Hello everyone, Instead of making a new thread I'd just add my experience in playing this module. ***SPOILERS***
We started up last session, with my somewhat experienced Cadian Shock troops PCs who already ran the module in the main book.
After spending quite some time on the ship listening to rumors, doing the briefing etc, they went into the dropship thinking they would all likely be ambushed or have something bad happen to them - the briefing saying "we don't expect this to happen" basically told the players "THIS will happen!" Still, foreshadowing if nothing else, and I portrayed there was a bet running in their Company about whether they would be ambushed on landing or not, with odds of 8/2 in favor of something terrible going to happen
Surely enough it did, and the PCs was quickly wanting to do something about it ever since their dropship got hit by the attack - I had to actually push the story onwards just to get to the "Into the cockpit" scene - even if it was optional having the PCs do nothing in a scene portrayed as if they will all die is stupid. The scene itself had as I expected way too many Acrobatics checks, and strangely enough just staying put was more dangerous than trying to do something (+20 Acrobatics vs -10?). Also, I had to nerf the "falling damage" and give half armor towards being bumped around, do avoid the party getting killed just trying to get there. Any character without Acrobatics skill is likely to get 1d10+3 to 1d10+5 damage EVERY ROUND until they get strapped down, which is insane. I had to make the damage 1d5, +1 per DoF and give them armor to avoid killing the Operator who only have 6 wounds to start with.
Other than that, the scene went well - the Operator had taken the Hotshot Pilot talent and finally found use for it, making those Tech use tests fairly easy for him, and also a chance to display his Braggart personality by using the intercom and declaring that he was saving the ship, and when landing putting on the green light.
The crash combat was handled both narratively and in detail at the same time. In the beginning the PCs mostly started getting their gear and organizing the squads - the game says all officers are killed, but this is a poor design due to the fact that we have invested time and effort in making these officers come to life. So in my game they know at least one officer came out alive but unconscious, and later they will find out more officers escaped as well, so they lost "only" about 60% of them.
I also had to gloss over the fact that none of the players present played a Sergeant or anyone with actual rank, so in theory the NCOs of the Company should be taking charge despite their officers and commissars being killed. So Sergeants from other squads took command of each squad without actually taking over the whole company, while the PCs got to be the unifying force that led by example.
The combat was somewhat strange - even though the module is meant for a light infantry regiment, they do include several Chimeras that the PCs can use, making the hordes of normal greenskins outside a trivial encounter. Also since our regiment are mechanized infantry, they found it natural to use their normal Chimera to drive out, backed up by several other squads.
Most of the orks in the room did not enter combat with the PCs, but I used the mob of 20 Lootas and the ork Nob in megarmor become the challenge. This worked better than I anticipated, as the Deffgun the Lootas use are actually dangerous enough to potentially hard a Chimera from the front. Instead of rolling 20 attack rolls every turn, I figured only 20% of them would have randomly enough power in their gun that turn to hard the chimera - and the PCs got really worried when I started rolling 5d10s against them for damage, sometimes with Penetration too. Also, each time they would get a Righteous Fury, the Chimera would take 1 damage even if the shot would not normally do damage.
Those of the PCs who were exposed in the turret hatch were also being shot at by some Lootas, one being damaged and Stunned once. During this time I mostly ignored the other X Chimeras, thinking they were busy fighting other orks in the grand cavern.
Another fun part was the Nob- he actually had so much armor and toughness that even the Multilaser in the Chimera hardly wounded him at all, some shots even bouncing off. While he never got close enough to get into Melee, he made the Chimera Operator back off in fear, all the while firing the Multilaser at him. The Heavy used the Heavy Bolter to shoot down ork after ork, doing enough damage to Crit but not kill, due to the ork sheer toughness (True Grit is overpowered), while the Weapons Specialist used his Grenade launcher to finish off the wounded orks, doing critical damage to many of them at once. PS: If the Nob in question were do assault the Chimera he would probably do some serious damage, and the PCs on foot would hardly be able to wound him at all - Lasguns would be useless, and even stuff like a heavy bolter would struggle with damaging him. Having him start about 100 meters away is too long though, so I recommend half that or less. After all, the PCs don't have to defeat him, only drive away.
After about 5 rounds of combat, the PCs had killed/disabled about half of the Lootas mob, the Chimera was lightly damaged, and the Operator got his glory by ramming the Nob and killing him with the Chimera outright. They then decided finally to withdraw as they saw still tons of orks pouring inn, Bomb squiqs getting ready, and orks with Heavy weapons at the Ordinatus. I also made it clear the Ordinatus would not be able to move without significant repairs, otherwise they PCs would probably have attempted to take it. It is critical that the DM makes it clear to the PCs that they are over their heads, Chimeras or not. They also noticed that one of their own Chimeras had been taken out by ork Lascannon fire.
Once getting out of the cavern, the module gives two choices without giving much of a hint to the players what to do: Go left or go right. Right is of course right, but the players chose to go left and got into some combat that way as well, but they managed to rescue another Chimera that got stuck in the fungal forest, and tried to rescue another that had gone into the main ork town and was overrun by orks - at this point the PCs gave up trying to take on all the orks, tried to rescue as many as they could, and then turned back. From there on it was smooth sailing - they ran through the Maddoks hospital and casually killed him with Multilaser fire, before getting to the garage/hangar. here they decided to stop and destroy all the ork vehicles, while waiting for the other Chimeras to catch up. They also tried to set up some explosives to block the passage, but failed the Perception test, so they were only able to blow up the fuel and ammo, not collapse the entrance. Getting out was easy, the orks with Dakkaguns were easily dispatched before they could open the cages of the Bomb squigs.
That's where we left off. They have 10 surviving Chimeras and as many squads, and they had one companion film everything that happened with a pict recorder, so this intel on the Ordinatus will be very useful later. Overall a very fun evening and some interesting vehicle combat.
Hope this was an interesting read for GMs who considers playing this module. And I'd like to hear other experiences too.