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Dawn of War - Winter Assault

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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault is the first expansion to Dawn of War for the PC, developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ. Based on Games Workshop's tabletop wargame, Warhammer 40,000, Dawn of War - Winter Assault was released on September 23, 2005. Some time after its initial release, Winter Assault and Dawn of War were coupled together in a double pack which featured some art on a fold-out cover, an Ork with a Flamer, or a group of Imperial Guard tanks lined up for attack. It was the first of three expansion packs released by THQ in 2005.

Expansion Features

Imperial Guard

A new faction was included in Winter Assault, the Imperial Guard, previously only available in certain single-player missions of Dawn of War. The Imperial Guard specialises in defence, and therefore has the strongest defensive structures of all the factions in the game. Their infantry tends to be of lower quality than that of their opponents in terms of weapons, armour, and morale, but the Imperial Guard makes up for this with a range of powerful tanks, such as the Baneblade and Leman Russ, as well as the combat walkers called Sentinels, which until the Dark Crusade expansion were the only vehicular unit in the game which could uncapture strategic points.

New Campaign

There are two new single player campaigns, both of which involve each faction attempting to recover a lost Imperator-class Imperial Titan. All of the races and factions from Dawn of War (the Orks, Eldar, Chaos, and Space Marines) are available in addition to the new Imperial Guard, with each race trying to find and gain control of the Titan for their own reasons. Although the Titan as a whole is not controllable, its weapon systems can be used to assist in the destruction of the Necrons, who make a cameo appearance in the final mission for each faction. In this campaign, at the beginning the player has a choice to either serve Disorder, whose factions are the Orks and Chaos Space Marines, or serve Order which at the beginning of the game is the Eldar and Imperial Guard with a few appearances of the Space Marines.

Other Changes

Many of the units available in Dawn of War were simplified, reduced or limited for the Winter Assault expansion. For example, Space Marine Predator tanks were limited to carrying anti-tank weapons while Chaos Predators were limited to anti-personnel weapons. In the original Dawn of War game both sides could upgrade their tanks from anti-personnel to anti-tank (the Destructor pattern and Annihilator pattern, respectively). Likewise the Land Raider was limited to one per player. Limitations were also applied to the Orks, who lost most of their upgrade choices and became limited in their weapon choices. The Eldar had their "hard counters" removed, meaning that specialized units such as the Dark Reapers were no longer as prominently effective against heavy infantry. Some units, including most of the Ork army, also lost the ability to use grenades. The Chaos Space Marines also lost the ability to upgrade to any heavy weapons other than the Heavy Bolter.

Plot

Forces of Order

In the Forces of Order campaign, the player takes on the role of a Cadian Shock Troops regiment of the Imperial Guard (with occasional allied assistance from the Space Marines of the Ultramarines Chapter) and the Eldar. The 412th Cadian Regiment participated in the Imperial campaign on Lorn V under the command of General Sturnn. General Sturnn and the 412th Regiment land on Lorn V, an Ice World ruled by Chaos Space Marines from the World Eaters Traitor Legion's warband known as the Blood Legion of Khorne and indigenous Orks led by the Warboss Gorgutz, intending to assist the Ultramarines already on Lorn V to get a crew from the Collegia Titanica to recover the Imperator-class Titan Dominatus, a massive and powerful humanoid war engine from the time of the Horus Heresy that is powerful enough to win many conflicts by itself. Built in ancient times over 10,000 standard years before, the construction of an Emperor Titan is an enormous undertaking requiring the efforts of many Forge Worlds, and any Titans found in the wider galaxy left from the days of the Horus Heresy are treasured relics of the Imperium. Though the Imperial Guard's beachhead hits a wall (literally) trying to retake the Planetary Defence Fortress from the Forces of Chaos, the Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwe secretly assist the 412th and disable the gate preventing their progress. Eventually the troops of the 412th rescues the Ultramarines and the Titan crew, and begins the long trek to reach the disabled Titan.

The Ulthwe Eldar, led by their Farseer Taldeer, do everything in their power to make sure their presence remains unknown, but when an Ork Mekboy with unique technology capable of sensing their teleportation appears, they are forced to reveal their presence, destroy the Ork, and teleport away. Too badly damaged to accomplish their original goals following their combat with the Orks, Taldeer is forced to reveal herself and openly ask Sturnn for assistance. Sturnn agrees, and the Orks are pushed back.

In the aftermath of the combat against the Greenskins, Taldeer reveals that she does not care about recovering the Titan, but instead her goal is the destruction of the Necrons who hibernate underneath the planet's frozen surface, for Lorn V is also a Necron Tomb World. Over 60 million standard years before, the ancient xenos species known as the Necrons had chosen to hibernate deep beneath their Tomb Worlds across the galaxy for millions of years, and now they are awakening. Taldeer explained that she could not allow the Necrons to escape from Lorn V, because if they do, they will cause untold damage to the surrounding star systems and potentially to her own Craftworld before being stopped. The two factions ally, but both know their goals are mutually exclusive. At this point the player may choose to pursue the goals of either the Eldar or the Imperial Guard.

Imperial Guard

If the player chooses the Imperial Guard, General Sturnn assists the Ultramarines in getting the Titan's crew past the uneasy alliance of Orks and the World Eaters warband on Lorn V into the safety of a waiting psychic shield, preventing their enemies from following them directly to the Titan. However, Taldeer and her Eldar are trapped with the Orks and the Traitor Marines of the Blood Legion, and she tells Sturnn behind the shield that he cannot defeat the Necrons without her. However, Sturnn laughs off her prediction with the typical Imperial arrogance shown towards xenos. As he will not risk his men for hers, Sturnn and the 412th Cadian Regiment march on to their goal, while the Eldar are butchered a few feet away from them by the Traitor Marines and the Greenskins.

Upon reaching the Titan, the Ork/World Eaters alliance known as the Forces of Disorder descends on the Imperial encampment protecting the Titan. The crew begins to work, but they require a massive amount of energy to power-up the Titan's ancient systems, and Sturnn is forced to protect the Titan, several Plasma Generators, and a nearby Imperial encampment of survivors from the Forces of Disorder. Although the Titan is too badly damaged to move until extensive repairs can be carried out, its now-operational weapons easily dispatch the Orks and Chaos Space Marines. However, the massive release of power causes the Necrons to fully awaken, and they butcher the remaining forces of the Ork/World Eaters alliance. Beginning their slow march to destroy the only living souls left, the Imperials, they nearly succeed before the Titan's new crew is able to destroy the Necron Monoliths using the Titan's weapons. Ultimately, the Cadian 412th and the Ultramarines are successful in repairing the Titan, destroying the Ork/World Eaters alliance, and destroying the Necrons before they escaped from the planet, but at the cost of the lives of Farseer Taldeer and her Eldar. This is no way bothered Sturnn or the Ultramarines, who believed the Eldar to be untrustworthy xenos.

Eldar

Taldeer uses the distraction caused by the Ork/World Eaters' attack on the Imperial Guard and the Ultramarines to teleport her buildings, troops, and Soul Stone past the psychic shield. The Ultramarines are slaughtered, but Sturnn and much of this Imperial Guard Regiment manage to escape the horde of Orks and Chaos Space Marines.

Unlike the Imperial Guard campaign, Taldeer does not fight the Forces of Disorder when she reaches the Titan: the Imperial Guard has surrounded her, but the Necrons awaken and begin trying to kill the Eldar. Taldeer uses the Soul Stone and sneaks past the shield to destroy an awakened Necron Monolith, but too many more appear before the Soul Stone can recharge. Desperate for a weapon to use, she decides to power up the "primitive, but still powerful" weapons of the Titan surrounding her (able to jury-rig a solution, since she does not have a Titan crew), convinces Sturnn that he can have the Titan once the Necrons are defeated (thus once again gaining the humans as allies), and uses the Titan's weaponry to utterly defeat the Necrons. Although successful in destroying the Necrons of Lorn V and gaining a momentary victory over the Necron war machine across the galaxy, Taldeer's unfamiliarity with the Titan's weapons systems causes them to explode, destroying the Dominatus. She and her Eldar manage to teleport away in time, but the fate of Sturnn and his men is left unknown.

Campaign of Disorder

The Campaign of Disorder begins with the Ork Warboss Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter trying to unite the Ork Boyz on Lorn V under his control. With Gorgutz's starting force, he launches attacks against the Headcrushaz, Rokkitrangaz, Burnaboyz, and Kwikmeks clans, destroying their "Big Banners" and uniting them under his rule. His force is eventually stopped by the shielded gate of the Footstompaz' fortress, whereupon he promptly destroys the generators feeding power to the gate. He soon discovers that Squiggoths are loose in the Footstompaz's base. After freeing the Footstompaz' Mad Dok from the holding pen, he brings Squiggoths and Footstompaz under his control, after which he attacks a remote outpost on the world belonging to the World Eaters warband known as the Blood Legion of Khorne, which is led by the Chaos Lord Crull.

Gorgutz, to take his newly unified WAAAGH! across the icy planet, flies to some unknown destination but is shot down by a World Eaters anti-aircraft battery. Gorgutz survives, and the Chaos Lord Crull seeks to slay the Greenskin chieftain. Crull soons meets Gorgutz's remaining Orks while they are launching assaults on his Temples of Khorne. While trying to kill Gorgutz, Crull realizes Gorgutz is surrounded by a shield, making him invulnerable. Crull soon sets out to destroy the Ork base nearby and also the Ork power generator feeding power to Gorgutz' shield. After Crull's Chaos Space Marines successfully destroys the Ork's base and the generator, Gorgutz launches a massive assault on the Chaotic forces, but Crull promptly returns and puts an end to Gorgutz. Gorgutz is dead, but before Crull can savour his victory, an artillery barrage unleashed by the Cadian 412th begins on the location. Gorgutz suddenly springs up, as it turned out he was just playing dead. Crull expects Gorgutz' force to aid him in defeating the Imperials, but Gorgutz flatly refuses and escapes to rouse his Boyz and kill the "humiez" himself.

After Gorgutz escapes, he gathers his WAAAGH! and assaults the Imperial Guard Regiment's base, killing the Imperial General Sturnn, taking his head as a trophy and enraging Crull by saying that his head will be the next trophy that Gorgutz takes. Crull, however, finds out about the existence of the Emperor Titan Dominatus and is determined to use it to destroy his enemies and become an even more powerful force among the Forces of Chaos. To do this, he summons Chaos Sorcerers from the Eye of Terror to gather blood from local Imperial forces to appease Khorne, his chosen Chaos God. At this time, the Eldar force from Craftworld Ulthwe led by Farseer Taldeer appears at Crull's base and attacks it, continually launching assaults throughout the mission. When Crull gathers enough blood, the Eldar summon an Avatar of Khaine, a manifestation of their own God of War, to overwhelm the Chaotic forces' base. Crull is forced to use the blood gathered to summon a Bloodthirster, a powerful Greater Daemon of Khorne, and defeats the Eldar. However, Crull uses too much of the sacrificial blood summoning the Bloodthirster and is forced to gather more later. However, he learns Gorgutz is amassing his forces near the Titan: fearful for the safety of his great prize, Crull decides to confront Gorgutz and put an end to the irksome Greenskin.

Chaos

Crull and his World Eaters Chaos Space Marines fall upon the Ultramarine convoy transporting the Titan crew, killing all the Imperials they find. The Chaotic forces then proceed to butcher their way through the remaining Imperials to the psychic gate, which they then open for long enough to get their men and vehicles through, before sealing it shut on the Orks. As the Orks desperately try to breach it, Crull taunts Gorgutz with the knowledge that he only spared the Ork's life so he could fight the Imperials and Eldar, thus saving Crull the trouble of doing so: Crull remarks to Gorgutz "You've been a good dog...NOW DIE!". Furious that their WAAAGH! is at an end, the Orks turn on Gorgutz, who narrowly fights his way out from his own enraged Greenskin followers. However, with no one to lead them, the Orks no longer pose a threat as they revert to their usual fratricidal ways.

Crull and his men establish a base near the downed Titan and re-erect their sacrificial pit dedicated to the Blood God. While fending off attacks from the last few Imperial outposts, corrupted psykers under Crull's control capture Imperial Guardsmen and bring them back to the base to be sacrificed to the Blood God. But as Crull acquires enough blood, the Necrons finally awaken: knowing he can't stop them, but now possessing the full favour of Khorne, Crull orders his Sorcerers to possess the Titan using a daemon spirit, bringing its weapons under his command. With the power of the Titan, the Necrons and surviving Imperials are annihilated. Delighted with his victory, Crull prepares to rebuild the Titan, and then take his war across the galaxy. He vows to his troops that what will come next "is not longer war: it is endless sacrifice in His name! Blood for the Blood God...let the universe drown in it!"

Orks

Gorgutz and his Boyz smash their way through the Ulthwe Eldar forces in the city, killing the Farseer Taldeer, and reach the psychic gate before the Chaos Lord Crull, cutting the power to it to allow them entry. A desperate battle ensues between the Orks and Chaos Space Marines: Crull sneers Gorgutz won't know how to use the Titan, but Gorgutz retorts he plans to destroy it, since it's of no use to him. Mortified at this potential loss of such a powerful weapon, Crull launches a full attack on the gate, forcing his way through.

Gorgutz and the Orks establish a base near the Titan, and a brutal, three-way battle begins between the Orks, the Chaos Space Marines of the Blood Legion of Khorne and the last few Imperial survivors from the Ultramarines and the 412th Cadian Regiment. Several of the Titan's weapons are destroyed and the Imperials are wiped out, but the Orks keep fighting: even the awakening of the Necrons, who are quickly wiped out before they can fully deploy their weapons by the sheer number of the Orks, prove only a momentary distraction. The Orks finally fight their way to the main Chaotic base, and after they destroy Crull's army, Gorgutz and Crull face off in a final duel: Gorgutz kills Crull and cuts off the Chaos Lord's head to serve as his latest trophy, just as he had promised. In the aftermath of his victory, Gorgutz seems satisfied by what his WAAAGH! achieved on Lorn V, but wonders where he can find another world to fight on.

Canonical Ending

Although the game has several playable endings there is a canonical ending to the game, as established by its sequel Dark Crusade.

  • Farseer Taldeer of Craftworld Ulthwe survives the events on Lorn V, as she leads the Eldar in the Dark Crusade Campaign, suggesting that she was successful in reaching the Titan before the Imperial Guard. She dies in all the other factions' storylines.
  • Warboss Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter lives to fight another day, literally. He can be seen in Dark Crusade, leading the Orks again. Gorgutz was forced to retreat from Lorn V by the Imperial Guard, but not before killing Lord Crull and taking his skull with him.
  • The Chaos Lord Crull's skull was taken by Gorgutz and can be retrieved in Dark Crusade, given to the Word Bearers Dark Apostle Eliphas the Inheritor should he be successful in the campaign.
  • Should the Eldar defeat the Imperial Guard in Dark Crusade, the narrator states that Farseer Taldeer was branded "an enemy of the Imperium" after her manipulation of the Cadian 412th Regiment on Lorn V. General Lukas Alexander's regiment was ordered to pursue the Eldar across the galaxy and that "this long chase was finally over" when they faced off at Victory Bay on Kronus.
  • Conversely, if Governor-Militant Lukas Alexander defeats the Eldar in Dark Crusade, the narrator states that his "original mission was at an end", suggesting that his original primary mission was to hunt down Farseer Taldeer for her treachery on Lorn V. His new mission of liberating Kronus from the Tau Empire was only given after discovering the Hellstorm Cannon at Victory Bay.

It is thus likely that the canonical ending is not just one ending but two: a combination of the Eldar and Ork endings detailed above: Taldeer escapes from Lorn V to continue her mission to stymie the awakening Necrons, much to the surprise of the Imperial Guard, who send General Lucas Alexander to question her involvement in the Lorn V conflict, thus following her to Kronus. Gorgutz possesses the skull of Lord Crull, meaning the two finally faced off as in the final Ork mission before Gorgutz was forced to retreat and leave Lorn V. However Gorgutz was unable to reach the Titan, as Taldeer arrived at the crash site first.

However, according to the book Dawn of War: Tempest, Captain Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens Space Marines (the main character from the original game) arrives at Lorn V to find that the Imperial Guard were victorious and had begun to repair the Titan Dominatus. It is also mentioned that Taldeer survives the massacre, however badly wounded and taken prisoner by the Imperials. It is therefore possible that the Imperials won, Gorgutz killed Crull and that Taldeer escaped and was hunted down by Lucas Alexander, eventually catching up with her during the Dark Crusade Campaign.

The canonical ending for the Imperial Guard has finally been laid out in the Only War series of role-playing books. General Sturnn of the 412th Cadian Shock Troops Regiment made a special appeal to the Lord Castellan of Cadia to include several groups of Kasrkin in his command. After much consideration, this rare request was granted, based strongly upon Sturnn's battle honours and superlative record as an Imperial Guard officer. A born leader and formidable fighter, Sturnn believed that the true duty of the Imperial Guard was to die standing and fighting against the Imperium's foes. The General was admired by his fellow officers for his incredible bravery -- Sturnn often went into battle directly alongside his troops, an uncommon trait in many men of his exalted rank. It was the General's preference to assign squads of Kasrkin as his bodyguard. This was a role the Kasrkin deemed fitting, for Sturnn was so often to be found at the heart of the most furious battle.

Sturnn's orders were to proceed to the Ice World of Lorn V and recover a fallen Imperator-class Battle Titan bearing the name Dominatus. Once a world governed by the Imperium of Man, Lorn V had been invaded and laid waste by two inimical forces. The first of these was a Chaos Space Marine warband, commanded by Lord Crull, a savage Chaos Champion. The second group of invaders consisted of an Ork WAAAGH! led by a massive Warboss named Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter. Together, these two forces dominated much of the planet, each battling against the other in a savage conflict. However, when the 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment arrived on Lorn V, Lord Crull and Gorgutz ended the fighting between their forces and forged a rough and uneasy alliance against their common foes. Soon after his arrival at the former capital city of Talorn, General Sturnn learned that another challenger for control of the planet had appeared -- the Eldar, guided by the devious Farseer Taldeer. Faced with constant attacks from the Orks and Chaos Space Marines, Sturnn and Taldeer reluctantly chose to work together in order to survive. With the timely support of Taldeer's Eldar Aspect Warriors, Sturnn drove the Orks and Chaos Space Marines back in a series of blitzing advances.

Imperial records remain not entirely clear about the details of Sturnn's campaign on Lorn V, but all agree that without the Kasrkin, no victory would have been possible. Time and again, the Kasrkin were sent forward into the vanguard of the Imperial Guard assault, and time and again, the foe was sent reeling back—but at a mounting cost. Casualties amongst the Kasrkin were staggering, especially in the decisive conflict to secure the Titan. The Kasrkin's superior firepower and training counted for naught against a tide of inhuman horrors springing forth from beneath the planet’s frozen surface. This final assault pitted merciless aliens against Kasrkin discipline -- and the discipline held the line. The few survivors of Lorn V tell a grim tale. According to these after-action reports, General Sturnn and his men were betrayed by the Eldar in the end and cut down in a hail of shuriken fire. The Farseer's deceit cost the Imperial Guard forces dearly -- the 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment was driven from the planet and the Titan declared lost. To this day, the banner of the 412th bears a black ribbon to mark this defeat.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Only War: Hammer of the Emperor (RPG), pp. 20-21
  • White Dwarf 305 (UK), "Index Astartes: Blood Ravens"
  • Dawn of War by C.S. Goto
  • Dawn of War: Ascension by C.S. Goto
  • Dawn of War: Tempest by C.S. Goto
  • Dawn of War - Winter Assault (PC Game)

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