fang is garrisoned by the Space Wolves themselves, fiercest and most deadly of all the Adeptus Astartes.
And yet, in spite of all these risks, the enemies of the Space Wolves have tried again and again to storm this great bastion of Imperial might. Each has failed, their efforts utterly crushed at the last. The two most notorious of these treacherous efforts
are detailed here.
The Thousand Sons Invade
During the 32nd Millennium, the Fang faced the sternest test since its creation as Magnus the Red, Primarch of the Thousand Sons, sought vengeance for the ravaging of Prospero during the Horus Heresy.
During the Horus Heresy, Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves Legion, was charged with bringing Magnus the Red to justice. In an extraordinarily violent and brutal planetary invasion, Leman Russ and his scions drove the Thousand Sons from their home world in a cataclysmic encounter. That battle was immortalised as the Sack of Prospero, a grievous wound to the pride of the Thousand Sons that Magnus long sought to avenge.
His campaign of vengeance began with a number of speculative incursions intended to misdirect and confound the Scions of Fenris. In an effort to divide the Space Wolves and scatter their resources, Magnus and his allies commenced a series of raids upon the worlds near Fenris, each attack bloodier and more brutal than the last. These attacks had the effect of drawing Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm and his warriors away from Fenris and into a protracted hunt that lasted years. Though they wrought many mighty deeds within this time, the Space Wolves never once were able to get to grips with Magnus the Red. Several times Magnus appeared to Harek as a vision, taunting him amongst the ruins of devastated cities, each time leading the Space Wolves further from Fenris, and from Magnus' true goal. A final Warp-dream cast into the mind of the Great Wolf drew the Space Wolves to the Chaos-held world of Gangava, and what Harek Ironhelm believed was a secret Thousand Sons' stronghold - wasting no time, the Space Wolves, supported by the vast majority of the Chapter's strength, launched a full-scale offensive.
This, of course, was Magnus' greatest deception, for Gangava was indeed a stronghold, but garrisoned by Magnus' allies. Though it was strongly held, Magnus and the Thousand Sons were elsewhere. Indeed, as Harek and his warriors hurled themselves against the Chaos forces on Gangava, Magnus and his war-fleet launched their own attack on Fenris.
Defending the Fang against the Thousand Sons Legion and their Chaotic allies was a token force of Space Wolves numbering perhaps a few hundred. Most of the Space Wolves that remained on Fenris were Wolf Scouts caught unawares in the wilderness of Asaheim, and Blood Claws
barely raised up from their initiation. The defenders of the Fang realised they faced certain annihilation unless the remainder of their Chapter returned to aid them. In
desperation, the Space Wolves awoke the slumbering form of one of their Chapter's greatest heroes, and so Bjorn the Fell-Handed rose to do battle against the scions of Prospero once again.
For forty days and forty nights Bjorn and his scattered forces held the Thousand Sons at bay, even resorting to luring many of Magnus' warriors into catacombs beneath the Fang itself where they could collapse tunnels upon the foe, and where the ferocity of the Blood Claws in close assault could negate the numerical advantage of the Thousand Sons and their allies.
While Bjorn oversaw the desperate defence of the Fang, a small task force of Scouts, led by the hard-bitten Haakon Blackwing fought their way free of the citadel and took ship to Gangava, bringing word of the siege to Harek Ironbrow and the rest of the Space Wolves.
Overcome with fury and shame, Harek led his forces back to Fenris with all haste and finally brought Magnus to battle on the blood-stained slopes of the Fang. There, Harek and Magnus fought in vicious close combat, and though the Wolf Lord was slain, Magnus too was injured and his warriors were forced to retreat in the face of the vengeful Space Wolves.
Harek Ironhelm was the Great Wolf at the time of Magnus the Red's invasion of Fenris in M32. For two hundred years or more Harek led the sons of Fenris in scores of successful campaigns, including crushing the Legions of Rolante and halting Waaagh! Starbiter within the Eurydian Cluster.
Harek's reputation and legend, millennia after his passing, is a mixed one. Though there is great shame in allowing the Space Wolves' most hated foes to tread the snows of Fenris, and lay siege to their fastness, Harek redeemed himself at the last, striking a blow against the vile Primarch of the Thousand Sons that has reverberated throughout the ages.
The Plague of Unbelief
Within the Space Wolves' Hall of Heroes are statues, trophies and relics that honour the triumphs of the greatest champions of the Space Wolves Chapter. Here are commemorated those great warriors whose sagas stand as a record of the Space Wolves' most glorious deeds. Even amongst these most legendary of Space Wolves, Kyrl Grimblood holds a place of honour, for it was he and his Great Company that saved Fenris at a time of ultimate peril.
Though Grimblood fought in a thousand or more battles and personally slew countless enemies of Mankind, in delivering the Fang, and by extension all Fenris, from the clutches of Cardinal Bucharis' renegade armies, Kyrl restored hope to the floundering Imperium and heralded the end to the tyranny and oppression that had been ravaging the Emperor's domain.
The Spirit Wolf is a badge that is not often chosen by the Wolf Lords, for it is considered a sign of ill-omen by many. Kyrl Grimblood is perhaps the most famous Wolf Lord to have chosen it as his sigil. For Kyrl, at least, this choice of badge was proven to be not just well-omened, but prophetic. Throughout his tenure as a Wolf Lord, Kyrl became renowned for attacking from an unseen quarter, swift and terrifying like a blood-soaked spectre.
In the second quarter of M36 the Plague of Unbelief sundered the Imperium. A by-blow of the Age of Apostasy, the Plague of Unbelief is the name given to the massive uprising created by Cardinal Bucharis, who in a few short years managed to raise a military force powerful enough to utterly destabilise the Imperium. Entire star systems were swiftly absorbed by his wanton greed and brutal conquests as Bucharis sought to redefine the Imperium into a new, cruel regime based around the world of Gathalamor. Soon entire Imperial Guard regiments had thrown their lot in with Bucharis, as well as the Battlefleet Pacificus and countless mercenaries, aliens and degenerates.
The northward expansion of Cardinal Bucharis' pitiless empire quickly brought his fleets into contact with the domain of the Space Wolves. During this time of great upheaval, the Space Wolves had kept themselves aloof from the infighting and treachery infecting the Imperium, preferring instead to defend the systems around their home world. Bucharis' encroachment into the systems around Fenris, however, was all the cause the Space Wolves needed, and soon full-scale war erupted between the Space Wolves and the forces of the renegade Cardinal. A massive invasion fleet soon arrived within the range of Fenris and a fierce space battle broke out. Though the Space Wolves' small picket fleet was grievously outnumbered, they succeeded in crippling many of the renegade vessels before escaping, beginning a hit-and-run campaign against Bucharis' rebel fleet that would last years.
Braving the punishing fire from the Fang's many defence lasers, thousands of troop transports descended on Fenris. Though many were reduced to flaming wreckage, others arrived intact and disgorged troops and vehicles onto the continent of Asaheim. Bucharis' forces cut a bloody swathe across Asaheim, dogged at every turn by the vicious Fenrisian weather, the scout parties of the Space Wolves and even the indigenous population of Fenris. Whole communities were butchered as Bucharis' savage army approached the Fang, villages were razed to the ground and thousands were enslaved. Soon the Fang was surrounded by a sea of traitorous soldiers that stretched off into the horizon.
For all their numbers and brutality, however, the forces of the Apostate Cardinal were small match for the kindled fury of the Space Wolves. Enraged at the treatment of their fellow Fenrisians and the
temerity' of these renegades at invading
their realm, they struck back with all the
savagery they could muster. Wolf Scouts -severed lines of communication, assassinating unit leaders with pinpoint attacks, exploding munitions caches and sowing discord amongst the foe. Blood Claws emerged from hidden passageways beneath the Fang, hurling themselves at the traitors in a gore-soaked frenzy. Long Fangs executed careful ambushes, eliminating armoured convoys with heavy weapons fire, and collapsing mountainous valleys onto miles-long convoys of vehicles and enemy reinforcements.
For three years the Cardinal threw his best warriors against the Fang, promising them wealth and glory beyond measure, should they be victorious. For three years the Space Wolves held them at bay, inflicting monstrous casualties every time they repelled an assault.
The end of the siege came with the return of Kyrl Grimblood and his Great Company who, returning from a Great Hunt within the Eye of Terror, quickly took stock of the situation. His fleet appeared within the Fenris system and immediately engaged the renegade ships there. Trapped between the wrathful forces of Kyrl Grimblood and the remnant forces that had dogged them for three years, almost half of Bucharis' fleet was annihilated in one perfectly executed engagement. The survivors fled the system - leaving the soldiers on Fenris to their fate.
Grimblood's initial counter-attack on the surface of Fenris killed tens of thousands of Traitor Guardsmen, hurling them from the mountain passes and driving them back towards the flat plains of Asaheim. Drop Pods disgorged Grey Hunter Packs into the heart of the enemy, while Thunderhawk Gunships deployed Predators and Land Raiders into dominating positions. Grimblood himself plunged into battle alongside the warriors of his elite bodyguard, the Oath Brothers -more than fifty Wolf Guard veterans in Terminator armour who tore the heart out of the traitor's command structure. Retreating and leaderless, the renegades' fate was sealed as giant wolf packs and the vicious climate of Asaheim finished what Grimblood's Great Company had begun.
Playing Games on Fenris
Having shared two great tales of heroism and bloodshed that are stained into the history of Fenris, it's highly likely that your appetite for fighting battles upon the ice-blasted home of the Space Wolves has been whetted - who could resist the chance to play games set upon one of the Imperium's most notorious death worlds? On this page you'll find some simple house rules for playing games on Fenris. Obviously you'll need to check with your opponent before you arrange a Fenris battle, but, with prior warning, I'm sure he'll agree. You can always play a game on your opponent's home turf next time, after all.
Fenris is a notorious death world, considered among the very deadliest of planets in the Imperium. It appears that every aspect of the world conspires to kill those who walk upon it.
Fenrisian storms are unforgiving, as punishing as the most savage ice-storms that can be found in the galaxy. A blizzard can change in an instant from a snowy deluge to a barrage of razor-sharp ice-shards, lacerating the flesh of the unwary and clogging the workings of armour and vehicles.
At the beginning of the game, roll a D6 and consult the Fenrisian Storm table below. Roll again at the start of each game turn, adding +1 to result for each full turn of the game that has passed.
The Storm Abates: The wind howls and snow smothers the ground. No effect.
Blinding Flurries: The driving snow obscures all vision. All shooting attacks suffer a 25% penalty to their range, rounding fractions up.
Brutal Winds: The winds buffet and pummel anyone caught in the open. Non-vehicle units moving in open ground must pass a Strength test or move as though in difficult terrain.
Howling Death: Moving swiftly during an intense storm such as this can bring death. Models that travel more than 6" in any single phase must take a Dangerous Terrain test.
Ice-storm: Shards of ice lash the combatants, flaying the unfortunate. Every unit on the table suffers 1 wound/glancing hit on the roll of a 2+, allocated by its controlling player.
The Wrath of Fenris: All of the above effects are in play. In addition, all non-Space Wolves are at -3 Leadership.
Here are two examples of special terrain I features, which you can use in battles set on ' Fenris. Why not invent more of your own?
Lakes and rivers freeze solid in the depths of a Fenrisian winter. While the ice is strong, these features are still perilous for any daring to cross it. Any unit or vehicle that stops on a frozen lake or river risks death.
Any model wishing to move over a frozen river or lake must declare how far it wishes to travel. For models with a Wounds characteristic, if the total distance is equal to or greater than the model's armour save, then it must fail an armour save or suffer a wound. Models with an Armour Value (not including skimmers, amphibious vehicles and flyers, who are unaffected) that travel over such features must roll over their highest armour value on 4D6 or be removed from play.
Icy crags make for perilous locations, where the unwary can slip and fall to their death in an instant. With great care and attention, a skilled warrior could traverse them unharmed, but in the heat of battle the slightest slip or error of judgement can cost a warrior his life. Should a fighter lose his footing, even for a moment, his foes will surely strike!
When fighting close combats upon icy crags, pay special attention to your dice. Should you roll any 1s when rolling to hit, your warrior has momentarily lost his footing. One enemy model in base contact (chosen by the controlling player) may immediately make an additional attack.
Orb. Dist. 1.51 AU (Mean) 1.14G/Temp 11A-96.1D Tithe Grade: Aptus Non Aestimare: D1 Population: Survey Failed
A Fenrisian year is equal to roughly two Terran years. During the planet's orbit of the sun, Fenris is plunged into a merciless winter that freezes the entire surface of the world, enabling only the
hardiest life forms to survive.
While the Wolf Scouts unleashed the wrath of the Chapter upon the advancing Thousand Sons, the few Iron Priests remaining within the Fang, realising their predicament, awoke the slumbering Bjorn. Shaking off the fugue brought by decades of torpid dormancy, Bjorn the Fell-Handed, who once fought at the side of Leman Russ, gathered the defenders of the Fang together and outlined his plan of defence.
Bjorn would form the bulwark in the plans of the Space Wolves, for who better than he who stormed through the burning fortifications of Prospero, knew the minds of the Thousand Sons and their daemonic Primarch? Flanked by the awed ranks of Blood Claws and a scant handful of Grey Hunters and Long Fangs, Bjorn the Fell-Handed prepared to halt the maniacal intentions of Magnus the Red once again.
When Magnus the Red slew Harek Ironhelm, the Red Giant cast the Great Wolf's broken body down upon the crimson-spattered slopes of the Fang. Where Harek fell there is now a sombre crypt, a shrine to the memory of that noble Wolf Lord who battled the Chapter's gravest foe. Whenever an aspirant Rune Priest undergoes his ordeal of initiation, he must first make a pilgrimage to this mighty edifice and call upon the spirit of Harek Ironhelm. It is said that the spirit of the fallen Great Wolf appears to warn the aspirant against trusting visions granted by Chaos.
Before his elevation to the status of Great Wolf, Harek Ironhelm and his Great Company bore the badge of the Iron Wolf. As the Iron Wolf bore the mountains of Asaheim upon its back, Harek claimed that the honour of the Space Wolves rested upon the shoulders of his Great Company.
Magnus struck him thrice and thrice more, but even these wounds were not enough, and Harek did rise again. Though gore stained the snow and his heart was broken, he faced the giant. Though his beard and hair were ablaze, skin blackened through eldritch flame, he did roar his hate of the Red Witch of Prospero. Once fell his right axe. and the giant did bellow, twice fell its twin and all gathered did stare amazed. Had Harek slain the father of a thousand sorcerers?
Nay, for the Red Giant had sworn the craven oaths of a traitor, and though he was rent and torn, death would not claim him. Clasping mighty Harek by the throat he raised him up, and with a look from his baleful eye he did murder a legend.
Haakon Blackwing and his elite force of Wolf Scouts succeeded in breaking through the Thousand Sons cordon and taking ship towards Gangava. During this time, Bjorn and the remaining defenders found themselves increasingly hard pressed as Magnus the Red and the greatest warriors of the Thousand Sons besieged the Fang. Casualties on both sides were horrendous as the Chaos Space Marines hurled themselves at the Fang with relentless fury. For forty days and forty nights Magnus and his warriors sought a breach in the defences of the Fang, but each time the ancient cunning of Bjorn the Fell-Handed countered them. Unseasoned Blood Claws became hardened veterans, carving their own sagas through the ranks of the Thousand Sons, even as the eldritch powers of the Chaos Space Marines flensed
the souls of the Space Wolf defenders.
Finally, as even Bjorn's masterful defence began to falter and it looked as though all was lost, dark shapes appeared in the skies, rapidly enlarging to take the shape of Drop Pods and Thunderhawk Gunships, bringing the wrathful Space Wolves of Harek Ironhelm plunging towards the planet's surface. Even as they landed, the Space Wolves mercilessly punished the rear echelons of Magnus' army, slaughtering hundreds of his warriors and thousands of his allies. Within hours the full fury of the Space Wolves Chaper was roaring towards his position, Rhinos and Land Raiders filling the horizon as they approached. Magnus the Red bellowed with savage delight, for though the Siege of the Fang was over, the Battle for Fenris had only just begun - the fate of both the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons Chapters hung in the balance.
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